|Tuesday, April 25, 2000,
continues to stay away from CBI investigators
CHANDIGARH, April 24 Where is Mr N.K. Jain, Home Secretary of Chandigarh, against whom a case of corruption had been registered by the special cell of the Central Bureau of Investigation on April 6 ?
Though the anticipatory bail application of Mr NK Jain has been dismissed both by the Special Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Haryana bureaucrat has yet to appear before the CBI for further questioning and interrogatioon.
According to sources, Mr Jain is reported to have informed the Central Bureau of Investigation that he could not make any personal appearance for questioning and investigation immediately as he was busy in filing Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court rejecting his anticipatory bail application.
Initially, Mr Jain had informed the CBI that since he was suffering from lower back problem and was convalescing at a New Delhi hospital, he was unable to come to the CBI office here in Chandigarh.
In the meanwhile, he had sent a letter to the Administration asking for extension of his leave for 14 days. His earned leave had ended on April 11 and he was expected to join back on April 17. The reason he gave for extending his leave was that he was suffering from a lower back ailment.
Even after rejection of his bail applications both by the CBI Special Court and the High Court, Mr Jain is reported to have stayed away from the CBI investigators till date. Initially, when his house was searched on April 10 during the second attempt, he was asked to make himself available before the investigation team on April 13 in the afternoon.
It is for the first time that the Home Secretary of Chandigarh is facing a criminal case registered by the special cell of the CBI on the basis of a confessional statement made by Office Superintendent KB Goel and other circumstantial evidence collected by the investigators since March 14 this year.
Meanwhile, the Home
Ministry is reported to have cleared repatriation of Mr
NK Jain to his parent state of Haryana. The proposal,
however, is yet to be cleared by the appointment
committee of the Cabinet and the Prime Ministers
Office before formal orders are issued.
farmers threat to destroy eggs
CHANDIGARH, April 24 Poultry farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have threatened to destroy 30 lakh broiler hatching eggs on April 28 in protest against the failure of the government to help the poultry industry come out of its worst recession.
Interestingly, while the wholesale market has crumbled because of the recession, there has been little or no change in the retail prices of either eggs or broiler chicken.
The hatchery industry has been in a crisis for the past one year. Broiler farmers are now refusing to add chicks to their farms because of unremunerative prices offered in the Delhi wholesale market. Even traders, who lift broilers from poultry farms for sale in the retail market do not offer even the actual cost of production, says Mr Surjit Singh, President, North India Broiler Breeders Association.
He claims that for the past several weeks, the rate of broiler (ex-farm) has been varying between Rs 25 and Rs 30 a kg while the actual cost of production of 1 kg of broiler chicken was between Rs 30 and Rs 32. This has forced many broiler farmers to wind up operations.
Although Mr Singh says the retail price of broiler is between Rs 55 and Rs 60 per kg in the Chandigarh market, it is not correct. A quick survey by The Tribune revealed that the retail price of broiler chicken was between Rs 70 and Rs 90 per kg. The frozen broiler chicken was quoted at Rs 80 a kg.
Even in Punjab, the poultry farmers have put up banners quoting the sale price of broiler chicken between Rs 45 and Rs 55 a kg (dressed chicken) and between Rs 35 and Rs 45 a kg for live bird.
The same is the case with eggs. The wholesale rate of eggs has been quoted at Rs 85 per 100 while in the retail market in Chandigarh, it is between Rs 13 and Rs 15 per 12 eggs.
A shopkeeper in Sector 7 was seen selling eggs at Rs 15 per 12 while another in Sector 47 was charging Rs 13 against a procurement price of Rs 10.20 for 12 eggs.
Mr Surjit Singh says that low prices this year have been largely due to disturbed conditions in Kashmir which is a major market for poultry farmers of Pathankot, Banga, Nawanshahr and the nearby areas.
This has resulted in excess availability of broiler in this non-consuming area, forcing farmers to sell these grown up birds to traders of Delhi where the birds are sold by auction at the Gazipur poultry market.
The rate of day-old chicks, which are sold by hatcheries to poultry farmers, has now come down to Rs 5 to Rs 5 per chick from Rs 14.65 per chick last year. In some pockets, day-old chicks are available at a low price of Rs 3 to Rs 4 per chick.
Mr Surjit Singh says some hatcheries have either closed down or are on the verge of closure. In North India, there are 280 hatcheries. A majority of these are in Haryana. In many hatcheries, the owners have resorted to the extreme step of drowning the chicks for want of buyers. Haryana has about 15 to 20 lakh chicks more than it can accommodate in its broiler farms throughout the state.
The Haryana hatcheries supply these day-old chicks to farmers in Kanpur, Calcutta, Patna, Ranchi, Gujarat and even Indore and Bhopal. With the onset of the summer, the movement of chicks becomes difficult.
Because of the closing of some of these markets for one reason or the other, there has been a glut in the North Indian markets. In Punjab, the problems of poultry farmers are more acute. In addition to the recession, the Punjab Government has now levied 8.8 per cent sales tax on hatchery in the state, thus, opening the floodgates for poultry farmers of neighbouring Haryana to capture the market.
The poultry farmers maintain that Punjab, which was once the leader in the industry, is now lagging far behind.
On April 28, hatchery eggs will be destroyed at Jind, Panipat, Karnal, Jalandhar , Pathankot and Jagraon.
canvassing for Mohali civic poll
SAS NAGAR, April 24 Although the detailed schedule for the Municipal Council elections here started for May 28 is yet to be announced, many prospective candidates have begun wooing voters in their wards.
Poll activity is more pronounced in Phase I, II, IIIB2 and XI. In Phase II former senior vice-president Amrik Singh Mohali and a rival, Mr Avtar Singh Walia, are actively engaged in house-to-house canvassing. Their wives are also doing the rounds of voters homes.
As of today it seems that except for three outgoing municipal councillors, including the former president, Mr Harinder Pal Singh Billa, the rest of the 22 previous councillors are likely to contest.
Some of these former councillors can be seen at the council office every now and then seeking help to make improvements in the civic amenities in their wards. Ms Daljit Kaur and Ms Harbans Kaur, former councillors, were heard asking the municipal engineer to provide Jhulas for children in their areas before the 28th of May.
It is likely that a large number of candidates may stand for elections. Voters in general feel that there may be many new faces in the council as most of the outgoing councillors had failed to make a mark.
Although political parties are actively participating in the poll, there does not seem to be a wave in favour of any of them.
SAD has set up a five-member committee headed by Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MP, to look after poll activities. The panel members include Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Punjab Minister, Mr Tara Singh Laddal, Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, a former MP, Mr Pritam Singh Salomajra, and Mr Kiran Bir Singh Kang.
The minorities and Dalti front has also formed a five-member panel to deal with poll matters.
According to Mr Harjit Singh Bhullar, executive member of the youth wing of the state BJP, it had been decided that SAD would put up candidates in 16 wards and the BJP in 11.
On the last day of filing the claims and objections related to the voters list today, prospective candidates brought forms in large numbers to the council office for including names of the poll rolls.
Mr Naurang Singh, a prospective candidate from ward 23, submitted 546 forms for inclusion of names in the voters list and said he would bring around 200 more such forms later in the day. Mr Des Raj Chandla, another prospective candidate from ward 26, presented 123 forms at the civil body office.
Heaps of forms for making votes could be seen at the council office today. The number of forms for the inclusion of names in the poll rolls was a great deal more than those related to the making of corrections (form 9) and the cancellation of votes (Form 8). By mid-day today the council had received around 150 forms for vote cancellation and about 500 for making corrections.
Prospective candidates say there are a number of errors in the poll rolls. In certain cases the names of paying guests in homes have been included and voters have been shown as living in houses still under construction. There have also been complaints that house numbers in the poll rolls have not been given in serial order leading to inconvenience in guiding voters to polling booths.
Mr O.P. Popli,
Administrator of the council, when asked whether proper
scrutiny of such a large number of forms was possible in
the short time available, he said work would be done
around the clock, if need be, holidays would be
cancelled. All forms would be carefully examined. The
final poll list is to be published on May 5.
receives over 10,000 claims, objections
SAS NAGAR, April 24 The office of the local Municipal Council here was today flooded with complaints of bogus votes and names of voters missing from the voters list on the last day of filing claims and objections to the draft voters list. Officials said that over 10,000 claims and objections had been received.
Chaos prevailed at the counter opened by the council to receive the claims and objections as members of public could be seen jostling with each other to get themselves heard. Representatives of the political parties, potential candidates for the council elections and members of Resident Welfare Associations complained about irregularities in the preparation of electoral rolls.
Enquiries revealed glaring complaints of bogus voters from different wards of the council. If the voters list has to be believed a ten-marla house (2867) in ward no. 11 has 22 voters of which 11 are male members and 10 are female members. Mr Gyan Chand Aggarwal, a former municipal councillor, cited a case in which two adjacent houses ( H.No 2535 and 2536) in Ward No. 11 had the same set of voters. The same ward (H.No 2933), which has been locked for past few years, has five voters on the list and occupants of another house, who had gone abroad, also find mention on the electoral list.
A resident of Phase 3B 1, Mr Arvinder Bedi, complained that the staff entrusted with the job of doing the door-to-door survey did not visit a number of houses which, he said, could be judged from the persons filing their claims. He also quoted at least 12 cases of error in the voters list of Phase 3B 1. For example, the voter No from 2852 to 2858 against H.No 512/1, Phase 3B 1, has been mentioned from voter No. 1914 to 1920. The Residents Association of Phase 3B 1 today gave a list of 68 residents of the phase whose name does not find mention in the voters list.
A former Vice-President of the Municipal Council, Mr A.S.Mohali, said at least 228 bogus votes had been made in the Ward No. 6. In a specific complaint, Mr Lachman Dass, a resident of H.No 215 in Ward No. 6, has also his name mentioned against H.No 642 in Ward No. 5. The residents of Industrial Area, Phase 9, complained that the enumeration staff had totally left out the voters in the industrial Area falling under Ward No. 27. Similar complaints were received from other wards.
The Administrator of the
council, Mr O.P. Popli, said a junior engineer had been
deputed in each of the wards to verify the objections and
claims to the voters list before the final
voters list was released on May 5. The claims and
objections would be disposed off by May 3, he said.
scarcity plaguing the region, even contaminated water is
CHANDIGARH, April 24 Children splashing about in clean village water tanks to beat the heat is a rare right today. With water scarcity plaguing the entire region, they are forced to bathe in contaminated water. Things have come to such a pass that people have to walk long distances to fetch water. Long queues at hand-pumps are a common sight with the advent of summer.
In Chandigarh low water pressure is the major problem. The city gets around 60 million gallons per day of water while the demand shoots up to more than 90 million gallons during peak summer. The balance is met by the water pumped out of more than local 100 tubewells. Also, in southern sectors overhead water tanks are lying dry for the last 10 days. Surrounding rural areas also face the problem of acute shortage of water.
A tiny rivulet gushing through the river bed is all that remains of the Ghaggar river. The rest remains a parched piece of land. In the polluted water, children from settlements can be seen wading, having a good time. One of the children from Khadak Magoli, village informed that in the absence of water in their homes, they spent their entire afternoons in the water, unmindful of the pollutants.
Reportedly, the Punjab government has decided to dig three tubewells and install water supply lines and sewer lines at Zirakpur to improve the supply of water. The farmers in the region are also falling short of water for irrigation purpose. Jet pumps are also being used frequently in houses. According to sources, a majority of the residents of the area have dug tubewells in their courtyard to meet their water demands.
The picture remains the same in the region. The ignorance of the administration is the main cause of water shortage.The plight of the people of Haryana is the same. The government has not made any project to overcome this major problem of summers. People complain that water is supplied for two hours, and that too with very little pressure.
Household chores also get affected due to the shortage of water. There are some villages in the region which dont get a drop for drinking water. Tullu pumps are primarily used by the people, which hampers the smooth water supply.
dream project of UT goes haywire
CHANDIGARH, April 24 - Its just another dream project gone haywire. Enter the Smriti Upvan (Memory garden) conceptualised very fondly by the UT Administration 12 years back, and all that greets you is a thorny ambience and unscrupulous dense vegetation which pleases little and irks a lot.
Making an entry into this garden, which lies on the back side of the Lake Club, was another big hassle, for the front gates are locked. Said a forest Department person deputed in the area around, The place is not for public entry. It was locked long back. As for us, we had to jump over the wall to have an overview of the condition.
The foundation panel which carries details of the entire project tells the story of the gardens downfall. Theres yellow paint smudged all over, leaving little scope for reading. It tells of how the garden was brought to life on November 14, 1988, when Mr Sidhartha Shankar Ray, the then Punjab Governor, planted a banyan sapling there. The foundation stone was laid to mark the birth centenary celebrations of Pandit Nehru.
According to sources, the garden was to be maintained jointly by the Safe Sukhna Lake Society and the UT Forest Department. Mr Kailash Nath, former Joint Secretary, Safe Sukhna Lake Society, when contaced, informed, The idea was to plant trees and spread the green cover. The first tree was planted by Mr Ray who also inaugurated the garden on November 14, 1988. Ms Ray had also planted a tree in the memory of her mother. No such tree, however, remains now, courtesy lack of maintenance by the authorities concerned.
Mr Nath added that plantation in the area could not become possible because of the rough terrain and also because smaller trees due under the shade of larger ones. Though there was a proposal to acquire more land, we never heard of it maturing, he said.
Information inscribed on the foundation panel inside also stands in contrast to the surroundings. Ironically, it proudly reads: This imaginatively planned garden lying between the magnificent Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake fully blends with the excellent backdrop of the blue Shivaliks to infuse the concern for ecology and environment among the citizens of Chandigarh.
In the pesent scenario, however, the entire detail of the so-called environment peservation falls flat. Dryness of the place makes a mockery of what the foundation panel tells and the surroundings haunt you.
Further, the adjoining structure which seems to have been made to be a pond, with a fish mouth erected right opposite, also lies in a shambles. With no beauty left, its now a haven for the love-lorns who seem to often sneak inside the locked area and inscribe their names and some unsavoury remarks on the walls. Says a person who lives nearby, There was much more paint on the foundation panel initially. Once the forest people had come to clear the panel, no one came.
The Administration, meanwhile, maintains that the entire area where the garden lies, falls under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1962 and was declared a forest area in 1991. Said UT Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mr H.S. Sohal, It was not possible to spread greenery in this area which was marked by very dense vegetation. There were practical problems. To plant new trees, the old ones had to be cleared and this was not practicable.
The Smriti Upvan was
conceptualised in 1988 by the then UT Adviser Mr Ashok
Pradhan. Its layout was planned by former Chief Architect
O.P. Mehta, and the project was executed by the then
Chief Engineer, Mr S.S. Virdi. The garden was meant for
the preservation of rich flora on this earth. The idea
was to involve the general public in the task of
preserving plants. They were encouraged to visit the
garden and plant trees in the memory of those who had
RSS is calling the shots,
says Deve Gowda
PANCHKULA, April 24 On a private visit to the Sri Trimurti Dham of Balaji Mandir located on a hillock in Bhairon Ki Saer village in Kalka the former Prime Minister, Mr H.D. Deve Gowda, chose to keep his lips sealed of the time as he went through the task of performing various ceremonies, here today.
However, after mediapersons had cooled their heels for a good two-and-a-half hours waiting for Mr Gowda to speak, he finally obliged, emerging from the room where he had chosen to spend most of the time of his stay at the temple, evading questions and avoiding pressmen and cameras till his mission was complete.
Coming out strongly against the policies of the BJP-led coalition, Mr Gowda informed that four former Prime Ministers, Mr V.P. Singh, Mr Chandra Shekhar and Mr I.K. Gujral besides him, had joined hands to protest against the governments policies which were anti-farmer and anti-dalits.
We will go to capitals of all states to mobilise support against the policies and awaken people against the wrongs being done to them. The first such rally will be held in Calcutta in the first week of May, he added.
Commenting on the leadership of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr Gowda said that the RSS was calling the shots while the Prime Minister was dancing to its tune. Also, the coming of the BJP to the Centre had proved to be a shot in the arm of communal forces who had, since then, gone from strength to strength.
Opposing the concept of information technology, he said that while on the one hand there was nothing to feed the teeming millions in the country, the government was going all out to usher in an era of computers and working on making cellular phones popular at all costs. Also the government had not initiated any farmer-friendly steps so far and that the rising prices of kerosene had broken the back of the farmers. Mr Gowda stated that the Public Distribution System of the country could also do with improvement in functioning.
Criticising the government on the issue of the review of the Constitution, Mr Gowda contented that the same people were deadly opposed to the review when the exercise had been initially carried out by the Congress.
Earlier, he performed
puja at the temple, paying obeisance at the altar of
Balaji and other gods amidst heavy police deployment. The
Superintendent of Police, Mr Sudhir Chowdhary, along with
other police officials was present at the venue all
through the stay of Mr Gowda at the temple.
Female child abandoned
CHANDIGARH, April 24 Cops on security duty to escort former Prime Minister Deve Gowda from the railway station around 10.30 a.m. went in a tizzy after a call was received at the police control room that something was moving in a bag lying near the railway light point.
A team of cops went across and found that the zip of the bag was open. On peeping inside the cops found a lively 2-day-old female child with a milk bottle lying beside her.
of rejects, needy
CHANDIGARH, April 24 Born in a poor family in Behrampur Zimidari village near Ropar and now settled in SAS Nagar, Mr Prem Singh Bhutte has dedicated himself for the rehabilitation of lepers.
Though he is employed as senior auditor in the office of the Accountant General, Punjab, but he utilises his spare time to locate people suffering from leprosy and for their treatment and rehabilitation. He also helps them to join the mainstream of the society and to remove misgivings about lepers and leprosy.
Though attitude of people especially educated ones has changed a lot towards lepers in the past few years, but there is a majority of people who hate lepers and shun them for age old stigmas attached to the disease, says Mr Prem Singh. I try to convince all that leprosy is a curable disease and none should hate those suffering from leprosy. I make people to come forward to extend financial and other help to lepers, Mr Prem Singh adds.
Along with his colleagues Mr Darshan Singh Bawa, Mr Gian Chand Kanwar and Mr Bant Singh, he has set up the Lepers Welfare and Poor Patients Mission, Chandigarh. He played a crucial role to get 70 buckets and 40 trunks donated to Chandi Kusht Ashram in the Ram Darbar area here. President of the Ashram, Mr Assappaji told TNS Mr Prem Singh got constructed a water tank and made arrangement for drinking water in the ashram. During functions at the ashram, he also arranges milk and sweets for lepers.
With the help of the administration, he got replaced the katcha roofs of 40 hutments of lepers in Dasuya Kushat Ashram and also provided buckets and bed sheets apart from making arrangement for drinking water there.
With the help of donors, Mr Prem Singh provided clothes and carpets to the Ropar Kushat Ashram. He also arranges medicines for them. Urging the government to give employment to the wards of lepers on priority, Mr Prem Singh said that those lepers who had been cured should be provided loans on priority basis for starting self employment ventures. Whereas this will remove social stigma from such families, they would also stop begging. NGOs should be pursuaded to educate children of lepers.
He not only helps lepers but also poor patients. He often visits the PGI for this purpose and guides the needy to various OPDs. Even certain doctors in the PGI knowing that Mr Prem Singh has a missionary zeal to help the poor and needy, extend their full cooperation to him for attending the patients brought to the hospital by him.
inculcated in me the spirit to help the poor and needy,
said, Mr Prem Singh. The grandfather used to help those
who suffered fractures in various mishaps and he used to
take me along for this purpose, Mr Prem Singh revealed.
I feel very elated when I help some one in any
manner, he said.
poor girl marry
PANCHKULA, April 24 Unnat Bharat Vikas, a non-government organisation (NGO), arranged the marriage of a poor girl, Paramjit (20), in Azad Colony here yesterday.
The NGO was spreading word on Reproductive Child Health in the colony. Her father, Mr Jagir Singh, employed on daily wages, lives in a jhuggi in the colony. He approached the NGO for help.
The NGO prepared a gift
worth Rs 11,000 for her, besides arranging for food for
the barat. The gift comprised nine suits and sarees, a
double-bed, gold earrings, a silver set, a make-up kit
and a dinner set.
for ex-servicemen highlighted at rally
CHANDIGARH, April 24 A three-day ex-servicemens rally, the first of its kind to be organised here, was inaugurated at N-Area near the Chandigarh airport today. The rally is being organised by Headquarters N-Area on behalf of 14 Corps in collaboration with the Sainik Welfare Boards of Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Lauding some of the measures undertaken for the welfare of ex-servicemen by the central and state governments in his inaugural address, the President of the War Decorated of India, Brig Sant Singh (retd), who was the chief guest, highlighted several schemes which have been launched. Pointing out that retirement pension, family pension and special family pension have been substantially raised, he added that it was for the first time after the Kargil operations that widows and disabled soldiers have been provided adequate relief.
He, however, said that a few problems such as one-rank-one-pension scheme and enhancement of medical allowance are still to be resolved. Brig Sant Singh, who with two Maha Vir Chakras is the highest decorated soldier, appealed to the government to adequately increase the medical allowance from the present rate of Rs 100 per month and provide proper medical care to retired soldiers.
He also demanded that the colour service of soldiers be treated as 33 years for earning 50 per cent pension on retirement. He also wanted pre-Kargil war widows to be honoured by the government with suitable financial help in addition to Rs 50,000 grant from the Army Welfare Fund.
The Chairman of the North Zone Ex-servicemens Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) emphasised the need for greater coordination between civil and defence authorities to ensure quick redressal of the problems faced by serving and retired soldiers.
Director Sainik Welfare, Punjab, Brig K.S. Kahlon (retd) said that the state government has made a three-fold increase in the funds meant for the welfare and rehabilitation of ex-servicemen, war widows and their dependents, which needs to be publicised widely amongst them.
Speaking on the re-settlement of ex-servicemen, Director Resettlement Western Zone (DRWZ), Brig S. K. Gupta said that there was 13 per cent reservation of jobs for ex-servicemen in Punjab and 15 per cent each in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, but for some reason or the other, re-employment was not matching with the quota.
Stressing the need for their resettlement in the private sector, he said that there were placement cells under the DRWZ, where ex-servicemen could get themselves registered for employment.
According to Commander N-Area, the aim of the rally is to spread environment consciousness, computer literacy and health care among ex-servicemen. A medical camp with specialists, laboratories, ECG and X-ray facilities as well as provisions for free medicines has been set up and a pension grievances cell and a resettlement seminar is also being organised, he said.
As many as 23 martyrs, disabled ex-servicemen, world war veterans, war widows were honoured at the occasion. These included five world war veterans and four widows of world war veterans.
The main attraction of
the rally are cultural programmes, games for children,
joy rides and screening of films on Kargil. Aero and ship
modeling display by NCC cadets will also be part of the
rally, which will remain open from 10 am to 8 pm. Army
authorities have organised free lunch and conveyance for
ex-servicemen on all three days.
Body found in Phase IV
SAS NAGAR, April 24 The body of a daily-wage earner was found under mysterious circumstances on a rickshaw near the Phase IV main telephone exchange here this evening. The body was noticed by shopkeepers of the Phase III market who informed the police.
The cause of death could not be ascertained as the autopsy would be conducted tomorrow, said doctors of the Phase VI Civil Hospital.
Eve-teasers caught: In separate cases, two persons have been arrested for allegedly indulging in eve-teasing. Ram Naresh of Panchkula was arrested from near Bapu Dham Colony. Shiv Kumar of Janata Colony in Sector 25 was arrested from the same place.
Car stolen: A car (CH-03-7174) owned by Mr Jarnail Singh of Panchkula has been stolen from Sector 17. A case has been registered.
Man found dead: A resident of Madrasi Colony, Girdhari Lal, aged about 45, was found dead near Bapu Dham Colony today. The body was sent for a post-mortem.
Seven booked: Seven
persons (two landlords and five tenants) have been
arrested for allegedly not informing the police about
their presence in the area. Ali Madin and Krishan Lala,
the landlords, were booked under Section 188 of the IPC.
CHANDIGARH, April 24 The police today said the youth whose charred body was found in Ram Darbar yesterday was Kamal of Narwana in Jind.
The body was identified by a cousin of the deceased. Kamal was employed in a factory in Industrial Area Phase II where glowsigns were made. He had reported for work on Saturday, but, had not returned the same night. He was living with his cousin in Ram Darbar.
Chamber to extend
facilities to colony
CHANDIGARH, April 24 The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chandigarh Chapter, has adopted Colony No 4 to extend infrastructure facilities, including sanitation, construction and maintenance of toilets, health and educational needs. An assurance to this effect was given by Mr KS Mehta, President, PHDCCI, and a delegation which called on the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd) here. Mr Mehta said that 5000 families of industrial workers were living in Colony No 4 and it was the duty of the Chamber to look after them.
As a part of the programme, the PHDCCI would construct and look after Sulabh latrines in the colony and also maintain water supply. It would also adopt health care and family care centre and school of the colony and extend maximum help to the Chandigarh Administration in running them. Mr Mehta said that the Chamber was keen to provide technical human resource backup to the ITI in Chandigarh so that students trained in the the Institute are well equipped and trained according to the needs of the industry.
General Jacob told the delegation that he was keen to give more freedom to the industry to breath and expand in order to generate more employment avenues for the youth. But this freedom should not be at the cost of the environment. He said that environment friendly, non-polluting, hi-tech industries would be encouraged by the Administration. The Administration was for less controls and would prefer self controls by the industry. He also promised to look into various suggestions of the Chamber and said that useful suggestions would be incorporated in the new IT policy of the Administration to be released on April 28. The Administration would also take up with the Union Government to start evening Shatabdi Express from Chandigarh and also to upgrade the existing airport to international airport.
Hotel Mountview would be
upgraded to five star hotel and Shivalik View Hotel was
being privatised. A preliminary study is being carried
out to see the feasibility of privatisation of power
distribution in the city and Union Power Ministry has
promised to clear gas-based power station for the city.
luxury tour yet to find acceptance
CHANDIGARH, April 24 The idea of the Railways to have a special luxury tour between Delhi and Shimla, with the upper class tourist in mind, by providing special coaches, hotel accommodation and other facilities, is yet to find acceptance with a large number of people.
Despite the ongoing holiday season, bookings on the special coach that departs from Delhi on Friday and returns on Wednesday can be made for the next five to six weeks. Between 20 and 30 seats are lying vacant on the special coach.
Two other luxury options on the Kalka-Shimla route are doing well, while another option is not so popular. The Shivalik Palace, an independent coach designed like a big room is not getting good bookings. While the Shivalik Queen coach, costing Rs 750 each for a couple, is attracting a large number of travellers. The same is true for Shivalik Deluxe Express, commonly known as the Shatabdi between Shimla and Kalka. Ticket on board this train costs around Rs 350.
The tour package is operated with a special coach, run on the lines of other luxury trains on the tourist circuit, starting from Old Delhi railway station. This reaches Kalka in the morning, from where passengers are transported to Shimla on the narrow gauge section. With summer catching up fast, railway officials are expecting a big rush on this tour package. The early promise of the coach during the winter months has raised expectations and the subsequent lukewarm response so far has left the authorities baffled.
Passengers on this coach in the AC I class section are taken by rail car to Shimla, while those travelling in AC II class are ferried on the superfast Shivalik Deluxe Express. These trains run on the narrow gauge track. The cost of the tickets, approximately Rs 7000 for AC I class and Rs 5,700 for AC II class, covers accommodation, sight-seeing and meals.
Though booking can be made on the countrywide computer network of the Railways, not many queries are pouring in. Advertisements are being issued in national newspapers to attract travellers.
The journey from Delhi
to Shimla and back is taken care of by the Railways,
while sight-seeing of nearby resorts like Naldhera, Chail
and Narkanda, besides Shimla, is handled by Himachal
Pradesh Tourism. Travel by road is on luxury buses.
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