Saturday, July 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 5.6 lakh penalty slapped on motel
owner for power theft
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, July 21 — The Punjab State Electricity Board has slapped a penalty of Rs 5,60,000 for stealing power on the owner of Bristol Resort, which is situated at Singhpura village, 2 km on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway, here today.

According to sources, the enforcement wing of the department, acting on a tip-off, raided the premises and saw that power was being drawn illegally by kundi connection for the past many years. The connection was in addition to a regular connection and the cable had been laid parallel to the main one. The owner reportedly switched off the main connection and used power by the second one, the sources added.

The team had to search for more than eight hours to uncover the spot from where the power was being pilfered. They finally stumbled on a manhole which had previously been overlooked on the premise that it was a gutter. When the manhole was opened they found the cable used to draw power. The motel owner was steeling electricity to the tune of 160 kw against a sanction power load of only 82 kw.

The owner of the motel, who is said to be a senior Punjab police officer, had constructed a manhole over the main supply cables and the power connection was drawn from this manhole, sources said.

The case came to light when the employees of enforcement wing raided the motel. They came into action after receiving information about regular short-circuits which cut electricity supply to the motel. The cause was that the rain water had seeped into the manhole damaging the electricity cables.

The department has also decided to raid all restaurants, hotels and other offices of business concerns in this area to restrain the power theft which is a major revenue loss to the board as well as to the state government.Back


BBMB issue: UT may again seek 
partner-state status
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — The Union Territory of Chandigarh is likely to reiterate its demand for partner state status in the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) when the Power Ministers of the northern states meet here on July 28. The Power Ministers’ meeting will be followed by the Chief Ministers’ conference the next day.

The Chief Ministers and the Power Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, besides the Administrator of Chandigarh, are expected to attend this two-day conference which is being organised by the Union Ministry of Power.

Although the agenda of the meeting has still not been finalised, various issues pertaining to power generation, distribution and transmission, joint ventures in hydel generation and privatisation of power distribution are expected to figure prominently at the conference.

The Union Territory of Chandigarh has already expressed its interest in a joint venture with the Himachal Government in hydel generation.

The Union Home Ministry has also given its “go-ahead” to the Administration on the issue of the privatisation of power distribution. The high-powered committee headed by the Adviser to the Administrator is expected to appoint a consultant to work out the modalities for privatisation. The Union Power Ministry has already given the green light to the move besides approving financial assistance for the preliminary work, including the consultancy fee.

The Union Territory has also got the green light from the Ministry of Power for gas-based captive power generation. The NTPC has already submitted its feasibility report approving the idea. A formal clearance from the Ministry of Petroleum is awaited as a gas pipeline may be required to the proposed site of the captive generation units.

Frequent power breakdowns, overloading and pilferage from the grid are other important issues which are expected to come up for discussion during the conference.

For Chandigarh, the meeting has assumed special significance as it is expected to raise once again its long-standing demand of partner state status in the BBMB. There has been little change in the stance of other partner states, including Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Himachal’s plea for partner state status is pending before the Supreme Court though it is getting its ad hoc share as a partner state.

It will be after a long time that the Chief Ministers of all northern states will be meeting in Chandigarh. Some other inter-state issues, pertaining to power and related areas, are also expected to be discussed at the Chief Ministers’ conference.

The Power Ministers’ conference will be held on July 28 at 4 p.m. while the Chief Ministers will meet on July 29 at 11 a.m.


Toss decides UT’s first ZP top posts
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — Elections to choose the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the first ever Zila Parishad of Chandigarh took a dramatic turn today as the toss of coin decided the winners due to a tie in the votes received by candidates.

The winners were Mr Darshan Singh of Behlana and Mr Jasbir Singh of Daddu Majra, who were elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively. They defeated Mr Kuldeep Singh of Kajheri and Mr Avtar Singh of Khuda Ali Sher, respectively. The Zila Parishad has 10 members, while the local MP has a vote. With only 10 members present, elections to both seats witnessed five votes polled in the favour of each candidate. Under the Panchayati Raj Act, a toss of coin is allowed in case of a tie.

These elections also signifies the restoration of democratic process at the village level. The Zila Parishad had been elected three years ago, but elections to the posts of Chairman and Vice-Chairman had not been held.

Mr Darshan Singh, who had earlier claimed to be an independent candidate and had even filed his nomination papers as one, went to the BJP office in Sector 33 for the victory celebrations. Meanwhile, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, President of the Pind Sudhar Committee, has welcomed the victory of Mr Darshan Singh.

It is the local unit of the Congress which has lost the most. Party members had claimed that they had a clear majority, but groupism within the party swayed the loyalties of its members.



Confusion over Class XII results
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, July 21 — The results of Class XII (arts), declared by the Punjab School Education Board on Sunday, have raised many an eyebrow of students, their parents and teachers as the board authorities have declared two students of Government Senior Secondary School, Mubarikpur, as passed though they did not fill up their forms or deposit the required examination fee. Moreover, results of most students have been published incorrectly and are misleading.

As many as 198 students appeared in the examination, of which results of only 18 were declared. Five of them were declared failed, nine passed, four were placed under compartment and for the remaining 180, result has been delayed due to non-availability of awards. Interestingly, the board declared Kulwinder Kaur (roll number 389819) as successful in the examination, though she did not fill the examination forms. Kulwinder Kaur secured 206 marks out of 450, while Amit Gandhi has his result delayed due to non-availability of the awards, as per the gazette of the board.

The results also created confusion as it was incorrect and misleading for most of the candidates. The roll numbers of the candidates are also incorrect.

School teachers said names of Kulwinder Kaur and Amit Gandhi were struck off the school rolls in September last year and their examination forms were not sent to the board to restrain them from appearing in the annual examinations held in March. ‘‘The duo did not appear in the annual examinations. But we were surprised to see their result in the gazette. The board authorities have even published their names and roll numbers,’’ claimed Ms Rita Prabhakar, a school teacher. Some brilliant student were placed under compartment, she added.

‘‘The board has declared results of 20 of 198 students, but that too incorrectly. This negligent behaviour of the board authorities has not only harassed the students a lot, but has also delayed their admission to higher classes,’’ she claimed. Mr Raj Malhotra, Principal, said the result had been sent back to the board for correction. The board authorities were not available for comment.Back


Students tense as their fate hangs in balance
By Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — With tests, interviews and the admission process rife at Panjab University, many students are in a quandary as to their fate. Most tense among these are the students who have applied for admission to LLB and are waiting for the decision of the High Court on the issue of evening law classes.

Earlier this year, the Bar Council of India had amended its rule saying that all law-teaching institutions which are exclusively running evening classes should shift to morning sessions. The Law Department of Panjab University replied saying that this particular ruling did not apply to them as they were not running evening classes exclusively but also in the morning. In June, the Bar Council came back saying that the rule applied to the Department of Laws, Panjab University. Against this a writ petition was filed by Mr G.K. Chatrath, Dean of Law faculty, and the case is now pending before a Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court and will come up for hearing on the July 31.

The candidates have been called for counselling on July 27, but no one is sure if the seats to LLB would be reduced to half if the court decides against the university and the evening classes are discontinued.

The Dean, Students Welfare, and Chairman, Department of Laws, Mr. V.K. Bansal said that a meeting had been called on July 24 to decide about the counselling. “There are very few options with us. One could be to take a written undertaking from the students who opt for evening classes in Law that the admission is being done subject to the decision of the court. The other option could be that the counselling be postponed to another day after the court’s hearing. But if the court decides against us, we will try to shift the evening students to the morning session but how many of these can be accommodated, I can’t say at this stage. In any case, reducing the number of seats would be avoided as far as possible”, he said.

Also facing a predicament are those students who have sought admission to M.Sc first year in the university. The result of the entrance test has not been declared as yet and the students who are not sure of their ranking have applied to even four departments depending on the options they can take. The DUI’s office said that the results had got delayed as the office was overworked with so many entrance examinations taking place but they had promptly declared the result of tests where a large number of students were involved like LLB and MBA.Back




Seminar on autonomy from today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — The Jammu and Kashmir Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr P.L. Handoo, will speak at a two-day seminar on "Autonomy and devolution of powers to states" at Tagore Theatre here from tomorrow. The seminar is being organised by the Rashtriya Raksha Dal.

According to Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu (retd) and Air Vice Marshal G.S. Punia (retd), President, and Presidium Chairman of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, respectively, the other participants include Justice Kuldip Singh, Mr M.H. Baig (lawyer, Supreme Court), Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP from Chandigarh, Mr Gurtej Singh, Lieut-Gen K.S. Gill (retd), Lieut-Gen B.S. Randhawa (retd), Prof Gursharan Singh Dhillon, Mr Amar Singh Chahal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Air Marshal P.K. Jain (retd), Air Vice-Marshal G.S. Punia and Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu (retd) will be the panelists for the seminar while Lieut-Gen K.S. Gill and Lieut-Gen B.S. Randhawa will be the moderators. Those interested in attending the seminar can collect their invitation cards from Hotel Pankaj. The seminar will begin at 9.30 a.m. on both days.



Should driving licence age be lowered to 16 ?

Sanjay Khurana, (Employee): In my view, the age for issuing a driving licence should be lowered to 16 years, because now a days students have to take many extra classes/coaching besides attending to their regular classes. It is not possible for a student to go on a cycle first to school and then to different coaching centres, as it is a wastage of a lot of precious time and energy. Moreover, the public transport system is also not dependable. By officially lowering the age of issuing driving licence to 16 years, the younger generation will become more responsible rather than depending upon their elders and parents.

So, the need of the hour is to make the system of issuing driving licences more fool proof. Many children below the age of 18 years have got their driving licences issued by submitting fake date of birth certificates or by other unfair means, even though under the Motor Vehicle Act nobody under the age of 18 years can get a driving licence issued for geared vehicles except up to 50 cc mopeds.

Ankur Gulati (BA-IInd year student): In my view the minimum age for issuing of driving licence should be lowered to 16 years. By the time a child becomes 16, he has many responsibilities on him and as time is of the essence for him, he needs to do work quickly for which a driving licence is a necessity. Buses and rickshaws waste a lot of time and money. So why not issue legal licences at the age of 16 where the students are benefitted and can drive legally.

Param (Student of Class XII): If driving licence to be issued to any individual it should be of no concern whether the individual is 16 years old or above or whether the vehicle is 50 cc or 70 cc. We drive on the basis of skills and not on the basis of the weight of the vehicle. Students would also prefer to utilise their time in studying rather than bicycling long distances for tuitions. Parents are also likely to compromise on breaking the law where the comfort and success of their child is concerned.

Furthermore, more than 70 per cent of road accidents involve the middle and older generation. The younger generation is more alert, careful and efficient in driving.

Rajdeep Singh (student): According to me, a driving licence should not be issued to the youngsters who are less than 18 years of age because it will not only increase traffic but will also add to traffic hazards. Moreover, how can a child who is just 16 years old manage to drive on our ‘Indian roads’ without causing injury? The problem is that when a student goes to tuition on his bicycle or ‘Hero Puch’ and sees a ‘VIP kid’ standing in front of his tuition class with his Enfield motorcycle surrounded by a huge gathering of friends, it makes him feel inferior.

However, if a child is really determined to become something in the future, then it is not such a big problem for him / her to attend tuitions on a bicycle or a ‘Luna’. Also, the government should come down heavily on persons below 18 years old, who acquire licence by underhand means and it should enforce traffic laws strictly.

Navneet Chauhan (student): The minimum age for issuing a permanent licence should remain 18 years. One has to be mature enough to handle an automobile. It is in the teens when speed thrills. This is the age group which records the highest number of road fatalities. If one looks at the figures of the road accidents for the past few years, the number of youngsters between the 16 to 17 years of age group killed in road mishaps is proportionately higher than those belonging to the 18 to 20 years of age group.

Driving earlier than the specified age is dangerous for not just the child but also for others on the road.

Tarang Bindra: Good driving depends on skill and caution and not on experience or age. If one knows driving, he or she should drive. We people say that licence should be given at the age of 18 years but 90 per cent of youngsters below 18 years have got fake licences. These licences are issued by government employees themselves so why should the procedure not be made legal.

Also if a person can drive a moped having gears then why not a car? We agree that some youngsters drive rashly and this is easily noticed by the traffic policemen on duty. But the problem is that the person driving fast is either a VIP’s child or a traffic policeman’s friend, so he will not be challaned. If rules are strict for everyone, whoever may be the person, and there is proper challan for violating traffic norms then in my opinion licence issuing age should be reduced to 16 years.

Piyush Singla (Class IX student): I strongly opposed lowering the age limit for issuing a driving licence. I have seen teenagers below 17 years driving rashly, which is a major cause of accidents. Driving earlier than the specified age is dangerous for not just the child but it also becomes a source of panic for other passers-by. It is also a very tough job for the children of 14-15 to have proper control over the vehicle. Today the students feel disgraced in driving light vehicle like moped etc.

But life is very precious, we must take care of it.

Amit Saini (Plus one student): Talking from my own experience, I was fully trained in the ninth-standard for driving a geared vehicles and my parents will agree with me if I say I can drive better than them. Isn’t it sad for me that inspite of being a fully trained driver, I ran here and there for a fake licence as it was very necessary?

I think that if the govt were to change its rules without delay, then persons like me would not have to run to the agents who deliver fake licences and help in the spread of corruption in our country. As far as for the safety of pedestrians and others on the road is concerned, the government should employ more traffic wardens and ensure that traffic rules are observed.Back

The Motor Vehicles Act which came into force on July, 1989, replacing the MV Act, 1939, seeks to address the concerns for road safety. The requirement of a driving licence for driving motor vehicles needs to be seen in this perspective. Section 3 of the Act prohibits driving of MVs in public place by those not holding a valid driving licence. Section 4 of the Act states that no person under the age of 18 years shall drive a motor vehicle in any public place. However, motor-cycle with engine capacity not exceeding 50 cc can be driven in a public place by a person after attaining the age of 16 years. Section 7 of the Act provides for issue of learner’s licence in such cases with the consent of the guardians. Driving is a serious business and calls for physical and mental maturity. Physical growth continues till one reaches the age of about 18-20 years, thus, psychological maturity cannot be expected to be achieved till that age. Children and youth are prone to emotional swings and can easily get tempted to drive at high speed or by discarding road safety requirements. Any such action not only jeopardises their safety but also puts the other road users in danger. Accordingly there is no justification in lowering the age limit for issue of driving licences.

One must also keep in mind that the vehicle population in India, particularly in the metropolitan and other important cities, is increasing rapidly. Besides, a complex mix of traffic on Indian roads enhances the vulnerability of road users. The accidents rate, therefore, in India is very high as compared with the developed countries.

In Chandigarh, on an average 100 to 150 vehicles are added per day on the roads and the current vehicular population in the city is estimated to be about 5 lakh. The average number of accidents in Chandigarh, per annum, is between 400-500, which includes about 125 fatal accidents. Lowering of age limit for issue of driving licence would add to road users, people who may be somewhat nonchalant in observing the traffic safety norms.

Another consideration which must be kept in mind is the environmental degradation caused due to increasing vehicular pollution. It is high time that we took steps to reduce this serious threat to the very existence of human beings. We, particularly the youth, need to do every thing which will contribute to the reduction of vehicular pollution. Any demand for lowering the age limit for issue a driving licence, therefore, is environmentally unfriendly.

Mr Bhim Sain Bassi is the Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh.Back


Shiv Sena men protest
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21  — Activists of the local unit of the Shiv Sena took out a rally to protest against the decision of the Maharashtra government to arrest Mr Bal Thackeray.

The rall began from the Sector 22 Nehru Park and passed through various sectors of the city. The rally remained peaceful throughout and slogans were raised in support of Mr Thackeray. Addressing the protesters, senior office-bearers of the unit said the Maharashtra government should withdraw all cases registered against their party chief or else they would use violent measures.

The rally culminated near the housing board roundabout after speeches by senior office-bearers of the unit.Back



Unwanted particles in soft drink
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — They were floating in a bottle of cold drink. Unwanted particles. Soot, insect, it was not clear. But they were there. Making the cold drink unfit for consumption.

Mr Rajwinder Jassi, a resident of Sector 11, had sent her servant to get some cold drinks from the market when Mr Anil Kumar came over to her place. She opened two bottles, but when she was about to open the third, Mr Anil, sitting four or five feet away, saw some black particles. He also realised that the colour of the soft drink had changed.

The bottle was left unopened and the company people were contacted. According to them, they contacted the area sales manager. He came over to their place, but left after giving them an assurance of an early response.

Claiming not to have been contacted by the company people again, Mr Anil Kumar said such incidents were increasing day by day due to negligence on the part of companies. He added that he was going to file a suit against the company in the consumer court.



When it pours, work stops here
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — Work in the civil dispensary at Kajehri virtually comes to a standstill whenever it pours heavily as dirty water from the adjacent nullah floods the rooms inside. The staff has no place to sit and there is every possibility of the medicines and equipment getting damaged.

During the recent heavy showers, no regular work was done as 2 to 3 feet of water had got accumulated in these rooms, situated in the low- lying area. Though the doctor on duty did try to operate from the drivers’ residence on the first floor, it was difficult for the patients to wade through the water to reach there.

Ms Bimla, one of the patients who was down with fever two days ago, said she did not want to come to the dispensary as walking through the knee-deep sewerage would have aggravated her infection. The choked sewerage at various places led to the accumulation of dirty stagnant water right outside the dispensary, with polythene bags, tyres and plastic bottles floating in them.

Mr Mahender Kumar, a shopkeeper in the area, pointed out that for the last 7 to 8 months, no one had ever come to clean this place, nor had the malaria wing sprayed any insecticide to check the breeding of mosquitoes. Life is virtually a hell for the dwellers here. Ms Aasha lamented, her children could not sleep at night as they were troubled by the mosquito bites, which left them with red marks on their tender faces.

The drainage system in the village can hardly be said to exist and the water that gets accumulated here and there are breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mr Ram Sarup said it had become impossible to sit outside after 7 pm as mosquitoes kept hovering around.

The staff in the dispensary highlighted certain other problems they had to face in the absence of proper water and electricity supply. For instance, vaccines get damaged when there is no electricity for a day or two. Even water supply is erratic and most of the time, one has to do without water. The Director Health Services (UT), who had recently visited the dispensary, had suggested that the dispensary building should be demolished and a new one constructed, keeping in view the ground situation. The dispensary caters to patients from Kajehri, Sector 52 and Nehru Colony and has an outpatient attendance of nearly 50 patients every day.

Patients complain that the facilities available in the dispensary are inadequate. One of them disclosed that even first-aid facility for dressing and putting stitches were not available. They were being referred to the Sector 42 dispensary for dressing. The basic hygiene of the surrounding area is so bad that it can only lead to more infections.

The DHS, Dr Joginder Singh, admitted that the building of the dispensary was old and needed renovation. “We have written to the Chief Architect and the Chief Engineer to do the needful of either renovating the existing building or making a new one,’’ he added. 


Garbage bin throws heaps of problems
By Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — A garbage bin placed in a public park of Sector 21-A has made residents in the surrounding area uncomfortable.

A residents staying near the park lamented that a park which was meant to beautify the surroundings was spoiling the beauty of houses also. Full of dirt and filth, it has become virtually impossible to pass through the area as it stinks.

Another resident said heaps of garbage remain around the bin kept in one corner of the park. The van of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) does not collect the garbage regularly.

The residents have to undergo many problems relating with it. Cows, stray dogs and other animals roam about in the park and feed themselves on the heap of garbage, putting people to inconvenience.

According to the residents, the authorities had recently spent a substantial amount on putting up iron railings. But no gates were made to restrict the entry of stray animals and vehicles. There is also no proper maintenance of the park.

The residents also complained that the park had turned into a rickshaw stand. In addition, it is also used for parking tourist buses and scooters. The park was also used by driving schools to impart training to the persons wishing to learn car driving.

During the rainy season, the problem aggravates. Water remains stagnant in the park and the area stinks. To add to it, a manhole on the side of the park has been closed by bricks and stones and there is no room for the water to trickle down.

Similarly, when there is any marriage or other function in the park, left overs remain littered for several days.

To top it all, the reported plan to construct footpaths inside and outside the park is hanging fire for the past several years. A tree has been lying uprooted for over two months, but the authorities failed to remove it.

The residents complained that it was not possible to stay in such unhealthy conditions as flies and mosquitoes abound which had made the area disease-prone.


Nursery teachers' school booked
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — A case has been registered against Central Mission School, Sector 9, which has allegedly defrauded students for the past many years. The school has been conducting a nursery teachers' training course without the recognition of a competent authority. A case under Section 420 of IPC has been registered and investigations are on.



Held for raping minor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — The police has arrested a Dhanas Milk Colony resident on the charges of raping a minor of the same locality.

According to sources, Ms Sadana reported that Rahul, alias Bunti, had trespassed her house and raped her 10-year-old niece when she was alone. A case under Sections 376, 511 and 354 of the IPC has been registered.

Modesty outrage bid: Palsora resident Sheela reported that Vijay Kumar of the same locality attempted to outrage her modesty. The accused was arrested and booked under Section 354 of the IPC.

Eve-teaser booked: Buterla resident Jagpal Chaudhry was arrested from near Government Model School, Sector 29, on the charges of eve-teasing. He has been booked under Section 294 of the IPC.

Woman assaulted: Palsora colony resident Tara Devi reported that she was assaulted by Jarnail Singh, Surinder Kaur, Devinder Singh and Surinder Kaur. While Jarnail Singh and his wife Surinder Kaur have has been arrested, others are at large. A case under Sections 147, 149 and 324 of the IPC has been registered.

Scooterist injured: Scooterist Ravinder Singh was hit and injured by an unknown car near the Sector 22\23 light point. The car driver fled from the spot. The victim was admitted to hospital. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC has been registered.

Car stolen: Mr G.S. Bansal of Hoshiarpur reported that his car (DNH-0499) was stolen from a parking in Sector 17. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.


Now, virtual school service
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 21 — The unique Internet portal — — has finally reached city schools. Thanks to local Swaraj Technologies that has joined hands with Delhi-based Mindshaper Technologies to launch its virtual school service in Chandigarh, with Shivalik School being already online.

www.classteacher. com was launched in Shivalik School here today. The site will connect teachers, students and parents and provide personalised information live on the net. Shivalik School teachers, students and parents will get a specific ID and password to access information from the system.

The site has different sections for teachers, students and parents. For the parents, the website offers your little one's attendance and performance in class tests, the class teacher's remarks about his progress and just about everything that strikes your mind which you always wanted to know, but never got the time for. Just click your mouse, and get to know what your child is up to in school.

For students, there is the digital library, which is a compilation of Internet resources for various subjects and classes, e-zine where they can share their experiences with the student community and access lessons prepared by best teachers across the country. The students will also be able to get through previous lessons. The teachers will also be giving online tips about lessons being taught in the school.

"Our aim is to create a network of best schools from across the country, which would then form a platform for sharing knowledge and information. The concept has worked well in the USA and it is the right time to introduce the concept in India," said Sameer Buti, Director, Mindshaper Technologies.

"We plan to rope in other progressive schools in the city," he added.

"With the change in the education scenario, there is need for a more active involvement of parents today. These trends will help bridge the gaps between parents and students," said Mr D.S. Bedi, Director- Principal, Shivalik School.

Mr Balwinder Sandhu, Managing Partner, Swaraj Technologies, said, "There is an immense potential for such a concept in the city. We have already started targeting schools that are ready to incorporate the technology."


Traders forced to pay double octroi
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 21 — Entrepreneurs running their units at the industrial estate here are being forced to pay double octroi on their consignments due to an unclear policy of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council. The worst hit is the small-scale industry (SSI) supplying ancillary parts to tractor manufacturing companies.

Explaining their helplessness, entrepreneurs say that the staff at the octroi collection posts of the council ask them to pay double the octroi for the same consignment. A number of units have to send their raw material for work to other stations like Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Dera Bassi. When the finished items are brought back, octroi is again levied on them. The practice has been going on for a long time.

Mr Avtar Walia, who manufactures an auto part, has to send his raw material to Chandigarh for work but had to pay double octroi on their being brought back. Another entrepreneur, Mr Baljeet Sabharwal, who manufactures storage racks is also facing the same problem.

Now the issue has been taken up by the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) with the Executive Officer of the council. Mr S.S. Sandhu, President of the association, said a number of small-scale units supplying ancillary parts to the combine division of Punjab Tractors Ltd at Chappercheri are the most hit. 


Government contractors feel pinch of notification
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, July 21 — The local Government Contractors Association has demanded the withdrawal of a notification relating to the giving of contractual work on a priority basis to labour and construction cooperative societies by civic bodies.

Mr Yogesh Gupta, President of the association, said here that “unjust” preference was being given to these cooperatives societies under a Punjab Government notification dated September 10, 1999.

He said under the notification, contracts up to Rs 10 lakh would have to be offered first to such societies. The earnest money to be paid by them was also quite low. In the case of tenders up to Rs 5 lakh, there was no earnest money. However, in the case of private enlisted contractors, the earnest money to be paid was 5 per cent of the total amount.

The President said labour and construction cooperative societies took advantage of this notification and got almost all work allotted to themselves, leaving nothing for enlisted contractors.

He said the maximum limit in the case of the local Municipal Committee for floating tenders was Rs 10 lakh. However, in most cases, the tenders were lower than this amount. Therefore the cooperative societies, which were offered the contract first, enjoyed “100 per cent” work reservation, which he claimed was against the Constitution, adversely affecting government contractors.Back

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