C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Aerocity I-T Muddle
GMADA surrenders Rs. 15 crore
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The controversial Aerocity project, which has already raised a question mark on the functioning of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. As it turns out, GMADA has allegedly violated income tax rules by evading payment of advanced tax on crores of rupees earned by it on the interest accrued on the deposits made by about 3.20 lakh aspirants for plots in the Aerocity project.

Admitting its folly, GMADA has surrendered Rs 15 crore to the I-T department after the latter initiated a “survey” into the Aerocity cash receipt affairs.

Commissioner of Income tax (CIT II), Pawan Parmar Singh, said, “The survey has revealed that GMADA had failed to deposit timely advance tax instalments on receipts exceeding Rs 150 crore that it had earned on account of interest income on the money deposited in banks.”

“On account of preliminary discussions, a cheque for Rs 15 crore has been handed over to the Income Tax Department by GMADA, thereby accepting an income from interest at Rs 45 crore initially,” she added.

Sources said GMADA had collected about Rs 10,000 crore as earnest money in the month of July. The draw was held in September. After three months from the date of draw, GMADA was supposed to return the earnest money of about Rs 9,000 crore to unsuccessful applicants. It had invested the money for a five-month term (July to December), earning a daily interest of Rs 1.5 crore.

While investigations are in progress, sources said a prima facie scrutiny of the records indicated possibilities of discrepancies in the expenses shown by the authorities in the last two financial years (2008-09 and 2009-10). If proved, this discrepancy could run into several crores of rupees, said the sources. According to I-T officials, “We have also noticed that there were irregularities in the proper demarcation of revenue expenditure and capital expenditure and no regular system of accounting was being followed by the authority.”

Officials said several hundred crores of rupees deposited for the acquisition of land for the Airports Authority of India in different financial years had not been reflected under the correct heads in their accounts. This has resulted in gross understatement of income and booking of fictitious losses. The documents and evidences obtained during the survey operation were being scrutinised for necessary action.

A team of IT officials, led by Parneet Mahal Suri, Additional Commissioner of Range VI, had carried out survey operations under the supervision of Commissioner Income Tax (CIT II), Pawan Parmar Singh.




522 illegal structures
Told to initiate action
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
As many as 522 illegal constructions are under the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority’s radar!

A list of all such structures has been furnished to the GMADA’s chief administrator for necessary action, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today heard.

The High Court Division Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur was also told that illegal colonies were increasing by the day. Strict action was required to be taken not only against the illegal colonisers but also against the “officials delaying the matter for not registering the cases under relevant sections of law”.

As a case of land grab by high-ups in Chandigarh’s periphery came up for hearing, Punjab director-general of police-cum-investigating officer Chander Shekhar said information had been supplied by the Mohali deputy commissioner of 522 illegal/unauthorised constructions in the capital’s periphery by individuals/societies or others.

He has mentioned, “Necessary legal action against the violators is required to be taken by the chief administrator”. As such, the list has been sent for further legal action against the violators.

The report goes on to suggest that the authorities concerned are apparently slow peddling in the matter. “In Karoran, there are 2455 violators of forest laws, out of which action has only been taken against 690 violators,” he says, adding “stern action is also required to be taken against the remaining 1,765 violators”.

Chander Shekhar minced no words while saying: “The progress of prosecution against the violators is very slow. It has been informed by the divisional forest officer, Roopnagar, vide letter dated October 5, that due to constraints of workload, only limited number of cases are being accepted at a given time in the court of SDJM Mohali. It is suggested that this high court may consider issuing necessary directions to the authorities concerned court for accepting the cases for trial on priority.”He added that as many as 107 complaints referred by GMADA for registering cases against 21 illegal/unauthorised colonisers relate to Mohali, 12 complaints have been referred to Ropar SSP and three relate to Patiala. In all, 122 complaints were still pending registration of cases.

The DGP said: “The assistance of the intelligence wing was allowed by the High Court. Information from the intelligence wing was received and 49 “nami” properties were disclosed. “On examination it has been noticed that some properties reported do not tally with the revenue records made available by the department concerned to the inquiry officer.”

“It has been found that information supplied is incomplete and is not in accordance with the required format. No benami property of the high-ups, police and non-police officers has been mentioned. There the details provided will be got clarified in due course of time,” he said.



Confusion on RTE Act
City schools delay admission process
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The ongoing confusion on reserving 25 per cent of regular seats under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, has delayed admission process for nursery classes in over 40 schools of the city.

These schools, members of the Independent School Association, have decided to sell nursery admission forms only after getting a clearance on the Act from the UT Education Department.

“We have got numerous circulars about the Act, but we are yet to be told what exactly needs to be done. While the Act comes into force from April 1, 2011, the department is talking about registering these children now and has also not clarified its stand on the screening process adopted for the admissions to nursery. So, we have decided to wait till next week after which we will start the sale of forms,” said president of Independent Schools Association HS Mamik.

The schools blame the UT Education Department for the confusion as it has failed to devise a policy to make admissions under the Act. “ One day they say something and the very next day they quash it. So what do we do? We will wait till the next week and if they fail to clarify about the admission process, we will proceed with the admissions on 75 per cent of seats and leave 25 per cent empty till the administration decides anything on it,” added Mamik.

Several schools plan to start the sale of forms in December or even January as director Strawberry Field School Atul Khanna says, “I have asked my staff not to start the sale of admission forms till till the confusion surrounding the reservation under the Right To Education (RTE) Act or the economically weaker section category is cleared. We don’t want to get into any hassle after starting or completing the process.”



Delhi govt warning to schools

The Delhi government has recently warned private schools not to start the process for nursery admissions before issuance of relevant guidelines and said punitive action would be taken against violators. Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely has asked schools to wait till the government drafts comprehensive guidelines for admissions by incorporating the provisions of the RTE Act. The same, however, cannot be said for UT, where various schools have started the sale of forms even as the education department was still to frame guidelines on the RTE Act



Man robbed of car at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Two youths robbed a banker of his Maruti Swift Dzire car and a mobile phone at gunpoint in Sector 8 here tonight.

The incident occurred when GC Kaushik, a manager with the local head office of the State Bank of India (SBI), Sector 17, was on his way to his home in Sector 10, Panchkula, around 7.30 pm. As he stopped his car on Madhya Marg to talk on his mobile phone, two youths carrying pistols overpowered him.

In a complaint with the police, Kaushik alleged that they first snatched his mobile phone after hitting him on his head with the butt of the pistol. Then they robbed him of the car and warned him not to raise an alarm. After pushing him out of the car, they fled towards Panchkula.

Kaushik informed that two persons, who were behind his vehicle in a Santro car, seemed to be from the same gang, which robbed him.

The panic-stricken banker informed the police about the incident, which took him to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. The police launched a manhunt for the arrest of the culprits in Sector 8, as Kaushik’s mobile phone location was in that sector.



Gates foundation award for PU scholar
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Anshuman Shukla, a research scholar at the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS) who joined Panjab University for a PhD degree, is among 15 scholars chosen from across the world for “Global Health Travel Award” funded by the “Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation, USA”.

He has been invited to present his research work on Novel Mucosal Vaccine Delivery Systems in “Keystone Symposia; Mucosal Immunology: A Fine Balance between Tolerance and Immunity” to be held at the Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, from February 26 to 
March 3, 2011.

Anshuman hails from an humble family based in Sagar, a small town in Madhya Pradesh (MP), where he completed his B.pharma and M.pharma studies at Sagar University. His father is a retired school teacher and on several occasions, it was Anshuman’s scholarship that helped the family meet his expenses.

Despite adverse financial circumstances, he turned all hindrances in his path into opportunities to pursue higher education. Not only this, while pursuing his PhD degree at the PU, he had been saving his scholarship amount and stipend for his sister’s wedding.

“I hail from an average middle-class family in MP and we have a very old house, which is in a shambles. My grandfather died when my father was in Class XI, so he raised us with hardship. Not once did my father make me feel that money was a hindrance to my studies,” said Anshuman.

“PU has been very lucky for me. I have got the best of hostel accommodation, food and department,” he added.

He completed his postgraduation by taking an education loan and later received an AICTE research fellowship. He then got his first publication in an international journal.

“I dream of pursuing my post doctorate from a university in the USA and will then return to serve my parents and homeland,” says Anshuman.



Girl accuses husband of ‘luring’ her on Net for dowry
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
In yet another case of online marriages going sour, Manisha, a resident of HMT Pinjore, today filed a complaint against her husband with the police’s district women cell accusing him of seeking dowry. She claimed he had “lured” her into marrying him on the Net.

Manisha said the boy had even convinced her to be present at a particular place in New Delhi. She said her family members met him a day before the appointed date in that city where the boy’s mother demanded cash and jewellery as dowry.

The bride’s family had booked a hotel in New Delhi for the wedding and had gone there on November 17 to make arrangements for the ceremony. However, the family members had to return as Kamla Singh, mother of Lovkesh and a resident of Paschim Vihar in New Delhi, allegedly demanded Rs 15 lakh in cash, gold and diamond jewellery as well as silver utensils as dowry before going ahead with the wedding.

Accompanied by a group of women from Pinjore, Manisha, alleged in her complaint to the women’s cell a love affair going on between her and Lovkesh, reportedly a software engineer residing in Britain, resident of Delhi, for the past one year and they had been chatting on the Net regularly. She claimed when their families agreed they decided to tie the nuptial knot, adding the engagement ceremony was held in Pinjore on November 12. “Lovkesh’s parents had demanded the marriage be solemnized in Delhi. My parents agreed and when they went to Delhi on November 17 the boy’s mother demanded Rs 15 lakh as dowry. My parents tried to persuade them to let us tie the knot but Lovkesh’s mother refused to budge. My parents had spent about Rs 12 lakh on the ring ceremony and other small functions held earlier and later for the booking the hotel and its catering services”, said Manisha.

Manjir Kaur, in charge of the women’s cell, said the cops had not yet filed a case in this regard as a police team would be sent to Delhi to seek the opinion of the Lovkesh family members. “If the boy’s family members are found to be guilty a case would be registered against them”, she added.

Not convinced with the response of the women cell the protestors met DC, Ashima Brar, demanding immediate arrest of the boy. 


Marital discord rising

The number of matrimonial disputes has been steadily increasing in this district with unions arranged through the Net accounting for most of them. According to data available, 293 cases of discord were reported till October 31, 2010 as compared to 312 cases in 2009 in the women’s cell of the local police department. Of the total, a large number of marriages were contracted on the Net, police officials said.


UT awarded for increase in forest cover 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
For outstanding work in increasing the forest cover in the city, the Union Territory of Chandigarh was presented with the prestigious Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra (IPVM) Award for the year 2010 at a function in New Delhi today.

Coinciding with the birth anniversary of former Prime minister Indira Gandhi, Director General, Forests, and Special Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, PJ Dilip Kumar presented the award to Secretary, Finance-cum-Forest, Chandigarh administration, Sanjay Kumar and Conservator of Forests, UT, Santosh Kumar. The award comprises a citation, a scroll and Rs 5 lakh.

The Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, has been giving the Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award since 1986 under various categories for outstanding achievement in the field of forestation and wasteland development.

Chandigarh has been selected for the award in the Union Territories category for the year 2010 for outstanding work in increasing forest and tree cover in the city. As per the State of Forests Report (SFR), 2009, of the Forests Survey of India (FSI), the forest cover in Chandigarh is 43 sq km and another 11 sq km area is under tree cover. Thus, the total green cover of Chandigarh as per the SFR-2009 is 54 sq km which forms 38.8 per cent of its total geographical area. 



Tribune Impact
RLA offices to have more counters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Following the report that appeared in the Chandigarh Tribune on the backlog of over 6,500 cases in all the three offices of the Registering & Licensing Authority (RLA) on November 17, the UT administration has decided to open two new counters each at the SDM (south) office in Sector 42 and the Sector 17 central office for the convenience of applicants. The officials concerned have also been asked to hire more staff immediately to clear the pending files.

UT home & transport secretary Ram Niwas, accompanied by the deputy commissioner, additional DC, joint home secretary and other senior administration officials inspected the RLA offices today.

During their visit it was noticed there over 5,000 files at the RLA’s central office were pending. Officials there were told to take immediate steps to clear the backlog within ten days.

Niwas also directed all the RLA offices to set up additional counters with an adequate number of data operators and computers for receiving applications. To reduce the waiting time at the service windows it was further decided that an electronic token system would be introduced at the reception counter to enable applicants to avoid long queues.

During his visit to the RLA’s Sector 42 office Niwas asked the officials concerned to open two new service windows and depute additional staff from SPIC. He also directed them to put staff on extra duty, even on Saturdays and Sundays, to speed up processing of files.

To ensure smooth functioning more manual power as well as infrastructure will be added at each RLA office and a team of senior officers will regularly visit them on regularly to review the progress.



Housing project violation of Periphery Control Act: FOSWAC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
There is a lot of concern among residents of the city about the coming up of the 19 high-rise towers of TATA Housing Project backed by the Punjab’s political and bureaucratic bigwigs at Kansal village, right in the backyard of Chandigarh in complete violation of the New Capital Periphery Control Act, said Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) here today.

In a press note issued here today, FOSWAC said the Capitol Complex comprising the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat, Punjab and Haryana High Court and Assembly buildings were meticulously conceptualised and planned by renowned architect Le Corbusier against the backdrop of Shiwalik Hills to provide an uninterrupted view of nature in its pristine beauty.

Besides, Shiwalik Hills is an ecologically fragile area falling in seismic zone and multi-storey constructions here would escalate soil erosion, leading to increase in silt deposition in Sukhna Lake and high human population and vehicular traffic will affect the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary.

Though Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and it stakes a vociferous claim on the city, it is not at all bothered to save the edict and original character of the capital city, which is pride of the country, as the project will be a windfall for politicians, bureaucrats and police officials of Punjab.

During the discussions on the agenda i.e. “how do we keep the city beautiful and capable of meeting demands of the citizens”? at the administrator’s advisory council meeting held on September 10, PC Sanghi, chairman, FOSWAC, emphatically suggested that in order to maintain the edict of the city, the administration should prepare a comprehensive master plan for the city, form a Regional Planning and Development Authority on the pattern of NCR with special reference to the coming up of a multi-storeyed TATA Housing Project at Kansal village in the vicinity of the city.

The representatives of 51 resident welfare associations at the executive committee meeting of FOSWAC held on November 14 expressed their serious concern about marring the skyline of the city due to coming up of the high-rise buildings ranging from 12 to 35 storeys in the vicinity of the city in violation of the New Capital Periphery Control Act and decided to oppose the project by tooth and nail.



City residents for stepping up PCR patrolling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Lack of basic policing, hooliganism, petty thefts, drug addiction and “eve teasing” were the major problems that city residents highlighted during their meetings with the police top brass held last week. Senior cops met over 4,800 people during 107 meetings organized across the city during the weeklong celebration of the Chandigarh Police Raising Day.

UT SSP Naunihal Singh said residents from 30 city sectors said there was a need for more intensive police patrolling while people from 25 sectors complained about the menace created by youngsters indulging in reckless driving in residential areas. The problems of “eve teasing”, gambling and drinking in public, begging, the menace of vagabonds, petty thefts, unauthorized parking, noise pollution and nuisance by paying guests were also brought out at the meetings.

“We’ve fixed our priorities on these lines and decided to strengthen police control room (PCR) units and have launched special campaigns. We’e also getting feedback from the public as we contacted about half of those called up PCR teams during the past one-and-half months and asked them about the police’s response. Besides we’re also keeping track of complaints filed at the public window set up at the police headquarters to improve our functioning”, Naunihal stated.

The urgent need to raise the strength of the PCR units was also highlighted as the number of calls made to them had more than doubled over the past four years. In 2006 the PCR units received 20,752 calls while till October 31 this year they had got as many as 43,369 calls.



Losing touch with roots
Classical events given a miss
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, November 19
Growing craze for Western music, including rock shows and fusion among city youth, has overshadowed the traditional and classical music events in the college and university festivals and PEC fest was no exception.

Compared to five urban musical events at the PEC fest, including rock competition, fusion band competition, rap competition, salsa workshop and star night, there was only Indian classical solo singing event in the traditional music category.

Organisers of the fest claimed that they were catering to the demand of youth, who were inclined towards western music more and this craze, they claim, was on an all time high.

In a bid to meet this demand, college students this year have invited a German rock band “Fire on Dawson” for their popular rock night.

“We have only one event in the traditional category and a series of events in the categories like rock, fusion, rap etc since students like these more. Our rock show has gone International this year with a German band playing for us,” said Shitij, head of communications, PEC fest.

A major attraction an innovative event called “Parliamentary debate” has been introduced. “The idea was mooted by students and we decided to make one member of this team as Prime Minister, other as deputy Prime Minister and the third and a “third party”. These three members will put forth opinions on the same issue and will compete with other teams,” he added.



Decomposed body of PUDA official found
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The decomposed body of a serving sub-divisional engineer (SDE) of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) was found at his Sector 23 government accommodation here this morning.

The deceased, Ranjit Kumar, who was in his early fifties, was living alone in the house and had apparently died around five days back.

The death came to light at 8.45 am today when Ranjit’s neighbours called the police after noticing stench emanating from his house.

The incident also exposed how ill-equipped the Chandigarh Police is to remove rotting bodies from the spot. Though a team of around 20 policemen was present at the spot, the stench had them looking for volunteers to put the body in the truck as they were hesitating to touch the body in the absence of masks and surgical gloves. The senior officers, however, stood at a distance wearing masks.

The policemen went to a nearby rickshaw stand and brought two rickshaw-pullers on the pretext of shifting some articles from the house. But the rickshaw-pullers also refused to shift the body as the stench was unbearable.

Left with no other option than to remove the body themselves, the lower-ranked policemen masked their faces with handkerchiefs and lifted the body with bare hands.

Sector 17 police station SHO Inspector Jaswinder Singh said the police broke open the doors and recovered the maggot-infested body of Ranjit Kumar. The body was lying on a settee.

No suicide note was found in the house.

Ruling out foul play behind the death, the SHO said the house was locked from inside. The police informed Ranjit’s sister, who is residing in Amritsar, about the death. She told the police that her brother was living alone. He was married in 1991 and got separated from his wife two months after their marriage and then divorced her seven years later.

The police found newspapers clippings and drawings of various projects from his house. The police shifted the body to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital for post-mortem. 



Advisory Council
3 months on, action taken report still incomplete
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Even after three months of the UT Administrator’s Advisory Council meeting, the departments concerned have failed to give an action taken report on the decisions taken at that meeting.

Sources claimed that a special meeting was held at the UT Secretariat, Sector 9, this morning, in which various departments were to submit their reports on the decisions taken at the advisory council’s meeting held on September 10. However, the departments failed to produce any reports despite Administrator Shivraj V Patil’s directions that the next meeting would only be held after the plans chalked out during the September 10 meeting were executed and examined by the respective departments.

Sources claimed that in the absence of any action taken report, it could not be decided as to when next meeting of the advisory council would be held.

Meanwhile, all departments have been directed by the UT Adviser to table their reports immediately.

Two major issues of the city-how to make Chandigarh capable of meeting the demands of residents and handling of traffic problems had dominated the proceedings of the second meeting of the Administrator’s Advisory Council (AAC) held on September 10.

Besides, issues like maintenance of the basic character of city and modalities regarding functioning of the standing committees were also discussed during the meeting.

Patil had stated that the committees should work on the pattern of the standing committees of Parliament and a proper space would be provided to them for convening their meetings.

The Administrator said based on the suggestions received from members, plans would be made and adequate resources would be managed for implementing the recommendations. Officials of the municipal corporation, Chandigarh, said since most of their project files were pending with the UT department of urban planning and architecture, they were unable to prepare an action report. Officials of other departments stated that three months were not enough to prepare the reports.



Mohali Civil Hospital
De-addiction centre non-functional
Kulwinder Sangha

The locked door of the de-addiction centre at Phase VI in Mohali on Friday.
The locked door of the de-addiction centre at Phase VI in Mohali on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, November 19
Despite orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and directions from the state health minister, the Mohali Civil Hospital has failed to run the drug de-addiction centre on its premises properly.

Addicts coming to the hospital for treatment related to drug abuse are kept in the male ward and not in the rooms reserved for running the de-addiction centre. Those admitted for specialised and long-term treatment are discharged at the earliest.

The main door of the de-addiction centre was found locked by The Tribune team today. The centre was seen locked even on October 21 when the Chairman of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) had inspected the extended block of the hospital.

While the hospital authorities claim that the engineering wing of the PHSC had asked them to vacate the de-addiction ward set up on the second floor of the extended block to complete the remaining work, officials of the engineering wing have denied this.

NK Aggarwal, executive engineer, PHSC, said that the engineering wing did not vacate the de-addiction ward. It was locked only when it was found lying vacant and the toilets in that area were misused by those coming to the hospital. The keys were handed over to the hospital authorities.

The SMO, in charge of the hospital, Dr Rajiv Bhalla, however, denied that he had the keys of the de-addiction centre.

Dr PK Shridhar, Civil Surgeon, said that he was disturbed to know that the centre was lying locked. “Why should it be locked? There should be no reason for this”, he added. When orders had been received from the high court compliance of the same should have been done by the officials concerned at all levels.

Shridhar said he had arranged male pharmacists from the field and staff nurses from the hospital for round-the-clock duty to run the de-addiction centre. Beds, mattresses and other items were also arranged apart from games in the recreation room. He said that a grant of Rs 5 lakh was now received and more purchases for the de-addiction centre would be made as per norms.



Experts dwell on farmers’ problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Centre for Human Rights and Duties of the University Institute of Emerging Areas in Social Sciences, Panjab University, today organised lectures on “Food security in the era of farmers’ suicides” on the campus.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti expressed concern on the issue of farmers’ suicides, which has indeed become grave in India. Hike in prices of basic commodities had led to increase in farmers’ expenditure, whereas the price of farmers produce did not increase leading to increase in economic burden on farmers.

Umendra Dutt focused on household food security and sustainability in agriculture in India. He raised pertinent issues regarding food insecurity, intellectual property rights and declining farming areas.

Hemant Goswami cited various government records substantiating the problem of farmers’ suicide, concentration of wealth in the corporate sector, increased subsidy to the fertilisers and chemical industries, reducing agriculture production and agricultural area under production.

Sucha Singh Gill questioned the development model, which India adopted in early 1990s and identified a few lacunae. For this, there is a need to have availability of quality education in rural areas. He further highlighted that GM seeds will have negative consequences for the farmers in India. In the end, he stated that quantity and quality of food needed to be focused primarily for food security in India.

Dr Swaranjit Kaur, coordinator, Centre for Human Rights and Duties, concluded the proceedings by emphasising on the need to deliberate on such vital themes.



PEC Fest
Nukkad Natak draws crowd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Citing inspiring examples during a panel discussion on “Think India Think”, eminent speakers today spoke on the first day of PEC fest at PEC University of Technology.

College director Manoj Dutta among other senior dignitaries and faculty members attended the inaugural ceremony. After a motivational speech by the convener of the fest, Rohit Sahi and three other guest speakers spoke on youth’s contribution towards nation’s progress.

Eminent journalist Shekhar Gupta, IIT-IIM pass out and senior Art of Living faculty Ramneek Bansal and an expert from the Corporate World Fred Ibrahim spoke on the event. Students participated in treasure hunt that ended with a quiz to spread AIDS awareness.

The adventure sports events included fun events like flying fox, wall climbing and rappelling that attracted participants and students. “Nukkad Natak” staged by the dramatics club of PEC University of Technology was a big hit.

Other events of the day included Carte Blanche-the marketing challenge, LAN gaming presented by Indulgence Gaming, Salsa workshop, fusion band competition, “Ek minute diyan khedan”, IPL mock auctions, street painting, flower arrangement and face painting.

Prelims for the Parliamentary debate and Cross-Swords (debate) were also held on day one.



Role of radio highlighted

Chandigarh, November 19
Stating that commissioning of transmission of newly set-up PU radio “Jyotirgmaye” is a landmark in tackling certain social problems that cannot be treated in isolation of education, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti today addressed delegates attending the awareness workshop on community radio organised by the School of Communication Studies.

The event is being organised under the aegis of Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia.

Sobti said with the setting up of the community radio station on the campus, not only would the students and teachers benefit, even the community at large.

Inderjeet Grewal, a senior representative of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, spoke on how community radio was different from other broadcasting set ups and the basic objective of making people involvement in the development process.

Supriya Sahu, director BC, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, presented the presidential address. Doordarshan Chandigarh, director, KK Rattu termed the commissioning of the PU community radio as a significant development. The journey of radio, he said, was the journey to reach to the people to connect the messages with minds. He highlighted the importance and role of radio in the world’s biggest democracy as India. — TNS



Electricity board workers protest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
Members of the Haryana State Electricity Board Worker’s Union (HSEBWU) took out a protest rally near Power Colony at Operation Division in Sector 15 here today.

HSEBWU state president Raj Singh Dahiya lashed at electricity board authorities for not being able to fulfill their demands.

He also condemned privatisation of the electricity board and the anti-people policies of the corporation. He claimed that they had given a number of representations to the board officials, but nothing had been done so far.

Dahiya said considering the workload, the board should fill the vacant posts besides regularising the services of the daily wage earners.

He warned the board officials of dire consequences if their demands were not met.



Pak singers to perform in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 19
Acclaimed Sufi Ustad Khadim Hussain Warsi and Janab Husnain Akbar from Pakistan will feature in two concerts to present classic verses from Heer Waris immortalised by Sufi poet Syed Waris Shah.

The maestros have already performed in Amritsar and presented a concert in Ludhiana after two recitals in Chandigarh said Rajpal Singh, president of the Punjab Sahit Akademi. Heer Waris, a classic in Punjabi poetry, manifesting the whole gamut of Punjabi life, culture and ethos, is considered a land mark in Punjabi poetry.

Singers from Pakistan will present Heer in its most traditional style on November 20 at Punjab Kala Bhawan and later on November 22 at Punjab University and in Ludhiana on November 23, added Rajpal.



Sewing machines distributed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia distributed sewing machines among 50 women during a function held to mark the birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi here today.

The function was organised by Bhartiya Grahmin Mahila Sangh (BGMS) at Sector 10.

A short play on female foeticide was also staged. More than 400 women form different villages participated in the function.



MCM excels in quiz contest

Chandigarh, November 19
The department of economics at MCM DAV College for Women organised “Quiz-E-BIZ” an inter-college economics business quiz.

Teams from colleges within and beyond the tricity participated. Prof BS Ghuman from the department of public administration, Panjab University, was the chief guest.

With over 18 teams from various colleges participating in the inter-college quiz tested the knowledge quotient of the students on economics, commerce and international business world.

The teams from MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, won first prize, KLSD College, Ludhiana, secured second place. The third prize was bagged by GGDSD College, Sector 32. — TNS



Short-duration course in mapping soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Panjab University is mooting short-duration courses in mapping and disaster management in future, said PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti at the inaugural ceremony of the Indian geography conference, which started on the university campus here today.

Citing examples from scriptures, he said our ancestors stood for preservation of ecosystem and the concept of globalisation and bhoomi poojan (earth worship) were Indian concepts, which had been promoted across the world. The VC lamented the use of toxins in one form or the other, which he said was an unhealthy practice.

At the inaugural ceremony today, a lifetime achievement award was given to GS Gosal, professor emeritus, department of geography by the National Association of Geographers, India.



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