Chandigarh Tribune
Saturday, January 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Administration replacing greenery with fencing
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — The green hedges encompassing Fitness Trails, Sector 10, have paved way for steel chain link fencing with the Chandigarh Administration repeatedly reiterating its commitment of keeping the city green.

While the work on the steel chain link fencing has been in progress, the Engineering Department has finished construction of a steel bridge and fixing of mild steel railing at the newly developed Bulbous Garden in Sector 23. The garden is yet to get its plants.

Of annual budgetary allocation of Rs 72 lakh, a substantial amount has been either used or proposed to be used for procurement of machinery, boring of tubewells, purchase of tractors and shrubmasters and provision of cement concrete footpaths, chain link fencing, mild steel railing and parking area.

Work on important projects, like development of Herbarium and Garden of Five Senses, has either been delayed or held up for one reason or the other.

A perusal of the works of engineering heads for the current financial year make interesting revelation. There is clear diversion of money from horticulture and landscaping heads to works which are essentially more of civil works than anything to do with landscaping, horticulture or greening of the city.

Of late, the Administration has been going full blast in replacing the green shrubbery, hedges and green cover with mild steel railings, chain link fencing, concrete cement pathways and boundary walls than concentrate on improving the green cover.

As of today, a number of major horticulture projects in the city are not fenced by natural hedges but by mild steel railings and chain link fencing. The traditional concept of barbed wire fencing supported by green hedges has been given a go by.

The reason advanced for chain link fencing of the Sector 10 Leisure Valley is the damage caused to it by stray cattle. "I myself counted 51 cows inside Fitness Trails one day," said Mr R.K. Jain, Chief Engineer.

Investigations revealed that more than a year ago, the Engineering Department undertook some civil engineering and public health projects in the Sector 10 Leisure Valley and Fitness Trails. These included laying of more concrete cement pathways and a tubewell.

To supply the construction material, including sand, gravel, cement, bricks and steel, the truckers not only punctured but wrecked havoc with green hedges. No effort was made to stop the free movement of trucks inside Leisure Valley or Fitness Trails. Once the hedges were damaged and removed, it became a free passage not only for humans but also for stray cattle, which found the place peaceful and full of fodder.

Instead of growing hedges in gaps and sealing the area with barbed wire fencing, the Engineering Department came out with a proposal of chain link fencing. To execute the work, it first cut the remaining 90 per cent of the green hedges before the chain link fencing started.

The Engineering Department had undertaken a similar massive exercise in providing similar chain link fencing to Bougainvillea Garden. The next on its "hit list" is the prestigious Sector 16 Dr Zakir Rose Garden, perhaps the only garden left with green hedges.Back


PUDA relaxes norms for CM's aide
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 21 — While the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) takes prompt action against the violators of building bylaws in the town, it has turned a blind eye to the blatant violation by the occupant of a house who is on the personal staff of the Punjab Chief Minister, in Phase 3B1 here.

PUDA has also gone out of way to relax the set norms for width of a C-road, in front of House Number 815. Investigations reveal that in front of houses 810 to 824, the width of the road has been increased from 12 foot to 16 foot — a relaxation hardly given in any other case.

PUDA, in a letter written to the local Municipal Council (marked important), said as a school was located in front of the houses and the width of the road was inadequate to cater to the heavy flow of traffic, it needed to be widened. A visit to the area revealed that instead of a school, a park existed in front of the row of houses, particularly in front of the houses 814 and 815.

The letter also said the residents of the area had said they faced problems in parking their vehicles inside their houses due to inadequate width of the road. It said the field staff of PUDA had visited the area and found the grievance of the residents genuine.

Officials of the council said the work on widening the road had been done by a contractor on behalf of the council at a cost of over Rs 1 lakh. A water-supply line had come under the widened portion of the road, posing a danger of leakage in it due to vehicles crossing over it. A resident of the area, who wished to remain anonymous, said by widening the C-road, PUDA had set a new precedent. There were a number of C-roads in the town which needed to be widened to ease traffic congestion.

The visit to the area revealed that maximum violation of the building bylaws had been done by the occupants of houses 814 and 815. Instead of raising their boundary wall, they had erected iron grills.

An open space between these houses had also been encroached and PUDA had taken no action against the occupants of the houses. PUDA had also levelled an uneven ground in front of the Phase 3B1 market, as a family function of the occupant of House Number 815 was scheduled to be held in the coming days.Back

PUDA removes encroachments
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 21 — Encroachment on over four acres behind the Commando Training Complex in Phase XI here, which had been done by a constable of the Punjab Police, was removed by the enforcement staff of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) on the second day of the demolition drive in the township.

An official of the PUDA said a number of khokhas outside the office of the Punjab School Education Board in Phase VIII and at least three shops set up to sell construction material were also demolished. The drive would continue tomorrow.Back


Poly Clinic corridors flooded
By Sonoo Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — Patients and doctors walk precariously through water that has flooded corridors of Poly Clinic, Sector 22, here. And sweepers refuse to clean the area because it is a persistent problem.

According to sources, trouble started a couple of days back when a water tank overflowed and water started "sprouting out of the walls of the laboratory, just like a fountain and flooding the corridors".

Interestingly, some employees at the clinic said though there was hardly any drinking water available from the taps, such leaking water could be found quite frequently.

In fact, today most patients — old and ailing people, pregnant women and children — could be found walking along the walls to avoid slipping in the water.

Most doctors, though reluctant to comment, agreed that it was a sorry state of affairs and that the engineering department should wake up and maintain a minimum level of health and hygiene at the clinic.

The Department of Public Health Circle, however, seems oblivious to this problem. According to Mr Udai Veer Singh, Superintending Engineer (SE), "We have not received any such information, otherwise we would have rectified this the very same day. I will have to find out whether there has been an overflow of a tank or it is something else."

Dr Meenal Kumar, Acting Senior Medical Officer (SMO), who is in charge of the clinic, though also oblivious of the problem, maintained that some people from the engineering department had visited the clinic.

The Director Health Services (DHS), UT, Dr Joginder Singh, said, "The engineering department has already been contacted, and we would like the Poly Clinic to start functioning normally with immediate effect."

Incidentally, according to sources, the DHS, accompanied by Mr Rakesh Singh, the Secretary Health, UT, had inspected the clinic on Thursday and asked the authorities to get the leakage rectified immediately.

To add to the problem, sweepers at the clinic are refusing to clean this mess since they feel that this is a recurring problem that needs to be fixed up by the engineering department.

Meanwhile, the losers are the patients who have to tread carefully through the flooded corridors.Back


Illegal constructions on
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Jan 21 — Colonisers and property dealers of this area have started converting agricultural and waste land into plots for sale. In total disregard for any authority, the practice has gained momentum right under the nose of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

Colonisers and property dealers have also started reclaiming the chos and rivulets, leaving room only for a small discharge. At some places, embankments have been constructed along the rivulets to reclaim their beds for new plots.

After the formation of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, particularly since the civic body was authorised to issue no objection certificates, construction work, in violation of all rules, has been accelerated in villages and colonies which fall in the panchayat's jurisdiction.

"Illegal" construction is on without getting the building plans approved by the Nagar Panchayat. New plots are being created by filling up uneven surfaces.

The nullah which has been left with a very little capacity to carry flood waters, is likely to damage localities, crops and other property, the residents fear. Moreover, the filling may settle down and damage the buildings built on such plots.

Some of the stone-crushers owners whose business has been affected by the imposition of octroi by the Nagar Panchayat, have also gone into the business of plot selling.

Mr Hardev Singh, General Manger (Regulatory), said the colonisers and property dealers were violating the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA) 1995, since construction could be done only at places approved under the Punjab Regulation and Town Planing and Development Act 1995.

Mr Amrit Lal Bansal, the Executive Officer of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, said illegal construction in any part of the panchayat would not be allowed at any cost. The government had appointed a town-planning expert in the panchayat office and constructions outside the Town Planing Scheme would not be regularised, he said.Back


Brothers to die for murder
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — Two Indians Kooky Sharma and his brother, Devinder Sharma — setlled in Kampala city to Uganda, have been sentenced to death for murdering Mrs Renu Joshi.

Mrs Renu Joshi was the wife of Kooky Sharma, a businessman.

An intimation with regard to the death penality has been given by the High Commission of India in Kampala to Mr R.P. Joshi, father of Mrs Renu Joshi, who is settled in Mani Majra.

Mr Joshi in a statement sent to The Tribune said his daughter was done to death on the intervening night of December 23 and 24.

The case against both brothers was registered after Mr Joshi took up the matter with the Indian High Commission in Kampala on December 27 which confirmed the death of Mrs Renu in unnatural circumstances. Mr Joshi said the authorities there had been told that Mrs Renu faced torture at the hands of her in-laws in Jalandhar as well as her husband and brother-in-law at Kampala who demanded more dowry.

In Kampala, the print media has reported the death sentence to the brothers prominently. According to reports in the media in Kampala, a Kampala high court judge, Mr Justice Moses Mukiibi, said Devinder Kumar abetted the murder or aided Kooky in the murder or Mrs Renu.

The judge handed down the death sentence after the trial, which lasted almost one year.

In his verdict the judge said: "I find each of you guilty of murder and there is only one sentence prescribed by the law for murder. I therefore sentence you to suffer death in a manner authorised by the law".

The court observed that Mrs Renu Joshi had sustained multiple burns on both the lower and upperlimbs as a result of electric shock.Back


90 pc of aged have little support: Sandhu
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — Helpage India, an organisation involved in caring for the aged, has initiated an action plan to implement the new policy devised by the government to provide financial, health and emotional security to the elderly.

Stating this while talking to TNS during his visit to the city today, the Helpage India Director-General, Maj-Gen S. S. Sandhu (retd), added that though the policy was devised in January, 1999, it was yet to be implemented.

The policy includes aspects concerned with the care of aged, including financial, health and emotional security as well as related research activities, education, role of the media and role of non-government organisations (NGOs).

''We have already held three panel discussions on important aspects of the policy. The final meeting with experts in the fields concerned will be held early next month to give a final shape to the action plan,'' General Sandhu said, adding that the implementation of the policy would require a synergy between the central and state governments as well as NGOs and experts in various fields.

Objectives under various heads, time frames for executing projects, financial aspects, clientele and the implementing agencies are other things being worked out.

General Sandhu said that the number of the aged (above the age of 60 years) in the country had risen to 70 million from 19 million in 1951, and this figure was expected to touch 177 million in another 25 years. Of the 70 million aged, about 90 per cent are from the unorganised sector, with little or no financial and emotional support.

pointing out that currently Helpage India is undertaking 1,700 projects covering about 4 million aged people, he said that the organisation was enlarging its ''mirco-credit'' project, which generates revenue as well as income.

Other activities include running old age homes, day care centres, free cataract operations, mobile medical vans, income generation programmes, providing basic needs to adopted aged people and consultancy work.

He said that last year the organisation generated resources to the tune of Rs 15 crore for its activities. Over 80 per cent of this amount was spent on welfare projects. All resources, he said, had to be generated by the organisation and it gets no financial assistance from the government or the United Nations.

Stating that providing care to the aged is an gargantuan task, he said gearing up to cater to the needs of the aged was needed.Back


Sewer overflowing for 2 weeks
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — Even as the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has decided to impose sewerage cess, the problem of sewerage disposal remains unabated in certain parts of the city. A case in point is the overflowing sewer in a block of CPWD flats of Sector 46-A, here.

For the past about two weeks, the residents of the block, from house numbers 537 to 543 and opposite them, from numbers 554 to 560, have been put to a lot of inconvenience. The problem of the leakage had been a regular and no concrete steps seemed to have been taken to plug it.

As the road in front of the block has not been recarpeted for the past several years, it is flooded. The stench of the overflowing sewerage mixed with the puddles of water becomes unbearable and requests to the corporation authorities fall on deaf ears, allege the residents.

And with the streetlights not functioning in the area, this particular stretch of the potholed road becomes a driver's nightmare.

The condition of the roads is also pathetic. While in other parts of the sector, recarpeting has been done, in this area even the road patchwork is neglected. And in the absence any developed park, the children have nowhere to go for playing, except the potholed roads.Back


'Implement paying guest scheme'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH , Jan 21 — The local unit of the All-India Paying Guest Accommodation Association has urged the Chandigarh Administration to implement the paying guest accommodation (PGA) scheme in the city.

Raising this demand at a press conference here today, the patron of the association, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj,said the scheme, besides providing economical stay to tourists, including foreign travellers, would boost tourism.

Since Chandigarh is gateway to Himachal Pradesh and surrounded by Punjab and Haryana, a large number of tourists would be benefited from the scheme. This would also help to abolish hundreds of unauthorised guest houses in different sectors, which had become a nuisance.

Mr Bhardwaj alleged that a section of the Administration was under pressure from the powerful hotel lobby and the guest house owners who were putting hindrances in the scheme, which had already been implemented in about 23 states and union territories, covering over 2,000 cities.

Mr OP Bagga, General Secretary, claimed that the scheme was approved in principle by the Administration in 1998 but was later deferred due to change in the administrative set-up.

Mr AS Mann, a member, demanded immediate action against the illegal guest houses, which had become a source of nuisance. The Administration should set its priorities right in deciding whether it wanted to protect the interests of thousands of visitors and residents or influential hoteliers and illegal guest house owners.Back


HUDA workers' strike ‘unjustified’
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Jan 21 — The Chief Administrator (CA) of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Mr NC Wadwa, today said in a press conference that the agitation of HUDA workers, which entered 25th day, was unjustified.

He said that most of the demands of the workers had already been met and other legitimate demands were under consideration. On the demand for bonus for the workers, Mr Wadwa said that the matter had been put up for consideration and was at present with the Legal Rememberancer.

On the issue of pension to the workers, the CA said that there was no policy so far to grant pension to the employees of state undertakings. Regarding promotion of the workers, he said a seniority list would be completed within a month and that would resolve the problem.

Mr Wadwa turned down the demand for a 5 per cent reservation of plot for the workers.Back


Withdraw water tariff hike: BSP, Congress
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — A delegation of the local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party, led by its President, Mr Mata Ram Dhiman, met the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and submitted to him a detailed memorandum containing various demands of the unit.

The BSP wanted that revision of water tariff should be reviewed and the hike should be practical which should not affect weaker sections of society. The memorandum said the recent increase in bus fares too had hit the weaker sections of society and poor.

The delegation highligted the poor condition of civic amenities in labour colonies, slums and villages. It wanted that the administration, instead of concentrating on "pampered" sectors, should also pay attention to other parts of the city, including the Phase II sectors.

The delegation also highlighted the poor sanitation and inefficient garbage disposal system in labour colonies, slums and villages. It wanted that the garbage disposal should be systematised and made scientific.

The delegation said educational facilities in schools of slums, villages and colonies were far from satisfactory and quality education was not being provided in these schools.

It said the rate of unemployment in skilled, unskilled and educated unemployed youth had been on the rise. It urged the administration to work out schemes of employment generation, encourage self-employment by simplifying the procedures which were otherwise too rigid and difficult.

The delegation also criticised the upkeep of basic civic amenities in Mani Majra. It also demanded immediate removal of electric poles which were in the middle of roads, more funds for development of colonies, simplification of the procedure for issuance of certificate of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, implementation of the Mandal Commission report and immediate allotment of sites to mechanics and other self-employed persons.

Meanwhile, A delegation of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee also met the Administrator of Chandigarh today and gave him a memorandum of its demands.

The delegation wanted that the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, "which had been on a tax-levying spree", should be dissolved and the steep hike in water tariff announced by it should be immediately withdrawn. The delegation said this hike would hit the lower and middle classes.

It also wanted that the administration should monitor the utilisation of grants givenby it to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to ensure its judicious use.

The Administrator gave a patient hearing to the delegation and said the administration would maintain a check on the grant being passed on to the civic body, a press note issued on behalf of the delegation by Mr Sandeep Singh, Secretary of the CTCC, said.Back


Power failure in Sector 16
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Jan 21 — Life in certain pockets of Sector 16 here was hit today following a power failure in the sector. Residents of the sector complained that there was no electricity since yesterday evening, which affected routine household work.

A transformer in front of house number 428, which developed a snag due to sparking, was reportedly the reason for the power failure. Ms Sushila Takulia of Sector 16, said there was a heavy rush of people at the electricity complaint office today as most of them were unable to lodge the complaint on telephone.

The power failure also affected the water supply in the sector, especially on the top floors of houses. However, the power supply was restored late in the evening today. Back


Memo on cremation ground
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — The Burail Social Welfare Society, in a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh, has demanded that the land belonging to the Burail cremation ground should not be acquired, as is being done, as the Sector 25 cremation ground is far from the village. The society wants that the cremation ground of the village should not be disturbed.Back


One killed, three injured in mishap

PANCHKULA, Jan 21 — One person was killed on the spot and three others were seriously injured when two trucks collided here last evening.

The incident took place on the Ramgarh-Mattawali road. The deceased has been identified as Mahinder Singh of Rattawali village near Barwala.

The injured were reportedly from the same village. Two of the injured have been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, and one to the General Hospital in Sector 6 here. Onlookers said the local police was late by an hour to reach the site. A case has been registered by the police.

Truck confiscated: A truck (HR-03-0645) was confiscated as four persons in it were carrying eucalyptus wood accross the border. The incident took place on the Madanpur-Kishangarh road.

The four persons, belonging to Aasirwali village near Ramgarh, have been arrested. A case has been registered by the local police.


Five held for snatching: The police held five persons for snatching money from a Sector 24 resident. According to police sources, Mr Rajeev Kumar said he stopped for smoking near Sector 32 when he was approached by two persons who asked him for a matchbox.

When he was handing them a matchbox, they snatched Rs 500 from him and fled in a three-wheeler (CHV-2031), which was parked nearby. Three persons were already sitting inside the vehicle.

The accused — Shiv Kumar, Anoop, Parkash, Hans Raj and Charanjit — were chased and nabbed by the police. A case under Sections 356, 379 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against them.

Two women arrested: The police arrested two women on charges of immoral trafficking. A police party led by Mr Sagar Preet, ASP, Central, nabbed the women from the Sector 15\24 bus stop. A case under Sections 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the PITA has been registered.

Nabbed with whisky: The police arrested Subash Chander of Shahbad, and recovered 100 pouches of whisky. A case under Section 61\1\14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Car stolen: Mr Bhajan Singh of SAS Nagar reported that his car (CH-OI-6909) had been stolen from the Punjab and Haryana High Court parking. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.Back


Potato price plummets
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

DERA BASSI, Jan 21 — Potato has turned a crop of sorrow for growers in Punjab. In the wholesale market the price of potato has touched almost an all-time low. The vegetable is selling at 70 paise to 90 paise a kilo. The best quality potatoes are available for Rs 70 a bag weighing 80 kg in the Chandigarh’s main market.

Engaged in the harvesting of the potato crop in Bhankarpur village, near here, Mr Sita Ram told TNS that the crop has become totally unviable due to a fall in its price in the market. While farmers and commission agents are suffering, retailers are making money out of the sale of potato. Retailers sell potato to consumer between Rs 2.50 a kg to Rs 3.25 a kg according to Mr Sita Ram.

Now potato is arriving in vegetable markets mainly from the Rajpura-Banur-Dera Bassi belt. Earlier the price of potato was between Rs 2 a kg to Rs 3 a kg in the wholesale market when the arrival of potato started from the Nawanshahr area, a commission agent in the Chandigarh vegetable market told TNS.

Giving details about the economics of the potato crop, Mr Hari Singh, another potato grower of the local area, revealed that farmers had to spend at least Rs 1000 on harvesting the crop in an acre and Rs 1500 on packaging in gunny bags. As much as Rs 600 was spent on two urea bags and about Rs 1200 per acre on seed. Two trollies of poultry farm fertilsers (droppings of poultry birds) cost Rs 3000 and one permanent farm hand had to be employed for three months at a salary Rs 1500 a month.

The expenditure on diesel touches nearly Rs 1000. Besides, other expnses including cultivation with a tractor, etc, comes to nearly Rs 1000. While at the existing rate farmers get a yield worth Rs 12,000 from one acre. “All the way it is a losing proposition”, according to Mr Hari Singh.

Not only in Punjab, but farmers in Haryana too are facing the problem on the potato front. They are getting almost the same return as their counterparts in Punjab.

In fact, potato is not the only crop which is selling virtually at a throw away price. The same is the fate of carrot, cauliflower, cabbage and onion making the growers cry. Onion which was earlier selling at a price of Rs 7 is now available for Rs 2 a kg to Rs 3.50 a kg in the wholesale market. Varieties of onion are arriving from the Kaithal area now in Chandigarh and other markets. The rate of Naisk variety is around Rs 140 for a bag weighing 40 kg.

Cauliflower, which at the start of the season fetched a price ranging from Rs 12 a kg to Rs 15 a kg in the wholesale market, is now selling at the rate of 60 paise to 80 paise per kg. Carrot, which fetched a price between Rs 5 and Rs 8 per a kilo at the start of the sesaon, is now selling at Rs 2 per kg in the wholesale market. Green peas, which arrives from Jaipur (Rajasthan) in the local markets, is selling for Rs 3 a kg to Rs 4 a kg in the wholesale markets while the retailer sells the same for Rs 10 a kilo.

Commission agents say that due to a fall in the price of various vegetables farmers earn nothing. Because of this their commission rates are low. They say that the retailers are the major beneficiaries due to the fall in the wholesale prices of these commodities. They never bring the rate below a certain point. While they sell cauliflower for Rs 5 a kg, carrot is also sold at the same rate.

Interestingly, while potato (raw) is selling at such a low rate in the wholesale market, processed potato by multinational companies in the form of chips, etc, sells between Rs 100 a kg and Rs 200 a kg. Farmers say the authorities concerned in the government should come to the rescue of the farmers and start processing potato at the village level for ensuring a good return. Back

Petrol stations to close at 10 p.m.
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — All petrol pump owners have been asked to close down by 10 p.m. everyday. This was decided at a meeting of owners and managers of various petrol pumps and the police held at the police headquarters.

The meeting had been convened by Mr Parag Jain, SSP, in view of the increasing incidents of fleeing without paying for the petrol filled in vehicles. It was attended by the SP, all SDPOs, besides 36 owners and managers of the filling stations.

Following the discussions, the SSP said after tracking down the offenders, the petrol pump owners preferred to reach a compromise with them rather than going to the police. He said such a compromise encouraged anti-social elements to indulge in such crimes in future. The attendent of a petrol pump had lodged a similar complaint which had turned out to be false after investigation by the police.

He said there was a need for keeping a strict vigil on the persons who visited filling stations at late hours, as most of such crimes occured late in the evening. The petrol pump owners were asked to maintain a register in which the registration number, make and colour, of all vehicles which visited the outlet after 9 p.m. should be taken down.

The outlet should have the maximum number of people working during the late hours and the staff should be asked to keep a watch on youngsters and suspicious elements. In case of an emergency, the police should be informed immediately. The need for employing watchmen and their interaction with the beat staff was also stressed.

A list of all important telephone numbers of the police should be displayed at a prominent place at the petrol pumps for easy visibility and reference. Meanwhile, a drive has been launched to challan the offenders who display fancy or flashing registration plates.Back


Proposal to hike ST opposed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has objected to the proposal of the Chandigarh Administration to hike sales tax on certain commodities following the directions of the Central Government to rationalise the ST structure in the country.

A press note demanded the withdrawal of the surcharge on ST and the abolition of CST. With states having uniform sales tax, several items would come under higher tax slabs, it said. The CST on such items would push up prices and consumers would buy these items from neighbouring states as Chandigarh was a small union territory, it added.

While demanding that ST rates should not be amended till the neighbouring states also brought uniformity in ST, the press note urged the Administration to clear pending ST assessment rates immediately. It demanded that similar category of products should be in the single schedule. For instance, items like spark plugs and batteries should be in the category of auto parts to facilitate billing by traders, it added.Back


'Promote technical education for women'
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21— Conceptually entrepreneurship should not be considered as gender specific, and that schemes for the involvement of women in various work places, women entrepreneurship and women empowerment should be integrated in the already existing support system. These were some of the conclusions reached on the last day of the two-day national seminar on 'Gender Sensitivity',held by the Technical Teachers Training Institute (TTTI), Sector 26, and the British Council, New Delhi, at the TTTI campus today.

About 50 delegates from different parts of the country participated in the seminar. The delegates included key functionaries from technical institutions, professionals from industries, senior officials of the Department of Technical Education, educationists from institutes of higher learning and technical education and also gender specialists.

The valedictory address was delivered by Ms Ravneet Kaur, Chairperson, Punjab State Board of Technical Education, who briefly described various governmental initiatives in the emancipation and empowerment of women.

Ms Kaur said that development is a slow process and sustainable development cannot take place without involving women.

Prominent speakers who made key presentations during the seminar included Prof K B Raina, former Principal of TTTI, Chandigarh, Dr Vidhu Mohan of the Department of Psychology, Panjab University, and Ms Margaret Foster from the United Kingdom.

Participants and experts reached a decision to organise such programmes for the masses and also for the application of science and technology for women in rural habitats, farm sector and rural industries.

They opined that women need to play active role in identifying local needs, planning, decision making, implementing and evaluating programmes and projects pertaining to various developmental programmes for women.

It was also felt that there is a need to create necessary facilities for women students in co-educational technical institutions and to also have necessary facilities like creches and transport facilities.

It was felt that entrepreneurship education and training should be included as a compulsory subject in curriculum of technical institutions so as to promote employment for women. The participants also felt that the government should support all those NGOs that have established their credibility in improving the status of women. Experts felt that technical education needed to be made more attractive for women and non-formal programmes for women should be offered by technical institutions.Back


Telecom engineers end stir
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — The Telecommunication Engineering Services Association (TESA), Punjab Circle, and the Association of Class I and Class II officers of the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) ended its three-day agitation today.

The engineers were protesting against a lack of promotional avenues. This was the fourth phase of the countrywide protest. The congregation of engineers was held mostly during lunch time, thus, it did not affect the working of the department.

The engineers are demanding the removal of bottlenecks in the promotional avenues of the TES group 'B' officers. An improvement in the lateral advancement scheme of the TES group 'B' officers was also sought. Creation of justified posts in the STS of the ITS group 'A', pay fixation on promotion for the TES group 'B' officers who were not subjected to review by the Departmental Promotion Committee, were also demanded.

As part of restructuring of the Department of Telecom, TESA has suggested absorption of group 'A' and group 'B' officers in the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). TESA has also sought that the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) be given some financial powers.Back

Municipal services’ privatisation backed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — A two-day seminar on privatisation of municipal services was organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here today. Mr Ashok Pahwa, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Mr N.K. Arora, Principal Secretary, Punjab, and experts from ICICI, Mumbai and New Delhi, and the HUDCO were the main speakers on the occasion.

Mr Pahwa said in order to save the urban infrastructure from collapsing, available resources from private sector should be tapped. Mr Arora also supported privatisation in several sectors.

Mr Rachpal Malhotra, Director of the CRRID, said permanent funds were not available with central or state governments to transfer these to municipal bodies. National financial institutions had some hope in this direction, he added.Back

Amnesty grant by ESIC
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 21 — On the request of employers’ organisations, the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has decided to grant another spell of amnesty to the insured persons and employers against whom prosecution cases have been filed under Sections 84 and 85 of the ESI Act.

According to a press note, the period of amnesty would be up to July this year. The amnesty will only be available to those persons who had not availed the same during 1992-93.Back

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