C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dera row: Bus, train services hit
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Commuters travelling to Punjab and Haryana had a tough time today as train and bus services to the two states were severely affected from the city following large-scale violence after filing of a fresh murder case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, Gurmit Ram Rahim.

Railways have cancelled and suspended several trains passing through and originating from the two states for passenger safety and to avoid damage to rail property.

Similarly, more than 100 buses belonging to Haryana Roadways, PRTC and CTU were also cancelled for Moga, Tapa, Sangrur, Barnala and Bathinda in Punjab and Sirsa, Hisar, Kaithal and Fatehabad in Haryana from the city. “We do not want to take any chances as the violence had caused large-scale damage to the state-run buses, trains and the public property yesterday,” roadways spokesperson Gurtej Singh said.

According to station superintendent, Chandigarh railway station, all trains from the city departed as per schedule but Himalayan Queen was delayed by over one hour as the train was detained at Ambala railway station.

Karan Singh, senior divisional commercial manager, Northern Railway, Ambala division, said Northern Railway today cancelled 13 trains, including inter-city Ambala-Bathinda and on Ambala-Jagadhri-Saharanpur routes.

“The situation has not improved. Rail properties have been damaged at several places. Until calm is restored, it will not be possible to operate railway services to Chandigarh and certain areas of the two states,” he added.

A report from Ambala said according to railway sources, all trains from Uttar Pradesh, going to the Punjab side, have been cancelled while two Express trains, which had reached Ambala cantonment station, had been stopped there.

It was also reported that protesters damaged the Dukheri railway station on the Ambala-Saharanpur railway section in Haryana last night.

Meanwhile, Ferozepur railway division sources said at least five trains were reportedly also cancelled today after followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda went on rampage in protest against the registration of a fresh case against Dera head Baba Gurmit Singh Ram Rahim by the CBI.

All trains commencing from Ferozepur to other parts of the state had been cancelled till further orders, a railway official said. However, the bus belonging to the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) was damaged at Mithapur village, about 10 km from Ambala, yesterday. The CTU authorities today directed its staff not to ply its buses on the affected areas of two states.

People willing to travel to the various districts of Punjab and Haryana from the city and vice-versa were also inconvenienced.

However, bus services to Delhi, Amritsar and Jalandhar functioned normally and on time, roadways sources said.

Dera followers, known as ‘Premis’, went on rampage yesterday and burnt over a dozen rail coaches in various parts of Punjab and Haryana, thereby forcing the authorities to cancel some train services. They also damaged public property.

At least 40 buses were also torched and public property was destroyed in Moga, Bathinda, Mansa, Barnala and Ferozepur towns of Punjab and Sirsa, Hisar, Kaithal and Fatehabad in Haryana.

The Dera Sacha Sauda sect, who has a big following all over the country, is headquartered at Sirsa in Haryana.

Dera followers have, however, denied any role in yesterday’s violence. “We strongly condemn this violence and appeal to everyone to maintain peace and harmony in the region. No Dera follower is behind this arson and rioting. Once the police conducts its investigation, things will become clear as to who is responsible behind this chaos,” sect follower Jagir Singh said.



Panchkula suspends bus service to various routes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
Fearing escalation in arson and rampage by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, the buses plying on the routes linking Panchkula with towns of Sirsa, Kaithal, Jind, Yamunanagar and Rohtak were suspended here today.

Though the bus service for Delhi and towns falling on National Highway-1 like Ambala, Karnal and Panipat was available throughout the day, a few buses were plied for Yamunanagar later on for the convenience of passengers.

Inquiry from roadways depot revealed that two buses of Panchkula were stuck at Kaithal and Narwana since yesterday. In addition, the bus service to Haldwani was also suspended as a CTU bus was put on fire on the Yamunanagar road last evening.

Though bus service on the Delhi road and within the district remained smooth throughout the day, the decision on resuming the service on other routes would be taken only after reviewing the situation in other parts of the state, said the authorities.



Dera Row
Security up around CBI office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Chandigarh Police has beefed up security around the Sector 30 office of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here following incidents of violence in Punjab and Haryana last night after the CBI registered a case of murder against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently directed the local unit of the CBI to register a case of murder against Baba and others after hearing the writ petition filed in the mysterious disappearance of former dera manager Fakir Chand. It was apprehended that Fakir Chand was murdered.

Going by the sensitivity of the case, though the CBI is learnt to have initiated the preliminary probe into the case, at the same time the apex investigating agency is exercising caution before saying anything in the matter.

The CBI had registered the case a few days ago, but after the matter was reported by the media, a spate of incidents of violence was reported from Punjab and Haryana after some miscreants torched buses and government offices.

DSP (East) Jasbir Singh Cheema said two-dozen police personnel, including commandos and riot control squad and a police control room vehicle, had been deployed round the clock around the CBI office.



UT gets go-ahead on metro project
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
UT Administrator Shivraj Patil has cleared the plan for the metro outline in the city and asked the administration to pursue the case in line with the project report prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

The proposed metro project in the city will be divided into underground and on ground sections. The project report has categorised the areas for the type of construction in whole of the Union Territory.

On one of the routes starting from Khuda Lahora, the project will be over ground till the PGI. From the medical institute till the Industrial Area, Phase I, near the existing railway station, the entire stretch will be underground. From this point onwards, the metro line will enter Panchkula. The state government response on the kind of layout is expected shortly.

The second route planned from the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT), Sector 17, and passing through Sectors 22 and 35 will touch the ISBT, Sector 43. The entire stretch will be underground. From this point onwards, the kind of rail track layout for the metro connection with Mohali areas will be left at the discretion of the Punjab government (underground or on ground).

The third metro line which will be totally on ground is expected to start from Dadu Majra and meander through Maloya, Vikas Marg, Industrial Area, Phases I and II, till the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Information Technology Park.

The projected cost of construction has been worked out as Rs 170-180 crore per km for the over ground rail stretch and between Rs 270 and Rs 280 crore per km for the underground segment. The total cost works out to Rs 10,000 crores approximately, reliable sources said.

Broadly speaking, the entire network within the city limits, except on the periphery, will be underground.

Confirming the development, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said, “We have got a go-ahead from the administrator which has opened the doors for an early progress on the project implementation. The entire concept plan is an effort to timely prepare the city for a definite need of transportation in the future.”

The project report has clearly earmarked the major stations, which include the areas adjoining the PGIM, Industrial Area, Rock Garden and ISBTs Sectors 17 and 43, besides certain smaller stations.

Sources said the underground railway passage in a majority of the metro map would mean no change in the master plan of the city in a broader perspective. With arrangement for adequate parking facility as well, the metro will probably be the biggest arrangement in meeting the requirements of the burgeoning population.”



Full second-floor coverage okayed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
Following in the footsteps of the Chandigarh administration, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to replicate people-friendly bylaws here.

Foreseeing rapid urbanisation, a committee constituted to study need-based changes in building bylaws has decided to allow full second-floor coverage on the pattern of Chandigarh. After analysing representations of resident welfare associations, the committee, comprising the additional chief administrator, the estate officer, the senior architect and the district town planner, has approved a number of relaxations.

While allowing full second-floor coverage, a ‘mumpty’ of 7’-6” has been allowed on the roof of the second floor to approach the terrace.

Under building rules, the chief administrator is empowered to allow compoundable constructions, according to sources. Regarding the floor area ratio being increased to 2, the issue has to be decided at the government level. In Chandigarh, this ratio has been increased to 2.

The rules will be made applicable after relaxations are notified by the GMADA during its authority meeting. VP Singh, chief administrator of GMADA, has confirmed the recommendations. He has said amendments made by the Chandigarh Housing Board will be made applicable as and when notified by the Chandigarh administration.

The GMADA has already made it mandatory to have a solar water heating system for residential buildings coming up on plots measuring 500 sq yd or above.

Owners of buildings will now have to instal a solar water heating system before getting the occupation certificate from the estate office.

A solar water heating system has also been made mandatory for government buildings, industries, hospitals, housing complexes, residential schools and educational colleges.



City lad scores 100 percentile in CAT
Nidhi Bhatia & Chhavi Garg

Chandigarh, February 28
City lad Ankit Garg has scored 100 percentile in the much-awaited Common Admission Test (CAT). For the third consecutive year, a city student has scored 100 percentile. The CAT result was declared today.

Sharing his happiness, Ankit said, “This came as a surprise. Though I have been doing well in mock tests, I was not expecting 100 percentile. I have got a call from IIM-Mumbai and am expecting a call from IIM-Delhi.”

On being asked whether he was worried about the change in selection criteria, he said, “I have been consistent in studies and have had a good score at every stage.”

Other top scorers from the city were Manu Bajaj (99.98 percentile), Karanvir Singh (99.97 percentile), Abhishek Bansal (99.95 percentile), Shashank Bhasin (99.85 percentile), Dheeraj Nagpal (99.8 percentile) and Anshul Kishore (98.72 percentile).

Twentyfive students from the city, including six girls, received interview calls from IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Shillong.

Sushant Jhamb, a final-year engineering student at PEC, was shocked that despite a 99.94 percentile and a sectional balance, he had not received an interview call.

Akash Gautam, consultant with a coaching centre, said, “It is foolish to expect selection on the basis of the score. One should not leave one’s job for preparing for CAT. There is a need to develop personality and communication skills. Last year, two 100-percentile scorers got calls from all IIMs, but only one made it, to IIM-Indore.”

Hirdesh Madan, regional head of another coaching centre, said, “The result is exceptional this year and we are happy. Looking at the trend, we are expecting the city tally to go to close to 60, an all-time high.”

Changed selection criteria as well as technical glitches had caused a bitter experience to students as the examination was conducted online for the first time.

When the result was declared, IIM sites were inaccessible for hours. “I received frantic calls from students who were having difficulty in accessing the result. The website crashed for four hours and the helpline was not responding,” said Gautam.



Open House Response
UT needs to prioritise garbage collection

The solid waste management in Chandigarh, where garbage accumulation exceeds 400 tons each day, is really pathetic. Sanjeev Singh Bariana has rightly pointed out that the situation shall be worse with surging population growth of the city, projected to be 19.5 lakhs by 2021.

Our Member of Parliament's vision to make the City 'bin free' by setting up of Sehaj Safai Kendras in the city seems lost in the official rigmarole. The cash surplus MCC has failed to put Sehaj Safai Kendras in place resulting in waste being collected from the residences in rehris which is chaotic and unscientific. Such collected garbage is dumped in bins and remains scattered around on the ground leaving a stench which is a nightmare to residents in the adjoining area of their residences. The accompanying pollution is an accompanying truth.

The UT project of the dumping ground and the treatment plant, spread over 10 acres, ran into rough weather, right in the initial stages. The chairman of the sanitation committee has on record said "during our inspection, we found that things were not in order at the plant. They are not following the guidelines, as there is a complete ban on the burning of garbage in the city, but workers were burning it." In this backdrop, guidelines for proper functioning of the plant need to be worked out and on a top priority.

The Municipal Corporation has miserably failed in regulating the garbage collection, dumping and processing at its current site. Its relocation at another site is not feasible as the UT does not have an easy alternative for availability of land in the small area of the Union Territory. Our only option is to ensure upgradation of the existing plant to make it work optimally to it fullest capacity.

The corporation needs to ensure a competent waste collection mechanism in place for collection of garbage in the city. Even if the job is handed out to a private agency, it is the job of the corporation to keep a regular tab and even hand out strictures against the company, incase not performing satisfactorily.

Instead of the old fashioned rehris, the corporation needs to introduce a modernized garbage collection machinery and vans with a possibility of ensuring segregation. For disposal of medical and biomedical waste, arrangement for incinerators needs to be made in hospitals. A provision for the same in smaller clinics also needs to be made mandatory.

Satish Chandra Sharma
Progressive Enclave, Sector 50, Chandigarh

Garbage is an eyesore in City Beautiful

In reference to the Open House debate on garbage disposal initiated by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, I will like to say that the Administration should first device a concrete method for the collection of garbage for immediate transfer to the dumping yard for its timely processing.

Garbage has been an eye sore in the city, ever since the city came into existence. Garbage continues to be littered in every nook and corner of the city. The Municipal Corporation has been ineffective in dealing with this issue till date.

A casual trip around the entire city reveals that dust bins, at several places, have become favourite spots for stray dogs and even stray cattle at certain places. Public continues to throw their packed garbage, like missiles, thereby littering the whole area. We first need to initiate a corrective mechanism for collection of garbage from the residential quarters and its immediate disposal at the dumping yard.

RK Kapoor

Garbage only a changed state of energy

The basic principle of science says that in nature element only changes it state and never gets destroyed. Then what is garbage? It is only changed state of energy that we have consumed in the energy cycle. This fact has been fully understood by Western countries and they are making maximum use of it for power generation from garbage. As per the information available on the net, there are more than 5000 power generation units running for so many years in Europe generating 1 to10 MW power, using biomass and municipal solid waste.

It is right time that our leaders wake up and do some constructive planning in the field of renewable energy using such technologies. Not the way one garbage processing plant in Chandigarh is being handled. There are companies available for technology transfers which the administration needs to look into.

Kulbir Singh Chadha

Educate residents on garbage segregation

Chandigarh has observed approximately 44 per cent population growth during the last decade. The problems of land shortage and SWM(Solid Waste Management), being interlinked with the population explosion, have also increased at an alarming rate. To treat Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in a scientifically sound manner is a necessity and not merely a trend of adopting a stylish technology.

Chandigarh, barely, has enough land to dump Solid Waste, as such. Therefore a waste processing facility was a need of the city for suitable disposal of Solid Waste. Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. came up with the current processing facility which could convert Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). The plant was supposed to make fuel which it has been doing religiously. Despite what certain set of people opined and alleged, both JP and MCC worked forward for solution to the problem of Solid Waste Management (SWM), hand in hand.

The need of the hour is to educate the residents for the segregation at source so as to streamline the system, as segregation of waste at source is the foremost and most essential element of SWM system. If the segregation at source is achieved, general public will help its government in streamlining the SWM, as this will not only reduce waste quantity, but also the cost involved in processing and transporting MSW.

The collection system needs upgradation, as not all the bins are lifted, everyday. Not littering around in the city will be a great help for an efficient collection of garbage. The city has a large area under green cover and yields a substantial portion of organic waste, besides waste from hotels, vegetable and grain markets, etc which are not to be subjected for plant processing. In absence of composting facility in the city this waste, perforce, has to be dumped in the dumping ground increasing the landfill load for which the plant is being unnecessarily blamed.

Recoverable and recyclables can be subjected to thermal disintegration so as to reduce the volume of the material going to the landfill as per MSW rules. The need of making Refuse Derived Fuel(RDF) originated as the volume reduction of MSW is must, owing to the high quantities. MSW incineration to derive energy from Indian solid waste is impossible owing to it high moisture and inert levels. As a result, most of the MSW incineration units till date have failed as they couldn't cope up with the economics. Under Indian circumstances we have to convert MSW into RDF and only then it can be used as fuel. Chandigarh has 67 per cent moisture in its MSW. MSW is first dried, its inert removed and only then is then it can be used as a fuel, thereby making RDF a cleaner fuel. This fuel when compacted is called a Pellet/Briquette/Bale. RDF fluff can be densified in either shapes or form to make the transportation of RDF economically viable. Densification (Pelletisation, Briquetting, Baling) does not change the combustibility of RDF. The company is presently making RDF in fluff form as it has the option to make RDF either in fluff or pellet forms contractually.

The company has not yet claimed any subsidy, and has not yet availed carbon credits. The Waste Management is still a learning process for the company. The plant should be seen as an experimental learning curve as there are barely any success stories of similar plants. This move should be appreciated. The success of the plant will encourage other corporates to go hand in hand with the administration and the civic bodies for better citizen facilities.

Ila Florance Joseph

First contain foul smell

The city needs to continue with the old system of dumping the garbage till the time an effective mechanism for garbage collection and management of the dumping site was worked out to suit the requirements of the existing garbage treatment plant.

For a fully functional plant, we to first need to streamline the entire process of garbage segregation at the source, collection by the concerned agencies and processing at the dumping yard. Different aspects of the plant working need to be worked out for a 24 x 7 plant.

The solid waste management plant, at the moment, is in search of a solution to contain the foul odour which spreads to neighbouring areas.

Dr GS Dhillon
Sector 10-D, Chandigarh


Sweepers deprived of EPF, ESI benefits
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
While changes in the sanitation system has led to heaps of garbage piling up in the town, it has left the sweepers deputed to Panchkula high and dry as every one of them has been deprived of employer’s contribution towards the Employees Service Insurance Corp (ESIC) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

Not only has every sweeper suffered a loss of over Rs 750 every month, they have also been exposed to the risk of bearing huge expenses on medical treatment from their own pockets.

In fact, prior to the implementation of new system, sanitation was being taken care by a contractor deputed by the municipal council. Under the contract the sweepers were entitled to receive wages according to norms fixed by the district administration, which amounted to Rs 4,100 per month. In addition to this the contractor was responsible to deposit 13.61 per cent and 7.75 per cent of the wages against EPF and ESIC, respectively.

In the new year when ward executive committees were set up and asked to supervise the sanitation system in their respective areas, no EPF or ESIC contribution was deposited in the name of the sweepers.

So that it did not violate the Labour Act the number of sweepers under the ward executive committee was cleverly pegged below 20. And that was the reason many of the wards were also deputed with only 18 sweepers which was at par with other wards, despite the fact they had far bigger areas to be cleaned.

Under the Labour Act any organisation with 20 or more employees has to deduct a specific amount from the wages of an employee against EPF and ESIC and contribution of the employer’s share has to deposit the total amount with the authorities concerned.

“With the new scheme the government has in fact fleeced the sweepers in the name of a rise in salaries,” said Zile Singh, president of the Panchkala Safai Karmchari Association. “A sweeper who was receiving around Rs 3,500 after deduction of EPF and ESI contribution was getting Rs 4,100 in total, but their future has been jeopardised by the council as they will left with no savings in their hands,” he added.

Panchkula municipal council executive officer KK Jain, when contracted, said, “Every\thing was done as per the rules and regulations and no sweeper has raised any objection to the new system”. However, he said he would look into the matter if there were any complaints.



Man fights for retirement benefits
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
For the past 10 years, Harbhajan Singh, a former PSEB employee, has been running from pillar to post to get his retirement benefits. Harbhajan Singh, who worked with the Punjab State Electricity Board as an auto mechanic, retired after 35 years. In 1963, he joined Beas Dam Project Talwara Township and he was promoted as an auto mechanic in 1968.

In October, 1977, he was retrenched and again appointed in November, 1978. His job was to be regularised. But as he lost his service book, the department did not fix his pay. His pensionary benefits could not be determined and his case for regularisation of job was not considered. Then in 1994, the PSEB issued a seniority list of auto mechanics and his name was at the top.

The selection committee, however, did not consider his seniority and he gave a representation in 1996. Instead of him, Bhupinder Singh, who figured second in the seniority list, was selected. Ultimately, he retired in September, 1998, after 20 years of his service in Mukerian Hydel Project.

On receiving no communication from his department, he served a legal notice on the department in September, 2000. He then filed a civil writ petition and the same was disposed of with directions to the department to consider his case in accordance with the law within a period of three months. In one of the writ petitions, the respondents were directed to regularise his service as an auto mechanic from the date his juniors were regularised and grant all consequential benefits due from the date. Since the victim had been permitted to continue his service up to 60 years of age, the department could not recover the wages paid in the past two years of service.

He lamented that by not considering his case, the department did injustice and tortured him.

Now Harbhajan Singh has approached the Punjab Legal Services Authority to fight his case. He has urged the authorities to direct the appointed advocate to take up his case before the Punjab and Haryana High Court at the earliest.



Critic should be unbiased: Atamjit
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 28
“Jis ke tufail mujh ko meri zindagi mili, Voh geet meine shayad likha nahin.” The essence of Urdu couplet by acclaimed poet Padmabhushan Sardar Anjum is a veritable summation of playwright Dr Atamjit’s contention that he is yet to sculpt a play closed to his heart and a lifetime achievement of his art.

Credited with scripting and direction of over 30 plays staged in India and abroad, besides 15 literary creations, Dr Atamjit, presently principal of National College, Mukandpur, has enriched Punjabi drama as an academician, literary critic, column writer and a playwright of rare brilliance and caliber.

Sharing his views on theatrical scene with the audience at a ru-ba-ru programme organised by the Writers Club at Uttam Complex today, Dr Atamjit, winner of the coveted Rashtriya Sahitya Akademy Award for his much acclaimed book “Tatti Tavi da Sach”, he responded to the divergent point of view of his critics.

“Though an absolute impartiality is not possible in arts, a critic has to be aesthetically unbiased and must speak from a clearly articulated standpoint,” observed Atamjit.

Agreeing that his plays are complex, beyond the reach of an average viewer and director, but the plays have certainly a multiplicity of layers weaved with didactic messages. Their themes are socially and politically relevant and productions marked with sequences curiosity to keep the audience interest alive which is the sole feature of theatre art.

Earlier noted literary critic, Dr Kuntal Megh gave an analytical review of Dr Atamjit’s pioneering works with an all together new dimension. Filmmaker Vijay Tandon lamented the dearth of good scripts.

HPSA director CR Moudgil and poet Sham Singh offered their views.



Education Dept Scam
Officials held meetings to collect funds
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
In the alleged scam involving collection of funds by the Mohali district education office (DEO) to organise a district-level function to honour government teachers, it has come to light that meetings were held by education department officials to collect the funds.

The officials concerned passed specific instructions to principals and other heads of the government schools to arrange the funds.

A few days back, the lid on the scam was blown off when certain schools objected to the “forcible” move of the higher authorities to collect the funds in a covert manner. The district education officials had reportedly collected lakhs of rupees.

Under the banner of the Sikhya Pratibha Award Committee, SAS Nagar, a body constituted by the education department officials to “squeeze” funds from the teachers, all heads of the government schools in the district were asked to arrange the funds for the event.

Education minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, had given away the awards at a ceremony held at Manav Mangal Smart School, Phase IX, here on February 23.

Sources revealed that after the exposure of the scam, more teachers were coming forward to register their protest. The officials concerned were trying to recall the receipts from the schools so that controversy could be pushed under the carpet.



Day temperature rises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The day temperature today rose above normal for the second time this season in the city and adjoining areas. It seemed that summer had almost set in. Mercury touched the 27.9 degree Celsius mark.

The meteorological office said the maximum temperature was 28.5 degree Celsius yesterday and it would touch the 29 degree Celsius mark in the next 24 hours.

“The cloud cover will help the minimum temperature to stay above the normal level,” said a meteorological department official.

The official said cloudy weather for the last two days was the main reason behind the mercury jumping from 13.8 degree Celsius on Friday to 15.4 degree Celsius today.



Dry Holi
Liquor vends witness rush
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Bacchus lovers made beelines to vends in the city today after the UT administration declared a dry Holi tomorrow announcing closing of vends from 7 am to 3 pm.

A heavy rush of buyers was witnessed today at the liquor vends throughout the day, especially in the evening, when drinkers made the beelines to the liquor shops. A buyer at a liquor shop said, “After reading the news about the closer of the shops, I decided to buy my stock today taking no chances.”

A liquor vend owner ruing the decision said vends would remain open in Mohali and Panchkula resulting in a loss of revenue to those having vends in the city. “This is one of the days during the year when the demand of liquor is high,” he asserted.

The decision came in the wake of a communication sent by UT IGP PK Srivastva to the administration seeking closure of vends from morning till afternoon to curtail incidents of hooliganism.



Health camp on HIV/AIDS
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
The Butterfly Nature Club of India (BNCI) organised a special health camp in collaboration with the Haryana State AIDS Control Society (HSACS) at the Labour Chowk here today.

Information education communication (IEC) on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and safe sex were conducted during the camp.

BNCI secretary, Dr Avnish Jolly, while addressing migrant workers on the eve of Holi advised them to play a safe Holi.

While appealing to the young migrant workers, Dr Jolly also talked about the “ABC strategy of NACO” for the management of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Regarding the ABC strategy, he stressed upon “Abstinence, Be Faithful and Condom Use”.

BNCI president Pinki H Madaan while talking about the vulnerability of transmission of HIV among the migrants shared detailed information about the routes of HIV and STD transmission from high risk population to general population.



Reporters' Diary
Rose Festival not so rosy this year

As a regular visitor to the annual rose festival at the Rose Garden, this year I was surprised to see a sizeable number flower beds were devoid of the seasonal beauty. “The general appearance looks very lethargic in the garden”, Col Raghuwinder Singh, another regular festival visitor said. “I have been coming here for the past two decades. The flowers during this part of the year had a special appeal. I also read about the garden having added new varieties to the existing wide range of the thorny beauty. However, on the ground the view is not as one would have expected”.

A gardener, requesting anonymity, said: “The winter this year was harsh and cast its impact on the flowers”.

The gardener’s claim doesn’t have any merit if one chanced to have a look at the newly created rose garden on the Panjab University campus. The flowers swaying buoyantly in the spring winds are smiling. Even the row of roses outside the gate of The Tribune office would make the Rose Garden blush this year.

Parents need to watch their kids first

Enough has been talked and written about road rage in the city but nothing concrete has been done so far about the continuing menace. Every day on the streets one sees innocent people getting their vehicles smashed and bodies injured with some even losing their lives on roads due to somebody else’s careless driving.

It is high time the authorities as well as city residents came out together to get to the root of the problem rather than just talking about it. In a majority of cases of rash driving, the guilty ones are teenagers. Sometimes parents buy expensive vehicles for their kids in order to express their affection without realising they are themselves putting their children’s lives in danger.

I was amazed when I was at the home of a leading city businessman recently, where his wife was having a heated exchange of words with the principal of the school where his son studied. “How dare you ask my son not bring his Swift to the school? I’ll take up the matter with the school management and ensure a circular is issued allowing children to drive to school in their own vehicles”.

Power of TV ads

The power of advertisements and marketing can be gauged from the fact that even the district courts could not resist using this medium to advertise for the quarterly held ‘lok adalats’. For the one coming up in the first week of March the local cable TV networks are showing tickers with details of the lok adalat, asking people to come forward and get their cases, including those of MACT, matrimony disputes, traffic ‘challans’, property disputes and others, listed for the same and get immediate disposal.

What is yet to be seen is how many people, after watching the ads, eventually come forward to get their cases settled.

Happy times for some

Perhaps this would be one day in the entire year when liquor vend owners in Mohali, bordering Chandigarh, would be a happy lot. Thanks to the UT administration’s decision to declare Holi as a ‘dry day’, the liquor vend operators expect a windfall as they expect Holi revellers to visit them in droves to remain in high spirits. Otherwise, Mohali vends always report losses due to cheaper liquor available in Chandigarh.

City on a high with ‘bhang’!

Bhang (cannabis), which is as usual greatly in demand a day before Holi, has now been in the news since the Mahashivratri festival. The trend of consuming bhang on the occasion is on the rise in the city also. Bhang is used as an integral part of the festival according to local tradition and people prepare it at home after crushing its leaves and mixing it with milk and lots of crushed dry fruits in order to reduce the effect of intoxication. Many people prepare the drink at home.

Getting high on ‘bhang’ for free in villages in the city’s periphery is as easy as taking a walk in the vacant plots and even in back lanes. Or better still, in the slum areas. Cannabis plants flourishing undisturbed in various parts of the city have made it easy for some students and many slumdwellers to not only rub enough for a few puffs, but also save some to sell.

The UT administration might be stressing on a “coordinated strategy” to tackle the increasing drug addiction, but this has done little to tackle the problem of cannabis plants that dot the city’s periphery.

Best B-school

A prominent college in Chandigarh's periphery, Gurukul Vidyapeeth, Banur, has added another feather to its cap. It has won the ‘best B-school’ award for using technology in training and education. The award, instituted by a well-known media group, was presented to the college at a glittering ceremony at the Hotel Taj Lands Ends in Mumbai recently. Gurukul Vidyapeeth was awarded for using the best technology, innovative, modern industry-based techniques and methodology in teaching budding professionals.

The award is all the more creditable as Gurukul left several top colleges, including Amity and Symbiosis, behind in the category, which saw over 350 nominations. Gurukul Vidyapeeth CEO Manmohan Kumar Garg said, “We believe in nurturing talent and striving hard in recognizing the best talent. We are committed to provide the quality education with a view to provide best manpower to the nation”.

He stated Gurukul Vidyapeeth was the country’s only B-school that was equipped with Apple-Mac Lab and has adopted Sun-Ray Micro technology for teaching students. Gurukul Vidyapeeth MD IK Kataria stated the award was “in recognition of institute's leadership role in fostering industry-interface”.

Brand ambassador for Green India

Ishita Uppal, a crusader against foeticide from Haryana, has been appointed brand ambassador of Green India to lead its campaign to ‘save the environment and save energy’ programmes. She has been invited to Mumbai by Green India to take on various environment related programmes to spread its message among the masses. She is expected to give speeches at various forums from to March 5 to 7. She also visited the President in New Delhi recently and was awarded by the Haryana government earlier.

Contributions by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Smriti Sharma Vasudeva, Rajmeet Singh, Anil Jerath and Pardeep Sharma



ISKCON celebrates appearance day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated the appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on the occasion of Guar Purnima here today.

ISKCON organised “nagar sankirtan” in Sector 36. Many people invited “prabhat pheri” party to their houses and offered “aarti” to Lord Sri Radha Madhava and Lord Chaitanya.

Thousands of devotees made a beeline to have darshan and watched “maha- abhishek”. A skit was presented by the children of Bhakta Prahlad School, a weekly school.



Narinder appointed technical official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Narinder Rana has been appointed technical official for the International Inter-City Kabaddi Championship to be held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) from March 4.

In a press release issued here today, Ved Sharma, general secretary, All-India Circle Kabaddi Federation, said, “Rana, who is presently working with the BSNL, Chandigarh, as junior sports assistant, will be officiating in the four-day tournament, in which Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Iran, Sri Lanka, besides India will take part.”



Chopra appointed chief selector

Chandigarh, February 28
Former Ranji Trophy player Varinder Chopra has been appointed chief selector for the T-10 gully cricket matches to be held at Jan Nayak Tau Devi Lal Cricket Academy, Sirsa, from March 3.

Chopra, who is presently working with Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam as sports coordinator, has been authorised to select the final 16 teams for the five-day tournament. — TNS



Views on sociological aspect of culture expressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Prof Harjinder Singh Laltu, Prof Akshaya Kumar, department of English, and Dr Kiranpreet Kaur, sociology department, shared their views with participants on the second day of the national seminar on “Philosophy, history and multiculturalism: Contesting claims” organised by the department of philosophy, Panjab University, and department of philosophy, Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur.

In the first session, Harjinder informed the participants about Howard Zinn, an American historian, author, activist, playwright, intellectual and professor of political science at Boston University, about his contribution to society.

Prof Akshaya Kumar raised the problem of writing history.

He said it was fundamental to know who wrote history and about whom. He said the time had come when history should be critically evaluated and issues of feminism, secularism must be included in the history.

Dr Kiran expressed her views on the sociological aspect of culture.

The presentation was followed by a discussion in which Amarjeet, Babbal, Veerpal, Harpriya, Navdeep Kaur, head girl of Dev Samaj College for Women, and Rupinder Kaur, president Philosophical Society, raised important questions. Philosophy department chairman, Dr HP Sah, and academic secretary Lallan Singh Baghel appreciated the efforts of Dev Samaj College for Women in organising the event.



PU rose fest from March 5

Chandigarh, February 28
Panjab University is organising its second Rose Festival on the university campus from March 5 to 7. To explore the hidden talent of youth from various schools, colleges, university and general public, the organising committee has decided to arrange competitions like singing, mono acting, laughter competition, painting, creative mehndi, mime, etc. for different age groups. There is no registration fee for participation.

Three cultural evenings will also be organised for the entertainment of public. There will be a laughter show by comedians Sudesh Lehri and Rajeev Thakur.

On the second day of the festival, a fashion show by a reputed fashion institute of the region will be organised. The last day will have Padam Shri Puran Chand Wadali Brothers performing for the public. — TNS



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