Saturday, July 1, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


1,28,655 file income tax returns
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — With the last date for filing income tax returns ending today, 1,28,655 persons have filed their returns.

Long queues were witnessed at the local DAV College, the venue chosen for accepting returns by the Income Tax Department since June 19 for the convenience of the public. An overwhelming majority of the persons filing the returns were the salaried class people.

Income Tax Department officials clarified that the above figure included the business class tax payers too. While business class tax payers could file the returns till August, the companies could file the returns till November.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr Ashwini Luthra, clarified that only those persons would file the returns in Form 2-C under the one by six criteria whose income was still untaxable.

In a press note, Mr Luthra said those, who had been filing the Form 2-C but whose income had become taxable in the financial year 1999-2000 were required to file the regular returns for the assessment year 2000-2001. Those who fail to file the return in the Form 2-C are liable to penal action.

As regard the Form 2-C, these were being received at the office of the Income Tax Officer, Nodal Office, Central Revenue Building in Sector 17, the press note added.

The six criteria are occupation of immovable property exceeding a specified floor area, ownership or leasing of a motor vehicle, subscription to a telephone and expenditure on himself or any other person on travel to a foreign country. Besides, the holders of the credit card not “add-on” issued by any bank or institution and members of a club where entrance fee charged is Rs 25,000, fulfilling any one of the six criteria, would file the mandatory return.

Even as the last date for filing returns for the salaried class ended today, confusion prevailed over the extension of date for filing the returns. While reports from New Delhi said that the last date had been extended till July 15 without the payment of penalty amounting to Rs 500, Mr Luthra told The Tribune that the local office had not received such instructions.


Bhambri retires as Tribune GM
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — The General Manager of the Tribune Trust, Mr S.D. Bhambri, retired today after serving the institution for more than 19 years.

He was given a send-off by the Trustees of The Tribune this evening. Speaking on the occasion, the President of the Trust, Mrs Serla Grewal, appreciated the services of Mr Bhambri in The Tribune as well as in the government sector saying he worked with dedication. She appreciated the role he played in bringing glory to The Tribune. Former President of the Trust, Mr B.K. Nehru, and Prof R.P. Bambah, a member of the Trust, along with their wives were also present. Mr S.S. Grewal, a former Secretary to the Government of India , also attended the function.

Mr Bhambri, who joined The Tribune in January 1981, said after this long association with the institution “one feels dejected and sad while leaving. But there has been fulfilment in working here.” He praised the trustees, the Editor, journalists, senior functionaries of the management and staff adding that he enjoyed working here. Computerisation work had been carried out, sub-offices had been opened in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh while the Bathinda edition of The Tribune is to start soon.

The Editor, Mr Hari Jaisingh, and other senior functionaries from the editorial as well as management along with their wives joined the trustees to give a farewell to Mr Bhambri tonight. Yesterday the officers association had hosted a farewell dinner for him while the staff will be hosting a lunch tomorrow.

Before joining The Tribune Trust, Mr Bhambri was Chief Secretary of Haryana. He joined the IAS in 1950 and was posted as SDM Sonepat followed by SDM, Barnala. Later he was DC, Sangrur, and then Patiala. He also served in the Ministry of Petroleum. He was General Manager of the Indian Oil Corporation, besides serving as Director of various petroleum companies.

Mr R.N. Gupta, who will be the new General Manager of The Tribune Trust, was also present at the function. He is a 1964 batch IAS officer and the seniormost Punjab cadre officer posted in Chandigarh. He has resigned from the post of Financial Commissioner to join The Tribune. He was formerly Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).Back


Tribune employee retires
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — Mr Kashmira, Havildar Cleaner, retired here today after putting in 29 years of service.

He joined The Tribune in 1971. He was given a farewell by his colleagues. Mr S.D. Bhambri, General Manager and Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager, were also present on the occasion and lauded his services to the institution.


PUDA to auction taxi stand sites
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 30 — Concerned at loss of revenue in terms of lease money from the taxi stands in the town, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority has decided to auction the taxi stand sites. The sites, already identified by the authority, would be auctioned on a lease for one year

The lease would be renewed after one year, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions laid down by the authority. Sources in the department said presently the site for taxi stands were allotted by the local Municipal Council on a payment of Rs 100 per month. At least 10 taxi stands were being run from different places since 1987 when the council started the process of allotment.

Under the rules of the council the allotment was reviewed after one year and a private vehicle found at a taxi stand attracted a fine of Rs 500. The sources said that though the sites — mostly located near the road berms — were in possession of PUDA but, the allotment fee was being charged by the council. At least seven sites in Sectors 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60 and 61 has been allotted in April, 1987, for one year.

It could not ascertained whether the sites already allotted by the council would be auctioned by PUDA. Auctioning of sites for autorickshaw and rickshaw stands is also proposed by PUDA. The sources said a policy regarding the auctioning of the sites had already been approved in an Accounts and Finance Committee meeting of the authority.

The reserve price proposed for tax stand was Rs 100 per month for a taxi. In case of an autorickshaw and rickshaw the proposed reserve price was Rs 50 per month and Rs 25 per month. The sites would be leased for a period of one year.

As per the terms and conditions of the lease the monthly rent would have to be paid in advance. The number of taxis to be parked at a site would be fixed by the Estate Officer. No parking fee would be charged from the taxi owners. The sources said though PUDA had identified the sites to be leased out, the exact date to conduct the auction had not been finalised yet.Back


Nostalgia time for S.K. Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — It was nostalgia time for UT IGP, Mr S. K. Singh, who hung up his uniform after an eventful innings of 30 years. He was given a warm farewell at the Sector 26 police lines here this morning by the officers and personnel of Chandigarh Police.

Escorted by four motor-cycle-borne cops and led by six horsemen dressed in al their finery, Mr Singh arrived at the well decorated main ground of the Police Lines at 9 a.m. He was received by Mr Parag Jain, SSP, Mr Ajay Kashyap, SSP, HQ, Mr Balbir Singh, SP, Traffic, Mr Baldev Singh, SP, City, besides other senior functionaries of the department.

Present on the occasion were the Mayor, Mrs Shanta Abilashi, the Home Secretary, Mr M. P. Singh besides other officers of the Administration.

He was escorted to the dais where he took the salute of a well-turned out ceremonious parade led by Mr S.S. Randhawa, DSP. The tent-pegging and motor-cycle show scheduled for the occasion was cancelled at the last minute due to inclement weather.

Addressing the personnel on the occasion, he said “I am hanging my uniform with mixed feelings of happiness and regret. Happiness because I have done my bit for the people, and regret because an officer in uniform can do a lot for the common man.

On his year-long stay in the city, he said “it was great to be here and the force here was one of the best in the country, and it was a pleasure working here. You can put across your ideas and be certain that they will be implemented in letter and spirit. Being a small and compact force, the feedback is instant and the results are for everyone to see,” he said.

As the function drew to a close, he was led to a colourfully decorated jeep, which was then towed by senior officers as a mark of their affection for some distance and was finally bid adieu with crisp salutes at the gates of the Police Lines.

He earlier interacted with personnel over a cup of tea, besides obliging some of them with group photographs. He later attended office as usual and was given a farewell dinner at the UT Guest House later in the evening.

An officer of the 1970 batch, Mr Singh has been instrumental in revamping the police control room, ushering in computerisation and keeping the crime rate of the city down. Besides this, he was responsible in softening the “image” of the cops in the eyes of the public.Back


Admission to senior secondary classes
Education Department extends date to July 5
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — The last date for submission of application forms for admission to senior secondary classes in government schools has been extended till July 5. A decision in this regard was taken by the UT Education Department here today.

The date has been extended keeping in view the impending result of matriculation examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board, S.A.S. Nagar. This result will be out on July 3.

Earlier the last date of submission of forms was June 30. There is, however, no change in the interview schedule already announced, officials have informed. The students are asked to follow the same schedule as carried in the prospectus-cum-admission form. The admission forms will be submitted to the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, the designated submission centre for the forms. Earlier the forms were made available in all the 29 government senior secondary schools.

Meanwhile GMSS, Sector 23 continued to be the hub of activity as it was thronged by many students who took it to be the final day of submission of admission forms today.

An employee of the school at the submission counter revealed that the rush of the students today was four times that of earlier days as it was supposed to be the last day. The number of forms submitted could not be ascertained. Right since morning students had queued up outside the counter to get their forms submitted.

The rush continued the whole day. Even at the closing time at 1p.m, a long queue was seen at the counter and the students were rushing to the venue ten minutes after the closing time. The school authorities did not send anybody back and all the students coming even after the closing time were entertained.

The forms of students who had appeared in the PSEB examination were also being accepted. The employees told that a maximum number of students who came to submit their forms today had appeared in PSEB examination.

Meanwhile, at the sale counter school employees observed a rise in the sale of application forms. They sold more than 200 forms today as against the normal sale of 100 every day. Many students were buying the forms even after the closing time. Mr Paramjeet Singh a parent, was buying forms after 1 p.m. He was sure that the department would extend the date and he would be using the form for his daughter’s admission.Back


25 cops shortlisted for compulsory retirement
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — As many as 25 officers have been shortlisted who fulfil the criteria laid down by the police department for compulsory retirement. These officers who have a bad track record or have been held guilty of misconduct following enquiries.

It may be recalled that the department had drawn up the policy last month following which a committee had been constituted to go into the service record of the employees fulfilling the conditions. As many as 371 officers had been shortlisted by the department who had either completed 25 years of service or were 50 years of age, police sources said. Those finally recommended by the committee and approved by the UT IGP would be served with three months of notice and pay for the same.

Sources said the outgoing IGP, who retires today, was yet to receive the recommendations of the committee. The provision to do so already exist in the service rules. However, what decision in this context would be taken by the incoming IGP is yet to be seen.

It may be stressed here that the decision had sent a wave of jubilation in the rank and file of the force which saw it as an attempt to weed those officers who had tarnished the image of the force.

It was for the first time that an elaborate policy had been drawn up by the department and certain guidelines had been laid down which are likely to be adhered to in the future. The number of officers which met the criteria was arrived at following a scrutiny of the service and track record, involvement in graft cases, integrity, number of repeated misdemeanours, lapses and punishments meted out during the course of their service, the sources added.

The list was topped by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendents of Police (12), followed by Inspectors (12), SIs (159), ASIs (81), Head Constables (35) and constables (57).

This was a part of the measures initiated by the department to refurbish the image of the force, besides projecting it as a people- friendly force. This was also done to negate the impression among the people that the department was very lax when it came to taking action against erring officials. It was a regular grudge of the people and upright officers in the department that those who were corrupt enjoyed the most important posting in the police.

According to police sources, the number of erring officers between the ranks of ASIs and DSPs was very high, given their strength in the force. Presently, there are 12 DSPs, 50 Inspectors, 248 SIs, 190 ASIs and more than 2630 constables in the local police.

As per records available with the department, as many as 17 personnel, one SI, one ASI and 15 constables had been dismissed from service from April 1, 1999 to March 3, 2000. Other than this, four SIs had been awarded major punishments and their increments had been stopped, 50 ASIs and SIs had been issued censure notices, 440 constables had been censured while 60 increments had also been stopped.

Other than this, many personnel of all ranks were facing departmental enquiries or were likely to face them following sanction. In several instances, the officers were facing criminal cases and cases have been registered against them, the sources added.Back


Citizens’ forum
Should Chandigarh have an international airport?
By Kewal Dhillon

AN international airport at Chandigarh? A question that has been asked quite late, but still there is always time to look into the follies. Many people might have got this idea but they continue to sit on the fence and wait for others to take the initiative. The first really great champion, Le Corbuseur, who saw the planning of Chandigarh, did envisage a domestic airport but could not foresee the quantum of development that has place in last two decades.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you to your destination. The same has happened in this case. People in this part of North India have never questioned the time and money they needlessly spend in catching international flights from Delhi. They have taken things for granted. All international flights depart and arrive late at night or early in the morning at Delhi. So one must go at least a day in advance to board them. It is not the passengers only but also the families who have to face the onslaught of wastage of time and money.

In winters there is such a thick fog on the Delhi-Punjab highway that people virtually take a risk while travelling. Even at the IGIA, Delhi, the suffering of families accompanying the passengers is seen to be believed. The families have to spend nights in the corridors, and, God forbid, if the flights are delayed for a day or two due to bad weather, one can well imagine the agony of the helpless people. But times are changing now. It is not the roads that used to measure the health and development of any region. It is the aviation traffic that portrays the real growth of an area.

In a city like Chandigarh, which is the hub of education, tourism, upcoming electronic and computer industry, capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana, and a vital passage to Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir, the need of an international airport is all that more important. Statistics show that one third of the air traffic from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, belongs to this part of the north. Chandigarh did come up on the international map after the inauguration of the cricket stadium at SAS Nagar. If I tell my American/European friends, that to reach Chandigarh you take a flight to Delhi and board a train, they would presume Chandigarh to be a very small village that is lagging in development by almost 20 years.

If one keeps following the doctrine of “Business as usual” (Sab chalta hai), the agony of development shall continue. It is the innovations, technological breakthroughs and the logistic breakthroughs that help strengthen the arms of business and ultimately lead to economic development of a region.

It is not the importance that is being sought after for having an international airport. It’s the whole development of the region, the revenue of the state, the comfort, the cost of time and money that are at stake. Foreign investors and venture capitalists are not laying their hands in and around Chandigarh because it doesn’t even have an airport of direct international access. Organisations like WHO, CII, PHDCCI, WWF, UNO and PGIMER have their foreign representatives visiting Chandigarh quite often, and they might not be quite happy with spending more time to get to actual business (stay in Delhi and travel time to Chandigarh) then they have spent to reach India. Still, because of the huge potential of industry in this region and abundant resources available in terms of manpower and infrastructure, there are lot of multinational companies which have put up there operations in and around Chandigarh.

So, we should have an international airport in our own “City Beautiful”.

Let me be very frank. If we want to see our part of the country really develop at the global pace, then we are in a dire need to have an international airport of world standards at Chandigarh.Back


Sixty attend legal literacy camp
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30— Chetna, a Non-Government Organisation, organised a legal literacy camp in the here today. The camp was organised in collaboration with the Department of Adult Continuing Education and Extension and was sponsored by the Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board.

The camp was attended by 60 nursing superintendents, staff nurses and nurses.

Addressing the participants, the Chairperson of the Advisory Board, Mrs Kamala Sharma, said that women need to be empowered. “ Only if the woman in our society progresses, will her family, society and the nation improve.”

She said that the Social Welfare Advisory Board has set up number of family council centres in and around Chandigarh. “ Here we try and bring the estranged husband and wives together to stop the families breaking apart.”

Mr H.S.Gill, Deputy Advocate General, Punjab expressed his views on “Hindu Marriage Act, Divorce, Maintenance and custody of child”. He said that according to the Hindu law, marriage is sacrosanct. “ Couples should opt for divorce only in extreme cases.”

Elaborating on the subject he said that cruelty, adultery and desertation were the grounds for filing for divorce. He said that divorced women can seek maintenance for her and her children’s needs, education, besides medical and marriage expenses from her husband.

Ajaib Singh, Director of the Adult Continuing Education and Extension, Panjab University, said that the department plans to organise 12 legal literacy camps in and around Chandigarh in the near future.

Mrs Surya Pandit, Secretary General, Chetna, said that the N.G.O. is engaged in organising income and skill-generating programmes for the women. ‘‘We want to make them economically independent.’’ Back


Additional benefits for ex-servicemen proposed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — Several proposals for granting additional benefits to ex-servicemen were put forward to the Secretary, Kendriya Sainik Board, Air Cdre T.S. Chhatwal, during his visit to the Directorate of Sainik Welfare Punjab, here today.

Briefing the secretary, Director Sainik Welfare Punjab, Brig K.S. Kahlon (Retd), recommended that in view of high medical costs, treatment for certain diseases and ailments which are not covered under army group insurance schemes should be reimbursed by the Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB). Reimbursement up the tune of 60 - 80 per cent of the cost of treatment was suggested.

Presently, as per the Income Tax Act, pension and family pension received by Central and state government employees who are recipients of the Param Vir Chakra series is exempted from income tax. Extension of the Act to include Ashok Chakra series, Sena Medal recipients and those mentioned-in-despatches was also sought. The need to take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance and get the requisite notification issued was stressed upon.

The director also briefed the visiting Defence Ministry functionary on achievements of the directorate over the past three years. He revealed that ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh has been paid to next of kin of 129 soldiers hailing from Punjab who were killed in action in Kargil or in other operations since January 1, 1999. Plots or houses have been given to 15 such families, while 103 families have been paid Rs 5 lakh each in lieu of house. Government jobs have been given to 70 next of kin of martyrs.

Air Cdre Chhatwal was also appraised about the exemption from non-construction fee granted to service personnel by the Punjab Urban Development Authority and also the increase in quota of plots and houses for gallantry awardees in the state.

He was also informed about the increase in quota for wards of defence personnel for admission in engineering colleges from 2 per cent to 4 per cent, as well as the introduction of a separate seat for Punjab in the Rashtriya Indian Military College.

The secretary was also briefed about the functioning of the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre in Mohali, various welfare funds and other welfare projects being undertaken by the directorate.Back


Mosquito-breeding area in front of dispensary
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — The dingy pools of stagnant water right at the entrance of the Sector 26 civil dispensary with polythene bags and garbage floating in them are perfect breeding grounds of mosquitoes. In fact, you can see numerous mosquitoes hovering all over the slush, before they take off for “operation bite.’’

The situation becomes ironic in the light of the fact that the dispensary also houses the sanitation and malaria unit of the Administration. Though the malaria wing has observed this month as anti-malaria month and has been undertaking various campaigns to eliminate mosquito breeding places, a visit to the place only reveals the apathy of the authorities. Despite the tall claims of the officials, the people residing in this area confirm that nothing has been done to suffocate the larva.

The staff working in the family welfare wing pointed out that the problem gets compounded as the transporters use the place for urinating and easing themselves in the morning hours. “We cannot even open the windows for foul smell fills the air all through the day,’’ said one of them. In fact, we do not even feel very safe because of the truck drivers and attendants who sit all around the dispensary.

Meanwhile, few patients pointed out the problems they face when the only doctor in charge of the dispensary goes on leave. They are then attended to by the pharmacist, who is able to give them medicines for common ailments like diarrhoea or viral infections but has to refer them to the Sector 16 General Hospital in case of other complicated problems. For instance, presently the doctor-in-charge, Dr ( Mrs) Neelam Mehta, is on a week’s leave as her husband is not well and the pharmacist is attending to the patients. One of the women patients said: “the authorities should post a substitute in her place while she is on leave so that the patients do not suffer for want of medical aid.’’

The dispensary caters to patients from Bapu Dham Colony, grain market and Sector 28 and has about 60-70 out patients every day. A visit to the dispensary revealed that the family welfare wing has proper refrigerators to store the vaccines.

There is no reported shortage of medicines as patients are given most of it from here only. The interior of the dispensary is clean and well maintained. But sources reveal that till the authorities take a serious note of the dirty surroundings, there is lurking danger posed by the possibility of malaria outbreak and other infections. The drainage system in these areas can hardly be said to exist as the water that gets accumulated after the rains here and there are the breeding ground for mosquitoes.Back


A splendid shopping complex
From A Correspondent

PANCHKULA, June 30 — More than 3000 customers visit 7th Western Command canteen daily. All of them come out smilingly, fully satisfied, as almost all of their needs are met under one roof. So is the splended CSD canteen of HQ Western Command. Commonly known as the best show-room of North India, it is located in the foot-hills of the Shivalik Ranges in Chandimandir.

With an aim to provide consumer goods of high quality to troops wherever they are, at a price cheaper than the prevailing market rate, and to ensure that the level consumer satisfaction is maintained at the maximum, it tries to get as close to the clientele as possible, and operates another two sub-canteens — one at Mohali and the second in Sector 22 of Chandigarh.

There are approximately 1300 items available, and these are so systematically laid out that it helps the customer to choose the required stuff with ease and comfort. For example, there are separate racks for toilet requisites, household requisites, general use items, wrist-watches and sports goods.

Colonel G.S. Chadha (retd), the manager, while explaining the functioning of the canteen, said that efforts are made to ensure maximum variety in the inventory. To cater for the officers, Junior Commissioned Officers, other ranks, Ex-servicemen, as per their needs and purchasing power and also to provide a variety of established popular brands, care is taken while putting up the demand to the dependent CSD depot. “The range in products is fairly wide. For example, there are nearly 35 variants of bathing soap, 8 brands of tooth paste, 175 plastic wares, and 35 varieties of whisky available in the canteen today”, he added

Major General RK Batra, chairman, while talking to this correspondent said that it is his endeavour to cater to the needs of all types of clientele. To ensure that no time is wasted, self-service has been introduced. The billing is computerised and 25 billing counters have been established to speed up the disposal of the customers. Anybody, irrespective of his rank, takes a basket available outside the gate and picks up the items required from the racks. “However, if there comes any handicapped or an old person, we never fail to provide him a helper.”

There are approximately 27,000 customers, of which 19,000 are retired persons. The monthly turnover is approximately Rs 2.5 crore and it has provided employment to 87 persons. The marginal profit earned is spent for the welfare of the troops under the directions of the Command Headquarters.Back


Tax evaders sent to police custody
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, June 30 — Ms Harinder Sidhu, Judicial Magistrate of Kharar, today, sent three persons to the police remand till July 1 who were arrested by the Sohana police on the charge of tax evasion. They were caught by Mr Tikshan Sood, Minister of State for Excise and Taxation, in a surprise raid near Lakhnaur village yesterday.

The accused are Barjit Singh, Satwinder Singh Sahi and Balwinder Singh. Three trucks were impounded and some forged bills were seized in the raid.

According to the police, the accused were collecting Rs 300 to Rs 500 per truck for helping these cross the barrier.

Mr J.S. Punn, Assistant Public Prosecutor, and Mr Ram Nath Sharma, ASI, told the court that a car (PIM-736) and some other documents were yet to be recovered from the accused. The police has registered a case under Sections 379, 420, 427, 465, 468, 471, and 120-B of the IPC against them.Back


Case registered for giving false documents
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — The police has registered a case against Palsora residents on the charges of submitting false documents to get fair price shops sanctioned in the village.

According to police sources, the District Food and Supplies Officer lodged a complaint that Rajesh Negi and 13 others had taken applications for opening the shop in the village on the plea that they were already running a karyana shop in the village and even submitted affidavits to this effect. Upon verification, the statements were found to be false following which the matter was brought to the notice of the police.

A case under Sections 420, 120-B, IPC, has been registered against them.

Held for hitting cop

The police has arrested Kurali resident Abhishek on the charges of hitting and injuring a cop with his car. Sources said he hit constable Narinder Singh who tried to flag him down near the Jhampur barrier since the accused was trying to flee the city after causing an accident in the city. Instead of stopping he hit the constable who had to be hospitalised.

He was later arrested and booked under Section 279, 337, 332, 353, IPC.

Scooter missing

Sector 11 resident Dalbir Singh reported that his scooter developed a fault near the Dhillon cinema barrier and he loaded the scooter on a rickshaw to get it repaired. He gave his address to the rickshawpuller, but the accused did not reach his residence. A case under Section 379/406, IPC, has been registered.


4-year-old girl raped
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, June 30 — A four-year-old girl has been raped. The Kharar police has registered a case against Mandeep Singh of Shingari Wala village under Sections 452 and 376 of the IPC.

According to an FIR lodged by the mother of the victim, she alleged that she was not at home on June 24 when her daughter was raped.

The police has registered the case after a medical examination of the child was done at General Hospital, Chandigarh.


Dead phones hit SBI’s transaction
By Poonam Katial

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — Transaction worth crores of rupees have been stalled in the Indian Finance Branch (IFB) of the State Bank of India, Sector 22. This is due to non-working of phones as part of the recent trouble affecting thousands of phones in the city.

The IFB is the only branch of the SBI which deals with industrial financing in a big way. The bank deals with the leading national banks in Mumbai and Calcutta, and also international banks in countries across the world. The entire transaction is based on telephone lines that carry, e-mails, faxes and telex messages.

The bank has reportedly lodged several complaints about the non-functioning line with the Telephone Department, but no repairs seem to have been carried out yet. Mr H.K. Tiwari, Assistant General Manager of the branch says: “The bank’s minimum limit starts from Rs 25 lakh and it transacts business in crores. In the absence of working telephone lines we are facing lot of problem . We have to rush to the nearby PCO to make the urgent calls.”

In the absence of proper communication network, even the customers of the SBI who reside outside India are not able to establish contact with the bank.

Telecom officials — who have officially said a private company carrying out digging operations in the city damaged underground cables — have been informed several times by the bank.

There is a special section in this branch called the International Banking Division (IBD) which is non-functional without Internet and telephone connections. Mr Avni Gupta, in charge of this section, says: “My work is only to deal with international banks, and I really feel handicapped in the absence of telephones and faxes.


Firm that damaged cables getting the faults removed”
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 30 — The issue of phones lying dead due to a cut in cables also echoed in the meeting of the local Telecom Advisory Committee (TAC) here today. The agitated TAC members were assured by officials that the private company that had damaged the underground cables was getting all faults rectified within the next 3 days.

The Principal General Manager Telecom (PGMT) , Mr Prithipal Singh, told members that a mobile phone service run by the department will be operational by December, 2000. The scheme has been sanctioned by the ministry concerned. The wireless in local loop (WILL) technology that enables installation of phones without laying of underground cables will also be started in the city by the year-end.

A member, who suggested WILL technology for the entire city was told that the technology was very expensive. The department was also asked to increase the duration of one call from the present 3 minutes to 4 minutes on the pattern prevailing in Delhi.

The issue of overhanging loose wiring in showrooms of sector 17 was also brought up. The PGMT was informed that all internal ducting had been carried out and the wires should now pass through such ducts to give the sector a better look. A member told the officials that the ducts are in place for the past 6 months.

While appreciating the system of getting bills cleared directly through bank accounts, the members asked the PGMT to introduce the same for STD PCO holders also. Members also sought clarifications on the calling card scheme that is netting in several lakhs by way of revenue for the department each month.Back

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