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Not the time to disco...
Tax burden, raids force discs to shut shop
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Chandigarh is certainly not Maharashtra where the government would have to impose a ban to keep the party animals under check. A survey reveals that the problem here is more of the scarcity of avenues for entertainment rather than that of plenty. Over the past one year, five discotheques in Chandigarh have either shut down or diverted from their original trade of running a full-time disc.

Where until five years ago, Chandigarh’s fun loving crowd was the king, busy as it was choosing from a host of discotheques, today it stands divested of options, as practically only one discotheque (Aerizzona in Sector 9) is functioning on a regular basis. Blame it on the dying disco trend worldwide (there has been a decline in disc culture ever since seven top discotheques in London shut down some time ago) or on the stringent entertainment policy applicable to such joints in UT, four discs have closed down over the recent past.

Boon Docks in Sector 34, Cloud 9 in Sector 22, Cyanide and Gizeh (Swastik Vihar, Panchkula) are not running anymore. Of the remaining, Las Vegas in Sector 34 and Jail House Rock in Sector 17 have almost discontinued discotheque operations. Like Blues in Sector 34 and Blue Ice in Sector 17, Las Vegas and Jail House Rock mostly use their space for private parties, that are frequented by youngsters, normally over 18 years of age.

Talking to The Tribune, the proprietor of Las Vegas, Mr Gurdeep Singh, said that discotheques were no longer economically viable in Chandigarh. Significantly, discs in Chandigarh are covered by the entertainment duty law, which requires the owners to deposit 50 per cent of the total ticket sales revenue as entertainment duty. Tightening the noose on discs in the city, the authorities have been conducting raids, directing the owners to deposit entertainment duty or face action. While Aerizzona, the most successful of discs here, has been asked to deposit Rs 19 lakh as tax, Las Vegas was asked to pay Rs 70,000.

Ever since the Administration has begun raiding discotheque premises, most have closed down operations or altered the nature of trade. There is thus a clear dearth of entertainment joints in the city, especially for girls who hardly visit pubs and bars. Lounges could have been an option, but they are yet to come up. As of now, joint owners in Chandigarh are concentrating on private parties.

Mr Gurdip Singh of Las Vegas admits, “We favour private parties because we don’t save anything in a discotheque. Our joint is frequented by those between 22 and 27 years of age. Even youngsters find it convenient to pool in money and hold private parties than spend Rs 300 on a couple entry.” Hide Out, the disc that runs on Saturday nights in hotel North Park in Panchkula, charges Rs 500 for couple entry.

Even for Aerizzona, the going has been rather tough as it is facing a huge penalty. Its owner Surinder Singh, says, “We have always honoured rules, but the problem is that we lacks a clear policy regarding discs. We welcome Maharashtra’s decision to lower the age limit for entry to joints, but Chandigarh already has well behaved, mature youth. We even check identity cards of youth before allowing them entry.”

For their part, most youngsters feel the disc culture is still in a nascent stage. In fact, they have to hunt for venues because there is hardly any disc left. Another trend is that of frequenting the joints during daytime. Rajesh, a frequent visitor to Aerizzona, says “Daytime is suitable for girls as they can conveniently bunk classes. It naturally suits boys who cannot secure single entry into joints.” Interestingly, disc owners confirm that the disc going crowd in Chandigarh never alters. “It is the same set of 200 youngsters, who move from one circuit to another. You will take years before spotting a new face. That only shows how open we are to celebrating life,” says Gurdip Singh of Las Vegas.


Cinema tickets to cost less
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The prices of cinema tickets will come down in the city marginally. The Chandigarh Administration has approved the reduction in entertainment duty on cinema houses, exhibitions and other entertainment places from 50 per cent to 30 per cent with immediate effect.

This reduction in the entertainment duty is likely to have the following consequences:

Firstly entertainment duty revenue of the UT has been stagnating at the level of about Rs 2 crore per annum during the last four to five years.

The recent experience of the Administration with the lowering of stamps duty on registration of sale deed from 12.5 per cent to 6 per cent was that the revenue from stamp duty increased substantially by about 50 per cent.

A similar effect may follow from the reduction in the entertainment duty.

Also the Administration hopes that the lower duty rate is likely to lead to better compliance by cinema houses which are the main source of entertainment duty. And lower ticket rates are likely to increase occupancy, thereby increasing the tax base.

This measure is expected to encourage investment of business and employment in the cinema entertainment sector.

The entertainment duty rate of 30 per cent is on a par with the duty in Delhi.


Cable operators owe Rs 25 lakh to MC
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
More than 80 per cent cable operators in the city have not cleared their rent dues to the Municipal Corporation. The total amount is more than Rs 25 lakh.

A senior official in the corporation said there were more than 100 cable operators in the city and the majority had not paid any rent ever since the corporation sent the first notice in November 1999.

Sources pointed out that a recent circular to the defaulters was sent in January 2004, which was preceded by a number of circulars by the corporation. The corporation had sounded a warning to the cable operators that penalty could amount to disconnection.

The official said no response from the cable operators could lead to forfeiture and confiscation of the cable connection poles on account of using the corporation land without any payment.

The notice for payment of ground rent for installation of cable network says that “the Municipal Corporation has decided to charge ground rent from the sector-level cable operators in its meeting held on November 30, 1999, at Rs 12,000 per year from all Sectors, except Sectors 1 to 6, where Rs 6,000 will be charged every year”.

The erring parties were earlier served personal notices in March 2002, July 2002 and November 2002. Public notices were displayed in December 1999, March 2000 and May 2002 for depositing the ground rent at mentioned rates.

The cable operators have continued with the networking by erecting poles on the municipal land without payment of ground rent, it has been pointed out. The notice said “ you are once again given an opportunity to clear the amount of arrears within a period of 15 days from the date of issue of this notice, failing which action in accordance with law will be initiated against you”. The action could be confiscation of wires and instruments installed on the municipal land.

The senior officer said that all warnings had little meaning unless the corporation decided to take any action against the defaulters. The councillor are elected representives of the people and rarely announce any penalties. The House has to take up the matter seriously and set examples of punishment for people who make repeated errors. In fact, the whole exercise of notices looks ridiculous without any proper follow-up action”.

The official said even in case a couple of defaulters were hauled up for non-payment of corporation rent, it could set an example for others to be careful.


225 CRPF companies to stand by for poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the Central Reserve Police Force to keep 225 companies as standby for undertaking security duties during the forthcoming general election.

Revealing this while speaking to The Tribune at the CRPF Group Centre in Pinjore today, IG North-Western Region, Mr Sukhjinder Singh, added that the pattern and places of deployment, however, were yet to be conveyed by the ministry. One company consists of about 150 men.

While the CRPF has added 13 new battalions this year, taking its strength to 153 battalions, the IG said that another 22 would be added next year. Recruitment and training of personnel for these battalions is underway.

Recruits for these new battalions, he said, are being trained in nuclear, chemical and biological warfare, conducting counter-insurgency operations in rural as well as urban areas and in disaster management. A total of 60 new battalions are to be raised by 2005, making the CRPF the largest para-military force in the world.

Though the CRPF has two women’s battalions, 88 Battalion at Delhi and 135 Battalion at Allahabad, Mr Sukhjinder Singh said at present there were no plans to raise additional women’s battalions. The strength of women gazetted officers in the force, though is increasing, he said. The commandant of the Mahila Battalion at Delhi is now a woman.

Given that the CRPF has been designated as the nodal force for all inter-security duties, the IG said modernisation and re-equipping was underway accordingly. Besides new INSAS rifles, the process to procure rocket propelled grenades, automatic grenade launchers and 81 mm mortars is also on.


Vigyan Gaurav Samman for Dr Bajpai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, has been awarded the prestigious Vigyan Gaurav Samman 2003-2004 for his lifetime contribution in the areas of nanotechnology, microelectronics and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and Instrumentation.

Instituted by the Uttar Pradesh Government, the award will be formally presented to Dr Bajpai by the Chief Minister of the state on February 28 at CMS Auditorium, Lucknow. It carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

The award particularly comes in view of the fresh programme initiated at the CSIO in the area of biomolecular electronics and nanotechnology for the development of bio-nano devices based on life processes and materials perfected by nature in millions of years. These devices are now being used for DNA electronics, microdiagnostic kits, targeted drug delivery and many other purposes.

Dr Bajpai has been instrumental in bringing cutting edge high technology research culture at the CSIO.

He has also worked in some of the leading universities in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Russia and Finland, heading significant research programmes.


Mohali set to witness its first flower show
Tribune News Service

The campus of St. Xavier’s School, Mohali. The campus was adjudged the best maintained school campus in Mohali
The campus of St. Xavier’s School, Mohali. The campus was adjudged the best maintained school campus in Mohali.

The Ranbaxy unit’s compound that won the first prize in the best gardens of government and semi-government category
The Ranbaxy unit’s compound that won the first prize in the best gardens of government and semi-government category.

Mohali, February 26
All is set for Guldasta, the first flower show of Mohali due to begin on February 28. The first set of results are out and over 200 entries of flowers and ornamental plants are ready to be displayed at Silvi Park in Phase X here, the venue of the show. Wadali brothers will perform live on the first evening of the festival with a two-day cultural extravaganza to be presented by Mohali schoolchildren.

Over 50 employees of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, the organisers of the festival, have been working for the past one month to make PUDA’s maiden venture a success. ‘‘More than the show itself, I think it is the fact that Mohali has finally come out of the overwhelming shadows of Chandigarh that it symbolises is important,’’said Mr Yashvir Mahajan, ACA, PUDA, Mohali.

The festival will be inaugurated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, on February 28 at 11 am followed by a day-long cultural show called ‘Nanhe kalakaar’ by schoolchildren. A cultural extravaganza will be organised on the evening of the first day where Wadali brothers and Manpreet Akhtar will perform. The children’s cultural show will continue the next day too and will also be competitive in nature and the best presentations will be awarded at the prize distribution ceremony on the concluding day of the festival.

Ranbaxy’s unit here has bagged the first prize in the best gardens and compounds of government and semi-government units while the Balongi Chowk, Mohali, being maintained by WWICS Pvt. Ltd. has bagged the first prize in the best roundabouts category.

Col Gurmeet Singh of H. No 100, Sector 53, has bagged the first prize in the category of the best-kept garden in Kanal houses in Mohali while Mr Balbir Singh Gill of H. No 2408, Sector 64, has been adjudged second in the same category. Col Gurmeet Singh has also bagged the second prize for the best kitchen garden. No one was given the first prize in this category. St. Xavier’s High School, Sector 71, got the first prize in the best school campus category while DAV Public School, Sector 64, remained second in the same category.

The rest of the competitions will take place at the venue itself. ‘‘Over 200 entries have been received in various other categories and all of these will be on display at the show. The judges will go around the place to choose the best entries,’’said Mr H.S. Dhaliwal, Executive Engineer, Horticulture.


Pride of Punjab Award for Baba Kashmira Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
As many as 15 personalities from different walks of life were awarded the Shiromani Vikas awards on occasion of a seminar on ‘Vision for socio-economic development’ organised by the Shiromani Is Institute here today.

Justice O.P.Verma, (retd) Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, gave away the awards for excellence in the fields of education, innovation and social welfare. Baba Kashmira Singh was awarded the Pride of Punjab Gold medal for his spreading the message of peace and universal brotherhood. The award also comes in recognition for “appreciable” work in providing medical facilities, particularly in the rural areas of Punjab. Mr Analjit Singh was honoured with the Businessman of the Year Award.

The list of the awardees featured the name of Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon, a leading industrialist. Prof K.N.Pathak, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, was honoured for his research work in physics. The other honoured included Mr Ajay Jindal (social work), Mr Arun Grover (pro-consumer marketing strategies), Mr Harbhagwan Singh (Advocate-General of Punjab), Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill (an outstanding soldier and a former diplomat) and Mr J.P.Singh (management expert).

The list also featured the names of Mr K.T.S.Tulsi (an advocate), Baba Malkiat Singh( social work), Dr Narotam Dewan (social work in medical field), Dr Ravi R Kasliwal (expert in non-invasive cardiology), Mr S.K.Gupta (manufacturing expert) and Mr T.K.Garg (education).

Inaugurating the seminar, Justice Verma said socio-economic development must to ensure that a majority living below the poverty line must gain from the benefits of development. To ensure that employment generation translated into viable gains for the youth, it is important that they have equal access to modern technology, gadgets and learning opportunities.

Mr Jagmohan Singh, secretary-general of the institute, said ever since its inception in 1976 the institute had made available its resources to those pursuing research besides striving to strengthen human values, norms for democracy and promoting spirit of unity.

Addressing the seminar, Ms Meira Kumar, a former Member of Parliament and chairperson of the institute, said freedom could be complete only if a country ensured a stable political, economic, and social levels. India gained only political independence in 1947 and it was still far behind in the two other fields.


Villagers stand by Muslim family
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
In an exemplary show of unity in diversity, every resident of Kumbra village here, irrespective of religious differences, today stood besides a Muslim family which was not allowed to bury the body of one of its members by residents of Phase IX here following a dispute over the burial ground land.

Over 200 residents of the village supported the family of Karnail Singh, a Muslim resident of the village, who died last night.

The residents of Phase IX alleged that the ‘burial ground land was being used illegally for the purpose and it frightened their kids’. They prevented Karnail Singh’s family from conducting the burial. On the other hand, the villagers stated that the land belonged to the Wakf Board and the board had also won a court case regarding its ownership.

The situation tensed further when it was given a communal colour by the onlookers with the residents of Phase IX grouping on one side and the Kumbra villagers on the other. The police was called in and the two SHOs from Phase I and Phase VIII police stations, along with the SP, Mohali, brought the situation under control.

The SDM was also informed who send a Duty Magistrate to the area. The halka patwari was asked to immediately resolve the issue by filing a report about the ownership of the burial ground land. The report stated that the land justly belonged to the Wakf Board and the Muslims had complete freedom to use it as burial ground.

The burial was finally solemnised peacefully.


MC employees protest against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Employees of the boards, corporations and cooperative Institutions in Punjab held a rally in Sector 17 here today to protest against the anti-public sector and privatisation policies of the government on a call given by the Punjab State Cooperative Board/Corporation Mahasangh.

The general secretary of the association, Mr Gurdip Singh, said the main demands of the employees included withdrawal of letter dated May 10, 2002, vide which perks — conveyance allowance, medical allowances and pay scales — were reduced. They have also sought adjustment of staff of the tubewell corporation, Spinfed, poultry corporation, land reclamation corporation and tourism development corporation.

The leaders, while addressing the employees, condemned the anti-public sector policy of the government which was leading to retrenchment.

They proclaimed that they would be forced to intensify their agitation during the forthcoming elections if their demands were not met.

Later, the agitators led by president Nirmal Singh Ghuman went to Matka Chowk where they submitted a memorandum containing their demands to a representative of the government.


Cops save man’s life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Three policemen of the Sector 3 police station yesterday saved the life of a person.

Suresh Kumar, a barber, tried to hang himself from the ceiling fan of his servant quarter in the MLA hostel, near the police station, last night.

Sub-Inspector Dharam Singh, constable Lakhbir Singh and another policeman were passing by his house when children playing there raised an alarm.

Lakhbir Singh ran inside the room, lifted Suresh and untied the knot of the scarf from around his neck. Others also reached the spot and tried to revive him.

He was immediately taken to the PGI where doctors found that his brain had nearly stopped working.

After half an hour of administration of oxygen, he was saved.

Suresh (28) had come back recently after leaving his wife at her parents house.

He had gone their to attend the marriage of his sister-in-law and reportedly had a quarrel with his wife. For the past couple of days, he had also been drinking excessively.

The police has booked him under Section 309 of the IPC.


Kirtan darbar today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
The Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology and the Gian Jyoti Public School, Phase 2, Mohali, will jointly organise 5th kirtan darbar on the campus tomorrow from 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Famous ragis, including jathas of Bhai Jasbir Singh Khalsa Khannaewale, Bhai Harnam Singh Bhai Ravinder Singh and Bhai Tejinder Singh Shimlawale will recite Gurbani kirtan on the occasion. Elaborate arrangements are being made for tea and Guru Ka Langar throughout the programme.


Love triangle claims life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Alleged rivalry between two youths over a girl led to the murder of one of them at New Ashok Nagar Colony, Salem Tabri, here today.

The victim, Jyoti, was stabbed several times in the neck and abdomen allegedly by Deepu, alias Ganju, a barber, in a busy street of the colony. A large number of people, including bystanders and passers-by, were mute spectators to the murder.

Both the youths had clashed with each other along with their friends last evening also. It was alleged that both were trying to woo a girl and saw each other as rivals. It could not be ascertained if the girl was interested in any of the two.

The accused Deepu was booked under Section 302 of the IPC by the police late in the evening on the statement made by the victim’s family. The case was registered late in the evening as none of the witnesses was willing to come on record about the incident.


Consumer mela from March 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A consumer awareness mela will be organised in the city to celebrate the 16th Annual World Consumers Day from March 13 to 16 at the Sector 17, Parade Ground here. This was decided at a meeting held today. The Consumer Forum, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation will organise the mela.

The mela is being organised to bring awareness about the rights of consumers and redressing the complaints. The Department of Telecom, Food & Supplies, Weights and Measures and Health will set up information centres. There will be Khula Manch on telecommunication, registration & licencing, health and sanitation, environment and building byelaws. The other attractions of the awareness mela will be on-the-spot painting competition, poster-making competition and slogan writing competition on consumerism. There will be lectures on traffic awareness, road injuries, fire-fighting, consumer awareness campaign for women and seminar on medical services. There will be healthy baby contest for various age groups upto the age of 4 years and fun rides for children. The North Zone Culture Centre and the Songs and Drama Division will organise cultural evenings during the four-day mela.


Bank holds loan mela
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Jalalpur branch of the State Bank of Patiala organised a loan mela at Jalalpur today. The Jalalpur branch and its near by branches Kheragajju, Manakpur and Banur also participated in the mela.

A large number of farmers from nearby villages attended the function. Mr N.S. Deshpandy, DGM, Patiala, presided over the mela and Mr K.S. Sandhu, AGM, Patiala, apprised the farmers about bank’s various schemes and requested the farmers to avail themselves of the loan facilities from the bank for all their agricultural and other needs.

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