C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ballots, counterfoils to be matched
Chandigarh Club poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
In case relating to the Chandigarh Club election the Delhi-based, Company Law Board has asked Mr Neeraj Chaudhary, who was earlier appointed as officer of the court, to count the number of ballots in the boxes and match the same with the number of counterfoils of the ballots in the record of the club.

Mr Chaudhary will do the counting on Sunday and submit his report by Monday. Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, one of the candidates for the post of president of the club, had raised objections to the process of casting votes. Some members had stamped the ballot papers while others had just ticked the names with a pen.

The final arguments in the case have been completed, however, all parties involved in the case have been allowed to submit any written submissions till November 11 after which the law board will announce its verdict.

It may be recollected that the Company Law Board, in an order on October 15, called for the counting of votes for the elections held on April 3.

Certain members of the club had petitioned the company law board saying that 461 members were not among the 5,000 life or permanent members who were eligible to vote as per the Article of Association of the Chandigarh Club. They had claimed that these persons had been made members on old membership numbers to make them eligible to vote.

The allegation about 461 members has been substantiated by a committee appointed of the Company Law Board to look into the matter which submitted a report before the board on September 27.

Meanwhile, a member of the Chandigarh Club today petitioned the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking transfer of the case from the Company Law Board to the high court.



Centre sanctions Rs 63 cr more for city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) today reportedly agreed to the demand of the Chandigarh Administration to allow a hike of about Rs 63 crore in budgetary allocation which is required to pay salaries to employees, among other things, for the remaining five months of this financial year ending March 3, 2005. The demand is part of the revised budgetary estimates for this financial year

The Finance Section within the ministry agreed following a presentation by the outgoing Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, today. All financial demands of Chandigarh are routed through the ministry. The Finance Ministry is expected to approve it on Monday at a meeting with the Chandigarh Administration and the ministry, sources said.

This clearance was expected as revenue collection in the city was well above the target. Earnings for the first six months ending September 30 were Rs 450 crore and might go beyond the target of Rs 850 crore by the end of the financial year.

In its demands, the administration had sought Rs 20 crore for paying salaries and another Rs 40 crore to meet expenses on power purchases made during summer months. Besides this, another Rs 2 crore would be sought for running of official vehicles and CTU buses in view of the rise in the cost of petroleum products.

These expenses had not been accounted for in the Budget this year. The hike in salaries had come about after the merger of the 50 per cent of the Dearness Allowance in salary from July.



TTEs attempt to rape two British girls
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The train officials assured them that they would keep them 'safe' and 'protected' but as the night progressed the protectors turned predators.

Thrice during the hours from day-end to day-break, two ticket examiners groped, fondled, hugged and tried to force themselves upon two British teenagers who had come to visit India for its mystic charm.

The girls, travelling alone from Goa to Nizamuddin, were so terrified that they somehow put up with the conduct of the railway officials and dashed out of the station as soon as they arrived in Delhi. The girls were traumatized to such an extent that they had little hope for help from other rail staff.

A third TTE, who was also in the compartment, witnessed the 'intolerable' conduct of his colleagues through the night but did nothing to stop them.

"We were appalled that the men whose job is to help and protect passengers could commit such crimes," one of the girls told The Tribune here today. The other said, "We were unfortunate victims of sexual harassment and completely disgraceful behaviour."

The two hapless victims have forwarded their complaint to the British High Commission, New Delhi.

Talking to The Tribune in Chandigarh, where they arrived yesterday as tourists, the girls said that they were travelling from Madgaon to Hazrat

Nizamuddin on train number 2449 in sleeper class (S13) on ticket numbers 14208128 and 14208129 on November 2.

Narrating their tale of woe, the school girls said the train left Madgaon about 11.30 am and they got on to the train on an unreserved ticket. The TTEs on board helpfully confirmed their berths and befriended them with their behaviour.

A little later, the TTEs offered to shift the girls to 3 tier AC without additional cost. The girls refused saying it was illegal. Around 11.30 pm, the TTEs told the girls that they would sleep on nearby berths as they wanted to protect them and their luggage. They got them talking and the "tall TTE" started fondling one of them. He "slipped his hand under her clothes, kissed her on her cheeks, hugged her and tried to overpower her."

There were very few people in the bogey, the girls told this paper, and help could not be sought. But they managed to push the TTEs away.

Undeterred, the TTE again came back at 3.30 am and started "acting funny." The younger of the girls had to face a more difficult situation as she seemed small and weak to the predators in uniform, though the other girl, a six footer, was also not spared. They were allegedly subjected to intense sexual harassment though the TTEs couldn't succeed in raping them.

The girls claimed that after being beaten back twice, the TTEs tried their luck at 6 am again. They made 'most disgraceful sexual advance' and despite the warm weather the girls had to zip themselves in their sleeping bags to avoid being fondled crudely. They made a dash out of the station as soon as they reached Nizamuddin and arrived in Chandigarh yesterday.



Five new High Court Judges sworn in
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 5
Five new Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court were administered the oath of office and secrecy here today by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy.

Mr Justice Pritam Pal, Mr Justice Nirmal Yadav, Mr Justice Baldev Singh, Mr Justice Madan Mohan Aggarwal and Mr Justice Som Nath Aggarwal were sworn in at a formal ceremony at the High Court premises where the notification and appointment order by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were read out.

The ceremony was held in a sombre mood as state mourning had been declared to mourn the death of UAE President Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan, who died on Tuesday.

All five Judges elevated were of the rank of District and Sessions Judge. Meanwhile, following the elevation of Mr Pritam Pal, who was Registrar (General), Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr M.S. Sullar, District and Sessions Judge (Vigilance), Haryana, has been appointed as Registrar (General). The decision to appoint Mr Sullar was taken by the Chief Justice.

The process of appointment of the next District and Sessions Judge (Vigilance), Haryana, is also likely to begin soon.

Talking to reporters after the oath-taking ceremony, Chief Justice Roy said that the process for filling the vacant posts of High Court Judges was also on and names from among lawyers would be sent as soon as the High Court collegium finalises the names.

When asked to comment on the reported resentment among the women lawyers of the High Court due to the fact that there has been no instance of any of them being elevated to the Bench, the Chief Justice said that it was not in his hands only to do something.

“If the collegium finds any women lawyer competent, it will certainly recommend her name,” he assured.

As for the large number of vacancies in the High Court Bench, Chief Justice Roy said that unless the 38 permanent posts of Judges are fully filled, the 15 posts of additional Judges cannot be filled.



Armed forces personnel to cast votes at place of posting
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
In a move that will allow a greater number of armed forces personnel to exercise their fundamental right to vote, the Army has started the process to register service personnel and their families as voters at their respective place of posting.

Though regulations exist to register service personnel as voters at their place of posting, the exercise was never undertaken before. They had to rely on other options such as proxy vote or postal ballot to exercise their franchise.

It is learnt that the Headquarters, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Independent Sub-Area, Ambala, has issued orders to establishments under its jurisdiction to enumerate eligible personnel and their family members for compiling electoral rolls.

“We expect the exercise to be complete by the end of this month,” a senior Army officer, said. “The nominal rolls would be forwarded to the respective district administration and the electoral authorities for the personnel to be registered as voters,” he added.

Station Headquarters at different cantonments and military stations have been delegated the responsibility of compiling records of their respective locations. “Our records are updated every three months, so it is not a time-consuming or problematic exercise,” the officer added.

Army Order 15/95 issued by the Adjutant General’s Branch at Army Headquarters clearly states that servicemen can get themselves registered as voters at their place of posting. However, there was no administrative back up to enable them to do so. Various communiques from the Election Commission of India have also endorsed this right for the service personnel.

Former Director, Sainik Welfare Punjab, Brig H S Ghuman (retd), who also met the Sub-Area Commander at Ambala a week ago in this regard, said that since Armed Forces personnel were subjected to local laws and local taxes, they had a right to vote where they were posted. He had also briefed the three service chiefs on this issue a few weeks ago in New Delhi.

With Assembly elections in Haryana scheduled to be held in March next year, it will give a chance to service personnel posted in this state to exercise their franchise away from their home town.

At present, options available to service personnel were to register themselves as voters in their home towns or to go in for postal ballots or proxy voting. Neither of these options were suitable. In fact, in the recently held general elections, just about 1 per cent service voters were able to exercise their right to vote.

Even the much-debated system of proxy voting, introduced for the first time during the last general elections, was not a success. A big goof-up in the system was that the authorities forgot to include family members of armed forces personnel in the electoral rolls.



Corporate sector ‘must fund school education’
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Dr Kanti Bajpai
Dr Kanti Bajpai

Chandigarh, November 5
Public-private partnerships should be encouraged to evolve a new system of education so as draw out the best talent in children. The resources and expertise of the corporate sector, with the government acting as a ‘facilitator’ should help to bridge the widening gap between the private and government schools.

These views were expressed by Dr Kanti Bajpai, Headmaster of Doon School, Dehradun while talking to TNS on the sidelines of a seminar on Quality School Education- The Way Forward, organised by CII ( Northern Region) here today.

He said government and private sector should join hands to make education cost effective, job-oriented, introduce discipline and inculcate better working skills in government schools.

“The absenteeism of teachers in government schools is as high as the dropout rate of students,” he said. The situation in government institutes is alarming and a system of accountability needs to be evolved for better utilisation of the massive funds being spent on education.

He is of the view that nominees of leading corporate houses and leading private schools should be associated with the functioning of government schools for better managerial practices. Doon School now has a head of human resources from corporate life and is trying out a performance appraisal system of its teachers, he said.

Even when it comes to framing of policies and Acts, the government should call upon the private sector to offer consultations and help in the formulation of guidelines in line with the requirements of the sunrise industry, said Dr Bajpai.

Government schools can also be handed over to some corporate houses on contract for evolving a better work culture and the contract can be renewed every five years, he added.

He also stressed on the need for bringing reforms in the examination system and revision of syllabi so as to make it less taxing for students and bring parity between various examination boards as competition between them is detrimental to the students. Government and policy makers should confirm to standards while bringing in the much-needed reforms.

Dr Bajpai even criticised the role of parents, most of whom were overburdening the students with expectations, tuitions and only those who can afford ‘buy’ education for their children. “Parents also need to spend more quality time with their children, who should follow in their parents footsteps, but walk on their own”, he said.

He lamented that instead of inculcating love of learning, reading or developing a questioning mind, parents buy their way out of trouble by leaving all this on schools.

He criticised the role of the government in the frequent revision of syllabus and said it was the job of the NCERT. The government should not always see the good private schools as profit-making ventures for they are doing the government’s job of imparting quality education and the ‘excess’ money, if any, is only being pumped back to make the system of education more effective.



Plea of Forest Hill Club president dismissed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 5
The Divisional Commissioner (Appeals), Patiala, has dismissed the appeal of Col B.S. Sandhu (retd), president of the Forest Hill Golf Club, against the orders of the SDM-cum-Collector (Agrarian), who had declared as surplus as much as 353 acres of land in Karoran and Nada villages belonging to Colonel Sandhu and his two sons.

The Collector (Agrarian), Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, in his orders issued on February 17 had declared the area as surplus and ordered the Revenue Officer-cum-Naib Tehsildar concerned to take legal action for handing over the land to the Punjab Government.

The Collector had also ordered that the action should be taken after giving due notice to Colonel Sandju under Section 9 of the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972.

At least 328 acres of the surplus land falls in Karoran and 25 acres in Nada.



Protest against petrol, diesel price hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) held a demonstration in Sector 20 today in protest against the hike in the prices of petroleum products by the Central Government.

Addressing the protesters, president of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, the hike in the oil prices would have a spiralling effect on the prices of the essential commodities.

Accusing the Central Government of going back on its pre-poll promises, Mr Davesh Modgil, alleged that after coming to power the Congress had betrayed the interests of the common man.



New prices of petrol, diesel
Tribune News Service

 Chandigarh, November 5
The following are the old and revised retail selling prices of petrol and diesel in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula following the hike announced by the Union Government last night.



Action against doctor sought
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 5
Residents of Raipur Rani today staged a dharna outside the office of the Director-General, Health, Haryana, in protest against a “corrupt” doctor of Raipur Rani Community Health Centre.

The residents, led by Mr Narender Sharma, President of the Bharatiya Jan Sangarsh Samiti, were demanding action against the doctor posted at Raipur Rani, who had allegedly “extorted” Rs 300 from a resident, Rameshwar Das. The residents demanded immediate action against the doctor.

They alleged that the doctor had taken Rs 300 from Rameshwar Das for attending to his injured brother, Karnail Singh, on October 6. “The doctor said he would attend to my brother after “sewa-paani”. I was asked to pay him Rs 300,” said Rameshwar.

The residents today said they had made numerous complaints to the Health department authorities. “A probe was ordered, but the inquiry officer has not met us even once. We fear that the inquiry would be hushed up, so we came here to meet the inquiry officer and the Director-General, Health. However, we were not allowed to meet them, and the subordinates asked us to drop the complaint against the doctor,” they alleged.



Kharar MLA not to attend MC function
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 5
The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, has decided to stay away from the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Municipal Council being held tomorrow because prominent Congressmen have not been invited for the function.

The foundation stone of the council office building in Sector 68 is being laid by Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Government, Punjab. He will also inaugurate municipal library in Phase X.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said he had no option except to stay away from the function because prominent Congressmen had been given due respect by the civic body. He had won the election with their support and now he could not tolerate such a treatment to them, especially when the Congress government was ruling the state.



Style i
Warm up to haute drapes this winter
Geetu Vaid

With winter chill entering the air stealthily and the fiery sun mellowing down this is the season of change. And change can be witnessed not only in the landscape and weather but also in the wardrobes as winter woolies are raring to come out of the closets slowly.

Sexy, strappy tops are out but there is still some time to snuggle into thick woolies. This forms a perfect backdrop to flaunt light and stylish ponchos, stoles and exotic shawls. Visit any social do in the city these days and you would witness chic shoulders wrapped in these.

These accessories add not only a flamboyant touch but also colour, pattern and texture to routine outfits. Ponchos and shawls are the accessories that are jazzing up Indian as well as a western outfits.

These drapes combine the appeal of a smart accessory with the warmth of outerwear and also of style with wearability. Topping the trend charts this season world over, however, are the sexy, feminine and flowing ponchos.

Dainty or bulky, suede or acrylic yarn, ponchos are available in all leading stores in the city.

Ponchos flatter almost all body types as they create a “T” shape (adding a little volume to the top and creating the illusion of a slimmer, straight bottom).

These epitomise a casual quality and can be paired with anything from chauridaars to salwars to jeans, adds Roop, a city-based designer. Poncho is more versatile than other types of wraps and shawls, she adds.

The mystifying and romantic aura of this garment that reminds one of the hippy era, has led to the popularity of the trend.

The primary appeal of this chic drape lies in a balanced blend of bohemian and luxurious.

‘‘Actually the trend started well before the winter season as chiffon and georgette avatars of these were going strong in summer as well’’, says Megha, a city-based budding designer. And it is going strong still as sheer drapes have been substituted with heavy crochet and blended woolen ones.

No wonder then that city stores are brimming with stoles with wool blended in silk, traditional cashmere shawls, ponchos in sheer wool in hues of beige, cream, black, grey and red. Winter collections are just beginning to arrive, but there is already a great demand for ponchos and stoles, says Ramandeep, manager of a showroom in Sector 17.

‘‘Customers like the flexibility of these garments and we’ve sold as many to adults as we have to the young people,” says Raman about the popularity of these warm accessories. ‘‘This is one fashion that transcends all age lines,” he adds.

A wide range of exotic shawls, stoles have been launched by brands like Monte Carlo this season. For those with a cutting edge of fashion pashmina shawls made with exquisite hand embroidery, accessorised with beads and sequins are worth a pick.

So go girl wear traditional pieces in untraditional ways by matching a poncho with figure- hugging trousers and pointed boots or stilletoes or a classy pashmina shawl or stole thrown around your neck to jazz up your jeans and top combo.



Residents complain of water shortage

Mohali, November 5
Residents of a pocket of houses in Phase III-B 2 have complained of water shortage in the area. Some of the residents said that the problem had been going on for the past two months. The overhead water tanks on the second floor had dried up due to inadequate supply of water. The pressure was so low that water reached the first floor with difficulty. Complaints were made to authorities concerned but to no avail.

The area had also been facing problems linked to storm water and sewerage. Rainwater had been entering a number of houses for the past 16 years but authorities had nothing to mitigate the problem. OC



Handicrafts mela from today

Panchkula, November 5
The district administration will organise a 10-day Divali-mela-cum-Haryana handicrafts mela at the Sector 5 Parade Ground from November 6. The proceeds from the mela will be given to Bal Bhavan, a home for destitutes.

Addressing a press conference today, Deputy Commissioner, Neelam P Kasni said 70 stalls would be put up where electronic goods, books, furniture, healthcare products and computer software and hardware would be displayed. TNS



Protest against acquisition of land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Activists of the BJP observed relay fast here today in protest against the acquisition of land for the setting up of the Information Technology (IT) Park in Kishangarh village.

Addressing the protesters, president of the BJP, Yash Pal Mahajan, threatened to intensify the agitation if the Chandigarh Administration did not withdraw the acquisition notices.

Among those, who sat on fast included Mr Ramvir Bhatti, Mr Shingara Singh, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Mam Chand Rana and Mr Gurdhyan Dass Gupta.



Male foetus found
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 5
A male foetus was found near Manimajra police station here yesterday.

According to the police, an anonymous call was received that “an infant” was near the wall of the police station. The foetus was wrapped in cotton. It was about four to five months old.

The police believe that the foetus may have been discarded by an unmarried woman after abortion.



3 vehicles stolen

Chandigarh, November 5
Two scooters and one motorcycle were reportedly stolen from the city police released this information here today.

Lal Bhihari of Phase 2, Mohali reported that his scooter (CH-01-J-1274) was stolen from the PGI Parking on October 3. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 11, police station. Jasmer Singh of Majri village in Panchkula filed a complaint to the police that his scooter (HR-03A-7880) was stolen from the PGI Parking yesterday. A case has been registered in this regard in Sector 11, police station.

Rupinder Singh of Sector 44-A reported that his motorcycle (CH-03-M-9805) was stolen from the market in Sector 26 on October 3. A case has been registered in the Sector 26, police station. OC



Maruti dealer offers stand-by car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
A local Maruti dealer has come out with a new concept of customer service. A Maruti owner, whose vehicle gets damaged in an accident, can leave the car with the company's newly opened body shop unit here and while his car is under repair, he will be provided with a stand-by new Maruti 800, fitted with AC and music system.

The customer will be allowed to use the vehicle as per his requirement till the time his damaged car is repaired. This service will be provided to the customer free of cost.



Biz Clips

Kaff offer: Kaff launched a campaign in the city today to achieve a growth of 30 per cent in the sales of the company during the next two months of the festive season. Kaff will be offering buyers kitchen chimneys and gas hobs at unbelievable prices bumper prize. — TNS

GARMENTS RANGE: FabIndia today launched Adhya, its range of premium garments. A limited number of pieces from the exclusive range will be available from November 5 to 7 at the FabIndia store in Sector 9 here. — OC

SWISS WATCH LAUNCHED: Swiss watch Carl-F-Bucherer was launched here at Ethos, Sector 8, today. Mr David Vallata, area sales director, Carl-F-Bucherer, said, “These watches are known for their designs, materials and craftsmanship. Now it is available in three cities, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chandigarh. — OC

Sugar-free chewing gum: Sugar-free chewing gum Happydent Protex was launched here today by Perfetti Van Melle Private Limited. Addressing the press conference, marketing head Sameer Suneja said the chewing gum had a fresh mint flavour and contain xylitol as one of the active ingredients. — TNS


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