C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Filling of UGC NET forms
Students face harrowing time
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The online system introduced by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to apply for the National Eligibility Test (NET) is proving to be a nightmare for students. Compared to 12,700 applications that were received over the counter in December 2009, as few as 2,500 applications had been received as of today. In fact, until April 16, only 600 applications had been received from April 5, which was the date when the online application process had begun.

In contrast to accepting only manual submission of forms last year, this year, applications have to submitted both online (deadline April 26) and over the counter (deadline April 30).

With just three days left for the deadline for online submission of applications set to expire, clueless students were observed to be repetitively enquiring about the procedure from exam coordinators seated in Panjab University’s (PU) Punjabi Department today.

“It is so puzzling that I had no clue what to submit where despite instructions posted on the website. The entire process took me two days,” said Nidhi, a student. The situation has created such chaos that owners of cyber cafés located in the university market are charging as much as Rs 100 for helping candidates fill in the form!

Not only are students baffled by the complex process of applying for the test, even the centre coordinators are finding themselves in a tight spot due to certain faulty information given on the website.

For instance, students applying at Panjab University have been asked to post their forms to the Registrar of PU even though the coordinating authority for the exam is the chairperson of the Punjabi Department.

“Hundreds of forms are received each day by the Registrar. These postal mails have to be separated and then sent to our centre, which involves considerable time and effort,” said Punjabi department chairperson, Prof Nahar Singh.

Recognising this as a major problem, the coordinator of the UGC-NET at the university established a helpline (941 721 3390) yesterday for the benefit of applicants which would be operational from 8 am to 7 pm. But whether this turns out to be a case of too little, too late will be known three days from now on April 26, which is the last date for submitting online applications.

First-hand account

Following complaints from a number of students, this reporter applied online to obtain a first-hand experience of the difficulties that applicants are facing. It took nearly six hours to completely fill in the form. First, a copy of the challan was downloaded from the website. Then the required fee deposited to the State Bank of India counter at Panjab University. Subsequently, a passport size photograph was scanned and saved on the computer. The journal number and the branch code of the bank were then filled on the online form and the photograph attached. Eventually, a UGC-provided admission card, an attendance slip and a form was printed out, which then had to be submitted at the coordinator’s office located in the Punjabi Department. Then again, three passport size photos had to be first attested and then pasted on these three documents. Finally, two envelopes (with postal stamps) had to be submitted with the documents. Phew!



Luxury scores over necessity
Punjab forest dept spends whopping Rs 53 crore on a single building
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 23
What can the Punjab government do with Rs 53 crore? Here are some options: Construct 4,500 dwelling units for the economically weaker section; undertake afforestation in 10,000 hectares of forest area, enough to sustain 50,000 families; or provide 16 hours of drinking water supply daily for about 4.5 lakh population for a period of five years.

For the Punjab Forest Department, Rs 53 crore can improve the dilapidated condition of all the buildings of the department in the state or strengthen the infrastructure of the enforcement wing of the department.

Instead, the forest department spent the amount in constructing a solitary state-of-the-art forest complex building over two acres in Sector 68 in Mohali. The building is scheduled to be inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday.

On October 7, 2008, when the Punjab Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of the five oval-shaped tower complex, its cost was pegged at Rs 38 crore. But 18 months later, the cost stands revised to Rs 53 crore. Sources reveal that inclusion of 900 non-schedule items has pushed up the cost.

HS Gujral, additional PCCF (development)-cum-chairman of the construction committee, said the budget had to be revised after a decision to raise five towers instead of three. “With the change in design, the cost of construction and the cost of various equipment rose. Against the approved administrative cost of Rs 53 crore, we are roughly touching Rs 43 crore and we are hopeful that the end cost would less than the total administrative cost,” he said.

Regarding the design, he said a panel of experts had approved it and the forest department had no role in it. “We are rather trying to work out a sustainable model so that the construction costs could be met,” said Gujral.

Earlier, Punjab Financial Commissioner (Forest and Wildlife Preservation) RC Nayyar refused to even comment on the forest complex issue. “Do not disturb me. Every person has his own duty. Talk to the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest HS Gujral,” he said.

To raise money for the building, the Punjab State Forest Development Corporation (PSFDC) got its memorandum of article amended from the Registrar of Companies to raise a loan of Rs 20 crore from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). Otherwise, the objectives defined by the PSFDC do not allow raising of loan for such an activity. Another Rs 3 crore was also given by the PSFDC. The remaining amount of Rs 30 crore came from the state government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

PSFDC managing director Kuldeep Singh said the loan had been taken following the laid down procedure. Explaining the reason for cost escalation, he said initially three towers were to be constructed, but the Punjab Engineering College that had been appointed as the quantity control agency advised raising two more towers for structural safety.



UT plans to revive ‘lifeless’ Sukhna
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The lake is officially lifeless if not altogether “dead”. And this comes from none other than UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, who also heads the engineering department. Though he was reluctant to be direct in using the word “dead”, Kumar said, “We are virtually creating a new lake”. The key word here is new.

The UT Administration’s plan is simple. It intends to remove up to 80 lakh cubic feet of silt that over the years has accumulated in a staggering 70 acres of the lake located at the regulator end. But morning walkers will have to wait at least three to five years to see this being realised. While this is the official deadline, it is likely that de-silting may actually take longer.

While the UT administration is trying to make last-ditch efforts to revive what was once a water body, the truth has for long been staring everyone in the face: Going by the present state of affairs, Sukhna’s days are numbered.

“Though the flow of silt from the catchment area has been reduced to 5 tonnes per hectare from an earlier 140 tonnes per hectare, till date more than 8 lakh cubic feet of silt has been removed,” the UT Administration stated in a press release issued here today. Earlier, the UT Aministration organised a visit for the media to the regulatory end where de-silting and the beautification work is on in full swing.

However, it is the problem of weeds and unwanted wild growth which has taken over the problem of accumulation of silt. Officials in the engineering department admit that the lake has three different kinds of weeds that have gradually spread over the entire lake during the past few years. “In fact, one of these three types of weed has completely foxed the forest and the horticulture department which has no prior knowledge it it,” said an engineering department official. The administration has sent the sample to Canada as the shape and size of this weed has matched a similar weed found there. UT officials say they are expecting the report soon. Samples have also been sent to Panjab University’s botany department and also to PAU in Ludhiana.

As a temporary measure, the administration has put 5,000 fish of a specific variety that is known to eat this mysterious weed near the measuring gauge. The fish are believed to have been bought from fish farms. “We first experimented with lesser number of fish so as to see if this species gels well with the existing aquatic life in the lake” added Sanjay Kumar.

“We even consulted those experts who revived Hairke lake in Amritsar district and the one in Hyderabad to advise us on reviving the Sukhna lake,” said Kumar.



I-T sleuths visit Kings XI’s office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Income tax officials today conducted a raid at Kings XI Punjab’s office in Sector 68, Mohali, and seized documents pertaining to the investments made by the franchise. It was their second visit to the Kings XI Punjab’s office.

The I-T officials reached the office of Kings XI team at 6 pm. A team comprising four officials spent nearly two hours scrutinising various documents pertaining to the investments made by the franchise.

Col Arvinder Singh, CEO, cricket operations, Kings XI, confirmed the I-T sleuths’ visit to the office. Though officials were tightlipped about the progress in investigation, they said certain the I-T officials had taken certain documents into possession for scrutiny.

A senior official said, “We can’t say anything right now. It’s a tedious process and is likely to take some time.”



Hoax call leads to arrest of purse snatcher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The alertness of the police after it received a hoax call about a robbery at gunpoint led to the arrest of a snatcher in Sector 51 here this evening. The suspect was identified later as Sahil, 26, a resident of Phase VII, Mohali.

According to Sector 34 police station SHO inspector Udeypal Singh, Sahil was under the influence of some intoxicant when he was apprehended. He claimed the suspect was nabbed within 25 minutes after the snatching was reported to the police.

The cops said Sahil had concealed the registration number of his scooter (PB65 C1225) with an adhesive tape and was driving it at breakneck speed before he was caught. He reportedly told them he had come to India last year after having completed a BBA course in Canada and was unemployed. UT SSP S.S. Srivastva instructed his reader to make a hoax call reporting a robbery at gunpoint at 5 pm to check the response time of various wings of the police.

Just a little while after the exercise was completed, another call from Tarandeep Kaur, a Sector 61 resident, reporting her purse being snatched was received by the police control room at 5:40 pm. She told the police a man riding a Kinetic Honda scooter forcibly took way her purse containing Rs 1,500 and some documents, minutes after she alighted from her college bus in Sector 51.

Inspector Udeypal said he flashed a message to his area staff who was already alerted by the earlier call about a “robbery”, along with a description of the suspect. Teams of area police and the PCR spotted the suspect near a small rotary on the street dividing Sectors 49 and 50. Seeing the cops he took a sharp u-turn and drove toward the Sectors 45, 46, 49 and 50 intersection. From there he moved toward the next rotary, but turned to the jail road in Colony No 5. It was there that the suspect’s scooter got stuck in slush and he fell down. Two policemen posted at the Sector 49 police post were injured in the process of the apprehending the suspect.

Sources close to the police control room said. Srivastva had asked his reader to flash information that a couple was robbed at gunpoint near the CTU depot turn in Sector 25 at 5 pm. The message said the robbers, riding a motorcycle, snatched away Rs 8,000 and a gold chain.

Inspector Balbir Singh, posted in the PCR, said within minutes after the information about the ‘robbery’ was flashed, a PCR Gypsy vehicle arrived at the scene. The Gypsy was followed by a crime branch inspector who arrived there by 5:05 pm.

Within the next ten minutes, the SHOs of the Sectors 39 and 11 police stations, an emergency officer from the former station, in charge of the Maloya and Sector 24 police post, as well as the PCR inspector arrived there. Their response times were recorded and a report had been forwarded to the SSP.



Class XI Admissions
Schools, students in a fix
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The prevailing uncertainty regarding the CBSE class XI admissions, coupled with the persistent indifference of the UT education department, is bound to leave the city government school students the worst hit.

Owing to the apparent failure of the CBSE to spell out a fixed policy for the admissions in view of the recently introduced grading system of evaluation in class X, private schools have decided to play it safe by opting for the regular percentage game.

However, the UT education department, which had introduced centralised counselling for class XI admissions that has now been rendered irrelevant because of grading system, is too busy to spare a thought for these admissions which are just a month away.

When asked about the admission plans, UT DPI (Schools) Sunil Bhatia had this shocking reply to offer. “I have been quite busy. Even today I had no time to apply my mind to it. I have many things on my platter right now,” he said in a tone that reflected utter disregard to the sentiments of hundreds of students and their parents.

Some senior UT education department officials said that such a callous and indifferent attitude was bound to create a ruckus at the time of admissions with transparency likely to become a casualty.

“Do they even know what awaits them? Private schools have to just deal with 50-odd seats in different streams, while in government schools the number runs into several hundreds. We had introduced centralised counselling last year to make the entire process merit-based and transparent. But with the grading system, this now becomes inapplicable. If we do not devise an alternative, we will have hundreds of students with the same grades fighting over seats. Lack of any fixed criteria will make the selections dubious,” said a senior official.



Pvt schools stick to percentage system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Still struggling with the apprehension of hundreds of students getting the same grades, the private schools affiliated to the CBSE have decided to rely on the good old criteria of percentage to allot streams in class XI.

Perturbed by the board’s silence over the future course of action on its class XI admissions, the schools have decided to stick to the usual system and many have even progressed with the provisional admissions.

“If you ask us, it is a sorry state of affairs. We are still waiting for the CBSE to guide us. But if nothing is put forth, then we will stick to the percentage system. We have not even done any provisional admission because they asked us to wait for the instructions,” said Madhu Bahl, principal, KB DAV, Sector 7, and the master counsellor of the CBSE.

There are many others, including, Vivek High School, Sector 38, which claim to have opted for the number system voluntarily as it is more practical. As Vivek High School director HS Mamik says: “The CBSE should have introduced new evaluation systems only after framing concrete guidelines and policies. They have introduced a nine-point grading system and are now silent on how to deal with them in admissions. With this attitude, the schools are free to judge what is best for them and act accordingly. So, we will stick to the percentage system. We have even done provisional admissions so that students do not suffer.”

Agreeing to this point, Steeping Stones principal RD Singh said that sticking to the tried and tested system is the best for students rather that doing experiments and wasting their time.

Singh said that what happened with the class IX exams surely serves as an example to schools. Schools should wait for guidelines, but still be prepared to conduct admissions on the usual pattern.

Rupinder Singh, principal of St Joseph School, said he foresees the situation getting more grave from next year onwards when there will be no CBSE percentage to rely on.

“This year, we will manage by making admissions on the basis of CBSE scores. But what about next year? We have already started with the new session for class X but have no yardstick to evaluate them for their promotion to class XI,” he said.


Interestingly, while schools are all for admitting students on the basis of percentage, the scorecards of the class X CBSE exams will not have any mention of either marks or percentage scored by students. Though the CBSE has made a provision for supplying percentages on a request basis, it seems to have forgotten to specify the procedure. So, how will students obtain percentage has become a million dollar question.



Residents block NH-73 against ‘police excesses’
Tribune News Service

Villagers block the highway near Kot village in Panchkula on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Ramgarh (Panchkula), April 23
Protesting against alleged police excesses, hundreds of residents of Rattewali village blocked the Panchkula-Barwala National Highway No. 73 near here today. It was yesterday that Gurmail, a village resident, had succumbed to injuries at the PGI. Gurmail was admitted to the hospital after he was beaten up by the liquor contractor with sharp-edged weapon. Following which, his brother Balkrishan was thrashed allegedly by an ASI and four other cops present at the Raipur Rani Police Station on the intervening night of April 19 and 20.

Gurmail was found in the unconscious state by a truck driver near the village.

The PGI authorities released victim’s body after conducting the post-mortem this afternoon.

Leaders of various political parties, including MLA DK Bansal (Congress), Shashi Sharma, Haryana Janhit Congress and Vijay Bansal (BSP) reached the site and tried to pacify the protestors.

SDM City Mahavir Kaushik accompanied the DSP, Varinder Singh and other senior officers of the district administration and the police department reached the spot and tried to pacify the agitators. Dharna was lifted only after the DSP announced that four accused, including Vijender, Surinder Kumar, Ajay Sharma and Satvir Sing had already been arrested, while liquor contractor Vijay Bhardwaj was being brought to the city after the police arrested him at Bhiwani this morning. ASI Jasvir Singh has already been suspended, while the role of two other cops was being investigated, he added.

He also assured that action would be taken against the police officials within three days.

Bal Krishan alleged that Vijay hit his brother with the jeep while returning home on his motorcycle from his tea shop. He said they hit him with sharp-edged weapons and forced him to accept that he was selling illegal whisky in the area. He alleged that he was later taken to the Raipur Rani Police Station where instead of hearing his pleas the police beat him up.



‘Ek Onkar — a real force’
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
“Ek Onkar…” or the ‘oneness in the creation’, chanted as a devotional melody, is now being scientifically studied as the “grand unification” of all forces in nature. Eminent physicist Prof Goran Senjanovic and Panjab University’s Prof CS Aulakh are working to demystify this ‘unexplained union’ of all forces.

The PU’s physics department is among the four coveted research centres in the country where scientists are currently studying this grand unification.

The electro-magnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, are all aspects of only one force in nature, simplifies Prof Senjanovic in an interview to The Tribune.

A faculty at the prestigious International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Italy, Prof Senjanovic has more than 100 well-cited research papers to his credit according to Spires database of particle physics literature at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre.

“There are speculations in the physics fraternity that all the forces and particles in the universe are one. We hope to prove that all forces are one and all particles are one. ” said Aulakh. Senjanovic also contributed in developing “see-saw mechanism” in particle physics and discovering the properties of “neutrino”, a sub-nuclear particle that is the hardest to detect.

“Since everything in the micro world should have left right symmetry, the heavy (right) partner of the ultra light (left) neutrino is being searched for at the famous Large Hedron Collider at Geneva,” said Senjanovic, who was in town to deliver a series of 10 lectures at the recently concluded “school of theoretical physics” at PU.



Protest against opening of liquor vend
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Residents of Hallomajra village today staged a protest against the UT administration for opening a liquor vend in their locality close to a school and religious places. Lambasting the authorities, the protesters asserted that the administration had, instead of providing safe drinking water to them despite several protests, opened liquor vend in the area, much to their chagrin.

The vend, selling countrymade liquor, has been allowed to open in the main market. It is located within 100 yards of educational institutions and religious places in violation of norms. Former sarpanch of the village Sukhjit Singh told TNS that the a delegation of villagers had gone to meet the deputy commissioner on Wednesday. As he was not on available, they handed over their memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner regarding the issue.

Sukhjit Singh said they already had a vend in their village and there was no need of opening another. If the authorities were insisting on opening another vend, they should open it somewhere else away from the village. The villagers had not allowed the contractor to open the vend on Wednesday and threatened that they would not allow it to operate from the village. DSP (South) Jaswnat Singh Khaira reached there and placated the protesters by convening their meeting with the contractor. The villagers agreed to shift the vend to the main road away from its present location, saying if their demand was not met they would intensify their stir.



Residents without power for 12 hrs
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, April 23
Nearly 12-hour power cut threw life out of gear in Zirakpur, Baltana and other adjoining areas here today. Residents alleged that the power situation in the area turned from bad to worse in the past few days. There was no electricity in the area for nearly nine hours yesterday.

On Wednesday there was a power cut for more than seven hours. Since inverters could not be charged due to power cuts in the day earlier, even they were of a little help.

Residents rued that electricity complaint centre in their areas, which runs sans a telephone, wore a deserted look especially during nights, as nobody was present to listen to the complaints. The residents blame official apathy for the tottering power situation in the area.

Hemant Arora, a resident of Baltana said the scheduled power cut was at 11 am, but power could not restore till late in the evening. “There is no life without electricity,” he added.

Subhash Dhall, a resident of Zirakpur, claimed from the past three days there was power break down for at least 20 times in a day.

The power supply has even affected the water supply. As most of the houses get water from tubewells that run on electric motors, the residents were forced to call private water tankers to meet their needs.

However, the PSEB board officials claimed that there a major fault occurred at Pabhat grid. “We had no other option as we had to bring a special part from Gobindgarh.

As soon as we get the part we will rectify the problem,” he added.



2 hurt in live shell blast in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 23
Two people were injured after a live shell exploded in the Ghaghar river area near Gate No 4 here this morning. The incident occurred at about 9 am in Kharak Mangoli village, about 100 metres from a bridge near Old Panchkula, when one of the victims tried to examine the live shell, mistaking it for sellable metal.

The injured were identified as Jaswant, 35, and Roshan Lal, 25, both residents of the village. Both were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6. Jaswant, who suffered grievous injuries on his eye, was later referred to PGI, Chandigarh while Roshan received minor injuries on his leg was discharged after first aid.

After hearing the sound of the shell exploding people in the area rushed to the scene. Policemen posted at the nearby ‘naka’ (checkpost) on the bridge also ran there and reported the matter to their officers.

A police team that arrived soon took the pieces of the metal into its custody and rushed the injured to the hospital in an ambulance.

According to an eyewitness account, Jaswant brought the heavy piece of metal, after finding it in a bush across the river, to a secluded place and tried to break it without knowing it was a bombshell. In attempting to crack open the shell with a heavy stone to sell the brass to a scrap dealer he suffered injuries on his eyes and hand. Roshan, who was passing through the area, also received injuries when he came near Jaswant and was hit by the explosion.

Residents living in the area said Jaswant, who is married with three daughters and a son, was not working anywhere, while Roshan is single. They said earlier Jaswant worked as a driver with some crusher company but as he was irregular he was fired.

A similar incident took place in the town earlier last September.

Two boys and a young man were killed and a dozen others, including two women, seriously injured in an explosion in Ambedkar colony, a slum in Sector 21, when two boys tried to extract metal from an unexploded shell for selling it to a junk dealer.



MC chief acts tough on illegal rehris
Transfers ‘inefficient workers’ to other branches
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 23
A number of employees of the tehbazari wing of the Municipal Council have been transferred to other branches in order to check the illegal rehri menace in the town. Kulwant Singh, president of the council, said transfers had been carried out as these employees proved ineffective and were allegedly involved in corruption. The number of illegal rehris was increasing in the town much to the annoyance of the residents. He said the problem of illegal rehris had repeatedly been discussed at monthly meetings of the civic body, but the authorities concerned had failed to check the menace.

According to an office order issued by the executive officer in consultation with the president, five employees were shifted to other branches. Balbir Singh, junior assistant, has been shifted to the library, Harmesh Singh, Varinder Kumar and Anil Kumar, clerks, have been transferred to the license wing, and Amrit Lal, senior clerk, to the water supply wing. Duties of six other employees of the council office were also changed.

Kuljit Singh Bedi, municipal councillor, said that as per information gathered by him under the RTI Act, 19 employees were working in the tehbazari wing, who were able to remove only 433 illegal rehris and encroachments during 2008- 09. They collected a total fine of Rs 2. 41 lakh during that period. The performance of these employees became worse this year, who were able to remove only 257 illegal rehris and encroachments and collected fine worth Rs 2. 50 lakh.

He urged the president of the council to seek an explanation from the employees for poor performance.



Dug-up roads death traps for motorists
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Public convenience seems to be last on the agenda of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh and the Chandigarh administration. A number of dug up roads, apparently with a view to widen them, are a testimony to the fact that the authorities concerned are least bothered about the inconvenience caused to area residents, motorists and pedestrians.

A majority of roads have been dug up for weeks making them accident prone. The stacking of the concrete material, including slabs, gravels and paver blocks, along the roads is hindering the movement of vehicles.

While motorists have a tough time in negotiating vehicles on narrow stretches, bicycle riders and pedestrians are the worst affected. As the construction material is stacked on both sides of the roads, cyclists and pedestrians are at risk of being hit by fast-moving vehicles.

A random survey of the city roads revealed that the road separating Sectors 46 and 47 has been dug for the several months. A road leading from the Press Chowk to the Sukhna Lake had been dug up for several weeks. “It is surprising that the authorities are least bothered to finish the work on time,” Kamalbir Singh, who regularly uses the Press Chowk-Sukhna Lake road, said. Some dug up roads in southern sectors, which connect the city with Mohali, are virtual death traps during the night. Since a large number of streetlights are also non-functional along these roads, the motorists and pedestrians have a tough time in negotiating the trenches along these roads.

Interestingly, it is not the major roads that had been dug up, the situation of internal roads in front of houses in some sectors is no better. The area along the roads of Sector 30-A to construct the footpaths had been dug up for the past several weeks. The construction material had been dumped on the road itself.

According to a senior official, it takes several months for the road widening work since most of the projects are ongoing. The allocation of budget, inviting tenders and getting the work completed is a time-consuming job, he said, adding that these projects ultimately benefit the general public.



Attariwala is Bar association chief
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The legal fraternity was since long talking about electoral wave in favour of advocate Gurinder Singh Attariwala. But his victory as the president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association by a whooping margin of 495 votes took everyone by surprise this evening.

Attariwala polled 1,231 votes, while his nearest rival advocate Swaran Gupta secured just 736 votes. Another contestant Bhupinder Pal Singh Dhillon bagged the third position after being polled only 211 votes.

The youngest of the three contestants, Attariwala, made it clear why he was a hit with the younger generation of advocates by saying technology upgradation would be on the top of his agenda.

Talking to the media soon after the declaration of results, Attariwala said beside timely completion of the ongoing development projects, his focus would be on developing technological aspects for enhancing the professional efficiency of the lawyers.

Attariwala is not new to power. He had already served as the vice-president of the Bar association. He is currently posted as Punjab additional advocate-general.

The results were out at 8.30 pm. NK Banga emerged victorious on the post of Bar association vice-president, with 1,109 votes. Advocate Premjit Singh Hundal was elected as the secretary with 1,303 votes, while the post of joint secretary went to advocate Priya Khurana with 1,492 votes. Ankur Sharma was elected as Bar treasurer with 842 votes.

The elections were conducted by a committee headed by advocate Jaiveer Yadav and advocate Darshan Singh Bishnoi.



NIMACON-2010 from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
To increase focus on the integration of ayurveda, yoga and allopathy for better and effective treatment of various diseases, the Chandigarh Chapter of National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) will organise a two-day national-level conference, “NIMACON-2010” from tomorrow at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Dr Ashok K Sharma, chairman, NIMA, an association of doctors from integrated system of medicine, Chandigarh Chapter, said, “We are of the opinion that integration of ayurveda, yoga and allopathy is the answer to India’s health needs. Through a rational combination of ayurveda and modern medical sciences, we can control deteriorating health of Indian people.” Dr GS Bedi, convener, NIMACON, said, “Ayurveda can play a vital role in eradicating various common diseases.” Dr YS Khullar, organising secretary, and Dr Dharamvir Yadav, convener of NIMACON, was also present on the occasion.

The NIMACON-2010 will be inaugurated by Padma Shri Sardar Ramesh Inder Singh, IAS (retd), Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, while Dr Rajiv Bindal, health minister, Himachal Pradesh, will deliver the valedictory address. Various top medical experts will give lectures during the conference Dr Raj Bahadur, director principal of GMCH-32, will also address the gathering on the first day of the conference.



Congress withdraws house tax

Panchkula, April 23
The Congress government has tricked people by withdrawing the exemption of house tax on self occupied residential houses thereby total residential property will now be taxable within the limits of MC.

Lashing out at the state government BB Singal, BJP leader and former vice-president, recently dissolved Municipal Council, said the act of the government was highly objectionable and unbalanced, as it would put extra burden on residents. He said the government had withdrawn the exemption against the wishes of the people as the Municipal Council, Panchkula, had passed a resolution in July 2009, for exemption of the house tax on residential property on the pattern of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and sent to the state government for consideration.

Singal said the party had misguided the people in the recently concluded Assembly election by exempting the house tax after coming back to power. However, within six months it has imposed the house tax. — TNS



Chahal elected DBA president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The district courts here were abuzz with the polling activity for elections of the office-bearers of the District Bar Association (DBA).

An electorate pool of 1,195 advocates cast their votes in the district court complex of which 123 votes were declared invalid. The results were declared late in the evening.

AS Chahal was elected president of the association. Chahal received 600 votes while his nearest rival, NK Nanda, managed to get 584 votes.

Preet Kamal Singh Gill was elected as vice-president with 487 votes while his rivals Manish Joshi and Sunil Narang managed 224 and 451, respectively.

Ranjan Lohan was elected as general secretary with 682 votes while his rival Baljeet Singh received 494 votes.

Mithlesh Puri was declared joint secretary unanimously.

Harmail Keshri was elected treasurer.



17 Indians on death row
London-based body to take action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The report filed by members of the Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI) regarding 17 Indians on a death row has brought a glimmer of hope for them, as London-based watchdog organisation Amnesty International has decided to help them by initiating an urgent action. Seventeen Indians have been sentenced to death in a murder case.

The spokesperson of the organisation has mailed an urgent action appeal.

Navkiran Singh, general secretary, LFHRI, said, “It was found that 17 Indians were subjected to torture and other grave human right violations at Sharjah. This has evoked an urgent action from Amnesty International.”

“They have called upon the authorities concerned to ensure that the accused are afforded a fair trial,” he mentioned.

A two-member team comprising Navkiran Singh and lawyer Gagan Aggarwal had been sent to Dubai and Sharjah to meet the prisoners.

Punjab-based NGO LFHRI has alleged that 17 Indians, convicted of killing a Pakistani in United Arab Emirates (UAE), were falsely implicated by the Sharjah police. They alleged that despite promises from various quarters, proper legal aid was not extended to the prisoners resulting in their conviction.



PUDA engineer designs life-saving net
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 23
A PUDA engineer has designed a life-saving net to save people entrapped in a multi-storeyed building in case of a major fire. NS Kalsi, Executive Engineer, Projects, PUDA, said he had designed the net after seeing the loss of lives at Taj Hotel in Mumbai during the 26/11 attack and during incidents of fire at multi-storeyed buildings in Kolkata and Bangalore.

He said the design had a huge net, similar to that of a circus net. It just took 10 minutes to fix the net outside the building in case of a fire. The net could be kept in boxes outside the building, so that it could be used immediately in case of emergency. People could easily jump from the building to save their lives, he added.

Apart from this, ladders and ropes with knots could be placed in glass cases on different floors of the building. These could also be used to come down in case of an emergency, he added.

Kalsi said the design had been discussed with senior PUDA officials and the plan was under consideration for implementation.



BSNL extends scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
For the settlement of disputes of broadband customers who have received broadband usage bills beyond their expectations due to excessive usage, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to extend the scheme “Samadhan” for its customers.

According to information, customers can contact officials concerned for the settlement of pending Broadband usage disputes. In Chandigarh, customers can contact Kulwant Singh (Accounts Officer South in Sector 34) and Ashok Kumar Gera (Accounts Officer North in Sector 17). VK Garg (AO Mohali) and Lalita Garg (AO Panchkula) will tackle the issue in their respective locations.



Doctor awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Dr Sarabjit Singh of Government Multi Specility Hospital (GMSH) in Sector 16 has been awarded “Rashtriya Gaurav” award and a certificate of excellence by India International Friendship Society (IIFS) by Dr Bhisma Narayan Singh, former Governor of Assam and Tamil Nadu, and former Director, CBI, Joginder Singh. The award was given for his meritorious services, outstanding performance and remarkable role in the field of medical science.



Two-year old dies
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 23
Vanshika, a two-year-old girl, died after she fell from the terrace of her house in Harmilap Nagar, Baltana, here late this evening.

According to the police, Vanshika was playing at the terrace of her house and suddenly she lost her balance on the iron grill and fell down.

The neighbours rushed her to the Government Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where doctors declared her brought dead. The body has been sent for the post-mortem at Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

Meanwhile the investigations are on.



Micro School Escort Project
Confusion marks first day
Buses lack proper information about scheduled route and stops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The first day of the Micro School Escort Project, which was introduced in the city government schools yesterday, was marked by confusion and resentment. The bright yellow buses lacked proper information about scheduled route and stops and in case of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, a wrong route map pasted on the buses led to confusion amongst students, who kept shuttling from one bus to another.

As per the directives of the apex court, though the buses should have ideally been parked inside the school, they were instead parked across the road, which lead to traffic jam in front of the school. Though the administration leaves no chance to take private bus operators to task for overloading the buses, their own buses, which are aimed at setting an example, have less seating capacity than required and the students were stuffed in them. When questioned, the transporter asserted, “It’s the first day and we are analysing the number of the students. We will soon get more buses as per the requirements. As far as the route map is concerned, the one put on the bus is of yesterday’s inauguration ceremony, we will replace it.”

The parents of the students, meanwhile, had come to the school to follow the buses to get clarity about their routes or stops, etc.

While Vandana Disodia, director, State Transports Authority, could not be contacted, a senior official asserted that the project needed to be given some time and promised that everything would be fine in a few days.



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