C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Work stress taking toll on cops’ health
SHO dies of cardiac arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
A 48-year-old UT police Inspector, presently serving as the Station House Officer of Sector 31 police station, died late yesterday night, following cardiac arrest. Inspector Bakshish Singh, developed chest pain while he was in Ram Darbar yesterday where infuriated area residents had pelted stones at the police following a group clash. He was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he breathed his last.

The Inspector is survived by his wife and three minor children. The sudden death of the Inspector came as a shock to the entire police fraternity who remembered him as a committed police officer.

Inspector Bakshish was in Ram Darbar yesterday at 9 pm when he had gone to take stock of the situation.

The cremation of the SHO was attended by majority of police officers and a tribute was paid to him by firing five bullet fires in the air.

Stress led to tragedy

Long and strenuous working hours, prolonged night shifts, tremendous work pressure, no weekly offs and high-stress levels have taken a serious toll on the lifestyle of majority of police personnel getting affected by their erratic schedules. The sudden death of Inspector Bakshish Singh has once again brought to light that stress was eating into the health of police officers.

Wailing family members of Bakshish Singh said that the Inspector had eaten a single chapatti since yesterday morning before he collapsed late in the evening. He was on duty for the past 18 hours as there was tremendous work pressure. Due to work, he didn’t have the time to have lunch or tea during the day and he rushed to the stone-pelting spot at Ram Darbar last evening where he suffered a heart attack.

“Its basically stress that took his life. There is tremendous pressure on the police officers. The recent spate of sensational kidnapping and burglary cases too has triggered the stress levels as we are at the receiving end from all corners, the senior officers as well as from the public,” said a police officer.

It was the second stone-pelting incident in Ram Darbar this week and this had aggravated the tension. According to his family, the Inspector was in great tension due to deteriorating law an order situation in his area particularly Ram Darbar. He had attended all the emergency calls made by senior officials for checking the alertness of cops the night before yesterday.

Recent exercises by the police officers such as night patrolling, all night barriers from 1 am to 4 pm, had deprived police officers of their sleep. “He was fit and never suffered from any ailment. However, for the past two-three months he had spent very little time with the family and was under tension due to work pressure,” said a family member.

The deceased is survived by wife Surjeet Kaur, two minor daughters and a six-year-old son. It was for the first time that Bakshish was appointed as the SHO and earlier he was deployed with the Economics Offence Wing (EOW) and the security wing of the police.

The inspector was looking forward to celebrate his marriage anniversary with his family tomorrow, but destiny had other plans for him. His family said he was planning to celebrate it in a big way.



Schools revert to old admission criteria
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The UT Administration today rolled back the arbitrary change of age eligibility criteria following high drama at schools yesterday.

The department has decided to stick to the old criteria stipulating those born between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007, as eligible for admission.

It took a brief meeting with the principals of St John’s School, Carmel Convent School, Sacred Heart School, and St Anne’s Convent for the realisation to dawn on the education department that parents were harassed by the last-minute changes.

In a subsequent circular issued to schools, the department allowed them to continue with the earlier criteria.

“It remains a big question why they sent the notice if it was meant to be rolled back. It was only after a meeting with us that they seemed to have realised the problem. It’s back to square one and we will be taking 4+ students for nursery,” said Kavita Das, Principal of St John’s School.

Hundreds of parents were stressed out yesterday when these four schools, citing an arbitrary communication received from the education department, hastily amended the prospectus.

“I don’t understand what barred them from seeing logic in our claims yesterday. I spent a sleepless night. Maximum schools follow the 3+ criteria but the problem here was that it was announced at the last minute,” Ravnii Arora, a parent, said.

‘Don’t call it rollback’

It should not be termed as a rollback of any order. We issued it to ensure compliance with the RTE. With schools giving an assurance that their predetermined criteria abides by the RTE, we have allowed them to continue it for this year. We never meant to harass parents but had to speak to schools to ensure the implementation of the RTE.

— PK Sharma, DPI (S)



Tanishq Heist
Kingpin wanted in 3 murder cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The brain behind the Tanishq dacoity, Paras Soni, alias Pritpal Singh, has given a tough time to the police of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan ever since he escaped from the custody of the Rajasthan police in 2003.

He is wanted in 15 criminal cases by the Punjab Police, including murders, robberies and burglaries, since 2001. The accused, who is a class VI passout, has committed three murders in the state and his name has “featured” across Ferozepur, Zirakpur and Mohali.

He escaped from the custody of the Rajasthan police in 2003 after drugging the constables. He was arrested in Ghaziabad in a murder case in 2007 and was released on bail in December 2008. While the Punjab Police knew him as Pritpal Singh, he disclosed his identity to the UP Police as Paras Soni. It is because of this that the Punjab and Rajasthan police were unable to track him since 2003.

Crime List

Hailing from Jalalabad in Ferozepur, Paras committed three murders with the motive of robbery. Here is a brief account of the cases registered against him:

  • Murdered a man and snatched Rs 1.5 lakh from a tea businessman at Jalalabad. He and two others arrested. Declared a proclaimed offender in 2004.
  • Robbed Rs 3.5 lakh and killed a man with the help of his accomplices in 2001. All arrested.
  • Shot a man over a financial dispute in 2007.
  • Stole seven gas cylinders from Jalalabad in 1998. Arrested and declared a proclaimed offender in 2006.
  • Robbed Rs 70,000 in Ferozepur in 2001. Declared proclaimed offender.
  • He and his accomplice stole Rs 50,000. Declared a proclaimed offender in the case in 2005.
  • Snatched Rs 1.8 lakh from a cloth merchant.
  • Snatched a mobile and Rs 1000 from near Dabwali in 2001. Declared a proclaimed offender.
  • Stole Rs 12,000 and a gun from Jalalabad. Arrested.

Zirakpur, Mohali

  • Stole 200 DVD players from Onida godown in Zirakpur. Guddu Singh was arrested while Pritpal Singh escaped.
  • Stole mobile phones from a godown at Zirakpur along with his brother. Arrested in 2005.
  • Committed a burglary at a bank in Mohali. All accused arrested.
  • Committed burglary at another bank in Malerkotla. Declared proclaimed offender.
  • Committed robbery at a bank in Patiala. Took away Rs 4,12,800 and gold jewellery from bank lockers. Paras and his brother declared proclaimed offender.


Ninth accused arrested

The police on Tuesday arrested the ninth accused in the case, Harjinder Singh, alias Jonty, from Jalalabad district of Ferozepur. He was the driver of Paras Soni.



ASI gets 3-yr jail for cheating
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 18
The court of sessions judge GS Gill today sentenced a police assistant subinspector and a constable along with a woman and a jeweler to three years’ imprisonment in a case of cheating. A fine was also imposed on each of them.

The vigilance bureau had booked ASI Ajaib Singh, head constable Bhag Singh and constable Jangir Singh in 2006 when they were posted at Sirhind police station. While Bhag was acquitted for lack of evidence, the other two were awarded prison sentences.

The three were booked following a complaint filed with the vigilance bureau by a Sirhind resident, Diwan Chand, who alleged the cops used to first stop commuters midway on the road and ask them to drop off a woman, Paramjit Kaur, at a place nearby. He claimed the cops then threatened to book them for “indulging in immoral activities” and demanded money from the victims, letting them off with a warning after pocketing the money. According to Chand, the cops booked those who refused to give them any money.

The complaint stated the cops told their victims to hand over a certain amount of money to a local jeweller, Satish Kumar, who too was later booked by the vigilance bureau.



Showroom Robbery
15 teams set up to nab accused
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, January 18
Even after 36 hours, the police is yet to make any headway in the Berkeley Automobiles robbery case in which some unidentified persons decamped with Rs 14.5 lakh after killing the security guard on the intervening night of January 16 and 17.

According to police sources, about 15 teams had been constituted to nab the attackers and raids were being conducted in Mohali and Patiala areas.

The police is working on several theories, including the involvement of a new professional gang as the attackers had not touched any other item in the showroom.

The police is scrutinising the profiles of various thieves who were active in the region during the past few years, but have been dormant for some time. The police is also in touch with its counterparts in Punjab, Himachal, UP and New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the police visited the showroom today and questioned the workers there to know if they had seen anyone moving inside the showroom in a suspicious manner. The police was of the view that the gang must have conducted a reconnaissance of the showroom a few days before the incident.

The sources said the police was taking it as a challenge to crack the case as it was for the first time in the city that the attackers had killed a guard. A meeting of top police officials was also held late last evening.



Filling station owner booked for axing trees
Tribune News Service

The stump of a tree at a filling station in Sector 22, Chandigarh
The stump of a tree at a filling station in Sector 22, Chandigarh.
Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, January 18
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today lodged an FIR against the owner of Gurdyal Singh and Sons petrol station in Sector 22 for “cutting trees without taking permission from the competent authorities”.

A resident of Sector 22, Balkar Singh had complained to UT Adviser Pardip Mehra that the petrol station owner, Paramjit Singh, had cut three trees on December 26 and stored the wood in the backyard of the petrol pump without informing the MC’s horticulture department.

Two officials of the horticulture department visited the spot and recovered the wood.


MC budget
Focus on new schools, revamp of old ones
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The municipal corporation has accorded top priority to setting up new schools and renovating existing ones in its proposed budget for the next fiscal (2011-12). Six new primary schools are proposed to be set up in the city and their sites will be finalized from among the existing 18 earmarked for schools by the Chandigarh Housing Board.

The civic body also proposes to renovate all the seven schools that have been brought under its purview by the UT administration. A budget of ` 2 crore for construction of each school has been earmarked in the budget.

The budget has also made a ` 4 crore provision for a 100 bed maternity hospital in Maloya with the site already been selected. The MC will also carry out renovation work in all the 17 civil dispensaries in the city.

According to sources close to the MC, the budget details are currently being worked out, adding the drawings of the proposed projects would require the administration’s formal approval before work on them begins. They said the budget estimates for renovation are based on the reports on the condition of the schools and civil dispensaries prepared by nodal health and education officials, respectively.

The budget has also earmarked separate allocations for construction of the first multilevel parking lot in Sector 17 near Gurdev Studio, extension of MC building of Sector 17, a new wedding banquet hall in Halo Majra and construction of a bridge in Sector 17 from KC to Taj hotel.

MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria stated the process of making drawings for the new schools and hospitals had already commenced. “The MC won’t wait for the drawing of the schools and hospitals to come from the UT administration before approving the budget. Construction work can always start later. We only need to clear the funds required first”, he added.

Top priorities in 2011-12

  • Construction of 6 new primary schools
  • Construction of 100-bed maternity hospital in Maloya
  • Renovation of 7 primary schools & 17 civil dispensaries
  • Construction of first multilevel parking in Sec 17
  • Construction of extension of MC building in Sec 17



Plan Expenditure & Progress
HS takes stock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Home Secretary Ram Niwas yesterday held meetings with various departments to review the plan expenditure and progress of major works.

In the first meeting, it was stated that the education department had spent an amount of ` 3309.59 lakh on upgradation of schools.

An amount of ` 1907.32 lakh had been spent on elementary education whereas the expenditure incurred under the secondary head was ` 922.8 lakh.

Besides, ` 479.47 lakh had been spent on mid-day meals. Under the Rashtriya Madhmik Shiksha Abhiyan, ` 1.05 crore would be spent on the upgradation and strengthening of the classes IX and X.

A total of ` 304.47 lakh had been spent on strengthening and upgradation of colleges. The bifurcation included ` 221.38 lakh on university and higher education and ` 50.04 lakh under the special education.

The Education Secretary directed the Chief Engineer to start work on the upgradation and renovation of the auditorium at the Government College for Girls, Sector 11.

At another meeting, it was stated that under the social welfare department a total of ` 594.55 lakh had been spent on various schemes, which included ` 66.95 lakh on the development of the Scheduled Castes, ` 40 lakh on houses for Scheduled Castes, ` 107.43 lakh on the National Social Assistance programme, ` 31.07 lakh on the welfare of the handicapped and ` 67.55 lakh on social welfare.

Besides, ` 125.61 lakh had been spent on empowerment of women, ` 87.73 lakh on development of children and ` 68.21 lakh on providing mid-day meals to schoolchildren. The department of social welfare was also going to spend ` 1 crore on the construction of a hydrotherapy pool.

While highlighting the status of the industry department, the Director Industry-cum-State Transport Authority Director said ` 78 lakh had been spent on industrial development and fair and exhibitions.

He said ` 10 lakh had been spent on the control of pollution from automobiles and computerisation of the STA.



Subsidised Onions
Admn’s stall a big draw
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
In a first of its kind initiative, the UT administration’s food & supplies department in conjunction with the Manimajra Cooperative Society today put up a stall to provide onions to city residents at subsidized rates.

Over a tonne of onions were sold out in six hours at the stall, put up in the Sector 26 grain market near the market committee office. The onions were sold at ` 35 per kilogram and one person was allowed to buy only 2 kg. As soon as the word spread there were long lines of buyers who came from different sectors to buy onions.

Administration officials said it had decided on the move in order “break the cartel of certain retailers who sell onions at variable prices”. The sale of onions would continue tomorrow as well.

Meanwhile, Bharti Retail, which runs the Easy Day chain of stores, today announced it would retail onions at ` 40 per kg in all its stores in the region.



‘Lohakut’ staged to perfection
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 18
Popular Punjabi play “Lohakut” was staged to perfection by the host TFT Theatre Group on the second day of the ongoing sixth TFT Winter National Festival at the Tagore Theatre here today.

The standing ovation given by intrusive audience after the play was indeed a testimony to the incredible literary classic play scripted by legendary playwright Balwant Gargi and immaculate acting spells by all actors, besides backstage artistes who brought alive the author’s concept with élan.

The play with an all time socially relevant theme bared the predicament of subjugated women and their struggle for resurrection in the otherwise male dominated society.

In view of the fact that the women had attained parity with men in all spheres of life, the issue of secondary status needs to be condemned.

The play structured in the rural social life depicts the plight of a village woman, Shanti, and her young daughter, Bainu, bearing the onslaught of the family patriarch Kaku, an arrogant blacksmith, who without caring for their sentiments and emotions thrusts upon them his unethical ideals. Bainu gathers courage to defy the dictates of Kaku to marry an aged person of his choice and instead runs away with her lover, which aggravated Kaku’s temper to lash at his devoted wife. She, too, emulates her daughter and joins her old lover.

The acting spells by Anita Shabdish, Sudesh Sharma and Amanpreet Khaira brought out the subtle characters with understanding and emotional expression to enliven the element of conflict and prejudice throughout the play. Harwinder Saini, Mukesh Sharma and Naresh Bhagat provided brilliant support.



Rs 1.66 cr for upgrade of Mountview rooms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
CITCO’s only five star hotel, Hotel Mountview, is all set to provide facilities and amenities on a par with international standards to its clients as the organisation plans to spend ` 1.66 crore to redo certain rooms in the hotel.

This was decided at a meeting of the board of directors of CITCO here. It was further decided to upgrade/renovate the rooms and suites in the five star hotel.

In fact, CITCO’s financial performance in terms of overall turnover for the first three quarters of 2010-11 up to December 31, 2010 in its hotels has gone up significantly.

The overall turnover of CITCO increased by 25 per cent at ` 255.78 crore from ` 205.29 crore during the corresponding period last year.

The turnover of Hotel Mountview increased by 27 per cent, Hotel Parkview by 24 per cent and Hotel Shivalikview by 10 per cent over the corresponding turnover of CITCO hotels up to December, 2010.

The profitability also increased in the CITCO-managed hotels, increasing from ` 12.16 crore to ` 15.37 crore for the period up to December, 2010.

Interestingly, for the first time perhaps in the history of CITCO, the board of directors also decided to introduce new dishes and menu in Magic Wok Chinese Restaurant in Hotel Mountview.

It was further decided to introduce new range and varieties of bakery products in the bakery of the hotel for availability of products at CITCO outlets across the city.

For the welfare of staff, the board of directors decided to contribute an additional amount of ` 5 crore towards gratuity and an additional ` 1 crore towards leave encashment fund.

CITCO will also enhance the travelling allowance for group “D” officials, keeping in view the good profitability of the organisation and as a staff welfare measure.

They also decided to have a new website in the domain of websites of the Indian government. CITCO will have concurrent websites - CITCOchandigarh.com and CITCOchandigarh.gov.in - which will facilitate its existing clientele to have effective communication.



Chilly still but respite in sight
Punjab, Haryana colder than city
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Icy winds from the northern region kept temperatures below average here today, but the weatherman has predicted a slight respite in the coming days.

Tuesday’s maximum temperature was recorded at 18.0 °C, three notches below the average for this time of the season, while the minimum was at 4.3 °C, two notches below average but marginally lower that yesterday’s 4.7 °C, an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The humidity levels oscillated between a high of 94 per cent and a low of 63 per cent.

According to the weather office, Wednesday will be a clear day with chilly winds in the morning and evening.

In Punjab, Amritsar remained the coldest at 1.2 °C, while Patiala recorded the lowest of 2.0 °C in plains. Hisar and Karnal in Haryana were at their lowest of 2.7 °C and 2.6 °C, respectively.

However, city residents can expect some relief in the coming days, says the Met department.

According to the IMD, the next few days will see a slight rise in temperatures coupled with change in wind direction, which will further arrest the dip in mercury levels.

“For the past one week, cold conditions have prevailed due to icy winds coming from northern hills, but now this is replaced by western winds. So tricity residents can expect bright sunshine and the chilly wave will be less severe,” the IMD official said.

The official added that the icy winds were the result of snowfall in the hilly regions of North India.

“The wind direction is expected to change from tomorrow, as a result of which the minimum temperature will remain around 5 °C and maximum will hover around 17 °C for the next few days,” the IMD official added.

With the sun shining bright for almost throughout the day today, the residents enjoyed a much-needed break from the cold. They came out of their houses and perched atop rooftops.

Meanwhile, majority of flights operated normally except GoAir Airlines’ Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight that landed late by two hours.

The Met office has forecast mainly clear sky tomorrow and ground frost may occur at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana.

Train services continued to run late by one hour to 23 hours.



Sanitation Work
MC fails to allot contract even as deadline nears
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 18
Failing to understand the gravity of the situation, the Mohali civic body has yet not allocated the work of sanitation on contract for another year even when the two-month extended period is due to end in a week’s time. Another extension will have to be given to keep the work going.

The contract was earlier extended for two months after it had expired on November 25. The extended period will now end on January 25.

According to sources, the case will be put up before the Commissioner in a day or two, requesting him to extend the contract by at least another month.

As technical sanction is still awaited, tenders for allotting the work have not been invited so far.

The proposal for giving the work on contract for another year was kept pending during the general house meeting on September 23.

Councillors of the opposition group, who were in a majority, had then protested, alleging that estimates for development works of their wards had not been included in the agenda and as such no item was cleared by them.

On November 16, council’s executive officer Amna Kumar Goyal wrote to civic body president Rajinder Singh Rana to urgently convene a meeting so that the proposal for allocating the work on contract could be cleared, failing which unhygienic conditions could prevail in the town.

A meeting was then convened on November 25 wherein the proposal for allotting the sanitation work on contract was cleared by the general house, besides giving two months’ extension to sanitation contractors.

The proceedings of the meeting were sent to the director, local government, for approval.

Sources said administrative approval for allotting the work on contract for another year was received from the director, who had suggested the civic body to take technical approval in this regard, which was still awaited.

In order to improve the state of sanitation in the town, the then municipal council had proposed to spend a sum of Rs 2.75 crore and divided the work into two parts for giving it on contract for another year.

While one part comprised cleaning the town, including curb channels, the second was related to the dumping of garbage from collection points. The civic body had proposed to spend Rs 2.23 crore on the cleaning part and over Rs 50 lakh on dumping garbage.

Already on extension

The earlier contract was extended by two months after it ended on November 25. The extended period will now end on January 25



Now, ID must to surf Internet in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 18
The district administration here today prohibited the use of cyber cafes by persons whose identity could not be established.

District Magistrate (DM) Ashima Brar while proclaiming the order directed cyber café owners to check visitors’ identity proofs and maintain a daily ‘in and out’ register recording their name, address and telephone number. The time of logging in and logging off for each Internet users will have to be recorded on the register.

According to highly placed official sources this step has been taken after the administration reportedly received numerous complaints from owners of various commercial establishments regarding threatening e-mails received by them. The businessmen have allegedly been asked by unknown persons, who have used fake ID to send emails, and have demanded ransom money or threatened them with dire consequences, the sources added.

The press note issued to mediapersons said that as per the directive issued by the DM, every visitor to a cyber café must produce an authenticated photo identity card (ID) carrying his full residential address. The café owners will have to keep record of every person using the café, which could be his passport, college ID, PAN card, voter card, driving license or an office ID. It will be mandatory for the cyber café owners to maintain the identity registers and keep it safe for at least six months, the press note said.

The note further said that the cyber café owner was suspicious about the person visiting the café he or she should immediately inform the nearest police station in this regard. Legal action will be taken against those café owners who violate the orders, the press note added.

The order has been issued under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) 1973 and will remain valid up to March 11.



Pruning of unkempt branches begins
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Precariously leaning branches of a tree in Phase 3 A
Precariously leaning branches of a tree in Phase 3 A

Mohali, January 18
In a significant decision, the horticulture wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has begun pruning of unkempt branches of fully-grown trees that are leaning towards roadside.

Around 15,000 trees along different roads have been identified under the exercise.

Due to mind-less chopping by the electricity department to protect overhead power cables, scattered branches of hundreds of trees have not only become a threat to commuters, but have also blocked streetlights. On a trial basis, the horticulture wing officials armed with chainsaw pruned branches of kusum tree.

GMADA technical adviser (horticulture) HS Johal said as a policy matter, it was decided that new plantation being done across the city would be scientifically pruned. “We have pruned branches of some trees on the road dividing Phases X and XI. It is impossible to completely straighten the fully-grown trees as it involves a lot of effort,” he added.

In the past, no government agency in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula has adopted any policy on scientific pruning of trees.

“Scientific pruning of a number of trees (planted in Mohali) not only allows the trees to achieve a height of 20 feet to 30 feet, but also prolongs the life of trees,” the adviser added.

He said Secretary Housing and Urban Development Dr SS Sandhu had already passed instructions to all officials concerned to scientifically prune the new plantation.

HS Dhaliwal, executive engineer, horticulture, said a trial had been done. “We have identified a row of trees on the road dividing Phases 3A and 3B2 and commercial belts in Phase VII where precariously leaning branches of trees have become a traffic hazard and are blocking streetlights.” Officials have found that in many cases, residents cut trees during winter without informing GMADA officials. Horticulture officials admitted that hundreds of trees, especially along the roadside, are dead or are decaying.

New policy

I am trying to frame a policy that will define the distance of a tree from a road berm keeping in view the underground and overhead roadside essential services. No proper section along a road has been defined for plantation of saplings

— HS Johal
Technical adviser (horticulture), GMADA



Giving Shamlat Land on Lease
Residents of Sanoli village protest
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 18
Congress leader Dipinder Singh Dhillon and residents of Sanoli village today staged a protest against handing over of 23-acre village shamlat land to a private educational institution on lease by a sarpanch and three panchayat members in connivance with the local panchayat department officials.

Levelling allegations against the SAD-BJP government, Dhillon alleged that state government had ignored interest of the villagers while giving the prime land worth crores of rupees for 33 years on lease.

Dhillon today announced that if the lease was not terminated, the Congress would launch a widespread protest campaign in association with the villagers against the Punjab government. However, the protestors threatened that they would not allow anybody to take control over the land till the lease was not cancelled.

Protestors Sarban Singh, Baljinder Gurinder Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Mahinder, Satnam and others said several poor families had been earning their livelihood by farming on the 45-acre shamlaat land after yearly auction. They alleged that the sarpanch along with three panchayat members had given 23 acres of this land to a private institute on a throw away prizes for 33 years on lease, ignoring the interest of villagers. They did not take even villagers into confidence in the aforesaid decision, the villagers claimed. Earlier, the villagers had also protested against a sarpanch, three panchayat members and local panchayat department officials for giving the land on lease to a private institute.



PU to provide advisory services to budding entrepreneurs
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Expanding its character from being an academic institution to providing expert consultative services also, Panjab University’s newly incepted entrepreneurship cell will now provide advisory services to students interested in setting up their own business.

Exactly a year after the announcement of a new entrepreneurship cell on January 14, 2010, the cell is finally operational. Its members are now negotiating with corporations, both public and private, to sponsor bright and workable ideas proposed by the PU students and convert them into realistic projects.

University officials said a competition would be shortly organised on campus to find out the most innovative project proposed by any PU student.

In another crucial decision taken by the new central placement cell (CPC) committee and student council representatives, it was resolved to replicate the “University Business School model” for placements in all PU teaching departments.

The above decisions were taken at a meeting of the CPC members and student council president today. To begin, a workshop would be held at the English Auditorium on January 20 for students at English, Hindi and Punjabi departments where UBS faculty members and students would be providing them training.

These students would be taught strategies adopted by the UBS for their placements, which includes how to approach company executives, prepare resume, host company officials, motivating them and creating an awareness about the kind of jobs they can take up.

“It was decided to replicate the UBS model in all departments. Besides this, a full time dedicated team of engineers at the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) is already working on inviting companies to the PU campus for job fair on March 4 and 5 this year,” said Manu Sharma, faculty member, UIET.

“Placements in professional courses is almost over and the focus is now on placements in other departments,” he added.



PU VC gets Swami Vivekananda award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti has been awarded the prestigious Swami Vivekananda National Award-2011 for education in recognition of his contribution towards establishing institutions of scientific excellence and making Panjab University a leading university in biomedical sciences.

The award was instituted by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to recognise outstanding contribution and excellence of the citizens in different fields.

Recently, Sobti was also awarded with a gold medal by Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh for his significant contribution to the development of science and technology at the Indian Science Congress at Chennai.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni presented him the Swami Vivekananda National Award at a ceremony in New Delhi to mark the birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda.

Among other prominent personalities, who received awards of different categories are Somnath Chatterjee, former speaker of Lok Sabha; Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia (for entrepreneurship); Vijay Mallya, chairman, UB Group, etc. Vidya Balan, an eminent film actor, and Kanaka Sudhakar, a noted classical dancer, were awarded for promoting art and culture.



UIET students bring laurels to PU
Win first prize in ‘Robowars’

Chandigarh, January 18
“PU Junkies”, a team of six third-year mechanical engineering students of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, along with their robot christened “Blade” won the first prize in the “Robowars” held recently at “Techfest” hosted by IIT, Mumbai, which is among the largest technology festivals held in Asian colleges.

The team comprised of Yajur Digvijay Singh Brar, Ravinder Singh, Agyapal Singh, Nitesh Parmar, Sukhdeep Singh and Gurwinder Singh.

PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti and Dr Renu Vig, director, UIET, congratulated the winners on their arrival here today. A total of 157 teams from colleges across the sub-continent had participated, out of which 63 were shortlisted by the organisers.

Honouring the invention of these students, PU has agreed to sponsor the cost of developing “Blade”. The team members will be honoured at a valedictory function of the Chandigarh Science Congress-2011 being organised from February 26-28 in PU. — TNS



Fine arts dept renamed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
Punjabi University’s department of fine arts has been renamed as S Sobha Singh department of fine arts. This was announced by university Vice-Chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh during a function on the university campus here yesterday.

“The decision to rename the department has been taken in order to accord respect to the legendary painter S Sobha Singh,” said Dr Jaspal. University Syndicate has also given its approval to rename the department.





CHANDIGARH: The University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University, has organised a series of special lectures and Kevin Lamoureux, a member of the Canadian House of Commons for the constituency of Winnipeg North, delivered the first lecture. Sharing experience about his recent election campaign, which was based upon the support of the system of Community Police Offices, he said, “They are an effective delivering community policing. It allows individuals to get familiar with problem youth.” The second lecture in the series was a presentation made by Prof Dermot Cahill, dean, Bangor University Law School and deputy head of the University’s College of Business, Social Science and Law, and Aled Griffiths, a lecturer in law, Bangor University. He delivered a talk on the topic “Recent reforms of the UK Constitution and Price Fixing Decisions in the European Union”. The students were apprised of the scholarship available in the UK universities, including the University of Bangor.

Yoga contest

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad is organising a national yoga competition tomorrow at DAV College auditorium, Sector 10. The students’ leaders informed that nearly 200 delegates are expected to participate in the event from across the country. The programme would commence at 10 am and continue till 5 pm.

Paranthas ban opposed

Members of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Panjab University, on Tuesday alleged that the ban imposed by the PU authorities on paranthas in the botany department canteen citing health reasons has irked students on the campus. “This decision of the university authorities has disappointed the students since paranthas have been a speciality of this canteen. We would take up the issue with the authorities and it cannot be an official’s decision to ban a mean,” said Sunny Mehta, a student leader. PU dean student welfare could not be contacted for his comments on the issue. — TNS



Experts dwell on importance of public health
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The two-day national seminar on “Sustainable development and public health in India” organised by the Centre for Public Health (IEAST), Panjab University, concluded today with several delegates from different public health institutions from across India participating in the seminar.

The event was sponsored from the “Promotion of university research and scientific excellence” (PURSE) grant.

The topics ranged from health systems research, public health policies, research and technology in development of public health, sustainable public health systems, adolescent rights and occupational hazards.

Speaking at the valedictory programme, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti emphasised the significance of public health in every aspect of human life and highlighted the contribution of Panjab University towards initiating the public health programme and enhancing the quality of life on the campus in general.

Among the speakers were Suman Kapoor, dean, Biological Sciences Group, BITS, Hyderabad; Dr Anita Kar, director, Interdisciplinary School of Health, University of Pune; Dr Neena Gupta, senior faculty, Christian School of Health Sciences, Allahabad; Dr VK Tiwari, senior faculty, NIHFW, Delhi; Dr JS Saini, director, department rural development, NITTTR, Chandigarh; and Tej Paul Ahluwalia, deputy director, Division of Health Systems Research, ICMR, Delhi.



Astrophysicist from US in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Dr Priyamvada Natarajan, from department of astronomy and physics, Yale University, USA, who was in the city to interact with faculty members of Chitkara University said: “Often we don’t teach students how to learn, instead the emphasis is on clearing one particular examination.”

Ruling out the possibility of any relation of astronomy and astrology, she said even the deductions of the ancient Indians about astro-physics was done empirically on scientific basis.

She also explained that the dark matter was the portion in space, which had gravitational pull, but was invisible and whose composition was “not known” to the world.

Dr Natarajan, a theoretical astrophysicist, has been delivering talks at various academic and research institutions in India and yesterday launched the latest issue of “Chitkara World”, a bi-monthly magazine of the institute.



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