C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CHB oh-so-poor now
Can’t make underpasses or even pay salaries in future
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service


  • Rs 120-cr Nehru Centre for Performing Arts project stalled
  • Underpasses, ‘intelligent green’ building office, slum rehabilitation scheme unlikely to take off
  • IT dept seized board FDRs worth Rs 328.48 cr
  • CHB poorer by Rs 596.48 cr
  • Home Secy has questioned the “hush-hush manner” in which housing dept is pursuing the Centre for Performing Arts project

Chandigarh, September 30
With all major projects stalled, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), which until recently enjoyed a cash surplus, has now slid deeply into the red. The situation is so precarious that very soon it may not be able to even pay salaries to its employees.

The shocking revelation forms part of an official communication sent by CHB chairman Mohanjeet Singh to the adviser to the UT administrator, Pradeep Mehra. Following the income tax department’s seizure of bank fixed deposit receipts worth Rs 328.48 crore, the board recently admitted it had got poorer by Rs 596.48 crore.

Probably the biggest loser is the ambitious Rs 120 crore Nehru Centre for Performing Arts, work on which was to commence soon. The project has been grounded indefinitely.

In the official board communication Mohanjeet conceded important projects including underpasses and the ‘intelligent green’ building office, which were at the implementation stage, might have to be shelved.

Things have come to such a pass because of the huge financial losses incurred by CHB, particularly in handling the finances of the Pride Asia project.

“The board’s shaky financial condition has resulted due to the UT administration retaining Pride Asia funds instead of depositing them with the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) and by bypassing the normal budgetary process on which the home affairs ministry had raised serious objections,” said Mohanjeet.

He added the decision to deposit the money with the CFI was taken at a recent meeting at which the UT administrator said that the decision to retain the money with the administration was a “blunder”.

At the same time it has been pointed out that the issue of handling the Pride Asia finances by the finance department was taken by the administration collectively and not by the department individually. CHB need not bother about the projects because the administration could provide the matching grants, sources added. The board communication mentions “as a result of the opening up of the joint account CHB has been hit very hard because, besides depositing money with the CFI, the income tax department seized bank FDRs totalling Rs 328.48 crore of the board. CHB got poorer by Rs 596.48 crore.”

Meanwhile, in an official communication to UT administrator, home secretary Ram Niwas has questioned the “hush-hush manner in which the housing department was pursuing the Centre for Performing Arts project by ignoring the end-user department”.



Admission Racket
PGI to review selection of exam centres
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Frequent PGI test centres

  • DAV School, Sector 8
  • DAV School, Sector 15
  • PGGCG, Sector 11
  • PGGC, Sector 11
  • Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Sector 15
  • MCM DAV College, Sector 36

Chandigarh, September 30
Accepting the possibility that the examination centres may have been “infiltrated” in the past, the PGI has decided to review the selection and allotment of examination centres in the city. With The Tribune blowing the lid off the “sale” of MD seats in the PGI, the institute authorities are now concentrating on making the forthcoming MD/MS examination foolproof.

For decades, only a handful of schools and colleges have served as PGI examination centres and no change was made even in the process of conducting the tests.

As a precautionary measure, the PGI never reveals the names of the centres till admit cards are issued. Despite this, the idea of centres being “manipulated” by agents has shaken the PGI authorities.

While all attempts to contact Naresh Virdi, PGI Registrar, proved futile, Dr Amod Gupta, Sub-Dean and member of the recently constituted five-member review committee, said: “The exam centres remained more or less the same, but it is mainly because many places do not have the requisite facility to conduct the exam. We have our own security measures, but the claims of agents are perturbing and we will review the entire system. The committee will finalise an action plan. The system was reviewed two years ago, but no major changes have been made since a decade. A decision on photo identification is also in the offing.”

The DIG (CBI), Mahesh Aggarwal, refused to divulge any details, saying that all angles were being probed and documents were being sought from the PGI.

PGI officials said given the standards of the test paper, only physicians excelling in general medicines could crack the examination with ease.



Racket mastermind on the run
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Even as the CBI continues its hunt for Gaurav Shalin and Vipul Jain, the Mumbai-based agents who were involved in the impersonation racket for admission to the PGI here, Tribune investigations have revealed that several other agents are also operating similar rackets.

Gaurav Shalin who ran the racket under the garb of running a coaching centre — Career Makers — is a resident of Kandivali in Mumbai and has been absconding after a case was registered against him on September 28.

CBI sources revealed that he had left for Pune that day and was to return the same day, but managed to slip away.

Several coaching centres in New Delhi and Mumbai are covertly running the seats-for-money scam.

With the arrest of Dr Amit Musale and Dr Sujay Sonawane, junior residents of the PGI, on charges of fraudulently securing admissions, it appears that the focus of the CBI is only on this case while the other racketeers are still to come under its scanner.

Tribune investigations have revealed that a large number of operators were active in the city during pre-medical entrance tests (PMET). Local operators, apart from those active at the national level, could land in the CBI’s net if the matter is probed thoroughly. The CBI probe is so far centred around Gaurav Shalin, the mastermind of the racket. Investigators say the arrest of the accused will help them in unearthing the racket and custodial interrogation could shed light on the involvement of PGI officials, if any.

More cases of fraudulent admissions to MBBS courses in medical colleges at Ambala and Ludhiana could surface at later stages of investigations if the CBI widens its scope.

Sources said the CBI was procuring mobile phone call details of the mastermind, the two doctors and other people involved to get more evidence about their involvement.

The two doctors, who are on a two-day police remand, are in the custody of the CBI till October 1. The CBI will produce them before the special CBI court tomorrow.



SC asks city Cong chief to vacate Sec 26 SCO
Hotel President owner given time till March
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

BB Bahl Chandigarh, September 30
Delivering its verdict against Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee chief and owner of Hotel President BB Bahl, a division bench of the Supreme Court directed him to vacate the shop-cum-office no 21 in Sector 26 by March, 2011. The hotel occupies two premises - SCOs 21 and 22. While the former has been rented, Bahl owns the latter.

The Congress party leader had filed a special leave petition on July 5 this year challenging the Punjab & Haryana High Court order on March 29 asking him to vacate SCO 21 within six months.

Confirming the SC order, advocate Anuj Raura, counsel for the SCO’s owner, Sawinder Singh Patwalia, stated: “Taking up the case the apex court directed Bahl to vacate SCO 21 by March next year.”

Patwalia had purchased the shop-cum-office on August 11, 1977. Bahl signed a lease deed with him for renting it on September 5, 1988 for 11 months at a monthly rental of Rs 7,500. The adjoining SCO that Bahl now owns was constructed later. Bahl combined the two shop-cum-offices in violation of the approved site plan. The UT estate office then initiated resumption proceedings against Patwalia.

In 1996 Patwalia filed a case against Bahl on grounds of materially impairing the value and utility of the building by removing the common wall and altering the building’s permanent structure against the site plan.

On January 23, 2007 the rent comptroller pronounced the orders in the case in favour of Patwalia. Bahl then appealed against the orders in February 2007 and the sessions court in March 2009.

Reacting to the SC division bench’s directive, Bahl said: “I accept the court’s order will accordingly remove my goods from SCO 21”, adding his hotel might undergo a major renovation.



Punjab, Haryana ex-MLAs lowest-paid pensioners
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Even after upward revision of their pensions, retired or former members of state legislatures of Punjab and Haryana continue to be lowest-paid pensioners in the country.

Talking to The Tribune, JS Multani, president of the Punjab ex-MLAs Association, said while Haryana had revised the monthly pension of its MLAs to Rs 7,500 a month and Punjab was about to do so, most of other states were paying their former legislators a minimum monthly pension of Rs 10,000.

“I undertook a complete study of all state legislatures, travelled to different states and collected data. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and even Delhi pay Rs 10,000 a month as pension to their former legislators. Not only that, most of the states also grant to their ex-legislators petrol or diesel allowance, besides a monthly telephone allowance,” claims JS Multani, who remained a member of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for a full five-year term from 1997, besides remaining a member of the SGPC for 18 years.

“It took me two years and cost me about Rs 2 lakh to collect rules governing salaries and allowances of sitting and retired legislators. It makes an interesting study. Some states even allow free travel facility to ex-legislators. Ex-MLAs in Punjab,” he says, “are also allowed free travel in air-conditioned buses of the state. They can also take their spouses and a personal attendant with them.”

Though the Punjab government decided in 1998 and amended its pension rules to allow ex-legislators to be treated on a par with government employees, Multani rues that a formal notification of giving ex-legislators dearness pension has still not been issued. It was to become effective in 2004.

Claiming himself to be a class fellow of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, JS Multani claims it was he who persuaded his former law college friend to go for the revision of salaries, allowances and pension rules of sitting and retired legislators.

Haryana, he says, has also taken the lead in allowing ex-legislators facility of complete refund of medical treatment from approved private hospitals on a par with the sitting MLAs and the ministers. Punjab, Himachal and Delhi, however, do not allow reimbursement of the bills of treatment at private clinics and hospitals. Multani favours a uniform code to govern pay, allowances, medical reimbursement and pension to both sitting and the retired MLAs.


Paid response to plays at Tagore Theatre
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Rs 100 tickets favourite

Rs 100 tickets were the favourites for theatre buffs as they comprised about 60 per cent of the total ticket sold by the Tourism Department during the recent plays. The administration had fixed two rates — Rs 200 and Rs 100.

Chandigarh, September 30
Long used to freebies, VIPs and art connoisseurs in the city have woken up to the culture of buying tickets for watching good theatre. This was more than evident at the “paid response” to the three plays staged at Tagore Theatre here as a part of the World Tourism Day celebrations.

The first-of-its-kind initiative by the Chandigarh administration seems to be more than symbolic as its had driven home the point that high connections were not enough to get you a free pass for a theatrical performance in the city.

Officials said that over 800 passes were sold during the three days besides complimentary passes to the media and sponsors. In a development that augers well for the revival of theatre in Chandigarh, around Rs 2.5 lakh was collected as a way of revenue from the sale of tickets, officials said.

While “Rashtriya Bhrastachar Adhiveshan”, the first play on September 27 having local star cast, began with a lukewarm response, the next day’s play “Perfect Wife” starring Poonam Dhillon saw a nearly full house. The September 29 play, “Aaall Izz Well with Shuturmurgh,” starring Bollywood actor Rakesh Bedi also saw theatre lovers in large numbers.

“We have been able to start a new trend of ticketed shows in Chandigarh. This would go a long way in the promotion of performing arts,” UT Home-cum-Cultural Affairs Secretary Ram Niwas said.

Small gesture of buying tickets by dignitaries, including Justice Mukul Mudgil, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the UT Administrator, and Ram Niwas, went a long way in convincing art enthusiasts that the administration meant business this time.

Appreciating administration’s decision of making entry paid, Gurcharan Singh, a theatre lover, said this would weed out the so-called VIPs who considered watching a play by high-profile cast as a “status symbol”.



GMADA tightens noose around perjurers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 30
Even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed issuing of letter of intent (LOI) to the successful applicants in the Aerocity, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is tightening its noose around those who filed false information to secure the plots.

All those who have submitted false information could get into trouble. The incident of ace shooter Abhinav Bindra giving a wrong undertaking while applying for a plot 
under sports quota has added impetus to GMADA’s move.

“To have a complete transparency in the allotment process, we would be posting complete information of the successful applicants on the website. If anyone has any complaint, the authorities can be approached and suitable action would be taken,” said a senior GMADA official.

GMADA has started getting complaints of the successful applicants in reserved categories already having availed the benefit elsewhere in Punjab.

The authorities are also contemplating to cross verify the details furnished by the successful applicants with the data of the other development authorities in Punjab.

VP Singh, chief administrator of GMADA, said the authority would be posting complete information relating to Aerocity so that those keen on seeking information under the RTI could get the information from GMADA’s website.

But verifying the credentials of those applying from out station could be a problem for the officials. By not restricting one plot per family, GMADA is under criticism for circumventing the rules and regulations to allow maximum betting on its plots.

Shalinder Anand, a local realtor, said the premium of plots had unnecessarily been hiked by out station real estate agents and it had created panic in the market. This has also created panic among the investors.

“Since GMADA had specified that an individual could apply any number of plots, a number of persons filled multiple applications and it was nothing less than playing lottery,” said Amit, another real estate developer.

Draw of lots for 300 sq yard of 502 plots was held here today. Due to objections raised by the applicants regarding the proper mixing of receipts, the draw started over two hours behind schedule. While the draw for 502 plots in general category was held in the morning, the draw for reserved category was held in the afternoon.



‘Social networking sites latest marketing tools’
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Who would have thought that the “pink chaddi” campaign by a motley group of young girls from Manglore would stir a nationwide debate when some self-styled activists protested against girls going to pubs, terming it “un-Indian”.

The debate did not end there. The activists received “pink chaddis” online from across the seas, spanning continents, supporting the cause of the girls. Thus began the transformation as marketing moved from television screens to computer screens.

Innovation is the buzzword nowadays when it comes to selling a product. So it is no surprise when a small sentence written in “cool” lingo posted as a tweet is actually doing wonders for a company selling a ship or a needle.

Social media or social networking sites are the latest tools, that are being increasingly used to market products by all companies, big or small.

“It is easier to tap and nurture consumers through social media simply because of the measurability of the online media and the social media,” said Alok Ramsisaria, technology marketeer of Regalix.

This was the gist of the hour-long session on the second day of the two-day IT conclave, ‘e-revolution 2010’. The panelists, comprising young IT entrepreneurs, could not have agreed on more. The post-lunch session, New Age Marketing, probably attracted maximum number of youngsters despite the complexities of the subject.

The reason was simple. The youngsters could directly relate to the new mode of marketing products on the social networking websites, including Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and Linkedin, besides many more.

“Social media has increased the interactivity with the consumers, which was missing earlier. The competition is, in fact, so stiff that now social networking sites have pushed search engines to a corner,” said Atul Gupta, CEO of Red Alkemi.

Vinod Harith, founder-director of CMO Axis, said, “The trend of using social media as a marketing tool is going to shape the way of communication and dissemination of information. We know more about people through their Facebook profiles than personally and this helps when you are selling a product. One of the biggest plus points of using social media is inclusiveness. One can reach a broad spectrum of people.”

“Another big advantage of using social media as a marketing tool is that the gap between big and small companies diminishes. Everyone is equal marketing their products through social networking websites,” said Rajesh Lalwani, founder-principal of Blogworks.



A haven for anti-social elements
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The green belt in Sector 29, which came up just two years ago, not only lacks infrastructure, but has also emerged as a haven for drug addicts and “love birds”, especially those bunking schools and colleges, courtesy the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned.

The park has virtually become a hideout of gamblers and anti-social elements, who can be seen playing cards in the evening. Forced upon to stay away from the park, residents blame the authorities for the sorry state of the park.

Lights in the park are lying dysfunctional. Public toilet in the park is out of bounds, as the contractor to whom the work was outsourced, did not bother to throw it open to public.

Residents alleged that as labourers did not get their wages, they stalled the work. “We have not seen any labourer or contractor in the park for the past four months,” said residents. Women joggers hesitate to enter the park, as some youths “hijack” the place in the evening and keep passing lewd remarks.

A resident of the area said after their repeated pleas, the authorities had replaced the streetlights last month, but some miscreants in order to avoid arrest broke the lights. “These youths are often seen using abusive language. They take drugs openly,” he said. Such elements should be brought to book, he added.

Gardeners rued that they had informed the authorities about the broken park lights a fortnight ago, but nothing concrete had been done so far.

Residents can send their views on public parks in their areas to saveourparks@tribunemail.com

speaking out

Brijesh PandeyBrijesh Pandey, a sportsperson, said the authorities should ban the entry of anti-social elements to the park. He asked why was the horticulture department being blamed, when it was the responsibility of the police to safeguard the environment from such anti-social elements.


Major ChauhanMajor Chauhan, an employee, stated that he had changed his walk timings, as he feared for his life. Moreover, in the absence of lights, it was not possible to take a stroll in the park even if one did not fear the miscreants.



Raj Kumari MishraRaj Kumari Mishra, area councillor, said she had lodged a complaint with the authorities, but the authorities expressed their helplessness on the matter and asked her to approach the police.



Conclave out of favour with biggies
Ruchika M Khanna/TNS

Chandigarh, September 30
The annual IT conclave of the Chandigarh administration, ‘e-revolution 2010’ seems to have lost favour with the downturn-hit IT biggies in the country. With big daddies of the technology industry failing to turn up for the event, local IT companies seem to have caught attention.

Though the Chandigarh administration and officials from Punjab refuse to acknowledge that the event has lost steam, the fact remains that the event has no big names to boast of. NASSCOM chief Som Mittal had to cancel his visit at the last minute because of personal reasons.

Though a senior official from Wipro was here, he remained non-committal on plans for setting up a facility here. Infosys and Tech Mahindra, both having its offices at the IT park here, were represented by their officials here.

Sources in the IT sector said with IT companies not willing to put in their investments in the region, especially when growth in IT exports had fallen by 100 per cent in the past two years, they had given this conclave the miss.

Many young entrepreneurs from the region showed keen interest in the conclave and participated actively in discussions. They got the chance to showcase their business models.

Among those who won kudos were Komal and Jitin Talwar of TT Consulatnts and Salil Mathur of TechTier IT Solutions. Another plus for organisers was a positive response to the Punjab government’s plans to hardsell its IT parks at Rajpura and Ropar. Sameer Goyal, site director, Infosys Techonologies, said Punjab was attracting IT companies with concrete plans for the first time.



Land no bar, says Adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Land can never be a constraint in the growth of knowledge economy in the region since one needs to look beyond the city’s limit and look at opportunities in the tricity. This was stated by Adviser to UT Administrator Pradip Mehra while speaking at the morning session of ‘e-revolution 2010’ on “Where can Chandigarh region be in the next five years”.

Endorsing his views, Information Technology-cum-Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said there was a need to mull over “What Chandigarh should not be” after seeing what Hyderabad and Bangalore had become.

“We should respect the sentiments of locals and original planners. We should not emulate the examples of other metros, where high-rise buildings are putting other infrastructural pressures. We should let the people go out and expand their business and commercial activities in other equally neighbouring developing cities in Punjab,” he said.

Punjab’s Principal Secretary for Industries and Commerce SS Channy said the government’s role was to be a facilitator and become investor-friendly to encourage investment.

Punjab Infotech’s managing director Rakesh Verma said the focus was to take the region to the next level by promoting linkages between academia and industry so that the quality of human resources could be improved and academic curricula could be made more industry-relevant.

Vikas Ahuja, centre head, Infosys Technologies, commended the role that the Chandigarh administration and the Punjab government were playing in encouraging industry. He said the biggest challenge before industry was to innovate to find creative solutions for customers.

Tech Mahindra’s vice-president PK Sharma said the region must brand itself and promote its advantages across the country. Partap Aggarwal, managing director, IDS Infotech, said the region must come up with some specific domain specialisation to develop a cluster approach.



Contempt notice issued to Revenue Secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has issued a contempt notice to Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra and V Sridhar, Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, New Delhi, for not complying with its order on reservation for upgraded posts at the level of superintendent.

Taking a serious note of the violation, the bench of Shyama Dogra and Promilla Issar on September 27 ordered Mitra and Sridhar, “to appear in person or through a duly authorised advocate on the next date (October 25) and explain why the directions of this tribunal were not followed.”

The contempt notice was issued on a petition filed by Rajesh Rai, Superintendent, Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, Chandigarh zone, after the Central Board of Excise and Customs Chairman and Revenue Secretary failed to implement the tribunal’s directions that were issued on May 5, 2006.”

However, the Central Board of Direct Taxes issued a circular on July 15, 2009, giving reservation in upgraded post, which was contrary to the CAT’s order.

Rai had moved the CAT in 2005 against the department’s policy of allowing reservation while upgrading post at superintendent level. The CAT gave the ruling in favour of Rai.

Talking to The Tribune, Rai’s counsel VK Sharma said the judgement was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and even the Apex Court didn’t not give any relief to the department.

Interestingly, Rai revealed that while the Chandigarh region had implemented the CAT decision, it had not been implemented in other parts of the country. 



Focus on new tools of communication
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The last session of ‘e-revolution 2010’ today looked at the revolutionary changes and new tools of communication, which could address some of the challenges that India faced, especially in rural areas.

IT experts acknowledged the penetration of mobile telephony in rural areas and the reach of social media among the youth, that could be leveraged to the country’s advantage effectively.

Bhushan Jagyasi of TCS Innovation Labs showcased an plant disease forecast system designed for farmers, using the Internet for transmitting data to experts through a weather station with sensors in fields, which provided inputs to the farmers on their mobile phones.

Rikin Gandhi of Digital Green was working with the Ministry of Agriculture to sensitise and showcase benefits of technology to solve day-to-day problems of farmers.

Kamalakar Kaul, chief strategy officer of ENC India, explained the advantages that small and medium enterprises could have by using cloud computing technology and access data on a pay-per-use basis.

The session on “3G Impact” also looked at the technological revolution in the field of telecom, that was transforming the way people lived, worked and did business.

BSNL’s general manager Naresh Sharma underlined the need for policy changes to allow the installation of mobile towers in areas hitherto inaccessible to have seamless connectivity.

Aditya Singh of Tata Teleservice and Rajat Mukarji of Idea Cellular felt that 3G would provide faster connectivity and data services and access to digital content. Vijay Shekhar Sharma of One97 said Indians would require more local content.



City remains peaceful on day of verdict
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The city remained peaceful today amid tight security in the wake of the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute. The police carried out flag marches at sensitive places and colonies throughout the day.

Except for a small “celebration” by the BJP at the its headquarters in Sector 33, most of political parties and social organisations maintained a low profile. The restrain by these outfits went a long way in maintaining peace and tranquility in the city.

The police made elaborate security arrangements last evening and set up checkpoints at sensitive points in the city. Police teams were called at the Sector 17 circus ground at 8 am. About 1,500 police personnel were on special security duty.

As many as 44 reserve teams, each comprising 25 personnel, were constituted and assigned patrol duty. “We have identified 23 sensitive points in the city, including places of worship and slums. Police teams conducted flag marches in these areas and remained deployed there till the night,” said a senior police officer.

The UT administration imposed prohibitory orders in the city under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning the unlawful assembly of five or more persons, to avoid any tension after the verdict was pronounced.



3 join hands for benefit of Punjab youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Three organisations came together with a shared vision to collaborate in entrepreneurship, skill development and employability of the youth of Punjab on the second day of ‘e-revolution 2010’ here today.

The agreement was inked by IIT-Ropar, IIT-alumni-promoted PANIIT and Punjab Infotech. A Palanivel, registrar of IIT-Ropar, Pradeep Gupta, chairman of CyberMedia Group, representing PANIIT, and RK Sangwan, senior executive director of Punjab Infotech, formed the academia-industry-government linkage.

Rakesh Verma, managing director, Punjab Infotech, said this relationship would help government receive faculty’s scientific inputs and assist in policy formation in vital sectors like energy, water and information and communication technology.

The PANIIT was an organisation of nearly 2 lakh alumni of 15 IITs in the country. Working with the newly established IIT at Ropar would provide an opportunity to offer inputs in making it a world-class institute and to upgrade capabilities of other engineering colleges in the state, said Pradeep Gupta.



Dream big, says IT Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The ICT event of the region, ‘e-revolution 2010’, concluded here today, with Information Technology-cum-Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar reiterating that the participation of experts from the industry, well-known academicians and Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had given new dimensions to proceedings and provided clarity of thought to every stakeholder on a plan for the future.

In his concluding remarks, he said every stakeholder must dream big to achieve big, and this region was looking forward to a positive transformation. The major outcome of this event was the collaboration between IIT-Ropar, PanIIT and Punjab Infotech. Punjab Infotech’s managing director RK Verma felt that e-revolution was all about collaboration and through the years, it had helped to sensitise various stakeholders, bring them together on a common platform and prepare an achievable roadmap for everyone.



PU gets new Registrar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
In an unexpected announcement today, AK Bhandari, Controller of Examinations (COE), was given the charge of the Panjab University Registrar till further orders. Naval Kishore, Dean Student Welfare (DSW), is the new Dean College Development Council (DCDC) till fresh advertisement is placed for these posts. No suitable candidate was found in the selection process for these posts held a few days ago.

The decision of the university comes on the day of the retirement of former registrar, SS Bari. He had served as the Registrar for over five years and has been repatriated to his parent department, chemistry, as a senior professor.

The additional charge of DCDC, which was earlier given to AK Bhandari, has now been given to Naval Kishore who continues as the DSW.

AR Rao of the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences has been appointed coordinator, animal house, while Dr Ashwani Koul of the department of biophysics has been appointed co-coordinator of the animal house.

After weeks of controversy, political permutations and RTI appeals by activists concerning crucial posts, the announcements were made today in the presence of administrative branch employees, functionaries and some senators.

Even senior administrative functionaries did not know till the last moment that the announcements were to be made today.



Bhavan Vidyalaya wins tourism quiz
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Chandigarh School Tourism Quiz, organised by the Department of Tourism, Chandigarh administration, and conducted by the University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism (UIHMT), Panjab University, concluded at the government museum here today.

Two rounds were of visuals and the final was an audio round. Samriti and Deekhsha, students of BSc (Tourism Management), Panjab University, conducted the rounds of the quiz. The team comprising Parichaya Walia and Bhisham Khanna from the local Bhavan Vidyalaya bagged the first position, while the team of Vivek Mehta and Nishant Ojha of the government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35-D was declared the first runners up. Aradhana Gupta and Surbhi Mahajan from Carmel Convent School got the third position.

A total of 28 teams from various schools of the city participated in the event. Divided into two tiers, the first event was preliminary round in which teams were given written test of 30 questions focused on various facets of Chandigarh and general awareness.

The final round of the tourism quiz started at 12 noon and top five teams of preliminary rounds participated. The finals were divided into nine rounds, including audio and visual rounds. The theme and scope of these rounds was Chandigarh, cultural and heritage tourism, tourism and wildlife, Indian cities, Indian monuments, and tourist places of India, besides abbreviations.

Speaking on the occasion, Lalit K Bansal, Director, UIHMT, Panjab University, discussed the need of tourism and hospitality education in India.



Poor Food Quality
PU boarders protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The National Students Union of India (NSUI) today staged a protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office against deteriorating quality of food in Panjab University hostels. The students apprised dean student welfare (DSW) Naval Kishore of the feedback being received from various girls’ hostel that the quality of food was poor.

They demanded that dietician be sent on a routine round in all hostels to inspect the quality of food. The DSW assured the students that action would be taken in the matter and a check would be maintained on the quality of food in the hostels.

NSUI members, along with their leaders, Sunny Mehta, Sandeep and Rajesh Punia also claimed that AC Joshi Library had now become too small for the increasing number of students on the campus. They said a new building must be planned for the library on the campus to accommodate the infrastructure. The students also added that there was dearth of faculty in the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET).



Workshop on autism

Chandigarh, September 30
The inaugural session of two pre-conference workshops of the 13th International Portage Conference was held at ICSSR complex, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Tehal Kohli, president, INPA, and chief organiser of the conference, gave an introduction of INPA (Indian National Portage Association) and its 30 successful years of service.

Kabeljit Atwal, the USA, gave a peek into what she planned to cover in the workshop on Autism. Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, was the chief guest. He said despite several policies and programmes launched by the government, persons with disabilities continued to suffer.

“Though there is reservation for persons with disabilities, yet the recruitments are rampant with discrimination. Interventions are missing and whatever is available is mostly in the form of cosmetic interventions,” he added. He informed delegates that the Chandigarh administration had won the first prize for welfare schemes for the differently abled. Enlisting numerous initiatives by the administration, he further stressed that still there was a lot of scope for improvement.

Ajaib Singh from the department of adult and continuing education, Panjab University, also spoke on the occasion.

Yamaguchi and Machiko, both from the Japan Portage Association, conducted the workshop on group portage training in regular classrooms. They discussed the basic technique of early intervention. The objective of the technique was to attain certain behaviour targets among children, they said.

Simultaneously, Kabeljit conducted a workshop on “Autism Spectrum Disorder”, wherein she dwelt on the symptoms, assessment and programmes for children having autism. Both the workshops continued till 5pm. The international conference will start tomorrow and will continue till October 3, followed by a post-conference workshop on “Joyful Inclusion”. — TNS



Talk on Gandhi, journalism

Chandigarh, September 30
A talk was organised in Panjab University’s department of sociology on “Mahatma Gandhi and Journalism”. Eminent journalist Gobind Thukral, who was formerly associated with various national newspapers and currently the Editor of Haryana Review, delivered his speech on the topic.

Tracing the interest of Mahatma Gandhi in meaningful writing, Thukral narrated Gandhi enjoyed immense publicity and respect all over the world through his writings and magazines, which he refused to use as a commercial mode. Gandhi stoutly stood against using advertisements for making money through newspapers, he added.

Reporting by Gandhi about his experiences at South Africa, Champaran Movement and freedom movement is a magnificent example of investigative journalism.

Thukral added that he displayed the first rate journalism. His journalism was based upon the principles of no commercialisation, no making of money through newspapers and total commitment to truthful writing.

He further added that Gandhi’s writings as an editor manifested discipline, objectivity, first-hand reporting and cogent thoughts. — TNS



Peace festival

Mohali, September 30
Students, staff and management of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Institute of IT and Research celebrated the Peace Festival on the college premises today. Around 300 MBA and BBA students participated in the function.

They presented a skit on racism, caste divide and religion divide. The skit portrayed the difficulties that the youth of India had to face while studying abroad.

Students also came up with illustrious presentations on the history of International Day of Peace. An open-ended quiz was held. Students lit candles and observed a one-minute silence to commemorate the day. — OC



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