Wednesday, February 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Retirement age issue gets bogged down
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 —The enhancement in the retirement of Panjab University non-teaching officials from 60 to 62 years by the Syndicate in December, 1999, will not be implemented following a communication from the University Grants Commission, the Human Resource ministry, the Chancellor’s office and the UT Finance department.

The Panjab University at a special senate meeting on the issue of retirement age today resolved that “the resolution concerned shall not be implemented till approved by the HRD.” The other proposal said that the implementation of the proposal ‘ be kept in abeyance”. Meanwhile, other routes for clinching the issue should be tried.

The house was divided in two blocks. One projected the university taking a firm stand on the issue of standing by the decision on age enhancement and pursuing it further. The other said that the university should follow the instructions of the UGC and discontinue the resolution unless passed by the authorities.Mr Kuljit Nagra in a different tone said age should not be enhanced.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof M.M.Puri said the ground reality needed a far closer look than personal stand. One needs to keep in mind the university paying a heavy cost on the stoppage of grants and also a threat of cancellation of grants.

Section 33 of Volume I of PU Calendar provided that the government did have the right to intervene directly, and the directions were binding on the university.

The house need not feel that its dignity has suffered on accounts of the stand for non-implementation by the UGC. The whole agenda needed a reset. Keeping in mind the possible results, the university needs to pursue the case in the right direction, Mr Puri added.

Right at the outset Prof Charanjit Chawla said the retirement benefit could not be implemented till the whole calendar and constitutional provisions were followed. In case of non-teaching employees, the proposal was not even through to the committee concerned at the campus level when the Senate gave it a nod.

Mr G.K.Chatrath said the problem was regarding a decision of the Government of India. Till the time it got the government nod, the age benefit could not be adopted.

Mr Ashok Goyal repeated questions over parity of the Controller of Examination, the Registrar and the Finance and Development Officer with the teaching staff. The question, however, was not commented upon.

Mr K.I.P. Sinha, DPI, said the proposal for age enhancement which got the Syndicate’s approval had big financial implications. The matter should be examined in detail.

Dr R.D.Anand gave a detailed account of the history of the staff benefits over the years and the present repercussions of following a different set of regulations.

Dr I.M.Govil said a special committee was formed to see the pay benefits to the Finance and Development Officer, the Controller of Examination and the Registrar. Despite a negative report, there were enough indications to show that certain benefits had been drawn against the names of these officers.

Prof Chawla stood by his opinion not raise the age before the Centre’s approval. Calling the cancellation of the Senate order as “thukk ke chhatna (licking one’s own spit), Prof Chawla said suggestions and notes should have been taken from right sources before implementation. The expression received approval from several member and such comments were made on the floor by other members, too.

Dr Rabinder Nath Sharma, Dr S.S.Hundal and Principal Gandhar said the university needed not be apologetic as regards the decision. New ways should be found for pursuing the case.

Pertinently the Senate on December 26,1999 proposed a raise in the age of retirement of all university employees from 60 to 62.

The Vice-Chancellor responded to a letter from the Chancellor’s office, quoting a letter from a local resident claiming to be based at Lajpat Bhavan. The VC said the writer, Mr Piyush Saxena, did not “exist” on the university’s knowledge.

The Senate decided to pursue the case of refusal by the UGC with ‘not a servile response’. Prof V.K. Bansal supported the voice of the Vice-Chancellor to pursue the case at a higher level.Back


ASI move to protect monuments
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — Perturbed over increasing encroachments and illegal constructions around archaeological monuments in the region, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is seeking the transfer of ownership of the archaeological sites from the state governments to the Central government. Most of the sites concerned are listed as protected monuments by the Central or the state government concerned.

Sources reveal that the Chandigarh circle of the ASI has written to three state governments, highlighting the problems of encroachment and illegal structures around key monuments located in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The process for transfer, sources add, had already been initiated.

Following the ASI’s approach, the Himachal Pradesh Government recently transferred the possession of four ancient protected temples located in Mandi district from the state authorities to the Central Government.

The ownership of an ancient mound locate at Norangabad in Bhiwani district of Haryana has also been transferred to the Central government about two months ago, while the transfer of the Ther mound in Sirsa district is underway.

The Punjab Government is reported to have issued instructions to the district administrations, seeking revenue records and other details of the sites concerned and telling the authorities concerned to process the paperwork involving the transfer of ownership.

While some of the sites are monuments, others are ancient mounds — many of them dating back to the Harappan period — where excavation is being carried out.

A large number of illegal structures have come up over the years close to the monuments, while the mounds have either been converted into fields for cultivating crops or structures have been built on them. This has led to many of the sites and antiquities being damaged or destroyed.

A Government of India notification published in the Gazette of India states that areas up to 100 metres from the protected limits and area further beyond it upto 200 metres will be prohibited and regulated respectively for the purpose of construction and mining operations.

This means that no structures could come up within a perimeter of 100 metres from a protected site, while permission from the stipulated authorities is required for construction in the regulated zone.

One of the problems which led to encroachments was that after the government issued notifications, declaring some of the ancient monuments as protected sites, demarcation of the land was not undertaken at that time. Many of the monuments are located on land, which is in the possession of panchayats or erstwhile provincial governments.

The most-affected monument in this region is the Kabuli Bagh mosque in Panipat, which is now heavily ringed with unauthorised structures. Built in 1526 by Babar to commemorate his victory in the first Battle of Panipat, this monument is archaeologically as well as historically significant.

Other affected sites include the Fort of Prithvi Raj at Hansi, Bhim ka Tilla in Kangra, Harsha ka Tilla in Thanesar and ancient mounds in Khokhrakot near Rohtak, Sunet near Ludhiana and Rakhigarhi near Hisar.

Also, a large number of kos minars (mile stones), constructed during the Mughal period along the grand trunk road, are in the danger of being gobbled up by unchecked construction and general apathy. These minarets are located at distances ranging from 2 to 5 miles.

The ASI is also in the process of fencing some of the sites and mounds to prevent encroachment.

Another issue concerning the removal of encroachments is litigation. Sources reveal that five such cases involving areas under the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh circle of ASI, including the important Rakhigarhi site, are in courts.Back


HC team to inspect Panchkula
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 8 — With the impending visit of a team from the Punjab and Haryana High Court looming large over the township, the Estate Office has bounced back to work.

The team, earlier scheduled to visit the township in the beginning of February, is likely to arrive in a couple of days to check whether the directions of the court on traffic, removal of hedges and hoardings are being implemented.

Mopping-up operations are in full swing as is the cleanliness drive in the sectors. Police parties are all over the place and are challaning violators of traffic rules and those not carrying papers and relevant documents. Officials of the engineering department of the Haryana Urban Development Authority are out in large numbers marking lanes and crossings.

The most visible sign of activity is the implementation of the removal of hedges and angle irons in the various sectors of the township. Labourers are seen hammering away at the grills enclosing the manicured lawns, uprooting hedges and removing barbed wires and angle irons because the residents had chosen to turn a blind eye to the notices served on them as early as December.

The labourers carrying a list of violators descend on the ''target'' and after informing the occupants, begin to hammer their way through the encroachments. One of them informs that labourers go around the sector allotted to them and make note of the houses violating the directions which is submitted to the estate Office. Then a HUDA official goes around and checks these violations following which the labourers are given the ''go ahead'' signal and they begin their work.

Encroachments like these have been removed in Sectors 6 and 7. Work is in progress in Sector 8 and the labourers have reached Sector 11 also. After removing such encroachments on the B roads of the sector, the team is now concentrating on removing these from the C roads.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Wing of HUDA is doing the rounds in the township and keeping the eyes open for hoardings and have already removed rehriwalas twice from the crossing of Sector 7 in an attempt to clear the area of the violators which are traffic hazards.

The Engineering Wing is also painting the township in different colours, primarily white. Labourers are busy marking lanes on the roads and pedestrian crossings in the township. Also, they are working on zebra crossings in front of schools and boards giving directions. An official said that this was done earlier when a team had visited the township but these needed some polishing which was being carried out by the department on the eve of the team's visit.

Police personnel on duty also stated that the challaning in the township had been stepped up because of the team's visit and that they were checking the passers-by for licences and other papers pertaining to vehicles.

The residents, however, are happy with the outcome of the various drives launched by the department. ''So much police presence will ensure a crime-free Panchkula and removal of hoarding and rehris is bound to give a prettier picture of the township. I hope the court decides to send a team every fortnight for inspection,'' says Mr Raman Sharma, a resident of Sector 11.Back


Functioning without judgement writers
By Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The recently transferred judicial officers, including two Additional District and Sessions Judges, are functioning without judgement writers. Facilities for the safe-keeping the judicial record are also missing.

The Judicial Officers are tightlipped. Additional District and Sessions Judge R.C. Godara is silent on the issue. Additional District and Sessions Judge S.K. Goel is also unwilling to speak. Sources, however, confirm that the absence of the judgement writers is adversely affecting the court work.

“The stenographers and typists are for writing the day-to-day proceedings. The detailed orders are to be typed by the judgement writers only. In their absence the stenos have to do extra work after spending the entire day in the courtroom,” says a judgement writer on the condition of anonymity. “Now, there is a limit to the amount of work a person can do. He cannot be expected to type the interim orders and the detailed orders too”.

Sources reveal that the Additional District and Sessions Judges are entitled to have a grade-I judgement writer each, while the Judicial Magistrates-cum-Civil Judges (Junior Division) are each entitled to have a grade-II judgement writer.

The UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr. B.S. Bedi, however, maintains that every court “has full quota of the sanctioned posts”. “For additional posts, reference has been made to the Punjab and Haryana High Court”, says the Sessions Judge. “As the posts are to be sanctioned by the Government of India, it will take a little more time”.

The existing staff, meanwhile, continues to function without adequate facilities. The rubber stamps are not there. The rooms have no curtains. The ahlmad’s room is without cupboards to store the record. On the wooden racks, the files are piled. One over the other. Some are even stacked on the floor. Exposed to the danger of being misplaced.

“The files are not safe in the open,” says an ahlmad. “These are sensitive documents. They should be in the cupboard. Under lock and key. What if the pages in the files are misplaced or taken away by someone? Who would be held responsible? Then they would blame the poor ahlmad for it”. Back


CE’s clarification on hedges
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, Mr Puranjit Singh, has clarified that as per the decision of the 29-member House the residents had only been permitted to erect hedges in the open space six feet and 10 feet away from the road berms adjoining V-6 and V-5, respectively.

In a written statement here today, he said the residents seeking permission to get hedges regularised and re-erected on the V-5 and V-6 roads would be required to pay Rs 25 per 100 square feet per year as the licence fee to the civic body. The erection of hedges had not been allowed to on V-1,V-2,V-3 and V-4 roads, he said, adding that the height of the hedges without fencing should not be more than two feet.

The house owners wanting to erect hedges will have to obtain a licence from the Xen (Horticulture Division) after fulfilling the formalities. Similarly, the area enclosed by fencing would not be allowed to be used for any other purpose except for growing grass or planting of flowers.Back


Illegal houses got vacated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The Enforcement Wing of the Estate Office today got vacated 12 houses which had been illegally constructed by the residents on government land in Raipur Kalan village here.

According to sources, the staff took the houses under their possession in an operation which started around 10 a.m. and continued for over two hours. A sewerage treatment plant is being planned by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) on the said land.

Later, irate residents blocked the Chandigarh-Ambala highway for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, the staff pulled down about 10 illegal structures in Sector 52 here in the afternoon. The structures, which the staff called new encroachments, were being used to stack construction material and marble.

In another development, Mr Sabherwal, whose shed was demolished, alleged that the staff also took away some of the construction material such as tin sheets.Back


Who will head school board?
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 8 — Who will be the new Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board? Whether the last incumbent, Dr Kehar Singh, would be reappointed following an amendment made by the Punjab Government to the eligibility conditions for the post or an eligible person from within the board or outside would be appointed?

Prior to the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High court in which the appointment of Dr Kehar Singh was quashed, the Punjab cabinet had decided that the Chairman of the board should have served as principal of a college or head of department of a university for a period not less than a year. Earlier the eligibility period was five years.

The uncertainty over the issue had assumed political overtones with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, reportedly considering the reappointment of the former Chairman and the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, reportedly being interested in some other candidate.

Highly placed sources in the government said that after the judgement of the high court was passed and the relaxation in the eligibility conditions, the Chief Minister in his remarks on the file dealing with the issue had favoured the former chairman.

Sources said that following the amendment to the eligibility conditions the Vice-Chairman of the board could become a contender for the post. It is not the first time that the issue of appointment in the board has snowballed into a controversy.

Last time the issue of filling the post of Controller of Examination through deputation had become a bone of contention between the Punjab Government and the employees of the board. A Deputy Secretary of the board had moved the court against the filling of the post of the controller of examination through deputation.Back


Mentally disabled kids have fun, excitement
By Sonoo Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The inaugural day of the Special Olympics, North West Zone, being held at Sports Complex, Sector 7, was all about fun and excitement, with only the audiences missing.

Sixteen teams of mentally disabled children from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, including eight outstation teams, participated in various sport events for age groups of 8 to 21. The sport event was inaugurated by the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Vineeta Rai. She interacted with the special children and later gave away the prizes.

“Such programmes are an encouragement for such special children, but there is no support from society,” said Mr Kuldeep Uppal, a parent of one of the participants. He has come from Shimla with his wife, to make his daughter participate in the event, leaving his other ‘special child’ back home. A government official, Mr Uppal bemoaned the lack of facilities for such children. He queried, “After us, who will look after our children, since there are absolutely no support systems available in society?” A parents of another mentally disabled child, Ms Sharda said, “I have taken off from my work to encourage my daughter, because I know that no one else will do the same for her. During inauguration, some school children were called to cheer our children, but the moment the chief guest left, those school kids also left.”

Ms Chandra Mohan, Area Director of North-West Zone of Special Olympics, felt that at least the city schools could have made their presence felt in the event by providing encouragement and help. “It is time for the so-called intelligent and ‘normal’ individuals to start giving due respect to such special children and only then can awareness be created in society,” she said. She added that this event had a budget of a little over Rs 1 lakh. There is also some money left over from the National Special Olympics that is being used, along with help from parents of students studying in Bhavan Vidyalaya, who have raised money through collections and selling souvenirs.

It was fun-time for child today. They enthusiastically participated in the events and squealed with delight at the prospect of winning prizes and medals. Some of the children were so excited that they continued running after crossing the finishing line. Parents were invited to give away prizes to winners. Teenagers from Rotract and students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, helped these children having their share of fun.

“This is an exciting opportunity for these children, more so because society is still closed about this issue. There are parents who are hesitant to admit their mentally disabled children to special institutes. In case they do, it is not on a regular basis,” said Ms Gaganjyot, a teacher of special children at Navjeevni School of Special Education, Patiala. Ms Padmani Shrivastav, a teacher accompanying 22 participants from ‘Koshish — Special School’, Amritsar, said, We have to coerce parents to send their wards to our schools, but awareness levels of interacting with such children is low.”

Added Ms Kocchar, the former principal of Asha School for the Handicapped, Chandi Mandir, “People are not interested in these children or their activities. Skills are taught to these special children but there are no avenues of employment available for them.” A special educator of Asha Kiran,

Special School, Hoshiarpur, Ms Anju Saini, said, “Our institute tries to spread information by holding camps and producing pamphlets about mental retardation, but a stigma is attached to the same.”

All these schools are following their own patterns of education, with some emphasising on skill-based education and others including text-books of classes nursery and kindergarten to teach these special children. Most of these schools insist on toilet-training of these children. Activities that took place today included 50 m dash; 25 m dash; 50 m walk; standing long jump and soft ball for low ability group; 100 m dash; 100 m walk; 200 m dash; 400 m running jump; shot put; skating and relay race for age group 12 to 15, 16 to 21, and 22 and above. Team games included table tennis and badminton.

Following are the results of the special Olympics — 50 m (16-21 years male) G-I: Rohit 1, Anil Kumar 2, Amardeep 3; 100 m walk: (16-21 years female): Surinder Kumari 1, Kanika Walia 2; 100 m (R) (12-15 male) GI: Rahul Aggarwal 1, Tapnoor 2, Atul M; G-2: Neeraj 1, Pramod 2, Vinod 3; G-3: Bittu 1, Gurvinder 2, Mukesh 3; G-4 Hemant 1, Dinesh 2, Harish 3; G-5 Rajan 1, Gagandeep 2, Baldeep 3; G-6: Sukhjeet 1, Gagandeep 2, Ravinder 3; G-7: Naveen Gandhi 1, Sunny 2, Deepak 3; G-8: Achroo Gopal 1, Vijay 2, Inderveer 3; G-9: Amit Sharda 1, Amit Sharma 2, Umesh 3; shot put (12-15 years female) G-1: Shilpa Yadav 1, Padma 2, Anu Sharma 3; G-2: Pooja 1, Jyoti Sharma 2, Priyanka 3; G-3: Neetu Kumar 1, Harshita 2, Pooja 3; Shot put (16-21 years female): Nitika 1, Kanika 2, Rattanjit 3; SBI LA: Gagandeep 1, Lovely 2, Harpreet 3; G-2: Shiv Kumar 1, Abhinav 2, Jaspreet 3; G-3: Ginnie 1, Sumeet 2, Amandeep 3; G-3: Bobby 1, Sameer Khan 2, Amit Mahajan 3; G-4: Rohit 1, Anil 2, Dinesh 3; G-5: Ashok 1, Surya Kant 2, Harpreet 3; G-6: Ronnie 1, Aman 2, Ashwini 3; G-I R.L.J. (16-21 years male): Gurpreet 1, Vinay 2, Paramjit 3; G-I SLJ (8-11 years female): Superlena 1, Sandhya Kumari 2, Hema Bindu 3; SLJ (8-11 years female): Shubhangi 1, Bandna Kumari 2, Ramanjot 3; SBI (8-11 years female) G-1: Rani 1, Sophia 2, Itty 3; G-2: Neha 1, Hema Bindu 2, Neeti 3; G-3: Deepali 1, Suprabha 2, Pallavi 3; G-4: Nisha 1, Sandhya 2, Mary 3; G-6: Naresh 1, Anita 2, Rashmi 3; G-7: Bandana 1, Mandeep 2, Deepti 3; 100 m (male) G-1: Gurpreet 1, Avtar S 2, Ajay Pal 3; G-2: Taranpreet 1, Sudhir 2, Ravinder S 3; G-3: Rajesh Kumar 1, Jaswinder S 2, Tejinder S 3; G-4: Vikas Kumar 1, Pradeep Kumar 2, Manu Joshi 3; G-5: Rajiv Dhir 1, Gonu 2, Vikas 3; G-6: Paramjit 1, Gautam 2, Deepak 3; G-7: Jatinder 1, Sanjeev 2, Upinder 3; 50 m (male) G-I: Rahul Prayas 1, Gagandeep 2, Ashok 3.Back


Festival of Gardens from Feb 25 to 27
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The next edition of the Festival of Gardens will be held here from February 25 to 27.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior officials of the Administration held under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary, Mr N.K. Jain, here yesterday.

It was decided to constitute various subcommittees to ensure smooth conduct of the three-day festival which now forms part of the national Calendar of Events of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The festival will be spread over the three main gardens of the city — the Sector 10 Leisure Valley, the Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden and the Sector 16 Shanti Kunj.

Besides the usual flower show, competitions in flower arrangements, dry flowers, plants and flowers grown in pots, gardens, on-the-spot painting competitions for children, rose quiz, Rose Prince and Rose Princess contests and the cultural programmes, both during the days and the evenings, will be held.

The Administration is planning to invite top singers and stars for the evening cultural programmes to be held on all the three days of the festival. Back


Bill depositors a harassed lot
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The queues at the Sector 32 cash collection Centre are lengthening with each passing month. With only one counter to accept the bills for a large population of the southern sectors, depositing the bills at the centre is quite a job.

Scores of persons outside the centre yesterday were a disappointed lot as they had to stand in serpentine queues for hours for depositing the bills. Several of the persons, who had come on Friday also, alleged that slow pace of work at the centre was a routine affair.

Mr N.S. Gill, a resident of Sector 45, informed that when he came at the centre around 8.45 there was a long queue. And the situation was not better at 11a.m., he said, while demanding that at least two counters must be there keeping in view the rush at the centre.

Several persons informed that although there were separate queues for men and women, time was wasted since bills were accepted alternatively from each of the queue.

Sources said the technical snags in the computer were also a recurring factor, which also affected the normal functioning.Back


One held for kidnapping three-year-old child
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — The police has arrested Raju of Uttar Pradesh, who is in his early thirties, on the charge of kidnapping a three-year-old boy from Sector 19 here.

According to the police, Raju lured Raman of Kumhar Colony in Sector 25, from Sector 19 while he was playing outside a house, where his mother worked as maidservant. She told Raman's father, Mr Shiv Ram, about the incident, who in turn, alerted the PCR. Raju was arrested from near the Labour Chowk in Sector 20. A case has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police arrested five persons and recovered huge quantities of liquor from them. Tarlochan Singh of Bhairon Majra in Ropar district was arrested with 12 bottles from near the Needle Factory in Industrial Area. Harish Kumar of Dakam village in Una district was held with 18 bottles from near the Narain Bhavan in Sector 21.

Raju of Colony number 5 was arrested with eight bottles. Ranjit Singh of Bhairon Majra village in Ropar district was nabbed from Colony number 4 with 12 bottles. Anil Kumar of Deep Complex in Hallo Majra was held with 48 pouches from the same colony.

Dishonoured cheque: Mr H.S. Madan, Sub-Judge (Senior Division), reported than Puspa Devi had deposited a cheque for Rs 7,841 in the court regarding civil suit number 505/96 on November 19, 1998, which was dishonoured. A case has been registered.

Stolen: Mr Ashok Kumar of Sector 10, Panchkula, complained that his car (CH-01-E-5366) was stolen from Sector 17 here. The police has registered a case.

Cheated: Mr Kuldip Singh of Samana Kalan village in Ropar district, in a complaint with the police, alleged that he had been cheated to the tune of Rs 7 lakh by Rajesh Kumar of Sector on the pretext of sending him abroad. The police has registered a case.

Hospitalised: A cyclist, Rajinder Singh of Sector 40, was injured when he was hit by a truck (HR-09-2246) near Attawa Chowk. He was admitted to the PGI. A case has been registered.


Robbed of car: Four persons forcibly took away a white Maruti car (CH-01-0238) from two girls near Sector 5 this morning.

Ms Achina Gupta of Sector 14, who was driving the car, was on her way to Sector 2 to drop her friend at her house after attending a computer class in Sector 11. Near Sector 5, four persons, all around 30 years old, wearing shawls over kurta-pyjama, signalled them to stop the car. As Achina applied the brakes, one of them asked her to show her driving licence. Another one took out the car keys through the open window and asked the girls to accompany them to the police station.

The girls resisted and asked them to tell the nature of their fault. During the argument, the four men got into the car and the girls stepped out in panic, following which they sped away in the car.

The girls described the men as well-built and fair, having a Haryanvi accent. The police was told that a spare number plate of an old car was also in the car, which could be used by the miscreants. A case under Section 382 of the IPC has been registered.


Injured: A scooterist, Dinesh Yadav, was injured seriously when he was hit by an unidentified truck near the traffic lights of Phase 7.Back


VIP security policy under review: DGP
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 8 — The Punjab Police was studying the new VIP security policy announced by the Centre in view of its implications on the persons who had been provided with the Z-plus security. Disclosing this here today, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, Mr Sarabjeet Singh, said that three persons in Punjab, Mr K.P.S.Gill, Mr M.S.Bitta and Mr Ashwani Minna, had been provided VIP security.

The DGP was talking to mediapersons after inaugurating a 24-flat residential colony for police personnel on the premises of the Phase 1 police station here. On the issue of reported move to stop the bi-weekly Samjhauta Express — though denied by the Centre Government — he said the opinion of the Punjab police in continuing or stopping the train was never taken, and added that smuggling of fake Indian currency, drugs and arms could take place by air, road or by train.

During its drive the Punjab police had seized over Rs 85 lakh of fake Indian currency. On the law and order situation, he said with a strength of around 73, 000 personnel — though inadequate as per the norms — the police was doing a satisfactory job. The DGP visited a site in Phase 4 allotted to the Police Department for the construction of an office complex of the Superintendent of Police. He also visited a site in Phase 7 and Sohana police station.

Earlier the ADGP-cum-Managing Director of the Punjab Police Housing Corporation, Mr P. Lal, said the 24 houses were constructed at a cost of Rs 75 lakh against an estimated cost of over Rs 85 lakh. He said at least 1,056 houses for police personnel were under different stages of completion in the state. A sanction of additional 680 houses had been received. The total availability of houses for police personnel was at least 40 per cent short of the demand, he added.Back


Uniform sales tax not uniform enough
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 — Considerable variations in the number of tiers and rate of taxation notified by both Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration between January 25 and 27 as a follow-up to the Union Government's direction of introducing a uniform floor rate of sales tax have raised a number of protests from traders, dealers and even companies engaged in manufacture and trading of goods in the region.

While the Chandigarh Administration has so far notified a five-tier taxation system with the rate of sales tax varying between 1 per cent and 12 per cent, Punjab has notified, through an Ordinance, a 10-tier sales tax system with the rate of taxation varying between 1 per cent and 20 per cent. Besides, a large number of items have been exempted from sales tax in Punjab.

While the consumers in Chandigarh are happy that the rate of sales tax as notified on January 27 is lower on bicycles and bicycle-parts, edible oils, automobiles, scooters, cycle rickshaws, light commercial vehicles, aerated water, narcotics, petrol and diesel compared to Punjab, they are also unhappy that some other items are dearer now in the UT as the sales tax on these is much lower in neighbouring Punjab.

For example, while Punjab has placed bidis, cigarettes, cigars, agricultural implements, dhoops and agarbattis in the zero-tax category, all these items are taxable in Chandigarh. Dhoop and agarbattis, for example, now attract 8 per cent sales tax, while bidis, cigarettes, cigars and agricultural implements attract a 4 per cent sales tax.

Similarly, tyres and tubes, especially of trucks, cars and scooters, are more costlier in Chandigarh now. The rate of sales tax on these items is 12 per cent here, while in Punjab, it is only 8 per cent.

There are a large number of items on which the uniform floor rate of sales tax varies considerably. Petrol, diesel, liquor, narcotics and aerated water, for example, are now in the 20 per cent sales tax category in Punjab, while in Chandigarh, these items are in the top tier of 12 per cent sales tax.

Though the Punjab Government issued a public notice in the newspapers by notifying the new rates of sales tax on a number of items, many of these were not mentioned. Even the official gazette notification about the Ordinance, too, was not available, until a few days ago. As a result, there was confusion regarding the tax on a number of items.

The new rates of sales tax on certain items are still not clear. For example, notifications issued by the Chandigarh Administration do not specify the new sales tax rate on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which in Punjab is 10 per cent.

As far as common man is concerned, Punjab has placed a majority of karyana items, including pulses like malka, masoor, dried peas, rawan white, rajmah, rongi, dal lobia, kangni, swank, gram and its dal, gram flour (besan), urad, moong, dal, moth, arhar in the three per cent sales tax category. Other karyana items, including spices, are in the four per cent tax tier.

Punjab has now 10-tier taxation system with rates fixed at 1 per cent, 2 per cent, 3 per cent, 4 per cent, 5 per cent, 6 per cent, 8 per cent, 10 per cent, 12 per cent and 20 per cent, with a large number of items on the zero-tax list. Chandigarh has five-tier taxation system with rates at 1 per cent, 2 per cent, 4 per cent, 8 per cent and 12 per cent.

In case of Haryana, the introduction of uniform floor for sales tax has been deferred till the end of February or till the completion of the Vidhan Sabha elections. Same is the case with Himachal Pradesh where, too, new rates have not been introduced as yet.

Punjab's Ordinance has to be ratified by the State Legislature within six months.

Punjab has also allowed the present rate of taxation to continue on a number of items till the end of the current financial year, after which, the revised rates will become applicable. Variations in the prices of same item in Chandigarh, SAS Nagar or Zirakpur and Panchkula or Parwanoo are understandable.Back


Fashion trends gather pace
From Gautam Dheer
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Feb 8 — The gamut of fashion shows, which dazzled the township last season, has set the ball rolling for the young ‘dandy’ Panchkulaite.

Over the past few years the township has witnessed a spurt in the number of fashion houses, modelling schools, trendy markets etc.

The image of the young, Panchkulaite, his outlook and horizon, have undergone a sea change, thanks to inputs from the fashion world, featuring Bollywood’s top models, visiting the township.

The “upwardly mobile” local girl, who hates to be amalgamated as one with ‘The City’ girl, visualises to set her own rules in trends, said Neha Sharma.

The young township girl now has the latest clothes in her wardrobe. A mix of modern and off-beat trends is acquiring greater acceptance with the youth here.

A whole range of menswear casuals are being taken up. However, Nivedita Jain of Sector 2 feels that simple style is all about intelligence. It’s being able to recognise quality as opposed to merely expensive stuffs, she added.

The Tibetan market in Sector 8 has traditional and antique jeweller for the trendy shopper. Neck pieces of artificial gold beads, polki and minakari bands, brooches and tarnished belts portray exclusive workmanship.

The trends in perfumes and cosmetics seem to have changed as well. With the local gift galleries flooded with unique items, one could choose from a whole range of collections.

The trends catching on are natural and artificial nail extensions, “state-of-the-art facials” — possibly, fads for the Valentine’s Day. Khadi pants (not trousers), short-shorts, side-slit skirts and soft shirts are setting the mood for the approaching spring.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |