C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Two more lose Rs. 4.62 lakh
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
Two more account holders, who between them lost Rs 4.62 lakh, fell victim to ATM card cloning here today, taking the number of such fraudulent transactions to over 31.

Chatar Singh, a farmer of Devi Nagar, lost Rs 4 lakh, which was withdrawn from different ATMs in Panchkula, Punjab and Haryana, while Kishan Singh lost Rs 61,900 from a State Bank of Patiala branch ATM in Sector 15 on November 13 and 14.

Panic grips ATM card users

Panic has gripped many ATM card users. While banks are being flooded with enquiries from account holders for their balance, many have stopped using ATMs altogether. Some have even chosen to block their ATM cards temporarily, admitted an official in a bank.A Sector 55 resident of Chandigarh, OP Sharma, who had his account in a SBI branch in Chandigarh, has got his ATM card blocked. “One cannot take a chance of losing hard earned money,” he said.


The assistant general manager of the State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) at Panchkula, Sanjiv Gupta, said they had received complaints of 31 fraudulent transactions through SBoP ATMs in the city through which over Rs 5 lakh had been withdrawn by miscreants. All such cases had been sent to the legal cell of the bank for the filing of criminal cases. The information technology cell has also been informed. A team of experts from the SBI had visited ATMs from where the money was withdrawn. A team from the SBoP visited ATMs at Ambala today to investigate into the incidents. 



Banks still to refund earnest money
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 26
Patience is running out for over three lakh unsuccessful applicants for the Aerocity project as various banks that financed the earnest money have still to start refunding the money despite the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) transferring about Rs 6,500 crore to financial institutions in the last 10 days.

Refunding the financed money (which constitutes a major part of a staggering Rs 9,400 crore collected by GMADA as earnest money from 3.20 lakh applicants) before 180 days from the date of closing of the Aerocity scheme requires the banks to refund a portion of interest charged on the earnest money to unsuccessful applicants.

GMADA Chief Administrator VP Singh said they had already advertised the refund schedule for the convenience of the applicants. “We have also started refunding to non-financed applicants,” he added.

Investigations reveal that since November 16, GMADA started refunding the money to banks. On November 16, Rs 2,394 crore was refunded to the banks against the 500 sq yard and 400 sq yard plots and on November 19, Rs 1,750 crore was refunded against 300 sq yard plots. Again on November 23, Rs 647 crore was refunded to banks against 250 sq yard plots. Today, GMADA transferred Rs 1,719 crore to financial institutions for 200 sq yard plots. A total of about Rs 8,500 crore has to be refunded to unsuccessful applicants.

“It amounts to adopting unfair trade practise. Monopolistic and restrictive trade practices are being adopted by financial institutions. Part interest should be refunded from the day the money is electronically transferred into accounts of banks,” Ajay Jagga, a consumer right activist, said.

Officials at the nodal branches of the State Bank of India and the Punjab and Sind Bank said though money had been received by them, it could not be refunded until it was sanctioned by the higher authorities.

An SBI official stated that since refunding the portion of interest varied from 30 to 40 days, it needed to be calculated and processed, which was a time-consuming exercise.

Demanding that the interest should be refunded from the day the money was transferred into the accounts of the respective banks, unsuccessful applicants apprehend that banks might delay calculating the refund amount.

“If applicants have any grievance, they can file the complaints with the banking ombudsman, the ministry of consumer affairs, and the Reserve Bank of India,” Jagga said.

Interest amount likely to be refunded

An applicant of a 500 sq yard plot (who got his application financed from a bank) can hope to get a refund of around Rs 4,000. In case of a 200 sq yard, the unsuccessful applicant would get around Rs 1,500 as refund. The interest part could vary as the interest is chargeable on a daily basis as per RBI guidelines,” a GMADA official stated.



‘Carnival opening on 26/11 anniversary ill-timed’
Inappropriate says Senior Deputy Mayor
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Even as the country marked the second anniversary of the horrific 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, a seemingly forgetful UT administration chose the day to inaugurate the annual Chandigarh Carnival, a three-day cultural and entertainment extravaganza, with much fanfare at the Leisure Valley in Sector 10. In contrast, barely a kilometer away, councillors attending the municipal corporation’s general house meeting displayed greater sensitivity by observing two minutes’ silence in memory of the victims and martyrs.

In an apparent attempt to “increase” fun and frolic in the city, the administration extended the carnival to three days from the traditional two from November 26. However, it was obvious no one realized the inauguration would coincide with the anniversary of the 26/11 attacks in which almost 200 innocent people lost their lives.

While opening the carnival, adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra claimed the event had brought “international acclaim” to the city, saying “it was a matter of immense pride for the entire population of Chandigarh”.

However councillors elected to the MC did not appear amused. Criticism came from no other than senior deputy mayor Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a member of the ruling Congress party that has a majority in the MC house. Moving a resolution to observe two minutes’ silence to mark the 26/11 anniversary, he asserted the administration should have avoided the carnival’s inauguration on November 26. “Instead it could have been held over the weekend - November 27 or 28”, he added.

Conceding November 26 was not an “appropriate” day for the start of the festivities, a UT Administration official claimed “it was not intentional”.



FS granted leave till end of tenure
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The UT administration today sanctioned the long leave of finance secretary Sanjay Kumar until his last day of deputation, which is January 10. Advisor to the administrator Pradip Mehra has requested the home affairs ministry to speed up the process of his repatriation to Punjab so that his successor could be appointed at the earliest.

Sources said Mehra has urged ministry additional secretary B Bhamti to pursue the matter so that VK Singh, whose name has been selected as the next finance secretary could join soon.

The sources said the request had been made in view of major projects of various departments held by Sanjay Kumar, which are now stuck by his sudden exit. “If the new finance secretary is able to assume charge soon, work on completing the projects can get going as Kumar has proceeded on leave till the conclusion of his tenure”, said a UT official on condition of anonymity.

The sources added Bhamti has assured the administration she would take up the matter with the ministry and subsequently with the prime minister’s office.

Administration officials are currently drafting a reply to queries pertaining to the acquisition of land for Phases I and II of the city’s IT Park. The administration, which recently wrote to home affairs ministry joint secretary M Gopal Reddy on acquisition and utilization of land for both phases, is supposed to send the reply by November 30.

The ministry has also sought the minutest details on the administration’s move to acquire land for Phase III of the IT Park with reference to the report submitted by a former IAS officer, Arun Ramanathan, who had earlier held an inquiry into the matter.



3 brothers get 10-year jail for rape
High drama in court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
There was high drama at the district courts here today when a local court sentenced three brothers to 10 years of imprisonment for raping a minor two year ago.

Agitated at the verdict, the convicts and their family raised slogans against the Additional District and Sessions Judge, terming the ruling biased, following which cops dragged them out of court.

The convicts, 19-year-old Nitin, 23-year-old Sonu and 27-year-old Monu, abducted the minor from Kajheri on September 10, 2008, and raped her there for six days.

The victim was abducted when she was on her way back home. She told the police that she was kept in a rented room at a village. She was later dropped near her residence.

Nitin was working at a mall in Sector 34, Sonu was working as peon with a company at the IT Park and Monu was working as sweeper.

They maintained that the girl had an affair with Nitin and had married him in Panchkula. “We facilitated their marriage,” Sonu and Monu told mediapersons outside the court.

Nitin alleged that relatives of the girl had implicated them in the case. 


Chandigarh Carnival has entry fee
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Singer Suraj Jagan performs at the Chandigarh Carnival at Leisure Valley, Sector 10, on Friday.
Singer Suraj Jagan performs at the Chandigarh Carnival at Leisure Valley, Sector 10, on Friday. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Chandigarh, November 26
Celebrations come for a price! At least, it is so for the annual extravaganza, Chandigarh Carnival. Hosted as a city affair, inviting all residents to get together for annual celebrations, for the past more than a decade, the UT administration is, from this year, charging Rs 5 as entry fee to the annual festivities.

“The question is not about the paltry sum of Rs 5, but the move is just not in the spirit of the festivities,” said Rakesh, a visitor. To top it all, the logic behind keeping the entry fee, the UT administration’s fanciful idea of keeping rowdy elements at bay, was the icing on the cake.

“We have kept the fee so that we can keep rowdy elements and unauthorised vendors at bay,” said the Director, UT department of tourism, Amandeep Kaur. Children below 12 years were allowed free.

The entry fee was only for the day, when visitors could see scientific floats and other popular creations like robots and ‘Spiderman’. All three star nites, with known artistes performing, were free of cost in the form of free passes. A major chunk of the total expenditure of the carnival was spent on paying these artistes to perform.


Less Audience

UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, who was the chief guest during the star nite, had to cut a sorry figure when he saw more than half of the chairs lying empty. The time of the performance had to be shifted from 7 pm to 7:45 pm. After seeing the low turnout even after this, he chose to skip the traditional lighting of the lamp and receiving greetings on stage. He chose to sit quietly in the first row and enjoy the performance.



It’s getting bigger, better

Chandigarh, November 26
Flowers, bookmarks, souvenirs and activities is what the Chandigarh Carnival offers to residents of the city. Started as Children Carnival in 1998, this fair is only getting bigger and better with each passing year.

Themed on science fiction, this carnival has about 30 interesting stalls. It is more for activities than its wares that the stalls are thronged by people.

The most popular is the one set up by girls of the MCM DAV College. It offers handmade flowers (they also offer to teach you to make one for Rs 50), colourful bookmarks and cards. Young girls offering illusion games is the boys’ favourite while girls are busy getting their personality, doodle and handwriting analysis done. “Two tests are free and two others paid,” chirps a girl.

The stall of the Home Science College, Sector 10, is a close second. It offers to do colour analysis. It also gives a printed description of what one’s favourite colour says about the person.

Among regular stalls, the Chandigarh Traffic Police’s is another in demand. Earnest boys and girls are busy taking the traffic rules awareness test. A stall by artist Bhattacharya has development of Chandigarh in the form of caricatures. The Capitol Complex as the city’s brain, the City Centre as heart, green areas as lungs and high fashion quotient are all there in his caricatures.

The Chandigarh Sahitya Kala Akademi holds a ‘shayari’ competition in the afternoon. The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi has an on-the-spot photography competition on ‘Glimpses of Chandigarh Carnival 2010’ as well as an art quiz.

This stall has souvenirs of artists’ art works for sale. Starting from bookmarks (Rs 3), it also has cards, cushion covers, coasters and other interesting stuff. The Sangeet Natak Akademi has competitions in monoacting, mimicry and solo singing.



MC says no to congestion tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The municipal corporation (MC) today rejected the proposal to impose congestion tax on vehicles entering Sectors 17, 22, 35 and 26 with a view to ease traffic congestion.

At a meeting of the MC House, members suggested that instead of imposing new taxes, the administration should work on ways and means to strengthen the public transport system.

The administration should work on setting up more multi-level parkings, upgrading the public transport system and encouraging the car pooling system, Congress councillor Pardeep Chabbra said.

Nominated councillor MPS Chawla suggested one-way traffic in congested areas and community parkings in different areas to deal with the congestion of traffic.

Through another important decision, the House decided to constitute expert committees to frame rules for the departments of primary health, primary education, V-3 roads, greenbelts and gardens,which had been transferred from the Chandigarh administration to the MC.

Participating in the discussion, AP Sanwaria and Arshad Khan termed rules as sketchy, following which Mayor Anu Chatrath decided to form the committees to frame the final rules.

Chander Mukhi Sharma, Devinder Singh Babla, Jatinder Bhatia, Ravinderpal Singh Palli, all Congress, and Harjinder Kaur demanded more revenue-generating departments for the MC.

Earlier, speaking on the recovery of rent from roadside liquor shops, Babla demanded that arrears be recovered from all liquor vends, particularly on V-3 roads.

Chawla demanded the recovery of property tax from those, as was being levied on leasehold sheds in Industrial Area.

Speaking on the discussion on the development of a theme park at Dadu Majra, nominated councillor PK Mukherjee alleged that while the amount already sanctioned had not been spent, Rs 3.41 crore was sought to be passed by the House again. The House passed the agenda item on the theme park.

The House also passed several development agenda items, including revalidation of outsourcing sanitation contract for villages, colonies and sectors and proposal to acquire 66 acres for phases VII and VIII of the Augmentation of Water Supply Scheme at Kajauli.

It was also decided to put stainless steel house indicator boards on an experimental basis in one village and one sector. A special meeting of the House to deliberate on the action taken reports of various agendas in the last about four years was decided upon.

Members Clash

Congress and BJP councillors clashed on the issue of laying paver blocks in the Mauli Jagran Colony. Anil Dubey (BJP) alleged that the roads committee, headed by nominated councillor RC Jakhu, stalled development works in his ward at the instance of the Mayor. Jakhu refuted the allegations and the Mayor clarified that she had sent the road committee members to the spot following a written complaint from Mauli Jagran residents. At this, certain Congress councillors were on their feet, claiming that there was no discrimination in allotment of works for wards of opposition councillors. The Mayor claimed that there had been unprecedented development in opposition councillors’ wards, particularly Mauli Jagran.



MC House’s new drama
Councillors, bureaucracy lock horns again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Elected representatives and bureaucracy of the municipal corporation today locked horns again, with 17 councillors, including Mayor Anu Chatrath, lodging a formal complaint against Joint Commissioner Kamlesh Kumar with the Home-cum-Local Government Secretary for “lowering the sanctity of the House”.

Cutting across party lines, councillors belonging to the Congress, the BJP and the BSP demanded action against the official in the “interest of justice”.

The trouble arose when Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla was making a point in the House and Kamlesh started laughing at him. Babla protested against his behaviour, terming it against House norms.

After Babla’s speech, Kamlesh rose to clarify that his laughter was in no way related to Babla’s speech. This was followed by a war of words between Babla and Kamlesh.

While Chatrath tried to intervene, a majority of Congress councillors were on their feet, demanding that the official apologise as he had spoken without the Mayor’s permission and had lowered House’s prestige.

However, later, Kamlesh clarified that he had no intention of bypassing the Mayor and was only setting the record straight.



India needs to strengthen secularism: K’taka Guv
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Stressing that secularism was the most important aspect of society, Governor of Karnataka, HR Bhardwaj said secularism was the basic foundation on which India was built and it should be further strengthened.

“Whenever we have given secularism the go-by, the country has suffered,” he said, while delivering the PN Kaksar memorial lecture at the Center for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here. “When secularism suffers, the country gets divided,” he added.

He said even though the Constitution treated everyone as equal, in a secular society the majority community had to play the role of an elder brother and assume greater responsibility for social harmony.

Later, talking to mediapersons in relation to the ongoing political situation in Karnataka, he said he would remain Governor as long as the Prime Minister wanted him to remain there. He also released a book, “Women Guiding the Destiny of South Asia”, a compilation of the proceedings of a seminar held on this theme by the CRRID earlier. The book has been edited by former Ambassador PS Sahai and Dr Vijay Laxmi.

The CRRID is also organising a two-day international conference on Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia, which is scheduled to commence tomorrow. Several experts from India as well as abroad would be delivering talks and presenting papers on political, economic, security and social issues that concern South Asia.



Captain’s rally defaces Zirakpur highway
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 26
Chaos marked Zirakpur roads during the road show of newly elected Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh. Commuters travelling on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway and the Panchkula-Patiala highway had a real tough time, as traffic remained stuck at many points of the town.

The entire town has been defaced by Congress party workers with number of banners and posters of Capt Amarinder Singh. Even they put up the banners beneath the flyover to woo their leader.

Motorists were stranded for more than one hour at Zirakpur due to the jam caused by the road show. The heavy rush of vehicles led to the traffic jam on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway and the Zirakpur-Patiala highway.

The situation was even worse near Sharma Palace on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway where the traffic cops had stopped the vehicles and diverted the traffic over the flyover, causing inconvenience for those who had to move for Shimla and Patiala.

A visit to the spot revealed that from the entrance of Zirakpur, the party workers defaced the town with buntings and posters. Congress workers had not spared even the open space beneath the Zirakpur flyover.

Traffic jam was witnessed on many intersections and the traffic police had a hectic time regulating traffic. Harjinder Singh, a resident of Zirakpur, said the Punjab and Haryana High Court banned the display and pasting of posters and banners on roads and highways. “It seems the ban was imposed only for commoners,” he added.

“I had to meet my client in Zirakpur but I was caught in the traffic jam near Zirakpur sales tax barrier for almost an hour,” said Manoranjan Singh, an executive of an insurance company. He alleged the traffic police should arrange proper diversion before starting the road show.

Traffic in charge Devinder Singh said traffic cops were deployed on the intersections to maintain the smooth flow of traffic. A GMR official said nobody had taken permission for installing banners and strict action would be taken against the violators. 



Trade fairs elsewhere?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Chandigarh administration has been directed to consider the feasibility of shifting trade fairs from Sector 17 to some other venue, such as Sectors 25 and 34, to avoid traffic chaos.

The directions of Justice Rajive Bhalla came during the hearing of a traffic regulation case after it was brought to the court’s notice that the Sector 17 parade ground was used for trade fairs without parking arrangements.

The vehicles during such trade fairs were being parked on the berms, green belts and roads, resulting in serious traffic jams in the area.

The Bench also directed the administration to finalise members of the road safety committee, to be notified under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

The administration was also directed to file a response on the steps taken to decongest the parking lots and demarcate areas for parking vehicles.

Directions were also issued to the SP (Traffic) to ensure that nakas on roads from Chandigarh to Panchkula and SAS Nagar did not affect the free flow of traffic during peak hours.

The Bench also asked the authorities concerned to file an affidavit, giving details of challans generated by each CCTV camera installed at the traffic lights in the city.

The administration was also directed to file its response on the assertion that only three signboards, informing the public of being under electronic surveillance, had been put up.



Uppal’s Marble Arch penalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has penalised the Uppal’s Marble Arch with payment of interest on the amount deposited for a house that was not delivered on time. A rate of 10 per cent is due on the paid amount of ` 99.23 lakh from the due date of possession (April 1, 2009) till the date of actual payment.

The company has been directed to “pay interest on the amount deposited by Nalini Chawla, a Kuwait-based NRI, from April 1, 2009, onwards which was the date promised for the delivery of the flat.” An additional charge of Rs 5,500 has also been slapped on the construction company. As per clause 8.1 of the agreement, the possession of the flat, complete in all respects, was to be delivered within 30 months from the start of construction. It was said that “in case of delay, penalty at the rate of `50 per square feet would be paid”. The construction company in a mail dated October 7, 2008, had assured the complainant that possession would be delivered in March, 2009. However, when she visited the city in November, she found the work to be incomplete. The construction company in a written reply did not dispute the factual position of the case.

“It has been stated that the entire delay occurred due to the act of government or public authority (Estate Office) in not issuing the completion certificate on time”. It has, however, been pointed out that according to a newsletter issued by the construction company in 2006, general public was intimated that possession of the premises would be handed over in 2008.

The forum has noted that: “It is of common knowledge that builders first give fanciful advertisements to attract gullible investors and receive enormous amounts from them. Thereafter, they do not stick to the schedule of construction.”The forum said the complainant paid `99.23 lakh and was not handed over the property on time.

The construction company has been asked to pay the compensation each month at the rate of 12 per cent on the arrears which are not paid.



26/11 anniv
Cops hold flag march
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Apprehending possibility of trouble by anti-social elements during the second anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terrorists attack, the police today carried out a flag march in busy markets across the city.

The police said special nakas were laid and police control room (PCR) vehicles were assigned special patrolling duties.



Neerja Bhanot conferred Karamveer Puraskar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Courage of Conviction Karamveer Puraskar award instituted by iCONGO was conferred on late Neerja Bhanot, former senior purser aboard Pan Am Clipper 73. Her brother Akhil Bhanot collected the award.

The Karmveer Puraskar award has been instituted by iCONGO in partnership with various stakeholders of society to acknowledge and appreciate gallant spirit of Neerja. Born on September 7, 1963, on completion of her education at St Xaviers College, Bombay, in March, 1985, she joined the Pan Am and was soon elevated to the position of senior purser aboard Pan Am Clipper 3. She was on board on aircraft hijacked by armed terrorists at Karachi Airport on September 5, 1986. She not only identified herself as a crewmember in-charge of Clipper 73, but also stood by crewmembers and passengers for 16 long hours under constant threat of death. She died shielding three children from the gunfire of the terrorists. 



3 kids found unconscious in park

Panchkula, November 26
Three children were found lying unconscious under mysterious circumstances in a park here today. The victims, identified as Sonu (11), Mangal (7) and Anish (7), were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, from where they were referred to the PGI.

According to information, a Sector 10 resident, BD Bhatia, noticed the children lying unconscious in the park of Sector 10. A bottle of liquor was also lying near them. It was learnt that the parents of the children were employed in nearby houses as domestic help.

Bhatia informed the police and later the children were shifted to the hospital. Mangal, who gained some consciousness, told the police that he was playing in the park with other children when he found a bottle. While playing they consumed the liquid in it and fell unconscious.

However, it was not confirmed till now the nature of liquid in the bottle. — TNS



Media fest at SD College

Chandigarh, November 26
ISBM School of Communication in collaboration with the volunteers of Spirit India of GGDSD College, Sector 32, organised their media fest “Mindprints 2010” on the college premises today.

Satpal Gosain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab government, was the chief guest.

The morning session kicked off with lighting of the lamp. Munmun Kanti was given the Green Warrior Award, while Ajay Shukla received the Young Communicator Award. Ashima Dhir, head of the department of functional English and mass communication, GGDSD College, was also honoured for her contribution to the field of media.

She has won several prizes for her documentaries like “Vichhora”, “Siskiyaan”, “Life Less Ordinary” and “Kargil - Lest We Forget”. Green panel speakers Arun Deep Chaudhary, department of geology, Panjab University, and Brahmakumari Sister Kavita highlighted the need of conserving environment. The afternoon session comprised cultural activities, including a fashion show on the theme “Media, Youth and Green” and a Punjabi folk musical performance. — TNS



Khaki action at police station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Sub-inspector Harinder Singh Sekhon allegedly roughed up the constable on duty, Hitesh Kumar, at the Sector 11 police station here today.

According to sources, Sekhon seized seven cartons of liquor at the Mullanpur border and came to get the seizure recorded.

He allegedly got into a heated argument with Hitesh and ended up manhandling him.

Senior police officials reached the police station and were trying to enquire till the time of filing of this report.



20 new posts for GMCH okayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has given its approval to the creation of an additional 20 technical posts for the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

The posts are operation theatre assistant (5), junior technician anaesthesiology (6), senior technician anaesthesiology (8) and operation theatre supervisor (1).

With the creation of these posts, it is hoped that services in the department of anaesthesiology will be enhanced, said GMCH Director-Principal Raj Bahadur.



UT SSP inspects PCR fleet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The UT SSP inspected the police control room (PCR) fleet at the Police Lines in Sector 26 here.

As many as 650 personnel participated in the inspection.

The entire fleet of 70 vehicles, including Gypsies, motorcycles and trauma vans, were inspected for maintenance and upkeep.

The police personnel explained their difficulties and problems to the SSP, who told them to be vigilant and firm while performing duty.



Agri-food cluster to be set up in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) Director Dr Rakesh Tuli today said the Department of Biotechnology, along with Punjab government was establishing an agri-food cluster in Mohali.

Speaking at the concluding function of the workshop on innovations in agri research, Dr Tuli said the cluster would include NABI, besides other institutions of international level. NABI is currently operating from an interim facility.

The scientist said NABI was planning to provide a world class environment to nurture creative thinking and wholesome living, a state-of-the-art design to support highly specialised laboratory services, environmental and biological safety, energy and water use efficiency, aesthetics and functional efficiency.

Kenneth Dean, a highly decorated engineer and Facilities Manager at NRC-PBI Saskatoon, Canada, spoke on various issues related to campus development.

He suggested that Site Development Strategic Plan be Developed to encompass the various institutions being established as part of the proposed Knowledge City. He said this would enhance opportunities for shared learning.

The workshop concluded with a visit to Industries on the Chandigarh-Amritsar route. 



Board exams still the first choice
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Union Human Resource Development Ministry’s idea of making Class X boards optional seems to have failed with over 80 per cent of city students having opted for them rather than the school-conducted exams.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) claimed that the board-conducted exam was meant for those who studied in institutions up to class X or planned to exit CBSE schools. Those planning to continue with CBSE schools could sit for the school exams. However, despite being provided this 'easy way' out, most of the students have decided to take the board exam expecting additional benefits with it. A majority of these students belong to city government schools.

UT District Education Officer Chanchal Singh says, “The students studying in schools up to Class X have to necessarily appear for the board exams but even in case of other students, a majority of them have decided to go for the boards even though they have an option to opt out of it. These students are keeping their options open in case of switching schools.”

The Union Human Resource Development Ministry had come up with the idea of optional exams, starting this year. The students were given an option to appear for class X exams either through CBSE board or their own school.

The two exams are meant to be identical in toughness, levels, marking schemes and weightage. The stress factor has also been ruled out as unlike previous years, this exam will constitute only 40 per cent of the total score and will be based on the second term syllabi only.



From school & colleges

Chandigarh: Scintillating dances, melodious songs and yoga performances marked “The Homecoming”, annual function of Tender Hearts School. An English play highlighting the importance of friends was the key highlight of the function.


State Library, Sector 34, organised a math’s quiz for students of primary and secondary levels on November 25 and 26. St John’s School, Sector 26, stood first in the senior-level competition, the second prize was bagged by St Kabir School, Sector 26, while Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, stood third. In the junior category, St John’s School stood first, while the second and third prizes were bagged by Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, and St Stephen’s School, Sector 45.


St Anne’s Kindergarten School, Sector 32, held its annual function “Flight to Fantasyland”. Chief guest Rt Rev Dr Ignatius LI Mascarenhas, Bishop of Shimla Chandigarh Diocese, and president of the Shimla Chandigarh Educational Society, appreciated the efforts put in by the budding students.

‘Nukkad Natak’

The Women Cell of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, organised an inter-college “Nukkad Natak” on “Women Empowerment”.

The participating teams put up a grand show. “Mera Bharat Mahaan”, a play by MCM DAV College, highlighted the women’s derogatory status among other social evils. It won the first prize. The host college presented “Janmostava”, which debated the theme of celebrating the birth of a girl child at a village in Haryana. Principal Dr Meera Modi congratulated the winners.


More than 100 students from 40 city schools took part in “Peace Trainers Training Programme” organised by YuvSatta, an NGO, on the college campus. Justice Permod Kohli of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was the chief guest on the occasion. Justice Permod Kohli inaugurated the programme. He urged youngsters to become “Agents of Change”. Prominent amongst those who interacted with students as part of this two-day programme were Dr Satinder Dhillon, Dr Dazy Zarabi from Panjab University, Manjit Singh and Prof Anil Sarwal.


The first meeting of school eco club clusters (Group no 21) was held at Gurukul Global School, near IT Park, Mani Majra, to streamline the efforts of various eco clubs. Santosh Kumar, director, environment, UT administration, put emphasis on the role of teachers in sensitising students.

Cleanliness drive

Delhi Public School, Sector 40, enthusiastically participated in “Rashtriya Dharohar ke Rakhwale” organised by the department of tourism, UT administration. More than 40 students from various classes were part of the event. The programme aimed at involving schoolchildren to inculcate in them a sense of devotion towards preserving the heritage and beauty of city. DPS was allotted ‘Shanti Kunj’ to conduct various activities for the month of November, 2010. Students and staff whole-heartedly conducted activities like cleanliness drive, quiz, painting competition, tattoo making and face painting.


Mohali: St Soldier organised EDUFEST -2010 based on the theme -Around the World. RJ Khanderao, Regional Officer, CBSE, inaugurated the exhibition and appreciated the innovative approach to educate young minds. The students, celebrating the richness of art and culture, bounty of nature, the life-changing inventions and discoveries of science, displayed an array of amazing exhibits.Each student of the school was given one of the 13 diverse representations of the past, present and future. Class III elucidated the ecological concerns of today by presenting a tangential view of the flora and fauna and effects of human dominance and monopoly over nature creating imbalance in the ecology. Class VI students depicted the archaeological aspects of the ancient and contemporary history reliving the era of art and culture. They depicted civilizations at diverse levels of development shaping the modern human life.

Annual day

Anne’s School, Mohali, celebrated its annual day ‘ The Rostrum’ on the school premises here on Friday. A colourful programme on folk dances preceded the speech of school principal Harpreet Grewal. An acrobatic show and a pal on ‘ Immigartion rage and its aftermath’ by the senior wing of the school attracted a wide applause from the audience. — TNS



PU notes
International conference

Chandigarh: Professor Ashok Mishra, chairman, Global Alliances (intellectual ventures) Bangaluru, inaugurated a two-day international conference on “Polymer Science and Engineering: Emerging Dimensions” at the Panjab University campus here on Friday. Misra traced the importance of polymers ever since its discovery, its origin to its applications to the packaging works. Ajay Shah, senior vice-president, RIL, Mumbai, in his keynote address stressed on the commercial and technical aspects of uses of polymers as well as its applications in various spheres.

Poster presentation

Vandita Kakkar, a senior research fellow in the Department of Pharmaceutics, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University, bagged second prize in the poster presentation at the International Conference on “New Developments in Drug Discovery from Natural Products and Traditional Medicines (DDNPTM-2010)” held at NIPER, S.A.S Nagar (Mohali) from November 20 to 24, 2010.

Refresher course

Professor RP Bambah, former Vice-Chancellor and Professor Emeritus of Panjab University, inaugurated a refresher course in mathematics and statistics in the department of mathematics here on Friday. Professor AK Bhandari, chairperson of the department informed that 32 participants from various colleges were participating in this programme to be held till December 16. The inaugural function was followed by a keynote lecture delivered by Professor Emeritus IBS Passi of the department. — TNS



PUSU submits memo to VC
Demands date extension for depositing fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) submitted a memorandum to the PU Vice -Chancellor highlighting the problems of students of the UIHMT (University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism).

Students have demanded extension of the date for depositing fee for the next semester. Party president Udey Wirring said the authorities had put up the notice in the department on November 24 asking students to submit the fee of Rs 35,000 by November 28 and it was impossible for students to arrange money at such a short notice.

The memorandum also raised demand to re-schedule the re-appear exams of the UIHMT Department currently scheduled from December 11, as they clash with reappear exams.

The party members also urged the university authorities to reduce requisite percentage for promotion from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.



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