Thursday, November 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pay phone bills on Sat, Sun
BSNL complaint centres, mobile phones soon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Call centres where a centralised complaint system will work and provision for payment of telephone bills on Saturday and Sunday are among the major changes that will be ushered in by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), said Dr D.P.S. Seth, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the BSNL while addressing a Press conference here this evening.

Besides a total of 15 lakh lines have been cleared for mobile phone services in the country. By the end of next year a large number of cities and all highways will have mobile phone connectivity provided by BSNL, Dr Seth said. As a pilot project 4,000 lines for Chandigarh and another 1,000 lines for Ludhiana have been sanctioned for mobile services.

The call centres will ensure that subscribers will not have to go to the officials to lodge complaints. These centres will come up all across the country in the next three to four months. The first one centre will open in Indore in the next month or so. Subscribers can come to these centres personally or can call up to lodge a complaint or get work done. People manning these centres will convey the complaint to the section concerned and even get back to the complainant to check if it has been corrected.

Speaking on the issue of depositing bills on Saturdays and Sundays, Dr Seth said subscribers will soon have the facility to deposit bills in the Central Telegraph Office or the District Telegraph Offices. An official letter is yet to be issued in this regard but a tie-up has been arrived at to accept bills on the weekend. On new telephone connections a rebate of Rs 500 will be allowed if the subscriber buys his own instrument. The four page form that is at present used to register for a new connection will be single sheet.

For Punjab he said the target is to have 2.5 lakh new connections out of which 93,000 have been provided till October end.

The Punjab telecom circle, which also includes Chandigarh, is one of the few circles in the country where all villages have been provided with telecom facilities. To bring about cutting edge of technology he said a Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) system for Chandigarh and Ludhiana has been sanctioned. A Korean company will be supplying the equipment.

An agreement has been signed for Punjab. People living in District Headquarters and major towns will be able to deposit payment of bills in any of the 181 branches of the Punjab and Sind Bank, some branches of the UCO bank and the Syndicate Bank.

When asked about the reasons for major faults that have occurred in Chandigarh and Ludhiana in the past few months, Dr Seth said faults can occur anywhere. In Ludhiana he claimed the people could not hear the ring on their phones as a ‘‘ringing current’’ was missing. In Chandigarh it was a software problem, he claimed when pointed out that the exchange had shut down for almost six days.

In the morning Dr Seth laid the foundation stone for a Rs 93 lakh telephone exchange building in Kharar. He also opened a 5,000 line telephone exchange in Sector 37. In the evening he also commissioned a thing unique to Chandigarh. Engineers have formed a ‘‘ring linking system’’ that interconnects exchanges. This has been done to tide over faults in cables linking one exchange to the main exchange.

The ‘ring link’ to be inaugurated is between Mani Majra, Sector 4, Sector 17 and the Sector 7 exchanges. Four more links will be set up in Chandigarh. 


Bank employees strike work
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — On a call given by the United Forum of Bank Union comprising nine unions of employees and officers and the Bank Employee Federation of India (BEFI) bank employees in Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh observed a strike today.

The strike call was given in protest against the policy of bank privatisation, introduction of the voluntary retirement scheme and lowering of the retirement age.

Leaders of various unions said the government wanted to sell nationalised banks to major bank loan defaulters. They said the proposed decision of the government to bring down the government equity from 51 per cent to 33 per cent in the public sector banks was not acceptable. Mr N.K.Gaur, general secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said the government was not showing interest in the recovery of loans but focusing on privatisation of banks. Already several private banks had failed in the country and the government had a full data in this connection. He said the privatisation of banks was no guarantee of their success. Almost all public sector banks were running in profit and had showed results better than the private sector.

Mr Gaur said if non-performing assets worth Rs 75,000 crore were recovered from the defaulters, mostly big industrialists, nationalised banks could perform to the satisfaction of all.

This action on the part of the government was just to cover up its failure for the recovery of the non-performing assets which had crossed more than Rs 75,000 crore and to hand over these banks to those who had not repaid bank loans. Now the money would be used by big corporate houses for purchasing the shares of banks in order to become the real owners and there would be no need for repaying the lones.

Members of the LIC and the GIC also observed a token strike of two hours in support of the bank employees. Later, participants marched in a procession and joined the rally held at the Bank of India building by other constituents of the United Forum of Bank Union. The joint rally was addressed by the General Secretary, CITU, Punjab, Mr Chandershekar, Mr S.S Sidhu, Convener, Bank Employee Federation (northern states) and Mr R.P Manchanda (AIEA), among others.


All alone, and in pain
By Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Intense gray eyes, flooded with pain, stare at the blank unfamiliar walls of a strange room in Sector 16 as 34-year-old German, Mechthild, tries to hold back her tears. Over 96 hours of survival in an alien country, and a sister fighting to keep her body and soul together in the intensive care unit of a hospital after falling out of a van, are long enough for her to break down.

Shiftingly uneasily on an easy chair in the office of the Counsel for German embassy, Mechthild says, “I need to have people around me, people whom I can share my woes with, people I can trust. I do not even know the system out here”.

Till now, she has been surfing the Net for information on head injuries and social organisations. Alone, she has just one friend to talk to — an “English-speaking” autorickshaw driver. In his absence, she talks to her elder sister admitted in the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research.

She mutters in a voice chocked with emotion, “I have been talking to her, sometimes silently, sometimes loudly, even though I know she is in coma. Some say she cannot listen to me. Who knows, may be she can. I try to make her strong by telling her she has a lot of support”.

Still in a dilemma, she looks at the press photographer with suspicion as he focuses the lens. Mechthild was told not to trust anyone in India. Not even the government, or the police. Money gets the ball rolling — she was warned before leaving her country.

She landed in Delhi on November 12 after being informed about the second surgery. Almost four days have passed but she still does not know the details of the accident. She was told that her sister fell out of a van while she was on way to Dhramsala with her boyfriend.

Mechthild slips into silence as she waits in the office of Mr Anil Malhotra and Mr. Ranjit Malhotra for a compatriot to arrive. Suddenly her sad eyes twinkle with a wild hope as she recalls the days spent together. “Irmgard, working as a technical support provider for television production, is always ready to attend dance parties. She is always making a new start after coming out of difficult situations. She would shift to another town, make new friends and live again. She will come out of this mess also, perhaps. I am waiting for her to get a little better so that she can be flown to Germany”. 


Satta racket unearthed
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — The police claims to have busted a satta racket involving Rs 3 to 4 lakhs on daily bets here today. The satta was based on single digit lottery system and was declared after every half an hour starting at 10.30 a.m.

Surinder Kumar, an iron trader and a resident of Sector 40, was allegedly caught red-handed near SCO No 2939, Sector 22 and Rs 12,000 were recovered from him. His two “accomplices” Parvez and Sat Pal were also arrested from SAS Nagar and Panchkula, respectively.

The main conduit of the satta was Panchkula. The accused were allegedly running a single digit lottery in which the bets were placed on the unit digit of the two digit lottery. The bets were placed on the mobile as well as ordinary phones.

The single digit lottery has been banned by the Chandigarh Administration. The police has seized certain documents which show that the racket was a well established one.

Under the supervision of Mr Hargobinder Singh Dhaliwal, ASP (Central), a police party led by SI Rajinder Singh, swooped on the satta point after receiving a signal from a decoy gambler in the morning. A senior police official said that the raid was made after a day’s surveilence.

It has been alleged that Mr Surinder Kumar, was running satta for the past few months. In fact, a senior police official said, satta was probably going on for past two to three years. The three were booked under the Gambling Act and they were later released on bail.

Mr Dhaliwal said, “This is a major breakthrough”, “as heavy bets are placed everyday”.


NRI held for duping firm
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Nov 15 — Five days after he landed in India on a sponsored trip to work out the details of a project on marketing research for an immigration company, Dr Raja Bikram Pal Lamba is cooling his heels in police custody.

The 58-year-old non-resident Indian from Canada, driven by his weakness to impress high-profile people in society had planned to make it big by duping the proprietors of an immigration company, Worldwide Immigration Consul-tancy Services. He made his sponsors pay around Rs 5 lakh for his hospitality before his dream was shattered.

Described as a high-profile impostor by the police, his profile was enough to impress anyone. A doctorate in English, Dr Lamba, who migrated to Canada last year, convinced the immigration company to design their project for marketing at their resort at Karoran village near here.

Everything was going smooth but a slight mistake by the impostor landed him in police custody. Col B.S. Sandhu, proprietor of the immigration company, said Dr Lamba had said he was a 1964 batch bureaucrat who sought premature retirement. His profile included his stint in the Prime Minister’s Office and as Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh. Claiming his connection with chief secretaries of different provinces, he had claimed to knowing a couple of senior bureaucrats of Punjab.

After his claimed visit to a Punjab bureaucrat yesterday, who had gone abroad, Col Sandhu got suspicious and started making queries. All five days after he landed in India on November 10, he stayed in full luxury paid for by his sponsors. His visiting card read President and CEO of Toronto Consultancy Group.

Questioning by the police revealed another facet of Dr Lamba’s life. After doing his Masters in English in 1964, he worked as lecturer in DAV College here before moving to Kurukshetra Regional College. From 1969 to 1982, he remained at Desh Bandhu College, Delhi. He worked with different companies from 1983 to 1999 before moving to Canada.

On the basis of a complaint lodged by Mr Devinder Singh Sandhu of the immigration company, the police has registered a case under Sections 170, 406 and 420 of the IPC. He was today remanded in one-day police custody by the Duty Magistrate, Kharar. Back


A suicide a week in city
By Binny Sharma

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — At least one person commits suicide in the city every week. According to police sources, as many as 56 persons — 28 males and the same number of females — committed suicide in the past 10 months. Last year, the figure was 70, including 49 males.

The largest number of suicides have been reported from Sector 31, a part of which consists of a slum. This is followed by Sector 11, which happens to be one of the plush localities.

Suicides, say psychiatrists, are the outcome of increased tensions and frustrations. Earlier, men, as the bread earners, were more prone to suicide. Now, that women have moved out of the four walls of the house, they are also showing an increased tendency.

On Divali day, 22-year-old Sunita, committed suicide since the boy she loved reportedly went back on his promise to marry her. The girl ended her life at the boy’s residence by consuming some poisonous substance.

In another case, a housewife, Anju Garg of Sector 38, hanged herself while her husband was at his clinic and the children were in school.

“She was not depressed over anything, although she was a little sensitive by nature. But this extreme step has come to us as a shock,” says Dr V.K. Garg, her husband. They have a daughter studying in 11th standard and a son in the 7th standard.

According to a psychiatrist in PGI, Dr Devashish Basu,” the woman of today is facing a consistent phase of emotions and high expectations. A married working woman is expected to play a dual role, handling the household work efficiently along with her office work.”

Faced with problems at home and office, UT Public Relations Officer Sanjay Manchanda (34) committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. Persons resorting to such extreme steps cannot be said to come from any particular section of society.


Architects for Anandgarh recommended
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — An 11- member jury constituted by the Punjab Government to recommend the master architect — planner for the up coming township of Anandgarh, has recommended the name of Ms Satnam Namita and Associates. A total of four entries were received for the national design competition to select the master architect - planner. Mr Karan A Singh, the Chief Executive Officer of the New Town Planning and Development Authority, said that the jury had recommended the name Ms Satnam Namita and Associates as the “best entry”.

He said, “Now it is up to the authority to decide the next step”. Sources in the Punjab Government said that the Authority had power to reject the recommendations of the jury. The CEO said the four entries will be displayed for the public viewing at the College of Architect, Sector 12 from November 17 to 23.Back


15000 looted from migrant labourers
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Nov 15 — About Rs 15000 were robbed by an unidentified person who came as a customer in a nursery near Maharaja Ajj Sarovar Kharar on Tuesday. When a team of mediamen visited the Civil Hospital, Kharar, on Wednesday they found that Mr Prem Singh, his two daughters, son and other three persons were admitted there in a semi conscious condition.

They are migrant labourers. Ms Neetu, who was admitted in the hospital told mediamen that the accused came there in the morning and said that he wanted to purchase plants worth about Rs 18,810.

The accused had his meals, liquor there in the night. According to her the accused gave them something in the milk and said that it was parshad. They all fell unconscious and the accused took away about Rs 15,000 from their possession.



Commercial site owners owe Rs 45 cr to HUDA
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Nov 15 — Over Rs 45 crore of the Haryana Urban Development Authority is pending with commercial site owners of the city, leaving the only option of resuming the sites in question, a move decried by the Property Owners’ Association.

Finding recovery of its dues impossible with over a decade lapsing in most cases, HUDA swung into action last fortnight, resuming two booths, one each in Sectors 4 and 15, bringing the property owners’ fraternity together and up in arms against the authorities.

Sources in the department inform that all efforts to retrieve the dues came to a naught with the commercial site owners unrelenting and unwilling to oblige. Most of the commercial site owners had got possession of their sites following payment of 25 per cent of the cost. While 10 per cent was paid at the time of allotment, the remaining 15 per cent was paid at the time of hading over possession of the sites. “After that we haven’t heard from most of them,’’ the official said.

Meanwhile, the site owners, having constructed shops and booths, offered these on rent or occupied these and began earning while being adamant on non-payment of dues—their objection being the exorbitant charges being levied by HUDA on account of compound interest.

“When HUDA has failed to complete development works in the area of commercial sites, they have no business charging interest in violation of their agreement with us,’’ a showroom owner says.

On its part, the Administrator, HUDA, Mr Shrikant Walgad, says: “The charges are as per HUDA policy and have, in no way, been blown out of proportion. As far as development works in the area are concerned, the owner is supposed to mention this at that time of taking possession and not when dues are sought.’’

He added that the amount involved is big as far as shop-owners are concerned since in addition to the 10 per cent interest rate, a penalty of 18 per cent has been added to the cost for delayed payment.

It is this amount which has snowballed and become a thorn in the flesh for property owners.

Defending the inability to show the balance-sheet, he says that the owners are not willing to pay, and getting the balance-sheet for everybody who walks in to “take a look’’ is next to impossible.

Working on a “no profit, no loss’’ basis, HUDA is on the horns of a dilemma, finding it difficult to get back its amount lost to the owners and fearing litigation is going to be a further drain on its finances. The site owners, however, are adamant on the decision to pay pending dues provided HUDA charges these on the basis of simple interest rather than compound interest.

The HUDA policy clearly states that the compound interest be levied on all payments due to HUDA before August 31, 2000. However, following an amendment in the policy, simple interest will be charged from September 1, 2000, onwards.

The Administrator, Mr Shrikant Walgad, says, that this benefit has already been given to the site owners and nothing will be waived off unless the policy undergoes a change.

The Property Owners Association asserts that they are willing to pay provided HUDA is ready to charge simple interest on the amount due but will move court if the sum on the basis of compound interest is thrust upon them.Back



Patriotism, Indian Railways style

AT the Chandigarh Railway Station, in the foyer area where distracted looking clerks behind counters offer so-called help to passengers, there is a large electronic display board, high up, close to the ceiling. It was installed, at considerable expense and with good intentions, I am sure, to display information about the (usually late) arrival and (consequently usually late) departure of trains, and other similar things. It has been there for years.

But nearly for the same number of years that it has been there, the board has never flashed any information of the kind that it was meant to do. All those fancy columns about the number or name of trains, their expected time of arrival or departure, etc. remain blank. Instead, and this is where the agile Indian mind springs into action, the board wishes, most kindly, all passengers a happy journey; and flashes, with remarkable regularity and insistence, some utterance attributed to Mahatma Gandhi asking “us all Indians”, whether “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian”, to live in harmony. Wonderful, original thought. Who needs information, especially at a railway station? All that one needs is patriotism.

Let others look for information: there are higher things to aim at in life, I have decided. I will take my chances with arrivals and departures. But, certainly, each time that I find myself running short of patriotic juices, I know that all I have to do is to head towards the railway station. I hope that many others will follow my humble example.

Quality of air

I have read the report “Officially, city is pollution free” (Chandigarh Tribune, Nov 3) with interest and amusement. Although suspended particulate matter (SPM) is reported to have increased tremendously in the ambient air of Chandigarh (1.5 to 1.7 times) during the past five years (1995-99), and the absolute values of the SPM observed in 1999 are much beyond the permissible limits, the conclusion drawn in the report is that the city is pollution free.

This conclusion is based on the wrong premise that the permissible limit of the annual average SPM in both industrial and commercial areas is 550 ug/m3. According to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the annual average SPM in the ambient air in industrial areas should not exceed 360 ug/m3 and in residential, rural and other areas, it should not be more than 140 ug/m3.

According to the data given in the report, the annual averages of SPM in the ambient air of the industrial area in Chandigarh in 1999 was 422 ug/m3 and 263ug/m3 in Sector 17 (which falls under other areas). Both these values are much beyond the permissible limits.

Incidentally, the annual averages of the SPM in 1995 in the industrial area and in Sector 17 were 280 ug/m3 and 153 ug/m3, respectively. These were within or near the permissible limits. The deteriorating quality of the ambient air in the city is, therefore, a matter of concern and not of complacency, much less celebration. Unless immediate and effective steps are taken to control the air pollution caused by the rapidly soaring number of vehicles, industrial units as well as other sources, the City Beautiful is likely to go the way of metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai where it is difficult to get a breath of fresh and clean air and the incidence of respiratory diseases like bronchitis and asthma is increasing every day.

Traffic on campus

Dr Madhukar Arya’s remark that enforcement of traffic rules on the university campus would mean that there is no difference between the “grain market and the university campus” reflects his casual attitude towards our surroundings. Posting traffic police on the campus to enforce traffic rules may not be the ideal solution, but, there are several aspects that need the attention of the campus community. Let us first take the nature of the atmosphere that must prevail on the campus. It has to be congenial to learning and teaching and both require a relatively quiet environment. It does not mean that the campus should be made a gloomy and dull place. But there must be self-imposed check on the loud music in cars. We must endeavour to ensure that the campus remains a temple of learning. Besides the noise-level, there are other aspects such as speeding, lack of parking sense, ignoring the roundabouts and blind-turns.

It is time everyone, students, teachers and other sections of the university community on the campus, realised the need for traffic discipline and adopted norms for our own safety. Whether we can regulate traffic on the campus, without the help of the traffic police depends on our collective wisdom or the lack of it.
I.M. Joshi

Barnala’s as Governor

In appointing Mr Surjit Singh Barnala the Governor of the newly created state of Uttaranchal, the Government has flouted the recommendation of the Sarkaria Commission that only eminent persons, not connected with any political party, should be appointed governors.

Mr Barnala, incidentally, is a defeated politician. He lost the election for the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in Punjab. Earlier too, the present Government had appointed Mr Suraj Bhan, again a defeated politician, the Governor of UP.

The Vajpayee Government has been consistently ignoring eminent persons like, to take one example, “Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh, an internationally renowned athlete, who is held in high esteem among the people. There are several other persons of eminence who can bring dignity to the office of Governor.


Changes in water supply bylaws flayed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Air Marshal Randhir Singh, (retd) Chairman, Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, has, in a representation to the Chandigarh Administrator, Lt. Gen J.F.R. Jacob, condemned the recently notified changes in the water supply bylaws which requires defective water meters to be replaced at the cost of consumers within two months. The new policy is effective from October 30, 2000.

The notification dated June 5, 2000, which appeared as a public notice in the newspapers dated October 22, notified that all consumers had to arrange water meters themselves and would be responsible for its upkeep. The consumers were required to replace defective water meters within two months failing which the water charges would be doubled the average rate of consumption.

The representation says ever since the residents started building their houses in Chandigarh during 1950s, the Administration had been providing water meters keeping with the general policy followed throughout the country and had been responsible for their upkeep. The above policy had continued till the water supply system was transferred to the Municipal Corporation. However, at the time of transfer of responsibility from Chandigarh Administration to MC about 47,000 water meters out of a total of 96,000 were reported to be defective.

The MC, says Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd), burdened with the liability of replacing and repair of defective water meters quitely amended the water supply bylaws and through a notification in June, followed the easiest course of solving the water meter problems by transferring it to the customers.

The consumer is required to purchase an ISI approved water meter and approach one of the three MCPH subdivision offices of the area concerned with a request for replacement and pay testing /installation charges of Rs 65. The meter is installed after about 10 days and the consumer has to visit the MCPH subdivision a number of times. And he has to pay Rs 65 every time the meter is required to be removed for repair or replacement. It is further mentioned that the water meters available in the market are of very poor quality and stop working within 3-6 months of installation. Further, the dealer may replace the defective meter within the guarantee period but he does not give any guarantee for the second time. Hence, the consumer has no remedy if the second meter stops working even within a month of its installation.

It has also been submitted that the supply of water to the residents of the city is a commercial activity. Hence, the MCC is legally bound to provide water meters for which it may take security deposit from the consumers or the difference between the old and the current rate . They should not charge any meter rent. The expenditure incurred on the upkeep of water meters should be taken into account while fixing water rates.

He has urged the Administrator to intervene to get the new policy reviewed and revoked forthwith. The old policy should continue, where consumers just have to pay the water charges. 


Felling of 24,000 trees okayed
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Nov 15 — The issue of trees coming in the way of a railway overbridge along the busy Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway at the Bhankharpur level crossing, about 2 km from here, has finally been solved.

The Forest Department has allowed felling of over 24,000 trees. The majority of them are of eucalyptus and would be axed to make space for the overbridge which was to be started in the month of January.

The impasse has been resolved after the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Forest Department to remove the trees which were proving to be hurdles in constructing the bride for public usage. The court had ordered the department following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ms Kamaljit Kaur, a resident of Dera Bassi.

Earlier, in a separate incident the construction work on the National Highway No. I was stopped as the Punjab Public Works Department (B & R) had failed to pay a sum of Rs 1.25 crore to the Forest Department. The latter was asking for the pending sum before allowing fresh felling.

Meanwhile, on the latest issue the department has put a team of 15 men on duty to axe the trees. Taking view of the litigation, a Division Bench had observed that though the PWD had made the payments to the Forest Department for the felling of trees on the forest protected land along the stretch over which the flyover is to be constructed, there could not be any hindrance for the Forest Department for diversion of land and to cut the trees.

“Let the Forest Department undertake this job immediately so that the construction of the overbridge is not delayed and the public is not put to inconvenience. The delay may also escalate the cost of the construction of the bridge,’’ the Bench observed.

The project has been under taken under the build, operate and transfer scheme which is the first of its kind in Punjab on the highways.

“The 2-km-long overbridge will be of 49.6 m with approaches of 1.5 km on both sides having two lanes of carriage way of 7.5 m each with a provision of 1.2 m central verge. The service lane will be provided on both sides to facilitate the local road users”, sources in the PWD revealed.

The constructors have already started constructing the bridge parallel to the existing one adjacent to the local DAV Public School. 


Power committee for channeling complaints
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Nov 15 — Departing from convention, the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has recommended channeling of all electricity complaints through the commission from where it will be forwarded to the distribution agencies of the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam.

The recommendation comes in the charter for consumers which got a formal approval recently even though it was prepared early in the year. The HERC, among other things, has given a detailed account of complaint handling procedure relating to distribution and retail supply, besides specifying the code of practice for payment of bills.

On the billing process, the recommendations inform that henceforth the bills will be dispatched to consumers by courier instead of the routine of an employee leaving them at the residences. To begin with, some sectors have been covered under the new policy while others will follow suit.

Also approved was the scheme of sending the bills by post but the idea has been rejected in the absence of any central government scheme to back the proposal.

The charter mentions a minimal level of services the consumers have a right to expect from the licensee. Categorising the nature on complaints under nine sub-heads, the consumers have been directed to lodge their complaint in writing or on telephone.

It is further mentioned that the consumer can lodge a complaint against non-redressal of grievances with the XEN of the area who is expected to respond within seven days.

Among other things, the charter gives details of redressal of complaints and filing of complaints with bijli adalats.


Battlelines drawn for MC chief’s poll
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Nov 15 — Even as the Punjab Government has postponed the election to the post of president of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council, battlelines between the two groups forwarding their candidates for the post in the civic body have been drawn. Uncertainty over the next date of holding the election prevailed as members of the two groups, led by Mr Kulwant Singh and by Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari traded charges and counter charges.

As a show of strength, Mr Kulwant Singh, along with 16 others councillors drove to the council office — apparently from a hill station — to present his supporting councillors before the Administrator-cum-Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Jai Pal Singh. Talking to The Tribune, Mr Kulwant Singh said they had come to know about the postponement from a public notice displayed outside the council office. They demanded that the election be held within 90 day of the issuance of the notification of the elections done on August 21. Another councillor, Mr NK Marwaha, said any delay beyond the 90-days deadline could force them to explore the legal recourse.

The other group led by Mr Patwari charged his opponent of indulging in horse-trading. He said it would present a wrong precedent before the voters in the town who had elected the councillors to power. He stated that taking the councillors in to hiding outside the town on the basis of money power would mean a bleak future for the civic body. “Those spending lakhs of rupees to buy the councillors would make up for their investment from the council”,

alleged Mr Manjit Singh, another councillor. Mr Patwari claimed that any effort by the Kulwant group to hijack the councillors would be halted at any cost. Mr Hardeep Singh, a member of the SGPC, said the election had been intentionally postponed to favour a group.

The SDM said he had sent a fax message to the Deputy Commissioner regarding the fixing of the next date of holding the election. He said whenever the next meeting was held, the councillors would be informed at least 48 hours in advance. He said the next date for holding the election was yet to be decided. However, sources in the government said it would likely be before November 20.

Earlier in the day, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurinder Pal Singh Grewal, said the election had been postponed as the notification of the election result of ward 17 held on November 12 and won by Mr Manmohan Singh Langh, had not been done. He said without the notification Mr Langh could not exercise his right to vote. He indicated that the election would be held within this week.Back


100 disabled get I-cards
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Nov 15—Over 100 disabled persons were issued identity cards at a special camp held at the government dispensary in Sector 11, here today. While disability certificates were issued at the meeting of the board, i-cards were issued to people on the basis of certificates issued earlier.

Beginning as a time-bound programme, due to conclude in August, it was extended for three months keeping in view the inability to issue cards to the nearly 1500 persons with 40 per cent disability identified in the district on the basis of a survey by the Red Cross.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr H.C. Nagpal, said there was poor response from the people when camps to issue identity cards were held at Raipur Rani, Morni, Panchkula and Kalka where 109, 13, 127 and 118 persons, respectively, turned up due to lack of information with the public.

In addition to this camp was the blood grouping of the disabled which was not done on previous occasions. From now on, the camps to issue identity cards will be held every Wednesday from 2 p.m. onwards at the dispensary where a team of doctors will be present.Back


CPM’s assurance to Khanpur residents
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Nov 15 — Mr Balwant Singh, Secretary, Punjab CPM, has assured the residents of Khanpur village, that his party would extend all type of support to them in their struggle against the alleged encroachment upon common land of the village worth about many crores of rupees by certain politicians and influencial persons for the last three decades.

Mr Balwant Singh along with his supporters today visited the village and got all information about the land scam. He was told in details how the land has been allegedly grabed but the Punjab Government had not taken any action about this.

Mr Balwant Singh assured the villagers that his party would not only support them in their struggle but would also support them if they wanted to contest this case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


NBC warfare sensitive issue: Gen Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDI MANDIR, Nov 15 — In the changing geo-political scenario, nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare is emerging as a sensitive issue, with two of India's neighbours possessing nuclear weapons.

Stating this here today, the Additional Director-General, Military Nursing Services, Maj-Gen (Mrs) P. K. Sethi, said that the effect of nuclear, chemical and biological (NBC) weapons is widespread and the fallout of their use could not be predicted. She was addressing delegates during the inaugural ceremony of the 10-day continuing medical education (CME) programme on the role of the nurses in the NBC warfare, being organised at the Western Command Hospital here.

About 30 nursing officers from military hospitals based in the Western Command and the Northern Command as well as some delegates from civilian institutions are attending the programme.

Pointing out the NBC weapons could be used not only against troops, but also against the civilian population and institutions, General Sethi called upon the nursing officers to grasp the basics of the NBC warfare and remain prepared for any emergency. She said that nursing officers should become proficient in first-aid measures, transportation of casualties as well as treatment and care of the wounded in an NBC environment.

Welcoming the chief guest and delegates, the hospital Commandant, Maj-Gen Pratap Dayal, said that the destructive capability of the NBC weapons was thousands of times greater than that on conventional weapons and that preventing the use of the NBC weapons was the only cure against their effects. He said that it was essential to take preventive measures and at the same time be ready to face any eventuality.

The Principal Tutor of the hospital's School of Nursing, Lt-Col K. K. Sharma, while giving an overview of the CME programme, said that the methodology to be used in the next 10 days will include lectures, discussions, demonstrations, group assignments and field visits. 


Importance of small savings stressed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 —The special small savings fortnight, launched by the National Savings Organisation on October 30, concluded at the CSIO, Sector 30, yesterday.

Mr SK Sadana, Administrative Officer CSIO, who was the chief guest, assured that every effort would be made to cover all employees of the CSIO under the pay roll savings scheme.

Mr Mohinder Malhotra, Regional Director of the National Savings, Punjab and the UT of Chandigarh, explained the motive for arranging such a fortnight and keeping in view the audience, which were income tax payers, dwelled on various small savings schemes.

Mr Rajinder Lal, Deputy Regional Director, appealed to the employees to adopt pay roll savings scheme, which was easy, automatic and lucrative because of higher rate of interest.

During the fortnight, which was organised to make the savings a people’s movement, the “sanchayika scheme” was introduced in Government Senior Secondary Schools, Sectors 23 and 42, in which 300 students were enrolled as members.Back



Lalaji’s martyrdom fortnight functions
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — As part of the martyrdom fortnight of Lala Lajpat Rai from November 17, the Servants of the People Society has planned a series of functions.

According to Mr Onkar Chand, secretary, the celebrations will start with a seminar on “Power of education in the information era” at Lajpat Rai Bhavan on November 17. Inauguration of exhibition of books by and on Lalaji and display of clothes which he was wearing at the time of the lathi-charge on him during the Simon Commission protest will also be held on this day.

The other important functions are inter-school cartoon-making and slogan-writing contests, launching of slum cleanliness drive at the Bapu Dham Colony and discussion on “India still fighting for its freedom against disease”. An arts and crafts mela, declamation contest, cricket tournament, youth conference and patriotic song contests are the other functions to be organised during the fortnight.

Sonia’s victory hailed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — The victory of Mrs Sonia Gandhi in the Congress Parliamentary Party election today has had her local supporters on the high. Local Congressman have expressed their happiness over her victory saying it was expected.

The local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, was not available for his reaction as he was away to Hyderabad on some work and was expected to reach Delhi later tonight, his office said senior Congress leaders Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi and Mr Chaman Lal have said it was good that Mrs Gandhi had won on a such a huge majority against her rival Mr Jitender Prasada.

The president of local unit Mr B.B. Bahl, was also away to Delhi to welcome Mrs Gandhi on her victory. Mr Devinder Singh Babla, while speaking from Delhi said the victory of Mrs Gandhi has been welcomed and a team of the local unit has also met her in Delhi and presented her with a bouquet. Meanwhile Mr Subhash Chawla has also welcomed Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s victory saying it was a foregone conclusion eversince she filed her nomination.Back


Gurmat sammelan from Nov 18
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Music experts and religious preachers of great repute are slated to participate in the gurmat sangeet workshop and sammelan to be organised by the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi in association with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) at Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur, Sector 34, on November 18 and 19.

Among those who will deliver speeches and lectures on the meaning and relevance of Gurmat sangeet, will be Dr Darshan Singh, member, Dharam Pracharak Committee, SGPC, Dr Jagir Singh, eminent preacher, Dr Gurnam Singh, chairman, Department of Music, Punjabi University, Patiala and Dr Pankaj Mala Sharma, chairperson, Department of Music, Panjab University.

On November 18 at 6 pm, hazuri ragis of Sri Darbar Sahib Bhai Rawail Singh, Bhai Banta Singh, Bhai Narinder Singh and Bhai Balbir SIngh will present kirtan. Later, the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh will deliver the main lecture of the concert.

Students from various schools, colleges and the universities of Punjab will participate in the workshop and sammelan.


Ex-Tribune employee dies of heart attack
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Mr Mahipal, a former machineman of The Tribune, died today following a heart attack. He was 62. He is survived by his wife, a son and three daughters. The funeral procession will start from 2215, Sector 15, Panchkula, for cremation at the Manimajra cremation ground at 10 a.m.

Auction postponed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — The auction, which was to be held today to lease out the land for the installation hot mix plant, was put off as no of bidder turned up at the venue. Sources reveal that the MC authorities had recently decided to lease out the land to some private party, since installing the same would meant an expenditure of Rs 14-15 lakh. The old plant of the MC was auctioned sometime back. Back


Kannadigas hail Rajkumar’s release
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Kannada Sangha, the cultural association of Kannadigas based in the city, has expressed extreme happiness over the release of film star Dr Rajkumar by Veerappan. The sangha, in a statement made here today, extended its heartiest thanks to all the people associated with the release of Kannada film icon, Dr Rajkumar. The members have also congratulated the Government of Karnataka for its success in getting Dr Rajkumar released. Back


Police congress on Nov 27
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — The Chandigarh police is organising “32nd All India Police Science Congress”. The three-day conference will commence on November 27. According to Senior officials in the police department, the conference will be attended by eminent legal experts, besides senior police officials and social scientists.Back


5 vehicles involved in mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — As many as five vehicles banged into each other at the transport chowk in the evening today. According to sources, three Maruti cars, a scooter and a jeep was involved in the accident. The mishap took place when jeep stopped at the traffic lights in Sector 26. Back


A clarification
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — In the news item ‘‘Admn reshuffles 11 bureaucrats’’ appearing in Chandigarh Tribune today it was inadvertently mentioned that Ms Madhvi Kataria has been given the charge of DPI Colleges. Ms Kataria has been given the charge of Additional DPI Colleges which is a freshly created post.Back


Three lakh stolen from car
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — In yet another case of theft from vehicles, Rs 3 lakh were stolen from a car was parked at the Lyon’s parking Sector 17, here yesterday. Mr Harminder Singh, a resident of Sector 15 in his complaint with the police said that the theft took place around 1 p.m. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Pedestrian killed
A 75-year-old pedestrian who was hit by a Kinetic scooter, on the Madhya Marg, near Sector 27, died, here on Tuesday. He was hit by a scooter driven by Ms Preeti Sapru, a resident of Sector 7, Panchkula and was admitted to the PGI in a serious condition. A case under Sections 279 and 304A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against Ms Sapru. The accused was arrested and later released on bail.

The police has registered a case under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, against Mukesh Kumar, who had not furnished informations regarding his servant working at his shop.

Mukesh Kumar did not give information about his servant Ram Bahadur who works at the SCO No. 13, Sector 7. Under the law, every resident of the city is to give information to the police about the servants one has hired.

Mr Prem Chand, resident of Colony No. 4, reported to the police that Sanjay, who was his employee fled away with Rs 5,000. It was alleged that Sanjay had collected money from the subscribers of the cable TV and fled. Sanjay also took away two amplifiers along with him.Back


Clash outside parlour, 4 injured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Shattered glass was strewn all over the market corridor after four persons were reportedly injured in a clash outside a beauty parlour in Sector 35.

According to crowd gathered outside the shop, the alleged assaulters, who were the owners of the victim’s shop and the adjoining shop, hurled bricks and stones at about 9.30 a.m. “in a bid to get the shop vacated”.

Denying the allegations, the “other side” maintained that they were first attacked and that one of the owners, an advocate, was admitted to the hospital after sustaining injuries.

Meanwhile, narrating the sequence of events, Hazi Nafis Ahmed, who runs the parlour, said about 15 to 20 musclemen attacked their shop by hurling stones and bricks after throwing out the valuables from the adjoining shop.

He, accompanied by associate Anis Ahmed with blood oozing down his cheeks, also pointed out towards shattered glass door and window panes of the shop.

Mr Varinder Kumar Jindal, on the other hand, said they were leaving the place, after taking the possession of the adjoining showroom following court orders, when they were attacked. The police is investigating the matter.Back



Probe ordered against SI
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — A departmental inquiry against a Sub-Inspector of the Chandigarh police, accused of furnishing bail bonds of an alleged call girl, was today marked to Assistant Superintendent of Police Dr. Sagar Preet Hooda.

Sat Pal, according to police sources, was earlier placed under suspension. He was directed to be transferred to the Police Lines on “half pay and usual allowances”. The sources added that the action was taken against the SI on the grounds of “moral turpitude”.

The SI had reportedly furnished the bonds for Priya Devi, a resident of Panchkula, after she was directed to be released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sant Parkash.

She, along with two other call girls, was arrested by the police. They were allegedly operating in and around the city through mobile telephones. Their “pimp”, the owner of a printing press, was also apprehended. The racket was “unearthed” with the help of a decoy customer.

Senior police officials had claimed that the four were taken into custody from Sector 22 after 15 notes of Rs 100 each were handed over to the accused. The sources added that the marked currency was recovered from them after a search was conducted by a woman Assistant Sub- Inspector.

A case under Sections 4, 5 and 8 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act had been registered against them.Back


Nari Niketan inmate injured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — A 15-year-old Bihar resident, Pinki, was admitted to the General Hospital with injuries after she, along with city resident Urmila, tried to escape from Sector 26 Nari Niketan. The duo was in the custody of the Social Welfare Department. Confirming their attempt to escape, Assistant Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, Sagar Preet Hooda, when contacted, said a case under Section 224 of the IPC had been registered against the two.Back


‘Entrepreneurship not promoted in India’
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — A two-day national level seminar on India towards entrepreneurial society: retrospection, introspection and protospection commenced at Technical Teachers' Training Institute (TTTI) here today. More than 100 delegates from across the country are attending the seminar.

Delivering the inaugural address, Mr Chandra Mohan, former Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Punjab Tractors Limited, Mohali, elaborated on as to why entrepreneurship was not developing in India. He opined that the Indian education system prepared students for wage career only and the system was not geared to promote entrepreneurship. He added that the solution to vast unemployment lied in promoting entrepreneurship.

Dr S. Krishnamurthy, Principal TTTI, briefly mentioned qualities and personality traits of successful entrepreneur's.

Prof B. S. Rathore, Head, Entrepreneurship Development and Industrial Coordination Department of TTTI, welcomed the delegates. In his address Prof Rathore highlighted the present government policies and business opportunities particularly in the area of information technology, bio technology and e-commerce.

Dr D. D. Sharma, Seminar coordinator, introduced the seminar themes. He stressed that the employment generation, strengthening of infrastructure inculcating entrepreneurial values among youth of the country, eliminating red-tapism, introducing entrepreneurship in education mainstream needed to be high on the agenda of the government.

Mr S. K. Dhameja , coordinator of this seminar, presented the vote of thanks. Mr Dhameja mentioned that senior academician from universities, management institutions, technical education institutes and other institutions of higher learning would present keynotes and chair various technical sessions.

In the inaugural session Mr N. S. Kalsi, Director Directorate of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab, delivered the keynote address on the role of venture capital in information technology ventures.

Dr Vidhu Mohan, Professor of Psychology, Panjab University, touched upon motivational and psychological aspects of entrepreneurship.

Mr Yashpal Mahajan, Chairman, Board of Governor's, TTTI, narrated the contribution made by Indian entrepreneurs, particularly in the field of information technology.

Two more technical sessions will be held tomorrow. The seminar is partially sponsored by Canara Bank, the State Bank of Patiala and M\s Orbit Computers, Chandigarh.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |