C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass to open tomorrow
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
After a long gap, the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass will be opened to vehicular traffic on the night of April 5, bringing much-awaited relief to commuters as well as residents of Pinjore and Kalka.

A view of the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

For the past many years, the commuters had to face long traffic jams at Pinjore and Kalka due to a huge increase in the number of vehicles on this route.

The route will be formally opened after midnight on Friday morning, with passengers having to pay new charges. Official sources said there was no move for any increase in the fares of the bus travellers. “There is no formal communication with regard to any hike in charges for bus tickets. Moreover, the total amount of the hike is not too substantive,” the official added.

According to an estimate, nearly 26,000 vehicles, including big trucks, pass through this route. This used to lead to long traffic jams everyday, which not only increased the travel time on this route. The smoke emitted from these stranded vehicles also posed a big health risk to local residents. Even many passengers had died when ambulances ferrying them were stuck in log jams for hours. A doctor had to conduct a delivery in a car carrying a would-be mother in labour pains stranded in a traffic jam at Kalka a few years ago.

The work on the bypass was started in March 2008 and was scheduled to be completed in August 2010. However, many hiccups, including land acquisition in some parts of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, led to the long delays in the project. The bypass, comprising eight bridges and four underpasses, is part of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo four-lane project on the National Highway-22.

The passengers, however, will have to shell out Rs 23 for smooth journey at the toll plaza set up at Chandimandir. The journey to Himachal Pradesh, especially to famous tourist place of Chail in Solan district, has become a little costly. A car owner has to pay Rs 23 at the Chandimandir toll plaza, Rs 30 for Himachal Pradesh entry fee at Parwanoo and Rs 30 against green tax levied by local panchayat on the entry of Chail on April 1.



Company to open stretch at stroke of 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
With the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directing the authorities concerned to open the bypass by Friday, April 6, one will now be able to steer clear of the traffic chaos in Pinjore and Kalka bazaars. The company dealing with the operational aspect of the highway will open it at the stroke of 12 Thursday night.

As the petition filed in public interest came up for hearing, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover heard that the user-fee schedule had been published in the official gazette on April 2 and notified in the newspaper today. The concessionaire company added that the public had been notified that the highway would become operational from April 6.

The Bench was also informed that a letter had been received by the concessionaire company from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) that the highway could be made operational only after 10 days.

Appearing before the Bench, counsel for the NHAI stated that the 10-day condition was being insisted upon in terms of the agreement between the NHAI and the concessionaire company.

The Bench asserted: “On March 22, when we had recorded our order requiring the concessionaire company to make the highway operational within three days of the date of publication of the schedule of user fee, the aforesaid clause of the agreement by and between the parties was not pointed out to us though, on the said date, as would be evident from the order itself, high officials of the NHAI were present in court.”

The Bench further ordered: “Be that as it may, the object behind the stipulation of 10 days requirement is intended to enable the public/users of the highway to be aware of the fact that the highway is ready for operations.”

“In the present case, according to the concessionaire company, all steps have been taken in advance to make the public aware of the said fact. Having regard to the object behind the said requirement of 10 days notice to the public as spelt out in the agreement, the failure on the part of the NHAI to inform the Court of such a clause in the agreement and in view of the clear direction issued by the Court for making the highway operational within three days, we now direct that the same be made operational with effect from April 6 as notified to the public by the concessionaire company.”

The directions came during the hearing of a petition filed in public interest by Harish Kumar Puri for streamlining the flow of traffic for avoiding accidents.

In his petition, Puri had earlier asked for the construction of rumble strips along with the traffic signals at the crossings. He had stated that his 27-year-old son Ashok Puri had died on May 14, 1996, due to a complete failure of the signal system. The case is being pursued by the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation through its secretary-general-cum-senior advocate ML Sarin.

The directions came just about six months after Punjab and Haryana High Court’s former Judge, Justice PK Palli, brought to the High Court’s notice a news-report on serious traffic disruption on the national highway.

Justice Palli had addressed a letter to the Chief Justice on October 11, last year, referring to “a news-item relating to serious disruption on NH-22”. The Chief Justice had then directed that the matter be treated as a public interest litigation.



CCTV cameras to be installed in Snehalaya
Family atmosphere also to be created in the institute, besides starting of yoga classes, tours
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
After sitting over the inquiry report for over five months in the Snehalaya issue, the UT Administration has finally swung into action and issued orders to install CCTV cameras and provide family atmosphere to the children in Snehalaya.

To counter negative feelings among them, the UT Administration has also decided to start yoga classes, educational tours and some entertainment for the children.

Kavle V Parshuram, SDM, South, and Manju Bhalla, member, Juvenile Justice Board, had pointed out lapses in Snehalaya after looking into the cases of missing children from shelter homes.

To improve the atmosphere in Snehalaya, the UT Administration has issued written orders to provide LCD TV screen in the common room and washing machine with modern facilities. To provide positive

atmosphere, the UT Administration has also decided to start yoga classes, educational tours and some entertainment for the children.

Lectures on “Art of living” would also be delivered to the children and staff of Snehalaya. Games like badminton, carom and chess would be made available to the children.

Meanwhile, the UT Administration has also issued a show-cause notice to the mess contractor of Snehalaya. Sources added that the contractor was not providing food on time to the children. Besides, the food quality was also not good, sources added.

A top official of the UT Administration said they had even created 10 new posts in Snehalaya, including assistant manager and project manager for better functioning of the Snehalaya management. The new staff would be professional in their field, he claimed.

The inquiry report submitted in November last into the disappearance of 12 children from Snehalaya had revealed glaring lapses in the way the home was run by the Social Welfare Department. The report had mentioned that the “careless” attitude towards its inmates and “negative” relationship among children and staff were the major factors that compelled the children to run away from the shelter home.

Twelve boys have gone missing from Snehalaya since February 2011, and even after a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probed the case, precious little has been done by the police and the UT administration in this regard. On this issue, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the UT Administration to submit the inquiry report on the PIL in which the petitioner had sought directions to the respondents to initiate an independent inquiry by an independent agency like the CBI into the disappearance of the children from Snehalaya. 



PEC students score a first with their dream machine
First time that an Indian team will participate in an international event with their off-road recreational All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
A team of 10 PEC university students is all set to “go-off road” with their All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) at BAJA Auburn competition to be held in Alabama, USA, later this month.

It will be for the first time that an Indian team would participate in the event with their off-road recreational vehicle, as earlier students used to send their designs only. Interestingly, the PEC students this time have made the lightest ATV, which weighs 170 kg. Earlier, the vehicles weighed between 350 and 400 kg.

The team members comprise Navneet Singh, Madhur Popli, Amandeep Singh Sahni, Gurjot Singh, Abhishek Singh Pathania, Yakshu Madaan, Gautam Pundir, Sanchit Arora, Shashank Dua and Prateek Kumar Gupta.

The team began working on the vehicle by ensuring its high performance. They said the weight and power losses were kept to the minimum essential.

Navneet Singh, team captain, said their main aim was to lessen the weight leading, which they focused on reducing the chassis triangulation members. “This year steel knuckles that are installed near wheels that weigh around 2 kg each have been replaced with aluminum alloy knuckles which weigh nearly 700 gm each,” Singh said.

Explaining more about the changes made in the vehicles compared to vehicles manufactured earlier, Amandeep Singh Sahni, another team member, said they had also reduced the streering ratio that would improve the steering response and help in taking sharp turns very easily. “The steering ratio has been brought down to 6:1 as compared to 9:1 in the previous models,” he said.

Team members said their vehicle had an advantage of sprocket adjustability, which helps in adjusting the torque and acceleration of the vehicle according to terrain that improve the vehicle’s performance that has Briggs and Stratton 340 cc petrol engine.

The biggest hurdle for the team was getting sponsorship for their dream machine. “We have been assisted by PEC alumni association for the project that would cost around Rs 25 lakhs that includes manufacturing the vehicle, transportation and travel expense of the students for participating in the foru-day event in US,” Sahni said.



This ‘Dhoni’ too leads from the front
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
Certainly, this “Dhoni” is “overburdened” these days.

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) round the corner and other assignments also on hand, this only trained dog of the Mohali district police in sniffing explosives has been working “extra hours” of late.

Besides, visiting houses of top police officials everyday, five-year-old “Dhoni” also has to check the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium every now and then. After that, he has to sniff the entire route of any VIP visits here or through the district.

“Apart from this, the labrador is also summoned for many district police high-level functions,” said Kulvir Singh, “Dhoni’s” caretaker.

Recently, “Dhoni” was busy while the Punjab Vidhan Sabha was on (as he had to go to the Vidhan Sabha everyday to perform his duty) and during special search drives of the Mohali police in the backdrop of the Rajoana issue.

Interestingly, “Dhoni” does not demand any “incentive”, but love for his “overwork”. His “pay” is his daily diet, which includes 2-kg milk, two eggs and dog food.

“Yes, he is overburdened these days but a pat is enough to get him going. He does not demand extra diet after overwork,” said Kulvir Singh smilingly.

He added that he had been named after our ace cricket captain MS Dhoni “as he is also number one in his work in the entire region”.

Last year when MS Dhoni came to the city to play a match, he was very happy to meet our “Dhoni”.

“He also played with the canine for a while and enquired a lot of things about him,” said Kulvir Singh proudly.

In the dog squad, the police has two more dogs, John (a trained sniffer dog to detect drugs) and Preety (especially trained in catching thieves and robbers), but they are relaxed than their colleague “Dhoni”, who is always in demand during VVIP duties. 

Ticket rates at multiplexes up

From coming Friday watching movies in the multiplexes of the city will now cost more as the UT Administration has agreed for the revised rates of tickets. After a gap of long four years, the rates of tickets in multiplexes have been increased. P5



Sec-17 no-vehicle zone
Admn, MC meeting today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
A special meeting of UT Administration and municipal corporation (MC) officials to finalise a draft plan for introducing a no-vehicle zone for Sector 17 will be convened by UT Administrator Shivraj Patil tomorrow.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had fixed April 20 the deadline for the Administration to table the plan for the introduction of a no-vehicle zone at Sector 17.

A senior official said that the MC had not chalked out any plan as no directions had been given by the Administration yet, adding that the plan had to be chalked out by the UT ChiefArchitect and implemented by the MC.


Alcoholism playing havoc with families
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The shocking incident of an alcoholic government official shooting at his 22-year-old daughter in Sector 41 here recently has once again brought under sharp focus the deadly disease of alcoholism, which is playing havoc with the lives of drunkards and their families.

Families try all means to control the menace that has sunk deep into the fabric of their lives. An alcoholic does not listen to any counselling. An elder's comment is seen as unnecessary interference and wife's comments are dumped as ‘emotional blackmailing’.

A retired colonel, wishing anonymity, said: "The problem of alcoholism is very peculiar and the best treatment for chronic alcoholics does not lie in visits to doctors or even police stations as was very common. I saw the evil serpent of alcohol consume lives and destroy families during my career. In my own family, I saw my son sinking every day, into oblivion, because he was trapped in the dark alley of drinking."

Colonel Singh said: "My son started drinking when he joined an engineering college in Nasik. He got a decent job in an MNC in Gurgaon and during his days there he entered a path of self-destruction. He lost his job and, in fact, lost himself as he would keep himself locked in his room and repeatedly ask for alcohol. He even got violent and at one point of time, I pushed him out of the house because he hit his mother."

"Life became unbearable because his drinking sessions would start early mornings until I met a retired university professor with whom I shared my life. He goaded me into attending a session of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Honestly speaking, I did not hope for anything there. I was forced to come for the second meeting and I saw a little hope when I heard some people share their personal experiences, on their return journey to normalcy. I made an attempt at getting my son who relented after persuasion of more than a month. He was still drinking even when he went to counselling because I would give him money when he came to attend a session. After about three months, one evening when I took out a Rs 100 note to give him he said: "Papa, I don't want to drink." I kept looking at him. He started crying and gave me a bear hug.

This was three years ago. He has not drunk till date. He has joined an office at the IT Park. His job is not as big as it was at the MNC, however, he says he has made a beginning and will find his way.

Even as different sections of society, including policy makers, the police and NGOs debate ways and means to control the menace of drinking, help is at hands in the shape of the Alcoholics Anonymous(AA), a fellowship of recovered men and women, who share their experience, strength and hope with one another that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Recovery from alcoholism, once nearly impossible, is now routine provided the problem drinker follows a simple spiritual programme suggested by the AA. The recovery programme of the Alcoholic Anonymous works on simple 12 steps of which attending meetings, which are held in different parts of the tricity everyday, formed an integral part.

The alcoholic is not a bad man but a diseased man and like diabetes the disease can be arrested “one day at a time”. In fact, alcoholics have an allergy of the body, the overpowering craving for alcohol once some has been introduced to their body. Even the World Health Organisation, American Medical Association and the British Medical Association have accepted alcoholism as a “progressive, fatal disease which has not cure till date, but can be arrested on a one day at a time basis”.

The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for gaining the AA membership. The AA is self-supporting through our own contributions. The AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; and neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety, a member said.

“Though the AA has no opinion on any outside issue and does not wish to engage in any controversy yet we collaborate with the government and NGO to check the menace of alcoholism in society,” another member of the AA said.

Are you a problem drinker?

Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but the resolve lasted only for a couple of days?

Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking -- stop telling you what to do?

Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?

Have you had to have an “eye-opener” upon awakening during the past year?

Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?

Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?

Has your drinking caused trouble at home?

Do you ever try to get "extra" drinks at a party because you do not get enough?

Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don't mean to?

Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking? Many of us admit now that we "called in sick" lots of times when the truth was that we had hang-over or were drunk.

Do you have "blackouts?

Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?

If answer to any four questions is yes, you are a problem drinker and can contact the 24-hour helpline (94170-37358) of the Alcoholics Anonymous for help

For more details log on to www.aa.org 



First person
‘It was hopeless state of mind and body’

Fresh from one of the best boarding schools in Dehradun, it was a new-found freedom for me at the sprawling Jawaharal Nehru University (JNU) hostel in New Delhi when I tasted beer for the first time at the age of 16. Finally, I had become a man from a boy, as one of my seniors told me during a drinking session.

Drinking beer, once or twice a week, was new sign of manliness for a small-town guy like me. Of course, I enjoyed the effect produced by the mood-altering substance, first beer and then whisky and wines. No weekend was complete without the drink even as I scoffed at my “poor” sober friends. It was a party time for over five years, with beer gradually being replaced by whisky and country liquor, depending on money in my pocket.

Though I came from an upper class agricultural family, the liberal pocket money my parents sent seemed to be inadequate to take care of my extravagant lifestyle. Being a spendthrift, I made a host of fair-weather friends, with whom I have long drinking sessions - of course at my expense.

By this time, I landed a high-paying job with a US-based MNC and rented a three-bedroom apartment in a posh area in Gurgaon. And within a short span of three-four years, my alcohol intake increased drastically. Blackouts became a routine affair.

While my personal life was a shambles I was having problems in handling my professional assignments. The company also intimated by my parents about my alcoholic problem. It was shock of the lifetime for my old parents, as they saw their only child becoming a slave to alcohol. Coming home drunk every night and abusing my parents became a routine affair. Even as my parents prayed to God to “cure” me of alcoholism, I blamed my parents and the Almighty for my sorry state of affairs.

Concerned at my alcoholism, the office sent me to a drug de-addiction centre. Coming out of the centre, I got drunk after two days. Ultimately, I was thrown out of my job on the charges of assaulting a female staffer under the influence of alcohol.

Out of job, I discovered the “morning drink” to beat hangover and “face” the world. In a desperate bid to check my alcoholism, my parents married me to a charming IT professional. Marriage did sober me for a few months. After a year, we had a lovely girl. However, after a couple of years, I lost interest in marriage.

Alcohol became the only reason for me to live. While I was confined to my bedroom and indulged in binges at regular intervals, my old parents and young wife and toddler daughter were confined to their own bedrooms. I created a hell for them right on the earth for the next nearly five years.

The bottle became my only companion during those lonely years. Two job switches, scuffles with traffic policemen in a drunken state, daily blackouts and an unsuccessful suicide attempt were the hallmarks of my character during this period. My mother’s pre-mature death and divorce from my wife only worsened my drinking problem.

I thought it was end of the road for me. In short, it was a hopeless state of mind and body. However, early 2003, my father handed me a local newspaper supplement having an AA advertisement claiming that there is a way out of alcoholism.

Reluctantly, I dialled the AA Helpline. They invited me to the AA meetings. “One day at a time” I started staying sober. Through the 12 steps of the AA, I started shedding the wreckage of the past. Through the AA friends, I have been reunited with my wife and daughter.

With God’s grace I have been “clean” for the past over 11 years now. Life is beautiful. The feeling of uselessness has evaporated and today I am a useful member of society and working with a few NGOs to mitigate the sufferings of the underprivileged. Most importantly, I am at peace with myself. — Ramesh (not real name),

A reformed alcoholic

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings mutually beneficial

The Alcoholics Anonymous started on June 10, 1935, in Akron, Ohio (US), when an alcoholic stockbroker, Bill W, and a drunken doctor, Bob Smith, came in touch with each other. Bill told Bob the story of how he got chronically and almost fatally drunk, then how he got sober. What happened that day has happened ever since in the AA groups all over the world: the person passing on an insight got at least as much benefit as the listener.



Special trains to Goa, Jyotirlingams 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The two special trains scheduled to leave for Goa and seven Jyotirlingams have got a huge response. While all the seats have already been reserved by passengers for the train leaving for the Jyotirlngams, only a small number of seats on the train to Goa were available on Wednesday.

After the success of an earlier train to Goa in January the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has planned another train for the tourist place on April 8. The passenger will have to pay Rs 500 every day for all the meals and accommodation during the eight-day journey which will conclude on April 15. Tourists will also be taken for a steamer voyage during the two-night stay at Goa, said IRCTC chief regional manager RK Sondh.

The passengers of the other train to Jyotirlingams, which is scheduled to leave on April 28 on the 11-day excursion, will be able to visit Shirdi, Nasik, Aurangabad, Ujjain, Nageshar, Trayambkeshwar and Somnath, he said.



PCA finds SHO at fault, seeks warning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
In yet another order, the Police Complaint Authority (PCA) has found the SHO of the Sector-31 police station, inspector Jaspal Singh, guilty of misuse of power and has requested the UT IGP to issue a recorded warning to him.

It was alleged that the SHO abused the complainant and sided with the other party, resulting in illegal acquisition of a land site belonging to the complainant.

“It appears that the complainant was given rough and harsh treatment by SHO Jaspal Singh, who acted in a mala fide manner by permitting another person, Naim Akhtar, to occupy the sit and raise a structure there. The matter falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the estate office and the police cannot decide the validity of possession of Naim Akhtar in the absence of any allotment or licence in his favour,” stated the order.

The complainant, Joginder Singh, said in his complaint that he was in possession of a booth at Ram Darbar, from where he was running a welding workshop. He claimed to have purchased the site from the original allottee, Hari Singh, in 1996.

He further stated that the adjoining site was allotted to Nazir Mohammad and his son Naim Akhtar attempted to forcibly take over possession of the adjoining site in 2011, at which Joginder dialled the police control room phone number 100.

It was alleged that the SHO reached the spot, but instead of preventing the illegal acquisition of land, shouted at the complainant and abused him. Naim Akhtar succeeded in raising an illegal structure at the site.

In the order, the PCA stated that it was evident that the site was not allotted to Naim Akhtar yet. It was allotted by the estate office to his father with a temporary licence on a yearly lease, which had expired with the death of his father.

No action taken yet

This was the second order passed against SHO Jaspal Singh by the PCA. No action had been taken in any PCA order against any sitting SHO so far. The PCA had recommended the suspension of inspector Malkiat Singh, SHO of the Industrial Area police station, for inaction in a rape case. The PCA had also ordered disciplinary action against inspector Rajesh Shukla, SHO of the Mani Majra police station, for harassing a woman by detaining her at the police station at night. The police was yet to take action in any of the cases. 



Milkmen threaten nationwide stir
Govt’s failure to increase procurement price of milk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Residents of Chandigarh as well as other parts of the region can go without milk supply in the coming days. The milkmen of Punjab have planned to start a nationwide stir in case the government fails to increase the procurement price of milk.

At a rally held at the Sector 25 rally ground, union leaders said in case they were forced to sell their milk at lower prices, they along with unions of other states would start a stir and stop the milk supply. Today also no supply was made at Punjab.

“The milk with a fat content of 6.5 was being purchased for a price of Rs 32 in the past. Now this quantity is fetching for a mere Rs 21,” said Baljinder Singh Bhagoo Majra, a union leader. While the prices of fodder and feed for the animals have soared, the procurement price in Punjab has been lowered, he said.

The policies of the Central government remained against the milkmen due to which their plight was grim, said Comrade Prem Singh Bhangoo. While the export of raw product required for the manufacturing of feed for animals was open, the export of milk products has been banned. This led to the increase in the production cost of milk, he added.



Residents gherao police station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Infuriated over the arrest of a maid by the Sector 39 police station, over 250 residents of the Sector 25 colony today laid a siege to the police station. A case of theft was registered on a complaint of her employer TR Singla.

Demanding the release of the 34-year-old woman, the residents also blocked traffic in the evening near the Sector 37 roundabout.

The woman, Baby, worked as a domestic help in a house in Sector 37.

The woman had been working at the house for the past over one year. Members of her family said she had gone for work at the house on Tuesday and had asked for an advance of Rs 200, which was given to her.

When she returned from work in the evening a police team came took her to the police station for verification.

However, Inspector Charanjeet Singh, SHO, Sector 39 police station, said they had taken proper action as her employer alleged that she was the only one to have entered the house at the time of theft and when she left, they found the jewellery missing.



Ticket rates at multiplexes head north 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
From coming Friday watching movies in the multiplexes of the city will now cost more as the UT Administration has agreed for the revised rates of tickets. After a gap of long four years, the rates of tickets in multiplexes have been increased.

According to the information, the owners the multiplexes in the city had submitted a representation to the UT Administration that since 2008 expenditure on running and maintaining multiplexes have increased manifold but the rates have not been increased. Finally, the UT Administration accepted their plea and allowed to increase the rates. Last time the rates were increased in 2008.

Chandigarh has three multiplexes, PVR in Industrial Area, DT Cinema at Rajiv Gandhi Technology Park and Fun Republic in Mani Majra. Many more are coming up in the near future with more and more people visiting multiplexes.

Meanwhile, justifying the hike, the manager of a city-based multiplex said keeping in mind the fact that the cost of everything had gone up in the past four years the revised ticket rates are not high. 



IAF’s helicopter unit celebrates silver jubilee 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The Indian Air Force's only heavy-lift helicopter unit, 126 Helicopter Flight, is celebrating its silver jubilee at the Chandigarh Air Force Station. Christened The Feather Weights, the flight was raised in Chandigarh on May 15, 1986 with Wg Cdr BK Sharma as the first Commanding Officer.

Presently commanded by Gp Capt Jang Veer Singh Guron, the unit is equipped with the Mi-26, the largest helicopter in the world, which has a strategic role and is capable of carrying loads up to 20 tonnes.

The unit had played a key role in deployment of heavy equipment on the northern borders as well as in ferrying relief material during disaster management. It has been awarded seven Chief of Air Staff and 19 Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief's commendations.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, AOC-in-C Western Air Command, Air Marshal DC Kumaria, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Transport and Helicopters), Air Vice Marshal VM Khanna, and Air Officer Commanding 12 Wing, Air Cmde SC Chafekar have extended their felicitations to the unit. Among other programmes being organised to commemorate the event is the release of a silver jubilee coffee table book on the unit later this week.



British MP of Indian origin to act in film
Prabhjot Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, April 4
A British MP of Indian origin, Keith Vaz, is all set to create history by featuring in an international film to be shot on the famous Belgrave Road in Leicester East.

The movie "Jadoo" (magic) is being shot on the Belgrave Road, the best, busiest and biggest Asian shopping street in Europe, which forms a part of Leicester East, the parliamentary constituency of Keith Vaz representing Labour Party.

Incidentally, this is his 25th year in Parliament. "I am immensely proud to represent the people of Leicester East. I have always wanted to play a part in a movie, however, small that part may be, and I am thrilled about this opportunity to show off my constituency," remarked Keith Vaz.

Claiming credit for introducing a number of Bollywood actors to Leicester's Belgrave Road, such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty and Sanjay Dutt, he says that it is only right that this iconic shopping centre should be immortalised in "Jadoo".

"My character will in many respects be similar to the real me, I, like the rest of Britain, love to eat curry and we have the best curries in the world on the Belgrave Road," quips Vaz. He says, "I am delighted that this significant international film is being shot in my constituency on the Belgrave Road."

The film is about two brothers, both chefs and the best of friends, who later fall out catastrophically and rip the family cook book in half - one brother gets the starters and the other gets the main courses. They set up rival restaurants on opposite sides of the Belgrave Road and spend the next 20 years trying to outdo each other.

Vaz will appear alongside legendary chef Madhur Jaffrey as a judge for a cooking competition between the brothers. The film is a case of life imitating art as Labour MP hosts the annual Tiffin Club competition in the Houses of Parliament to find the best South Asian restaurant in the UK. 



No stadium misuse, for now
Big Punjabi Music Awards function cancelled after conflict
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
Following a controversy over the alleged misuse of Tau Devi Lal Stadium here, the Big Punjabi Music Awards function was cancelled by the organisers here today.

Media reports had highlighted the entry of heavy vehicles in the stadium, which posed a danger to the synthetic track, worth crores.

In a press note, the organisers stated that the cancellation of the event was due to a conflict between the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the District Sports Council over the power of authorisation and jurisdiction for the venue.

The company had secured permission from the council for the event in advance. Due to the conflict, the company was forced to cancel the event, according to the press note.

While preparations for the event were in progress at the stadium for last two days, the venue remained out of reach for players.

When contacted, HUDA estate officer Ashwani Sharma said the stadium was handed over to the sports authorities for sports events and its use for such events was a violation of the norms.

“I have issued a show-cause notice to the district sports officer and the matter will be discussed at the higher level as well,” he said.

The action committee of the Citizens’ Welfare Association expressed concern over the alleged misuse of the sports complex.

If permission could be granted for such events, there would be no end to permission for other cultural, social and private functions in the future, the association pointed out in a press note.



100 examined at dental camp
Tribune news Service

Mohali, April 4
Over 100 students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B2, got their dental check up and blood test in a free medical camp on the school premises here today.

The camp was organised by the Bal Sansar Association in association with the Red Cross Society. Dentists, Dr Meesha Kumar and Dr Ritu Singal, examined the students, while Mohali Clinic Laboratory conducted the blood tests of the students.

Students were also told about their legal rights on the occasion by Charanjit Singh Singh, Additional District Attorney. 



Unidentified woman run over by train
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
A young unidentified woman was killed as she was run over by a train near the Amb Sahib Colony at Phase XI here this evening.

The police suspected it to be a case of suicide. She was wearing blue jeans and a grey T-shirt with ‘New York’ printed on it.

According to sources, the woman seemed to be in her mid-20s. Her face was smashed and legs severed after being run over by the Nangal-Chandigarh passenger train.

A GRP official said, “We talked to persons of the colony nearby, but nobody could identify her.” The body was sent to the Civil Hospital at Kharar.



Pvt schools skip vocational courses
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
It’s unfortunate but true, the city private schools that swear by their quality of education have failed miserably to be a part of the ongoing reformation of the senior secondary education.

While their metro counterparts are all a sport for it, not even a single city school has so far applied for the latest vocational courses dished out by the CBSE to make school education employable. So while thousands of class XI children in Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai will be juggling drinks in food and beverage classes or writing news feeds for mass communication, our city children will be busy mugging the conventional science, commerce or arts subjects.

“The scenario is as dismal as last year. The board has dished out over 20 new vocational subjects for classes XI and XII with gym training being latest but not even a single private school from Chandigarh has come forth opting for same. It is quite surprising as a few schools are counted amongst good schools at the national level and many educationists from the city are on our various panels. But when it comes to revolutionising or reforming education, they surely are conservative in their approach, which does affect students,” said a CBSE official from Delhi.

Over last one year, the CBSE has introduced a variety of subjects like fitness and gym training, geospatial technology, food production (hospitality and tourism), food and beverage services (hospitality and tourism), mass media studies and media production and body science (fitness, aerobics and health). It had invited applications from the schools interested in starting these courses.

The schools, meanwhile, defend their decisions saying that there are hardily any takers and many courses are impractical to be implemented.

“Till date, a majority of the schools have not got even a single application for these courses, so when the students are not interested then for whom should we introduce these courses? They talk of subject like geospatial technologies but we don’t have proper labs or even faculty, so how can we start it. These courses are great to hear and talk about but to start them involves a lot of planning and resources,” said Independent School Association president HS Mamik.

The argument, however, finds its counter in fact that the government schools in the city are not only offering 23 vocational courses but are also getting a lot of takers for them, realising the aim of the CBSE to make the school education employable.

“I will not comment on the private schools, but in government schools the vocational education is crucial. We cater to strata where many may not enroll in colleges, so we try to ensure that their school education is employable enough. Our vocational courses are thriving and the credit goes to the teachers and students,” said a senior official of the education department.

Vocational courses

The vocational courses available at the government schools include ophthalmic techniques, medical laboratory technology, auxiliary nurse midwife (for girls), healthcare and beauty culture, healthcare sciences, X-rays techniques, stenography and computer application (English), stenography and computer application (Hindi), marketing and salesmanship, accountancy and auditing, financial market management, fashion designing and clothing construction, textile design, dyeing and printing, food service and management, hotel management and catering technology, bakery and confectionery, tourism and travel, electrical technology, electronics technology, automobile technology, air-conditioning and refrigeration technology, structure and fabrication technology, life insurance and information technology.



PU may introduce teacher evaluation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
It seems that the teacher evaluation would be finally introduced at Panjab University with the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) agreeing to the proposal on a condition that the exercise would strictly remain between a teacher and a student. A meeting was held today that was attended by the dean student welfare (DSW), hostel wardens and PUTA representatives, along with members of the student council.

PUTA president Akshay Kumar said it was clear that there should be no-third party involved in the process and the teachers only should have the right to access the feedback. “We want that the teacher evaluation should not be made as a tool for punishing or rewarding a teacher,” Kumar said.

PUTA stated that the evaluation should be informal and done by students at the end of the course.

Dean student welfare (DSW) AS Ahluwalia said initially the feedback system should remain between teachers and students, as the basic aim was for improvement in curriculum delivery, however, later on the need-based changes could be made. “As soon as PUTA and student council work outs a performa of the feedback form, we would display it on PU’s website for the teachers,” the DSW said.

Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) president Pushpinder Sharma said they would be beginning with the evaluation from the current academic session. “Another meeting with PUTA and PU authorities would held soon to work out the modalities and introduce the evaluation,” he said.



100 to participate in ‘Emanation-12’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
More than 100 colleges, including universities, have confirmed their participation in “Emanation 2012”, which aimed at capturing budding engineers and university students from various streams like management, pharmacy and mass communication on April 6 and 7 on its premises at Baddi, a press release said here today.

A national conference on emerging trends in communication, control and computation will be held on April 7. The two-day programme includes competitions in various cultural events like “Rock Gasm”, “RAP of War”, “Vocal Saga”, and dramatics and dances. The fun events include blind date, catch a lock, pastry eating, pillow fights and snatch a match. Youngsters with full exuberance and zeal can be spotted in the campus to showcase their talent and skills.

The literary events include group discussions, press conference, ad mad and quiz. The technical events include “cyber pirate”, “robo war”, “queek”, “junkyard wordz” and “gamenia”. The cultural bonanza includes the star night performance by “Jal Band”. MP Anurag Thakur has also confirmed his visit at the cultural function.



117 get jobs during drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The campus placement drive, Avsar, turned out to be lucky for 117 students who have got placed in various companies offering average package between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh. Stealing the show is three students from the science department who have bagged a handsome package of Rs 8.4 lakh. While a company offering a package of Rs 9 lakh would be visiting the campus soon.

Revealing the data, director central placement cell SK Chadha said a total of 40 companies had visited the campus for placements and shortlisted 471 students, out of which 117 students got placed.

The students, Deepak, Amit and Ishu, have been placed at Lovely Professional University for teaching with highest package of Rs 8.4 lakh.

Chadha further said one student had been placed at Quadrangle offering a package of Rs 5.6 lakh, while Nectar Life Sciences has selected three students offering them package of Rs 4.5 lakh.

“An Ahmedabad-based company would be visiting the biotechnology department for recruiting students at a package of Rs 9 lakh,” Chadha added.

Officials said the postgraduate students had been offered packages starting from Rs 2.4 lakh to Rs 8.4 lakh. While the graduate students have been offered packages of around Rs 1.8 lakh. PU officials said the final rounds of interviews were still going on and more students were expected to be placed.



PIL to chalk out plan for upgradation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Three city residents have filed public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court requesting it to direct the UT Administration to chalk out a time-bound plan for upgrading the government schools to bring them at par with the private schools in the city. The upgradation of the infrastucture, according to litigants, should include providing of proper toilets, laboratories, furniture, sports facilities, modern education means as in smart school concept, etc, should be made. The litigants have submitted that poor infrastructure and quality of education has taken its toll on the admission scenario where parents are forced to flock the private schools, which do not have optimum seats.

“After the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, 25 per cent seats in the private schools have been reserved for the economically weaker sections. Therefore, 3,000 seats have been reserved for the same, meaning that now 5,000 students seeking admission in the private schools are now left in the lurch. Some of the petitioners fall in this category, who have been unable to secure admission for their wards in the private schools. If the situation remains the same, the day is not far when the next generation of the middle class whose children would not be able to get good education, ” submitted the petitioners.



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