Thursday, January 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


INLD ‘gets road repaired’
Violation of code of conduct alleged
Tribune News Service

A banner of the INLD on an electricity pole
A banner of the INLD on an electricity pole which is a violation of the Haryana Defacement Act, in Panchkula on Wednesday.

Panchkula, January 15
The ruling Indian National Lok Dal is leaving no stone unturned ‘literally’ at least on the road leading to its election office in Sector 6 here. In violation of the model code of conduct, the ruling party got the road in front of the party office recarpeted to ensure a smooth ride for party candidates to the office — if not in the elections.

The party office was inaugurated today by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Sandhu and the Minister of state for Urban Development, Mr Subhash Goyal. Within hours of the inauguration and visits by several ruling party MLA’s and other important persons of the ruling party, Haryana Urban Development Authority officials started work on recarpeting the road in patches, cleaning the garbage bin placed a few hundred yards from the party office and clearing the weeds from the green belt across the office.

Sources said that the directions for repairing the potholes on the road were given by one of the ministers reportedly after a bumpy ride to the election office this morning. He pulled up the HUDA staff for the poor condition of the road and insisted that the road be repaired at the earliest.

A team of 13 persons led by a Supervisor of HUDA , along with a road- roller and truck, started work on filling the potholes on this road. This aroused interest among residents, who insisted that the potholes on the interior roads of the sector should also be repaired. They were, however, told by HUDA staff that the cold weather was not conducive for recarpeting / repair of any road .

However, HUDA authorities insisted that this patchwork was a part of rotational work being done by HUDA. “We were supposed to finish the recarpeting and repair of all roads by December last year. Since this could not be done till December, we thought of repairing the roads today, “ said a senior official of HUDA.

Candidates in the fray in Ward No 4 (Sector 6 and parts of Sector 7) , opposing the candidate supported by INLD , however, insisted that this was a violation of the code of conduct. They said that a lot of voters could be influenced in favour of the party candidate here, considering that a number of ministers were coming here in support of candidates in their official vehicles.

They also pointed out to certain banners put by the INLD on an electricity pole along the road facing National Highway in Sector 6 here, which was defacement of the public property. A candidate from Ward No. 4 alleged that the administration had been very strict about other candidates from other parties putting up banners on trees and electricity poles, but it preferred to ignore similar defacement by the ruling party.

Meanwhile, with the rank and file of ruling INLD finally coming to the rescue of candidates supported by the party, the staggering party campaign was likely to get a fresh lease of life. Apprehending a tough time ahead for the party-supported candidates in these elections, courtesy the factionalism in local unit of the party, party office-bearers, ministers and MLAs had vigorously joined the last days of campaigning. Over 15 MLAs had been specially brought in and assigned specific wards to turn the support of the voters in their (INLD-supported candidates) favour.

All this was happening even as the party insisted that it was only giving outside support to candidates, who were not contesting on the party symbol. Party leaders, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Sandhu, and the State Urban Development Minister, Mr Subhash Goyal , insisted that the result of these elections would not be a referendum on the government.

The ministers, when questioned about the factionalism in party spoiling chances of various candidates, said that they were here to ensure that the candidates, other than ones selected by the party election committee, withdrew in favour of their officially selected candidates. There were at least four wards where INLD party workers-office bearers were pitted against each other- thus dividing the party vote bank.



Fake I-cards issued, allege candidates
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
A large number of voters I cards have been issued on the basis of fake votes made on the basis of electoral rolls of the Vidhan Sabha elections.

A large number of candidates alleged that a number of I cards had been issued to voters, who were not residing at the addresses given in the voters list. This morning some officials reportedly caught a person trying to get a fake I card made. He, however, managed to flee after he was pulled up and questioned by the Tehsildar, Mr Ashwani Kumar Sharma.

In Ward No. 1, Ms Prema Baluja, a BJP candidate, said she had completed her third round of door-to-door campaigning. She had promised abolition of fire tax, rationalisation of other taxes imposed by the Municipal Council, sanitation, providing new parks and green belts in the area, and providing water and drainage system in Bhainsa Tibba village and Ashiana.

Mr C.L. Malhotra, an Independent candidate in Ward No. 9, said he had completed his door-to-door campaigning and was getting a positive response from people. A retired Haryana government officer, he is also a member of the Bharat Vikas Parishad. He had promised better roads, sanitation, regular power and water supply and development of underdeveloped areas and parks.

Ms Meera Tandon, a candidate from Ward No. 23, said she had been visiting the voters in her ward and was being told about various problems being faced by residents. She had promised to realign and beautify the nullah passing through the ward, better sanitation, solution for stray cattle menace and congress grass.

Mr Manoj Pal, an Independent candidate from Ward No. 4, who is one of the youngest candidate in the fray, said he was getting a positive feedback. He said he had intensified his campaigning and was being assisted by senior citizens. He had promised better roads, removal of congress grass, proper maintenance of parks and developing of cycle tracks in back lanes.

In Ward No. 27, Lieut Col Surjit Singh, continued with his door-to-door campaigning and visited over 1000 voters today. He had promised better civic amenities, especially to residents of Kharag Mangoli village, better street lighting and regular removal of garbage.

Mr Rohtas, a candidate from Ward No. 7, said he was going from door-to-door seeking votes. He had assured residents of Rajiv Colony better living conditions by ensuring more electricity connections, more public taps, public toilets, sanitation and setting up of a government dispensary.

In Ward No. 25, Mr Tarun Bhandari, a former Congress office-bearer and candidate from Ward No. 25, said that he had completed his door-to-door campaigning . He had promised to find solution to stray cattle menace, realign and beautify the nullah passing through the sector and better sanitation.

Mr Sunidh Kashyap, a lawyer and INLD supported candidate from Ward No. 11, said he was getting a good response from voters. A former office-bearer of the District Bar Association, he had played an active role in getting land allotted for lawyers’ chambers. He had promised abolition of house tax and profession tax, better water supply , development of parks, pavements, and better facilities for senior citizens.

Sunita Devi, a candidate from Ward No. 28, said she had intensified her campaigning. She had promised better civic amenities like street lights, sanitation, and creating a green belt here. Meanwhile, Mr V.K. Sood in Ward No.4, Mr Praveen Kumar Garg and Mr B.K. Nayyar in Ward No. 6, Mr S.S. Goel, Mr Shalendra Shally in Ward No. 9, Ms Rekha Sharma and Ms Jalmegha Dahia in Ward 10, Mr Randhir Singh Badhran in Ward No. 20, Ms Lily Bawa in Ward 22 and Mr H.L. Ratta in Ward No. 27 had intensified their campaigning.



Mayor opposes Admn’s proposal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The property tax imposed by the municipal corporation on commercial and government buildings at the rate of 2 per cent of the annual rent is still not going down well with the Chandigarh Administration, which has recently indicated that it wants the rate to be hiked to 10 per cent as notified earlier.

Indications to this effect were given to Mayor Subhash Chawla during his courtesy meeting with officials of the Chandigarh Administration, sources said here today.

The Mayor is believed to have been informed that the old notification issued after a resolution to this effect was passed during the BJP regime and it had not yet been withdrawn.

Sources in the corporation said the issue of 2 per cent property tax, as passed in the last budget, had probably not been brought back to the House despite passing of by-laws three months earlier as senior officials of the administration had been showing disapproval of the lower rate of tax.

Mr Chawla is believed to have been asked to extend the concept of paid parking to Sectors 22 and 35. The Mayor was also informed if he insisted on 2 per cent tax rate, the Administration might have to issue a direction under Section 406 of the Municipal Corporation Act to accept the old notification at the rate of 10 per cent.

Asked to confirm the meeting between Local Body Secretary R.S. Gujaral and him, Mr Chawla only confirmed the issued had come up during the courtesy meeting between the two.

The Mayor was also told that the corporation’s estimates of collecting Rs 7.5 crore at the rate of 2 per cent would go wrong.

The Mayor is believed to have communicated his opposition to hike in the rate of property tax saying the party had decided the same.

Efforts to persuade the Mayor to increase the rate of property tax have come in the wake of the Rs 28 crore plan budget being virtually reduced to 12 crore due to a massive diversion of funds at the rate of Rs 4 crore per quarter.

The financial position of the corporation has also deteriorated due to auction of commercial sites being virtually put on hold after the controversy over the alleged bungling in the sale of an SCO. Though the officer in question Additional Commissioner Ashok Vashishth, has been exonerated of the charges levelled by the BJP, officials are now not coming forward for fresh auction of commercial sites.

Sale of property being the biggest budgeted revenue of the corporation and the Chandigarh Administration’s auction evoking a good response after the rent notification, the officials’ reluctance will create a massive shortfall in the revenues of the corporation.

If the recommendations of the Second Delhi Finance Commission are not implemented immediately, the corporation may soon find itself on the brink of financial collapse.



Fire in cooperative bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The establishment branch of the Haryana State Cooperative, Agriculture and Rural Development Bank was here today gutted in a fire that spread panic in Sector 22.

However, loss of life and property was averted with a timely action from fire tenders.

The Fire Department had a trying time receiving a number of calls from the residents who lived near SCO 1034 in Sector 22. Sparks and explosion from power lines had created panic in the area.

Six fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the fire in an operation that continued for more than an hour.

An eye witness said the fire might have been caused due to a heater which was left on.

The fire tenders could not start the operation for some time till power supply was stopped.

Almost entire supply line from the pole till the establishment branch was burnt in the fire.

The fire broke out after the staff had left for the day. The fire was so huge that it could have engulfed the upper floor.

The timely action of fire officers also saved Rs 50 lakh which was there in the bank. Managing Director of the Bank J.P. Panjreta and Chief Fire Officer G.S. Bajwa had reached the spot.



29 protesting panchayat secys held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Chandigarh Police once again swooped down on agitating dismissed panchayat secretaries of Punjab here today and arrested 29 of them. All of them were later sent to judicial custody in Burail Jail by a local court. With this the total number of panchayat secretaries sent to judicial custody, so far, has reached 85.

When members of the Association of Dismissed Panchayat Secretaries of Punjab were trying to pitch tents in front of the office of Director, Panchayats in Sector 17, the local police interrupted them and finally took 29 of them in custody. Later, they were produced before a local court that sent them to judicial custody.

Earlier, the UT police had arrested 23 panchayat secretaries on January 11 and 29 of them on January 12. With this the total number of arrests during the past few days has gone up to 85.

It may be mentioned that three of the members whose condition had deteriorated during their fast and were admitted to the hospital forcibly, have also been arrested and sent to judicial custody on the directions of the court.

Commenting upon today’s arrests a senior police official told TNS that the local SDM had refused to extend the permission to pitch tents in Sector 17. Therefore, they were not allowed to pitch the tents and gather there in order to protest.

Meanwhile, some members of the association who met here, after the arrests strongly condemned the police action and announced that they would draw a new strategy to protest against the Punjab Government in the days to come. The dismissed panchayat secretaries demanded that they should be reinstated and the arrested persons be released immediately.



Phone call to Pakistan from city?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Amidst threats of a possible terrorist attack ahead of or on Republic Day as indicated by Mr L.K. Advani, three persons considered to be from a foreign embassy made a phone call to Pakistan from the city thus creating a panic among intelligence agencies and official.

The local police and major intelligence agencies have so far failed to trace out the black Lancer (CD-2737) and the three persons travelling in it who had called up someone in Pakistan from a PCO in Sector 7-C here, yesterday afternoon.

According to sources, the local intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau and state intelligence agencies of Haryana, Delhi and Punjab have taken a serious note of the incident and flashed a message of alarm throughout the region to trace the car and the persons who made a call to Pakistan.

Preliminary investigations made by the police reveal that the number of the car indicates that the car belongs to some embassy or high commission of some country, because the numbers of the vehicles bearing the CD are specially issued to either official vehicles of embassies or high commissions or private vehicles of their top functionaries.

The presence of a car in the city bearing such a ‘VVIP’ number that will generally have a police escort with it, not only exposes chinks in the security arrangements of the UT police, but also the ‘credibility’ of major intelligence agencies present in the city. Every foreign dignitary or troupe visiting the city is provided a VVIP security cover, according to a senior police official of the UT police.

Another official of the city police investigating the matter said, “The police has taken it seriously in view of Republic Day celebrations on January 26.”

It is worth mentioning that the Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister of Home Affairs, Mr L.K. Advani, had in the first week of this month during a meeting of the state police chiefs warned of possible threats to the internal security on or before Republic Day. “Certain instructions were issued by the Union Home Ministry during the meeting to check possible threats from the ISI”, said Mr Rajesh Kumar, Inspector-General of the Chandigarh police.

Sources further added that investigating officials of the local intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau tried to make a contact on the telephone number of Pakistan that was dialled by the unidentified persons to get some clue, but no one picked up the phone on the other side.



Haryana asked to deposit money for laying pipeline
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
The excessive cost of laying the pipeline from Sector 39 waterworks to Panchkula is coming in way of Haryana getting its due share of water from Punjab under the Chandigarh Water Supply Augmentation Bhakra Main Line Kajauli scheme.

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has now asked Haryana to deposit the money for laying the pipeline from Sector 39 waterworks in Chandigarh to Sector 1, Panchkula. A proposition to this effect was made during a meeting of officers of Haryana Public Health, Haryana Urban Development Authority and Chandigarh Municipal Corporation held today.

According to sources the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had said it would lay the pipeline within Chandigarh once Haryana had paid the expenses for the project, though no estimates for the same were given. It has further been decided that Haryana can begin the task of laying the pipeline within its territory in Panchkula.

According to sources it was also decided to conduct a joint survey by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and Haryana authorities for deciding the exact route of laying the pipeline. This survey will give estimates of the total cost, though rough estimates indicate the total cost of laying the pipeline could be around Rs 100 crore.

Sources inform that the size of pipeline to be laid from Sector 39 water works in Chandigarh to Sector 1 here, is too big in diameter and thus the prohibitive cost of laying the pipeline to get a share of 18 cusecs of water from Bhakra main line scheme from Chandigarh.

It may be noted that the present daily drinking water requirement of Panchkula city, including Panchkula Extension and Mansa Devi Complex, is of the order of 78. 27 mgd and the present availability of water is 27. 48 mgd. Thus there is an additional daily requirement of 50. 74 mgd. Since there is no natural source of drinking water for township, drinking water supply here is mainly through tubewells.

A large number of tubewells here have dried up over the past five years and ground water table too is declining rapidly.

A total of 60 million gallons of water is pumped up from Kajauli daily. At present all this water is being used by Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. As of now three pipelines have been laid and fourth one is nearing completion, thus Panchkula’s share is now nine cusecs. Water from Kajauli is also being used by the Headquarters Western Command, Chandimandir.

Meanwhile, the state government has now decided to have infiltration wells in the river bed of Ghaggar; construction of check dams and small dams; and lifting of water from Ghaggar for making use in existing canal-based waterworks in Panchkula; and drilling of more tubewells in Ghaggar river bed-in order to augment the water supply here.



We are better: cell operators; we are cheaper: WiLL
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
As the war between cellular phone operators and limited mobility telephony hots up, the two sides have begun to question the sophistication of technology being offered by either side to provide mobile phone services to the subscribers.

Cellphone companies like Airtel, Spice and others use Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) to offer their mobile services while operators offering limited mobility called Wireless in Local Loop (WiLL) such as Connect, Reliance Infocomm and Tata Infocom use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology.

Both sides claim that the technology used by them enjoys several advantages over the other. If the GSM technology is more sophisticated, the CDMA is able to provide cheaper services.

However, mobile cellphone operators say that GSM mobile technology is the choice for one in nine persons on the planet.

According to Mr Vinod Sahni, Chief Executive Officer (North), Airtel, GSM is the world’s leading digital wireless mobile technology with more than 763 million subscribers (as of end-Oct 2002) in over 190 countries. Today’s GSM accounts for approximately 71% of world’s digital mobile wireless market, CDMA accounts for 12%, TDMA 10%, and PDC 7%.

According to Mr Sahni, the largest mobile market today in the world is China, which is predominantly a GSM market with 180 million GSM subscribers, and adding up approximately 5 to 6 million GSM subscribers a month. China Unicom, an operator of both GSM and CDMA, is adding about 1.9 million GSM subscribers every month, but only about 0.14 million CDMA subscribers per month.

According to Mr Rajinder Singh, Vice-President, Spice Telecom, GSM is an open, non-proprietary system which is constantly evolving. One of its great strengths is its seamless roaming capability. On the other hand CDMA is unable to provide any form of seamless roaming as the CDMA handsets are programmed for a particular network, and for a particular cell area. CDMA being a proprietary system as it has been patented by Qualcomm has followed the path of limiting its application development to themselves.

GSM remains the most secure public mobile wireless standard in the world. According to Mr Sahni, one of the most attractive features of GSM is that it is a very secure network. GSM also provides better handsets, at lower prices, with better services and with more choices and flexibility. In GSM, there are 312 different handset models, while CDMA has only 159. GSM handsets are widely available at prices starting from Rs 1500, while CDMA handsets are highly priced, starting from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. Besides, the battery life in CDMA handsets is lower.

GSM is feature rich and future proof, says Mr Ashok Goyal, Executive Director, Spice Telecom. Work is now well advanced on the III and IV stage of GSM standard development. Known in the business parlance as phase 2+, and 3G the new technologies will enable GSM to serve as a platform for a whole range of sophisticated services that will give GSM customers a plethora of advanced, but useful services at affordable prices. GSM is going multi-media, which will allow the user to send and receive messages containing pictures, images, sound and text. Video conferencing and high resolution scan are just round the corner. GSM will facilitate internet access, which in turn, will enable business users to share information even when on the move. The mobile wallet is close to becoming a reality. Mobile banking-mobile phones will provide all services, currently provided by ATMs.

Technically speaking, points out Mr Goyal, CDMA suffers from an inherent problem of “channel pollution”, which is caused due to more subscribers than desired in a cell area; too many signals from different sites with no dominance massive multi-path problems. To compensate for channel pollution, CDMA system directs the CDMA mobile to transmit at a higher power, but this drastically decreases the battery life of the CDMA handset.

Mr Jayant Keswani, General Manager, Marketing and PR, Connect, however, says that CDMA networks are deployed in the most developed countries.



Airtel, Spice told to restore calls with Connect
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has directed Bharti Mobile (Airtel) and Spice Telecom to restore within 24 hours connectivity with Connect, HFCL Infotel’s basic service provider in Punjab.

In separate communications to the two mobile service operators, Mr Rajendra Singh, Advisor (MN), TRAI, said he had received a complaint from HFCL that calls originating in their network transited through BSNL and terminating in networks of the two mobile telephone service providers had been blocked. “As per clause 27.5 of Cellular Services License Agreement, it is mandatory for cellular mobile service providers to provide interconnection to all other telecom service providers for a smooth flow of traffic and meet the quality of service norms end to end, as well as on the interconnection link.

“To ensure the compliance to license terms and conditions and protect consumers interest...the authority hereby directs you to ensure completion of calls... within 24 hours of the issue of this directive”.



‘Wild’ guest visits township
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 15
The township had a surprise visitor today. A female sambar strayed into the courtyard of a Phase X house early this morning and stayed there for over 10 hours, after which it was taken in a specially designed vehicle by officials of the Wild life Department and released in the wild.

The animal was found to be injured, most probably from having fallen from the roof into the courtyard. The owner of the house, Mr Harshdeep, was informed by another neighbour in the morning that an animal had strayed into his house. ‘‘The sambar got trapped in the courtyard and was also hurt and bleeding. We called the Wild Life Department officials the moment we discovered that in no way we could handle the animal on our own,’’ said Mr Harshdeep.

The officials from the department arrived on the scene to find that they too could not handle the animal, which was agitated and needed to be tranquillised before being handled. ‘‘When we tried to reach our car parked there, the animal started running wildly in circles and seemed to be in pain. So we stopped anyone going near it or irritating it. Since then it has been sitting quietly in a corner,’’ he said.

When the officials of the Wildlife Department could not arrange a tranquilliser, the Chief Warden, Zoos, was contacted, who then sent a team with the tranquilliser to shift the sambar.The presence of the wild animal in the house caused substantial commotion in the neighbourhood, specially when the sambar was being shifted from the house to the vehicle.



Canvassing for MC posts gains momentum
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, January 15
Elections to the posts of the senior vice-president and the vice-president of the municipal council here have been tentatively fixed for January 20 and canvassing by councillors has begun to pick up. The terms of the two incumbents expired on January 3.

Even though no group of councillors has announced its candidates for the posts, it is learnt that the post of the senior vice-president is likely to go to a woman councillor from the ruling group, headed by Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the council.

Among the probables for the post of the senior vice-president are Ms Amteshwar Kaur, Ms Inderjit Kaur, Ms Prabhjot Kaur Sodhi and Ms Daljit Kaur and for that of the vice-president is Mr Manjit Singh.

The post of the vice-president had been with Mr Manjit Singh, an opposition councillor, for the past two years. During the earlier term also he remained the vice-president for a long period.

It is learnt that the Opposition has so far not decided as to who would fight the elections but there is a possibility, that this time again, Mr Manjit Singh would be its candidate. Sources say even the ruling group might be interested in fielding a candidate to the post of the vice-president. If so, the post would be given to a male councillor.

Even though four councillors from the ruling group are interested to become the senior vice-president of the civic body, only one of them would be fielded on the day of the elections. The ruling group will either give the right to choose the candidate to the president or a voting will be held in this regard before the elections.

In 2001, when Ms Indu Sehgal was made the senior vice-president, the councillors of the ruling group had given the right to choose the candidate to Mr Kulwant Singh. In 2002, when Mr N.K. Marwaha became the senior vice-president, a closed-door meeting was held by the ruling group where voting was held to decide upon the consensus candidate as a number of councillors were interested in the post. This time, too, there is a possibility that the ruling group might go in for ‘closed - door voting’ to reach upon a consensus candidate from the four interested councillors for the post of the senior vice-president.

The council has a strength of 28 members, including the Kharar MLA, Mr Birdevinder Singh. The voting is likely to be held by a show of hands, as had been done last year, against the earlier practice of secret ballot.



Save Rs 20 crore through oil conservation: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Residents of the city, which has the highest per capita cars and two-wheelers in the country, can save crores of rupees through simple methods of oil conservation, without investing any money in technological upgradation of their vehicles. However, they would have to be more careful, while using their vehicles.

This was the message that Mr A.S. Bajwa, Senior Manager, Petroleum Conservation Reseach Association (PCRA) and other officials of the oil companies to conveyed to students and residents, while launching the Oil Conservation Fortnight here today. The function was organised at Guru Gobind Singh College (girls).

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, after the function, Mr Bajwa, said despite financial constraints, the oil conservation movement had gained momentum in the region. A sum of Rs 1,760 crore had been saved annually in the region, thanks to the oil conservation measures used by the transport and industrial sector. There was still a scope for 10 to 20 per cent more savings in petrol consumption and 20 to 25 per cent in diesel consumption by the transport and other oil consuming sectors.

At present, Chandigarh was consuming 45,942 metric tonnes of petrol and 34,331 metric tonnes of diesel annually. Most of it was being consumed by the owners of the two-wheelers, car owners and other vehicles. Officials of the PCRA claimed that by following the practices of a good driver and proper maintenance of vehicles, the city residents could save above Rs 20 crore annually. For instance, he said, the car drivers should avoid using brakes suddenly, over speeding and over loading, besides timely vehicle service, and use of choke judiciously and keeping right-air pressure in tiers. This could reduce oil consumption up to 20 per cent, thus saving up to Rs 800 in monthly fuel bill for cars and Rs 200 for two-wheelers on an average.

According to the State Transport Authority office, there were around 6 lakh vehicles registered in the city, excluding 50,000 vehicles belonging to neighbouring states. About 200 vehicles were daily registered here. Oil conservation experts claimed that the city could become a role model for the country, by launching oil conservation movement. It would help cut oil bill of every family apart from improving the city’s environment.

Mr Bajwa said that these simple tips from the PCRA could help the Chandigrah Transport Undertaking, Municipal Corporation, Administration and Punjab and Haryana governments to save crores of rupees annually in fuel consumption. The PCRA had already trained over 25,000 drivers in the country, he added.

Earlier, speaking at the function, he called upon students to spread the message of oil conservation. As the country was spending over Rs 60,000 crore annually, about 25 per cent of total foreign exchange earnings on import of crude oil. The country could save in the range of Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore by adopting the measures of oil conservation.

Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor of the city, said, the conservation of oil would help check pollution and global warming responsible for erratic changes in weather conditions and drought in the country. Among others, Mr D.P. Vaed, State-Level Coordinator (Oil Industry), Punjab, Dr Harinderjit Kaur, Principal of the college and Mr Rajnish Mehta, State-Level Coordinator, Chandigarh, also addressed the students on this occasion.



Army Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Army Day was celebrated at the Western Command headquarters in Chandi Mandir here today. The occasion was marked by a wreath-laying ceremony at the command war memorial , Veer Smriti, to pay homage to the valiant soldiers who laid down their lives in the defence of the nation. The Chief of the Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen H.S. Kanwar, laid a wreath at the memorial on behalf of all ranks. Buglers sounded the last post and all present gave a salute. A large number of officers, junior commissioned officers and other ranks attended the memorial service.

The Army Day is observed on January 15 every year to commemorate the Field-Marshal K.M. Cariappa’s taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on this day in 1950.



BJYM campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) here today launched a signature campaign to impress upon UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to declare Pakistan a “terrorist” state.

The campaign was launched from the local BJP office with party national executive member Satyapal Jain, local unit president Yashpal Mahajan, BJYM president Davesh Moudgil, BC Morcha president Urmil being the first to sign a banner.



Police seeks help of Commandant
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 15
The police here today sought the help of the Commandant, Commando Complex, Phase XI, in the investigation into the murder of watchman Vir Sahai in a house in Phase XI yesterday.

The corner security picket of the complex is barely 15-foot distance from the murder spot. ‘‘We have to find out what the commandos on security duty that night in the picket were doing when the murder took place”, stated a police official.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested the owner of the house and the construction contractor who had employed the watchman.

The two, Ashwini Arora and Kuldip Singh have been arrested under Section 188 of the CrPC for not having verified the whereabouts of the watchman employed by them. They were later released.



Beat the chill with dumpukht
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Smoking platters

THE sizzling smoking platters of flaming sizzlers, steaks and grills should attract those fond of the Continental stuff or ready to experiment. Buoyed by the success of the same festival held last year by Anjum Kohli, Aroma has once again come up with the flambe delectables. Accompanied with portions of rice and breads, the wooden platter should be a full meal for a person with a more-than-average appetite. Available in both veg and non-veg varieties, the sizzlers are priced between Rs 90 and Rs 140.

The three-week festival backed by music of the inhouse orchestra, brings to the city the “Englishman's kebab” in the smoky flavours. The worcestershire sauce along with the butter topping set to flame give a sweet scent to food.

Though Mr Man Mohan Singh Kohli says that the fest is the hotel's tribute to the Germans settled in the city, the brisk sales show that the taste buds of the locals too have taken a liking to this European cuisine.

The Mix Grill Sizzler comprising tender pieces of chicken boti, sausages and salami charboiled served with rice has been a hit.

For the vegetarians, the Sunrise Sizzler made of veg cutlets, babycorn, mushroom and panir served with accompaniments should delight. The chunks of panir marinated in masala and served with steamed rice should go well with those not relishing 'bland' food.

Chandigarh, January 15
The near-zero temperatures in the past couple of weeks that made Chandigarhians shiver to even step out of the quilt, let alone go out for eating, had restaurateurs thinking overtime to lure them to their joints and see a rise in the slump in business. Immediately after the Christmas and new Year's Day celebrations, a number of eateries have cooked up exciting food festivals and schemes. Prominent among them are Aroma Hotel, Sector 22, Cinnamon Roof, Sector 17, 3B Eating Mall, Sector 35, and Domino's Pizza, Sector 34.

In fact, with Domino's pizza, you have the advantage of not stepping out to have their global quality baked sauce-and-veggies topped dough. Just dial 620666 and get the over-fresh stuff at home within 30 minutes. An added advantage: get a Coke mobile free of cost, plus Rs 30 to Rs 150 discount on the veg and non-veg pizzas. A bigger advantage: the kids in you house will be happy, making you happier. The offer is on till January 19.

It's Lohri spirit at the Eating Mall as it dishes out Punjabi specialities associated with the warmth of the festival.

And when you read about the aromatic delicacies churned out by Cinnamon Roof (opposite Jagat Cinema), you'll need no further prompting to brave the chill outside. For, the buffet laid by this first-floor joint during dinner hours is sure to blow the cool winds away, literally. The earthen pots kept hot by the angithis beckon you with their dumpukht contents. Just as they had Nawab Asaffaudualla in 1784.

It is said to tide over the period of drought and give employment to people, the Nawab came up with an idea of building a monument, ‘Bada Imaam Baada'. The monument was built during the day and broken at night, hence giving jobs, day and night. The labourers were given meals and the food was cooked in huge degs (utensils) in double-walled bukharas. Once, by chance, the Nawab tasted the food and liked it so much that it was included in 'Royal Kitchen'.

You can sample this Mughlai cuisine comprising four courses (soup, salad, main course, dessert) for Rs 150 per person till January 26. The lighted lanterns hanging over the sealed pots of tamatar ka shorba, dum gosht jahangiri, panir firdosi dum, dal kabila dum, dum subz biryani and thick kheer stand out in the otherwise semi-darkened ambience of the restaurant.

Besides the buffet, you can help yourself to 'dum ke kebab'. These starters, in the range of rs 95 to Rs 150, come in varieties of murg, boti, veggies and panir.



Workshop for mediapersons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
To demystify multimedia, Arena Multimedia will organise a one-day free workshop on awareness in multimedia for the journalists and media personnel in Chandigarh on January 17 at 10 a.m.



Cloth merchant murdered
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 15
A Ambala-based cloth merchant, Mukesh Kumar Kapoor, who had come to collect business dues here was found murdered in Amlala village near here last night. The body of the merchant had multiple wounds on his chest and strangulation marks on the neck.

The naked body of Mukesh Kumar (45) was noticed by some children in a thicket in the village and subsequently the news spread in the village. A former sarpanch of the village informed the police about the body.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune Mr Tajinder Singh, SHO, Dera Bassi, said that Mukesh used to come to the area on Tuesday for the collection of dues from his associates in Zirakpur, Mubarikpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and surrounding areas.

The body was identified by Mr Kishan Kapoor, father of the deceased, after the police informed him. After registering a case the police has sent the body to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for a post-mortem examination. However, no arrest has been made in this regard so far.

Motive behind the murder could not be ascertained.



Motor cyclist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh January 15
Sanjay Khastri died after the motor cycle he was riding skidded near Housing Board traffic lights point here this evening. As per police sources, Sanjay was declared brought dead by doctors at the PGI. He was residing with his brother-in-law at Chandi Mandir cantonment.


Balwant Singh and a woman, Praveen, were caught by the Barwala police on Tuesday allegedly for indulging in indecent acts at a public place. The Panchkula police has also arrested Krishna of Bihar under Sections 109 and 41(2) of the Cr. PC allegedly for loitering.

Shyam Lal of Bhudhan Pur village kerosene depot has been arrested for black marketing of kerosene oil. The police has also claimed to have recovered 384 litres of the oil from his possession. A case under the Essential Commodities Act has been registered.



Sector 35 market goes hi-tech with latest 
electronic gadgets on sale
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service


  • Electricity fluctuation has probably been the highest here due to the presence of several hotels in the area.
  • The MC seems to have forgotten to fill a long line, dug up for laying a pipeline. This is leading to water-logging in the backside as well seepage in the basement.
  • The empty plot for a three-star hotel near Rickey Hotel has become a home to jhuggis, creating sanitation problem.
  • Parking mismanagement, with no separate places for cycles, scooters and cars, is causing loss to the business.
  • The size of pavements is very big. It needs to be reduced to create space for parking.
  • With the telecom companies laying optical fibre lines, the symmetry in the pavement has been disturbed.
  • Compressors of air-conditioners are being regularly stolen from shops.
  • Carpeting of roads has started after years, but stopped mid-way.
  • Immediate upkeep of the back lane could increase the parking space.

THE Sector 35-B market, housing a large number of electronics shops, is fast developing as a major market of telecommunication devices and computers.

The old image of hotel and restaurant lane is still intact, but the business activity in white goods, telecom gadgets and services and computer shops is changing the complexion of the market.

Spice, Reliance and Airtel have opened shops here and instruments of GSM mobiles of major companies are being distributed from the market.

It stretches between shop number 301 to 380 from Rickey Hotel to the corner dividing the Sector 35-B and C markets on Himalaya Marg.

The market claims competitive rates on all possible brands in electronics and mobile phones as its USP. Shopkeepers of electronics shops even ran advertisements claiming the same, apparently to beat the Sector-22 electronics market.

Mr Anil Sharma, Managing Director, Paras Sales Corporation, said no other market could claim having all brands of electronic items.

It has developed as the sole wholesale market of telecommunication devices with all companies choosing to be in the market. Computer companies like the HP, the HCL and Compaq have also set up shops in the market.

The market is witness to upheavals due to the fast changes in the telecommunication and computer fields in the international and national markets.

With the Reserve Bank of India cracking its whip on the non-banking finance companies, the finance market has been left with only those companies which are in the business with the RBI approval. Anupriti Leasing, Himani Leasing, PSB Finance, India Lease Development Company, Consortium Finance and HDFC Housing Finance have made the market their base for their business activities. Canara Bank, HDFC Bank and SBI ATM are also in the market.

Even Z company has chosen to have its Agrani chain of shops in the market to show their computer and telecommunication wares.

Eateries like Shangrila, Khyber, Shere Punjab Dhaba, Lorry, Pizza Hut have already made the market popular. Shere Punjab is adding late night life to the market being amongst the very few dhabas providing food after 12 at night.

The market boasts of employing 2000 persons and a turnover of Rs 35 crore alone in the electronics field.

Between Rickey Hotel and KC Residency, the market has a number of hotels which are supporting the tourism industry of the city. The hotels here have been mostly drawing Himachal-bound tourists.

The market has an old association with Haryana hurricane and Cricketer of the Century award winner Kapil Dev after whose name Hotel Kapil and Sixer Bar were opened in 1980. Hotel Kapil and Rickey Hotel were the first amongst those who came to the market in 1980s.

When these two hotels came up, hardly 10 SCOs had been constructed in the market, Mr Sharma remembers. Mr Sharma also came to the market around the same time, setting up Paras Sales Corporation.

The market started developing in electronics when the country started seeing a rapid growth of television industry, ahead of the 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi. The home appliances market got a fillip with the liberalisation and Korean and Japanese products being made available here.

The presence of sanitary wares, illumination lamps, electricals and Archies have added a variety to the market which is now called Sector 35-B electronics market.

The electronics market, starts from Piccadily Hotel in Sector 22 and continues till South End in Sector 35-C on Himalaya Marg.

Though it is known as the hotel lane as soon as Sector 35 starts, this portion of the market has carved out its own niche for the shopping of electronics.

With the Chandigarh Administration allowing shops on all floors in the area, upper floors are drawing activities related to computers, electronics and telecommunications. The market operators are now waiting for convergence gadgets to give business a new direction.

Certain shopkeepers are awaiting the Conditional Access System Bill to be approved to explore a new area of business in cable television.

With stakes of shopkeepers being high and haphazard parking creating hurdles, active members of the market started collecting Rs 200 from each of the businessmen to provide an arranged parking in the area, but the effort failed as the force of the law was absent.

They had hired couple of people from a security agency to manage the parking, but the visitors to the market, whose number has increased since the opening of HDFC Bank opposed it. The arrangement was later shelved.

The market has appreciation for the police picket in the market for a quick response.



Reliance starts phone booking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Instead of following the traditional retail marketing channels, Reliance Infocomm Limited (RIL) has started booking connections for its WiLL services launched at the national level. It has authorised about 1,000 dealers in the region to accept bank drafts in the name of the company to release the connections.

According to company officials, the direct selling approach will engage educated unemployed youth to put up a strong network. The company hopes to generate over Rs 100 crore through this process, as the new enterprises will also have to deposit Rs 10,000 as earnest money. Depending upon the volume of business, say officials, they would be offered commission up to a maximum limit of Rs 400 per connection.

Market experts admit that the package of the company is not so attractive for those customers who want to shift from other operators. The customer who will subscribe to their service would not be able to shift to other networks, as the CDMA handsets offered by the company under the package are pre-programmed. Though the company has not officially started release of connections, it has started the process of recruiting the entrepreneurs and launching media blitz in the electronic and print media.

However, the vastness of its operations and offer of 40 paise per minute STD calls across the country (only on Reliance network) has already forced the private cellular operators and the BSNL to slash their rates. AirTel has announced the offer of free SMS service for a limited period under the “Patiala package” in Punjab circle. The RIL, on the other hand, is offering free SMS, Internet facility, free 400 minute monthly outgoing calls, and a Tata enabled service’s handset with the internet facility for just Rs 600 rental per month.


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