Wednesday, September 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Lottery agents wooing UT to restart sale of tickets
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — A big question mark hangs over the restarting of sale of lottery tickets in Chandigarh. Presently, the Chandigarh Administration is being wooed by lottery agents and officials of states, who are keen on selling their tickets here. The bait being offered is a lumpsum sales tax deposit of Rs 1 crore annually, up from a meagre Rs 60,000 of ST deposited during the last financial year.

The sale of all types of lottery tickets in Chandigarh was suspended almost a month ago on August 21. Then it was implemented as a temporary measure till the Administration streamlined the sale of tickets and evolved a mechanism to curb evasion of sales tax on lotteries by those involved in the trade.

Now, before the Administration gives a nod to restart the sale of lottery tickets, the pros and cons are being weighed carefully. Several lottery-selling states have offered to pay up sales tax in lumpsum in the range of Rs 1 crore each. Top officials of atleast two north eastern-states have come and met the Adviser and other officials of the Administration. The Adviser had reportedly refused point blank to grant permission to the sale of lotteries against an offer of enhanced sales tax deposit.

Actually, sources say the entire trade of lottery sales of north-eastern states is managed from Delhi with agents based in the national Capital enjoying distribution rights.

A senior official has been entrusted with the task of framing watertight rules before any kind of permission is granted. Guidelines and procedures are being evolved to ensure proper regulation and monitoring of the lottery trade, sources said. A section of officials opine that such an early proposal of restarting the lottery will result in a loss of face for the Administration.

Another idea is that only certain lotteries should be allowed to be sold even after the rules are framed. This will mean that the Administration collects the taxes from, say two or three lotteries, allowing them exclusive sale rights. The persons, who are allowed to sell the lotteries will themselves ensure that no unauthorised sale takes place as it will affect their own profit margins.

In any case the porous borders of Chandigarh with neighbouring SAS Nagar and Panchkula allow the free flow of lottery tickets. This just cannot be stopped, opine officials.

When the sale of lotteries was suspended, all distributors of lotteries in the Union Territory who had earlier been granted permission by the Administration were specifically ordered to suspend the sale of lottery tickets immediately. These distributors had been earlier permitted to sell the lotteries of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland in Chandigarh.

The sale of lottery tickets in the UT and the social impact has been into consideration by the Chandigarh Administration following various reports about the malpractices in the sale of lotteries. The sales tax evasion on account of the illegal sale of lotteries due to the complex dynamics of the business also weighed upon the minds of the authorities then.


Infected IV fluids ‘causing blindness’
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — Fungus formation in most commonly used intravenous (IV) fluid is causing blindness among people in the north-western region . This is particularly true where such contaminated IV fluids are administered in rural areas.

Already the PGI, has seen 25 such cases. In all cases the use of contaminated IV fluids was established. A study carried out by the PGI Eye Department found that nearly 15 per cent of the 72 factory sealed samples of 5 per cent dextrose sold over the counter were contaminated with various types of fungus.

Fungus from such fluids cause fungal endophthalmitis ( infection of the cavities of the eye), a condition normally associated with people who are immunosuppressed or intravenous drug abusers,’’ revealed Prof Amod Gupta, Head of the Eye Department, PGI, and one of seven doctors whose study has been reported in the latest issue of ophthalmology journal, Ocular Surgery News published from the USA.

He pointed out that `` a number of risk factors have been recognised for development of fungal endophthalmitis, including prolonged hyperalimentation, systemic antibiotics, corticosteroid treatment, recent abdominal surgery, malignancy, alcoholism, diabetes, trauma and hemodialysis.’’ However, in the patients examined at the PGI, fungal endophthalmitis developed following a single infusion of presumably contaminated 5 per cent dextrose that was administered by medical practitioners for minor ailments, the findings reveal.

The study further reveals that in a majority of these patients, IV fluid was given following complaints of vomitting, gastroenteritis, fever etc. Despite recovering from their ailments within one to four days after intravenous infusion from various clinics and doctors, all patients experienced profound vision loss in one eye within one week to six weeks ( average 3.2 weeks). Upon admittance to the PGI, none of the eyes responded therapeutically to an initial injection of intravitreal antibiotics.

Giving the case of a patient, Dr Gupta pointed out that a 27-year-old patient, who complained about bouts of headache, was administered two bottles of IV fluid at a village in Haryana. Consequently, the patient experienced sudden decrease in his vision of the left eye. Investigations revealed some startling facts such as the formation of ‘pus’ in the eye, both anteriorly and posteriorly, which was suspected to be due to the contaminated fluid. This was confirmed later, when two more bottles of the same fluid were purchased from the same chemist. Even though the patient has undergone three complicated surgeries for the removal of the ‘pus’, the scar continues to affect the vision.

Interestingly, the analysis of the cases revealed that the infusion fluid used was given by licensed medical practitioners , qualified medical doctors and nurses. The fluid used in each case had been manufactured by an accepted pharmaceutical manufacturer and not by the practitioners themselves or any regional laboratorty or pharmacy.. The infusion solutions were from different manufacturers.

Dr Gupta said that “this is a reflection of a less than stringent quality and supervisory control for manufacturing IV fluids which are existing in almost all developing countries.’’ This results in the marketing of contaminated infusion fluids. Taking a series view of the situation, he also brought the matter to the notice of the Drug Controller of India two years ago, asking him to ensure quality control in such frequently used solutions in surgeries and other medical procedures. But there has been no response in this regard so far.

Dr Gupta revealed that at present the only way to escape this was for the buyer as well as the doctor to be more cautious. However, most of the time the fungus, if any, might not even be visible to the naked eye.

Talking about the treatment he pointed out that the “Early diagnosis is crucial in visual recovery.’’ By timely intervention, 66 per cent of the eyes in the series were able to recover a visual acuity of 20/80 or better, he said. Patients who were managed within the first four weeks of diagnosis recovered to a visual acuity of atleast 20/80. He explained that “Ideally a healthy retina has to be clear and shining like a mirror to form a perfect image, but even after treatment, in most of these cases chorioretinal scars remain and at times they are close to the yellow spot and the visual image is somewhat distorted.

The investigations brought out that in the event of a very severe vitreous inflammation that will limite close examination of the retina, the inflammation may result from chorioretinal infection. “A vitreous biopsy or vitreous tap may provide evidence of the infecting organism, rather than subjecting these patients to a battery of laboratory investigations,’’ Dr Gupta said.

The bottomline is: researchers insist that short-term intravenous dextrose infusion, if contaminated, is a serious risk factor for development of the disease and awareness of the fact may facilitate early therapeutic intervention, with a favourable visual outcome. One should also be beware of the spurious infusion solutions. Those who conducted the study are Dr Vishali Gupta, Dr Mangat R. Dogra, Dr Arunaloke Chakrabarti, Dr Pallab Ray, Dr Jagat Ram and Dr Bijayananda Patnaik.


Austerity measures? Forget it!
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 19 — Taking refuge under the employee’s service regulations of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority passed last year, the Punjab Government appears to have forgotten its austerity measures by increasing the strength of officers at the top level, ignoring the staff shortage at the lower level.

The profit-earning boards and corporations appear to be favourites with the government when it comes to increasing the strength of officers at the top level. Sources in the government said the technical wing of the PUDA was short of staff by around 40 per cent, but the strength of staff of the Additional Chief Administrator (ACA) at the headquarters and in the field had risen to ten. A post of ACA ( policy) had been created recently in light of the service rules.

On the other hand, the shortage of subdivisional engineers, junior engineers and the office staff at the lower level has been brought to the notice of the higher authorities from time to time. The sources said in the office of the superintendenting engineer, SAS Nagar, against the sanctioned post of 26 SDEs, only 20 had been posted. In case of junior engineers, against a sanctioned post of 116, only 41 had been posted. There was also shortage of circle head draughtsmen, divisional head draughtsmen and junior draughtsmen.

Jalandhar offices of superintending engineer, the sanctioned posts of SDEs and JEs was 29 and 116, respectively, whereas the posted strength of the SDEs and JEs was 19 and 41, respectively. In the SE office at Patiala, the number of SDEs posted was 7, against 16 sanctioned posts. For the JEs, the posted strength was 24, against sanctioned strength of 64.

PUDA had sought a panel against the vacant post of chief engineer from the Pubic Health Department. The sources said the Chief Secretary of Punjab had written on a file that PUDA should have a chief engineer from the Public Health Department. Though the PUDA officials had opined that they did not require a chief engineer from the Public Health Department, the employees’ service regulations say the post of the chief engineer is a deputation post, a piquant situation is likely in PUDA.

There were two posts of chief engineer for some time, but later one was converted to the post of additional chief engineer The sources said the case of promotion of the present additional chief engineer with PUDA, who was looking after the charge of the chief engineer, to the post of chief engineer through an amendment in the service regulations, was pending.Back


Everything comes for a price in the costliest city
By Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — The exotic magnificence of the City Beautiful really comes for a price. That is what statistics confirm, according to which Chandigarh is one of the most expensive cities in the country. The fact that the city has the highest per capita income in the country also explains the spending power of the city citizens.

As per a recent report by the Central Statistical Organisation, the consumer price index of Chandigarh for urban non-manual employees in August was 444, as compared to the all-India index of 370. This price index includes food, clothing, fuel, medical care, education, entertainment, transport and communication and items of daily use. This index, which shows the changes in the consumer prices over a period of time, has, not changed much in Chandigarh and has remained above the 435 mark since March. The cost of living index here is also among the highest.

Be it food, clothing, fuel or items of daily use, the resident here has to shell out more than what his counterparts may have to in other states. While the residents keep complaining about excessive prices, experts opine that chances of reduction in prices here are not really possible. “Under the circumstances, reduction in prices here does not seem to be possible, unless monitoring is done at the national level”,says Dr A.C. Julka, professor in economics at Punjab University.

The reasons for excessive prices are many, varying from a high standard of living, which residents here have got used to, to less production as compared to demand. “Majority of the residents here are well off and do not mind paying more for the facilities they get. They want to enjoy most of the comforts and luxuries. They readily pay for them too”, says Mrs Poonam Bakhshi, senior lecturer in economics at PU.

Imbalance between production and demand for the products, due to which majority of the products have to be brought from other areas, is a major cause for the prices being high. According to the Directorate of Economics and Statistical Research estimates, the growth rate in the Gross State Domestic Product (at factor cost at 1993-94 prices) during 1997-98 as compared to 1996-97 has been around 12 percent. This includes decline in growth of electricity, gas and water supply by 4.22 per cent and increase of 9.33 per cent in trade, hotel, transport and communication and 17.25 per cent increase in community, social and personal services.

“The increase in resources has not been able to match the increase in the population, due to which products have to be procured from other states. It not only means increase in prices due to more transportation costs, taxes and other costs, but also means more middlemen, who charge their share, leading to a further rise in prices”, says Dr Julka. He also feels that the city consumers, more than 75 per cent of which belong to the upper and middle class, have got used to paying more. “Most of them do not like to bargain. Since the proportion of working couples or multi-working families has increased, their purchasing power is more. They want more facilities, which is mostly irrespective of what they have to spend”, he adds.

As far as the solution to excessive prices is concerned, experts are not positive. “More prices are our own option.It is the residents who, imitating the wild West culture, want more and spend more. It does not seem that the situation will change in the coming time”,says an economist.

Residents of Chandigarh not only pay the maximum for the goods and services they get in the region, but they also earn the maximum in the country. While the city has the highest consumer price index, cost of living index and inflation rate, the per capita income is also the highest here. According to estimates by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Chandigarh, the per capita income at current prices in Chandigarh in 1997-98 has been Rs 33,216. This figure is almost double the national average. The increase in the per capita income over the past more than five years has also been more than twelve per cent per annum.


Brigadier's case: probe by SC judge sought
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sep 19 — The Chandigarh-based lawyer representing former Kargil commander Brig Surinder Singh today demanded an independent inquiry by a sitting or retired Supreme Court Judge or a person specially appointed for the purpose by the President.

Reacting to the show-cause notice issued by the Army Headquarters to Brigadier Surinder Singh seeking termination of his services, counsel R. S. Randhawa in a statement issued here today said that the show-cause notice was "full of infirmities and half truths" and has been so timed to coincide its conclusion with the completion of the Chief of Army Staff, Gen V. P. Malik's tenure. This, he added, was an indication of personal bias, vendetta and mala fide.

He said that there was no reason for holding that trial by court martial would be inexpedient or impractical. He said if courts of inquiry could be conducted where all army witness had been examined, there was no reason why a court martial could not be conducted. He said trial by court martial was being circumvented to avoid truth from surfacing.

The Army Headquarters had on August 22 reportedly issued a show-cause notice to former commander of 121 Infantry Brigade as it maintained that trial by court martial was not expedient and practical. He had been held responsible for intrusions by Pakistani in the Kargil sector in May last year and had been relieved of his command during the height of the Operation Vijay in June 1999.


Chandigarh’s glaze is wearing off

IN the pre-independence era, Punjab was a big, financially sound and prosperous state. It had Lahore as its capital and comprised parts of Pakistan, the present Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

After Partition, Jawaharlal Nehru and Baldev Singh conceived the idea of building a new capital of Punjab. The area around Chandimandir was selected for this purpose and designing the new city called Chandigarh was entrusted to the French architect Le Corbusier. Work on developing Chandigarh started in 1950.

Dr M.S. Randhawa was appointed the first Chief Commissioner and Mr Kulbir Singh the first Chief Engineer of the City Beautiful. Both these officers were seasoned administrators and they worked hard to shape the destiny of Chandigarh. The Rose Garden, the Leisure Valley, Shanti Kunj were all the creations of Dr Randhawa.

After my transfer to Chandigarh in 1956, I became a privileged resident of the City Beautiful and a witness to all developments that took place in the past four decades. Chandigarh in the beginning had many mango groves that produced delicious ‘‘desi mangoes’’. The city was then really clean, green and had lots of open spaces. In 1956 when PEPSU was merged with Punjab its employees were transferred to Chandigarh. The population of Chandigarh as per the 1961 census was only one lakh. On November 1, 1966, the states Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were created and Chandigarh became a union territory.

Till 1970, the basic character of the city remained intact to some extent. After the allotment of a Parliament seat to Chandigarh, political considerations started dominating the decision-making process of the Chandigarh Administration. Migration of job seekers from the adjoining states and the creation of slums around the city continued unabated. Due to the lack of preventive measures and ineffective enforcement of the rules, encroachers had a field day. Political parties gave patronage to those living in and around Chandigarh because they wanted to strengthen their vote banks. A large number of homeless rickshaw-pullers and labourers are now seen defecating in the open and bathing at the drinking water taps in Sector 17.

The Municipal Corporation came into being in 1997. Contrary to expectations, the standard of cleanliness and upkeep of the city started going down. Sector level committees set up by the Chandigarh Administration to maintain sanitation and allied services were dissolved. Lack of clarity in the duties of the employees of the Corporation and those of the Chandigarh Administration gave a major set-back to sanitation and upkeep of the city. Heaps of garbage now keep lying for days and wild growth in service lanes and parks remain unattended. The clean and green city is fast becoming dirty. If this trend is not checked, the beauty of Chandigarh will remain only in publicity brochures. The population of Chandigarh has already crossed 10 lakh although Le Corbusier had designed it for five lakh.

The residents of Chandigarh expect the political leaders not to interfere in the sanitation, cleanliness and slum clearing drives. The Chandigarh Administration and the Corporation must discharge their obligations effectively and punish those who violate the rules relating to sanitation and environment pollution. They must draw up short-term and long-term plans to deal with the unchecked growth of slums, which now account for a big chunk of the city’s population. Let us all extend a helping hand to the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation to maintain the glory of our City Beautiful.
— Bant Singh Pandher



Amend Insurance Act: Cong
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — The urban unit of the local district Congress has demanded an amendment in the Insurance Act so that any person who dies of head injuries cannot claim compensation.

According to Mr P.C. Puri, president of the unit, the insertion of a clause would motivate people to wear helmets voluntarily. He said since women of the city were opposed to the move, this was one of the only possible solutions. Moreover, it was against the tenets of the Sikhs to wear a protective covering.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the local Congress committee met the Adviser and submitted a memorandum of their demands. The members were assured that all women would soon be exempted from wearing helmets, according to a statement by Mr Sandeep Singh, a former secretary of the CTCC.

They expressed concern at the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.

Similarly, members of the Istri Satsang Sabha have also urged the administration to not force women to wear helmets.


Sadhus stage dharna against ‘demolition’
From Our Correspondent

DERA BASSI, Sept 19 — More than 60 sadhus from different parts of the region today organised a yajna and staged a dharna at Mubarikpur village, 2 km from here.

The yajna was organised over the demolition of a dera allegedly constructed on a piece of disputed land here on September 2.

According to sources, the dera along with some shops were constructed on the land after the consent Jaswant Singh, who claims to be a partner of the land despite of the objection of Mohan Lal, the other partner.

Following this, Mohan Lal had got warrants of possession from a court at Rajpura in May 1998 and sought help from the police in this regard.

Mohan Lal, with the help of police personnel, had demolished the structures on the land and got the possession without any reaction from Jaswant Singh and other persons concerned.

Interestingly, the dera was restored and the vacated land was reoccupied by Jaswant Singh’s men and the sadhus on the very next day.

Since then sadhus have been organising dharna and rallies continuously and burning effigies of the administration. The sadhus claimed that they were not served notices to vacate the land since the dera had come up.


Anandgarh to get water from earth-filled dams
From Our Correspondent

PERCH (KHARAR), Sept 19 — A string of earth-fill dams in the Kandi Area, which are meeting the irrigation needs of the area, will be the first priority of the Anandgarh Development Authority as water stored in these dams on seasonal rivulets (chos) will be supplied to the population of the proposed Anandgarh city.

To supplement the demand of water as the population grows , other sources like canal water from Kajauli, located 20 kilometres away, is also being explored. A rain water harvesting project is also in the pipeline for needs that may arise 5 to 7 years after the city is established.

Sources in the Punjab Government say as per a survey carried out earlier by the Irrigation Department, in collaboration with the World Bank, a number of other sites have been identified for building earth-fill dams. The plan has been discontinued due to financial constraints. The project will be revived as finances will now be available for the new city.

Mr Karan A. Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the Anandgarh Development Authority, said, “ We will use that data. During the initial years of the project, we are going to supply water to the residents from the existing dams and tubewells’’.

Sources in the Irrigation Department point out that surface water from small rivulets in the foothills, is sufficient for a population of about two lakh. The check dams cannot be a reliable source because all of them are rain fed. The situation of ground water in the area is also not satisfactory as wells have to be bored very deep.

The Additional Chief Administrator, ADA, Mr R.K Verma, said, ‘‘We will take up rain water harvesting on priority basis and afforestation will be taken up on a large scale’’.

But sources in the Irrigation Department say depending on small dams for water supply for the population is not adequate as the problem of siltation in these dams is high. An example is the Sukhna cho at Chandigarh. Every year, a lot of effort is put to extract silt from the lake. A similar situation may arise in the four check dams located around the proposed city.

The other option which the authority is exploring is to use Punjab’s share in the Kajauli water works. Mr R.K. Verma said, ‘‘The share of Punjab in the project is 40 million gallons a day (mgd) and Punjab is drawing negligible water from there’’. Kajauli is situated at a lower level than Anandgarh and water will have to be pumped against gravity. Chandigarh is also getting water from Kajauli and the Administration is spending about Rs 17 crore annually on the maintenance of the pumping machinery.

The authority is also contemplating to bring water to the city directly the Sutlej, at Gangowal.


Warehousing employees hold protest
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Sept 19 — Members of the Central Warehousing Corporation Workers Union raised slogans in front of the regional office here in protest against the management’s anti-workers policies.

The protesters were demanding the HRA and CCA on a par with Chandigarh rates. While addressing the gathering, Mr Vinod Kumar Sharma, assistant secretary general of the Federation of CWC Employees Union, New Delhi, said that though the government talked about the ‘‘autonomy’’ but did not honour the CWC’s board approval for payment of the HRA and CCA.

‘‘For the payment of transfer benefits our management treats Chandigarh-Panchkula as local and do not extend any transfer benefits but for HRA and CCA it has another aspect to deny the rights of the workers,’’ he said.

The employees have also decided to go on mass casual leave on September 25.

Mr Pawan Kumar, regional secretary of Punjab and J and K, Mr Rajiv Bhardwaj, regional secretary of Haryana and Himachal, and Mr Kanwar Singh, secretary, Chandigarh, were also present on the rally.


Home gardening tips

  •  To deviate from the routine type of plants and gardening, one usually goes in for waterfalls and ponds in the garden. To obtain typical aquatic plants, there is no regular source and ocassionally you may get one or two species of lotus or nympheas.
  • Keeping some aquatic plants indoors like other house plants is a good idea.
  • See the accompanying picture. The plant kept indoors in water is salvina. This is an excellant velvety leaved plant which, when sprinkled with water, gives a dew effect.
  • Salvina is strictly an outdoor aquatic plant, but keeping it indoors for a few days and then shifting it in and out ocassionally keeps it fresh and evergrowing.
  • Keep it indoors in some transparent deep dish. You will be able to see the roots floating in water. To further decorate it, you can keep a conch shell or a stone in the dish.
  • You may at times find some of the leaves rotting or turning black. Pinch and remove the fading leaves with some roots at their base. Another easy-to-keep water plant is hydrilla, the one you see in aquariums.
  • Get in touch with some botany laboratory or look for such plants in pond water. Remove with a stick, carry it home in a carry bag and put it in water. — Satish Narula


Lieut-Gen Jagdish Singh dead
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — Lieut-Gen Jagdish Singh, PVSM, VrC, ADC, a former Director-General of the Artillery and father of Lieut-Col Pinka Virk, captain of India’s Polo team, died here today.

A graduate of National Defence College, New Delhi, and Staff College, Camberly (UK), he commanded a Light Regiment, two Division Artillery Brigades and a Corps of Artillery Brigade. Besides, he served as Director Financial Planning and Director General Discipline.

He was shot in the chest while taking the Raja picket and in recognition of his gallant services in the Poonch sector during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, he was awarded Vir Chakra.

He is survived by his wife, Kirat, and his daughter, Minna, besides Colonel Pinka Virk.


3 held for defacing public property
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — The police has arrested three persons on the charges of defacing public property.

According to police sources, Kalsharan Mandal and Sandeep Kumar, residents of Colony Number 5, and Sector 37 resident Inderjit Singh were arrested for pasting posters on public property. They were caught red handed. They have been booked.

Liquor seized
The police has arrested Sector 18 resident Sanjay Kaushal on the charges of possessing 35 pouches of whisky. A case under Section 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Sector 24 resident held
The police has arrested Gian Singh, a resident of Sector 24, on the charges of creating nuisance at a public place. He was booked under Section 34, 5 and 61 of the Police Act.

Scooter stolen
Sector 46 resident Pawan Kumar reported that someone has stolen his scooter, CHOIY 9523, from his residence. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.


House burgled
Burglars broke into a house in Phase 6 here, taking away household goods and 160 grams of gold jewellery. According to the information, a case under Sections 380, 427 and 457 of the IPC has been registered.

Suicide attempted
A youth of Phase 3B1 attempted suicide by consuming an insecticide. He was rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh, where his condition is stated to be stable.



Servant strangles boy
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Sept 19 — An eight-year-old child, Ranjit Singh, a resident of Khizrabad village in Kharar subdivision, was strangulated to death after sodomy allegedly by his servant. His body was recovered by the police today.

According to information, a village tournament was organised in the village on September 17 in which a large number of people participated. The child went to see it and he was allegedly taken by the servant, Bharat, a resident of Nepal, towards Sangatpura village.

When the child and the servant did not return home in the evening the parents lodged a complaint with the Khizrabad police post yesterday. The police arrested the servant and during interrogation he accepted his crime. The body was recovered lying near a nullah.

In another case, Harneik Singh (14) Dhakora village has been missing since September 17.


Missing youth: no clue for 10 months
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — The parents of 18-year-old Mandeep Singh, who is missing for the past 10 months, are a shattered lot due to his absence from home.

His parents, Mr Kulwant Singh and Mr Deenu Bala, virtually burst into tears while narrating the episode. His mother’s moist eyes continually keep darting towards the main gate as if expecting him to walk in. “He was mentally disturbed and had previously went missing, but he always came back,” said Mr Kulwant.

He is missing since December 7, 1999. He was last seen in a serai in Sohana. A truck driver named Jangi Singh is said to have offered him sweets and tea. He went along with Jangi to Ambala on a scooter. The driver later took the boy in a loaded truck to Lucknow.

The driver reached here and told them that he, in a fit of anger, slapped him at a Punjabi dhaba about 22 km from Lucknow. Another driver from Sohana said he had seen the boy at the dhaba. The driver himself came back to Sohana, but never told them about the boy.

The parents were unaware of all this till somebody informed them that he went with Jangi. The parents searched for their child and questioned Mr Amrik Singh, elder brother of Jangi, but no clue regarding Mandeep was given.

Mr Kulwant Singh, who has retired from the Army, is presently working as a guard in the PGI security. A complaint was lodged on March 12. The Punjabi Istri Sabha urged the police to register a case. The driver was kept in police custody for a week, but in the evening he used to come back to his house. He was not interrogated. Mandeep’s father even approached the Governor in this regard.


92 lakh bonus given to milk co-op societies
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Sept 19 — India was far behind as compared to other countries in various spheres, including quality of products and providing privileges to milk producers, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Minister for Cooperation, Punjab, said here today.

Mr Brahmpura was speaking at a function held at the milk plant to give incentive bonus totalling Rs 92 lakh to milk cooperative societies. He said in Germany he found that the quality of cattle feed was very good. If such feed was given to the cattle here it would lead to substantial increase in the milk output.

He said Verka products were very much in demand in the West Asian countries which had increased the exports of Milkfed.

The minister said farmers were earlier charged 16.5 per cent interest on loans which was reduced to 14.5 per cent. The loan limit was Rs 40,000 which was first hiked to Rs 70,000 and then to Rs 85,000. Persons who were not able to pay back their loans were charged 3 per cent penal interest. This again had been reduced to 1.5 per cent. Compound interest would not be charged from farmers. Loans were being given directly to the farmers instead of third party cheques for the amount. Now Rs 1.75 lakh was given as loan against one acre of land instead of Rs 80,000 earlier.

Mr Bramhpura said the government had come up with a cash credit scheme for the benefit of farmers. Deposits of cooperative banks were earlier being given at low interest rates to other states. However, it was decided that the amount should be used for the benefit of Punjab farmers. Against the total loan limit of Rs 500 crore for farmers Rs 4.75 crore had already been availed of. The interest rate in this category was 15 per cent. A one-time settlement scheme had also been introduced.

A life insurance scheme had also been started under which a farmer had to deposit Rs 1100 in a bank. In case of death his family would be entitled to Rs 1 lakh. So far 60,000 persons had availed themselves of the benefit.

Mr Baldev Singh Chakkal, chairman of the Milk Union, Ropar, and member of the board of directors, said there were 790 cooperative societies attached to the local milk plant. More than 40,000 persons were members of these societies. He said almost 1.5 lakh litres of milk was being sold daily in towns which was a very big achievement.

Mr Bramhpura handed over the bonus amount to representatives of various cooperative societies.

Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, chairman, and member of the board of directors, Milkfed, Punjab, Mr Amrik Singh, MD, Milkfed, Punjab, Mr Sruesh Kumar, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, and Mr Chakkal were honoured at the occasion.

Mr K.S. Janjua, FC, Cooperation, Punjab presided over the function. Mr Manmohan Munjial, MD, Milk Union, Ropar, presented a vote of thanks.


Industrialists flay PSEB
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 19 — The Mohali Industries Association has protested against the increase in the monthly minimum charges by the PSEB. The association said the hike was almost double as an industrial unit with a power load of 50 KW would now have to pay a monthly bill of Rs 10,000 even if it did not consume a single unit of power.

Describing the move aimed at crippling the industry, the association said the board should improve the transmission and distribution system. An emergency meeting of the association will be held on September 23 to decide the future course of action in this regard.


Market union’s plea on secy’s post
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 — The Chandigarh Market Committee Employees Union has demanded that the post of the secretary of the Market Committee should be filled from eligible employees of the committee.

The eligible employees of the committee have neither been considered nor given promotion for the post, which is being held as additional charge by Mr DS Baloria, Tehsildar (Enforcement), for the past over one year, a press note said here today.

The rules governing the promotion to the post of the secretary provide that a candidate for the post of secretary should possess qualifications of matriculation with 10 years’ experience as head clerk/accountant in the market committee or assistant in the marketing board.

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