Monday, December 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Out on parole, murderer kills one more
Drug addict youth stabbed in busy street
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
A 25-year-old man was killed with a chisel in a busy street of Hallo Majra village today. The profusely bleeding youth, Shiv Kumar, was declared brought dead at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital here.


  • Today’s murder has pushed the figure of killings here to 30, so far, this year.
  • The accused, Billa, is said to have been out on parole when he killed Shiv. He had been serving a sentence for murder.
  • The assailant and the victim were drug addicts.

The police said Shiv had been repeatedly stabbed in the neck and the chest in an altercation near an STD-PCO booth. The assailant, a man called Baljeet Singh ‘Billa’, walked away from the spot after the incident and a search for him is on.

Shiv’s wife, Prem, said her husband had fallen in the company of drug addicts and, once, given Rs 10,000 to them. The assailant is said to be one of the drug addict friends of Shiv. She said Shiv had been a school-bus driver before he had opened a confectionery shop in the village. He had taken to drugs after failing to establish himself in any business.

“I used to tell Shiv not to bring drug addicts to our house,” said Prem and broke down. She said her husband had recently quit smack abuse, following which, he had been improving. Today, he left home to recover some money from an STD-PCO owner in the village.

Persons living in the locality where the murder took place said Shiv had an altercation with Billa, during which, Billa pierced his throat and chest with chisel. Shiv had also received injuries on the left ear.

A senior police official said raids were being conducted to catch the accused and a case had been registered against him at the Sector 31 police station. Soon after the incident, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gaurav Yadav, officials of the south subdivision and the CIA staff visited the spot and interrogated a number of drug addicts living in the area.

A man of Hallo Majra said drug addiction had assumed an alarming proportion in the village and Shiv Kumar had been killed by a drug addict.


Three men loot liquor vend
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
Armed men robbed a liquor vend on National Highway-73 near Chandi Mandir today. This is the third robbery in the district in the past one month.

The incident occurred at about 8.30 am. The vend — Kalka Wine Shop — has two counters — one for the IMFL and the other for country liquor. Three men walked to the IMFL counter and asked the employee there for liquor.

As the vend employee, Raj Kumar, turned to fetch liquor for them, two of the men pointed their revolvers at him. Their third accomplice, then, forced open the cash box and took out Rs 10,155 from it.

The three men, then, rushed towards a white Maruti car parked nearby and drove it towards Kalka. Meanwhile, the vehicle of the liquor contractor arrived there from Kalka for collecting previous night’s earnings.

Contractor’s men were told about the robbery, at which, they began chasing the Maruti car.

After about ten minutes of chase, contractor’s men lost track of the car near Surajpur. They also failed to note down the registration number of the car. They went till Pinjore looking for the car, but to no avail. They, then, went to the Pinjore police station and told the police what had happened. Checkpoints were immediately set up all over the district, but there was no sign of this car.

Usually, there are two men at each counter of the vend. The other man had gone out to answer the call of nature when the robbery took place. The cash, too, is collected separately at the two counters. However, since the employees were waiting for the cash-collection vehicle to arrive, the employee at the country-liquor counter, Ramesh, had handed over the cash with him to Raj Kumar.

The vend employees say that one of the robbers was wearing a turban and the others were in dark leather jackets. The police has registered a case under various Sections of the IPC in this regard.

While a bank in Karanpur village was robbed of Rs 30,000 on November 6, a Sector 5 petrol pump here had also been robbed last week.


Privatisation of octroi collection begins today in SAS Nagar
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 15
In the absence of any order restraining it from doing so, the Municipal Council here is all set to begin the process of privatising its octroi collection from tomorrow by auctioning collection contracts. The auctions will be held in the office of the Deputy Director Local Self Government.

The MC president, when contacted, said the auctions had indeed been scheduled for tomorrow, as he had received no verbal or written order to postpone these. The MC collects about Rs 1.25 crore each month in octroi; sources said this figure had been reducing over the past few years, as there was inadequate staff to man the 12 octroi posts. Sources said cases of misappropriation of the collected money by the MC employees were also on the rise.

The idea to privatise the collection of octroi was mooted six months ago and finalised after long discussions. The MC House, however, remained divided over the issue, with five out of over 25 members of the council opposing the move.

The decision was also unacceptable to members of the Mohali Industries Association and the Mohali Beopar Mandal. The bodies said the move would expose traders to harassment by private operators. Representatives of the bodies said a similar experiment in 1998 had failed.

Though Local Self Government Secretariat officials remained unavailable for comments on the issue today, sources said the auctions could still be postponed. They also said, even if the auctions were postponed, the decision on privatisation of octroi collection would remain unchanged, as the MC was the final authority in this regard. The MC, being an elected body, is not bound to follow government instructions that oppose decisions passed by majority in its House


Institutions owe 11 cr to PUDA; face action
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 15
As many as 15 institutional land allottees running various services in the township face action by the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA), including resumption of land, pending payment of more than Rs 11 crore to the authority.

These institutions which included religious bodies, schools, hospitals, housing boards and clubs had been given show-cause notices for resumption of plots, called for personal hearings by the PUDA authorities but had still not paid up the complete amount to them.

While a site allotted for the construction of a hospital and another allotted for the construction of a college had already been resumed by the PUDA authorities, in case the other institutions failed to pay up, they would have to close down their operations from their present locations and would be evicted from these plots.

These allotments had been made over the past one decade by PUDA under the scheme for allotment of plots for specific institutional and group housing societies.

After the initial installments had been paid by the owners, these plots were handed over by PUDA and many of these allottees were already running full-fledged institutions on these plots. Some of these plots were, however, still lying vacant and some were under construction. While two cooperative housing societies alone owed about Rs 7 crore to PUDA, two hospital sites owed more than Rs 1 crore, the ICL Housing Society in Sector 70 owed almost Rs 1 crore to PUDA while two school sites collectively owed over Rs 50 lakh to PUDA.

When contacted, the Estate Officer, PUDA, Mr T.K. Goel, stated that a procedure had to be followed before sites from the defaulters were resumed. ‘‘We have resumed two sites, one was allotted for Inderjit Bhatia Hospital and another for Multanimal Modi Degree College and the process is being considered for other defaulters too.’’ The defaulters would have to satisfy PUDA as to why the delay in payment had occurred. A chance for payment could be given if the Estate Officer was satisfied after a personal hearing. PUDA had also clarified that there would be no shift from the procedure of penalising these defaulting parties. If a decision was taken these allottees would have to be evicted.


 Glory in Dhaka remembered
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
It will be 31 years since India achieved its greatest victory over Pakistan on December 16, 1971. Pakistan’s Lieut-Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi had signed the historic document to surrender at Dhaka exactly at 4.55 pm in front of a boisterous crowd raising anti-Pakistan slogans. In the 13-day war the Indian Army had liberated 1,50,000 sq km of territory of what is now Bangladesh. Officially the nation lost 1,421 soldiers and another 56 are missing presumed to be dead. Besides 4,000 were wounded.

Even as retired soldiers who re-wrote battle history and won honours, will have fond memories of the winter of 1971, several questions remain unanswered like the handing over of 93,000 captured Pakistani troops and subsequent signing of the Simla Pact in 1972 when the Lion of Control would have officially been declared the border.

With Indian PoWs, still believed to be in Pakistani jails, it is a sensitive issue for their families. Time and again it has been raised in Parliament and even on international forums. The latest was during the Agra summit between India and Pakistan. And on the issue of finally settling the LoC, reels of newsprint have been printed on how the strategic advantage was frittered away.

One of the architects of the surrender was now Punjab Governor Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). In his book “Surrender at Dacca,” he writes: “We had won a decisive victory in the marshes and rice paddies of Bangladesh. We had been some 93,000 prisoners. Yet, at the negotiating table at Shimla we were unable to obtain a permanent settlement of outstanding issues with Pakistan. The advantages gained on the battle field were frittered away at the Shimla Conference.”

Then as a Major-General he was the Chief of Staff, Eastern Army Command. It was General Jacob and his staff officer Colonel Khara who had actually negotiated the surrender with General Niazi.

Talking to TNS, he avoided any questions like how does he feel on why the 93,000 troops were released? It is terse “no comments’, but he added that the Army was not involved in the negotiations. He, however, said late Indira Gandhi was badly advised on the Simla Pact but praised her role during the war. Saying that all this is known that Pakistan Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto agreed verbally to convert the LoC into border.

Recollecting on how the surrender took place, General Jacob said I went in my helicopter to Dhaka unarmed with Colonel Khara. We did not have a formal surrender document. Already on December 15, Poland moved a resolution in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) seeking cessation of hostilities. Naturally this was backed by the Russians. Earlier, on two occasions the Russians had vetoed the move of the US resolution. Then it was made clear that Russia would not use its veto powers any further.

Under all this the Government of India was yet to give a formal surrender document. A draft had been prepared by me in which I had promised everything as per the Geneva Convention, General Jacob recollected. It presented the draft to General Niazi whose officers objected to several things. In the four-hour negotiations the final moment came when General Jacob gave 30 minutes to General Niazi to think over. At last General Niazi pushed the paper containing terms of the surrender back to General Jacob. The Punjab Governor recollects, “I told General Niazi that I will take your silence as a yes for surrender.” Thus the famous victory was achieved. The huge picture of General Niazi signing the surrender document with General Jacob standing right behind him adorns the office of Punjab Governor.


PU issues committed to panels
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
New committees were formed on a majority of the issues which came up for discussion at Panjab University’s Senate here today. It was another day of postponing decisions on crucial items selected for deliberations for the benefit of students and staff members.

In question hour Mr Tarsem Bahia’s query pertaining to the actual strength in PU hostels dwindled into other related issues highlighted by him. Mr Bahia said he had information that students continued to stay in the hostels by changing their subjects, for years together. He said there were reports of students from the city and neighbouring towns who had taken hostel facilities and then sublet their rooms. Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, said a committee would be constituted to look into the details of the matter.

Mr K.C. Shenmar raised the issue of the university not following the reservation policy in matters pertaining to recruitment of teachers. Prof Bhajan Kaur said the university committee on the matter had also not shown the necessary commitment for giving the reserved categories their due. Professor Pathak decided to constitute a committee on the issue. Prof Charanjit Chawla said the university needed to ensure reservation policy on pattern of the UGC guidelines.

The issue of Guru Nanak College, Ferozepur Cantonment, was first to be taken on the floor of the House which was raised by Mr G.K. Chatrath. He said the college was not depositing the Provident Fund of the employees. Mr Satish Sharma said details should be worked out as to what use the money was put into because when contacted the college authorities were unable to provide the exact details of the expenditure. Prof S.S. Hundal also spoke about deficiencies he detected after going through the college. The Senate decided to appoint a fact finding committee on the issue.

The issue of allegations of an ‘academic fraud by Prof S.P. Khullar of Botany Department by getting a ‘fake D Sc degree from an institute in Sri Lanka’ and his assistance in guiding a questionable thesis was raised by Mr Bahia. The Senate decided that the issue would be looked into in detail and the questionable thesis would be sent to an expert for comments before taking a final decision.

The Senate elected Prof M.R. Aggrawal and Mr R.S. Verma as non-Syndic fellows on the University’s Board of Finance. The Senate was reminded that the university already had a committee on studying grants to colleges. Professor Pathak in a lighter vein said’ We have so many reform committees but so few reforms in many cases”. Dr Dinesh Talwar reminded the office that he had sought a complete list of all committees till date making a point that the numbers was very large.

The Senate decided to appoint a committee to study the resolution of Mr Bahia seeking representation for students in the Senate. The issue of free seats for economically backward sections had been deferred and would be reintroduced after certain amendments, the House was informed.

Prof R.D. Anand said he would sit on an indefinite ‘dharna’ in case the issue of pension scheme for PU employees was not addressed at the earliest because this was probably the only university in the country whose employees did not get pension. The university would take a fresh look at the matter pending since long.

The House did take up the issue of faults in the evaluation of answer sheets and also mentioned several flaws in the result declaration process. The Senate decided to extend paternity leave facilities to its employees and those from affiliated colleges.

The House also decided to issue a notice of payment to Prof M.M. Puri, former Vice-Chancellor, by sending details of the telephone bill on which he is supposed to have made personal calls.


PU panel proposes new scholarships
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Besides the existing stipends, Panjab University will also give scholarships to the toppers of all its courses from the coming academic session. A decision in this regard has been taken by a special committee that studied the spending of alumni funds.

The committee members included Prof R.J. Hans Gill, Dean University Instructions; Prof M.L. Sharma, Dean Alumni Students; Prof D.N. Jauhar, Prof Charanjit Chawla, Prof Santosh and Dr A.D. Ahluwalia. Initially, 15 toppers among students of 100 colleges affiliated to the PU will get the scholarships; and there will be 15 scholarships for toppers of various courses offered on the PU campus.

There has been a long-pending demand for an Alumni House on the campus, but, due to a paucity of funds, the proposal could not be implemented. However, since the previous session, the university has been taking a special fee from students for the purpose.

Representatives of colleges said most college students would derive no benefit from the on-campus Alumni House, so, some alternative arrangement should be made. It has been decided that 80 per cent of the alumni fund will be kept for the construction of this facility and the rest would be pooled for instituting scholarships for toppers.

The committee recommendation, however, will have to be cleared by the university Senate. While the scholarships are for all college courses, a committee has been formed to identify the on-campus couses for which the scholarships can be instituted.

Instead of a number of nominal scholarships, The PU proposes to offer scholarships worth Rs 3,000 each. Toppers will not have to apply for the scholarships; rather, PU will put up the list on its own. A member of the committee said the university would wait for the reevaluation results till the first week of January before working out the final merit.

The toppers will get university certificates. About 50,000 freshers join the university each year. Though, the university has decided that the collection of alumni fund will be one-time, certain colleges have, reportedly, charged students twice.


Golf club poll results today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
A less than expected turnout of voters at the annual election of the elitist Chandigarh Golf Club today turned the contest into a keen struggle for supremacy between opposing teams headed by Raja Malvinder Singh and Lieut Col A.P.Singh (retd).

A total of 1,036 votes were cast during the polling. The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, was among those who cast their votes in favour of his brother, Raja Malvinder Singh. The former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, also exercised their right to franchise. Mr Mann is also related to Raja Malvinder Singh.

The club has a total of 1,800 members out of which 1,220 are based in Chandigarh. As against 1036 votes polled this year, 1120 votes were cast last year.

The counting of votes will take place tomorrow and results are expected by noon.



CITY Beautiful is finding its easy pace changing and roads clogged due to heavy traffic at certain hours.

The city is following in the footsteps of Delhi by installing a timer on the traffic signal at the Government Press Chowk to reduce the Motorists’ restlessness at signals.

The first timer on the signal has come as a relief to motorists and saves fuel with motorists being allowed to switch off engines during the stoppage time.

The timer has come as a via media for the people of Chandigarh who have not been very receptive about the removal of magnificent roundabouts despite they having become traffic problems with the increase of traffic.

Experts’ advice has been forwarded to remove these roundabouts but the beauty conscious city has been resisting it. Timers, if installed at all vital points, may weaken the resistance.

Traffic jams

Chandigarh is fast turning into Delhi. No, the reference is not to any new facilities available here, but to the number of traffic jams.

Most of these take place at roundabouts where there is total chaos during rush hours despite the presence of the traffic police.

Most of the jams occur because the simple rule of who has the right of way is never followed. Has the challan-happy traffic police ever challaned anyone for breaking the roundabout rule, or even educated them? Even if the roundabouts are redesigned, the problem is not going to be solved unless the driver on the right (in other words, the driver who has already entered the rotary) gets the right of way.

The only option would be to have traffic lights at every roundabout. Just think about it. What a bottleneck these would be because Chandigarh has a roundabout every 750 metres. It is still not too late to educate the public about the simple rule. By the way, do the policemen themselves know it?

Care for the stage?

Sanctity of the stage no more seems to be an issue with most of the people, who organise functions in memory of legends. More often than not the quality of such functions is very good, but the performers lack respect towards the space of performance which, in Indian tradition, holds immense significance.

Three days back, a local musical group organised a grand cultural show dedicated to the memory of Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi, whose songs are as fresh as ever. Timeless songs of Batalvi were chosen to fill the evening with the memory of the poet, who was consumed by the fire of his own love. A very famous local music director translated Batalvi’s songs into beautiful musical verses and most of the performers in his troupe also did justice to every poem.

However, on one major account, every member of the group faltered. Neither the director of the show nor the performers and the presenter entered the stage barefoot. All of them were wearing slippers, thus disregarding the stage although “unconsciously.” It would serve the organisers to take care of the rule of the stage, which is the prime instrument of communication in any cultural presentation.

Searching for shanti

The other day a group of elderly people landed in the lately built cafe in Shantikunj, Sector 16. Titled Shantikunj Cafe, the joint, they thought would offer them a peaceful ambience to discuss their daily problems and national issues. However, they were in for a major surprise even before they had placed the order for food. Where they had expected that the joint would play soothing melodies from the past or some light classical stuff, they were taken aback when loud pop music was switched on to add “zing to the ambience.”

Dejected, the group got up and left the joint, searching for shanti somewhere else!

Respecting talent

Slum children of Sector 25 Janata Colony have new admirers these days. A visit to the stationery shop at Panjab University’s Students Centre shows that the cards made by these kids are being sold like hot cakes. About 10 days back, a UT official formally released the greeting cards which carried prints of the paintings made by these children, most of whom are shoeshine boys. The quality of the cards is so nice that the first lot was sold within four days. Most of the buyers of the kids’ creative talent are boarders of PU, who think that the kids are doing a great job — working, studying and creating.

The shop-owner has now asked for some more greeting cards, which have been printed under the aegis of Theatre Age.

Pedestrian passage

Recently the road divider from The Tribune Chowk upto the Sector 31-32 crossing (CII roundabout) was decorated with new fancy grills having green paint to minimise accidents. Earlier, scooterists used to cross this divider to fill their tanks resulting in increased chances of accidents.

But a small passage has been left using iron-roads opposite the NHPC building, about 500 metres from The Tribune roundabout. Surpisingly, no passage has been left for pedestrian entry opposite The Tribune gate, where a bus-shelter is situated and long-route buses also usually halt.

Jacob’s wit

The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator certainly has ready wit and a sense of humour to match. At the recently held merchant navy officers seminar in Mohali, when everyone was constantly pointing out that the seminar has been named North Sea as there is no sea near Chandigarh, Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob in his speech was quick to point out that even if the city does not have a sea, at least “we have a lake here. And if anyone wants to be trained for sea service here, he is welcome.”

‘No parking’

The Chandigarh traffic police recently launched a drive to discipline drivers of long-route buses. The drivers of these buses coming from Delhi, Patiala and other towns would halt for the passengers to alight in front of the PRTC workshop, near Tribune Chowk, and near the Kisan Bhavan roundabout, creating traffic chaos and chances of accidents. Apart from appointing traffic cops, the police also put up sign boards of ‘no parking’ at these places. However, after a few days, the drive has fizzled out. The drivers are again dropping passengers at the previous spots.

His generosity

General Jacob has also found a rather simple way out of people calling him for functions and politely hoping to be given funds for their venture. At the inauguration of the Defence Veterans Polyclinic held last week at Mohali, the Governor smartly shifted the expectations of the hosts to the local MLA and DC, saying: “Ask them for money, not me.” But then his generosity took over and he promptly announced that the clinic be given Rs 2 lakh rupees from his kitty.


The Mohali police is in a state of confusion these days. Despite clear orders that all those driving two-wheelers without headgear be challaned, they are having problems complying with these orders. No one knows why but whenever they see a woman driving without a helmet they prefer to look the other way. Last week the police barely issued 20 challans to helmetless drivers!

‘New Delhi look’

The city’s roundabout and road sides are getting what is being called the ‘New Delhi look’. The Chandigarh Administration has decided to finally phase out the concrete triangular pointers with red paint on them and bring in the latest fibre glass reflective pointers to show directions.




BJP leaders elated over Gujarat win; hail Modi
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The BJP victory in Gujarat toeing a hardline propagated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi has brought cheers to party cadres in the region which tasted electoral successes under Modi’s guidance barring a minor setback caused by the announcement of resignation of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) UT vice-president Baldeo Pandey.

Mr Pandey today made public his resignation from the BJYM and severed ties with the RSS saying the ‘‘kind of politics Modi was doing will disintegrate it.’’ Mr Pandey, however, said he had already tendered his resignation on December 10.

The resignation, however, did not dampen the mood of party workers who distributed laddoos and performed bhangra in its Union Territory and Punjab unit offices. Laddoos were also distributed in the Haryana unit camp office in the MLAs flats. The Haryana unit virtually held a state-level function at Panchkula where its president and MP Rattan Lal Kataria joined the celebrations and exploded crackers.

Leaders in the region said Mr Modi was the architect of party victories in Haryana in alliance with Bansi Lal, in Punjab with Akalis, Himachal, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and the Lok Sabha. He had emerged as one of the most powerful mass leaders after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani.

A strong feeling emerged among workers that the BJP should not jettison the original agenda of the party through which Mr Modi got the success. Certain leaders who had interaction with Mr Modi claimed the Gujarat success would bring him at par with the Central leadership and he could be one of the main campaigners in the 10 Assembly elections due ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

A former BJP president of the UT, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, said indications of the BJP fairing better in 10 states were available from the clean sweep in the three byelections in Rajasthan apart from Gujarat, which had boosted the morale of cadres.

Senior Punjab BJP leaders led by former leader of the legislative party in the state Assembly Balramji Dass Tandon, state general secretary Avinash Jaiswal, among others, became part of the celebrations in the state unit office.

The Punjab BJP leaders said the ‘‘Landslide victory in the Assembly poll of Gujarat state has brought great pride to the party. Obviously, it is the win of the nationalist forces and crushing defeat to pseudo-secularists.’’

The BJP national executive member from the Union Territory and in charge of Uttaranchal, Mr Satyapal Jain, sought to expose the ‘vote bank’ politics of the Congress, saying, ‘‘The party does not believe in earning vote bank as was done by the Congress.’’ Mr Jain said the victory would help the party perform better in the elections in 10 states.

The local unit president of the party, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, while praising the ‘‘clear-headed and tough politics’’ of Mr Modi, said the victory was of the policies of the Vajpayee government.

The Chandigarh Vikas Manch here today adopted a resolution saying the defeat of the Congress in Gujarat had proved that Ms Sonia Gandhi, on her own, could not push Congress to power as the people of the Gujarat had rejected a ‘‘person of foreign origin." Its general secretaries Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy and Sandeep Singh said Gujarat had proved that the Congress was only encashing on ‘‘anti-incumbency factor’’ in its previous state Assembly elections.

Congress UT general secretary Subhash Chawla appealed to the secular forces to join hands under the leadership of the Congress to check the communal politics, which had got strengthened after the electoral victory of the BJP in Gujarat.


Residents want better amenities
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
Residents of ward No. 13 (parts of Sectors 15 and 14) and ward No. 14 (part of Sector 15) hope that their representatives in the Municipal Council will ensure better civic amenities in their wards.

The voters of ward No. 13 , i.e., Sector 15 (H. No. 298-527, 1436-1499, 1501-1685) and Sector 14 (1-172 and 173- 314/2) and ward No. 14 i.e. Sector 15 ( H.No. 1031- 1099, 1100- 1435, LIG Colony 1686- 2330) think that the main issue for these elections will be proper maintenance of parks and internal roads in the sector and more efficient water supply .

While candidates supported by the Indian National Lok Dal and BJP will have a neck-and-neck fight in both these wards, Independents are also likely to play an important role. Till now, three persons from ward No. 13, Ms Jagmati Chaudhary, Mr S.M. Mongia, and Ms Sunil Kumari and from ward No 14, Sunil Talwar and Shyam Sunder Sharma have announced their decision to contest these elections, and have already started their campaigning.

As many as 7,188 voters ( 3,168 and 4,020 in ward No 13 and 14, respectively) will vote to elect their representative to the Municipal Council. Both wards No. 13 and 14 are general wards and politicking to field candidates has begun in earnest.

Most residents of these wards feel that civic amenities, better street lighting facilities, cleanliness, water supply ( low-water pressure is a major problem) are the main issues they will like to be redressed.

A resident of Sector 15, Mr Sat Prakash Chaudhary (ward No. 13), said low-water pressure was a big problem, especially in two and three-storey houses.

Mr Ram Sarup, a resident of Sector 15 (ward No. 14), said the garbage was hardly ever lifted from the MC bins and was spilled on the roads. Even the roads were in a dilapidated condition, he said.


Move to privatise project opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
State executive committee of the Punjab Draughtsmen Association, at its meeting held here today, decided to oppose the state government’s reported move to hand over the work on Shahpur Kandi project to a private concern. It has pointed out that the government’s decision would not only result into additional burden on the state exchequer, but would also render hundreds of engineers and other staff of the state jobless, besides wastage of already created inventories for the project.

Lamenting the government’s decision, Mr Gurmail Singh Sidhu, general secretary, Punjab Draughtsmen Association, said, “The government should not execute this project through any private party as it has sufficient staff and machinery, which was till recently used on the Ranjit Sagar Dam to execute that project. In case the work was handed over to any private party, it would result into wastage of machinery and manpower.”


Advani's assurance to beopar mandal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani has reportedly assured a delegation of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, which met him yesterday, to go into the recent notification of rent decontrol.

"Mr Advani denied the Central Government had given any direction to the Union Territory Administration to issue the notification," Chandigarh Beopar Mandal vice-president Kamaljeet Panchhi told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

Mandal president Jagdish Arora-led delegation comprised Mr Diwakar Sahooja, Mr Purushottam Mahajan, Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Bhimsen.

Meanwhile, Property Owners Welfare Association general secretary R.P. Malhotra here today alleged that the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal was threatening shopkeepers and forcing closure on of shops on December 19, the day the mandal has called a bandh.

Mr Panchhi termed the allegation as "false" saying it had already written a letter to the SSP against the "property dealers' association which is trying to project itself as Property owners Welfare Association."


Seminar on national integration
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
A seminar on national integration was organised by the Ekta Prayaas Manch here today. People from all walks of life and different religions participated in this seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Harinder Mehboob, a litterateur, said that Sikh religion had been all-encompassing and to live in harmony with other religions was one of the basic teachings of the religion. He said that tolerance was also one of the major principles of Sikhism.

Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon said that unity in diversity was a myth in our country. Unless the minorities were not brought into the mainstream, there could be no unity or national integration. Mr Radhe Shyam Sharma, former Editor of Dainik Tribune, said power had corrupted society, with divisions on caste, creed and religion being the mainstay of politicians. Mr L.H. Naqvi, Deputy Editor, The Tribune, also expressed his views on how to promote national integration by improving human relations.


Two hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 15
A 48-year-old woman driving Kinetic Honda was injured after her vehicle was hit by a motor cycle coming from the opposite side, near Gurdwara Amb Sahib here today. The man driving the motor cycle was also injured in the accident.

The woman Ms Surjit Kaur, a resident of Phase VII, and the driver of the motor cycle, Karanveer Singh, a resident of Kumbhra village, have been admitted to a hospital. The police has registered a case.


Flavour industry for cut in excise duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The fragrance and flavour industry, with an annual turnover of over Rs 2,000 crore, is set to grow at a 10 to 15 per cent rate provided the Central Government was ready to the review the excise duty.

The industry was though contributing to foreign exchange reserves through exports worth Rs 500 crore, the successive governments have ignored the interests of the industry, said Mr Vinod Kumar Seth, president of the Fragrances and Flavours Association of India, here today.

Speaking at a national level seminar of the industry, “Fragrances and flavours - a global vision”, he called upon the industry and the government to prepare a blueprint to face the challenges of imports and global competition.

He said during the past three decades, the industry had taken various steps to upgrade the production process and the quality of material. Since there was no side effect of the eco-friendly material prepared by them, the government must promote the industry at the national and international levels.

Responding to the demands of the industry, Dr D.N. Tewari, Member, Planning Commission, admitted that the industry had a lot of potential in employment generation. The government had already decided, he said, to lift the ban on the plantation and cutting of sandalwood trees throughout the country on the demand of the industry. Now the fragrance units were free to grow these trees as per their demands.

Mr Seth pointed out that the association had set up a perfume and flavour technology centre in Mumbai, apart from conducting workshops and seminars for the benefit of the industry.

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