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


Net users may pay less for calls
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — The entire policy on billing of telephone calls to the Internet users will be reviewed, said the Union Communications Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, while addressing a press conference here today.

The minister expressed ignorance that the Internet users also had to pay for telephone calls at the rate of a local call every three minutes for being connected to the Net. When pressed why the pulse rate for dialling to the Internet could not be increased or why the dial numbers cannot be toll free, Mr Paswan said this would be considered.

The Chief General Manager Telecom (CGMT), Punjab circle, said that the Directorate of Telecommunications was informed from time to time about the charge of normal local call rates for the Internet connectivity. This means the user pays the Internet service provider a certain amount to be connected and then pay more money by way of phone call charges.

The minister agreed that the Internet connectivity is not cheap in India. He said that STD rates will be slashed further in the coming days. Mr Paswan also sought a report from the CGMT about the failure of the digital trunk exchange in Chandigarh a few weeks ago. The minister said the failure will be examined in to and those at fault will be dealt with accordingly. He said that experts will be called in to see the report on the DTAX.

On the issue of the corporatisation of the department, he said that employees’ demands have been agreed upon. A meeting was also held on the working of phones and the Postal Department. MPs from Punjab and Chandigarh participated in it.

The minister informed that there was a waiting list of 2 lakh phones in Punjab and 7,000 in Chandigarh. He said the ministry was about to employ people in villages to sell postal material. On the telephone front, he said last year 49 lakh phones were installed against the target of 45 lakh phones in the country. The target was to install phones in 6 lakh villages by 2002. Already 3.78 lakh villages have been connected.

On setting up of telecom dhabas in the country he said, places will be provided along highways where telephones, Internet and computers will be available. The participating companies will be on a revenue-sharing basis and will also be sharing the funding.


Another ‘petrol bomb’ hits city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — Following the hike in fuel prices by the Central Government, the UT residents will have to pay Rs 30.25 per litre for petrol, the highest price in the region.

The city consumer now pays Rs 8 more per litre for petrol than in July past year In Panchkula and SAS Nagar, consumers will pay Rs 1 to Rs 2 less than the price in Chandigarh.

The LPG will cost nearly Rs 40 more per cylinder, while diesel price is now Rs 16.37 in the city. The seventh price hike in a year has evoked massive criticism from residents. “There have been two price hikes within one month and seven in one year. Whether it is the UT Administration or the Central Government that enforces it, ultimately, we have to bear the burnt of it,” said Mr Kamleshwar Kumar, a local resident.

Past month, the UT Administration had increased the sales tax on some products that had led to an increase in the price of petrol from Rs 25.61 per litre to Rs 27.60 per litre. Petrol dealers of the city are paying more tax than their counterparts in Punjab and Haryana. Within three weeks after the hike in the sales tax, more than fifty per cent of the customers of the UT petrol dealers had shifted to Panchkula and SAS Nagar. Dealers, now, are apprehending a further decline in their business. “Every hike widens the disparity

Prices (per litre)


Petrol  Diesel
  New/Old New/Old

Chandigarh                    Rs 30.25/ Rs 27.60               Rs 16.37/ Rs 13.87

SAS Nagar                    Rs 29.73/ Rs 27.06                Rs 16.70/ Rs 14.10

a) Within limits of SAS Nagar Municipal Council

b) Outside the limits of the Rs 29.32/ Rs 26.68              Rs 16.30/ Rs 13.83

SAS Nagar Municipal


Panchkula                       Rs 28.46/ Rs 25.97               Rs 16.43/ Rs 13.84

between prices in the UT, Panchkula and SAS Nagar. Now that the diesel prices have also gone up, the UT dealers will be the worst hit in the country,” says Mr Amanpreet Singh, General Secretary of the Chandigarh Petrol Dealers Association.

After the strike by petrol dealers, the UT Administration had promised to set up depots in Chandigarh. It had also given positive indications for the withdrawal of the MST and surcharge. However, no action has been taken.

The dealers, who met the authorities yesterday, are disappointed. “It does not seem likely that prices in the UT, will ever be at par with those in the other states,” says Mr Amanpreet Singh.

Diesel, which was available at Rs 13.87 per litre, cost Rs 16.30 per litre now. Though the disparity between diesel prices in the UT, Panchkula and SAS Nagar is not too much, the UT dealers say that the consumer shift to the other states is expected in this case as well.

With the increase in the fuel prices, prices of consumer products and the other commodities will also increase. For the UT residents, who are already paying the most for the products they buy, the hike will be too hard to bear.



Anandgarh will have no rail link
By Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — Travelling to the proposed town of Anandgarh is going to be difficult. No railway station has been planned for the town as yet, while the proposed airport project may also be shelved. This may make it difficult to market the new town.

Sources in the Anandgarh Development Authority say that there is no immediate plan for a rail link. However, they say that a dossier submitted to the architects who will draw the master plan of the city, does talk about rail link to Anandgarh.

The town will be about 12 km from the railway station at Kurali. Earlier the idea was to connect the town with Kurali.

In the absence of a railway station, residents of the new town will have to travel about 25 km through heavy traffic to the Chandigarh railway station to board a train. This would mean an hour-long journey in rush hours. The Anandgarh authorities may even seek a faster road link to Chandigarh. The other option for the residents will be to go to the upcoming railway station at SAS Nagar, which is located even farther.

An official of the Punjab Government said the railway station might be built in the town later. He said the decision regarding the setting up of a railway station could only be taken by the Ministry of Railways.

Railway station might not be on the priority list of the officials, but they want an international airport for the town. However, sources say that the plan of the airport is also set to be shelved.

A top ADA official said an international airport was essential for the region. “The airport that we had planned, was to come up outside the town limits”, he said.



Lieut-Gen Sangra takes charge
Tribune News Service

CHANDI MANDIR, Sept 30 — Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh Sangra assumed charge as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command at Chandi Mandir today. Prior to this assignment he was GOC-in-C of the Central Command at Lucknow.

He takes over from Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi, who has proceeded to the Army headquarters as Vice-Chief of the Army Staff.

On his arrival here, he was presented a guard of honour by a 48-member contingent from the 12th Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry. After taking the general salute, he inspected the guard, commanded by Major M.S. Mokha. He later laid a wreath at the Veer Samriti war memorial.

Talking to media persons soon after, Lieut-Gen Sangra said that the Western Command theatre is very sensitive and therefore it would be his endeavour to ensure preparedness of the highest order at all times.

The Army Commander remarked that it would be his top priority to bring the people closer to the Army. “We will evolve a methodology in this direction which would be mutually beneficial,” he stated.

A major area of focus would be the welfare of troops. He said that a large number of troops come to this area after tenures in counter insurgency operations and adequate measures would be taken to ensure their well-being, recuperation and training.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Lieut-Gen Sangra was commissioned into the Dogra Regiment in 1961. A graduate from the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) and the National Defence College, he has, over a distinguished service career spanning 39 years, held important staff, instructional and command appointments. He has served as Chief Instructor at the DSSC in addition to a tenure with the Indian Militant Training Team in Bhutan.

Lieut-Gen Sangra is highly experienced in counter insurgency and counter militancy operations, having served in Nagaland, Mizoram and Jammu and Kashmir. He is also versatile in desert warfare, having commanded a corps in the Western Sector and serving as Chief of Staff of the Southern Command.

During the 1965 Indo-Pak war he was mentioned-in-despatches for gallantry and later decorated with the Vishisht Seva Medal for services rendered in the Punjab Sector. In 1998 he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished services.

Meanwhile, Ms Deep Surjit Singh took over the responsibilities of the President, Army Wives Welfare Association (Regional). She had devoted herself to take care of over 270 Kargil war widows hailing from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.


Delay in acquiring land may cause PUDA loss
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 30 —A delay in issuing the final notification under the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring over 1,300 acres for further expansion of the town is likely to cause a loss of lakhs of rupees to the Punjab Government. When this land is acquired, the town limit will extend upto the Banur-Landhran-Kharar road.

As compensation to evacuees is paid from the date of the issuing of the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, delay in issuing the final notification would mean paying more to land owners. Sources in the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) said senior officials were yet to decide on the matter.

In April, the District Collector of Ropar, after a meeting of the District Land Fixation Committee, had recommended land rates according to the location of the land in Sohana, Mauli Baidwan Raipur and Lakhnour villages. The sources said the District Collector had said that a rate of Rs 10 lakh per acre had been recommended for acquiring the land to the north of the Chandigarh-Landhran road and near Sectors 70 and 71 and Industrial Area. For the land along the Chandigarh-Landhran-Fatehgarh road, a compensation price of Rs 10 lakh per acre had been recommended.

For the fertile land of Sohana village, he has recommended a rate of Rs 9 lakh per acre. For the barren land of the village, a rate of Rs 7.50 lakh per acre has been recommended. For the fertile land of Mauli Baidwan, Raipur and Lakhnour villages, a rate of Rs 8 lakh per acre and for the barren land in the villages, a rate of Rs 7 lakh per acre has been recommended. The minutes of the meeting of the land-fixation committee have already been forwarded to the authorities concerned. The MLA of Kharar, Daljeet Kaur, the SDM of SAS Nagar, the Estate Officer of PUDA and Sarpanches of Sohana and Lakhnour Gram Panchayats are the other members of the committee.

Recently, the district revenue authorities had increased the minimum rates for the registration of the sale deeds of fertile land from Rs 3.25 lakh per acre to Rs 5 lakh per acre.

Meanwhile, a private consultant company hired by PUDA has already submitted the ‘contour plan level of the ground’ of the land to be acquired. Various features like trees and structures have been marked on the maps. However, the fate of structures in and around Sohana that have come up in violation of the Periphery Act after the cut off date of December 1998, is yet to be decided by the government. 



Two held in rape case
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Sept 30 — The Sohana police today arrested two persons of Durali village, near here, for allegedly raping an 18-year-old girl of the same village on last Thursday. The victim was physically assaulted for over two hours by the culprits at the house of another woman in the village.

A case under Sections 334, 366 and 376 of the IPC was registered by the police on the basis of a statement given by Mr Rachpal, brother of the victim. A police official said on September 28, the girl was returning home from a shop in the village when she was called by a woman, Aroro, to her house. In the house the two culprits, Jaswant, alias Sant, and Didar Singh, alias, Dara were sitting. The woman left behind the girl at her house on the pretext of visiting a doctor. In the ensuing moments, the two men overpowered the girl and allegedly raped her.

The case came to light when the brother of the girl came to the house after visiting the house of a relative at Kharar. The mother of the victim, Charan Kaur told her son about the incident.



Battalion celebrates Raising Day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — The Transport Battalion of the Indo-Tibet Border Police celebrated its 23rd Raising Day here today. A ceremonial parade, as well as several other activities, were organised to commemorate the occasion.

The Transport Battalion was raised as a separate entity on September 30, 1978 during the re-organisation of the force. Prior to its inception, it was an integral part of the service units of the ITBP. Entire cadre of the force pertaining to motor and animal transport, their training and cadre management as well as maintenance of ITBP’s vehicle fleet are the responsibilities of the Transport Battalion.

The battalion Commandant, Mr A. S. Chinna inspected a guard of honour and addressed the battalion personnel. Speaking on the occasion, he said it was necessary to create specialist battalions in order to relieve commandants of operational battalions from administrative and logistical duties, so that they could concentrate on operational aspects.

A large number of retired ITBP personnel also attended the raising day celebrations. Besides a welfare exhibition, food stalls and a medical camp, entertainment items for children including races and fancy dress competition were also organised.


Hotel serves left over food to guests
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Sept 30 — The staff of Red Bishop in Sector 1 here and the Haryana Tourism used leftovers from a wedding reception for a lunch that was being hosted simultaneously at the venue by the Haryana Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Association.

When members of the association asked for the lunch to be served to mediapersons attending the conference, the staff said they were busy elsewhere. They said they were attending to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who was at the reception.

The all-India chief of the association, Mr Ram Raj, was angry at being ignored in such a way. Guests had to wait for long for the food and the staff also failed to turn up.

When the lunch was served, a couple of dishes were subtracted from the menu chosen by the association. The staff brought a half-empty rice tray. The organisers of the conference realised that these were leftovers from the reception ceremony that had concluded by then.

The staff made frantic attempts to save face by trying to remove these trays. On being asked why leftover food had been served to guests, the Manager of Red Bishop allegedly said the organisers had informed them of their engagement at a short notice.

The organisers said the staff had been informed much earlier than this. “They could have easily told us they had their hands full rather than serving us the leftover food,” an organiser said.

The manger told him, “We regret accommodating you at the last minute, but offer no explanations. The food being served is good.” He had earlier denied that the party had booked the complex for the lunch at all.

After a good 30 minutes of the verbal duel, the organisers decided to take up the matter with senior officials and left the venue.

On their way out, they met the Commissioner of Tourism, Dr Harbaksh Singh, who was at the complex to attend the reception. He was caught off-guard on being approached by the aggrieved party.

The Commissioner, after hearing the arguments of both sides, could only say that it was sad. After his apology failed to satisfy the agitated organisers, he said this would not happen again and the hotel employees involved in the incident would be punished. “The worst possible punishment for them would be to transfer them out and I will not hesitate to transfer all those found guilty,” he said.


Mansa Devi complex to be expanded
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Sept 30 —The Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board will acquire 60 acres of land for the expansion of the complex. This was stated by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister of Haryana, while addressing a press conference here today.

He had come here to pay obeisance at the shrine on the occasion of navratras. Mr Chautala stated that though the Board did not have adequate funds for the acquisition proceedings, finances would be arranged by way of loans, and the Board would endeavour to provide greater facilities for devotees at the shrine.

Earlier, the Chief Minister participated in a puja and shatchandi yagya held in yagyashala of the shrine. He was accompanied by the Minster of HUDA, Mr Dheerpal Singh, State Transport Minister, Mr A.K. Arora, State Health Minister, Mr M.L. Ranga, Minister for Local Administration, Mr Subhash Goyal, Education Minister, Mr Bahadur Singh, Chairman of Confed, Mr Pradeep Chaudhary.

Mr Chautala planted a sapling of “maulsri” in the area next to the yagyashala. Meanwhile, there was great enthusiasm among the devotees at the shrine where they had lined up to offer prayers since early morning. Their number decreased in the afternoon only to pick up again in the evening.

The three bhandaras run by the shrine board functioned at the premises as usual with devotees stopping by to have the langar. 


Bhatti’s hilarious antics
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — In yet hilarious antics to attract the attention of the authorities and the public, Jaspal Bhatti moved about town today on a horseback trying to drive home the point that the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel was making the use of cars and scooters unaffordable.

Talking to TNS, Jaspal Bhatti said the horse was a rather good mode of transport as it did not occupy much parking space and consumed only grass for energy. “If horse is used routinely then the wild growth of the Congress grass can also be taken care of,” he added.

Jaspal Bhatti demanded that the government should start giving its employees horse maintenance allowance and the buildings and roads department should make separate lanes for the horse riders. The local buses he suggested be replaced with bullock carts and tongas and the ministers and governors of all states be given bullet proof “buggis” with horses. He also thanked the government for hiking the price of petrol as it would encourage people to use animals for transportation. This would also reduce pollution and accidents on roads.



1 arrested in jewellery theft case
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — In connection with the theft at a Sector 15 jewellery shop, in which jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh and other paraphernalia was stolen last Thursday, the Chandigarh police today recovered the jewellery chest and other items from Bhagomajra village, located on the Kharar-Banur road. The jewellery and Rs 50,000 cash, however, could not be recovered.

According to police the lock of the chest, in which the jewellery had been kept, was broken. The stolen items had been taken on two tractor trolleys to the village. While one of the suspects, Samsher Singh, has been arrested by the police, his accomplice, Pardeep, could not be arrested. An FIR had already been registered against the duo by the police under Sections 448, 452, 380 and 34 of the IPC.

The duo, who are reportedly the son and a relative of the landlord of the place where the shop was housed, entered the shop by breaking open the lock of the paint shop of Mr Surjit Singh, located adjacent to the jewellery shop — University Jewellers of Mr Harinder Kumar Handa. The jeweller was informed by his neighbour Mr Surat Singh that his shop had been broken into. The dividing wall between the two shops had also been broken.

In a complaint to the police Surat Singh and Mr Handa alleged that the landlord’s son Pardeep and Pardeep’s brother-in-law, Dalbeer, had committed the theft. The role of some other persons in removing the stolen material from the site is also being probed by the police.



Son, daughter-in-law assault man
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 30 — Roshan Lal, a resident of Sector 18 complained to the police that his son and daughter-in-law, Ashok Goel and Pinky, respectively, assaulted him with a sharp edged weapon thereby injuring him. Both have been arrested by the police and a case under Sections 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against them.

TV, jewellery stolen
A colour television, gold jewellery and Rs 3,000 was stolen from a house in Sector 23 here yesterday. A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Mr Pawan Kumar.

In two more separate cases, Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Mundi Kharar and Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Dhanas, complained that their Bajaj Chetak scooters were stolen from a parking area in Sector 17 and from in front of the Fire Brigade complex of Sector 11 respectively, here yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Man booked
Satinder Pal Singh, a resident of Phase I Mohali, has been booked under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act 1976. He was allegedly hanging banners on a tree relating to a lucky draw being held by a ready-to-wear garment shop in Sector 9.


Youth missing
Inderpal Singh, a resident of Sector 71, has been missing since September 23 last. On the basis of a complaint given by the family members of the youth, the Phase 8 police has lodged a Daily Dairy Report (DDR).


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