Friday, May 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No rolling back of 12 per cent ST on motor vehicles
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — The Chandigarh Administration has finally decided to go ahead, with 12 per cent sales tax on motor vehicles after some of the neighbouring states of Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan also issued draft notifications to enhance the tax on motor vehicles to the floor rate of 12 per cent.

In all these three states, the new rate would become effective from May 15.

Punjab, which had rolled back sales tax on motor vehicles to 5 per cent last week, has also agreed to revert back to floor rate of 12 per cent.

After Punjab rolled back the sales tax to original 5 per cent and Haryana continued to levy only 6 per cent and Himachal refused to raise it to floor level from existing 3 per cent, the Chandigarh Administration made a reference to the Union Government for reverting back to the old rate of 5 per cent.

According to informed sources, the Union Government did not approve the recommendation of the Administration and instead insisted that it should continue with 12 per cent as other states in the neighbourhood would be asked to implement the floor rate.

Sources reveal that after the Union Government's initiative, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan immediately agreed to issue notifications. Haryana issued its notification yesterday while both Delhi and Rajasthan issued fresh orders today.

Since the neighbouring states have agreed to introduce the floor rate from May 15, the Administration in its wisdom decided not to lower the tax for the remaining three days.

It is not only the sales tax but also other levies which come with it. For example, in Haryana, there is no CST while in Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal, it is 3 per cent CST in addition to the sales tax. Punjab and Chandigarh also levy 10 per cent surcharge on sales tax. So it becomes 13.2 sales tax with 3 per cent CST.

In Haryana it will still be cheaper to buy a Maruti or other motor vehicles assembled there because of no CST . Himachal Pradesh, however, is yet to take a decision. It is also expected to raise it to the floor level shortly.Back


For Rs 200, Haryana pensioners go through hell
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 11 — Tottering old men and women barely manage to drag themselves to the tehsil office in the mini-secretariat, Sector 1, only to cool their heels in the porch for hours on end till they are summoned under the re-verification drive for identification of beneficiaries of the pension scheme. Most of them see it as a "cruel joke'' which has brought all good intentions of the Haryana Government to a naught.

Each morning, the drive gets under way at 8. A sea of people from villages in the township converge on the office where the arduous wait begins before a doctor verifies that they are indeed over 60 years and the tehsildar and the sarpanch of the village verify their antecedents. While some come in buses, for others hiring a rehri is the only way to get there.

At 110 years, Mansa Singh hailing from Bir Ghaggar, says, "Main to yahan aata aata mar gaya.'' He explains that he started from his village in the morning on a cycle with his friend and fell down, following which his sons hired a rehri for him. "Main apne do sau ke liye sab karne ko tayar hoon,'' he informs.

Another centenarian, Surjan Singh from Abheypur, is ailing and too weak to stand on his legs. The wait is punctuated by frequent wails of "Hai main gaya'' and his fellow villagers give him water. He says, "The attraction of an additional Rs 200 is too powerful, especially since we have to go without food on some nights. I have to adhere to the new rules to be eligible for the same which means I have to be here in spite of all my ailments.''

From Buddanpur, 80-year old Balwant Kaur, has nobody in her family and she herself can hardly see a thing. "I asked some boys from the village to bring me here. Calling us here is very unjust on the part of the government. Moreover, being alone and with this handicap, I can hardly afford to spend on commuting back and forth,'' she contends.

Disgusted with the affair, Ramanand Jha, 70 years, from Buddanpur, is more vociferous. He rues that Rs 200 is a pittance and not worth the trouble. "However, I am old and have a 20-year-old daughter who is blind. My main concern is providing for her though I get only Rs 150 since Rs 50 has already been spent on coming to this office and eating here,'' he adds.

One among the many sitting in corridor of the office, 80-year-old Rajjo Devi is disgruntled with the scheme and makes no bones about stating that the government, when it wanted votes, went from door-to-door to make the list of beneficiaries. However, after election things have changed and the question of "re-verification'' has come up. "I would not have thought of them poorly had they come to my doorstep. Calling us here is outright callous on their part,'' she opines.

There are others like Rashid Khan and Ajmer Singh, residents of Khangesra, both over 80 years, whose names have been struck off the list of beneficiaries "simply because we do not look our age''.

However, despite the pressure and protests, work goes on smoothly at the tehsil office where people are quickly disposed of. "We can do nothing about the wait since everybody is called according to their names in the list. Once inside, it hardly takes any time to get the verifications done,'' an official adds. The doctor on duty, Dr Surya, explains that the appearance of people is the barometer in deciding their age. However, this is very arbitrary and some doubtful cases do come up. "We recommend such cases for x-rays and dental records to ascertain their age to ensure that no deserving case is left out,'' she informs.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Monga, during a meeting instructed all tehsildars and naib tehsildars to ensure drinking water and make suitable seating arrangement for the beneficiaries. However, though water is available round the clock outside the office, the crowded porch is the only seating arrangement available to them, making the ordeal all the more trying.Back


UT begins 3 shifts in schools
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — Chandigarh is all set to have the rare distinction of running three shifts in some of its schools.

According to Mr D.S. Saroya, a UT official, four schools run by the Administration, will impart teaching from 7.15 in the morning until 7.30 in the evening. These schools are Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 38; Government High School, Mauli Colony; Government Girls High School, Sector 25, and Government Primary School (NC), Kajheri.

Among high and senior secondary schools, Mr Saroya said the students of class VI and above will come in the morning shift from 7.15 a.m. while in the afternoon shift, there will be only primary students.

At present, Chandigarh has 14 schools which run two shifts. Now the Administration has decided to extend this facility to 10 more schools. This, Mr Saroya said, has been done in accordance with the new policy announced by the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), that all government schools must run two shifts to solve the problem of overcrowding in schools and provide better teaching environs to students.

In some schools, for example, there are more than 2,000 students each. In Mauli Colony, there are more than 80 students in a pre-primary class and 1,135 students in primary classes and another 795 students in sixth to 10th classes. Now these students will come in two shifts.

The schools which will soon start running two shifts are Government Girls Senior Secondary Schools, Sectors 8 and 18; Government High Schools at Sector 7, 11, Dadu Majra, Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Mauli Jagran, Colony No 4, Palsora, Palsora Colony; Government Senior Secondary Schools at Dhanas and Maloya; Government Girls High School, Sector 40; Government Model Middle School, Sector 39; Government Model Middle Schools at Sarangpur and Mani Majra; Government Primary Schools at Colony No. 5, Mauli Colony and Mani Majra-2.Back


Powermen’s strike total
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — Powermen of Chandigarh observed a complete and peaceful strike today. The call for the strike was given by the Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Workers. It was endorsed by the Electricity Employees Federation of India against the economic and privatisation policies of the Union Government which were dictated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Powermen went on strike at midnight last night and continued to stay away from their work until midnight tonight.

The Administration had made adequate arrangements to prevent any sabotage or disruption in power supply. Contingents of police and security forces were deployed at all power sub-stations, vital installations and were also

directed to patrol the major and important transmission lines.

The employees, after holding rallies at various places, assembled outside the Sector 18 sub-station where they organised a massive rally. Among those who addressed the rally were Mr Bhag Mal Rana, Mr Ujagar Singh Mohi, Mr Kasturi Lal, Mr Vijay Singh, Mr Girish Kumar, Mr Narinder Singh Sekhon, Mr Gopal Datt Joshi, Mr Mehar Chand, Mr Pradeep Kumar, Mr Hans Raj, Mr Hakam Singh, Mr Upender Prasad, Mr Swarn Singh, Mr Sajjan Singh, Mr Ram Swarup and Mr Kiran Deep Singh.

Mr Inderjit Singh Grewal, President, CITU, condemned the economic policies of the NDA government. He said the public sector had gone a long way in building a self-reliant economy, but the government was selling out these "temples of self-reliant public sectors".

Mr Bhag Mal Rana highlighted how privatisation of power would lead to a multiple increase in its tariff. He wanted that the idea of privatisation of power distribution should be given up. For the past three years, he said, the Electricity Circle had shown profit and as such, there was no logic in privatising power distribution.

The leaders also condemned the Administration for not implementing the just demands of employees. The demands include the implementation of cashier allowance and other allowances as per the PSEB pattern; filling of vacant posts by promoting UT-cadre employees, creation of additional posts as per the PSEB pattern, withdrawal of victimisation of trade union leaders and appointment of next of kin on compassionate grounds.

The resolutions adopted at the rally included condemnation of the move to privatise power distribution and intensifying of the agitation in case the move was not withdrawn immediately.

Meanwhile, the power supply and water supply mostly remained normal until late in the evening today. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere.



Chandigarh dons yellow garb

The Amaltas trees have bloomed in Chandigarh to provide respite from the scorching heat of May. Heavily laden with golden yellow flowers, they provide a soothing touch to the eyes. Brightening the lives of Chandigarhians, the long avenues lined with Amaltas trees are indeed a boon for the people living in this city.

“I go to my tuition at 2.30 p.m., covering a distance of 3 km on my bicycle. The searing heat takes its tool, and I feel very tired by the time I reach my destination. But the bloom on a couple of Amaltas trees grown there, enthrals me and I join my class with a fresh mind”, says Tarunveer, a class 11 student.

“On seeing these absolutely leafless trees a few days ago, nobody could imagine that they would transcend into this stage of gorgeous and lavish flowering. All leaves of these trees shed during the last couple of months. But see them today. They are a riot of colour — sophisticated, bubbling with joy”, says a jubilant Anuradha.

Considered to be one of the most decorative trees, Amaltas has been a favourite choice as a roadside tree, not only in Chandigarh, but in other major cities of India too. So much so that in Mumbai, Laburnum Road was so named because of double row of these trees planted there. Flowers of this tree emerge in the shape of long drooping racemes, with those at the base of the receme blooming first of all. Measuring 3 to 5 cm, each flower has 10 stamens. Out of these, the three long ones are usually fertile.

The tree has been christened ‘Indian Laburnum’ since it is very similar to its European counterpart — European Laburnum — in terms of profusion of flowers and colour thereof. The second part of its botanical name (Cassia fistula) is attributed to the shape of its fruit. Endemic to deciduous hilly forests, Amaltas is found in most parts of peninsular India. Tribal people living in hills, apart from utilising its hard and durable timber, also eat its flowers as vegetable. It has medicinal value too. The pulp of its fruit serves as mild purgative, while the root doubles as a tonic and a febrifuge.

— By Thakur ParamjitBack


Cops subletting houses caught
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — A raid by a special team today blew the lid off the illegal practice of subletting government accomodation by policemen in the city.

During the raid, which was carried out late last night, 40 houses were identified, which had been sublet to local police personnel. While 33 persons were found to be tenants, 7 persons were residing in their houses.

It also came to the notice of the officials that this practice had been going on for the past many years. More raids in this context are on the anvil as officials suspect that more than 250 houses have been sublet in the city.

According to sources, senior officers had received a tip-off that 40 houses in Sectors 20 and 34 had been sublet. Following this, a team was formed to physically verify the houses, but in a tactful way. The houses had been allotted mainly to constables.

The raiding party, armed with the requisite allotment papers, asked the occupants to show the ration cards by saying that it was a routine affair. Wile some refused to cooperate, by and large the personnel themselves admitted that they had taken the house on rent form the allottees.

The city police has a pool of only 1,750 houses of various categories and accommodation is at a premium. Many of the personnel cannot afford to pay rent outside and so they take recourse to renting the accommodation allotted to a colleague. The prime houses are where the person is staying alone.

The sources say action against the erring personnel is on the cards and letters of cancellation of the accomodation are being issued. Besides this, the offenders will be censured or warned. They will also not be eligible for government accomodation for the next five years, sources add.

The department had recently launched a policy, whereby any employee informing about a subletting would be allotted the house in case he was eligible for it. This policy is being followed by the Delhi Police.Back


AOC-in-C compliments 3 BRD for target achievement
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — The immediate aim for No.3 Base Repair Depot (3 BRD) here should be to obtain the ISO 9000 certificate from the Bureau of Indian Standards. Stating this while addressing officers and airmen at 3 BRD, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF’s Maintenance Command, Air Marshal S. S. Gupta added that to achieve this, the quality of output from this depot had to meet international standards. He had arrived here yesterday on a 5-day official visit.

Expressing confidence that the depot would live up to the expectations and achieve the standards required for this, the AOC-in-C also complimented them for not only achieving all targets set for the depot during the year 1999-2000, but also in some cases exceeding them. Air Marshal Gupta also expressed hope that the depot would successfully meet enhanced targets set for it in the current financial year.

The Maintenance Command chief also inspected different sections and establishments at the depot and was given a briefing on various aspects of maintenance activities being undertaken here.

Earlier, he also reviewed a ceremonial parade commanded by Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, Air Commodore Arvinda Agrawal, and took the salute at a march past.

A barakhana in the airmen’s mess in the afternoon and a social evening in the officers mess were also organised. Exhibition volleyball matches and gymnastics were also held, besides a variety entertainment programme put up by airmen and their families.

Air Marshal Gupta will proceed to the Kasauli Air Force Station on Friday.Back


Mohali MC poll on June 17
From Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, May 11 — Confusion over the holding of the local municipal elections ended today, with the government fixing June 17 as the polling date.

Confirming this, Mr N.K. Arora, Principal Secretary, Local Government, said the Election Commission had been intimated in this connection.

The poll was earlier scheduled to be held on May 28, though the final notification had not been issued. Poll-related work was going on in full swing in the town and objections to the voters’ list had been heard. The final list was to be published on May 5. However, on May 4, to the surprise of residents, the Department of Local Government put off the elections. The Election Commission had raised objections to the postponement.

A former municipal councillor, Mr Amrik Singh of Phase XI, today criticised the government for earlier putting off the poll. He said the ruling party in the state could not “find adequate number” of candidates for the poll and, therefore, resorted to the postponement.

He objected to June 17 as the polling date as he felt many people might leave town, with holidays coming around that period.

Another former councillor, Ms Indu Sehgal, was certain the poll would not be held even on the new date. She said it would not be surprising if the elections were held after July 30.

She said she had resorted to hectic electioneering in the hot summer and was now compelled to wait and watch for the “real” election schedule. Back


APRO for Mohali sought
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, May 11 — The Press should go in for constructive criticism of the government and highlight the latter’s development work on a priority basis.

These views were expressed by Punjab’s Minister for Public Relations and Information, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Mohali Press Club here today. He said the Press should act as a bridge between the government and the people.

The minister said no news should be published against the government which did not have any basis. Any news which gave the impression of blackmail should be shunned.

Mr Ajit Salani, club chairman, demanded the appointment of a government APRO in the town and the setting up of a communications centre for newspersons.

The minister said a proposal on the APRO had been sent to the Finance Department as it involved the creation of a new post. Once the APRO was appointed, a communications centre could also be opened.

Answering a question, the minister said the financial crunch in the state was inherited from the previous Congress government. However, the crisis had now been overcome.Back


Dhobis end stir
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 11—Ten members of the Dhobi Mahasabha sitting on chain fast outside the office of the Haryana Urban Development Authority in Sector 6 for the third day, here today, called it off after reaching ``an understanding’’ on their demands with the officials concerned.

The dhobis constructed a dhobi hut outside the office in an effort to convince the officials that the hut would not create any mess in the vicinity and improve the conditions of vacant plot. Made of planks of wood, the dhobi hut is covered on all sides with an entry and has space enough to iron clothes only.

In a press note issued later in the day, the chairman of the mahasabha, Mr SK Jain, said that the HUDA Administrator had approved the hut with certain modifications which included putting the entire structure on wheels to make it movable among others.

They were demanding the construction of a dhobi ghat in the township and putting an end to demolition of their work shelters being undertaken by the Enforcement Wing of the Estate Office.Back


33 drivers challaned
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — In a surprise checking drive, the traffic police today challaned drivers of 33 vehicles for various offences.

Drivers of six vehicles were challaned for having red lights on top of these without the requisite permission. Besides this, 23 persons were challaned for driving with dark car-glasses and the rest for various offences.

The drive, from 11 am to 1 pm, was carried out at the Housing Board roundabout under the supervision of Mr Balbir Singh, SP (traffic).

Crushed by train: A middle-aged Gwala Colony resident was crushed to death by a train near the colony here in the evening.

Kishan Lal, a vegetable vendor in Sector 26, was, reportedly, drunk and was trying to cross the track when he was hit by the Kalka-Amritsar train. He is survived by his wife and six children. Further investigations are on.

Poppy husk seized: The police has arrested two residents of Palsora Colony on the charges of possessing 7 kg of poppy husk. According to the police sources, Surinder Singh was arrested after a tip off and a raid on his residence. The police seized 5 kg of poppy husk from him. Dharam Pal of the same colony was arrested and 2 kg of poppy husk was seized from him.

Cases under Section 15 of the NDPS Act have been registered against them.

Scooterist booked: The police has registered a case against an unidentified scooterist for hitting and injuring a pedestrian girl, Kulvinder Kaur. She was admitted to the General Hospital. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Mobile phone stolen: A German national, Joachim Wrobel, who was staying in a hotel in Sector 22, reported that some one had stolen his mobile telephone and some other valuables from his room, yesterday night. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.Back


‘Cops will weed out dead wood’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — The Police Department will weed out only the dead wood and not a large number of officers as was being projected in a section of the media, which was sending the wrong signal in the rank and file of the Chandigarh police.

This was observed by Mr S.K. Singh, UT IGP, while interacting with mediapersons at the police headquarters here. He was referring to conflicting reports about the compulsory retirement scheme and certain rumours doing the rounds.

It may be recalled that The Tribune had prominently carried the scheme as a special story on May 2 under the heading ''For the first time in the history of UT police, erring officers will be compulsorily retired.'' The story was a matter of intense deliberations in the department and the public. Many newspapers had followed the story subsequently.

Mr Singh said in certain stories he had been quoted when the reporter concerned did not even talk to him. In others, the entire scheme, which was being implemented for the betterment of the department and to improve the interface with the public, had not been presented in a positive light.

He elaborated that the provision for retirement of erring officials existed under Rule 3 (1) of the Punjab Civil Services Premature Rules, 1975, and applicable to the city police. The premise that a large number of people would be shunted out was without basis and not based on facts, he asserted.

However, those employees who had one year of service would not be covered under the scheme, he added.

As many as 371 officers have been shortlisted by the department who have either completed 25 years of service or are 50 years of age. Back


Romancing in moonlit nights
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — A melodious ode to the moon is on its way. And if what the Tourism Promotion Society of Chandigarh (TPSE) says is anything to go by, this city of concrete will have something soulful to look forward to on every weekend. Come May 20 and 21, and the Garden of Fragrance will get transformed into virtual heaven ...with music and moonlight romancing through the dawn, as the TPSE collaborates with the Academy of Indian Music and Fine Arts to celebrate Poornima and the following days with instrumental and vocal recitals in raag Chandrakons and Yaman by local artistes. May has especially been chosen as this is the time fragrant plants are at their prime.

The stage is almost set with the Municipal Commissioner permitting the organisers to use the Garden of Fragrance. Although the recital was initially planned for May 18, the Puranmashi day, the dates were later shifted to fall on the weekend so as to attract a larger gathering.

The performance will come as part of the series of classical music concerts planned by the TPSE and the Academy of Indian Music with a view to convert Chandigarh into a `city of singing gardens’. The motive is to attract tourists as also re-introduce the rich heritage of classical music to city residents, especially the youth.

First recital in this series has already taken place in Shantikunj on March 29 and 30 where Mr Subhash Ghosh, head, Academy of Indian Music, performed himself performed on the classical guitar, along with Wavel on the flute and Amit Kumar on the tabla. In the Garden of Fragrance too Subhash Ghosh is slated to perform, along with two other artistes and a vocalist from the city.

Talking about the concept and its value, Mr Manmohan Singh Kohli, president, TPSE, said? “The effort is to build up tourist potential of the area which is known more for its architectural might and less for its gardens. Our motive is to make Chandigarh a “city of singing gardens”. If we go about the plan sincerely, the tourists will know that here is a place where Indian classical music is played in the gardens on every weekend. This will give a tremendous boost to the tourist industry which is ailing.”

It may be mentioned that this idea was conceptualised way back by former UT Adviser V.K. Duggal, who wanted to introduce a series of classical music concerts of morning ragas in the city. He is now realising his dream in New Delhi where this series is sponsored by the New Delhi Municipal Council.

Here in the city, too, the organisers have taken up the concerts as a model project. According to the organisers, the Shantikunj recital was meant to gauge the feedback and give a presentation to the MC and the Administration so that they can think about funding the series in future. Estimated cost of arranging the recital in Shantikunj was Rs 10,000 which was borne by the TPSE. The recital in Garden of Fragrance will also be sponsored by TPSE.

The response to the first recital was tremendous, although the second could not take place due to some technical snags. Said Mr Kohli? “It takes time to arrange such concerts. One has to get the cables laid for good acoustic effects. We are slowly proceeding with our effort to go back to the roots. Chandigarh has immense local talent in classical music but it’s ironical that music concerts have no takers here. We will have many corporate houses coming forward to sponsor fashion shows but none to sponsor such a recital. In such a scenario, only the Administration can come to the rescue and we are quite hopeful of its support.Back


Bankers flay ‘pressure’ of WB
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — Banking services in the city were hit today following the strike by bank employees on the call of the National Platform of Mass Organisations in support of their demands.

A massive rally was organised in Bank Square, Sector 17, by the protesting employees against the decision of the Central Government to dilute its holding in public sector banks to 33 per cent, introduction of compulsory retirement and voluntary retirement schemes and redeployment of employees with “ulterior” motives

Various speakers came down heavily on what they called the nefarious designs of the government in ruining the public sector under pressure from the World Bank, the IMF, MNCs and big houses, which they alleged were responsible for non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking industry.

They also criticised the alleged discriminatory attitude of the IBA against the three so-called weak banks — the Indian Bank, the UCO Bank and the United Bank of India.

They urged the government to restrain itself from the privatisation move and concentrate on taking effective steps for the recovery of ever-increasing portfolio of “bad loans” of over 50,000 crores.



Fruits remain dear
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 11 — Prices of fruits remained high in the markets of the township. Fluctuation in prices is expected in coming weeks.

The market was flooded with mangoes, muskmelons and watermelons and prices of these were more or less uniform. While a kg of mango could be bought for Rs 40, muskmelon was on the higher side at Rs 25 a kg in Sectors 7 and 8. Watermelon was available with roadside vendors for Rs 8 a kg but was priced at Rs 10 a kg in the local market.

A kg of grapes, available for Rs 40 a kg last month, could be bought for Rs 85 in Sector 7 and for Rs 80 a kg in Sectors 6 and 8, though available with onlky some vendors. Black grapes could be bought for Rs 90 a kg against last month's price of Rs 50 in the markets of Sector 7 and 8.

Pineapple remained at its old price of Rs 40 a kg in Sector 8 and pomegranate could be bought for Rs 40 a kg in Sector 7, though it was slightly higher at Rs 45 with vendors. While apple was still available in the markets, the price went up from last month's Rs 40 a kg to Rs 70 a kg.

Papaya and guava were being sold in the markets in Sectors 7 and 8 for Rs 20 a kg each, while strawberry was available in selected shops for Rs 15 a kg and banana was priced at Rs 25 a dozen in Sector 8.Back

Insurance staff strike work
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — Insurance services in the city were severely affected today, following a one-day strike by the insurance staff.

The protesters held rallies in Sectors 17 and 34 and various speakers criticised the anti-labour and anti-people policies of the BJP-led government.

They opposed the policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation as dictated by the IMF and the World Bank, which were leading the country on the path of disaster.Back


PU shops close for an hour
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 —Shops at the Student Centre of Panjab University here were closed for over an hour today in protest against the move to enhance the rates of eatables.

Mr Chand Madan, chairman of the Haryana Students Association, said that issue to increase rates had not come up for discussion at the university forum. Sources said a meeting in this regard would be held shortly.

A senior official said that the rates had been not increased for the past couple of years. The market conditions had changed. Shopkeepers on the campus found it difficult even to break even.

Mr Chand said that university has assured that the university would look at the proposed rates before implementation.Back


Hotel, footpath workers want Rs 3,500
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 11 — Hundreds of hotel and footpath workers today observed a strike in support of their demands.

The protesters assembled near the Sector 20 Labour Chowk in the morning and then marched in procession towards Sector 17. Holding banners, they were joined by members of the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation.

They were stopped by the police near the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, where they burnt the effigy of the Union Government. They also held up traffic for some time.

The main demands of the hotel and footpath workers include grant of minimum wages at the rate of Rs 3,500 per month, provision of residential accommodation to hotel workers, pucca booths for roadside workers, and the withdrawal of hike in the prices of gas, kerosene and ration items.

Mr H.S. Gambhir, President of the Chandigarh Hotel Workers Union, claimed that hotel business in the city came to a standstill. Similarly, the general public was inconvenienced on account of the strike by cobblers, cycle mechanics and road-side barbers.

The demands of the federation include an end to the privatisation of power and transport sectors, grant of bonus for the last three years, filling of the vacant posts and regularisation of the services of the daily wage workers.Back

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