Saturday, February 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


New rules on faulty electric meters
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — More than 20 per cent of electricity consumers who have dead or defective meters and have been receiving nominal power bills over the months and years may not be able to enjoy the "privilege" any more.

The Electricity Wing of the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration has decided to adopt the amended Punjab State Electricity Board Sales Manual Instruction (No 115) with regard to dead stop and inoperative meters on the premises of the consumers.

Against the existing practice of charging a "nominal" charge on "average consumption basis" of actual consumption recorded long time back, the Electricity Wing has now decided to levy minimum consumption charges on the basis of the connected load.

For example, under the new rules, no consumer with dead or inoperative meter would be charged for less than 100 units per kilowatt of connected load. In case the connected load is more than 2 kilowatt and up to 5 kilowatt, the minimum charges would be for 200 units with additional charge of 60 units per kilowatt in excess of 2 kilowatt. For example, a consumer with a connected load of 4 kilowatt would be charged for 320 units.

The minimum connected load rates would remain the same for both domestic supply and non-residential supply consumers up to the connected load of 5 kw.

But in case of consumers with more than 5 kilowatt connected load, the minimum charges would be for 380 units plus 40 units per kilowatt of load in excess of 5 kilowatt. For example, a consumer with a connected load of 8 kilowatt, the minimum charges would be 500 units.

In case of Non-Residential Supply, the charges would be for a minimum of 760 units plus 80 units per kilowatt of load in excess of 5 kilowatt.

The Superintending Engineer, Electricity Operations, Mr J. N. Sachdeva, confirmed that the PSEB Sales Manual was being adopted in Chandigarh. When asked how many of the consumers were getting electricity bills on "average consumption basis", he said that the number was "substantial".

The Electricity Wing, he said, was also trying to replace dead and inoperative meters. But it takes long to replace such meters.

Under the manual, an electricity meter has to be regularly checked and recalibrated once in eight years. But in the absence of adequate staff and resources, including facilities in laboratories to check the meters, this clause was seldom followed. In Chandigarh, for example, electricity meters have never been recalibrated.

Under the new guidelines issued by the Electricity Wing, the staff have been instructed that on receipt of a report regarding a meter becoming dead, inoperative or burnt, it should be immediately replaced and the necessary inquiries conducted and the report forwarded to the Assistant Executive Engineer for further action. As far as the charging of the consumer for the period the meter remained inoperative is concerned, the average consumption of the last three to six months or the average consumption of the same month of the previous year, which ever is higher, should be charged. In case extension of load is granted to a consumer, the probable consumption should be increased on prorata basis for the period the extension of load was utilised by the consumer. Where consumption of previous months was not available, the ad hoc consumption on the basis of load factor and demand factor shall be worked out and shall be provisional and after installation of correct meter the consumer accounts for the previous period shall be overhauled on the basis of average consumption, power factor, maximum demand actually recorded during the next three working months.

In case of domestic and non-residential consumers, the consumption pattern of the consumer shall be watched for a further period of one year after the installation of correct meter and if the average consumption during this period exceeds the consumption already charged the provisional bill shall be revised on the basis of future consumption so worked out.

Further, the new order says that in case of single-phase and three-phase meters which are found to be inaccurate, the consumer should be immediately informed in writing that meter already installed at his or her premises is incorrect and a check meter for determining the percentage of inaccuracy is being installed in series with the old meter and that his accounts would be adjusted as per the test results. As far as possible, the existing metering equipment should not be disturbed or tampered with so that it remains in the "as found" condition. Both the check meter and installed meter in "as found" condition should be sealed and signatures of the consumer obtained on both the seals.

Similar instructions have been issued for consumers of large or bulk supply.Back


No competition from pop singers: Sanu
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — It was only after a long wait that the crowds thronging the Sector 17 market to have a look at singing star Kumar Sanu got to have a sneak at Sanu, who appeared in a flashy leopard-skin coat over around-neck shirt and gold medallions hanging down his chest.

For someone who has sung for more than 800 films — like recently in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Soldier, Arzoo and Hum Aapke Dil Main Rahte Hain, and in more than 17 languages and also more than 8,000 songs, it comes as no surprise when he says, "There is no competition in the industry really, because talent pays. Loads of good work is happening in the industry and I have managed to leave my mark here".

While confessing that he did emulate his mentor Kishore Da in the early days of his singing career, he added, "I see nothing wrong in a student following in the footsteps of his teacher. Now I have been able to evolve my own style".

Last month, Kumar Sanu won three different awards for the best singer — Stardust Award for Ankhon ki gustakhiyan; CSR Gold Award for the same song and Cine Award-Kalakaar Award.

But then why change name from Kedarnath Bhattacharjee to Kumar Sanu just before joining the playback singing world? To match the flashy kingdom of glamour and glitter? "All because of caste and communal issues. If I had stuck to my name then everyone would have been able to make out that I am a Bengali. And certain biases and prejudices would have come into play," he explained. It was during his first break given by Kalayanji Anandji in the film Jadoogar, that Sanu had changed his name.

He was in the city this morning to inaugurate a music showroom. When queried about the piracy of cassettes, he said that there are both good and bad sides of the issue. "It is good for the artiste in terms of publicity, but then we also lose out our royalty." What about the competition faced by the playback singers from the Indi-pop crooners? "There is hardly any. Because these are two different genres, while managing to merge into each other". In the Punjabi pop industry, Kumar Sanu admitted that he liked Daler Mehndi and Sukhwinder, though he did maintain that singers in the pop industry needed to improve their quality of voice.

Talking about the changing scenario in Bollywood and reacting on the recent attack on film-maker Rakesh Roshan, Sanu said, "No one in the industry feels safe today. In fact all of us are under a threat."

Saying Bhalo lagey in Bengali about the city.

And of course the morning was not complete without him crooning in his honey-laced voice Jab koyee baat bigad jaye.Back


Proceedings against Jerath stayed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed proceedings conducted by the Sessions Judge, Mr B S Bedi, against Mr K K Jerath, former Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, in connection with FIR No 2, registered by the Chandigarh Vigilance Department in September 23, 1998, under Sections 406, 409, 420, 467, 471 and 120 (B) , IPC, apart fron Section 13 (1) on the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Mr Justice N C Khichi, who passed this interim order, earlier reserved judgement on an application moved by Mr Jerath questioning the Session Judge order denying him documents which were referred to by the prosecution repeatedly in the challan. These documents are purported to have supported the allegations.

In his application Mr Jerath stated that the main challan in this case was presented in the Sessions Court on February 24, 1999. A supplementary challan was also filed later on June 15, 1999. The challan had arrayed seven officers as suspects. They are Mr S C Katyal (Superintending Engineer), Mr S S Bhatti, Mr A S Dhingra, (both Executive Engineers) Mr Nand Ram (Superintendent), Mr Kans Raj Saini (Head Draftsman), Mr Tarsem Lal Singla (a contractor), apart from the petitioner.

The challan alleged that irregularities had been committed by all these suspects in the allotment and execution of construction work at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The allegations are sustained by estimates, administrative approvals, allotment orders, tenders, correspondence files and noting sheets available with the Engineering Department. While some of the documents were filed by the Investigating Officer, others were withheld.Back

Jerath’s plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — The Central Administrative Tribunal today declined an application moved by Mr K.K. Jerath, a former Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, assailing his dismissal from the service by the Chandigarh Administration.

Mr Jasbir S. Dhaliwal and Mr V.K. Majotra, Judicial and Administrative Members of the tribunal, who handed down this order, ruled,”.... we do not find the present case suitable for an interference by this court into the quantum of punishment awarded to the applicant for his misconduct.”

In their 18-page order, the Bench also ruled, “We find that the applicant has not been able to make out a convincing case for interference with the impugned order.”

The services of Mr Jerath had been terminated on March 8 last year on the ground that he had wilfully absented himself from headquarters without obtaining prior permission of a competent authority which constituted a gross misconduct as he had acted in a manner unbecoming of a government servant.

The plea of Mr Jerath was that since he was under suspension, the relationship of master and servant between him and the employer did not subsist in the period of suspension. The inquiry officer was appointed without referring to his reply to the charge sheet and he had been asked to submit his report within one month.

The applicant was asked to submit his list of documents in defence without recording the evidence of the Presenting Officer, the inquiry officer acted in undue haste, the inquiry was taken up on November 19, 1998, but, this date had not been conveyed to him and the inquiry officer recorded the evidence led by the Presenting Officer and closed his evidence. The applicant was denied opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses.

He further stated that the inquiry proceedings were fixed for November 27, 1998 — the date he had surrendered himself in the court of the Judicial Magistrate at Chandigarh. The Inquiry Officer rejected his son’s application for stopping the inquiry proceedings on the ground that the applicant was in the judicial custody. The request for the supply of copies of statements of the witnesses recorded on November 19, 1998, was rejected.

He had also said the punishment of dismissal from service was inflicted upon him without reference to the UPSC.

The reply of the Administration, on the other hand, was that in the suspension period, the relationship of employer-employee did not server. There was no irregularity in the conduct of the inquiry. The applicant was afforded full opportunity of defence but he failed to avail himself of these opportunities.

The Administration claimed that it made a reference to the UPSC for their approval to the penalty of dismissal on February 1, 1999. However, the UPSC returned the case with the observation that consultation with the UPSC was necessary only where the President of India had to pass an order in original in a disciplinary case. In the instant case, the authority competent to impose the penalty was the Administrator of Chandigarh and not the President.Back


Punjab abandons tubewells for want of funds
From Bipin Bhardwaj

DERA BASSI, Feb 18 — Hundreds of tubewells installed by the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation Limited (PSTC) in the state have been abandoned due to various reasons, including paucity of funds.

A fall in the water level and its quality have restricted the PSTC from installing more tubewells in the Chandigarh-Patiala belt. Another major reason for abandoning the tubewells is the uncertain power supply in the state.

The Punjab Government has spent Rs 10.21 crore to set up 1,553 tubewells. Delay in releasing funds for their repair has added to the number of "sick" tubewells, taking the total to 41. Besides, the corporation has sold, through auctions, 92 "dead" tubewells since 1971.

According to official sources, Patiala district has 55 tubewells in total. Of these, 15 are in Rajpura, 31 in Dera Bassi, 6 in Ghanour block and 3 in Patiala block. And all are in working condition.

As per a World Bank project, 320 deep tubewells were to be installed in the state from 1991 to 1998. Of these, 310 have been commissioned. Two tubewells have been abandoned. Due to faulty design those tubewells which failed to draw water had to be abandoned. Eight tubewells which have been installed are yet to be energised by the Punjab State Electricity Board.

Many tubewells which were installed for augmenting the Sirhind Canal water from 1972 to 1974 have been abandoned, and the remaining are being used for direct irrigation, sources say.

But due to operational difficulties such as non-availability of regular power supply, the delivery of water from the tubewells into the canal was not continuous and the Canal Department could not regulate their release into different canal systems which lead to the government abandoning the scheme.

As many as 900 tubewells installed in 1952 to 1955 by the government were also transferred to the corporation. Of these, 300 were declared dead and abandoned, while 600 are still in working condition. Tubewells installed in the seventies or earlier, along the Zirakpur-Patiala and Chandigarh-Ambala belts, were auctioned after being declared dead.

According to hydrologeologists, the water level has gone down to 40 metres from 15 metres at various places in the state which has dried up many tubewells. The Kandi area (from Ambala to Pathankot) is well known for its good discharge of water. Rajpura block and a few pockets of Dera Bassi block have sulphate and carbonate mixed in water which damages the pipes.

Moreover, the faulty design of the tubewells chokes and makes them sick. The Chandigarh-Patiala belt falls in grey area category. Soil accumulates on the slotted pipes and blocks the water discharge, says hydrologeologists.

Overdraw of water from the tubewells also damages the machinery. A tubewell has the capacity to pump out about 22,400 gallons of water per hour and it can run for 24 hours continuously, provided there is be uninterrupted power supply. The average life of a tubewell is about 20 years.

According to officials, the corporation will install 20 new tubewells at a cost of Rs 3.3 crore, but the government has released Rs 1 crore for the project. From this amount, only 11 tubewells could be installed. The installed tubewells could not be energised due to insufficient funds.

Some installed but unoperational tubewells are falling sick as there are no funds with the government to provide them power, shelter for machinery and for other formalities, sources say.

According to the Managing Director of the PSTC, Mr V. K. Garg, the financial crunch with the government has affected the installation of new tubewells in the state. The government releases funds for the temporary repair and sick tubewells and not for major faults. Moreover, funds released in instalments further aggravate the problem.Back


Pankaj, Sukhwinder to sing at fest
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — One of the top ghazal singers of the country, Pankaj Udhas, and a craze of the younger generation, Sukhwinder, will be the major attractions of the evening cultural programmes to be organised during the next edition of the Festival of Rose Gardens to be held here from February 25 to 27.

According to Mr N. K. Jain, Home-cum-Cultural Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, Pankaj Udhas of the Chithi aayee hai fame, will be the star performer on the opening day at the Sector 10 Leisure Valley. Pankaj Udhas, who has done some playback singing in a couple of films, has of late, taken to bhajan and devotional music also.

A star singer and craze of the youth, Sukhwinder, will arrive here with his band to perform on the second day i.e. Saturday at the same venue. The third cultural evening will witness a Hasya kavi sammelan featuring top poets.

Mr Jain said that for the first time, it has been decided to introduce antakshri on flowers. There will be 32 participants and four rounds. The entire programme would be filmed by a camera team of Doordarshan for later telecast as half-an-hour capsule.

It has been decided to revive the photography competition from this year. Besides, a programme on folk dances by North Zone Cultural Centre is being reintroduced from this year also.Back


‘India ahead in saving trees’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — Trees are a standing capital and India has made a better progress than countries like Brazil and Malaysia in saving the natural wealth, said Prof Jeffery Burley, Director of the Oxford Forestry Institute, while talking to The Tribune here today.

Professor Burley is the President of the International Union of Forestry Research Organisations (IUFRO) which is the world's oldest organisation after the Red Cross. It came up in 1892. Prof P.K. Khosla, Vice-Chancellor of the HPKV at Palampur, who was also present at the venue, is the first Indian ever to be elected to the executive body of the organisation.

Trees, besides natural and economic value, also had indigenous social value. Besides having a scope for inter-sector development, trees were also grounds for employment and income generation, Professor Burley said.

India had a better NGO structure compared to several other countries and held a hope for further development of measures to save the environment. He, however, said forest employees should realise that they were not policemen while wearing khaki, but, preservers of a great human wealth.

Prof Khosla, in reply to a query on the issue of Himachal Pradesh government allowing deforestation, said the state wanted revenue. Mountain states did not have a scope of generating alternative resources. The Centre should assure corresponding financial assistance for preservation of natural wealth.

A world congress of the organisation is scheduled to be held in August this year in Malaysia. The organisation has about 15,000 member scientists from nearly 700 organisations. It is spread in 109 countries.

Professor Burley is here in connection with a two-day national seminar on Man and Forests being organised by the Botany Department of Panjab University. This has been done in recognition of Prof Khosla's work and coincidentally, today happens to be his birthday.

On this occasion, a book titled Man and Forests, edited by Prof R.K. Kohli and others, containing 41 invited lectures, was released by Prof M.M. Puri, Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Prof S.P. Vij, in his welcome address, said over 80 papers of leading experts had been included in the workshop.Back


Rotary conference opens today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 —Mr Jack Forrest, a nominee of the Rotary International President, Mr Carlo Ravizza, says more than 1 billion children have been vaccinated under Rotary’s polio plus campaign.

Mr Forrest, who is here in connection with the district conference of Rotary International District 3080, told newsmen that more than 500 million dollars have been spent on pulse polio campaign by Rotary International.

The programme was started as Polio 2000 promising to vaccinate each child by 2000. Later it was changed to Pulse Polio. Mr Forrest said a lot of financial support came from governments of almost all countries. Except for cases in Africa and India, polio has been virtually eradicated.

Mr Forrest said President elect of the Rotary International, Mr Frank Devlyn of Mexico, had set up 20 task groups to work on projects like population, hunger, blindness and other areas by involving more than 2500 persons.

The Rotary International has a budget of 61 million dollars. The money comes in donations from affiliate clubs and other donations. There are 529 districts spread in all 162 countries in 39 geographical zones.

For Mr Forrest, who comes from Texas in the United States, it has been his third visit to India since July,1997. For his wife, it is her first visit. They arrived in India on Sunday and have been to Agra and Jaipur.

Mr Arun Sharma, District Governor, Rotary International District 3080, said the two-day annual conference of the district spread over five states would be attended by representatives of 66 clubs. He hoped to add another 15 clubs this year. Against expected growth of 7 per cent, the district had 15 per cent growth. The club has also taken up the Hepatitis-B vaccination programme under which the vaccine is being made available at subsidised rates.

Talking about taking Rotary to rural areas, Mr Sharma said the Rotary International had a Rotary Community Corps programme for rural areas, where the Corps did not have to pay any fee or subscription. There are 60 RCCs in the district and he hoped to increase it to 200.

The conference will be formally inaugurated by the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, at Law Auditorium of Panjab University tomorrow. Former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, and Mr R.K. Saboo will address the conference tomorrow.

Mr Jack Forrest conferred special recognition to Rotary Foundation contributors, while past district leaders of District 3080 were also honoured at a function this evening. Mr Marc Vella, a 39-year-old French pianist, who is on a musical tour of India, gave a concert in the evening.

The conference will also honour several personalities, including Mr KPS Gill, Mr M.L. Sarin, Mr Nek Chand, Ms Girija Vyas and past President of Innerwheel, Ms Minna Kapur. The cultural evening will feature Harbhajan Mann and a troupe of blind performers from South India. — Nityanjali.Back


Demand for probe into corruption charges
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Feb 18 — The convener of the People’s Voice God’s Voice (PVGV) group, Mr B.L. Tandon, today threatened to proceed on a fast unto death, if a state-level commission to probe into the alleged corruption in issuing completion certificates to scores of defaulters from the Estate Office of the Haryana Urban Development Authority( HUDA), in Sector 6, Panchkula, is not appointed.

A vigilance inquiry had been earlier ordered by the Chief Administrator, HUDA, to investigate into the charges of corruption against the dealing SDO (Survey) and for allegedly sitting over the files for more than the stipulated period.

The previous stand of the authorities concerned to reveal the outcome of the vigilance report and to make it public does not seem to be the case now. Sources in the department, however, reveal that the vigilance report justifies the alleged charges against the SDO.

It may be recalled that the Estate Office, Panchkula, had recently made it mandatory for all applicants, seeking a completion certificate, to attach suitable photographs along with other necessary documents. However, the PVGV group said the step was just an eye-wash. The convener of the group said out of the about 400 applications received by the Estate Office in December last, only four had been rejected.

He further alleged that despite the then Estate Officer, Mr Hooda, spotting certain anomalies in the issuing of certificates after a site inspection, there was no likelihood for a reconsideration to reject the files on grounds of default.

Dr B.L. Tandon said that he had felt deeply anguished over the alleged malpractices in this regard for which he had taken up the issue several times but to no effect. The laxity on part of the authorities concerned has forced him to take a ‘do or die’ stand, he added.Back


Seminar on human rights
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — A seminar-cum-workshop for 'Training teachers in human rights education', the first of its kind, concluded at the Dev Samaj College of Education, here today. The seminar was divided into nine sessions spread over three days along with interactive sessions and practicals.

The seminar was inaugurated by Justice V. K. Khanna, who also delivered the keynote address on the first day, stressing on the importance of the teacher as a role model in shaping the character of the students. Dr Satinder Dhillon, Principal of the host college, outlined the concept of the seminar.

The other speakers in various sessions included Dr G. Chaurasia, Patron, Rajasthan Council for Educational Administration and management, Dr Harry Dhand, Professor, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, Prof Pam Rajput and teachers of the host college.

A panel discussion on "Human rights — their relevance, importance and significance" was conducted on the second day by Mr K. K. Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, and Maj-Gen Rajender Nath (retd).

The valedictory function included an address by Mr A. P.Bhatnagar, distribution of the certificates to the participants by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal and vote of thanks by Dr Satinder Dhillon.

About 70 representatives from various government and rural schools and teacher training colleges attended the seminar along with students of the host college.

Prof Harry Dhand, talking to The Tribune earlier said that all rights had corresponding duties. Education was the best tool to handle this issue. The differences on the problem could be seen from the awareness level of the Canadian citizens and Indian. The Western society had an edge.

Professor Dhand made a reference to his educational programme in schools and colleges. The manual was being tried in over 100 schools. These were the places to begin the education on the rights issue.

Professor Dhand posed a special question for the participants. "What could be the policy for ship-wrecked passengers without any communication facilities on an island was an example for encouraging thinking. Which passengers would get the first supply of limited meals and water, who got medicines and other basic facilities required a chalking-out to get maximum benefits. Such subjects provoked natural thinking", he added.

Human rights is an issue which needs to get equal importance and priority worldwide just because the subject is 'people' and they were the same everywhere. The policies and programmes on the issue however differed, he added.Back


Delegation calls on Jacob
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH,Feb 18 — A delegation of Ward No 19, led by the Congress councillor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, met the Chandigarh Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), on Wednesday and apprised him of the problems of the ward.

In a memorandum submitted to General Jacob, the delegation brought to his notice the bad conditions of roads in the Mauli Jagran complex. Besides, it wanted that new roads should be constructed in Phase III of Vikas Nagar.

They also demanded improvement in the water and power supplies, besides sanitation in Mauli Jagran. Apart from this, the roads need to be widened as congested roads had become a source of accidents.

The booths in the market of Mauli Jagran developed by the Chandigarh Housing Board, which were in a state of neglect for the past many years, should be allotted at reasonable rates, the memorandum said, while demanding the construction of a community centre at Shivalik Enclave.

While demanding the provision of basic facilities like water, electricity and levelling of the ground in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, the delegation wanted that old electric wires in Mani Majra should be changed.

The memorandum wanted that the kerosene depot should be shifted from Sector 26 to Mani Majra for the convenience of residents. It also demanded two more members from the area should be included in the Administrator's Advisory Council.Back


Cop held from ladies' room
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — Constable Kuldeep Singh, currently posted in the Sector 26 police station, was nabbed by the hospital authorities from a ladies' room in the female surgical ward on the third floor of the hospital. Sources said some patients saw him entering the ladies' room and informed the staff.

The accused stayed inside for almost an hour and was nabbed by the staff when he came out. The Deputy Medical Superintendent, Dr G. Dewan, lodged a complaint with the police in this context.

The accused was booked under Section 506, IPC, at the Central police station.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Alakh Raj and Rajveer and seized 1,200 pouches of whisky from their possession. Sources said the car (DEB 1153), in which they were travelling, was stopped by two constables of the PCR near the Sector 21 market and the liquor was seized. Paras, the attendant of the liquor shop from where they had purchased it was also arrested.

In another incident, the Crime Branch arrested Gurnam Singh, a resident of Sector 22, on the charge of possessing 11 cases of whisky, besides one case of beer, from near the Sector 45 and 46 barrier.

A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Cheating case: Mr Darshan Singh, a resident of Naya Goan, reported that K.G. Sharma, a travel agent of Sector 40, took Rs 40,000 from him on the pretext of sending him abroad. He neither returned the money nor fulfilled his promise.

A case under Section 420, IPC, and Section 27 of the Emigration Act has been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Mr Lakhmir Kumar, a resident of Pipliwala, reported that his motor cycle (CHO-IK-6476) was stolen from a parking lot at the lake.

A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Nihal Singhwala, reported that his car (CHO-IJ-5949) was stolen from Sector 17.

Mr Jagjit Singh, a resident of Sector 15, reported that is car (CH-O3-7233) was stolen from Sector 17.

Cases under Section 379, IPC, have been registered.


Suicide: Amit Kumar, a resident of Industrial Area, here died after he allegedly consumed some poisonous substance accidentally. The police has initiated inquest proceedings in the case under Section 174 of the CrPC.Back


Held for selling spurious tea
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Feb 18 — The police has arrested a local shopkeeper for cheating customers by selling spurious tea under a well-known brand name.

According to the police, Ramesh Kumar Mittal, owner of a general store, was arrested last night on the complaint of Mr Ajay Buccha.

The complainant, who is an official of the tea company, said that he had purchased some packets of tea from the shop and found them wrongly branded.

The accused, however, has said that he had obtained the tea from a supplier and was ignorant about the fake brand name used on the packets.

The police has seized 31 packets from the shop. A case under under Sections 420, 120-B of the Indian Panel Code and 78/79 of the Trade Merchandise Act of 1958 has been registered against him.Back


Notice on higher HRA
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — On a civil suit challenging the grant of house rent, besides conveyance and travelling allowances, to employees of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation and other respondents at a rate higher than permissible to government employees, the UT Civil Judge (Junior Division), Ms Jatinder Walia, today issued notice for July 21.

Seeking directions to the state of Punjab to recover the "higher rates" collected during 1999-2000, petitioner — Punjab Civil and Consumers Welfare Front — stated that certain corporations, including the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, Markfed and the Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation, had been allowing house rent allowance at the rate of 25 per cent.

Counsel for the petitioner added that the conveyance allowance varied from Rs 50 to Rs 1,000. He further added that a Punjab Government employee at the same post was getting rent at the rate of 15 per cent.

In his eight-page suit, counsel stated that in spite of clear directions to all the corporations to "roll back the allowances which were over and above the rates permissible to the government employees" nothing had been done.

Claiming the infringement of fundamental rights, counsel stated that the money paid by the citizens "to the state in the form of tax and octroi was being misutilised, causing extensive loss to the state".

He added that the plaintiff was entitled to seek directions as the "economic reforms of the state government had been blown apart by the public sector undertakings as they had failed to amend the rates of allowances being paid to their employees".

Counsel further added that most of the public sector undertakings were "either showing losses or were at the verge of closure but were putting unnecessary burden on the state exchequer by paying excessive allowance to their employees".Back


Exhibition of handicrafts
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — An exhibition of handicrafts of Tamil Nadu was inaugurated by Mrs Vineeta Rai, Adviser to the Chandigarh Administrator, in Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector-15, here today. The exhibition is being organised by the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation and has been sponsored by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

Titled Poompohar, the exhibition comes as a homage to the crafts persons of Tamil Nadu.

The exhibition has an extensive collection of art objects of the state like giant-sized wood carvings, including old door ways, highly decorated bronzes of various sizes and shapes, brass lamps, stone sculpture, paintings, Kanchipuram silk and cotton sarees, jewellery and leather items.

The exhibition will remain open till March 2.Back


Unhygienic conditions hit business
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 18 — A choked sewer behind the shops in the Sector 10 market is posing a problem for the business community in the area. They contend that the unhygienic conditions in the shopping complex are affecting their business.

The problem has persisted for months on end and repeated complaints to the office of the Haryana Urban Development Authority have turned out to be fruitless. ''Once in a while some men from the department concerned do come and set things right. However, no permanent solution has been worked out by the department,'' a shopkeeper says.

He adds that the problem crops up just after a couple of days of repairs carried out and for a couple of weeks nobody turns up. ''Filth and stench are all pervasive and we are slowly losing out on our customers who prefer cleaner surrounding for shopping,'' he says.

Stinking water behind the shops and slush and filth make the place an eyesore. Another shopkeeper says: ''The stagnating water is a source of so many diseases and mosquitoes find this a convenient breeding ground. With the advent of the summer, it is going to be an uphill task to keep ourselves safe from disease.''

Most shopkeepers in the vicinity are running shops housing tents and carpets. They say that in the face of filth around the shops, they have very little space to sun the items and stack them outside since wind can knock over and soil them. Back


SBI organises doctors’ meet
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 18 — The personal banking branch of the State Bank of India organised a doctors’ Meet here today where more than 60 doctors participated.

Mr D.L. Manwani, General Manager (D&PB), inaugurated the meet and highlighted the concept of personal banking recently initiated by the State Bank of India. He said that these branches were like “boutique shops” to cater to the personal banking needs of individuals offering single-window services for depositors and also for loans for cars, houses, and consumer durables. Loan schemes for medical practitioners for setting up clinics, laboratories and nursing homes at very competitive rates of interest were also explained to the participants.

Mr K.K. Mehra, Deputy General Manager, Zonal Office, Punjab, said that the SBI helpline services had recently been set up to promptly attend all types of queries relating to products and services offered by the bank. All queries and doubts raised by participants were replied by senior officials.Back

Training programme concludes
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 18 — A five-day special training programme for the General Managers of the District Industries Centre of the Punjab Industries Department, organised by the Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Chandigarh, ended here today.

The programme was conducted under the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Industries. Mr N.R. Kannan, Chief General Manager, NABARD, who was the chief guest at the concluding function, stressed on the development of rural industries as land holdings of the farmers were diminishing. He highlighted the efforts being made by the NABARD to promote and develop rural entrepreneurship.

Prof K.K. Uppal from the University Business School, Panjab University, spoke on the communication skills and inter-personal relations. Dr J.S. Saini and Mr Paramjit Singh also spoke on the occasion.Back

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