C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Illegal sand quarrying poses threat to forest area
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Illegal activity area

Nagal (Mohali), March 21
Massive illegal sand quarrying in the forest area in Chandigarh’s periphery is resulting in several seasonal rivulets changing their tracks, making agricultural land and human settlements vulnerable to erosion. Truckloads of sand for construction and earth for brick-kilns are being removed without being checked by forest officials. The ecologically fragile forest area is locked under various provisions of the Forest Act.

The activity gains importance in the context of massive urbanisation boom in Chandigarh’s periphery.

Admitting that there were cases of quarrying in the area, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Ropar, K. Kanan, said the department was seeking cooperation from the police and mining departments in controlling the activity. He informed that in the past two days, two cases of illegal sand quarrying were detected and suitable action was being taken. A majority of quarrying takes place in different places spread across 15 km north of the city beyond the PGIMER.

Economics of illegal quarrying

Inquiry revealed that after arranging quarrying machinery, an operator of this illegal trade removes sand from the rivulets and ferries it to the construction site at a rate of around Rs 1500 per trip. Due to large-scale urbanisation in Chandigarh’s periphery, the demand for sand has gone up suddenly, resulting in a number of people jumping into the business.

What the Forest Act says

As per Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, no non-forestry activity can be carried in the area locked under the Act. The Act also bars any type of tree-cutting and quarrying, be it removal of sand, earth or pebbles. The land closed under the PLPA also attracts provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1980, which also specifies the punishment for the violators. Besides, a judgment of the Supreme Court (dated December 12, 1996) completely prohibits quarrying in the forest area, be it private or government

After receiving regular complaints from villagers in the Kharar and Siswan forest ranges, a visit to the areas on Sunday revealed that right from Nayagoan-Nada area to Perch, Seonk, Jyanti Majri, Mullanpur, Kasauli, Parol, Nagal and Siswan villages, the illegal operation has gained alarming proportions. The indiscriminate quarrying has left several 10 to 15 feet deep craters in the rivulets.

Last night, some inhabitants of Nagal village had caught a JCB (an excavating machine) red handed that was quarrying sand right beneath a bridge on the Chandigarh-Siswan road at Parol. Bhag Singh and Balwant Singh of Nagal village said a complaint about the active involvement of forest officials in illegal quarrying had been sent to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Punjab, BC Bala.

Eager to make a fast buck, the operators of the illegal activity while using muscle-power were now going further deep into the forest area, eyeing even private land.

Quarrying for sand apart, the increasing demand for bricks has resulted in large-scale quarrying of earth to feed the brick-kilns in the Parol area. In several areas, privately owned hills have been badly cut to remove earth.



Govt contractor, 2 others held for stealing cement
Role of MC officials suspected

Tribune News Service

Information Hotlines

Residents can provide information about any suspected illegal activity on these telephone numbers: 274-3410 (home secretary cum chief vigilance officer Ram Niwas); 274-0735 (SP-vigilance Madhur Verma); and 274-0012 (OSD, vigilance cell Parmod Kumar).

MC View

Municipal commissioner Roshan Sunkaria said, “I heard about the theft today, the first time I’ve ever come across such an incident. I’ll be able to comment on the matter only after I go through the report tomorrow”.

Chandigarh, March 21
The involvement of municipal corporation officials and a local government contractor in stealing cement from a MC store came to light after city vigilance sleuths last night nabbed a truck with 200 cement bags that were being carried to a factory in an adjoining town in Panchkula district.

The police claimed to have arrested Chhedi Lal, a watchman at the MC store where the bags were loaded, truck driver Harvinder Singh and Jawahar Jindal, father of the government contractor, Harshwardhan Jindal.

Confirming the development, SP (city) Madhur Verma said the cops received a tipoff that Harshwardhan, who was given the contract for building the deputy commissioner’s office in Sector 17, was involved in the theft of government material in connivance of certain civic body officials, naming joint engineer Rajkumar, Munshi Thakur and Chhedi Lal.

“In the trap we laid last night we found 200 cement bags were loaded on to the truck (registration no: PB12 B9738). They were being transported to a factory making cement blocks, pavers and tiles belonging to Jawahar Jindal in Panchkula district. The vehicle, which was intercepted near Fun Republic, was seized along with the material”, said Verma.

While the three suspects were arrested in this connection, Harshwardhan is still at large. “We’re also investigating the role of the joint engineer and the ‘munshi’ in the crime”, he added.

Meanwhile, the police have raided two factories belonging to Jawahar, both located in Panchkula district, and are making further investigations.

Verma said the cops are also ascertaining whether Jawahar supplied the finished materials to government departments. “I expect we will unearth a big scam”, he stated.

Rajkimar was the project supervisor while Thakur supervised the materials there.

Meanwhile, the local court remanded the three suspects arrested for one day. A case has been registered.



Few takers for vaccines as H1N1 threat subsides
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Dr GP Thami of GMCH-32 said the vaccine would have been an “instant hit” had it arrived in December when swine flu was at its peak. “With no cases coming in people, including paramedic staff, think it’s not going to come back”.

“In India, more people die of seasonal flu, but how many doctors are vaccinated for that,’’ Dr NK Arora of GMSH-16 questioned, adding that most doctors believe they had developed immunity to the virus by now. “However there is no harm in taking this vaccine”, he observed.

A PGI spokesperson stated, “Arrangements are being made to procure the vaccine.”

Chandigarh, March 21
With swine flu threat no longer looming large in the city, there are practically no takers for the 10,800 dosages of H1N1 vaccines, Panenza, that arrived here for being administered to frontline health workers involved in combating the virus.

Though it has almost been a week since the UT health department received the supply of the vaccines, only one hospital - Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, has picked its share of 2,200 dosages so far.

The other two mainline hospitals where the vaccines are to be given for administration to frontline workers, including doctors and nurses, are PGI and Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 and they have not even bothered to collect their share from the health department.

The adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ perhaps best described the present day situation as the cold response by even health workers to collect the vaccines is in total contrast to the panic that the city witnessed when swine flu cases were pouring in. For the record the city witnessed 55 swine flu deaths and reported 351 positive cases during the last few of months of the previous year.

Though GMCH-32 has been prompt to collect its share of dosages, the response for getting a shot by the health workers has been lukewarm. Only 64 workers have so far come forward to take the shot of the intramuscular vaccine.

Doctors may not be willing to come on record but the hesitation to the take the shot may have its genesis to incidents of the 1976 trials of the vaccines when some patients developed the Guillian Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare neurological disorder, where the body’s nervous system attacks itself. Little knowledge about the side effects of the vaccine can also be one of the reasons for this hesitation.

A senior GMCH-32 doctor, GP Thami, was candid when he stated the vaccine would have been an “instant hit” had it arrived in December when swine flu was at its peak. “With no cases coming in people, including paramedic staff, think it’s not going to come back”, he said, adding every one was adopting a “wait and watch approach”.

“In India more people die of seasonal flu but how many doctors are vaccinated for that,’’ Dr NK Arora of GMSH-16 questioned, while going on to add most doctors believed they had developed immunity to the virus by now. “However there is no harm in taking this vaccine”, he observed.

A PGI spokesperson stated, “Arrangements are being made to procure the vaccine.”



Schoolgirl ‘beaten up’ by foreign students
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Bhawana (Pinjore), March 21
Some foreign students at the Alpine Residential School here reportedly thrashed one of their local counterparts last night when the latter, Kalyani, who was preparing for her plus 2 math exam, objected to the noise she said was being created by a Thai student staying on the upper floor of the girls hostel.

Talking to The Tribune, Chhattar Singh Kanwar, a professor at Kurukshetra University and Kalyani’s father, said after his daughter informed school principal Sanjeev Menon about the incident the latter took up the matter with the Thai girls and tried to pacify both sides.

“About eight Thai girls came down to Kalyani’s room in the hostel and began punching and scratching her with their nails. Hearing her shouts for help other local students rushed to defend her. However, the Thai girls, who were expert in martial arts, thwarted their attempt and injured them also,” Kanwar said.

However, Menon said the students had clashed over “some minor issue” as sometimes happened in boarding institutions.

“The Thai girls were protesting against a light switched on during late night hours, complaining it disturbed their sleep. The injured girl (Kalyani) was taken to a local hospital where she was discharged after being administered first aid. It was nothing serious and the matter, if any, would be resolved amicably after taking both sides into confidence”, Menon stated.

Unable to control his emotions, Kanwar said after the incident his daughter, who he said could not walk after being allegedly thrashed, reported the matter to the principal and fainted.

“The school administration didn’t bother to inform me and took my daughter to a private hospital where she was given first aid. I came to know about the incident only this morning after I routinely called her up. I gauged from her trembling voice she was in some sort of problem. When I arrived at the school all administration officials were busy interviewing candidates to fill posts of teachers and kept me waiting outside the office for an hour and a half. It was only then that I barged into the school head’s room and asked him to sort out the matter first,” Kanwar stated.

He said if the school administration failed to report the incident to the police he would take up the matter with the Panchkula superintendent of police tomorrow after the last paper of mathematics was over.

“The school administration management had expressed its inability in taking action against the Thai students who had come for studies on contract basis. I’m not for expelling the students but some punitive action must be taken against them”, he added.



Open House Response
UT fails to conceptualise industrial policy

Sanjeev Singh Bariana has rightly put that 'Chandigarh Administration continues to dabble in experimenting with the future of industrial Area without a clear cut policy'

First, it started with advocating the need for an industrial policy to secure upgradation of infrastructure in industrial, Area Phase I and II, including the roads and electrification. This was, however, never to happen. The urban complex plan prepared by the Town and Country Planning department of the Union government, earmarked about 150 acres of land in Mauli Jagran village.

Then came the much hyped policy of conversion in the year 2005 which made an announcement for "changing the face of the industrial area". The Chandigarh Industrial and Business Park was the new name. The new policy enabled entrepreneurs to convert their industrial land and venture into other commercial activities, including shops, offices, banks, hotels, restaurants, training institutions, multiplexes, marriage palaces and banquet halls and malls.

The administration has collected approximately Rs 500 crores as conversion money, but, failed to put proper account to this hefty collection. Resultantly, the money went into the central coffers shattering the dreams and left the development of the industrial area to a naught. The administration failed to upgrade the infrastructure and much needed lift to the industrial area. No planning could be carried out for the planning of sewerage in industrial area.

Parking space near the Centra mall was highly ill planned resulting in inconvenience to visitors and parking on roads in its vicinity. The emergence of new malls and hotels etc. needed place for parking and added power requirements which also failed to be provided till date.

In a nutshell, one can conclude that the Chandigarh Administration has failed in conceptualising an industrial policy leaving the industrialists high and dry. There is a need for a Master Plan for industry in the City.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh

MHA probe raises doubts

Under the grab of changed needs of the time, the UT administration is constantly and intentionally destroying the very basic nature of the city. The Industrial Area has been over commercialised with the connivance of unscrupulous builders and promoters by changing the land use of Industrial area to Industry and Business Park. Malls and multiplexes are emerging without caring for parking facilities, power, water, sewerage, roads traffic hazards.

The UT administration has turned to a real estate promoter ignoring the basic character of the plans of Le Corbusier and the ground realities. In the Industrial Areas, illegal shops have come up with the blessings of the UT administration officials, the areas have become virtually a slum, a nursery of anti social elements. Can it be called a reshaping of Industrial Areas or disfiguring and destroying the Industrial Areas? The UT administration was misused by the previous Administrator who acted as a super real estate promoter to benefit the promoters of real estate business by ignoring the basic rules and regulation to acquire agriculture land on cheap rates from the farmers and gave for a song to the promoters for some considerations. The land was acquired in the name of public purpose but actually gifted to the promoters for purely commercial interests.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, Environmentalist, SAS Nagar

Dilution in criteria questionable

In his hard-hitting article of the Open House on the industrial area, Sanjeev Singh Bariana has exposed the chinks in the Chandigarh Administration's ambitious plan of transforming the shape of the Industrial Area.

From the very beginning, the UT administration acted malafide by diluting its stand on the eligibility criterion vis-à-vis the size of plots. Its sole aim appeared to mint money by shutting its eyes to the problems of parking and safety norms. In fact, juxtaposing the business / trading area within the industrial area is neither conducive to the smooth growth of business nor to proper development of the industries. It is one thing to redefine the meaning of industry and make it more inclusive and totally different to throw up the industrial area for building malls, hotels etc.

UT administration must wake up to the woes of inadequate sewerage, power-supply lines and parking slots for the ever-increasing number of vehicles, and take stern action against the defaulters who have set up illegal outlets selling garments, utensils, eatables etc.

Lajpat Rai Garg, Addl.ETC (Retd.), Panchkula

Smaller plot owners discriminated against

Chandigarh Administration has ignored the smaller plot holders(less than four kanals) and self employed youth in the lopsided and discriminatory conversion policy of the Industrial Area.

There are more than 700 industrial plots smaller than two kanals and the activity here has been drastically reduced due to changed circumstances. This has occurred due to dwindling fortunes of big companies including HMT, Eicher, PTL and Pfizer, besides certain others on which the local ancilliary units in the city depended. Bigger industrial units have been allowed to become retail malls. Without permission for conversion, the change will automatically mean closure of trade and business possibilities in smaller industrial plots.

The administration has rightly taken a bold decision for a change in plot usage of the industrial area. It appears that due to pressure from owners of bigger malls who want to rent out their shops, administration seems to be helping in uprooting smaller traders sitting in smaller sheds and even on rented accommodation.

It is the need of the hour that administration should revive the land conversion policy and allow plot holders less than two kanals to avail conversion policy benefits, within the parameter of the laid down parameters of the architecture in the city.

Shonit Soni, General Secretary, Chandigarh Small Industrial Plots Welfare Association

Autonomous authority needed

Though the details revealed by Mr Sanjeev Singh Bariana are shocking, I am more dismayed than shocked. The powers-that-be are following the same imperfect course of action that the founding fathers were obliged to at the inception of the city. Then there were no studies, norms, and data available to the planners-these couldn't be there for obvious reasons-but the Administration still launches new projects sprung from whims and self-willedness.

The Industrial Area was originally designed by architects as part of Chandigarh master plan. We have no longer professionals of matching calibre, and we are 'reshaping' the Industrial Area in splendid isolation. And, in utter disdain for the discipline of planning, we are mixing up two diametrically-opposed functions: industry and commerce.

Commercial activity generates problems of high-intensity traffic and large-scale parking, among many others, as captured in the photograph appended to the article.

To save the city from a total disaster, I once again urge the Centre to establish a high-power autonomous Chandigarh Conservation, Planning and Development Authority headed by a Technocrat, with the Administration's function confined to city-management, law and order, financing, and monitoring.

Dr SS Bhatti, Former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture


Navratras Meal
Fa(s)t & injurious, warn docs
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Fasting tips

  • A slow approach to fasts
  • Check if it suits your body
  • Don’t burden, see how much you can handle
  • Avoid fried items
  • Avoid eating out and prefer home-cooked food
  • Eat a balanced diet

Chandigarh, March 21
It’s during Navratras when many restaurants offer you lip-smacking Navratra feast. The delicacies on the menu of these restaurants include kuttu atta puri, pumpkin (kaddu), paneer, aloo ki sabzi, kuttu atta pakodas, and sabudana kheer. This is the diet for those on a fast, but a quick calorie count reveals that these food items are much more fattening than a regular meal.

According to Dr Surbhi Chauhan, Panchkula-based consultant dietician, “Kuttu atta is not bad for health and a kuttu roti without ghee would be equivalent to a chapati, which has around 70 calories. However, during Navratras people end up having fried food, which includes puris (150-200 calories) instead of rotis, aloo ki sabzi, pakodas, mithai and namkeen, rich in fat. They don’t detoxify the body, instead they add to the weight.”

Dr Chauhan confirms that the fasting phase actually turns into a weight-gaining exercise. It is not only the fried food, commercialisation of the Navratra food doubles the trouble. “Home-cooked food is better, but eating out is both ironical and self-defeating. What is served outside is nothing, but junk food. The gravies are much thicker and oil is used in abundance,” she adds.

“Earlier fasts were meant to detoxify the body, but these days people end up eating more and then they don’t feel guilty, as they are observing fast,” says Veenie Madhok, a gym instructor. Talking about the ritual of a typical Indian fast she says: “People who observe fast either eat too much or end up eating nothing. Both are bad for the health. Instead, one should make it a point to eat a balanced diet once a day if they want to benefit from fasting.”

Comparing a fast and a normal-day diet, she says: “A typical Indian meal with a green vegetable, two rotis (without ghee), curd and salad comes to around 1700-1800 calories. On the contrary, three kuttu puris, aloo sabzi, in-between munching and sweets add up to 2,500 calories, so you can see for yourself what a fast can do to you.”

Dr Chauhan informs that the food we eat during Navratras is not at all healthy. The diet is completely devoid of fibre and vitamins and full of carbohydrates and fats. This is not only bad for health, but is fattening as well, she adds.

“The most important thing to do when you first decide to fast is to take it slow. Think of fasting as something that is going to be a part of your life. Approach it slowly; see how it suits your body and how much of it you can handle,” she advises.



City wakes up to night tourism
Capitol Complex to be opened to tourists

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service


  • Illumination of Capitol Complex buildings planned
  • Conducted night tours for high-security zone
  • Union Tourism Ministry okays Rs 5-cr project
  • Administration to explore private partnership

Chandigarh, March 21
Dubbed as the stopover tourism destination, Chandigarh is finally waking up to the night tourism. In a bid to spice up night life, the Chandigarh administration has decided to open Le Corbusier's architectural wonders in the high-security Capitol Complex area for tourists during night.

At a recent meeting in New Delhi, the Union Ministry of Tourism, approval a special grant of Rs 5 crore for night tourism at the Capitol Complex. The decision followed a presentation on the illumination of important landmarks in the Capitol Complex, including the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Open Hand, the Tower of Shadows, the Punjab and Haryana Legislative Assemblies and Geometrical Hill.

In the backdrop of the high-security zone, the administration has proposed “subdued lighting” of important buildings under the guided tours. The guided tours, modalities for which are being worked out, would culminate in dinner at the CITCO-run hotels.

“The decision, when implemented, would go a long way in the showcasing Chandigarh's rich architectural legacy to the tourists, particularly the foreign tourists. Besides, it would make the city a tourist destination of the North India creating more employment opportunities and giving a boost to the economy,” UT Home-cum-Tourism Secretary Ram Niwas told The Tribune today.

The presentation prepared by Dr Pradeep Bhagat, principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, termed Chandigarh as a bold experiment in modern civic design. Le Corbusier had a rare opportunity to design Capitol Complex, one of most powerful and attractive complexes in the world.

On the illumination of the Capitol Complex, it said while the greatness, scale and awe created by the edifices were evident during the day, Le Corbusier's “play of light and shadow” on the facades notwithstanding, the same cannot be said of the complex after sunset.

“Moreover, the panorama and the visual link between the Capitol Complex and the rest of the city generated by the towering side elevation of the Secretariat during the day are completely lost after dark. Many visitors to the city have observed that the “hierarchy of landmark buildings”, which can give a sense of orientation during the day, is missing in Chandigarh. This is where architectural lighting design and illumination of the Capitol Complex will help generate that visual link and provide a sense of orientation,” the presentation added.



Reporters' Diary
They don’t seem bothered at all

Despite recent directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court that cars will not carry names or designations of high-ups, a number of cars can be seen at different places all over the city displaying the designations candidly. The vehicle in picture is just among nearly a dozen captured by a Tribune lensman at different places all over the city.

Shades of nature

City roads are flooded with the fallen leaves. Besides the picturesque lawns of various gardens dotted with the seasonal flowers, travellers are also revelling at the sight of flowers on trees along the roadsides. Fateh Singh Sandhu, a Class IV student, rightly says: “Painters, designers and even engineers might be adding new colours to the existing kitty for display through paintings. However, we have not been able to replicate the exact shades of colours of the nature. Look carefully for shades of green and yellow in the nature and you will know the difference.”

Publicity for doing nothing

I came across the most hilarious request for news coverage by certain Panjab University students last week. It is well known that student unions on the campus have entered a race to grab media limelight. Amusingly, a volunteer of a prominent students union called up to inform that they had taken a trip of eight buses to Vaishno Devi and have brought all the students back safely. “Can the news be covered madam?” he asked. The manner in which he asked compelled me to burst into laughter, but somehow controlling myself, I just chuckled and enquired, “What is so unique about it?” On this, he said that when the rival party had taken an outstation trip in this session, they had left certain students back.

Roadside clinics thrive

Just look around the roadsides on the periphery of the city like Baltana, the Chandigarh-Zirakpur road and the Zirakpur-Kalka road and you will find ‘dawakhanas’ (clinics) in tents displaying pictures of well-known wrestlers of the world along with some herbs.

The banners hanging on these tents claim to treat all ailments including sex-related problems and for the illiterate, these clinics have a sound system for oral communication.

The main targets of the quacks are those who are short on confidence. The quacks sell these herbs in packets for a course of two to three weeks against which they charge hefty amounts.

The government has strict rules and regulations for medical practice by well-qualified doctors, but quacks are running their business without any checks. Residents of Zirakpur said that the Punjab government should start a campaign against such roadside practitioners so that alleged illegal activities can be checked.

Doc’s penchant for music

Eminent cardiologist Dr HK Bali's surgical skills are well-known. However, what is little known is his penchant for music and other performing arts. However, on March 21, Dr Bali demonstrated the other side of personality when he spoke on finer nuances of music-that he rightly considers a great stress buster.

Called upon to be the chief guest at a singing and dancing talent hunt by the Gurukul Vidyapeet and S-4 Trust at Government College for Men, Sector 11, Dr Bali provided enough food for thought for providing the talent right opportunities at the right time.

Obviously, apprehensions of the organisers, who may have reservations in inviting a "dil ka doctor" to the function, vanished into thin air as the doctor displayed his artistic side.

We need more professionals and art connoisseurs like Dr Bali to give a push to the performing arts in a city which have no illustrious "gharanas" to fall back upon to carry forward India's rich cultural legacy.

Contributed by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Neha Miglani, Anil Jerath and Pradeep Sharma



CITU to launch ‘jail bharo’ agitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has threatened to launch nationwide ‘jail bharo’ agitation from April 8 at its 13th all-India conference at Sector 25 today. On the concluding day of the conference, union leaders said other trade unions would also be approached to join the protest. “The agitation will witness the arrest of over 25 lakh activists,” said Raghunath Singh, general secretary, CITU (Punjab).

Addressing the gathering, general secretary of the union Tapan Sen took the government to task over inflation, exploitation of labour and privatisation of government agencies. “The government has failed on all fronts as it has no control over the rising prices of grocery, fruits and other items of daily use. Time has come to launch a nationwide agitation as it has become tough for the poor to survive”, he said. He also alleged that in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress has joined hands with Maoists to crush trade unions.

The other speakers, who addressed the gathering here included AK Padmanabhan, K Hemlata and Mohammad Amin.



Need to save forest resources stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil has called for a crusade against degradation of environmental heritage and loss of forest cover adding that conservation of flora and fauna and preservation of forest resources is essential for maintaining the ecological balance and livelihood security.

Patil today planted a Buddha coconut tree to mark the World Forestry Day celebrations at Nepli Forests in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary near here.

Speaking after launching a “green action plan” for the year 2010-11, Patil said on this day we were reminded of the duty to maintain the ecological balance and environmental stability and the need to save forest resources.

Pradip Mehra, Adviser to Administrator, said in the recent past, the green cover of Chandigarh had increased tremendously and the Chandigarh Administration was committed to increase it further by undertaking short and long-term measures.

Sanjay Kumar, secretary forests, said a target had been fixed to plant 1.9 lakh saplings in Chandigarh during the year 2010-2011.

Ishwar Singh, director forest, assured that suggestions and guidelines given to them would be implemented effectively.



Patil for latest lab techniques for industries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator Shivraj Patil has said latest techniques developed by national and state laboratories should be transferred to industries so that those can manufacture and supply equipment to various fields of development.

He was addressing the National Conference on Computational Instrumentation here.

He said many instruments developed by the Central Scientific Instrumentation Organisation (CSIO) would be helpful in predicting weather, fertility of agricultural land and availability of minerals and other ground resources.

Giving an overview of the conference, Pawan Kapur, CSIO director, said the organisation had added many new laboratories.

He said suggestions given by Patil would be shared and discussed at length in the coming sessions of the ongoing conference.



No respite in sight
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
There seems to be no respite from the increasing prices of pulses and vegetables in the consumer market. After a decent decline, witnessed during the recent past, the price graph has once again gone up.

A “marginal increase of 5 per cent” has been recorded during the past one week. Anil Kumar, a wholesaler in the Grain Market, Sector 26, said, “Reports on the produce of arhar and moong are not encouraging at all. Prices are expected to rise in the near future. The effect will seemingly to pass on from traders to consumers.”

He said, “With the onset of summer, pulses may cost more. There may be a shortage of vegetables too.”

In the recent past, when the prices were comparatively low, rajmah which was selling at Rs 60 a kilogram went down to Rs 45, varying slightly for different varieties. Chana, the most-sought-after pulse in this part of the country, went as low as Rs 34 against a price of Rs 40 in the beginning of the New Year.

Arhar, after touching the mark of Rs 100, was available at the price of Rs 70 per kg.

Ram Naresh, who has a shop in Sector 37, said, “We have started feeling the heat, as prices of some of the pulses have already increased in the wholesale market.

Traders will, of course, charge higher rates. The reverse trend has registered an increase in the price of arhar from Rs 5,500 per quintal in wholesale market to Rs 6,100. Moong washed, sold at the price of Rs 7,700, has also registered an increase of Rs 700.



10 to undergo cataract surgery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 21
Ten persons have been identified for cataract surgery during the super specialty free check-up camp organised today at Government Primary School, Sector 4.

Dr MM Krishan (cardiac), Dr Pardeep Aggarwal (ortho), Dr Manjit Trehan (gastro), Dr Rajiv Kaura (skin), Dr SPS Grewal (eyes), Dr Rohit Sahni (dental) and Dr Renu Chaudhary (gynae) were among those who examined about 500 persons during the camp.

According to RWA president KD Prabhakar, these patients would be charged Rs 1,000 for the surgery to be performed at Grewal Eye Institute, Chandigarh.



Talent blossoms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The second phase of the senior category auditions for “Voice of Chandigarh” and “Dancer of Chandigarh” for budding talent was organised jointly by The Gurukul Vidyapeeth and S-4 Trust at Government College for Men, Sector 11, here today.

The judges for the event were Rinku Kalia, winner of “SA RE GA MA”, music director Varinder Bachan, Haryanavi artist Usha and Kathak dancer Swapnil Karmahe.

This was the 2nd phase of the auditions for the age group between18 to 25 for those participants who could not take up the auditions held on March 12 and 14.

It was a preliminary round to shortlist the potential voices and dancing stars in and around the city under The Gurukul Vidyapeeth talent hunt programme.

More than 200 participants from various schools and colleges participated.

The mega finale would be held on September 28.



Skit on political scenario
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Spectacular performances, pulsating music and mesmerising ambience marked “Reflexions-2010”, an annual function of Aanchal International School, Sector 41 D, organised at the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18.

Syndicate Bank general manager TRV Nair was the chief guest on the occasion.

The show had a wide variety of sequences, including tiny tots dancing on English and Hindi dance numbers and dance sequences promoting national integration. The students also presented a skit on the current political scenario and urged audience to realise the importance of their votes.

Chairperson, Dr Deshbandhu, announced that the education department had granted necessary permission to apply for the CBSE affiliation.



Art lovers bid adieu to ‘Swaang Fest’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 21
The week-long folk theatre fest “Swaang Festival” concluded at the open air theatre, Kalagram, today. As many as 1,000 art lovers thronged the venue.

The event was organised by the NZCC, Patiala, and department of information, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs.

A rare treat of pastoral musical bonanza was relished by all.

A performance by male artistes attired as women captivated audience.



Sewage plant to be complete by May 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The sewage treatment plant for Lakhnour village and other parts of Mohali is likely to be completed by May 31.

Greater Mohali Area Development Authority Superintending Engineer HS Sodhi filed an affidavit to this effect in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The affidavit was filed during the hearing of a petition filed by Mohali resident Sampuran Singh.

In his affidavit, Sodhi said construction had been completed and the plant was ready for operation. The outfall sewer in the area had also been completed.



PU Administration
Lack of uniform promotion policy irks employees
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Promotion Schedule

  • Clerk to Junior Assistant: 10-15 years
  • Junior Assistant to Senior Assistant: 4-5 years
  • Senior Assistant to Assistant Superintendent: 4-5 years
  • Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent: 3-4 years

Chandigarh, March 21
The lack of a uniform system of promotion, which directly affects more than 3,000 employees in the PU’s administrative machinery, has led to widespread frustration. Several non-teaching employees from various administrative departments, interviewed by The Tribune team, expressed a dire need to resurrect the system of promoting employees.

For years, employees remain at the same positions, irrespective of their contribution, with some even retiring at the same rank at which they joined.

“One joins as a clerk or assistant registrar. It takes several years to be promoted from one post to another. It hardly matters whether you work hard or do nothing at all,” said an employee pleading anonymity.

“Like other organisations, the PU should adopt the procedure of conducting regular tests for the employees based on rules and regulations of the varsity. On clearing this exam, the employee can jump to a higher level,” added another young employee.

Pointing out some glaring examples, the employees said a majority of the administrative staff is averse to computerisation because of the generation gap between the employees at higher and lower levels.

“Promotion schemes are in place. Though no tests are conducted to jump ranks, C class employees can become clerks through a test,” informed PU Registrar Prof SS Bari.

However, the president of the non-teachers union (C-class) claimed that there was no such fixed promotion policy for employees.

“A stagnation point has come now in administrative machinery. People go to court and hinder the process of creating posts. If posts are created, the promotional system will become fast. While there is a CAS scheme for teachers, no such scheme is here for non-teachers. After some time they become the victim of frustration, which affects the quality of work and job satisfaction.”



Seminar on clinical dentistry
Presentations to facilitate supplementary knowledge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Presentations by experts in the field of dentistry to facilitate supplementary knowledge for students on their subjects marked the first national seminar on clinical dentistry, which was organised by Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital at Panjab University here today.

Besides guest lectures, 40 dental students from the region and 18 students of the host college also gave presentations. The presentations were designed in a manner so that it helped them to revise their topics for the upcoming examinations in May 2010, informed a member of the organising team.

PU Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti, who was the chief guest inaugurated the seminar and delivered the keynote address on the “Role of genetics in oral cancer.”

Prof AK Utreja, department of orthodontics, and head, Oral Health Sciences Centre, at the PGI was the guest of honour.

A vibrant cultural programme presented by the students followed the scientific sessions.



Bansal allocates Rs 2 cr for schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today allocated one-year MPLAD fund of Rs 2 crore for the construction of additional rooms in government schools, particularly in rehabilitation colonies and villages.

“Though adequate allocations has been made by the Government of India in this year's budget for Chandigarh, yet I feel that more needs to be done to accommodate students seeking admission," a press note issued by the Bansal's media coordinator said.

In the past several years, Bansal has already allocated MPLAD funds for sports facilities like construction of basketball, badminton and volleyball grounds and computer education to different government schools of the city.



PU Notes
300 delegates for Bani-Chintan seminar

The department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies at Panjab University will organise an International seminar on “New Perspectives of Bani-Chintan in Globalised Era” on March 25 at the English Auditorium of the university.

More than three hundred delegates would attend the seminar said Dr Jaspal Kaur Kaang, chairperson, Guru Nanak Sikh Studies, PU.

Prof SS Noor, vice-president of Sahit Academy, Delhi, would deliver the keynote, Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, would inaugurate the seminar.

Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia Vice-Chancellor, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Vishv University would preside over, Prof John, Pickering University of Warwick, UK, and Veena Verma from UK would be present.

Researchers awarded

Dr Maninder Karan, associate professor, and three research scholars of University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University, Vandita Kakkar, Rishi Kapil and Pramod Kumar got the “Budding Scientist” award at the recently held 35th Annual Conference of Environmental Mutagens Society of India (EMSI).

According to sources, Vandita and Pramod are pursuing their research under the supervision of Dr Indu Pal Kaur, Rishi Kapil is pursuing his research under Prof Bhupinder Singh Bhoop and Dr Sanju Dhawan.

Best paper award

Abhinav Bhardwaj, Piush Kansal and Prerna Goyal all final year students of UICET (Chemical Engineering and Technology) of Panjab University got “Best Paper award” in chemical engineering in the recently concluded “TRYST- conference on emerging areas in engineering”, an annual technical festival held at IIT Delhi from March 12-14.

They presented a paper on “Advanced Materials”. These students were working under the supervision of Gaurav Verma, assistant professor at UICET, Panjab University. — TNS



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