C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Harassed’ by police, man attempts suicide in court
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
A 38-year-old Bathinda-based writer, Rajinder Raj, reportedly consumed poison before placing a complaint-cum-suicide note in the court of the Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, here today.

Rajinder Raj also reportedly placed a bottle from which he claimed to have consumed poisonous substance before the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice B. K. Roy.

He was immediately taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where his condition was said to be stable. He has been booked under Section 309 of the IPC for an attempt to commit suicide.

In the evening, Raj told Chandigarh Tribune that he was fed up with his life as he was being allegedly threatened and harassed by some officials of the Punjab Police in a land dispute case within the members of his family and so he wanted to end his life.

He also claimed that he wrote scripts for films and drama and had been awarded twice by the AIR Jalandhar (the fact could not be verified). He has reportedly named several persons, including a present and a former SHO of Kot Fateh police station in Bathinda district, in the note.

According to information, Raj entered the courtroom from the main entrance around 2.45 pm. Staggering, he placed a three-page complaint written in Gurmukhi before the Chief Justice, who along with Mr Justice S.S Saron, was holding the court at that time. He reportedly told the Chief Justice that, troubled by the Punjab Police, he had consumed poison and written a complaint. He also placed a bottle from which he is believed to have taken the poison in the courtroom.

Sources said he later told the security guards at the High Court that he wanted to first talk to the Chief Justice before taking the extreme step but as the Chief Justice was holding the court, he consumed poison before approaching him.

It is to be mentioned here that he was not present at the court in connection with any case.

On being informed that the man had allegedly consumed poison, Mr Justice B.K Roy asked the employees to immediately take him to the hospital.

The Gypsy provided for the security of the judge subsequently took him to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

Raj said he had brought the poison to the court. “I submitted my complaint to the Chief Justice. I wanted to talk to the Chief Justice but I felt disoriented and could not convey my message”, said Raj. According to him, the complaint carried “suicide note” as the subject. He alleged that the police was trying to frame him in a case relating to the “disappearance” of his uncle, Harpal Singh.

The SHO of Kot Fateh police station, Ratan Singh, when contacted, told Chandigarh Tribune that an uncle of Raj, Mengal Singh, had lodged a complaint against him for allegedly attempting to grab his uncle’s land. Raj was called to the police station along with the village panchayat members in this connection. Raj then reportedly agreed to resolve the dispute through the gram panchayat and was sent back home along with the members of the panchayat.

The SHO denied that there was any other complaint registered against Raj and said that there was no question of him being harassed.

The Chandigarh Police said Raj had got a general power of attorney from one of his uncles and was staking his a claim to the land.



CHB to cut rate of interest on instalments
30,000 flat owners to benefit
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Existing interest rates

Chandigarh Housing Board  18 pc

Estate Office                           10 pc

HUDA                                        11 pc

PUDA                                         13 pc

Chandigarh, November 4
At least 30,000 families of the city, who own flats allotted by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) can heave a sigh of relief. The interest rate on instalments payable to the CHB will come down, thus substantially reducing their financial burden.

At present the CHB charges an unreasonable 18 per cent annual interest from allottees. This will be reduced to about 12 per cent annually. A decision in this regard will be taken in the forthcoming meeting of members of the board. A reduction in the rate of interest is more or less agreed upon. It will be formally approved at the meeting. The chairman of the CHB, Mr G.K. Marwah, confirmed that the interest rates would be reduced.

The interest component of the instalment is important as a sizeable portion of the cost of the flat is recovered over a period of eight to 10 years from the allottee. According to sources if a flat costs Rs 13 lakh, about 4 lakh is recovered in instalments. This attracts interest which at present is 18 per cent. Now the CHB will reduce it to about 12 per cent. The reduction for each allottee will be to the tune of a few thousand rupees each year. In case they do not choose to have a reduction in terms of money and continue to pay the same amount, the instalments will be over earlier.

All old properties, which had been allotted earlier, also will be covered under the new ruling. A cut-off date will be fixed. From that date onwards, the new rate of interest will be charged. Fresh calculations will be worked out for allottees. The interest rate of 18 per cent was fixed during last decade when bank interest rates were also high so there was no justification now to have such high rates of interest when interest rates were falling in the banking industry, sources said.

Already, the Estate office of the Chandigarh Administration, charges a more reasonable 10 per cent interest on properties it auctions. Same is true for the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) which charge 11 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.



Students force closure of fee counters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Students agitating against fee hike in local colleges today forced colleges to shut their fee counters. Classroom teaching went on regularly.

Members of the coordination committee leading the protesting students, including Karanbir Singh Kaler, president of the student council of Government College for Men, Sector 11, Gayatri Bawa, GCG, Sector 42, Prabhdeep Singh Virk, DAV College and Aman Dhanoa from GGDSD College went to various colleges. Posters asking students not to deposit their next quarterly fee till the issue was resolved were displayed at different places.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, has requested parents to join hands in protest against fee hike. "Parents are the ultimate sufferers and if they join hands with us, the agitation will end sooner with a favourable decision for students",
he said.

Kang said the agitation was against the huge differences in their fees being charged by the colleges, private colleges in particular. The students are also demanding the rollback in fee hike announced by the UT Administration at the beginning of the current academic session. The Punjab Government had taken the lead in announcing the hike, but it had also withdrawn the same following student unrest. The UT Administration was also expected to do the same, he added.

A press note said the students would meet Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP, tomorrow asking him to assist students in their demands.



Railways to improve crew work conditions
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The Indian Railways has embarked upon a multi-pronged plan to improve the work conditions of its crew, especially locomotive drivers, cabin assistants and guards. The plan, formulated under the Railways’ Human Resource Management and Development aspect of its recently issued 10-year Corporate Safety Plan, is aimed at getting an optimum output from its work force, higher motivation levels and stress-free work environment.

The project, to be executed in phases, is expected to cost about Rs 500 crore. It includes upgradation of running rooms (where crew rest) and crew lobbies, review of working hours and redesign of the locomotive cab to make it crew-friendly.

According to railway sources, crew lobbies at various railway establishments need to be upgraded by providing basic amenities, facility for proper display of various instructions, installation of computer systems with the necessary software package for systematic booking of crews and ensuring adequate rest for the running staff.

“This work is scheduled to be undertaken over the next three years,” a railway officer told The Tribune. “An expenditure of about Rs 16 crore has been earmarked from the Railways development fund for this,” he added.

Renovation of running rooms, is also stated to be high on the Railways’ agenda. “Running rooms require basic facilities like hygienic toilets, clean drinking water, proper ventilation, provision of desert coolers, comfortable furniture and subsidised meals,” the officer said. “While the existing running rooms are being upgraded on an urgent basis, all new running rooms would be built with the requisite facilities,” he added.

Sources said that the Railways would be spending Rs 50 crore on this project. This would be taken up alongside the crew lobbies upgradation project. In addition, the Railways is reported to have devised a separate long-term plan spread over 10 years to renovate and upgrade running rooms and crew lobbies, for which another Rs 70 crore has been projected.

The Railways has already developed an ergonomic design for locomotive cabs, which provides easy approach to various controls, which will ensure fatigue-fee driving and reduced stress for long hours. According to the sources, the Railways plan to modify the cabin designs to introduce new features over a period of eight to 10 years. The “gigantic” task involves about 3,000 diesel locomotives and about 2,800 electric locomotives, the combined cost of which is estimated to be Rs 400 crore. The sources added that about 5,000 guard cabins were being provided with several novel features of making them crew-friendly and easing the stress on train guards.

The sources said that to assess the actual problems faced by running crew, proper records would be maintained at crew lobbies and follow-up action would be taken within 24 hours of observations made by loco drivers and guards and deficiencies noted during crew runs. In addition, the working hours for identified critical categories of staff would be reviewed whenever necessary to reduce stress levels.

In another development, the sources said that, divisional officers and supervisors would be provided with mobile breath analyzers to conduct surprise tests on the running staff just before embarking or during halts. The Railways plans to procure about 1,000 such machines.



Pak spy’s documents ‘security threat’
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, November 4
The information and documents recovered from Pakistan spy, Abid Mehmood, who was arrested in Chandigarh can be useful to an enemy country includes a potential enemy with whom the country might be at war in future, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Western Command, Chandi Mandir, Lieut-General S.S. Mehta has informed to the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, recently.

This information was passed on by the Under Secretary to the Government of India, Mr B.R Dhiman, to the UT Police, sources revealed. After going through the documents, the GOC-in-C opined that “ information contained in the documents if disclosed to unauthorised persons can be prejudicial to safety, security and interest of the state. The scrutiny of documents and photographs recovered by the police reveal information pertaining to defence matters”.

Giving details the officer added that some of the information contained can be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy country (the word enemy includes a potential enemy with whom the country might be at war in future).

Mr B.R Dhiman, Under Secretary to the Government of India, and the complainant in the case, Vijay Pal Singh, UT DSP (Crime), are mentioned as witnesses in the case. Mr Vijay Pal has been authorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs to file the complaint against the accused in the court of competent jurisdiction .

The three accused include Abid Mehmood, Pakistani national and Mohammad Arif and Abdul Wahid, Indian citizens, were arrested by the UT Police under the Official Secret Act and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act and various sections of the IPC in February this year. All the three were lodged in Model Jail, Burail.

The UT Police claimed that it had recovered a highly sensitive information pertaining to military deployment and battle formations in the country, the orders of battle of the Western Command, Northern Command, Southern Command and Eastern Command from the accused.

Besides, a list of as many as 30 infantry battalions, armoured units, artillery regiments, air defence regiments, rocket and missile units, as well as allied and support units located in Chandi Mandir and Ambala, along with the names of their commanding officers, has also been recovered from him.

A bid Mehmood, alias Nihal Chohan, hails from Liakatpur, Raheemyar Khan district, Pakistan, and Mohammed Arif, a resident of Gulampur, Muzzfarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the defence counsels in the case claimed that the UT Police had falsely implicated the accused in the case. They also alleged that the UT police has not completed the legal formalities while arresting the accused. Moreover, some of the secret documents mentioned by the UT Police were easily available documents.



One crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
A dhobi in Sector 7, Ram Milan, was crushed to death by a Himachal Roadways bus near the Mansa Devi T-point on the Chandigarh- Panchkula road this afternoon. The victim was riding a bicycle, when he was hit by the bus. Meanwhile, Ms Renuka Rai Walia, Councillor from Ward No 2, said the place had become a regular accident spot.



An example of peaceful coexistence
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
The Ram Sewaks and Muslim protesters embroiled in the Ram Janambhoomi dispute could learn a lesson of peaceful coexistence right in their backyard. The Head Granthi of Brahmkund Gurudwara, barely a kilometre behind the disputed site, on the bank of the Saryu river, looks after a Brahma temple which is also on the river banks.

Assisted by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Azad Hind Foundation, the management of Brahmkund Gurdwara, plans to construct a retaining wall on the banks of the river so that the river bank is not eroded and the temple and the gurdwara can be saved. In fact, the gurdwara management has already constructed a room around the rare four-headed idol of Lord Brahma, and the Head Granthi, Giani Gurjeet Singh, not only looks after the temple, but also lights the diya at the temple each evening.

Mr Kartiik Chopra, President of the Azad Hind Foundation, who was here today, said that they were now holding meetings with various Sikh religious organisations as well as gurdwara management committees to get donations and kar sevaks for the construction of the 500-metre-long retaining wall on the river bank which will help save the two religious structures. He has already held meetings with the President of the Sant Samaj, Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, and has been assured of all possible help.

There is just one known temple of Lord Brahma in India at Pushkar in Rajasthan. Mr Chopra says the Brahma temple in Ayodhya is the second temple to have been discovered.

It is learnt that the gurdwara was constructed here 300 years ago, by the last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh. In fact, this place had gained significance after Guru Nanak Dev prayed at the ancient temple of Lord Brahma here and had then set up the Dukh Bhanjani Kuan, the sweet and holy waters of which are fabled to wash away the sadness of all those who come there to pay their homage. The same place was later visited by Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, before Guru Gobind Singh came and spent many of his early years and built the gurdwara that exists today. This gurdwara has sandals, some weapons and two handwritten manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib, written by Guru Gobind Singh.

Now, the river bank has been gradually eroded by the river as there is no retaining wall to hold back its might and perhaps it is a matter of just one more monsoon and this spot will disappear forever into the river. Mr Chopra says the Azad Hind Foundation had undertaken upon itself the task of building again the ancient Brahmakund, rebuilding the ancient Brahma Temple, and restoring the ancient gurdwara to its original glory.

“We are collecting funds, building material, equipment and expertise, and are requesting believers to come forward and perform kar seva. We will complete the task through our efforts and determination,” he adds.



BJP reprimands Cong on property tax issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Charging the Congress party with borrowing time on the issue of levying property tax till the general election next year, a former BJP Member of Parliament, Mr Satya Pal Jain, today asked the Congress-dominated corporation to annul all its earlier recommendations on levying of new taxes.

“If the corporation thinks that levying of the property tax was against the city residents, it should withdraw the paid parking, roll back the hike in water charges and reduce the fee for renting community centres”, said Mr Jain at a press conference here today.

From promising a tax-free regime to recommending property tax at a rate of 2 per cent and now announcement to “outrightly” reject the levy the new tax, the Congress leaders have been changing their stand. Mr Jain said yesterday’s announcement by the Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, was out of political compulsions. The BJP doubts the intentions of the Congress on the issue, he added.

Showing a copy of the statement of Mr Bansal, which was read out an a meeting of the General House on January 29, 2003, Mr Jain said the former had recommended imposition of property tax. He alleged that the MP had an inconsistent approach, was misleading the city residents and was in a habit of disowning what did not suit him.

He demanded the corporation to annul its recommendations into acquiring land in the Darshani Bagh and Gobindpura areas. On the issue of demolition drives being carried out in the city, he said it was the corporation which had asked the administration to remove encroachments in sector 38. “Most of the times it was the decisions taken by the Congress-ruled corporation. When it comes to implementing these, they blame it on the BJP leadership at the Centre and officers of the Chandigarh Administration”, said Mr Jain, who is a member of the National Executive of the BJP.

The BJP leader said if the Congress could not manage the show despite majority in the General House, its councillors should step down. Mr Jain admitted that the allocation of funds and distribution of power in the Centre-administered city was a larger issues and had to be addressed.



Cong, BJP urged to clear stand on property tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Councillors of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch today demanded that the Congress and the BJP should clear their stand on the issue of property tax. In a joint statement issued by Mrs Harpreet Babla, Mr Vijay Singh Rana, Mr Jatinder Bhatia and Mr Devinder Singh Babla, it had been demanded that cutting across the party lines, the BJP and Congress should oppose the tax.

The manch has urged the Chandigarh Administration to withdraw the notification of 5 per cent property tax. Meanwhile, the Hotel Association of Chandigarh has welcomed the announcement made by Congress MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, to annul the recommendation to levy property tax, said Mr Ashok Bansal, General Secretary of the association.

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal have also hailed the stand taken by the Congress on the issue. Mr L.C. Arora, General Secretary (Administration) of the mandal, urged the MP to also take up the issue of the Rent Act.



Inspectors to be held accountable for encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The Enforcement Committee of the Municipal Corporation today passed a resolution to make Inspectors of the enforcement wing accountable for encroachments in their respective areas. The committee recommended to senior officials of the corporation to regularly inspect the areas of the inspectors.

The committee members felt that recent news about the enforcement staff resorting to forcible collection of money in the name of Divali had brought bad name to the corporation. Already two inspectors of the enforcement wing had been booked by the CBI for corruption. A through probe into the allegation of enforcement wing officials’ collecting shopping coupons was recommended by the committee. The enforcement staff was asked to clear all encroachment in the industrial area. Directions were also passed to clear the block adjoining Pal Dhaba in Sector 28. Action against the area inspector of Sector 20 was demanded for allowing setting up of an unauthorised stage by shopkeepers.

Mr Jatinder Bhatia, Chairman of the committee, said at least four inspectors had overstayed beyond six months. On the issue of ‘apni mandis’, it was observed that unauthorised rehri and pheriwalas were not being challaned.

Against around 300 vendors, only 60 to 70 were challaned. Other councillors who attended the meeting were Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Ms Kamlesh and Tehsildar, Mr Baloria. The enforcement staff has been asked to make Sectors 17 and 22 encroachment free.



Councillors protest against encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
An encroachment drive by the Chandigarh Housing Board in Sector 41 today took an ugly turn as residents of the area accompanied by elected representatives of the municipal corporation protested against the demolition terming as “undemocratic”.

People of the area shouted slogans against the Chandigarh Administration and the BJP-led government at the Centre while attempting to stop the drive. The police swung into action and detained at least 17 persons, including five elected councillors. They were detained at Sector 39 police station as the demolition drive was stopped only for a while to be resumed later. The detained persons were released after five hours.

The CHB had carried out the drive in the flats meant for the economically weaker section (EWS). The Electricity Department had complained to the CHB that some of the flat owners had extended their flats so that they were dangerously close to power lines. In some cases, the flat owners had built rooms on verandahs and in other cases even encroached upon government land.

Soon after the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board led by officers of the corporation reached the spot, the area councillor, Mrs Geeta Chaudhary, protested to the officer in charge of the drive, Mr Arun Sekhri, Additional Commissioner of the corporation.

After sometime, other councillors, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Mr Shyama Negi, Mr Balraj Singh and Mr Sohan Lal Vaid reached the spot. Mr H.S. Lucky, local Youth Congress President, Mr Ajay Joshi, an office-bearer of the local Congress party unit and Mr Shambu Banerjee, President of the colony cell of the party were also detained by the police.

Mr Pardeep Chabbra said the Central Government was harming the interests of the people living in EWS houses. The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, and the local Congress party President, Mr B.B. Behl, also reached the spot.

The Mayor said the CHB had gone against its own agreement with the Resident Welfare Associations. As per the agreement, the constructions prior to July 2001 would not be touched. The Mayor objected to the Additional Commissioner being asked by the Administration to lead the drive. He said he had taken up the issue with the Advisor to the UT Administrator Mr R.S. Gujral.


Residents sore over cable tariff hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
A joint action committee of eight group housing agencies of Sector 38 (west) convened a meeting here today and decided not to pay enhanced rates for cable connections.

Mr Manohar Kumar Garg has written a letter to cable operators inviting them to discuss the issue and explain the reason behind increase in cable tariff.

Members of the committee took a serious note of cable operators’ distributing leaflets demanding Rs 200 per cable connection and Rs 70 for every additional TV connection from November 1. Office-bearers of the committee unanimously agreed to protest against the ‘unreasonable’ demand.

Members also raised the issue that different cable operators have demarcated their areas to establish their monopoly in particular areas.



Celebrations at temple
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
The 100th anniversary of Sreemad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj was celebrated today with religious fervour at Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math in Sector 20-B.

Kirtan started early in the morning. Devotees reached the temple for the kirtan as early as 4 am. As the melodious tunes filled the air, the devotees sat with folded hands, praying.

The prayer session was followed by aarti. Devotees participated in the prabhat pheri. Nagar sankirtan was also held later during the day.



Ex-Commissioner of MC dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
A former Commissioner of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Gathwal, a UT cadre IAS officer of the 1981 batch died in Delhi following a brain hemorrhage. He remained in Chandigarh during the formative years of the corporation from 1996 to July 1999. He was succeeded by Mr M.P. Singh, the present Commissioner of the corporation.

He was presently posted as Additional Commissioner, slums in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.



Zirakpur attracting investors, says minister
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, November 4
Being a fast developing township, Zirakpur has been attracting investors from neighbouring states and the increasing demands of its habitants have boosted investment in different fields.

This was stated by the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, after he inaugurated a hotel on the Zirakpur-Shimla highway, near here, late last night.

He said the coming up of hotels and restaurants in the township clearly reflected the increasing demand of residents of the area. Moreover, this would also give an impetus to tourism industry in Punjab, besides providing employment to the local people.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, MLA, who was the guest of honour, said investment by investors from surrounding states would add to the overall development of the township.



2 held for assaulting lawyer
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
The police has arrested two of the accused — Gaurav and his brother Nikunj — accused of assaulting a lawyer, Neeraj Sahni, on November 1.

The two were produced before a local court, and while Gaurav was remanded in one-day police custody, Nikunj was sent to judicial remand. The police is still on the look out for the remaining two accused- Satish and Lokesh.

Earlier during the day, the lawyers had attempted to block the Panchkula — Zirakpur highway in protest against the alleged “police inaction”. However, they were convinced of a timely action by the DSP, Kalka, Mr Rajesh Duggal. A delegation of lawyers led by Mr Satish Kadian, President of the District Bar Association, also met the Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir S. Sharma, who assured them that the guilty would not be spared.

Accused Gaurav and Nikunj are sons of an Under Secretary of Haryana and lawyers had yesterday alleged that the police was shielding them.

Neeraj Sahni was assaulted by Gaurav and his friends, following an arguement between the two on November 1. Neeraj Sahni, along with his wife, was reportedly returning home after attending a marriage, when their car was hit by another car being driven by Gaurav, on the road separating Sectors 8 and 9.

Following an arguement Gaurav called some of his friends on the mobile and together they allegedly assaulted Neeraj. In the meantime, the police was called and the youth were taken to the Sector 10 police post. However, they were later let off by the police.



Rs 35 lakh recovered in online job case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
The crime branch of the police today claimed to have recovered Rs 35 lakh and four luxury cars given by the controversial company 'OnlineJobwork.com' to some persons.

The company had allegedly given the money as 'loans' of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 30 lakh to two persons. The police alleged that the money was siphoned off from the accounts of the company.

"After recovery, the money has been deposited in the company's bank account and the account has been frozen" said the police. Sources said there were more cars that were given away by the company and these were believed to be in Hyderabad and Bhopal.

The police came to know about the money and cars during interrogation of Jasdeep Singh Bains. On October 29, the police arrested Bains, one of the three directors of OnlineJobwork.com(P) Limited, and unravelled Rs 12.53-crore fraud, affecting around 7,500 investors.

Directors of the company had been on the run ever since the police started investigation into a complaint lodged by the Reserve Bank of India in December last, accusing five marketing companies of violating the Prize, Chit and Money Circulation Banning Act.

The figure was worked out after the seizure of several computers of the company from SAS Nagar. This company was part of a network of 50 companies involved in the racket. This company began its operations in Patiala and had shifted to Chandigarh in July.



Gang of liquor smugglers busted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
The Kalka police tonight claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and arrested four members of the gang.

Accused Resham Singh, a transporter in Panchkula, Baldev Singh of Morni, Balkar Singh also of Panchkula and driver Lal Singh were arrested by the police after a long chase near Chikkan village tonight. As many as 53 cases (having 636 bottles) of various brands of the IMFL, that were stacked in specially crafted racks in a Tata 407 vehicle used for smuggling of liquor, were also seized.

The police has received a tip-off about the accused ferrying liquor from Chandigarh to various places in Himachal Pradesh.

The Kalka DSP, Mr R. Duggal said the accused used to smuggle IMFL which was available at cheaper rates in Chandigarh to Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. They used to change the number plates of the vehicle as they went to different states, so that the registration number of the vehicle was the same as the state in which the liquor was being smuggled. Four number plates, one bearing a Punjab number, two bearing Himachal numbers and one bearing a Haryana number were also recovered from the Tata 407 vehicle.



Astrologer booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Abhishankar, an astrologer operating from the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, was today booked for cheating following a complaint lodged by a jeweller.

Rakesh Verma, a jewellwer and resident of Shanti Nagar, complained to the Mani Majra police station that Abhishankar had taken 10 gold rings, along with gems, before Divali and ran away with these. He alleged that the astrologer had also not made payments to him.

Abhishankar living in house no 5318 had on Sunday left his house, along with his belongings.

Rakesh Verma alleged that the astrologer had got 10 gold rings made from his shop saying the payment will be made after Divali. The astrologer told the jewellern and Abdul Rashid Noor of the same colony. The father of the girl lodged a complaint in the city police station. The police has booked the accused who are absconding under Sections 376 and 34 of the IPC.



Fake CDs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Acting on a complaint by T-Series company, the Kalka police today seized more than 3,000 audio CDs and 59 video CDs from a shopkeeper at Kalka.

The police had received a complaint from Mr Sikander Kumar, an employee of T-Series, alleging that the shopkeeper was selling fake CDs that bore T-Series trademark.



Honda launches new model of car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Honda Siel Cars India Ltd, launched a new model “Unbelievable Honda” car for the premium here today. It is the third model from the company launched this year after the launch of seventh generation Honda Accord and CR-V earlier this year.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Arvind Bhatnagar, Regional Manager, North and East, said: “The new model will offer more fuel efficiency up to 40 per cent in comparison to previous models of Honda. The advanced combustion system of the 1.5 litre Intelligent Dual and Sequential Ignition (I-DSI) engine will help the car achieve the best combination of high performance, high fuel economy and low toxic emissions.”

Mr Neeraj Garg, head marketing, Honda Siel Cars Ltd, said the new model will be available in three variants — City 1.5 EXI (M/T) at Rs 6.72 lakh ex-showroom price; City 1.5 GXI (M/T) at Rs 7.12 lakh ex-showroom price; and City1.5 GXI CVT at Rs 7.72 lakh ex-showroom price in Chandigarh. He said these models will be available in white, silver, pearl blue and red colours and an extended warranty of two years against one year warranty on previous models.

He disclosed that the company had decided to withdraw its 1.3 version from the market and now onwards only 1.5 version would be available in the market. The company has so far, he said, sold over 60,000 cars in India. During the first six months of the current fiscal year, he said the company had sold 13,000 cars and was expecting total sales to touch 22,000 by the end of the current fiscal year.

Mr Bhatnagar said the company had made an investment of Rs 150 crore to upgrade its plant in India, and was offering the best models in the premium segments.



New magazine launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The exchnage4media, a leading publishing and media company, launched a monthly advertising, marketing and media magazine “Pitch” here today.

The first issue of the magazine has hit the market, attracting a good response from the industry and advertising sector, said Mr Anurag Batra, Publisher of “Pitch” and MD, exchange4media.com.

He said the company would hold “Pitch brainstorm” sessions in seven cities to discuss and articulate industry issues. The first session will be held in Chandigarh on November 5 and then in six more cities, — Pune, Ahemedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.



Loan scheme for uprooted poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
A five-rupee stamp paper, two photographs and physical presence is enough for a couple to get a loan from Punjab National Bank under the rehabilitation scheme for those uprooted this year under country’s one of the biggest demolition drives.

Rate of interest is nine per cent, which is .75 below the normal rate and the equated monthly instalment is between Rs 1040 and Rs 1110, an amount that a poor person may have to shell out as monthly rent for a modest accommodation in the city.

The scheme, implemented by the Customer Finance Branch of the bank, has become an instant hit with the applicants, who can be seen lined up in front of the branch every day.

The scheme has been tailor-made for those whose repayment capacity has been under doubts by various bankers.

The district lead bank manager handling the scheme, Dr Rakesh Gupta, said the scheme had been devised specifically for the uprooted poor persons. It was the first such scheme by any financial institution in the city, he added. He said the scheme had been devised with a view to reduce family disputes.

He said loan between Rs 1.15 lakh and 1.23 lakh would be given to both husband and wife to make them jointly accountable for the repayment. He said inclusion of wife for the repayment was likely to empower women and reduce tension between husband and wife as they would be joint owners of houses.

He said one of the major concessions for the poor was to give them a 20-year period of repayment against 15 years normally.

Dr Gupta said the loan was given against the property and the repayment was covered under the Public Money Act under which the recovery of the loan was a responsibility of the government.

“Sixty-two persons have already taken possession of their flats in Sector 56 and the bank has promised to provide finance in respect of all 269 flats allotted in the first lot. The customer finance branch manager, Mr K. K. Monga, and two others have been assisting the applicants,” he said.

He said the bank had also found a solution to the common problem of bankers’ denying loan to the poor in the absence of guarantors by allowing allottees under the rehabilitation scheme to stand as guarantors for others. The general manager of the bank, Mr Harwant Singh, is said to have got the scheme approved by the bank’s higher authorities after negotiating with the Chandigarh Administration.



Indane’s toll-free Nos

Chandigarh, November 4
The Indian Oil, a leading player in marketing LPG under Indane brand, has launched a toll free telephone number 1600 12 1005 for its customers of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar to offer customer care services. The customers can call this number absolutely free in case of any complaint or suggestions during all working days from 9.45 am to 5.30 pm.

Mr R.K. Tiku, Chief Area Manager, IOC in a press statement issued here today said the toll number will be operated from the Customer Service Cell, Chandigarh Area office. He claimed that Indane enjoyed a market share of over 65 per cent in the city and reached around 1.75 lakh households. Over 1.25 lakh cylinders are marketed every month in Chandigarh through a network of 18 distributors. The LPG was supplied to them came from the Indane Oil Bottling Plant at Nabha. TNS


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