C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Grand avatar for Mohali STPI
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
After posting a 10 per cent jump in software exports in FY2009-10, the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Mohali, established in 1998, is all set to be housed in a new state-of-art complex spread over an area of 100,000 square feet. Construction is expected to be completed in two to three years’ time at an estimated cost of Rs 40 crore.

Speaking on the sidelines of the two-day IT conclave, e-revolution 2010, being held in the city, STPI director general (software) Omkar Rai stated: “The new complex will also have incubation centres for IT units, enabling them to start up ventures and operate from there till the time they make enough profit to invest in setting up base on their own. These incubation centers, spread over 25,000 square feet, will also have a plug and play facility for the units.”

As of now, STPI is in the process of finalising the appointment of an architect even though it will itself design the new complex and assign only the construction to a government agency.

During the last fiscal 22 new units have been registered with STPI, Mohali, which began over a decade ago with modest exports of Rs 8 crore in IT/IT enabled services. Within 10 years of operation the region crossed the Rs 1,000 crore export mark with exports worth Rs 1,196.42 crore in 2009-10. The figure is expected to cross Rs 1,400 crore in fiscal 2010-11.

While STPI, Mohali’s original mandate, like those of all other software technology parks, is to promote software exports from the region, this year it has taken up a new initiative to promote good practices, innovation, entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility among small IT players inside and outside the STPI domain.

High fliers

  • While Infosys Technologies Ltd from Chandigarh has posted the highest export turnover of Rs 648.12 crore, Dell International Services (I) Pvt Ltd from Punjab, with exports of Rs 96.74 crore, won the STPI Awards for the highest exports on the first day of the e-Revolution 2010 conclave today
  • Among software development firms in the SME (small & medium enterprise) segments, Nvish Solutions (exports: Rs 21.02 crore) from Chandigarh, Emerson Design Engineering Centre (Rs 19.99 crore) from Punjab and Intelligia Technologies Pvt Ltd (Rs 2.57 crore) from Haryana were adjudged winners of the export awards
  • SMEs in the ITES (IT enabled services) field, which won the top honours, included Heron Health Pvt Ltd (exports: Rs 4.94 crore) from Chandigarh, OPK e-Services (Rs 7.75 crore) from Punjab and Betasoft Systems (Rs 0.87 crore) from Haryana
  • The Fast Tracker award for software development was shared by two companies — Paxcel Technologies (exports: Rs 0.99 crore) and Knack BPO (Rs 2.36 crore), while Aeromatrics Info Solutions (Rs 2.37 crore) bagged the New Entrants Award from the Tricity area



Industry must invest in research: Patil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
“IT industry must invest in research and development through collaborative efforts in order to make it sustainable,” said Shri Shivraj V Patil, Governor of Punjab and Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, while addressing a gathering at the mega ICT event, eRevolution 2010 here today.

“Have a mega vision, think big and think globally to make knowledge the common heritage of humanity as a whole,” stated Patil.

The event is being jointly hosted by the Chandigarh administration, along with the Government of Punjab and STPI in association with Nasscom and TiE.

He said there was not enough land for new enterprises in Chandigarh, but such limitations could not hamper industrial growth, provided farmers, whose land was acquired became partners as per guidelines of the rehabilitation and resettlement policy of the Government of India.

Earlier, Sanjay Kumar, Secretary, Information, Technology and Finance, Chandigarh administration, said the last six conclaves had given every stakeholder an opportunity “to think big, which was the beginning of any big revolution”. The Chandigarh administration, he said had taken a number of steps to provide automated G2B and G2C services, besides numerous other capacity building measures to develop talent.

Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh, further underlined the city’s endeavours to keep Chandigarh most habitable city with a great quality of life through a wide spectrum of citizen-centric services.

Dr SS Channy, principal secretary, Industries and Commerce, Government of Punjab, said Punjab had been on the forefront of country’s green revolution by contributing over 50 per cent to India’s grain pool, despite being a mere 15 per cent of geographic land mass.

He affirmed that the Punjab government had acquired a substantial land bank, including 1,400 acre land for Global Industrial Park, 260 acres in Kapurthala, 300 acres for TechKnow Park in Ropar, besides 73 acres in Mohali, and Rail Majra IT Park near Ropar, which had already received a good response.

‘Need to encourage excellence, quality ’

During a panel discussion on “Building a New India” moderated by Vivek Atray, Senior Adviser, KPMG, panelists looked at various challenges that needed to be addressed in order to build a “New India”.

Dr Prithipal Singh, board member, Abaxis Inc, felt that mistrust among people within an organisation and society was the bane of the country and there was a need to create an environment that encouraged excellence and quality. “Development of new medicines through investment in research could tackle drug addiction among our rural youth,” he said.

DLF’s chief information officer Upal Chakraborty said transformation of India was possible through technology and use of the ICT. He said there was a need to contain the growing cyber crime and ensure better data security.

Ranbir Singh, Wipro’s head-government, said cross-functional and all pervasive process improvement in governments through deployment of the ICT could contribute to build a citizen-friendly India.

Priti Rohra, head-accessibility, BarrierBreak Technologies from Mumbai, said technology today was enabling differently abled persons to access information and make use of the ICT in their daily life, which was a formidable step to achieve accessibility.

Radical changes in government’s functioning

“The Punjab government is committed to bring about radical changes in the functioning of the government in order to make it citizen centric,” said Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal while addressing IT entrepreneurs participating in the eRevolution 2010 here today.

Speaking during the session “Progressing by partnership”, he said the Punjab government was committed to achieve e-Governance initiatives by the end of this fiscal.

Providing an overview of various eGovernance initiatives by the Punjab government, Sukhbir Badal said, “We are eliminating the need for citizens to visit government departments physically, making governance more transparent and hassle-free and reduce corruption to the maximum extent by deploying the ICT,” he added.

Rakesh Verma, managing director of Punjab Infotech, said roadmap for the development of the state as a knowledge economy rested on the firm foundation of strong linkages among all stakeholders with government playing a proactive role as an enabler.

Chief secretary Punjab SC Aggarwal, Dr Pramod Kumar, chairman, Punjab Governance Reforms Commission, Prof MK Surappa, director, IIT Ropar, unveiled the Punjab government’s supportive role in developing and strengthening the linkages between government-academia-industry and other stakeholders.



Phases II, III of IT park not needed: Bansal
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Contrary to the UT administration’s endeavour to make this region an information technology (IT) hub by organising a two-day e-revolution function, Union minister and local Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal has set aside the need for having phases II and III of the IT park in the city.

Talking to mediapersons after attending the general house of the municipal corporation here today, Bansal stated that the first phase of the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park was sufficient to cater to the needs of this area.

He alleged that phases II and III were being developed by the Chandigarh administration to favour a few builders based in India as well as abroad because brochures of these phases were also distributed in Dubai.

Bansal clarified that the idea behind the concept of an IT park was to provide all kinds of facilities to IT professionals under one roof so that they could go ahead with their hardware and software projects without spending much, adding that that the then UT Administrator General Jacob had proposed phase I for these projects.

Pointing a finger at the Parsvnath housing project, Bansal questioned why a builder was allowed by the administration to sell one-room flats at a cost of Rs 52 lakh to IT professionals four years ago.

He also objected to the allotment of land to the DLF at the IT park and questioned the basis on which such prime land was allotted to it.

Accepting the need for a Metro for the tricity, Bansal said looking towards its requirement, this project should be commenced soon, though personally he was against it.

Expressing satisfaction over the cancellation of a terminal vegetable market, Bansal said this decision would turn out to be beneficial to the city.

Bansal asserted that his focus was to get those projects approved from the government which would improve the quality of life of the people.

Referring to the supply of LPG at residences of people, he said soon a survey would be conducted to know how many people required a pipeline and how many needed LPG cylinders.

He said if there was any shortage of funds for the small-flat scheme, funds would be provided under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and slum-free city and neighbourhood schemes of the government.

He added that Chandigarh would soon adopt a resettlement and rehabilitation scheme approved by the Centre for farmers whose land was acquired by the administration for some project.



Two get RI for seeking bribe from cop’s widow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The court of additional district & sessions judge Gurbir Singh today convicted two people in a case of graft pertaining to issue of a ‘no objection certificate’ to the widow of a Delhi police assistant subinspector who lost his life in the December 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian parliament.

Holding Rajesh Kumar and Gurmukh Singh, employees of the conservator of forests’ office, guilty of indulging in corruption, the judge sentenced both to rigorous imprisonment of two years. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 6,000 on each of them.

The court observed: “In these days it’s very difficult to get legal formalities completes without bribing officials. Corrupt people have no fear of the law.”

Ganga Devi, widow of ASI Nanak Chand and a resident of Sonepat, Haryana, was allotted a petrol station by the central government after her husband’s death. The government had assured her it would be built on NH 8 in Sector 34 in Gurgaon within four months. She was, however, finding it difficult to obtain a ‘no objection certificate’ needed to construct the petrol station.

Ganga’s woes finally ended when Maninderjit Singh Bitta, chief of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, conducted a sting operation on Kumar and Gurmukh in April 2006. The trap was laid in the office of the conservator of forests in Sector 31 on April 22, 2006.

The suspects were later arrested by the vigilance department after they were reportedly caught taking a bribe of Rs 3,000. Kumar, a personal assistant to the conservator of forests, and Gurmukh, a peon in the latter’s office, had allegedly demanded the money from slain cop’s widow.

During the trial Chand’s son, Inderjit, submitted a written complaint to the police chief in September 2009 alleging one Surinder, claming to be from the vigilance department, Chandigarh, who had come to serve the court’s summons to him, had been intimidating him for resiling from his (Inderjit’s) statement against Kumar.

Inderjit further claimed Surinder came along with Kumar’s brother, Ved, and father-in-law to serve the summons at his petrol station in Gurgaon. He also stated Surinder even offered him Rs 1 lakh for retracting his statement.



Police alertness takes a beating
Poor patrol made it easy for car thieves: Complainant
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Surprises checks by the SSP, Naunihal Singh, to keep his force on alert have failed to yield the desired results. A lot remains to be done with regard to police response to the public even though police reaction to “mock” calls by the SSP recently was prompt.

A Manimajra resident today had a first-hand experience of the level of alertness and the networking of the UT Police when he informed the PCR within minutes after his car was stolen from outside his house past midnight.

Naveen Singh, a resident of Modern Housing Complex, said after informing the police he went out to trace his car and could not spot a single policeman on roads despite the fact that a message had been flashed.

He took a round of the area from the housing board lights, transport lights, railway lights and the IT park. Except for a PCR vehicle near a mall at Manimajra, there was no police party to be seen even after half hour of his informing the police about the theft.

Talking to The Tribune, he said he reached home at 10.30 pm and parked his Maruti Zen (CH 03 N 4157) outside his house. He was reading till 1 am. When he switched off the lights, he heard his dog bark and the car being started. His wife went to the balcony and called him when she saw someone take away the car.

“I called the PCR and gave details of the car. It was 1.10 am and I went out to look for it. On returning home after half hour, the police was waiting for me. It recorded my statement and inspected the spot before leaving,” he said.

Though the reaction time of the police was good, the thieves took advantage of the absence of any policeman on the road at mid-night. “Had the police been deployed at intersections, it would have been difficult for them to escape,” he said.

His neighbours told him that they had seen two youths sitting near his house in the evening. He said his car was equipped with a burglar’s alarm, but it did not go off.

Vehicle thefts top crime chart

Over 550 vehicles were stolen from the city till August this year. On an average, 70 vehicles are stolen from the city every month. A sector sealing scheme was implemented in Sector 22 which helped in bringing down the theft of vehicles in the area.



418 land one-kanal plot in 2nd draw
Our Correspondent

The draw of lots for Aerocity in progress in Mohali on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, September 29
As many as 418 plots measuring one kanal (500 square yards) were allotted in the second round of the draw of lots for the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority’s Aerocity housing project held today, with another 42 applicants put on the waiting list. A total of 38,576 applications were received in the ‘general’ category for 460 plots.

The names of the successful applicants were announced along with the application number at the time of the draw. They “lucky slips” were picked up from a glass box at the venue that was rotated frequently.

The draw began more than an hour behind its scheduled time with power failure said to be one of the reasons for the delay.

A number of real estate agents who had come from far away places had put up their tents along the main road adjacent to the venue to woo buyers and sellers, much to the annoyance of local property dealers. As soon as the draw commenced the latter raised objections to the “activities” of the outside agents and brought the matter to the notice of GMADA officials.

Later, police help was sought to remove “unapproved” real estate agents from the scene, who then raised slogans against the “treatment being meted out” to them. The latter were also seen distributing handouts and visiting cards to people outside the ‘pandal’ (canopy) at the time of the draw.

Though many of the successful applicants kept denying they had hit the jackpot, Rajbir from Hissar said he was lucky enough to get a plot in Mohali. “I applied for a plot as an investment and wouldn’t like to move here from my hometown. Of about 25 residents of Hissar who had applied for plots only four were lucky”, he added.

Two members of a family from Muktsar district were lucky enough to get two plots in the draw. Gurjeet Singh, a resident of Mehna village, said both his uncle, Jagroop Singh, and his nephew, Daljeet Singh, hit the jackpot, adding his family members had filed 44 applications forms between them.

When asked whether the plots would be sold or his family was interested in building houses in Mohali, Gurjeet replied a decision in this regard was yet to be taken.



Taking e-Revolution to differently abled
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

The Crusader: Priti Rohra
The Crusader: Priti Rohra

Chandigarh, September 29
In India, a new website is launched every single minute, but a sizeable population of differently abled remains untouched by this technological revolution. Shocking, as it may sound, but out of over 6,000 government websites across the country, only six or seven are of use for persons suffering from visual, hearing, mental and other disabilities. Out of the seven disabled-friendly government websites, two are: the National Portal of India and the website of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment.

Blame it on lack of awareness or otherwise, even big MNCs operating from India do not come forward for such a cause. Having realised this, Priti Rohra, a young IT professional with only 40 per cent of the normal eye vision, decided to make e-revolution an integral part of the lives of many like her.

“I studied with students who were not like me and could see clearly. Now I am engaged in testing and developing softwares for the differently abled,” said, Priti Rohra, currently heading accessibility testing in a Mumbai-based IT company.

Priti is here to participate in two-day IT event “e-Revolution”, being hosted by the UT Administration in collaboration with the Punjab Government and the STPI. The event kick started at Hotel Mount View, Sector 10, today.

Replying to a query as to how web portals are made accessible to the differently abled, Rohra said, “There are specific technologies that are used the world over to make web portals user friendly to all. These technologies have been developed as per the W3C guidelines, which are web content accessibility guidelines. In fact, it is mandatory across the globe to be disabled-friendly before being registered.”

However, the Indian Government was yet to wake up to the needs of such persons and formulate any such laws or guidelines, she added.



Admn comes out in support of Josan
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Coming out in support of Sector 10 DAV College principal Balbir Chand Josan, the Chandigarh administration today said a person approaching the court could not be victimised for “ill-motivated” reasons.

In an affidavit submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Ajoy Sharma, director, Higher Education, Chandigarh administration, said the circumstances showed that the entire action of DAV College governing body was “utterly malafide as the same started only upon the challenge of the transfer orders by the principal in this court”.

In the affidavit placed before Justice Rajive Bhalla, Sharma added that the entire action of the governing body in conducting the meeting of September 14 without circulating any agenda, without properly intimating the UT administration in time and without sending the minutes of meeting till date, was absolutely illegal and malafide.

Sharma asserted: “If the incumbent is placed under suspension, the Chandigarh administration is obliged to pay 95 per cent suspension allowance to the incumbent under suspension. Hence, the Chandigarh administration does not approve the passing of the suspension orders and launch of disciplinary action against the incumbent unless the same has proper and due concurrence of the Chandigarh administration, it being a grant in aid post.”

On behalf of the Chandigarh administration, Sharma said, “The governing body “cannot under the garb of conveying one line agenda of discussing about its principal take such a sweeping decision as would completely tantamount to undermining the authority of the Chandigarh administration and Panjab University and vesting all powers of the governing body in a single individual namely its president/secretary till further orders.”

“This in a nutshell conveys that the administration and Panjab University stand altogether excluded from the functioning of the governing body, till further orders, so that the body could continue its illegal designs at the back of the Chandigarh administration and PU.”

Sharma said: “If the governing body like the petitioner college is given freedom to take its own decision, then it would pass fantastic and wholly illegal resolutions like the one adopted on 14-9-2010, when without any agenda it discussed and resolved issued orders of suspension and chargesheet to Dr Balbir Chand Josan and further without any agenda or requirement thereof gave power of entire governing body to a single individual.”

“On one hand, the petitioner says that the governing body has to act collectively in the matter, and on the other, it surreptitiously gave the entire powers of the governing body to a single individual, namely, its president/secretary. This shows inherent contradictions on part of the petitioner for malafide reasons.”



Policy on recruitment, promotion deferred
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Are the authorities of the municipal corporation really serious of formulating a recruitment and promotion policy for their employees? After a great hue and cry by councillors, the authorities tabled the agenda of service rules after six years, but a majority of councillors were not in favour of discussion and the house deferred it.

Interestingly, after the authorities framed service rules, Mayor Anu Chatrath constituted a seven-member committee of councillors, officials and employees’ representatives for making suggestions while finalising rules’ ignoring the plea of MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria, who kept on informing the house that due to a staff crunch major works was either lying pending or going on at a slow pace.

During the last four house meetings, councillors had been pressurising Sunkaria to table service rules before asking approval for any new posts in any department.

Even two months back, the house had rejected the proposal to appoint 22 subdivision officers, posts which were lying vacant in the corporation, on the plea that without service rules, they would not allow any new recruitment in the corporation to be allowed.

However, as per records of the corporation, there were around 1,200 posts lying vacant in various departments. There were 97 posts lying vacant in the Commissioner’s office, including the Mani Majra sub-office, 118 in public health wing, 158 in road wing, 107 in horticulture wing, 44 in electricity wing and 371 in the medical health officer’s office.

In 1997, in the general house meeting, it was decided that Punjab rules of 1965 would be followed on transferred employees. In 2005, a notification was approved by the house which repealed the 1965 Punjab rules.

It was decided that all transferred employees in the corporation would be considered as regular employees and fresh service rules would be framed for them.

All important posts in most departments were being held by deputationists from neighbouring states or the administration as the corporation authorities had not been able to promote their employees due to the non-availability of service rules.



Dept heads to be accountable for delays: MC Commissioner
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Municipal Corporation Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria today said responsibility of the department head would be fixed for any delay in the completion of development works allotted to private contractors with specific deadlines.

He said this during the general house meeting here. The MC Commissioner also announced that all works approved earlier would be allotted by October 15.

As soon as the meeting commenced, councillors, including those of the opposition and the ruling Congress, along with nominated ones criticised the lackadaisical attitude of the officers for delay in the completion of the development works approved by the general house long ago.

Sunkaria said during review meetings of the past four months, he had found that most works were either not allotted by the department concerned or contractors were not completing these on time.

Taking a serious view of this, the MC Commissioner said a warning would be issued to all department heads for any delay in allotment or completion of work and explanation would be sought.

Besides, five per cent penalty would be imposed on the contractor for the delay in completion of work.

He also suggested to increase the penalty amount on the contractor from five per cent to 10 per cent.

Informing the house, the MC Commissioner said delay in the allotment of majority of works was due to re-tendering, as only single party applied for it some times and under the central vigilance commission guidelines, work could not be allotted if one tender was submitted.

To avoid delay in allotment of works, he has now empowered the executive engineers of the departments to reject single tenders and invite fresh tenders at their own level rather than follow the lengthy procedure again.



MC divided over waiving water dues
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Confusion prevailed in the general house meeting of the MC today on the issue of non-clearance of water tariff dues worth Rs 4 crore pending against the horticulture wing of the Chandigarh administration for 2002. A majority of councillors objected to why no action was taken by the authorities to recover the amount from the administration.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria said as all green belts and gardens would be transferred to the corporation, it would have to bear the liabilities. The Mayor, Anu Chatrath, said the authorities should not waive the huge amount pending.

The MC Commissioner suggested that the amount should be waived by the house as the MC had to maintain the green belts and gardens. Objecting on it, the councillors said the horticulture wing was recently transferred to the corporation.

Regarding the non-payment of water bills by the government department, the authorities tabled a list of 106 defaulters from whom they had to recover around Rs 5.06 crore. A report said connections of a majority of the defaulters had been disconnected.

Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma said when the administration had not waived the corporation’s electricity bill, the MC should not lose such a big amount.


  • Expressing helplessness in deciding rules for community centres, nominated councillor Brig Kuldeep Chandpuri (retd) requested the the Mayor to call a meeting of the art culture and sports committee, along with officials, to thrash the matter
  • Nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjee objected to the purchase of expensive lights for fountains. Referring to the recent purchase of lights costing Rs 7,000, he said lights costing Rs 1,000 were available in the market and such wastage should be avoided
  • MP Pawan Kumar Bansal instructed councillors not to take up controversial issues relating to the past five years in the house
  • Nominated councillor Arshad Khan objected to the auction of the fish market which was supposed to be allotted to wholesalers and retailers at a nominal fee as per the proposal drafted by the authority before the construction of the project
  • Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla proposed a housing society for MC employees
  • The house approved 100 acres for a dumping ground across Patiala-ki-Rao



10-ft sludge accumulates near Tikkar Tal
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Landslides have broken roads at several places near Tikkar Tal at Morni. Tribune photographs

Tikkar Tal (Panchkula), September 29
Even as the vehicular traffic on the Morni-Tikkar Tal road has been restored, landslides completely damaged about 300-meter stretch near this tourist spot as 8 to 10 feet of sludge has accumulated on the main road.

This has not only affected the tourist flow to the site, but also affected the repair of electricity and water supply lines to about four dozen villages falling under the Ponta and Kundan village panchayats, which had been damaged by the landslides.

One of the residents, Ranjot Singh, said he had submitted representation to the district administration for restoring water and electricity supply to these villages, but nothing had been done so far. He said students of senior secondary school were facing problems, as they could not prepare for the pre-board tests to be held next month.

One of the teachers, Kishan Thakur, a resident of Morni, said they had to cover 2-km distance from Tikkar Tal to school complex. He said there was 8 to 10 feet high sludge on the 300-metre stretch and it would take at least two weeks for the JCB machines to clear the road.

He claimed that there was very thin presence of students and teachers, as those living in far off places had no mode of transport.

Ramesh and Surinder, former sarpanches, said farmers in the area have suffered huge losses as crops were damaged in about 10 to 20 acres in these villages. Reports of 50 houses damaged in the recent rain had also been reported to the naib tehsildar, he added.

The 2-km stretch on the Trilokpur-Raipur Rani road had also been damaged in the landslides and the PWD and the B&R have pressed JCB machines into service to clear the road. The officials were also repairing the two roads, which have caved in at almost one dozen places. The officials, on the condition of anonymity, said work on damaged roads, on Morni-Tikkar Tal and Trilokpur-Raipur Rani stretch, was going on a war-footing and they expected to fully restore the vehicular traffic on the road soon.

It is worth mentioning here that about 150 feet deep gorge was created last month, damaging about 20 feet road, affecting the vehicular traffic on the route of Morni and Raipur Rani.

Dr Harmesh Morni, former district president of the Congress, Promila Devi, sarpanch, Bhoj Kudana, and Urmila, member of the Block Development Board, urged the district administration to repair damaged roads on a war-footing so that electricity and water supply lines could be rectified in the affected villages. They also suggested that tourists should not be allowed to visit Tikkar Tal to avoid any major mishap.

Meanwhile, the building, including a restaurant and bar, which was under construction at Tikkar Tal, has completely submerged into water, causing loss to the tune of about Rs 1 crore. The main complex was not damaged as hundreds of trees near it stopped the sludge from damaging the cafeteria and other rooms in the complex. Senior officials from the Tourism department today visited the site to access the loss besides video graphing the damage.



Delightful mix of satire, intrigue
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, September 29
The Indian People Theatre Association (IPTA), Mumbai, presented a Hindi play “Aaall Izz Well With Shuturmurgh”, on the third day of the ongoing tourism week celebrations at the Tagore Theatre here today.

The play, written by Gayandev Agnihotri in 1968, was directed by Bollywood director Ramesh Talwar with certain aberrations made by actor Rakesh Bedi to project the lively and realistic portrayal of contemporary realities in politics and governance.

Known for staging plays radical in content with a didactic approach, the IPTA ensemble juxtaposed the rampant corruption patronised by those at the helm of affairs. The play with oblique references touched the issues of wastage of public money on statues, corruption in construction and other areas in the Commonwealth Games, failure in checking the floods, etc. Yet the netas presume that their unethical acts are not noticed by anyone.

The playwright had veritably compared such social enemies with an ostrich (shuturmurugh) that tends to bury its head and neck to hide itself, believing it is not visible. The play brings into focus the current issues of hunger, corruption, misuse of power, greed and deceit.

The story revolves around the gay king of Shuturmurg empire, who in connivance with his ministers, plays with his subjects, bribing the opposition leader. Living away from the sordid realities of life, the queen relishes to experiment on a dying person. A revolt brews and the masses awaken. The play was a delightful mix of intrigue, romance, humour, and powerful satire, but with a serious intent to intervene and participate in the political dialogue of the times by debating societal concerns.

Thespian actor Rakesh Bedi and Assif Sheikh stole the limelight as did Bharat Kapoor, Avtar Gill, Jaspal Sandhu, Rashmi Sharma and Manju Sharma.



Anti-encroachment drive
MC adopts pick-and-choose policy?
Rajiv Bhatia

Encroachments on the Baltana-Panchkula link road in Zirakpur. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, September 29
It seems that the enforcement wing of the Zirakpur municipal council is in no mood to remove encroachments from Zirakpur, Baltana and other surrounding areas of the town. As if fulfilling only a formality, the councils’ inspector merely removed the rehriwalas (street vendors) from the roads, but failed to remove the extension encroachments from outside the shops in the markets.

It is learnt that in the past several council meetings MC president NK Sharma had asked the officials concerned to remove the encroachments from Zirakpur, but not a single encroachment has been removed as yet. The worst affected areas included the market on the Baltana-Panchkula road and the Zirakpur main market, where shopkeepers had encroached on the walking paths of the market, thereby blocking the corridors.

They had also extended the encroachments to the parking spaces in front of their shops. They had stacked their goods, including utensils, glow signboards, empty boxes of electronic items, along the road.

Sapna Dhaliwal, a resident of Zirakpur, said due to these encroachments it was difficult for the shoppers to walk through markets. “The municipal council should remove the encroachments as it puts shoppers to inconvenience,” she adds.

One of the street vendors, on the condition of anonymity, alleged that MC officials had adopted a pick-and-choose policy while removing the encroachments.

Municipal councillor from ward number 12, Jagtar Singh, said the encroachment should be removed from the market areas before taking any action against street vendors, who belonged to economically weaker sections.

Talking to The Tribune, district planning chairman and MC president NK Sharma claimed that the anti-encroachment drive would be launched in coming days to remove these encroachments. He added that, “Hefty fine would be charged from the violators.”



Ayodhya Verdict
Admn issues prohibitory orders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Fearing an agitation by some anti-social elements ahead of the verdict in the case of Ram Mandir vs Babri Masjid to be pronounced by the High Court of Allahabad on September 30, the Chandigarh administration today issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.

According to a press note, the public in general is prohibited from carrying lathis, forming an assembly of five or more persons, taking out processions, making speeches and raising slogans within the Union Territory, Chandigarh, for a period of two days.

The order would come into effect from the zero hour on September 30, 2010, and will be effective for a period of two days up to October 1, 2010.

District Magistrate Brijendra Singh issued the prohibition orders, as there were apprehensions that such groups and organisations might cause obstruction, annoyance, or injury to persons lawfully employed and endanger human life and property, disturb public peace and tranquility and cause riots.

Naunihal Singh, SSP, said elaborate security arrangements had been made to check any untoward incidents.

Meetings had been held with all prominent religious leaders, he added.

Meanwhile, a meeting of Traders Association, Sector 17, demanded more security in the sector and other sensitive areas. The meeting also requested the police to deploy personnel outside prominent religious structures in the city to avoid any untoward incident.



Brawl at bus stand holds up flag march
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
Officials of the Panchkula police, while taking out a flag march in the city on the eve of the High Court verdict over Ram Janambhoomi controversy, had to face law and order problem on the way here today. The situation, however, had nothing to do with Ayodhya.

A brawl among passengers and Haryana Roadways staff held the flag march for at least half-an-hour in front of the bus stand.

It was in the evening that an official of Haryana State Roads and Bridges Corporation, identified as Pankaj, an IT manager, was insulted and roughed up in the presence of his wife by roadways staff. It was alleged that Pankaj had boarded the bus from the front door while the bus was in motion. In case of an accident the driver would have got into trouble, it was further alleged.

The roadways staff even took the couple towards workshop and allegedly insulted them. The passengers, including students, agitated over the behaviour of the roadways staff, pelted stones at them in an attempt to free the couple from their custody.

Meanwhile, the flag march consisting of 350 police personnel, including Superintendent of Police, Maneesh Chaudhary, all deputy superintendents of police and all SHOs of Panchkula reached the spot and on the intervention of the police the roadways staff tendered an apology before the couple and a compromise was reached between the two parties.



Keep promises, pensioners urge Punjab govt
Our Correspondent

Punjab Government Pensioners block a road in Mohali on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, September 29
The Punjab government pensioners held a protest here today against the failure of the government to implement the promises which were made by the SAD before coming to power in the state.

Members of the Punjab Government Pensioners Joint Front gathered at Phase VIII and marched in protest against the indifferent and adamant attitude of the state government towards their demands.

One of the conveners of the front, Om Parkash Gabha, said the election manifesto of the SAD had clearly mentioned on page 25 that “the party, if came to power, will make every possible effort to remove the anomalies of the pensioners retiring from various services of the Punjab government”.

The SAD-BJP combine came to power in February, 2007, but neither were the anomalies removed nor had the Punjab Chief Minister called the pensioners to listen to their problems. The letters and requests to the Chief Minister by the front had fallen on deaf ears, added Gabha.

The protesters said if the pensioners were not called for talks by the government, the front would be compelled to hold a protest march towards Lambi, the assembly constituency of Badal, and also gherao ministers.



I-T survey on group of paper manufacturers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Income tax (I-T) officials have initiated a survey on a group of paper manufacturers, Nachiketa Papers Limited, Nidhi Pipes, Haripur Paper Company, Haripur Kraft Company and Rainbow Laminates, under the supervision of Commissioner, Income Tax-I.

Officials swooped down on various places, including Dera Bassi and Barotiwala, this afternoon and the survey was continuing at the time of filing of this report.

While the officials refused to divulge details of the outcome of the survey, sources in the I-T department revealed that tax evasion had been detected after thoroughly examining records of these units.

According to sources, the Haripur Kraft Company and the Haripur Paper Company were Barotiwala-based units while the Nachiketa Papers Limited was based at Dera Bassi unit.

“Once the department calculates the extent of concealed income by the director of these factories on the basis of information collected during the survey and details of high-value transactions, a survey report will be prepared and due tax liability raised against the business group,” the sources said.



Laser fountain at Sector 17
Traders hail decision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Traders of Sector 17 have hailed the decision of municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) to install a laser fountain in Sector 17. The traders said other under-developed areas such as Sector 17-A, B and parts of C and D were far behind as far as development was concerned.

It was mentioned that the corporation had already sanctioned Rs 2.9 crore for the overall development of this left-out area, but the amount was yet to be released.

The association decided to approach the UT Administrator and other higher authorities to clear all pending projects like food court, mini amusement park, and multi-level parking which had been hanging fire for quite some time now.

The meeting was attended by JPS Kalra, Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, LC Arora, Mandeep Singh, Rajinder Manocha, Neeraj Bajaj, Sudhir Talwar, JS Sodhi, Karanbir Singh, Harjit Singh and HS Guzral.



Nutrition conference at PGI from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
“Gone are the days when books and games kept children preoccupied. Today one can see them watching TV or binging on chocolates and junk food. A study done by the PGI on 1,500 children in the age group of 5 to 15 years reveals that about 15 per cent of them are obese,” stated Dr BR Thapa, head paediatric gastroenterolgy, PGI, ahead of the three-day National Conference of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Conference 2010 (PGHANCON-2010).

The conference will begin tomorrow. It is being organised by the department of gastroenterology, a division of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, PGI.

Out of these obese children, 15 were suffering from hypertension and 40 per cent of them were having liver functional abnormalities, he said.

Children in this age group should participate in games and other activities, said Dr Thapa.

Dr Thapa said scientific deliberations would be delivered by expert guest faculty from India and abroad. “Around 400 delegates are expected to attend the congress,” he said.

The experts will dwell on problems related to gastrointestinal tract, liver and nutrition.



Bhavan Vidyalaya’s students first in quiz
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Chandigarh School Tourism Quiz organised by the department of tourism, UT administration, in collaboration with the University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism (UIHMT) concluded today at Government Museum. More than 28 teams from various city schools participated in the quiz, which was divided into two parts.

In the first round, teams took a test, in which 30 questions on various facets of Chandigarh and general awareness were asked.

Five teams reached the final level, which was divided into nine rounds, including audio and visual rounds. The theme of these rounds was Chandigarh, cultural and heritage tourism, tourism and wildlife, Indian cities, Indian monuments and tourist places of India, besides abbreviations. Two visual rounds and one audio round were held. Bhavan Vidyalaya’s team comprising Parichaya Walia and Bhisham Khanna bagged the first position, while the team of Vivek Mehta and Nishant Ojha from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, stood second. Aradhana Gupta and Surbhi Mahajan from Carmel Convent School bagged the third position.



Peace Fest
Workshops mark Day 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The second day of International Youth Peace Festival started with an Indian immersion experience at local schools. Young delegates from over 15 countries got a taste of Indian classrooms at Saupins School, Dev Samaj College, Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 16, SGGS College and The Gurukul, Panchkula.

Back at the GGD SD College, Sector 32, Indian students attended two art workshops, one led by Ravinder Sharma, who used scraps of magazines and newspapers to make collages on issues related to peace and environment. The other workshop, led by a World Comics India, taught students to sketch comics that ranged from humorous to issue-based.

A group of students joined Anurag John, a Bangalore-based environmentalist, in a conversation with Pakistani students, who were recently denied visa to participate in the fest. Speaking on terrorism, culture, similarities, and differences, students said mental barriers needed to be broken to achieve peace between India and Pakistan. 



Industrialists meet admn officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A delegation of Federation of Small Scale Industries held a meeting with senior officials of the Chandigarh administration. The delegation demanded that a meeting of the Single Window Committee be held every month. They said the Industrial Advisory Committee should also hold a meeting every three months. Besides, the delegation demanded that the solar energy system and kitchenware accessories industries should be included in Chapter I of the industrial policy, all small plots/sheds should be allowed to use industrial land for commercial purpose and leasehold plots should be converted into freehold.

Setting up of 66 KVA sub-station in Industrial Area, Phase-II, and handing over of the maintenance work of roads and electricity to the Chandigarh administration instead of the municipal corporation in Industrial Area were other demands raised at the meeting.



NRI accuses cops of inaction
Tribune News Service

Chaandni Gautam addresses mediapersons in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo

Chandigarh, September 29
Chaandni Gautam, a UK-based NRI, today accused the Mohali police of not taking action on her complaint of cheating against the manager of a private bank.

She alleged that the accused, who was working with a Sector 9-based private bank, offered to deposit her cheque for Rs 50 lakh in her account in April this year as she was leaving abroad.

The accused fraudulently opened a bank account in her name with a private bank at Mohali. He deposited the amount with it and later withdrew the money.

She also said she had submitted a complaint to the Mohali police, but to no avail. She had met the Mohali SSP, seeking prompt action.



Admission allowed

Chandigarh, September 29
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accorded permission for admitting the fifth batch of students for 2010-11.

Hundred seats are available at Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital of Panjab University.

As per a communication received from under secretary to the Union government Anita Tandon, a committee constituted under the chairmanship of Dean, Maulana Azad Medical College, considered the matter in consultation with the Dental Council of India and observed that all new appointments were made in faculty positions and faculty members had joined the institute. — TNS



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