C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City gets Rs 1,030.66 cr
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 28
Although the total outlay for Chandigarh in 2006-07 has been marginally raised to Rs 1,030.66 crore, the city beautiful will be on the fast track of development with the Centre proposing Delhi-Chandigarh Expressway, which will reduce the travel time to less than three hours.

The budgetary outlay will include Rs 216.66 crore-planned budget and Rs 814 crore non-planned budget. The total outlay is Rs 58.82 crore more than the revised estimates of Rs 971.84 crore in 2005-06.

The annual financial statement said the revenue in 2006-07 was estimated to be Rs 1,090.80 crore which would be an increase of Rs 50.45 crore in the revised estimates of 2005-06. The tax revenue in 2006-07 was estimated to be Rs 641.20 crore and the non-tax revenue to be Rs 449.60 crore.

In the non-plan budget, the energy sector has been allocated the maximum amount of Rs 335 crore in the Budget, which is an increase of Rs 15.12 crore in the revised estimate of 2005-06.

Education has been allocated Rs 169.37 crore, a marginal hike of Rs 5.35 crore while the transport sector has been given Rs 89.81 crore, the police Rs 80.58 crore, health Rs 56.05 crore, housing and urban development Rs 39.35 crore, labour Rs 4.15 crore, Secretariat Rs 3.33 crore and others garnering Rs 36.36 crore in the non-plan budget.

In the plan allocation, the housing sector has been allocated Rs 94.32 crore, a significant increase of Rs 20.23 crore from the revised estimates of Rs 2005-06. This is a clear indication of the infrastructure projects likely to be taken up in the city.

The education sector has been allocated Rs 34.81 crore, which is a marginal hike of Rs 1.06 crore. Incidentally, the energy sector in the planned budget has been allocated lower sum than the revised estimates of 2005-06. The sector has been allocated Rs 19.16 crore compared to revised estimates of Rs 20.97 crore.

The transport sector has been allocated Rs 6.55 crore, up from Rs 5.50 crore and others have been allocated Rs 61.82 crore from the revised estimates of Rs 53.38 crore.

City-Delhi Expressway proposed

The project for Chandigarh is among the seven projects to be selected by Finance Minister P Chidambaram for the development of 1000 km of access-controlled expressways. These will on new alignment and build on the design, build, finance and operate model. The concessionaires will be selected through an international competitive bidding process.

Talking to The Tribune, Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal said it had been a long-standing demand of the people of Chandigarh, which would now be fulfilled.

The Chandigarh MP said the construction of the expressway would reduce the travel time to less than three hours as there would be intersection. Red light and incoming and outgoing traffic would be through a loop.

He said the Chandigarh Expressway would be taken up in the first phase and built along the existing national highway.



Budget 2006
No hurt for common man
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The common man need not fear a hike in his monthly expenses. The Union Finance Minister, Mr P C Chidambaram, has ensured that his Budget proposals keep a larger section of the salaried class happy.

This may not be a "dream Budget" but your LPG and petrol prices remain static; small car prices have been slashed; cost of footwear would go down; and the personal income tax structure remains the same. Quite a relief, isn't it? The residents of the tri- cities elicited a mixed response to the Budget announced today.

Ms Rita Kapoor, a housewife in Sector 8 here, said that with the prices of LPG remaining same, she need not have to cut corners to meet her monthly budget. "But it seems that no action has been taken to ensure that the sugar and wheat flour prices, which have been rising over the past months, are brought down. Had the agrarian crisis been tackled more effectively in the Budget, this problem would have been solved," she said.

"Continuum" is the centre line of the Budget presented by Mr. P. Chidambaram, says Panchkula based Financial Planner and Investment Adviser, Mr. Rajesh Handa. He further said "the theme of a stable GDP growth trajectory seems to run through this Budget and is backed by 8.1 per cent projected GDP growth. However, no path-breaking measures on politically sensitive issues like labour reform, subsidies, and disinvestments of PSUs, which could propel India into the 10 per cent GDP growth path have figured in his speech. On the flip side, retrograde issues like inheritance tax also did not form part of the agenda. So, all in all, it is a fine balancing act, keeping in mind his political compulsions".

Mr S C Dhall, a senior manager with State Bank of Patiala at Kalka, felt that the slashing down of car prices will ensure a better socio- economic growth of a wider section of society. "The prices of small cars have been reduced, making these more affordable for the salaried class. India will become a hub for automobile industry," he added. The Budget is in favour of the upper class, but for the poorer sections of the society the Budget has caused some apprehension. For example, the proposed increase in the rates of cooking gas will hit one and all, feels Dr. Nikki Bajwa, a local interior designer.

At the same time Mr Shashi Pandey, working in a private company, feels that lowering the price of cars will bring them in the reach of the common man, but he was expecting a reduction on his tax liability that has not happened. Also, he said that the increase in service tax will hit the common man directly.

Ms Geeta Bhatia, a manager in PCL, Mohali, said that the Budget has not been too bad for the common man. "However, increasing the service tax from 10 per cent to 12 per cent on all daily need services, does not auger well for salaried classes. We will have to pay more for almost all services---cable TV, dry cleaning, telephone and cell phone bills, a visit to beauty parlour or while eating out at restaurants".

The city residents are enthused with the doing away of the 1/ 6 Income Tax scheme. Mr Gyanendra Kumar, a chartered accountant in the city, says that the doing away of this scheme will ensure that a lot of unnecessary paper work is done away with. "Even if a housewife, or a senior citizen travelled abroad, or purchased a car, a cell phone or a landline, they would have to file an income tax return. The scheme was introduced in order to widen the income tax net, and get more assesses. Now that most of the people are in the tax net, this scheme can be done away with,"he said. His views are supported by Mr SK Nayar, a senior citizen of Panchkula, "The government has simplified the rules by doing away with the 1/ 6 scheme. By increasing the pension for old age persons from Rs 70 a month to Rs 400 a month, they have kept the interest of senior citizens in mind".

Dr Aditya Chaudhari, Senior Medical Officer at Panchkula, said that those who have current accounts in banks will be taxed twice over. "They will have to pay tax on cash withdrawl of over Rs 25,000, and also pay service tax on ATM transactions," he said.

Meanwhile, the local chapter of Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that though the Budget presented by the Union Finance Minister today was growth oriented. Nothing has been done for the Small Scale Industries (SSI) and Small Scale Enterprises (SSE).

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Satish Gupta, President, and Mr Vishnu Goel, General Secretary of the Association, said that none of the demands made by the SSIs and SMEs---increasing exemption limit in excise from Rs 1 crore to RS 3 crore and from Rs 4 crore to 8 crore---have been considered.

They said that though the prices of raw material, as in case of steel melting scrap, will go down with the reductiuon in customs duty, the SSIs will have to face more competition. No support has been given to the SSIs to deal with these eventualities, they rued.

The HCCI also said that as in case of farm sector, where interest rate on credit have been reduced to 7 per cent, similarly for SSIs , the interest rates should have been reduced, which currently are paying high interest rates of 11 to 14 per cent.

Mohali: Reacting to the central Budget, members of the Mohali Industries Association here today stated that the Budget was a populist document and proposals had been framed keeping in view the forthcoming elections. Although the focus has been on agriculture, rural development, social service like improved educational facilities, health service etc. yet the SME sector stands ignored. "The small scale industries sector had held high hopes from the budget by way of raising of central excise limit, abolition of CST on account of VAT regime having been implemented, reduction in Central Excise duty rates etc," said Mr Balbir Singh, president. "No doubt there has been a marginal reduction in import duty on non-ferrous metals from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent but this will hardly help as there has been a lot of upheaval in steel prices. Increase in service tax will again affect industrial production. There has been no relief from FBT for SMEs," he added.

He further pointed out that there had been some increase in allocation for power section but that might not be enough to meet the growing demand for power. "SME sector being the backbone of industrial growth needed special attention. With ignorance of this sector, it may not be possible to achieve the targeted rate of industrial growth. However, other Budget proposals being focused on infrastructural development may in a way help in economic growth, creation of jobs for unemployed, quicker movement of traffic etc," he said.

Mr Gurmeet Singh Bhatia, Managing Director, Punjab Biotechnology Park Ltd. and past president Mohali Industries Association, termed the budget balanced. "I welcome the reduction of custom duty peak rate from 15 per cent to 12.5 per cent and particularly reduction of Custom duty on bulk plastic and packing machines to 5 per cent. Excise duty reduction on manmade yarn and printing paper is also very encouraging," he said.

He added that grant of Rs.100 Crore grant to Punjab Agriculture University was an honour for Punjab. "However, i the industry is not happy with increase in the rates of M.A.T, Service tax and not announcing any benefit for small scale sector and withdrawal of Central Sales Tax as per the government's commitment," he said. 



Decision on Nayagaon NAC soon
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
Within a day of the Punjab Chief Minister having decided to form a new district in the state, another good news is expected by Nayagaon residents here regarding the formation of the Nayagaon Notified Area Committee.

A steering committee of the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India, today considered a case put by the Punjab Government to exempt over 66,000 hectares of land in the state from the Centre’s Forest Conservation Act 1980. The members of the steering committee, who met at New Delhi, took up over 45 such cases from across the country.

Stating that he had no information regarding what transpired at the crucial meeting, the Principal Secretary Local Bodies, Mr B.R. Bajaj, said, “In case the Government of India decides to take out this area from the provisions of the Act, it would be just a matter of time before the NAC comes into being,” he said.

Highly placed sources in the Forest Department, however, said members of the steering committee were positive towards Punjab’s case. “It was made clear to the committee that these 66,000 hectares of land had been wrongly notified as falling under the Punjab Land Preservation Act 1900. And a Punjab and Haryana High Court order later laid down that the land under this Act would also attract the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act 1980,” said a source.

Meanwhile, rumourmongers had a field day today spreading that the Chief Minister had approved the NSC status for Nayagaon. Members of the Ghar Bachao Committee of the village have planned to meet the Chief Minister tomorrow at his residence to “thank” him for the decision.

Putting the daylong speculations to rest, Mr Bajaj said no such decision had been taken at any level. He also said the only bottleneck in the formation of the NAC was the objection filed by the Forest Department that most of the area of the proposed NAC was “locked” under the provisions of forest Acts. “Once I come to know what happened at the Delhi meeting today, I would be in a better position to comment,” he said.

The government proposes to include land of Karoran (Choti and Baddi Karoran), Nadha village and Kansal villages in the civic body under Section 4 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911. The objections sent by the District Forest Officer, Ropar, to the Department of Local Bodies states that while Nadha and Nayagaon villages fall within the area notified under these Acts, Kansal is free from these restrictions.



Reader to SDM suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr RK Rao, today suspended Naresh Gupta, Reader to SDM, South, Mr Vinay Singh, after he was caught red handed by the UT Vigilance Department while taking bribe from a person in the office of the SDM here.

The Reader was caught when he was taking Rs 1,000 from Amarjeet Singh, who had earlier been arrested along with Aneeta and Joshan Bhatti, while creating nuisance at a public place. They had been booked under Sections 101 and 151 of the CrPC on February 20.

While being produced before the SDM, the Reader allegedly refused to acknowledge the guarantors brought by Amarjeet for being released. Instead, the Reader produced his two guarantors subject to payment of bribe of Rs 2,500 to each of the guarantors.

When Amarjeet went to the police station to get his valuables released, the Reader demanded another Rs 1,000 for getting the release order of the SDM. Without the release order, Amarjeet could not get his valuables released from the police station.

When Vigilance sleuths conducted raid at the office of the SDM, it was revealed that the release order had already been signed by the SDM.



Rs 7.4 cr for improving lighting

Chandigarh, February 28
The first meeting of the Electricity Committee of the Municipal Corporation was held here today. Ms Geeta Chaudhary, chairperson of the committee, chaired the meeting.

The proposed budget of Rs 7.4 crore for 2006-07 allocated for improvement of public lighting system on V-2, V-3, V-4 and V-5 roads, gardens, green belts, parks and market parking lights, etc. was discussed at the meeting. It was desired for fast execution of public lighting works to improve the lighting system.

Need was also stressed to take up the matter with the UT Administration to improve lighting on V-6 roads. They impressed upon the administration to replace the outdated fittings for which the UT was paid regularly for repair and maintenance by the Municipal Corporation. Nine agendas for improvement of lighting on V-2 and V-3 roads and gardens in Sectors 16/17, 16/23, 37, 38, 39 and Shanti Kunj were approved at the meeting. TNS



Agro-economists hail renewed focus on agriculture
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The renewed focus on agriculture, outlined by the Union Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, in his budget proposal today, has brought a lot of cheer among the agro-economists in the food bowl of India.

Hailing the government's declaration for a focussed approach on agriculture, which accounts for 25 per cent of the Indian economy, agro-economists in the region said the Budget would go a long way in giving the much needed second push to agriculture.

They feel the budgetary allocations for improving irrigation facilities, extending more credit to farmers and creating a market for farm products, if fall in line, will lead to a better growth rate in agriculture.

Dr G S Kalkat, Chairman of the Punjab Farmers Commission, when contacted by TNS, said it was appreciable that the Finance Minister wanted to double the farm credit in the next three years.

"But a system has to be devised wherein tracking the credit utilisation should be made essential. There is widespread indebtedness in the farming community, and this is because of improper utilisation of credit taken from banks or commission agents," he said.

Addressing the needs of landless or tenant farmers, the Union Finance Minister has promised to create a separate window to ensure loans for them. Banks have been asked to open separate window for self-help groups or joint liability group of tenant farmers. Banks would also be asked to increase the level of agriculture credit to Rs 175,000 crore next year as against Rs 141,500 crore in the current fiscal.

For farmers seeking short-term loans, the Finance Minister had reduced interest rate to 7 per cent, through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). This facility will be made available from the next summer crop-sowing season.

"This will only lead to farmers turning to organised sector-banks- for taking loans, rather than relying on the commission agents," added Dr Kalkat.

His views were supported by Dr S S Johl, Vice-Chairman of the Punjab Planning Board, who felt that the recipient system (farmers) have to be geared up to receive the credit and use it productively (for agricultural purposes alone), otherwise the enhanced farm credit might boomerang.

"The challenge in dealing with the agrarian crisis is effective use of technology, research and productivity of investment. The second push to green revolution, which entails crop diversification, will be possible only through policy change and technology change. We have made policies for the diversification, and technology now has to match this policy to make the diversification from wheat paddy crop pattern possible," he said, while hailing the grant of Rs 100 crore to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.

Dr K S Aulukh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said the grant given to the premiere agriculture university was the nation's acknowledgement of the pioneering research contribution of PAU scientists and Punjab farmers.

"The money would be utilised in research in key areas like biotechnology, informatics and patenting, so that new hybrids of crops are developed; and, to mitigate the economic sufferings of farmers," he added. 



Fireworks in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
Fireworks marked celebrations over the Chief Minister's decision to form a new district, including Mohali, here this evening.
The OSD to the Chief Minister, Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, in a celebratory mood, today said a formal announcement to this affect would be made by the Chief Minister tomorrow. She was addressing a press conference here.

Mr B.S. Tej, president of the Citizens Welfare Council, said their struggle which started in 1994 had bore fruit.

"It is a historical day for all of us who have been living in the township for decades," he said.

Mr N.K. Marwaha, a former councillor of the township, added that residents of the area would soon begin to see the difference between living in a district headquarters and a subdivision.

"Many of the problems being faced by the residents would be solved," he said.

Mr B.S. Mangat, member of the District Planning Board from Mohali, said villagers would be benefited the most since they had to spend a lot of money to go to Ropar for their works.

"The courts would be here and so would be lawyers. Also the district would have its own market committee and farm produce would get better prices," he said.

Welcoming the decision, president of the Malayalee Samajam, Mohali, Mr Benny Thomas, appreciated the efforts put in by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, and the OSD to CM Punjab, Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha.

He added that the problems and grievances of approximately 7 lakh people, regarding judicial and other administrative needs, would also be resolved by this decision as the government was planning to upgrade the township with such facilities.

"The hospital at Phase VI lacks basic amenities and lacks many a things to attain the status of a District Hospital.

"Another area where the government's immediate attention is required is the frequent power cuts being imposed in the township also," he said.

Mr M.S. Mavi, general secretary, People's Welfare Association of Sector 71 here, also welcomed the move.

"We support the Kharar MLA Mr Bir Devinder Singh in his proposal to name the new district as Ajitgarh Sahib. A historic monument should also be built in devotion and dedication towards Sahibzada Ajit Singh," he said.

Mr H.S. Gill, a retired Defence officer, added that it was high time that the Mohali got a permanent name for itself.

Mr Harjinder Singh Dhamal, president of the property dealers association, Mohali, said this was very good news for the real estate market.

"We are expecting better infrastructure development of the area," he said.

Celebrations were organised at the Phase VIII Dasehra grounds this evening. 



End of career, not calibre
Tribune News Service

Prof Sudha Suri
Prof Sudha Suri

Chandigarh, February 28
Retirement doesn’t mean the end of the world for anybody and certainly not for a person of the calibre of Prof Sudha Suri, Dean, PGIMER, and Head of the Department of Radiology.

While she spent the last day in office attending to work as usual, she took time off to celebrate her superannuation with her staff in the department.

The day must have ended on a celebratory note with her department giving her a touching farewell, it also came with the promise of a new beginning for her.

“I have a lot up my sleeve for the coming days. Though I am undecided on the direction I want to give to life, I am deliberating on contributing my mite to a social cause and do some charitable work,” Prof Suri said.

Maintaining that the city could not boast of very many big institutions, she said she was not averse to a “good assignment of her calibre”.

“One thing is certain, I will keep busy. I strongly believe that the secret of a good life is to never stop working,” she said.

Recalling the time when she joined the institution some 36 years ago, Prof Suri said she was troubled by the fact that patients had to wait for a date for an X-ray, come back again for getting it done and a third time for the report.

“I wanted to change all that. After my training abroad where I saw new technology being adopted, I decided what was in the interest of the patients. Today, I can proudly say we have embraced the fast-changing technology and are offering all services available in hospitals abroad at the PGI,” she added.

Maintaining that she wanted world-class services in the Department of Radiology at the PGI, Prof Suri stated: “My dream was to make these services available to the common man since the rich can even afford these services at private hospitals.

Today, when I am leaving the department, I am satisfied for having realised my dream,” she asserted.

Emphasising that her work at the department was the result of staunch support from the staff and faculty, Prof Suri said the next big thing she wanted was a “filmless department”.

“Dr Khandelwal, my successor, is a computer-savvy doctor who can bring about this change. Then, I think the MRI section too needs to be strengthened. I am sure he will keep up the tradition of involvement of staff in all major decisions and also continue with transparency in all working,” she said.

Full of praise for former PGI Directors — Prof B.N.S. Walia and Prof B.K. Sharma — Prof Suri attributed the success and expansion of radio diagnosis department to their supportive attitude.

“God was very kind to me throughout my term at the PGI and I am leaving a satisfied individual,” she concluded.



Pak journalists meet Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A delegation of 20 journalists from Punjab province of Pakistan, led by Rana Mohammad Azim, visited the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) office here today.

The journalists met with Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, MCC, and other councillors.

While talking to the delegation, the Mayor called upon mediapersons from India and Pakistan to exercise the power of their pen to strengthen the process of peace, mutual understanding and trust building among the people of both nations.

He hoped that it would go a long way in helping both countries in securing permanent peace.

Mr Surinder Singh appreciated the Chandigarh Journalist Union and the Punjab Union of Journalists for organising the meeting.

He said the frequent exchange of the delegations of trade, industry, culture and media played an important role in bringing people from both countries closer.

Earlier in the day, the delegation visited NIFD, Sector 8, to have a first-hand experience of the Indian fashion industry. The visit was organised by the Chandigarh Journalist Union and the Punjab Union of Journalists in association with the institute.

In an interaction with students and faculty there, the journalists shared their knowledge of fashion in their country. They pointed out that their regional embroidery was much sought after. Apart from that, there was not much difference in fashion in the two countries.

The delegation comprising Rana Mohammad Azim, Rai Hasnain Tahir, Makhdoom Bilal Aamir, Ezaj Mirza, Naeem Hanif, Waseem Farooq, Ashraf Majeed, Qaiser Chohan, Khamar Bieg, Sheraz Hasnat, Mian Rauf, Raja Mahboob, Aamir Sohail, etc. were present.



Readers Write
Manimajra dwellers continue to toil

This is with reference to the news published in Chandigarh Tribune under the title 'Manimajra dwellers in a fix". I am thankful to The Tribune for raising this hanging issue to wake up the higher authorities after a long sleep. We are harassed since a year. I have been running from pillar to post since the last one year to get my house regularised but nothing has been sorted out till date even after giving several written requests to the Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.

We are hopeful for a positive solution to our genuine problems.

Rajesh Kumar, Manimajra

Name PAU after Kairon

In the news item under heading ''PU cagers thrash Devi Lal varsity (Chandigarh Tribune) dated January 22, 2006, it was stated that there is a university at Sirsa in Haryana, which has been named as Devi Lal university. There are many universities in our country which have been named after the names late former chief ministers of states. A Horticulture and Forestry University at Nauni near Solan in Himachal Pradesh has been named after the late Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Dr Y.S. Parmar, and presently the above stated university is called Dr Parmar Horticulture and Forestry University, Nauni. A university in Jammu and Kashmir at Srinagar has been named after former late Chief Minister of J and K Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. A university at Udipur in Rajasthan has been named after former late Chief Minister of Rajasthan Pandit Mohan lal Sukhadia. If other states name universities in their states after their late chief ministers, then why does Punjab lag behind? The Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, should pass orders for naming of PAU after the name of Mr Partap Singh Kairon.

Narinder Singh, 'International' Chandigarh

Resentment among Sector 40 residents

Great resentment prevails amongst residents of Sector 40 and surrounding sectors and nearby colonies for not reopening of the post office. The post office which has been in operation closed down over six months back.It has not yet been reopened despite several representations made to the postal authorities, including the one given by Mrs Shyama Negi, the then Councillor and now Senior Deputy Mayor to parliamentary standing committee that visited the city a few months back.

In the absence of the post office that was catering to the needs of Sectors 38, 39, 41, besides Sector 40, residents of these sectors are suffering tremendously. There were about 10,000 account holders in the post office when it was closed down abruptly. Surprisingly, all the accounts have been transferred to Sector 17 main post office instead of Sector 36, which is easily approachable. The residents, particularly the senior citizens and retirees, feel difficulty for operating these accounts.

To cater to the needs of the residents of five sectors and villages, a full-fledged post office in this area is immediately required where all essential postal services such as speed post, national saving schemes and allied services may be available. The residents made a plea that in case the accommodation is not immediately available, post office can be reopened either in community center,Sector 40, or in some school on temporary basis so that people may get a sigh of relief.

While expressing resentment, the residents have decided to resort to agitation in case the post office is not reopened immediately.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

Treated sewerage water for irrigation

A trend-setting step that the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh must take is to use the treated sewerage water for irrigation of lawns and other 'green' areas of the City Beautiful. In this way some 30 million gallons of treated sewerage will be utilised daily. This will help to decrease stress on the city's water resources. The above action will utilise water which is not put to such use at present. But careful treatment would be required to make the treated sewerage water clinically safe and asthetically acceptable.

Dr G.S. Dhillon, Chandigarh

Beware of Sukhna's silt

Every year thousands of truckloads of silt are getting deposited on the bed of Sukhna lake, thereby reducing its capacity. It is now feared that this lake may vanish after a few years. This would be an avoidable tragedy with the help of a fool proof scheme costing less than Rs 1 crore and capable of being executed in just 6 days. The entry of any silt in the lake can be prevented and the lake preserved for all times to come. Not to do so shall be an engineering a blunder whose rectification may cost crores of rupees. This preventive scheme was brought to the notice of the Governor of Punjab in August, 2004, when he inaugurated a debate over its merits by about 150 engineers of Chandigarh. They gave a favourable verdict for the scheme. So far the government has neither accepted this scheme nor made known any reason for not doing so.

It will be in the Sukhna's interest if this million dollar scheme is executed before the next monsoon so as to prevent it from getting yet another annual heavy dose of silt.

This scheme can become a landmark in the history of silt management of lakes in general and Sukhna in particular.

S.P. Malhotra, Panchkula



Programme on population education

Mohali, February 28
Fortyfive beneficiaries of Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, from Daon, Ramgarh and Raipur villages participated in a programme on Population and Development Education (PDE) organised by the sansthan at its field office in Daon village, Kharar block today.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, programme Officer of the sansthan, said that PDE programme sought to empower people through education and life-skill development. It helped individuals to make informed choices and adopt a responsible behaviour leading to a better quality of life. In the last one hundred years, the world population had increased from two billion to six billion. This had put a tremendous pressure on our natural resources, besides, affecting social development. The issue of population had to be seen in relation with development, environment and quality of life.

Dr Dazy Zarabi, Programme Co-ordinator, PDE Cell, Regional Resource Centre for Adult and Continuing Education, Panjab University , Chandigarh, spoke on the issue of gender, female-foeticide, the declining sex ratio in India, Punjab and Ropar district and women’s empowerment.

Dr Satyavir Singh Malik, Coordinator, NSS Training Orientation Centre, Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh, laid emphasis on the importance of providing sex education to the youth. TNS



Rasoighar opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A Rasoighar in Rotary Sarai at PGIMER was commissioned, here today. The mayor, Mr Suinder Singh, in the presence of Senior Regional Manager, Mr Sunil Malik, inaugurated the Rasoighar where 10 hotplate points have been set up for the attendants of patients to cook as per their requirement.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited will provide LPG free for cooking . The HPCL has renovated the place4 and set up HP Gas Rasoighar by providing a kitchen platform. In addition, stoves, untensils and a cylinder bank is also made available.

Safety messages and safety tips including operating instructions are displayed at the rasoighar and users can avail the facility at an affordable price.



Jaspal Bhatti clarifies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Reacting to a new-item published in these columns, Jaspal Bhatti today clarified that he never apologised to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) in a local court in a case relating to the hurting of religious sentiments of the Hindus.
"I had already mentioned in the revision peitition that I respect all regions, including Hinduism, and I never intended to hurt the feelings of any community or religion," Bhatti said in a written statement.



Central vigilance team in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A two- member team of the Vigilance Department of the Ministry of External Affairs visited the office of the Regional Passport Office here today.
The exact reason for the visit of the Vigilance team could not be ascertained till the filing of the report late.



Tribune employees retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Mr Om Parkash Rajpal and Mr Amar Nath Dutt, Senior Foreman and Foreman of The Tribune, respectively, retired from service today. While Mr Rajpal served the institution for about 41 years, Mr Dutt had put in about 39 years of service.

Mr Rajpal and Mr Dutt joined The Tribune in 1964 and 1967, respectively, at Ambala.

A warm farewell was given to them.

The General Manager, Mr Sanjay Hazari, was present on the occasion. The Additional General Manager, Mr O.P. Arora, and the Assistant Press Manager, Mr L.S. Chaturvedi, lauded their services to the institution.



Cook killed by speeding Qualis
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 28
A cook working with Hotel Shivalikview was killed in a road accident when a Qualis hit his bicycle from the rear near the Sector 10 petrol station this afternoon.
He was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where he was declared brought dead

The vehicle belonging to the Punjab Health Directorate was being driven at breakneck speed when it hit the cyclist, the police said.

According to eyewitnesses, the rashly driven Qualis (CH-01-G-0873) banged into the cyclist from the rear. The drive lost control of the vehicle after that it flipped twice before coming to rest.

The cyclist suffered multiple injuries and bled profusely when he was taken to the hospital. The driver reportedly took the victim to the hospital.

Sources in the police station said the victim had been identified as 37-year-old Puran Chand, a resident of Naya Gaon.

Puran Chand is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

He was on his way to work around 3 pm when the accident took place. A police officer present on the spot said the tyres of the Qualis were worn out, which caused poor handling and thus resulted in the accident.

The police has arrested Mastan Singh, the driver of Qualis, and registered a case in this regard. The vehicle was also loaded with bundles of papers and files.

Gambling: The local police arrested Goro of Sector 15, Chander Prakash of Sector 8, Rakesh Kumar of Sector 15 and Sanjay Kumar of Maloya Colony from Shashtri market in Sector 22 on the charges of indulging in gambling at public place on Monday.

The police recovered Rs 500 from their possession and registered a case under the Gambling Act.



Kazakhstan keen on tie-ups

Chandigarh, February 28
“We are looking for association with India specially on the fronts of Information Technology and other technological arenas. One of the biggest reasons is that the GDP growth of India is showing a very promising future for us to invest.”

This was stated by Mr Kairat E. Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to India, while speaking at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Sector 19, here today. He showed special interest in possible tie-ups with the Punjab Government. TNS


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