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


Travelling by auto, taxi? Get ready to pay 41 pc more
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — Travel by autorickshaws and taxis in the city is going to be 41 per cent costlier than before. This is first revision of fares since 1996, approved by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), here today.

Apart from this, Chandigarh Administration’s list of modifications include an increase in permits for private luxury buses. A fresh ceiling has been fixed on the number of autorickshaws plying within city limits.

The Administration has approved the revision of fares in respect of autorickshaws and taxis, which were last revised in 1996, keeping in view the increase in the rates of petroleum products. The cost of petrol and diesel has risen by 50 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, since 1996 and the hike has been affected following the acceptance of the recommendations of a subcommittee for revision of fares. After the revision of fares, new meters will be installed by the taxi and autorickshaws owners in their vehicles and will be checked after calibration by the STA.

The Home Secretary-cum-Secretary, Transport, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, said the taxi and auto rickshaw operators would be given some time to install meters. Action would be taken against those who did not operate on meter, he added.

In case of private buses, the Administration has fixed a fresh ceiling of 300 buses, up from the previous number of 125, for the grant of contract carriage and tourist permits. Out of these 25 tourist permits and 200 contract carriage permits will be granted after inviting applications by giving due publicity to the decision. The permits will be given to only those who have parking space for the buses, according to Mr Gujral.

The ban on the registration of new autorickshaws in Chandigarh has been lifted. At present, there are 1450 officially permitted autorickshaws in the city and the Administration allowed 550 more, taking+ the number up to 2000. The registration of new autorickshaws and the issue of permits to buses will be carried out after placing advertisement in newspapers and inviting applications from residents of Chandigarh for the purpose of creating self-employment opportunities,

Owner-driven autorickshaws will be registered and preference will be given to new petrol-driven 4-stroke-engine autorickshaws. Autorickshaws plying in Chandigarh, which are more than 15 years old, will be specifically checked by the State Transport Authority at regular intervals and shall be impounded if found to be above the pollution limit. Owners of those of the existing 1450 autorickshaws which are registered in Chandigarh and are more than 15 years old, have been given the option of replacing these with new ones, which will be registered automatically.

The State Transport Authority has approved the registration of various new models of different vehicles in Chandigarh on the basis of certification by the Automobile Registration Authority of India. Earlier Chandigarh authorities used to wait for approval by the Punjab State Transport Authority. Several times, like it happened recently in the case of the Maruti Alto, the registration was not approved for several months, leading to harassment of buyers.

* The limit for private bus permits raised from 125 to 300
* 550 more autos permitted to run in the city, taking the number of autos to 2000
* Non-polluting 4-stroke-engine autos to be given preference for fresh registration * 15-year-old autos to be checked more frequently for pollution emission
* Taxis and autos to be given some time to instal meters before action starts 
   for non-compliance
* To cut down red tape, approval for all new models of vehicles, certification by ARAI in city



Agro Tech opens today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — Over 250 international and domestic exhibitors will display state-of the-art agro-related at Agro Tech 2000 to be held from December 1 to 5 at the Prade Ground here.

The fair will be inaugurated by Lt-Gen (retd) JFR Jacob, Governor of Punjab and Administrator, UT Chandigarh, at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow.

Spread over an area of 16,000 sqm, Agro Tech will see major participation from France. Ten French campanies exhibiting at Agro Tech 2000 represent specialists of dairy products, agricultural machinery, veterinary products etc.

Also participating are firms from the USA, the Netherlands, Israel, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and Russia.

A 10-member US delegation specialising in cold chain technologies from the World Food Logistics Organisation and a five-member company delegation from New Zealand with expertise in the dairy sector will also join Agro Tech.

Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have been accorded the “Partner State” and “Guest State” status. While Punjab and Haryana are the host States, the other States participating in the five-day mega event include Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Tamil Nadu.

A unique feature of “State Pavilions” will be the focus on live demonstration of agri and food processing technologies.

Haryana, in particular, has been aggressive in terms of developing bankable agri projects which it will be showcasing at Agro Tech to attract investment.

The role of information technology in agri and rural development will be another interesting feature at the fair which has been bifurcated into five concurrent shows titled — Agri Expo, Food Expo, Poultry Expo, Dairy Expo and Farm Tech.

CII will also organise seminars and conferences on the impact of WTO on Indian agriculture, food processing, emerging trends in dairy industry, management of quality inputs, Bio-technology, IT in agriculture & rural development and food laws.

Speakers at the seminars include Dr Y.K. Alagh, former Union Planning Minister, Mr Omesh Saigal, Secretary, Department of Food Processing Industries, Mr Nirpendra Mishra, Special Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, and Mr Anwar Hoda, ICRIER.

Mr Sharad Joshi, Chairman, Task Force on Agriculture, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab; Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, Haryana; Mr Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh; Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh; and a host of other central ministers; State agriculture ministers; Ambassadors/High Commissioners and members of the diplomatic corps; agri scientists, and progressive farmers are expected to visit the fair.

The Valedictory Session of Agro-Tech on December 5 will focus on “Challenges facing Indian agriculture in the 21st Century”. The speakers include Dr Gurdev S. Khush from International Rice Research Institute, Philippines; Prof Ashok Gulati (Chairman, NABARD), Institute of Economic Growth; Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Member Planning Commission, and Dr G.S. Kalkat, PAU Vice-Chancellor. 


20 Sector-40 shopkeepers court arrest
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — The Municipal Corporation will be starting a day market scheme where the phariwallas evicted from Sector 22 and now sitting in Sector 40 will be considered for accommodation, official sources said the scheme will cover those evicted from Sector 18 and Sector 19 too.

About 300 phariwallas evicted from municipal land in Sector 22 had set up temporary stalls in Sector 40-D leading to resentment among the shopkeepers who claimed that the arrival of phariwallas (road side vendors) in the Sector 40 market would spoil the business. Officially the Chandigarh Administration did not allot the land to anyone. Today 20 shopkeepers courted arrest and were later released by the SDM, South, Mr H.K. Nagpal.

Today a delegation of Municipal councillors led by the Mayor, Mrs Shanta Hit Abhilashi, met the UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) and apprised him of the chaos that was prevailing due to the Administration’s move to allot land to phariwallas in Sector 40. Ms Ranjana Shahi said during the meeting they pointed out that the Administration lacked direction and shifted the phariwallas without formulating any policy. The authorities concerned also lacked a comprehensive vision and did not consult the MC before initiating the move.

It may be recalled that the MC had, almost two years ago, passed a resolution that the rehri/phariwallas would be settled by way of setting up day markets. The authorities should have consulted MC for better alternatives. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M Ramasekhar, was also called and he assured that he would look afresh into the issue.

Mr Kanhya Lal, area councillor, when contacted said the DC had allotted this piece of land to the phariwallas, to sell their wares on the day market pattern without consulting the MC Commissioner and the area councillor. He said when the work of removing these phariwallas was with the corporation how could the Administration rehabilitate them like this. The agitated shopkeepers of the market kept their shops closed today also while the phariwallas were doing brisk business.

The Administrator told the DC to find a logical solution to the problem at the earliest, the councillors claimed.


Doctor’s death: fresh probe ordered
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — The mystery shrouding the custodial death of a 29-year-old city doctor continues, with the IGP, Mr B.S. Bassi, asking the UT SSP to have a fresh look into the inquiry report.

Sources in the police confirm that the IGP has also asked SSP Parag Jain to seek legal opinion into the matter. Mr Mulla Singh, the doctor’s father, had earlier sought probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the death of Dr Amanjeet Singh in August.

In a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he had stated that the police version regarding Amanjeet’s dying accidentally was far from reality. He had added that his son was either murdered in the Sector 39 police station after being subjected to third-degree torture or was thrown out of a moving vehicle. Going into the background, he had stated that Dr Amanjeet had left his house on August 10, but never returned. A call, stating that the victim had met with an accident, was received by a neighbour at about 4 a.m. the next morning, he had added.

Upon reaching the Sector 16 General Hospital, the petitioner had added, he was taken to the mortuary, where he saw blood oozing from the back of the victim’s head though the clothes were not dirty. There was no indication regarding the victim falling on the road, he had further added. The victim’s father had stated that his son was a teetotaler and had never consumed liquor.


Hike in water, sewerage charges draws flak
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Nov 30 — Residents are up in arms against the decision of the local Municipal Council to drastically hike water and sewerage charges, upsetting the budgets of many a housewife.

The hike in the water charges ranges from 66 per cent in the case of domestic consumers to 100 per cent for commercial, industrial and a section of consumers living in villages falling under the civic body.

Mrs Pukhraj Johal, a retired reader from the University of Delhi and resident of Phase II, condemning the steep hike in the water and sewerage rates, said the expenditure on the maintenance had not increased overnight. The authorities should have hiked the rates gradually over the years which would not have pinched the consumers. The sudden decision would now put too much of a burden on residents.

Mrs Jasminder Kaur, a resident of Phase IV, said the hike had been abrupt. The Municipal Council should take steps for the benefit of residents instead of burdening them. The salaries of people were not keeping in pace with the inflation rate and the middle class families were already going through a lot of financial burden.

The decision to hike the charges was taken in June when the SDM was the Administrator of the council. However, the implementation got delayed and is being done at a time when the newly-elected councillors have just been sworn in and the president of the civic body is yet to take charge.

Mr Kulwant Singh, the newly elected president, said after taking over the charge he would look into the matter along with other councillors and decide whether the hike could be reduced or withdrawn altogether. He said the government had asked the civic body to meet from its own resources the expenditures incurred on providing various services.

Councillors today described the hike as unjustified and said they would oppose it.

Mr Sham Bansal, councillor and president of the local Kiryana Merchants Association, said the hike was part of the SAD government’s policy to crush urban residents. The government gave concessions to villagers but imposed an unreasonable financial burben on urbanites. He said 90 per cent of the local residents were employees and would be badly affected by the hike. He said he would raise his voice against the decision.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, another councillor, said the hike was far too high. The sewerage cess, for example, could have been raised from Rs 10 to Rs 15 and the water rates from Rs 1.20 to Rs 1.50. She said she would protest against the hike as it was too much of a load on the public.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, also a councillor, said the increase in charges could have been gradual over a period of time. This sudden and drastic hike after seven years would prove to be a burden on the consumers. He demanded that the increase should be slashed by 50 per cent.

Mr S.S. Sandhu, president of the Mohali Industries Association, said the industry was already going through a difficult phase and an increase in the rates would add to the burden on it. Describing the hike as abrupt and unjustified, Mr Sandhu said the decision should have been left to the elected civic body. He said the council was already getting substantial revenue from industrial units in the form of octroi and this sector should have not been subjected to an additional financial burden.

The charges were earlier hiked in 1993. It is learnt that during the previous financial year the loss to the Public Health Department on account of water supply was around Rs 109.22 lakh. During this fiscal year upto June 30 the estimated loss is Rs 38.66 lakh. In addition, the council pays electricity bills totalling Rs 1.25 crore annually for running 42 tubewells.

The Executive Engineer, Public Health, Mr S.S. Ghuman, said if the water meter readings had already been taken, then the charges would be hiked from December 1 and if this had not been done then the increase would be from November 20, the day the council letter regarding the decision to hike charges was received.


N. Vittal lays stress on alertness
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — Vigilance is alertness. Supervision is examining and overseeing the work of someone else, remarked Mr N. Vittal, Central Vigilance Commissioner.

Mr Vittal who was here to deliver a talk at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), said vigilance calls for alertness not only on the part of the individual so far as his immediate direct function is concerned but also in terms of his responsibility of supervising those reporting to him.

He said one of the alibis for the non-performance of the public sector is the CVC. The Central Vigilance Commission seems to create a sense of fear and prevents executives of the public sector from taking commercially sound decisions. A little reflection will show that the alibi does not hold water. As the Central Vigilance Commissioner for past two years, having been Chairman, Public Enterprise Selection Board and having clocked more than 40 years in public administration, “I think I have a fairly good idea about what really happens in the public sector,” remarked Mr Vittal.

The CBI comes in the picture only if there are cases of corruption. In order to ensure that the unjustified or frivilous reasons do not lead to CBI starting an investigation, the special advisory board which has been created for the banking sector has been empowered to look into public sector cases also.

Mr Vittal was of the opinion that not all private sector enterprises are in the bribing game. There are exceptions which have maintained a high level of ethics. The recent debate about corporate governance is also bringing in a certain degree of awareness about the need for business ethics in the private sector.

As things stand today, said Mr Vittal, the only way in which the CVC can be said to come in the way of the “effective” functioning of the public sector executives is because the CVC can never condone bribes being given or corrupt practices being adopted by the executives of the PSEs in furthering their business interests.

Mr Vittal said the need for vigilance and supervision was becoming acute because of the three broad challenges which the banks are facing now. The first is the challenge of global competition. The second major challenge is the increasing presence of information technology. The RBI has listed in its paper, “Risks and controls in computer and telecommunication systems”, the risks under the three heads of environment, IT operations and IT products.


Rallies, contests on eve of World AIDS Day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — Rallies, poster making and essay writing competitions on the eve of World AIDS Day.

More than 300 National Service Scheme volunteers of Government College, Sector 46, organised a rally on — AIDS men make a difference — which was flagged off by the Principal, Mr D.P.Singh. The rally passed through market lanes of Sector 46, residential streets of Sector 47 and terminated on the college campus.

An open-house discussion and a declamation contest were held at Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, on — AIDS, the silent killer. The guests of honour were Mr B.B. Parsoon, Secretary, State Legal Authority, Chandigarh, and Dr Ajit Awasthi, Additional Professor, Psychiatry Department, PGI, Chandigarh. Jaswinder, Aakriti and Kanan Kapil won the first, second and third prize, respectively, in the declamation contest, while Rakhi Rajpoot, Sapna Pall and Sapanpreet Kaur won the first, second and third prize, respectively, in the essay writing competition. Mrs Satinder Dhillon, Principal, outlined the importance and role of the college in imparting knowledge about AIDS.

The NSS units along with the Literary and Debating Society of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, organised an AIDS sensitisation workshop. Dr Archana Sood, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, PGI, delivered a lecture on ‘Moral, psychological and social aspect of the deadly disease’. Ayushi Rajput, Disha Rana and Hemani Seth won the first, second and third prize, respectively, in the poster making competition. More than 80 students also took part in the essay writing competition on — Dream of an AIDS free world.

Students of Government College of Education, Sector 20, participated in essay writing and poster making competition on AIDS related topics. Shivani Anand, Harpreet Kaur and Neena Mahajan won the first, second and third prize, respectively, in the essay writing contest in English, while Deepali Sood, Madhu Sharma and Virender Kumar won the first, second and third prize, respectively, in the essay writing contest in Hindi and Amanjyot Kaur, Trichna and Satvinder Singh won the first, second and third prize in the essay writing contest in Punjabi. Prem and Jyoti Taneja were the winners in the poster making competition. The Principal, Mrs Surinder Tangri, addressed students on the occasion.

NSS volunteers of Government College for Men, Sector 11, staged a play, AIDS gyan bachaye Jaan, in the college. A paper reading contest was also held. Shivani Sally, Kamaljit Kaur won the first and second prize, respectively, while Shivender Singh Kang and Pamela Chaddha won the third prize jointly in the contest.

Students of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, enacted skits conveying the message of AIDS prevention. An essay writing competition was also held.

Students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33, were given a lectures by Dr Surendra Singh, lecturer in physics, and Mr Panna Lal, lecturer in physical education. The students also took out a rally with NSS volunteers in their own sector. A quiz competition was also held. The Principal, Mr Karan Singh, also addressed students.

Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, in collaboration with the AIDS Cell, Chandigarh, organised a rally. The cell showed slides to students and Dr Jasjeet Kaur, an eminent doctor, delivered a lecture. 


Ceremonial send-off to Lt-Gen Malik
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — The Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt-Gen B.S. Malik, today retired after 38 years of service. He was given a ceremonial send-off at Chandi Mandir cantonment. Prior to his departure, he laid a wreath at the Veer Smriti war memorial to pay homage to the unknown soldier.

Lt-Gen H.R.S. Mann, General Officer Commanding, 33 Corps in Siliguri, will take over as new Chief of Staff tomorrow.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Lt-Gen Malik was commissioned into 3/5 Gorkha Rifles in June 1962, which he later commanded during 1979 - 1981 while it was deployed on the Line of Control. He had also commanded a rifle company during the 1971 Indo-Pak war in the Chickens Neck area on the western front and was later awarded Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation Card during counter insurgency operations in Manipur.

A graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and the Royal College of Defence Studies, United Kingdom, Lt-Gen Malik’s appointments included instructor in the senior and higher command wings of the College of Combat, Mhow, Joint Secretary (Military) in the Defence Ministry and secretary to the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Besides commanding 77 Mountain Brigade and 39 Mountain Division, he also served as the Military Adviser in the UK and later as Director General of the NCC. He had taken over as Chief of Staff on May 7, 1999. He had recently submitted a Ph.D. thesis on ‘‘Relevance of military force in international affairs’’ to Madras University.


Haryana cops harass kin of striking staff 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — The Haryana Police is allegedly “harassing” the relatives and acquaintances of the employees agitating in front of the 30 Bays Building. At least three raids by officials of the Haryana Police at certain houses in the city during the past one week is a testimony to this effect.

On Sunday, the Haryana Police reportedly rounded up a plumber working with the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research from his house in Sector 38. The reason: an acquaintance, who was among the striking employees, had visited his house.

According to sources in the Police department, the plumber was taken around the city for identifying the striking employees before being released after a few hours.

The house of a head constable with the Chandigarh Police in the Sector 26 Police Lines was also reportedly raided by the Haryana Police late in the evening yesterday. They had to leave in a hurry after the Chandigarh police learnt about the raid.

The Haryana Police also “descended” upon the house of a journalist in Sector 23 recently. Sources say that the raid was conducted as an agitating employee had called him up.

Senior officials of the Haryana Police, however, deny the allegations. An official, on the condition of anonymity, said that action was being taken only against the violators and offenders. 


Harkrishan Society violates allotment rules, allege residents
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — Contrary to the laid-down conditions of land use of Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary School, Sector 38, the premises is allegedly being used for commercial purposes.

The school is being run by Guru Harkishan Society. A health club and a skating club is also run from its premises in the evenings. However, it is clearly written in the letter of allotment, dated August 1, 1988, signed by Assistant Town Planner, Mr Avtar Singh, that “ the site shall be used for educational purposes only and the change in the use of land by the allotee for purposes other than educational shall not be permitted in any case.”

Not only this, but the terms of allotment prohibit any other purpose for which the building could be used. The alleged illegal use of land is being opposed by residents living near the school. Their main grievance is that persons, especially women and children, coming to the health club and the skating club make too much of noise. They also cause nuisance on the roads and their vehicles parked outside the houses blocks the path.

They also allege that the school was initially supposed to be-primary school. Later it was upgraded to the level of a higher secondary one. Due to this , the rush of the students increased causing, problems for the residents.

One such peeved resident, Mr Vinay Durgan, who is also an office-bearer of the Residents Welfare Society of the sector, alleged that the premises was being used for commercial purposes as the authorities were charging Rs 150 and Rs 100 from women attending health classes and children attending skating classes, respectively.

He complained that besides the problem caused by wrong parking and the noise created by the members of the two clubs, the residents were also disturbed by the strong lighting system of the skating club, which remains switched on till 9 p.m. daily.

Mr Haracharan Singh, President of Guru Harkrishan Society, while refuting the charges of the residents, said the clubs were meant for the benefit of students only. Regarding the health club, he explained that the club was opened only at the request of the residents, especially women, who wanted such a facility in the vicinity of their houses.

He said the society was a voluntary organisation working on the basis of no profit no loss. It was not charging any extra money from the members of the clubs, he claimed. He said the nominal fee was being charged to pay the club instructors and not for any profit.


No going back on rail project: Punjab
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — The Punjab Government today said there was no question of looking back on the completion of the 112-km-long railway link project between Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

Reacting to the statement made by the Union Minister of State for Railways observing that the state government was not extending helping hand in the implementation of the project, a spokesman for the Punjab Government said here that the process of acquisition of land for the construction of this prestigious project was in its advanced stage and the requisite notification in this connection had been issued.

For constructing a railway station at Kambala village near Mohali, the possession of the required land had already been handed over to the railway authorities. Ten under-bridges had already been finalised, out of which Railways had committed to finance seven, the government spokesman said.

He said as per the alignment finalised, the rail line would pass through Mohali-Kharar-Morinda-Khamano-Samrala and join the existing rail line near Sahnewal on way to Ludhiana. There was no rethinking on the project as it was of great significance for the state.

However, the spokesman has not answered main points raised by the Union Minister of State for Railways. He had stated that the state government authorities concerned were not responding to the correspondence sent by the Railway Ministry to clarify certain issues and also to contribute at least 5 per cent of the project cost.


Pooja Batra opens beauty carnival
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — This tall and leggy lass is not a flash in the pan. Her success in the filmdom is quite unusual in that she is a former Miss India runner up. In her very first film she won tremendous adulation, not just for her physical assets but also for her acting prowess. After a convincing performance opposite stalwarts like Anil Kapoor and Tabu in Virasat, Pooja Batra is now looking forward to another challenging role in Aruna Raje’s Khajuraho, the film which experiments with the attitude of three women who come from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The Scorpio girl who was in the city today to inaugurate a week-long beauty carnival at VLCC, Sector 8, spoke to Chandigarh Tribune about her dreams.

The first thing talked about was how she bagged a role in Priyadarshan’s Virasat. “That was accidental. Priyadarshan had heard me saying in one of my interviews that acting is a child’s play. He wanted to see how easily I could act.” The important fact, however, is that Pooja was noticed only after her first cover on Stardust, and it was her first film Bhai which bagged her this cover. Her first release, however, was Virasat.

After Virasat, came a series of offers to this Ludhiana girl who has also spent about three years of her childhood in Chandigarh, the city she adores. Some of the important movies Pooja has done are David Dhawan’s Haseena maan jayegi, Kahin pyar na ho jaye and Dil ne phir yaad kiya (latest releases). After Virasat she was also picked up by Basu Bhattacharya for a movie opposite Sharad Kapoor. “The movie is called Hum Tum but it has not been released due to some technical snag,” said Pooja.

Among Pooja’s favourite actors are Amir Khan and Sanjay Dutt. Among women Tabu inspires her a lot, after Smita Patil. Pooja confesses that she learnt acting on job. “Working in Malyalam films was also a great learning experience. There movies don’t take over a month to be winded up. I love Chandralekha whose Hindi remake is Har dil jo pyar karega,” she added. But how was it like surviving in Bollywood without a godfather? “It was as tough as you can think. The survival is tough especially when you are not ready for compromises. We are no pets. We have to struggle, “explained Pooja.

About her early life, she chose to talk about days at Fergusson College, Pune, from where she had filled in her form for the Miss India contest. News also has it that Pooja’s mother Neelam Batra also contested for Miss India in 1971 (and was among first five), the year in which Kamal Hassan’s first wife Vani Ganapathy won the title. “Yes”, quips Pooja,”How did you know that? In fact, it was my mother who filled in the form for me.”

Among her biggest assets, Pooja counts her family. “My father was into the Army and hence we are very widely travelled. The feeling of being uprooted and then settled again helped me gain greater insight into life. Also, it helped me respect people.”

Then came the workstation where Pooja soon joined the bandwagon of ramp models, despite the fact that she has a degree in MBA (marketing) to support her otherwise.

Pooja’s facts

On love: Loving somebody other than oneself.

Date of birth: October 27; Scorpio

Favourite actor/actress : Amir Khan, Smita Patil

Role model in films: Neetu Singh

Dream date: Ricky Martin

Favourite food: crabs


Scooterist dies in head-on collision
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 — In a head-on collision, a 32-year-old clerk with the Haryana Housing Board, S.K. Taneja, was crushed to death in Mani Majra on being hit by a Chandigarh Transport Undertaking bus while he was returning home in Sector 7 on a scooter.

According to his brother, Mr Amit Taneja, the accident occurred after the bus, being driven in the wrong lane due to road repair, rammed into the scooter. The victim, he added, was declared dead on arrival at the PGI, where he was taken by the bus driver.

A case of causing death by rash and negligent act has been registered under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC. The driver, Sohan Singh of Ropar district, has been arrested and the bus has been impounded.

Proclaimed offender held
Proclaimed offender Partap Singh was apprehended by the local police today. A resident of Shimla district, Partap Singh was booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act on March 12, 1993, for carrying 24 bottles of rum. According to sources, he was declared a proclaimed offender on February 6, 1999.

Girl injured
A Class VIII student sustained minor injuries when the bicycle she was riding was hit by a bus near Batra cinema in Sector 37 at about 2:30 pm. According to sources, the student, Devankashi, was returning home when the mishap occurred.

Gas cylinders stolen
In separate complaints to the police, thefts of seven gas cylinders were reported to the police. Mr Jai Narain of Sector 45 alleged that six gas cylinders were stolen from his house on November 28. In the other complaint, Ms Manjit Kaur, a teacher in Dadu Majra, reported that a gas cylinder was stolen from the creche. Two cases of theft have been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

Vehicle thefts
Thefts of a car and a motor cycle were reported to the police during the past 24 hours. Mr Vijay Kumar of Sector 15, Panchkula, alleged that his Maruti car was stolen while it was parked in the Sector 17 Bank Square. In the other complaint, Dr J. Raj Shekhar Reddy said his Yamaha motor cycle was stolen from the PGI parking. Two cases of theft have been registered.

Suicide attempt
Mr Tulsi Dass of Sector 15 handed over his 23-year-old son Rajesh Kumar to the police after he attempted suicide by sprinkling kerosene. According to sources, Rakesh was caught on the spot by his father. A case under Section 309 of the IPC has been registered.


Motor market body submits memo to Governor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 30 —The Motor Market Welfare Association, Mani Majra, has drawn the attention of the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob(retd), towards various problems of the market.

In a representation to the Administrator, the association wanted the settling of pending sales tax cases on the Punjab pattern immediately. A high-level inquiry into the purchase of hot tread rubber and cold retreading of tyres for the past over 10 years was also demanded.

Apart from this, an end to the burning of old tyres and waste goods on the Mani Devi road, construction of concrete parkings in the Motor Market, provision of streetlights in front of the shops from shop Number 454 to 482, removal of condemned vehicles from the market, plantation of trees and provision of other public utilities were highlighted in the memorandum, submitted by Mr BS Makol.


HUDA issues 260 notices
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Nov 30 — The Estate Office, HUDA, has issued over 260 notices to local business men for non-payment of pending dues.

These notices issued primarily under Sections 17 (1), 17 (2), 17 (3) and 17 (4) on account of pending dues which the office has failed to recover despite several attempts, necessitating resumption proceedings in most cases.

Sources in HUDA said that while notices under Sections 17 (1) and (3) specify 30 days to erring customers, giving them time to pay up following which resumption is certain in these cases, Sections 17 (2) and (4) provide opportunity of a hearing to the aggrieved parties.

It may be recalled that site owners and shopowners of the city owe as much as Rs 45 crore to HUDA which has been pending for over a decade. The defaulters contend that they are not willing to pay 18 per cent penalty, compounded during the years, and would come forward to clear their dues provided the amount is calculated on the basis of simple interest. 

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