C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major fire at PU girls’ hostel, none hurt
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Residents of the women’s hostel no 5 on the Panjab University campus had a narrow escape early this morning when a major fire broke out in the hostel’s backyard under mysterious circumstances. In the absence of staff trained to deal with such a disaster, nearly 50 hostel inmates managed to douse the flames by themselves.

Such was the intensity of the blaze that the 13-feet high bamboo barricade (used to elongate the hostel’s boundary wall) was completely destroyed within minutes.

Panic gripped the girls residing in the hostel just as the fire broke out at about 1:50 am. It was not before two hours (till about 3 am) that the situation was brought under control. All this while the hostel’s mess workers slept throughout the incident.

Even as the exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined, the hostel staff is now preparing a detailed report on the fire to be submitted to the PU dean of students welfare.

Though ironically the varsity offers a specialised course on ‘disaster management’, in this situation neither the hostel staff nor the students knew how to use the fire extinguishers installed in the hostel on each floor.

It was only when the girls residing on the sixth floor began feeling suffocated after dense smoke seeped into their rooms that the watchman was informed and subsequently the police and a fire brigade were called for.

Angered by the sluggish attitude of the police and the fire department, a girl, requesting anonymity, said: “It took nearly 25 minutes for the cops to arrive at the scene and over an hour for the fire brigade to act. The girls got their own buckets, filled them with water and doused the flames.”

“Even after the police and fire department employees reached the spot, they continued discussing how to control the fire. While the mess workers were sleeping there was not even a single attendant and only our watchman, Major Singh, helped us in controlling the fire,” said another hostel resident.

Incidentally, electricity wires were hanging close to the scene and the flames touched the hostel windows on the second floors of both the Savitri Bai Hostel (Hostel 5) and Kasturba Bai Hostel (Hostel 6) extension.

“A great deal of damage has been prevented. One cannot rule out the possibility of mischief behind the fire since the time was very odd and the fire was major,” said Gurmeet Kaur, the hostel warden.

The warden, who was informed about the incident much later by the watchman, confessed to the need of training the hostel staff to deal with such an event.



Fire victims try to cope with loss
Hope for compensation, succour
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 12
Prem Kumar, a native of Uttar Pradesh, feels like a broken man today. His entire family savings that he would have take home next week were wiped out in the major fire that engulfed a slum near the Peer Baba Mazaar in Mansa Devi complex yesterday night.

Sobbing inconsolably, he said: “Ghar par biwi, do bete aur ek beti hai. Har teen mahine baad paise ikatthe kar ke ghar bhejta hun bachchon ki padhayi ki liye. Iss baar 9,000 rupaye jama kiye the lekin sab rakh ho gaye. Pehanne ki liye kapade be nahi bache” (I have a wife, two sons and a daughter. I travel to my home state with all my savings every three months. I’m very particular about the education of my kids. I had saved Rs 9,000, this time. The fire consumed all my hard-earned money. I don’t have even an extra pair of clothes to wear).

Prem Kumar is a native of Amethi. He has been working as a daily wage labourer and had been living here for the past nine years. His story is not singular as the entire vicinity of the razed colony is flooded with similar tales.

Mahipal, another slum dweller and a native of Saharanpur in UP, whose jhuggi was burnt last evening, appears completely shattered as the money and valuables, including gold jewellery, he had collected for his daughter’s dowry were destroyed in Tuesday’s fire.

Talking to The Tribune, Mahipal said: “Meri beti Pinki ki shadi ko kewal ek mahina reh gaya ha, jab ki uski shadi ke liye kharida gaya 50,000 rupaye ka sona, kambal, suits, sariyan or kuchh bartan jal kar rakh ho gaye. Mere to dono mobile bhi jal gaye hain jis ke karan main ladke walon ko bhi nahi bata sakta”. (Only a month is left for the wedding of my daughter, Pinki, and the gold jewellery worth Rs 50,000, some blankets and suits and sarees that I had collected have been completely burnt. I can’t even narrate the woes to the groom’s family as my two mobiles were damaged in the disaster).

One of the slum residents showed the burnt Rs 10 notes that his wife, who has been admitted to a hospital due to premature delivery of the baby, had put in the ‘gullak’ (cash box).

The scene this morning at the site of the tragedy was very pathetic. Tiny tots could be seen helping their mothers rummaging through the burnt items whether something was left or not. Even though the district administration had provided food late last night the affected families had to sleep on the ground in the open.

Deputy commissioner Ashima Garg said food items including wheat flour, rice, pulses, ‘ghee’ and spices besides folding beds had been provided to about 53 families identified by the administration.

“For the time being no financial aid is being provided to the affected families. Some NGOs in the town are also being involved to provide clothes to the victims,” she added.

Meanwhile, Minister for Tourism & Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja also visited the area and assured the victims effective steps would be taken for their proper rehabilitation.



CBSE students to get certificates online
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
If the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) has its way, then over 1.6 million students of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools will get their academic certificates online.

The ministry is in talks with the board to award its class X and class XII certificates on a secure online depository (certificate bank) on trail basis. This trial will precede the introduction of a law asking all educational institutions to place academic qualifications on a tamper-proof database.

According to sources, the ministry has expressed a desire of the project being implemented in the CBSE results this year.

“The ministry has asked us to start this project on pilot basis for the provision of online certificates before introducing it in all other institutions. They want us to offer these certificates online from this year only, but the implementation is not easy as the CBSE results are a just a week away,” said a senior official of the board.

It has been pointed out that the implementation of this project is possible only if the ministry identifies its depository this month. In case it fails to do so, it would have to either start with the results of the AIEEE or go in for some other option.



Rape On Wheels
Case adjourned as police fails to produce records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The police today was unable to present papers in the infamous ‘rape on wheels’ case involving former Home Secretary NK Jain. A local court today adjourned the hearing as the police was not able to produce the records. The case will now come up for hearing on May 22.

In its last hearing, the public prosecutor was asked to provide the record of communication vide which the CBI had returned the file without conducting investigation into the matter. Till today, the police has not laid its hands on the documents sought by the court.

The case involves former home secretary NK Jain, who was allegedly involved in rape case of a 21-year-old girl from Shimla in a moving car. The case was registered against Jain and four others under Sections 376 (2) (g), 389, 211, 120-B and 109 of the IPC on August 15, 2000.

The victim lodged a complaint that she had been raped by a businessman, MK Jain, a relative of IAS officer NK Jain. She claimed that MK Jain had promised her a job in Panchkula. The victim alleged that MK Jain offered her a cold drink laced with some intoxicant after which she fell unconscious and was raped.

Investigations by the Chandigarh Police revealed that she was not raped by the businessman but by one Surinder Sharma. The investigations also stated that the former Home Secretary, who along with four others - Ramlal, Surinder Sharma, Baldev Kumar, head constable Narbir Singh - had hatched a conspiracy to falsely implicate businessman MK Jain on the behest of NK Jain, who had to recover his money from the former.

Further, the report of the CFL had found traces of genetical material of Surinder Sharma. They found that the businessman was playing golf at the Chandigarh Golf Club at the time of the crime. The police then filed a chargesheet against the former home secretary on January 11, 2003, but charges against five of them could not be framed in the court. They had filed more then 12 such pleas since 2002. Due to the alleged involvement of the former home secretary, the case was referred to the CBI by the then UT Administrator in 2002. However, the CBI refused to probe the case.



Now, Punjabis make it big in football
Dribble past all odds to strike multi-million deals with soccer clubs
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Belying all preconceived notions that soccer is not Punjabis’ cup of tea, a number of football player from the state have made it big in the sport at the top level. Interestingly, all of them are products of the first batch of the Chandigarh Football Academy (CFA), the country’s only state-run academy, which was started in 2000.

Hailing from rural backgrounds with meagre resources, some of the players from Punjab have struck impressive multi-million deals with some of the famous soccer clubs of the country.

In 2000, Ravinder Singh from Sarabha village in Ludhiana district had joined the CFA in Sector 42 with big dreams, which were eventually realised earlier this year when he was offered a whopping Rs 25 lakh annual contract by the East Bengal Club. Football had helped this left-back defender, who belongs to a humble background, not only financial security but also a well-paying job with Air India. Ravinder has also made Punjab proud by securing a berth for himself in the senior India team.

This is not the only success story scripted by a Punjabi in this sport. Nawanshahr lad Gurjinder Kumar, who had taken up the sport for the sheer pleasure of playing, ended up with a two-year Rs 18 lakh contract with the Pune Football Club. Gurjinder plays as defender.

Another CFA product, Robin, a Punjabi player from Delhi, stunned many when he signed Rs 60 lakh three-year contract with East Bengal recently.

Besides being Punjabis, these players have more in common. They have trained under former India football captain Harjinder Singh, who has started believing that football is the next big thing in the region.

“Till recent years, the game was not very popular with Punjabis, who generally favoured cricket, hockey or kabaddi and were generally reluctant to take up football. However, the success story of these players from small villages has changed the general perception regarding this game in the region,” said Harjinder Singh, who presently imparts training to the budding players at the CFA.

Four other Punjabi players who have made it big in the game despite facing all odds include mid-fielder Randip Singh, custodian Pawan Kumar, Gurpreet Singh and Narender Singh. The foursome has been part of the JCT Football Club and have been earning between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh annually from the game. While Pawan Kumar, who has represented the country several times in the junior age group, is the son of a bus driver, Randeep’s mother is a tailor. Both these players hail from Khokar Fojian village in Gurdaspur district.


Gadkari dresses down UPA govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Charging the Congress-led UPA government with letting the poor down, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari today came down heavily on the “wrong economic policies” of the Congress-led government, headed by economist-turned-politician and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which he alleged had pushed up inflation to 11 per cent as against around 2 per cent in South-East Asian countries.

“Contrary to its promises ahead of last year’s Lok Sabha elections, the UPA government’s lopsided economic policies and bad governance had resulted in below poverty line (BPL) persons crossing the 41 crore mark. In fact, a substantial number of BPL families belonged to the SCs, OBCs and minorities,” said Gadkari while addressing his first rally in the city during “abhinandamn samaroh”.

Alleging misuse of the CBI by the Congress, the BJP leader claimed that BSP, RJD and SP leaders took a U-turn and supported the government during cut motion recently when they were threatened by the CBI. Terming the UPA government a “weak government: incapable of fighting terrorism and naxalites”, Gadkari alleged that the government had failed to protect country’s unity and integrity as was clear from Chinese incursions. Hailing the BJP as a party of activists, he differentiated the BJP from the Congress saying the Congress president’s post was “reserved” for a member of the Gandhi-Nehru family. Prominent among those present were Balbir Punj, Punjab and Chandigarh affairs in charge, Kiran Ghai, Chandigarh affairs co-in charge, Amritsar MP Navjot Sidhu, national secretary Kirit Somaiya, and Punjab unit president Ashwani Sharma.



BJP sounds MC poll bugle
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dogged stance

Certain “derogatory” remarks of the BJP president about Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Yadav created a flutter in a section of the crowd. Gadkari alleged that the Yadavs, who roared like lions in the run-up to the cut motion in Parliament, later behaved like dogs. BJP leaders, however, were quick to clarify that the word “dog” was not used in literal sense of the term.

Chandigarh, May 12
Still smarting under the crushing defeat of last year’s Lok Sabha elections, the BJP today sounded the bugle for the 2011 Chandigarh municipal corporation elections during the visit of party president Nitin Gadkari.

Buoyed by the entry of former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, the party chose Gadkari’s “abhinandan samaroh” to take on the ruling Congress in the MC.

The ball was set in motion by city’s party president Sanjay Tandon who launched an attack on the Congress-ruled MC and Union Minister Pawan Bansal for the sorry state of civic amenities, particularly water and electricity supply and sanitation.

In fact, it was heartening for the local BJP leaders as Gadkari, unlike other national leaders, made it a point to highlight local issues.

With the entry of Dhawan, the party would win the next municipal elections hands down, Gadkari hoped.

Dhawan did some plainspeak claiming that the division among the opposition votes in the past MC and Lok Sabha polls resulted in the win of Congress candidate Pawan Bansal.

Expressing similar sentiments, former MP Satya Pal Jain came down heavily on the Congress leaders for going back on their pre-poll promises.



335 health officials given appointment letters
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 12
Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla gave away appointment letters to 335 newly appointed staff members at the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare in Phase VI here.

These included 94 ayurveda medical officers, seven homeopathic medical officers, 135 ayurveda dispensers and 99 homeopathic dispensers. These appointments have been made for the primary and community health centres in the state with the objective to provide allopathic, ayurveda and homeopathic medical services under one roof so that people can avail medical treatment of their choice.

While addressing the doctors and paramedical staff, Chawla stressed that the services should be provided to patients with utmost sincerity and honesty. She said providing cure to the people was the biggest service towards the mankind. She asked them to act as agents of change for providing better health care facilities to the people.

She said when all those given the appointment letters were selected solely on basis of one’s qualification and competence, then it was expected of them that they served the people with honesty and sincerity.

Amid repeated thundering applause, which Chawla received from the new appointees, she also asked them to contribute in the department’s drive against female foeticide, food adulteration and drug abuse.

Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary, Health, said that the performance of the staff appointed under the NRHM would be monitored regularly and any problem faced by them would be addressed on priority.



Piled-up earth drains Sec-46 residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The clouds that have made a few passing appearances over the past few days in the blue summer skies have surely brought smiles to the faces of most city residents but have left denizens of 60 houses in Sector 46 C a worried lot.

For, they fear that in case it rains, their houses will get flooded. Due to the ongoing work to widen the road separating Sectors 46 and 47, heaps of loose soil have been piled up at the back of their houses.

The back walls of these MIG-I houses face the road and most houses let rainwater out from this side. But with heaps of loose soil blocking the way, rainwater will not be able to flow out now.

The Chandigarh Housing Board allotted these houses in the 1980s. As these houses did not share the back wall with a neighbour and the fact that they faced the road, dwellers of these housing units had installed gates that allowed passage to humans and rainwater.

Six years ago when the authorities ordered the removal of gates and raising of walls in their place, the houses were allowed to have small outlets in the wall for the passage of rainwater.

On Tuesday, an earthmover of the public works department dug out earth from the roadside and dumped it near this row of houses. And ever since, the rain gods have been testing the hearts of these residents.

Rainwater from the front of the houses flows out to the road separating Sectors 46 and 47. The outlet for this purpose also stands blocked due to the road-widening work. “Every monsoon, we face a threat of flooding from the front. It appears that this time, trouble will visit us from the opposite end,” fears Jagjit Singh, a resident. “It will be a double whammy. Firstly, the rainwater will not go out and secondly, the slush of rainwater and the loose soil outside will force its way into our houses,” said Vijay Sharma, another resident. PWD executive engineer Yash Pal said he had received no complaint in this regard. He, however, would visit the site and take necessary steps, he added.



Govt boost for tourism in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The Union Government has prioritised number of Tourism projects to be taken up during 2010-11, including creation of infrastructure, facilities for Crafts Mela at Kalagram at Rs 4.78 crore, development of new gardens as tourist spots at Rs 5 crore, setting up multimedia laser show at Rs 3.50 crore, musical fountain at shopping centre, Sector 17, setting up of touch screen information at Rs1 crore, kiosks at tourist information centres and celebration of Tourism fairs and festivals at Rs 25 lakh, said Ram Niwas, Home Secretary-cum-Secretary UT, at a review meeting on tourism projects.

Highest-ever financial assistance of Rs 23 crore, from Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, for development of various tourism infrastructural facilities in Chandigarh has been granted for development and upgradation of Sukhna Lake for Rs 4.99 crore , development and upgradation of Rose Garden at Rs 2.69 crore, development and upgradation of Botanical Garden and Patiali Ki Rao at Rs 3.90 crore, development of Garden of Palms and Tourist at Rs 3.11 crore, development of Valley of Animals, Sector 49, at Rs 1.40 crore, development of Garden of Conifers, Sector 52, at Rs 1.76 crore and Illumination of monuments, buildings for promotion of night tourism in Chandigarh at Rs 4.98 crore.

Secretary Tourism further said, Ministry of Tourism had sanctioned Rs 9.64 crore for expansion of Institute of Hotel Management under the OBC Scheme, Rs 3.75 crore for Executive Development Centre and Rs 38 lakh for skill up gradation for manpower to CITCO during last year.

Besides, hospitality education is being broadbased in various institutes of Chandigarh as per the guidelines of Ministry of Tourism.

Tourism department has also taken up various initiatives to develop other infrastructure in Chandigarh.

Institutes like Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Sector 28, Chandigarh, Government Central Crafts Institute (W), Sector 11, Chandigarh, and Home Science College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, have been asked to prepare projects for financial assistance for new courses in hospitality such as House Keeping, Food Projection, F&B Service, etc.



IT Park
MHA inquiry into irregularities
Probe officer begins scrutiny

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The inquiry officer appointed by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) today initiated probe into the irregularities pointed out in a special audit regarding alleged irregularities in land allotment to certain IT giants in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP).

Former IAS officer Arun Ramanathan started scrutinising the files pertaining to land allotment at the UT Guest House.

A majority of files are with the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC), which also probed the land allotment.

The MHA had ordered an inquiry into the alleged irregularities and asked the UT administration to extend support to the inquiry officer. The special audit, conducted by a team of officials headed by MHA’s chief controller of accounts, had found “glaring discrepancies” in the allotment of land to IT companies in the IT Park.

The special audit had come down heavily on the administration for acquiring commercial land at low prices and allotting it to private players at prices much lower than market rates.

According to sources, Ramanathan would be in the city for three days and may seek additional information from the UT officials.

Besides, the special audit alleged that there were attempts to bypass the budgetary process of depositing budgetary receipts in government accounts.

Cases of direct allotment at low prices, violations of tender clauses and irregular appointment of consultants to supervise auction process were also highlighted in the special audit.

Picking holes in the special audit, the Chandigarh administration had claimed that all land acquisitions and allotments were done as per the standard procedure.



Suspected Dengue
Confusion over girl’s diagnosis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Even as the condition of a 20-year-old girl, Pooja, who was admitted to the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 yesterday with dengue like symptoms further deteriorated today and she was shifted to PGI, confusion continues to prevail over the diagnosis of the disease.

While GMSH deputy medical superintendent G Verma had yesterday claimed the patient was merely suffering from ‘thrombocytopenia’ with high fever, a PGI spokesperson, Manju Wadwalkar, said she only had malaria.

Even as hospital officials made these contrary claims, the girl’s condition had worsened today with her blood platelet count falling to precarious levels despite transfusion.

Dr Raman Nijhawan, acting medical superintendent of GMSH, stated her condition was serious. “If her platelet count dips below 30,000 it could lead to haemorrhage that could prove to be fatal”, he added.

Meanwhile, Pooja’s father, Balram, said these contrary claims by officials of the two hospitals had totally confused them. “My daughter is very sick and she needs help. All this while the hospital authorities are making me run around for more tests and shunting me from one place to another”, he added.



Combating Social Evils
Gul Panag joins forces with UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
In order to generate awareness on the prevailing menace of female foeticide and drug addiction in the city, the UT health department has enrolled a new NGO — Col Shamsher Singh Foundation — under the ongoing Partnership Initiative Programme.

The founder member of the NGO, former Miss India Gul Panag, signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the health department in the presence of Home Secretary-cum-Health Secretary Ram Niwas and Health and Family Welfare Director Dr Manjit Singh Bains to work for the social causes.

In his briefing to the new NGO, Ram Niwas apprised them of their responsibilities in awareness generation on the issue, monitoring of ultrasound centres to prevent sex determination as well as volunteering as decoy during raids on clinics/ultrasound centres to check female foeticide.

The NGO was also asked to motivate people by recognising the birth of second girl child in the form of celebrations of birthdays or festivals like Lohri, etc.

They were also made aware of the prevailing sex ratio scenario in the city and steps being taken by the department to combat this evil.

Support was also asked for the cause of drug de-addiction whereby the NGO could help in identification of drug addicts and weaning them away from drugs.

The NGO was asked to extend cooperation by carrying out follow-ups and rehabilitating drug addicts after treatment.

Gul Panag and her NGO assured the Health Secretary of working with dedication and commitment to make the programme of generating awareness against female foeticide and drug addition a success.



e-Pass system for issuance of licence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The excise and taxation department of the UT administration has introduced an e-Pass system for issuance of licences to wholesale and retail agencies. The entire operation involving issuance of permits, passes and licences for liquor has been fully integrated and computerised.

Sanjay Kumar, Excise and Taxation-cum-Finance Secretary, UT administration, said the number of treasury transactions before the introduction of the e-pass system exceeded 500 every day.

Now, the number had gone down to just 50 to 60 a day. “After the introduction of the system from the current fiscal, the number of transactions aggregated only 1,696 in April, 2010, against over 15,000 in the corresponding month of April, 2009,” he added.

On the operation of online system, Brijendra Singh, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Chandigarh, said with a view to making the system less time-consuming and foolproof, the department had opened account of every agency, whose number aggregated around 500.

“One has to place orders online for the required brands and the amount is debited to his account. Those who do not have balance in the account will not be able to place any order. An inspector will sign every computer print,” he said.

Further, the department has guarded against tinkering of records and made it easier to regulate the lifting of liquor and reconcile records with treasury transactions.



Tributes paid to Florence Nightingale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
To mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing profession, “International Nurses’ Week” celebration started at PGI here today. This year’s celebrations are being held on “Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading Chronic Care”.

Tributes were paid to the icon of nursing through various activities performed under the leadership of Amarjit Nafra, nursing superintendent, PGIMER.

The function started with lamp lighting by Prof KK Talwar, director of the institute.

Professor Talwar appreciated the nursing care given to patients by the nurses of Nehru Hospital. He congratulated the nursing fraternity on the inauguration of the week and advised nurses to specialise in patient care like neonatology OT, cardiac nursing, for which they should go in for in-service education programmes.

Prof AK Gupta, medical superintendent-cum-head, department of hospital administration, also appreciated the hard work, dedication and sincerity of nurses.

Emphasising that even the best could be improved, Professor Gupta called upon nurses to improve the standard of aseptic techniques and other aspects of patient care.

He paid tributes to Florence Nightingale and exhorted nurses to emulate her.

Nursing superintendent Amarjit Nafra introduced the theme and highlighted the activities for the week in the institute like hand-wash technique, seminar on the role of nurse in chronic care, personal and environmental hygiene and self-care by individuals in chronic sickness. She urged nurses to participate in the programme so that best health services could be provided.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, also kicked off its international week celebrations today.

Dr Raj Bahadur, director-principal of the college, was the chief guest at the function.



Development suffers as board fails to release funds
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 12
Development works in the Shivalik belt of the district have been hit severely as the Shivalik Development Board (SDB) has failed to release funds for 2009-10. The board had failed to formulated any scheme for the underdeveloped areas of the belt.

According to information sought from the board under the RTI Act by Hardev Singh, a resident of Bakshiwalla village (Kalka), no schemes had been formulated during the previous financial year.

As no new funds had been released during the past financial year, development works in the area were going on a snail’s pace.

In 1993, the then state Congress government had formulated the board for the development of undeveloped areas of the Shivalik belt of three districts - Panchkula, Ambala and Yamunanagar. Since its inception, around Rs 22.53 crore had been spent in the hilly terrain of Panchkula district alone.

BSP leader from Kalka Vijay Bansal said most areas of Panchkula district was semi-hilly, interior and undeveloped. Most villages were still deprived of civic amenities like drinking water and electricity and various development projects were hanging fire due to the shortage of adequate funds.

In the past couple of years, various development projects had been carried out in many villages of Pinjore block using funds of the board, he added.

Lashing out at Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for making false promises to people of the belt, Bansal alleged that he was diverting funds to the Mewat area of his constituency.

He rued that even 63 years after Independence, people in the region were being forced to fetch water from “baulis” located 3 to 4 km from their homes. The villages of the district were deprived of any canal for irrigation purposes, he added.



Wasnik appeals party workers to fight foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik has called upon the party workers to work for eradicating the menace of foeticide. Wasnik was addressing a meeting of the Congress Sewa Dal at Balmiki Bhawan in Sector 24 here today.

He said Punjab and Haryana though had led the nation in several fields, there was a dire need to take steps in this direction as well and the party workers should come together to fight the menace.

Later, the minister claimed that people involved in manual scavenging have been rehabilitated, still in case some aberrations were found his ministry would take necessary steps.

Moreover, the Union Government has started a pilot project with a budget of Rs 4,000 crore under Prime Minister Adarsh Gram Yojna for villages where more than 50 per cent of population belonged to the Scheduled castes.

There were 44,000 villages in the country where more than half of the residents belonged to the Scheduled caste, he said.

Allocation of different scholarship schemes for students had also been increased from Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 4,500 crore.

Answering a question over the attacks on Dalits in Haryana recently, Wasnik said reports keep on pouring from various states that atrocities were being perpetrated on Dalits despite the fact that efforts were being made to make them feel secure.



UT keen to ban flexible plastic bags

Chandigarh, May 12
After putting ban on the use of polythene in the city, the UT Administration is now considering prohibiting use of flexible plastic containers as well. But the inflow of polythene from the neighbouring Panchkula and Mohali has in a way beaten the very purpose of banning the use of polythene.

Yesterday a meeting was held of the members of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) and others with UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar. Possibilities of imposing a ban on flexible plastic containers used for food packaging and also industrial packaging was discussed. — TNS



UT to follow Delhi in implementing EWS quota
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
After several months of brain storming sessions, UT administration is now looking up to Delhi for reserving 15 per cent school seats for students belonging to the economically weaker section (EWS).

At a meeting, held to discuss the implementation of the reservation of seats and implementation of Right To Education, the administration has formed a committee to streamline the process.

“Delhi has received commendable success in implementing this reservation, so we will follow their model, along with requisite changes,” said Home Secretary Ram Niwas.

The administration has constituted a special committee, including DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia and Sandeep Kumar, chief executive officer of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

Earlier, Sandeep served as DPI (S) in Delhi for an year and has been a prominent participant in the implementation of this reservation.

According to sources, the Home Secretary has asked him to get the copies of all notifications done in Delhi and also the documentary details of policy.

“After having done our home work, we will now move to the next step of setting the salary criteria to define EWS for the admission purpose,” said Ram Niwas.

The sources further said the administration was mulling over involving the education department for transparency.

“As being practiced in Delhi, the salary certification will be handed over to an independent authority like SDM to ensure that this reservation is not misused,” said a senior official.



Limca Book of Records Quiz
YPS wins Chandigarh final
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 12
Yadavindra Public School (YPS), Mohali, won the Chandigarh city final of Limca Book of Records Quiz, 2010, held at Manav Mangal Smart School here today. The winners from Chandigarh would now be amongst 80 schools to compete in the national semifinals.

Manav Mangal Smart School, Mohali, emerged as the runners-up. Around 456 students from 76 schools participated from Chandigarh, out of which six schools- YPS, Manav Mangal Smart School, St Stephen’s School, Chandigarh, St Kabir School, Chandigarh, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Panchkula, Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, Chandigarh- competed in the city final.

Derek O’ Brien, a renowned quizmaster and founder of Know & Grow with Derek, hosted the city final.

The winning team was felicitated by Aashish Sethi, CEO, Kandhari Beverages Private Limited (franchise partner of Coca-Cola India), and Arun Sharma, GM, franchise operations, Chandigarh, Coca-Cola India.

Also present at the quiz championship was Dr Sukant Gupta, Limca Book of Records holder for maintaining a log called “Current International Affairs” with a total to 34,388 handwritten pages, along with Rodrigues, principal, Manav Mangal Smart School.



Experts dwell on ‘national building code’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
A seminar on “National building code” was held at Punjab and Chandigarh State Centre of Institution of Engineers in Sector 19 here. The main purpose of the seminar was to have opinion of experts in the fields of buildings, structural engineering and town planners on existing provisions of the code.

HC Sethi, engineer-in-chief (retd), was the chief guest.

He emphasised the need to update the code which was last revised in 2005.

Kanwar Surjit Singh, secretary general, Institute of Special Planning and Environmental Research, deliberated upon the glaring inadequacies in the code and also felt that it needed to be rectified.

HCS Berry, former chairman of the Institution of Engineers, spoke on the first publication of the code in 1967 and its revision from time to time. Pulkit Jain and Harinder Kaur, students of Chitkara Institute of Engineering & Technology, gave presentations.



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