C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dams’ construction bulldozes reserve forest rules
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 29
Illegal construction within the reserve forest at Khol Hai Rattan near here has threatened wildlife in the area.

In a blatant violation of rules under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, the Forest Department, Haryana, which should have been protecting the forests, took money from the Shivalik Development Board and started work for the construction of water harvesting structures here.

A visit to the site in the reserve forest by The Tribune team revealed that a large part of the forest had been cleared by felling trees and digging work had been started to create two small earthen dams.

These dams of 15 meters height are being constructed near Nadda village and near Burj Kotian in violation of Section 29 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act that states that no non-forestry activity can be done in the forest area without permission as it amounts to destruction of the natural habitat.

The area was notified as a wildlife sanctuary in December 2004. Panthers, sambars, gorals, barking deer, wild boars, jackals, foxes, hares, pangolins, pythons and other snakes are found in abundance in this area. Wildlife officials say the avifauna in this sanctuary includes red jungle fowls, pea fowls, khaleej pheasants, partridges, and common birds like tree pies, barbets, bulbuls and doves.

Sources said though the earthen dams were being constructed in order to ensure regular water supply to villagers residing in nearby dhanis (small settlements), it was illegal. Under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, no construction activity, which will spoil the natural habitat of wildlife in a reserve forest, can be carried out without the prior permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden.

In this case, forest officials posted in Panchkula filed an application seeking permission for the construction only after the irregularities were brought to light before the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Haryana.

When contacted, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Haryana, KL Manhas, said the violations had been brought to his notice. “I have already ordered an inquiry into the violations, if any. The inquiry report will be submitted to me by tomorrow, based on which further action will be taken,” he said.



Panic after fire in pharma unit 
Villagers asked to leave; flames doused after two hours
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Jangpura (Banur), January 29
Panic gripped Jangpura and nearby villages after a major fire broke out at Surya Pharmaceutical Limited near Jangpura village today evening.

It took two hours for seven fire tenders from Rajpura, Mohali, Dera Bassi and Chandigarh to douse the flames. The fire started in one of the units where welding work was on. Soon it spread to other units where chemicals were stored.

Local authorities made public announcements as a precautionary measure wherein villagers were told to vacate the surrounding areas of Jangpura, Hulka, Nadiali and Baazigar Basti.

Fire department officials said fire could be controlled only after fire tenders from Chandigarh, which had foam, reached the spot.

The flames could have resulted in a major blast in the unit. Major tragedy was averted as blast could have resulted in damage to five-six km area, fire officials said.

Surjit Singh, an area resident, said the Banur fire department officials informed them that they do not have a driver for the fire tender. The officials at Mohali were then informed who declined from sending anyone saying the village was not under their jurisdiction. However, when the fire went out of control, the local fire department officials sent an SOS to the nearby districts to send fire tenders.

Fire officer at Chandigarh fire station ML Sharma said three fire tenders, including an 18,000-litre water boozer, one foam tender and one water tender was rushed to the spot from Chandigarh to douse the flames. “We got a message around 8 pm that major flames were controlled and more foam was needed to control the fire,” he said, adding that the department was sending more foam tender to douse the flames.

Tehsildar Kuldip Singh and other administrative officials reached the spot and took stock of the situation. Firemen were busy in dousing flames till the filing of this report.



Shatabdi worst hit by long delays
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The train that was most affected by delays in January was the prestigious Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, with railway officials blaming the dense fog prevailing in the entire region for several days. The delays were reportedly also incurred due to a section of the rail tracks near Sonepat being damaged, which slowed down the train. However, the railways have denied this.

During the greater part of this month both the morning (2011) and evening (2005) Shatabdis ran late by over two to 5 hours on an average. Many days it was late by as much as six hours, leaving passengers stranded.

Surprisingly the railways did not make any arrangements for informing passengers at stations about delayed arrivals and departures of trains, especially late into the night. The common complaint was no one answered the public information phone (131) at the station during night.

Passengers also rue no refreshments are provided on a train when it is running very late. For example, on January 7 the evening Shatabdi that was scheduled to reach the city at 8:45 pm arrived at 3:15 am in the morning, leaving passengers on the train high and dry with not even a glass of water being offered.

“Since one cannot make out while sitting in the train how much it will get delayed, those waiting at the station to receive us are made to suffer the worst. As there is hardly anyone manning the information counter at night, people coming from far off places to pick up their relatives have to spend the night in the bitter cold at the station”, said some passengers.

It is reliably learnt the rail track near Sonepat reportedly developed some cracks due to which trains had to slow down, thus causing them to run late. However, senior divisional commercial manager Karan Singh denied this, saying, “Over a hundred trains run on the Delhi-Ambala-Chandigarh route every day and there was no such problem reported by anyone”.

The morning Shatabdi 2011 that was to reach Chandigarh at 11: 05 am arrived here at 1:58 pm on January 23, late by about three hours. Again, on January 24, it reached the city at 1:28 pm, delayed by over two hours.

The passengers suffered the worst in the evening Shatabdi that, at times, arrived in the city at 3:15 am early morning as against its actual arrival time of 8:45 p.m. On January 8 the train reached the station at around 2:05 am.

Passengers said while they could understand trains running late because of the dense fog, the callous indifference of railway officials and their failure to handle the situation was “unacceptable”. Meenakshi Khurana, who frequently travels between Delhi and Chandigarh, suggested a “total overhaul” of the railways’ style of functioning. “At least they can have a proper information desk”, she said.



Rathore turns up at PGI for check-up,
told he’s okay

Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore comes out of the cardiac centre at the PGI in Chandigarh on Friday.
Former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore comes out of the cardiac centre at the PGI in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Chandigarh, January 29
The otherwise quiet porch of PGI’s Advanced Cardiac Centre (ACC) was teeming with newsmen this afternoon as former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore, convicted in the Ruchika molestation case, walked into the hospital at 11 am with a complaint of “chest pain”.

As news about his visit to PGI spread in the city, reporters, both from the print and electronic media, along with OB Vans reached the centre to cover his arrival. Speculation was rife about the reasons for his presence there. “He has come here to get himself admitted to the hospital’”, shouted one journo as another quipped “the CBI may move in to arrest him”.

Though nothing of that sort happened, Rathore did give anxious moments to doctors and the media when he refused to budge from the OPD despite being told, after a check-up, that there was nothing wrong with him. Soon after he arrived at there he met Dr Yashpal Sharma who, after routine examinations including an ECG, advised Rathore to go back as he found the latter “normal”.

Sources who were privy to their conversation said despite being told about his “normal” condition, the ex-DGP kept on insisting he had some pain in his chest. Though the doctor advised him to consult his regular cardiac surgeon he insisted on a “thorough investigation”. Rathore was then advised to wait and meet Dr Sharma after OPD hours. The former DGP subsequently came and sat down in the waiting hall and was a subject of attention not only by the media but other patients too.

However, Rathore, who has refrained from answering any questions by the media ever since a court’s verdict to sentence him to six months’ imprisonment snowballed into a major controversy, did not respond to any queries. He only made gestures that “mum” was the word for him. After waiting for almost an hour he met Dr Sharma again who then advised him to go in for a “thallium test”. The test, as such, indicates the pattern of blood flow to the heart. Sharma confirmed he had advised a test to Rathore and revealed the former DGP had undergone a heart surgery in 2007.



Govt offices, schools to remain shut today

Chandigarh: The UTadministration has declared a public holiday on Saturday on account of birthday of Guru Ravidas. All government offices, boards, corporations, educational institutions, government-aided schools and colleges will remain closed.

Meanwhile, most of the private schools, including Carmel Convent, Sector 9, Sacred Heart High School, Sector 26, St John’s High School and Vivek High School will also remain closed tomorrow due to the routine holiday on fourth Saturdays. Private colleges, including MCM DAV, DAV College-10 will also remain closed. — TNS


MC Meeting
Sector 17 to get fifth fountain
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Municipal Corporation has approved installation of a fifth fountain for Sector 17 here in the MC house meeting today. Interestingly, the house has also given green signal to a multi-media laser show on water screen with musical fountain at plaza worth Rs 3 crore, which will be the fifth fountain of Sector 17. At present, the sector has four fountains, two are at the Plaza, another one is situated opposite the state library and one is behind the 30 Bays building.

The Chandigarh administration had asked the CITCO general manager to prepare a proposal to be sent to the Union Ministry of Tourism for releasing funds for this project and the MC was asked to prepare a plan for its infrastructure.

When the agenda in this regard was tabled, the nominated councillors cautioned the authorities that in the past, they had bad past experience in getting funds for the project, which were completed by the MC on the verbal orders of the Chandigarh administration. They wanted to ensure that they would be compensated this time.

On this, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria informed the house that they would not get any compensation for this project from any government and the corporation would have to bear the entire expenditure.

Congress councillor Kamlesh said then why was the corporation taking up this project. She suggested that this project should be sent back to the administration for execution.

Nominated councillor Dr Amrit Bolaria stated that it was very strange that the corporation was focusing on Sector 17 only for setting up important projects. Revealing details about the projects coming up in Sector 17, she said these included amusement park, musical fountain and multi-level parking. She objected to the execution of all projects in one sector only.

Congress councillor and ex-Mayor Pardeep Chhabra suggested that they should not handover this project to the administration but execute it themselves.

Sidelining all objections of the councillors, Sunkaria said that they should approve this project as the corporation was also planning to come up with more projects for the beautification of Sector 17 soon. Mayor Anu Chatrath approved the project and asked the official to call global tender for it.

Meanwhile, Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma pointed out that for the past five months he had not received the reply of the questionnaire, which the inquiry committee had sent to the Horticulture Department. In reply, Sunkaria pulled up the officers concerned and asked them to submit the reply by next week.

After detailed discussion, the comprehensive maintenance contract for sweeping machines was approved and the Mayor asked the officials to give documents of their purchase to Sharma as demanded by him.

However, five members of the finance and contract committee were elected unanimously as they had only filed their papers for membership of the committee. The Mayor asked all area councillors, where parking lots had been located, to give their suggestion at the next finance and contract committee meeting for bringing about amendments in the paid-parking policy. 



Mayor defers fire academy plan
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The controversial issue of setting up a fire academy in the city was again left unsettled following a heated debate at the municipal corporation’s house meeting today, the first after Anu Chatrath took over as mayor. Most of the councillors criticised the proposal saying it would be a sheer waste of public funds.

Interestingly when the agenda concerning the fire academy was tabled in the house, ex-mayor Kamlesh stated as the house had already approved it twice during here tenure last year the civic body should now “only focus on how it should be set up”. She even suggested the academy could begin functioning with only two rooms within the existing infrastructure of fire and emergency services.

Most of the councillors contradicted the ex-mayor’s statement, saying, “When this agenda was never tabled in the house, how could it be considered as passed”. They also questioned the discussion on modalities of the proposed fire academy’s construction.

Nominated councillor AP Sanwaria expressed “surprise” over how the same agenda, which he claimed had been approved twice by the house, was again tabled for the third consecutive time for discussion. BJP-SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur opined “it is very strange the corporation is taking up this project when education is not its prerogative”.

Criticising the very concept of a fire academy, nominated councillor Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri said it would be a waste of money as both neighbouring states, Punjab and Haryana, had their own academies for training fire personnel. “Have the authorities worked out to whom will this academy cater to? If no student takes admission what would be its fate?” he questioned.

Nominated councillor Arshad Khan, who was also a member of the committee that studied the feasibility of setting up the academy, said with only seven fire stations the MC’s fire department would find it very difficult to absorb additional firemen.

MC additional commissioner cum chief fire officer PK Sharma asserted setting up the academy within the existing infrastructure was not feasible. “If it has to be set up the corporation will have to invest on the technology and infrastructure as per its standards, which would be not of much use to the department”, he added.

Mayor Chatrath then deferred the agenda and asked the fire department to prepare a detailed note on the pros and cons of the proposed academy and table it for discussion in the next house meeting.



Badals keep 200 cops on toes for five hours
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Cops guard the Mohali courts where Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal were supposed to appear.
Cops guard the Mohali courts where Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal were supposed to appear. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, January 29
It seems that providing security to VIPs has become the primary duty of the Mohali cops. Instead of maintaining law and order and providing security to the common man, frequent visits by the VIPs are keeping the Mohali cops busy.

On Saturday, around 200 cops remained on their toes for over five hours, waiting for Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal to appear in a disproportionate assets case registered by the Punjab Vigilance.

Right from the entry to the city to the court premises, the cops waited for the VIPs to arrive. To top it all, the senior and junior Badal, who are accused in the vigilance case, did not appear in the court.

Officials right from the rank of the SP to the lowest rank disbursed only after an official message of the VIP not coming was flashed.

“It is a waste of public money and harassment to the cops. The politicians should reschedule their movement in manner that causes least harassment to the common man”, observed a cop. The task of the cops was still not over. At 3 pm, they had to report for a rehearsal for tomorrow’s visit of the Punjab Chief Minister to a public function at Shivalik Public School. The rehearsal went on till the evening. Tomorrow, the cops would again be on duty at 7 am.

Be it a public function or appearances of the VIPs in court cases, the cops have to be on duty round the clock and it definitely affects their working efficiency. 



0001 fetches Rs 2.38 lakh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 29
Start of the new ‘K series at the beginning of the New Year today saw the VIP number 0001 fetching Rs 2.38 lakh during the auction of ‘fancy’ vehicle registration numbers held at the office of the Mohali district transport officer (DTO) here.

In a daylong auction, over 400 participants deposited their earnest money to take part in the auction. Mohali DTO Karan Singh said 170 registration numbers were sold fetching the department Rs 21.97 lakhs against a total reserved price of Rs 4.56 lakh.

Giving details, officials said for number PB 65 K 0001, the bid was given by Deepak Arora, a resident of Phase 7. here. The maximum revenue was fetched by the single digit series. The number PB 65K 0007 fetched Rs 1.50 lakh. Number 0010 attracted the lowest bid of Rs 10,000.

Number 0002, 0003,0004, 0005, 0006, 0008 and 0009 fetched Rs 75,000, Rs 56,000, Rs 65,000, Rs 50,000, Rs 12,000, Rs 12,000 and Rs 55,000, respectively. In the two-digit series number 0099 attracted the highest bid of Rs 51,000 against the reserve price of Rs 3,000. Fancy numbers like 777, 1313, 6868 and 9999 fetched Rs 23,500, Rs 66000, Rs 25,500 and Rs 21,000.



No public consensus over Bt Brinjal
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
If numerical strength and sheer emotions were to be taken into account, the number of denials carried the house. The affirmations, however, had the academicians on their side as well as agricultural experts and even the humble farmer. Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh, who was presiding over the public consultation on Bt Brinjal did not give out his mind but assured a decision by mid February.

The public consultation, which saw vocal opposition among those who favour the introduction of Bt Brinjal as recommended by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, and those who oppose it, also saw a dharna and vociferous shouting by activists of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch.

However, Jairam Ramesh seemed to be in his element and even though he appeared much harassed, carried the day and also earned appreciations from both pro and anti lobby for allowing the democratic voice to be heard on the issue. The minister assured that he would take a final decision based upon the laws of the land as well as the feedback received by him from the public consultations that were being conducted at a national level.

Those supporting the introduction of Bt Brinjal included Dr IS Dua of Panjab University. He said fears that genetic mutations affected other species did not have any scientific basis. “In fact nutritional value and yield is likely to be higher in such crops”, he added. Dr Govind Gujjar claimed biodiversity would not be affected by the use of Bt Brinjal. Some farmers like Sant Ram and Nathu Ram of Panchkula and Fatehabad, respectively, said the yield of traditional varieties was decreasing and if Bt Brinjal was safe for human consumption none should have objection to its cultivation in the country.

Among those opposing the introduction of Bt Brinjal was Umender Dutt of the Kheti Virasat Mission. He said no mass-based epidemiological study had been conducted on the safety of Bt Brinjal. Additional Advocate General Reeta Kohli said the issue should not be seen as an economic one only, but viewed in a holistic manner. She said the issue was not only of Bt Brinjal but that of genetically modified foods.

Among the farmer organisations, though the BKU (Mann) supported introduction of Bt Brinjal, the BKU (Ekta) as well as the All India Kisan Sabha said the government should not be in a hurry to take a decision on the issue. 



Level crossing bane of residents
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The level crossing (No. 125) near Vikas Nagar is becoming a nightmare for residents of the city with the increase in vehicular traffic, adding to the congestion and long-hour closure of the level crossing.

The residents of Chandigarh and Panchkula have been waiting for the construction of the railway under-bridge for a long time, which is yet to start.

The residents of the area have urged the railway authorities to construct a under bridge so that the traffic congestions can be decreased.

Long lines of vehicles can be seen at the railway crossing at any time. Heavy traffic results in accidents on many occasions. The condition at the railway crossing near the Modern Complex in Mani Majra is no better. Beelines of vehicles add to the traffic congestion there also.

The foundation stone of this project was laid down more than a year ago, but the project has not yet started.

Traffic jams have become perpetual since no alternate route has been opened for the public. “It took me close to 40 minutes from Panchkula to reach the office in Sector 34,” rued Sukhpreet Kaur, a resident.

Another Panchkula resident, Jaspal Singh, expressing concern over the traffic problem demanded early commencement of the railway under-bridge.

Sources in the Railway Department say the authorities have recently made it necessary that all level crossings adjoining a railway station should be closed during the arrival of a passenger or a goods train

According to a report, since the rail traffic during morning hours is so heavy, the crossing has to be kept closed for a longer period of time. Taking all trains passing through the city, including mail, express, Shatabdi, passenger and goods trains, the figure comes to at least 32 trains in 24 hours.

The railway sources say that a number of accidents take place when people try to cross over the tracks while the gates are closed and they are run over by the passing trains. The pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and even the rickshaw pullers add to the problem. The victims of such accidents are not paid any compensation and it is treated as trespassing by the Railways.

Meanwhile, the engineering wing of the railways has prepared a scheme for the construction of an under-bridge on the level crossing for ensuring smooth flow of traffic in the area. As this level crossing divides the city into two parts and the scheme is aimed at improving the traffic condition.

A railway official said this scheme was delayed due to some technical reasons.Now, the scheme had been revived and it had been sent to the government for approval. He expressed the hope that finally work on the railway under-bridge (RUB) would start soon. 



Misuse of Power By MC chief
Now, hearing on March 11
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 29
The hearing in connection with the case of alleged misuse of power by Municipal Council president Rajinder Singh Rana was today postponed as the Principal Secretary of the Local Government Department, Punjab, was out of station. Now, the hearing has been fixed for March 11.

Rana said he had gone to the office of the Principal Secretary C Roul today in connection with the hearing of the case but was told by his staff that the officer had gone to Mumbai and the case would now be heard on March 11.

The case had come up for hearing once again after a gap of more than two years and Rana described the move as politically motivated.

The Congress-backed civic body president, who was issued a show -cause notice on June 11, 2007, by the then Principal Secretary, Local Government, DS Bains, on charges of misuse of power, was again called by the present incumbent C Roul on January 14. However, no discussions on the case followed and January 28 was fixed as the next date in this regard.

The show-cause notice was issued to Rana after the then executive officer of the civic body JS Thind had sent a report to the higher authorities alleging that the civic body chief had transferred three employees without having the powers to do so. Thind had also alleged that Rana kept postponing the opening of sanitation tenders that adversely affected work. He had recommended that action should be taken against the MC chief in this regard.

Rana, however, had said that he had not misused his powers. He had transferred the employees from one seat to another within the council and he had the power to do so. He had postponed the tenders to bring about some change in terms of the agreement to introduce more competition among contractors.

The council president said that Bains had heard his arguments and those of the executive officer in October 2007, after which the decision was kept reserved and nothing happened later. 



Govt land in capital’s periphery decreases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The area under village common land and collective ownership in Chandigarh’s periphery is apparently decreasing, and the authorities concerned in Punjab are not even forthcoming with an explanation.

The misuse of the area has already come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s scanner. An additional director-general of police is looking into the details of the assets acquired by top officers of his department in the locality.

Quoting information supplied by the office of Mohali deputy commissioner, ADGP Chander Shekhar asserted “reduction to the extent of 16,312 acres and eight marlas in the area of mustarka malkan land (village common land) since 1966”.

Before the special Division Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, the ADGP added that the report summary of Dera Bassi tehsil shows “ the shamlat land (for common use as panchayat land) in 1966 was 8,580 acres, and in the current jamabandi (book of records) it is 7,218 acres. The difference of 1,362 acres has not been explained. Similarly, the mustarka malkan land in 1966 was 287 acres, and in the current jamabandi it is 254 acres. The difference of 33 acres has not been explained”.

He said: “The statement of tehsildar of Kharar shows shamlat land in 1966 as 672 acres, seven kanal and 17 marlas, and in the current jamabandi it is 380 acres, four kanals and 11 marlas. The difference of 292 acres, three kanal and four marlas transferred in the names of private persons for seven villages has been shown, but the explanation has not been satisfactory.



Pensioners seek release of arrears

Chandigarh, January 29
Members of the Punjab Government Pensioners’ Welfare Association organised a protest rally in Sector 17 here today demanding the release of 43-month arrears in view of the pension revised after the pay commission report announced by the state government.

Association president Jagdev Singh Sandhu warned the Punjab government that they would be forced to intensify their stir if their demands were not fulfilled immediately.

Expressing the plight of the pensioners, he said some of the pensioners had died waiting for the due arrears.

Sandhu said their other demands included fixed medical allowance of Rs 1,000, free indoor medical treatment, grant of 10 per cent house maintenance allowance, LTC to family pensioners, grant of 100 per cent increase in old age allowance after attaining the age of 80 years instead of 100 years, besides the grant of minimum pension of Rs 10,000 per month.

Lashing out at the state government for its callous attitude of keeping stony silence over the release of arrears, Sandhu said the government on the one hand was spending huge amount during sangat darshans, while on the other, it was not releasing the funds citing paucity of the funds. — TNS



Panel finds irregularities in Ghaggar project
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 29
A three-member committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, including MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha, MLA Banur, Jasjeet Singh Bunny, and MLA Madal Lal Thekedar today inspected the work of the under-construction Ghaggar project near Chhatbir at Zirakpur and found irregularities during the construction of the project.

The inspection of the project was conducted under the supervision of Committee chairman MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha. Officials from the Punjab irrigation department were also present at the spot. The work of the project started in January 2007.

During the inspection, the team found that the 60 per cent work of the project, which had started in 2007 and was supposed to be completed by June 2007, was still pending. The team was surprised to see that only 40 per cent of the project was completed after three years. In the project costing Rs 58.15 crore, a dam was to be constructed over the Ghaggar river and the Banur irrigation canal was to be modified at an extra cost of Rs 4 crore in order to make the availability of water through out the year instead of 4 months. Where project contractor flouted the rules and regulations of the project, the role of the irrigation department is also under the scanner.

There was a provision to impose a penalty on the contractor concerned for the delay in project. But interestingly, instead of recovering penalty, the contractor was paid Rs 12.74 crore. It was also found that the contractor had to submit a certificate regarding completion of the project at different.

The committee chairman, MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha, said the officials of the PID had been asked to visit the Chandigarh Office along with their records and a copy of project rules and regulations. He added that a detailed report would be submitted in the Vidhan Sabha next month. 



LPG-run autos queue up at filling stations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
A long queue of auto-rickshaws was seen at the LPG filling station in Sector 34 this evening, as one out of the two nozzles was not functioning.

The other LPG station in Sector 22 was not working making the situation even worse for LPG-run autos.

Auto-rickshaw drivers had to wait for hours to getting the gas filled in their vehicles. At present, the city has around 700 LPG-run auto rickshaws, besides other vehicles.

LPG shortage could pose major problem if the number of such vehicles increases. Though, the administration had banned plying of auto-rickshaws on the city roads from March 31 onwards.



Channi to replace Anand as HFI chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Principal Secretary for Industries and Commerce SS Channi, a senior bureaucrat from Punjab, has been unanimously elected as the new president of the Handball Federation of India (HFI). Channi is presently the vice-president and will be elevated to the post of the HFI president on February 1.

He will replace former National Institute of Sports Director R L Anand, who did not file his nomination, this time. He remained the HFI president for the past 25 years. Anand had said in the last elections that he would not stand for the presidentship in the 2010 elections.

According to HFI Returning Officer NS Nitta, after January 28 was fixed as the withdrawal date, all valid nominations had been declared elected.

“Decision regarding the vacancies which were left out will be taken in the meeting at the annual-general body meeting scheduled for February 1 at Megnet Resort, Ferozepur Road, Ludhiana, and if necessary, the election will be held for the remaining posts,” announced the Returning Officer.

Sitta also announced that there was one vacancy for the post of vice-president and four vacancies for the post of joint secretaries.

During scrutiny, nomination papers of SV Mohan Reddy from Andhra Pradesh for the post of vice-president and Vijay Kant Jha from Bihar for the post of joint secretary were rejected, as their papers were not valid.

The Returning Officer declared the following office-bearers elected:

N Shyamananda Singh, IPS (Manipur), Dr Rajesh Mishra, IPS, (Chhatisgarh), B Rajan (Kerala), Lakshman Seth (West Bengal), N Rama Subramani (Tamil Nadu), Kalyan Gogi (Assam) and Ravinder Talwar (Chandigarh) as vice-presidents; SM Bali (Jammu and Kashmir) as general secretary; Pritpal Singh Saluja (MP), RD Chanda (Gujarat), Radha Ahlawat (Haryana), Tejraj Singh (Rajasthan) as joint secretaries and Anandeshwar Pandey (UP) as the treasurer.



Fashion show at Home Science College
Tribune News service

Models walk the ramp during a fashion show at Home Science College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Friday.
Models walk the ramp during a fashion show at Home Science College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, January 29
Aakriti, a fashion show, to provide a platform to fashion designing students was held at Home Science College, Sector 10, here today.

Savita Bhatti, TV personality, was the chief guest.

The models exhibited collection of 12 different themes.

The show comprised of three jury members, Parveen Jothaniya, Sunanda Kundra and Pawan Brar.

The college principal Dr Rita Singh welcomed the guests and jury members.



PU to bid for Rs 50-cr UGC grant
Makes five-yr plan for ‘sustainable development
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
After being shortlisted among the 10 prominent universities in the country by the University Grants Commission (UGC), Panjab University is now bidding for Rs 50 crore, which is to be allocated to top five universities with “focussed area” of development.

For this purpose, the university is making a five-year plan for “sustainable development” for itself, which will be presented before the UGC shortly.

According to information, the UGC is granting this aid primarily for department infrastructure, focussed research areas and developmental purposes identified by the university.

The plan, being prepared by senior professors and university functionaries will involve inputs from young and dynamic teachers of various departments.

The presentation will include aim and vision of the university in a practical form and will also highlight its capability in focussed areas, coupled with animated visuals.

The objectives would include details of technological developments, assimilating information, then deductions from this information and utilisation of the same.

A few members who are working to prepare the draft include, Prof Ghuman, Prof AS Ahluwalia, Prof BS Bhoop, Prof Vaidya, Dr MM Gupta, Dr Vijay Laxmi, Dr Sanjeev Puri, Prof Swaran Singh and many others.

“Since every university will give its best possible presentation, we will focus on inter-disciplinary approach and not highlight any particular discipline.,” said a senior functionary. The process of presenting the project to the UGC could take more than a month, informed an official.

It is for the first time that PU is also talking about making contribution to the country through science and technology, which is the main focus in this presentation.

“Unless the university starts thinking about the ways it can contribute to the national development, it is unfair to expect anything for itself,” Vice -Chancellor Prof RC Sobti said.



Yoga meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Swami Vivekanand International Youth and Yog Research Council, India, in collaboration with UD Gour Memorial Trust would be organising the yoga championship at the Law Bhawan auditorium, Sector 37, on January 31.

Yogacharya Raman in a press note today said the competitions would be held in different age groups of 6-12, 12-15, 15-18, 18-22, 22-26, 26-30 and above 30 years for both males and females. He said those interested in participating in the tournament should report at the venue at 8.30 am.



From Schools & Colleges
Students submit memo on Bt brinjal issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) submitted a memorandum to Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (independent charge), Ministry of Environment and Forests, on "Forbidding the entry of Bt brinjal into India," here today.

A PUCSC representative said a few independent studies carried out by scientists from across the world on genetically modified crops (GM) have proved their adverse affect on health and Bt brinjal is no exception.

The members also stated that some of the major concerns like antibiotic resistance, threat to biodiversity, adverse impacts on internal organ functions, risk to allergic reactions, reproductive capacity reduction, and risk to infants, etc should be addressed first.

In a press note issued here today, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union has expressed its dismal on the refusal of the UT administration to grant permission to the representatives to hold a dharna in front of the office of the DPI (colleges), Punjab, Sector 17.

The PCCTU is demanding implementation of career advancement scheme for DPES and librarians, relaxation of refresher course condition and amendments in Security of Service Act.

Prof Jasvinder Singh, president of the Chandigarh District Council of the PCCTU, said: “The attitude of the authorities towards teachers is shocking, as they have given permission to various organisations to hold dharnas.”


A two-day AICTE sponsored “National Conference on Advanced Computing; Communication Engineering and Technology (NCACCET) was inaugurated by Dr N Sathyamurthy, director, IISER, Mohali, at the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, here today.

Dr BS Pabla, college principal, stressed on the need for interaction and sharing of information among individuals and groups working in the area.

Dr Sathyamurthy discussed the history of development in communication and computing technologies and highlighted the importance of efficiency and security in technology applications. Deepak Bhalla, global delivery manager Infosys Technologies, Chandigarh, discussed the job scenario in times 
of recession.

Dr Sanjeev Sofat, Prof and head of computer science department, PEC University of Technology, discussed the importance and issues related to data storage and data security.

Dr Manpreet Singh Gujral, Prof and head of computer science department, said the organising committee received 270 papers for the conference out of which only 52 had been selected for presentation and publication.

Besides, 28 selected papers would be printed in the International journals, the inaugural session was followed by paper presentation.


The international students association at Panjab University celebrated an annual get-together in the English auditorium on the campus.

Students from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Tibet, Kazakhstan, Bhutan, Italy and UK gathered for a get-together. Students from various colleges affiliated to the PU also participated.

Prof Keya Dharamvir, dean, international students, said foreign students could contact her.

Committee formed

Following yesterday’s protest on the fee charged in separate semester, PUSU president, Udey Singh Wirring, today confirmed that the authorities have formed a committee to look into the matter and a solution will be out soon.

He also threatened to intensify the campaign. Meanwhile, the authorities, maintained that the fee is charged separately in semesters.

Prize distribution

The prize distribution function of Aanchal International School was held here today.

The event was presided over by eminent educationist, SM Verma. A special award was given to Vivek, a student of Class V, who has been selected for Under-13 cricket.

Moot court

The department of laws, Panjab University, organised a “Demonstration Moot” at the Moot Court. The demonstration moot was presided over by justice MM Kumar and Justice Jasbir Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Moot is an annual feature of the department in which students learn legal skills to argue cases in the court.

The judges also gave tips to the students on how to argue for cases in the courts and also following the court etiquettes. The faculty of the department, UILS, and law students attended the moot court.


On the second day of the national workshop on “Capacity Building of Women Managers in Higher Education” being held at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Dr Pam Rajput talked on “Women and Governance”.

The workshop is a sensitisation, awareness and motivation (SAM) residential UGC sponsored programme. The aim is to motivate women to take up decision-making positions.

Talk to motivate students

In a “My Story” session organised by TiE, Punjab and Chandigarh at Chitkara in Sector 25, here today, Kamal Wadhera, founder and CEO of Top Careers and You, interacted with students.

TiE Punjab and Chandigarh organises talks by eminent entrepreneurs to motivate students.



Interactive session at UBS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, today organised an interactive session of students with a leading entrepreneur, Sanjeev Aggarwal, originator of IBM Daksh, here today.

Sanjeev, who is currently managing director of Helion Advisors Private Limited, talked to the students, who wished to enter the business world. He cautioned the students to work in the industry for sometime and then jump into the business world.

“The fresher must have at least 3-5 years of experience in the industry before starting their own business,” he added.



NGO to school rural kids
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
“Sanjivani a Commitment”, an NGO, was launched here yesterday. The motto of the NGO is “Each one to teach one”.

The NGO will primarily be focusing on providing education to poor and needy kids.

Eminent educationist and entrepreneur Manmohan Garg, said, “The NGO aims at imparting knowledge to village kids and fulfilling their dreams.”

Garg said a brief study revealed that only seven per cent of the rural students in India went to schools or colleges.

“Apart from financial help, students need support and encouragement from their teachers and parents. These poor students remain deprived of various facilities and ultimately take up jobs to make both ends meet,” he said.

He said the NGO would be adopting around 50 villages, falling within a 50-km radius of the city.

“Four different teams would cover the periphery and will visit schools, both private and government, to motivate them to pursue higher education. We have a target of covering over 1,000 students,” he stated.

Deshraj Thakral, a member of the NGO, said, “Sanjivani will also take up matters related to admission fee or fee refund. It will try to bridge the gap between the school administration and parents and will also provide career counselling.”

Trained and experienced counsellors will guide students.

The NGO had already adopted around 20 students at Sector 49, he added.



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