Thursday, December 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rooms for VVIPs to come up on zoo land
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Rooms for the visiting VVIPs will now be built on a large chunk of land between Punjab Raj Bhavan and the Chandigarh Golf Club that belonged to the mini zoo once. These rooms will be in addition to the existing facility for the stay of the VVIPs on the premises of Raj Bhavan.

These four acres were vacated in June after the Punjab Government moved the zoo to Chhat Bir at the insistence of the Central Zoo Authority. The zoo had been opened in 1975 as part of Raj Bhavan by the then Governor of Punjab, Mr Mahendra Mohan Chowdhury. The Golf Club management, reportedly, wanted this land for extending some portions of the club after the zoo was shifted.

Sources in the Punjab Government said the existing three rooms in Raj Bhavan were not enough for the VVIPs whenever they visited or briefly halted in the city. As a result, the VVIPs had to stay in the UT Guest House, which affected communication between Raj Bhavan and them. At times, accommodating senior officials accompanying the VVIPs in the existing rooms became difficult.

When contacted, the Secretary to the Governor of Punjab, Mr S.C. Aggarwal, said six to eight additional rooms would be built on the land. He said some drawings of the proposed building had been shown to the Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob, and these were being studied.

Sources in the government said 3.5 acres were being given to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for building the additional rooms. The estimated cost of the two-floor accommodation was about Rs 270 crore. PUDA is reported to have asked for nine months to complete the project. The Chief Administrator of PUDA, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, neither confirmed nor denied that the project was being planned. He, however, said PUDA was being given a number of important projects by the state government. He said the body would undertake the project after these are allotted to it.

Sources said the Punjab Architecture Department was preparing the drawings of this building. They said the Punjab Government had not finalised a design as yet and some amendments in the proposed model could be made.


Employee strike cripples postal services
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — On account of the indefinite strike by postal employees, postal services remained crippled for the second day today.

Work in all 46 post offices in the city, SAS Nagar and Mani Majra, was severely affected as a majority of the staff abstained from work. The general public was at the receiving end, as even Railway Mail Service offices and Mail Motor Service were closed, very few bookings made and transmission of ordinary delivery suspended.

Only skeletal services were provided at some post offices in the city, such as in Sectors 17,22,18, Air Force Station and the Punjab Raj Bhavan.These included sale of postal orders and UPSC forms besides speed post services.

The Chief Post Master General of the Punjab Circle, Mr Asis Paul, when contacted, confirmed that the department was only maintaining skeletal services like sale of postal stationery and delivery of speed post mail.

Confirming that about 97 per cent of Class C and D employees of Punjab Circle were on the strike, he said that from tomorrow the department would deliver the passports from the district headquarters of Punjab.

Meanwhile, the employees held a rally near the GPO in Sector 17. Addressing the rally, several postal and telecom employees condemned the attitude of the Central Government in delaying the implementation of the December 18,1998 pact. The pact included, among other things, the upgradation of pay scales with effect from January 1,1996 for all categories of employees like extra-departmental employees, Group C and D, employees postal accountants, stenographers, drivers, workshop staff and casual labourers.

The convener of the Joint Council of Action, Mr Surinder Pal, warned that the strike would continue till the pact was implemented.

AMBALA: Postal work in the district was affected for the second day on Wednesday following the ongoing strike by employees.

Most of the small post offices were closed, while there was thin attendance at the big post offices.

A postal employee said that the indefinite strike would continue till the demands of the postal employees were met.

A press note stated that as per the order issued by the department, the extra departmental agents were now granted running scales called time-related continuity allowance (TRCA). There were in all seven scales. The lowest scale was Rs 1220-20-1600 and the highest Rs 2125-50-3125.

This category of employees is now being granted annual increments, apart from dearness allowance, which is granted at the same rates as are being paid to regular employees. The present rate of dearness allowance is 41 per cent.

The extra departmental agents' job is part time and they are appointed from village/area where they live and their duty hours range from three to five hours.

In addition, the extra departmental agents work up to the age of 65 years as against 60 years in the case of other sections of the employees.

The release states that the department has not lagged behind in taking care of the interest of ED employees on their death and compassionate appointments have been provided to dependents of such employees. "As many as 22 such appointments have been made during past one year in Haryana circle, besides providing immediate relief of Rs 6,000 at the time of death."(

Postal strike blessing for courier firms
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The city courier services were doing a brisk business as the nationwide indefinite strike by over 6 lakh postal employees entered its second day today. Though the Department of Posts is still carrying on with a skeleton staff and services, including the Speed Post, residents are taking no chance.

“Courier services are more expensive than the ordinary post, but there is no alternative,” said Mr Amanpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 20. “The department may still be running the Speed Post service, but you can never be sure whether your packet will reach its destination or not,” he said.

Ram Kumar, a student, said the department should have chalked out a contingency plan to deliver important documents like forms for various competitive examinations. In the absence of such a plan, the common man has to use courier services.

The strike has affected the common man, but officials of courier services are jubilant. Mr Rajesh Rawat, a representative of a leading courier service that has its office in Sector 17, said, on the first day of the strike yesterday, the business of the company had increased by over 10 per cent. Today, he expected the business to rise by 30 to 40 per cent.

A representative of another firm, Mr Vinay Singh, said, “Though our firm handles international cargo, there has been an increase in our business as well.”

The Chief Post-Master General of the Punjab Circle, Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, also said he feared that the department would lose business. He said the nationwide loss to the department could be as high as Rs 10 crore per day. The loss in the Punjab Circle could be about Rs 5 lakh per day.

“The department may not be able to regain the lost business as its reputation will suffer to a large extent due to the strike,” Mr Paul said.Back


Payment of electricity and water bills through banks
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Consumers will no longer have to stand in long queues for hours to pay the water and electricity bills as the municipal corporation has decided to adopt the system of electronic payment of these bills through banks. A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting chaired by the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, today morning.

Consumers will henceforth make the payment of these bills through their banks. Those desirous of becoming a part of this scheme, are required to give their banks an authority letter thereby authorising them to debit their bills from their account. The Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh, when contacted said the scheme would be implemented from the next cycle of bills. And the consumer will have to pay about Rs 3.50 extra per bill for a period of two months. However, negotiations are on with the banks to reduce this amount, he added.

The Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) is the nodal agency for coordinating the scheme. While one copy of the computerised bill will be as usual sent to the consumer, the second copy will be electronically sent to the RBI, which will forward the same to the concerned bank within 3 days. The amount will be debited by the concerned bank and an intimation sent to the Regional Computer Centre (RCC). However, in case the consumers detect some fault in the bill, they can stop the payment and after settling the objection make the payment manually.

The telephone bills are already being paid in accordance with this system.

Today's meeting was attended by the representatives of the RBI, Oriental bank Of Commerce and RCC, besides the chief engineers and superintending engineers of the MC and the Administration.


17 hurt as 3 buses collide
From Our Correspondent

LALRU, Dec 6 — At least 17 persons were injured in an accident involving three buses on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near here today.

According to information, a private bus (PB-12C-1626) heading towards Ambala rammed into two Haryana Roadways buses (HR-03-7810 and HR-01B-4007) coming from the opposite direction at about 5.30 pm today.

“One of the Haryana Roadways buses collided with the other bus when the driver tried to overtake the other bus at a high speed,” a passenger said. Passengers alleged that the drivers of these buses had been trying to overtake each other for a long time before the accident.

Sources said 14 passengers had been admitted to Civil Hospital at Lalru, while three had been rushed to Civil Hospital at Ambala.

The Chandigarh-Ambala highway remained blocked for over three hours after the accident and traffic could be restored only late in the night.


MC building fire ignites suspicion
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Foul play and negligence on part of authorities have not been ruled out in yesterday’s incident in which records of the Licensing and Registration Branch were destroyed in a fire that broke out in the Municipal Corporation building.

Though senior officials say that their action was timely and the fire was caused accidentally, certain questions remain unanswered. Why did the record keeper take about 45 minutes to inform the Fire Department, even though the incident occured during the office hours?

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, said the damage would have been much less had the officials informed them of the fire well in time. “The fire had spread by the time firemen reached the spot. The haphazard manner in which the records were lying also led to the quick spreading of the flames,” he said.

Why were fire extinguishers not kept in the room, even though important record were stored there? Sources said fire extinguishers were everywhere else in the building, except this room.

Certain officials said a short-circuit could have caused the fire, but sources said the wiring was not more than four-year-old. Sources in the State Transport Authority said the agents would “tend to benefit” from the fire. They said, a few years ago, the Chandigarh police had registered a case after some fake registration certificates had been seized.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, ordered an inquiry into the incident here today. Mr Prithi Chand, SDM (Central), has been made the inquiry officer and has been asked to submit his report soon.

The DC said the task of ascertaining the cause of the fire would take some time as the walls were still damp and floor wet. He said most of the records were intact and only about 10 wooden racks, that had about 25,000 files, had been burnt.

The DC also said most of the burnt files contained records of the registration of vehicles before 1988 when the number of registered vehicles was not big. The records of the past five years had already been shifted to the basement of the new Licencing and Registration Branch in Sector 17.

Another senior official said, even though 25 per cent of the old records had been damaged, the registers maintained by the branch would help officials restore most of these records.

Today heaps of files could be seen in a pool of water at the spot. More files were lying scattered on the ground as these had fallen off the racks.

When contacted, the Licencing and Registration Officer, Mr P.S. Gill, said the water had been cleared from the room today and the process of drying up wet records would begin on Thursday. Most of the records would be stored in computers in the form of data.

The MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, has asked the authorities concerned to ensure that the building has an emergency exit. Sources say that the building has no emergency exit. In case of a fire, the trapped persons have to be removed with the help of a ladder. Sources said owners of many new buildings had received completion certificates from the Architecture Department, even though the buildings did not have emergency exits.

The Fire Department has a staff shortage as no post has been filled up after the retirement of 100 employees. A handful of firemen who were earlier manning five fire stations, are now manning seven.

Acting on a complaint by an official of the Registration and Transport Authority, the Chandigarh police has registered a case of mischief by fire. In his complaint to the police on Tuesday soon after the fire, an RTA clerk, Rajesh Kumar, had asked for a probe into the incident. Following this, the police registered a case under Section 436 of the IPC.

When contacted, a senior police official said authorities of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory have been asked to depute a team for finding out the exact cause of the fire.


Electricity bills undelivered

Electricity bills that were due to be paid in November have not been distributed so far in Sector 55. Some residents of this sector approached the SDO (Electricity) in this connection. The SDO asked them to obtain duplicate bills after paying Rs 2 and also deposit a penalty along with their bills since the last date for paying these bills had passed.

This high-handed approach of the Electricity Department has created resentment among the residents. We have come to know that a similar situation prevailed in Sector 61. After the Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 61 approached The Tribune, the department issued fresh bills and also extended the last date for depositing these bills.

We call on the authorities concerned to issue fresh bills in Sector 55 and extend the last date for depositing these, so that the residents are not harassed any more.


Woes of a sector

The Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 32-D, Chandigarh, submitted a memorandum of demands to Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP, on November 24. While the public park surrounded by houses 3801 to 3866 has been developed with the help of funds sanctioned by Mr Bansal out of his Local Area Development Scheme, the residents are finding it difficult to maintain this park due to paucity of funds with the association.

We urge Mr Bansal to provide the association with a lawn-mower engine out of the development funds at his disposal. The association has agreed to arrange manpower and fuel to run the engine.

The irrigation hydrant installed by the Chandigarh Administration in this park is proving inadequate because of its small size. We request the administration to provide a bigger hydrant for this park, benches for senior citizens, and an umbrella type shelter, similar to the one put up in the parks of Sectors 22 and 33.

According to the master plan, the openings along V3 roads in various sectors are to be closed by constructing boundary walls. Since Sector 32 is now fully developed, the administration should build pucca boundary walls at such openings to ensure proper security.

Sector 32-D has a fully developed market, but there is no post office in this sector, though a site for this purpose has been earmarked in the shopping centre of Sector 32-C. Since the construction of the building may take some time, we suggest that the post office should meanwhile be opened in a rented building or a government quarter. There is no post office even in Sectors 33 and 46.



2-kanal plot auctioned for Rs 1.08 cr
5 marla for Rs 22.30 lakh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The Chandigarh Administration netted a whopping Rs 16. 35 crore by auctioning 46 freehold residential sites in the city today. The collection was Rs 1.61 crore over and above the reserve price for these plots.

The average price on a per square yard basis, calculated after taking into account the sale of all the 46 plots, worked out to be Rs 11,805 and, was Rs 2,351 more than last years average price. Since this was the first ever auction of freehold residential sites in the city the reserve price had been fixed at 25 per cent more than the last year’s reserve price.

The Estate Office wing of the Chandigarh Administration, which was the auctioning authority, held back 34 out of the 80 plots put under auction due to the lack of good bids. Out of these 27 plots were in the 1 kanal (500 square yard) segment while 5 plots were in the 2 kanal (1000 square yards) segment.

One of the highest bids was in the category of 5 marla ( 125 square yard) plots. The highest bid in this segment was for a Sector 32-A plot which was auctioned at Rs 22.30 lakh. The average price in this segment worked out at Rs 21.16 lakh and all plots are located in Sector 32-A . Just five plots in this category netted Rs 1.08 crore for the Administration.

In the ten marla (250 square yard) segment the highest bid was for a Sector 37 plot which was auctioned at Rs 35 lakh. Last year a similar plot in the same sector was sold at Rs 28 lakh. In the 1 kanal segment the highest bid among the three plots to be auctioned was Rs 70 lakh for a Sector 38-B corner plot. Last year a Sector 18 plot was auctioned at Rs 65.50 lakh. But the Rs 1 crore barrier was breached when a person bid for a Sector 33-B 2 kanal plot for Rs 1.08 crore.

Also among demand were the 15 marla plots. All the 11 plots in this segment put up for auction were sold. These plots are in Sectors 37, 38 and 40. Unlike last year the 12 marla plots did not find a buyer and had to be held back. Last year the highest bid was for Rs 31,50,000.

The Assistant Estate Officer, Mr S.P. Arora, said he was satisfied with the auction and was expecting tomorrow’s auction of commercial sites to be successful.

In the financial year 1999-2000, the Administration had netted Rs 20 crore by selling of 74 plots. The reserve price have been jacked up by 5 per cent since the last auction of residential plots held in December 1998. Till last year bidders used to get leasehold plots and had to pay lease money at the rate of 2.5 per cent of the bid price till the lease period ends. So if a 2 kanal plots used to be auctioned for Rs 1 crore the lease money itself works out to be Rs 2.50 lakh or almost Rs 20,000 a month.

Highest bids in each category of plot.

Size of plot location Price auctioned at

2 kanal Sector 33 Rs 1,08,02,000

1 kanal Sector 38 Rs 70,00,000

15 marla Sector 37 Rs 43,80,000

10 marla Sector 37 Rs 35,00,000

5 marla Sector 32 Rs 22,30,000

Average price on a per square yard basis: Rs 11,805


Committee to shortlist construction agencies
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 6 — Acting on a decision of the state Council of Ministers, a high-powered committee has been set up to shortlist the country’s top construction agencies to undertake mega building projects given to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). The project given to the PUDA include the district administrative complexes (DACs) in different districts, the bus stand project and headoffice complex of the authority in Sector 62 here.

The State Housing and Urban Development Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, said the shortlisting was aimed to select only companies with proven track record and high financial and civil engineering record. The first meeting of the committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary had already been held.

The shortlisted agencies were required to have completed two major building works of at least Rs 20 crore each within a period of three years commencing from January, 1998. The annual turnover of the agency during the last three years was required to be at least Rs 50 crore. Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Chief Administrator of the PUDA, said the committee had decided to grant an incentive of 0.5 per cent of the contract value amount for every week of the work being completed ahead of the schedule. He said the projects would be completed in a period of 12 months.Back


‘MNCs cannot create job opportunities’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Globalisation of Indian economy which has put strains on the Indian industry pitted against the best in the world has threatened the employment of a large labour force. The problem is said to attain serious proportions with the implementation of the WTO regime from the year 2001 as a massive retrenchment of the human work force was on the cards.

International labour experts, who were here to attend a seminar by the ILO, were concerned of the problem which could have wide socio-economic and political ramifications, especially in the developing countries across the globe.

"Such changes can disrupt the entire sector for which the country will require job creating strategies with strong emphasis on improving the capacity of of those working in the unorganised sector," said Ms Katherine A. Hagen, a member of the ILO, Geneva, while talking to The Tribune. She said according to the observations of the ILO, though the MNCs can help in creating a stimulus for economic growth, they cannot create substantial employment opportunities.

Representatives of the labourers opined that retrenchment has become a major problem which needs to be considered seriously. Mr N.M. Barot, President of the National Mazdoor Sevalai said, "The government does not seem to be bothered about the problems which we are facing due to increase in competition. Not only the companies suffering losses, but even profit making organisations were retrenching their employees. Such companies do not even bother to give retrenchment compensation or allowances."

"With the opening up of the economy, severe competition has forced the employers either to be competitive or close down," said an industrialist who opined that the employers were left with no option than to opt for retrenchment order to survive.

" To deal with the situation in an effective manner, we need an effective system ensuring labour market flexibility, said Mr P.P.S. Brar, Joint Controller General of Accounts , Ministry of Finance. He said re-training of the workers was required for which the training agencies also have to be equally effective. "The training needs should be based on the market demands for the particular industry, " he added.

"We have to make sure that the emerging industries absorb sufficient number of workers," said Mr A.V. Jose. Regarding the exploitation of the workers mainly by the MNCs, he said such cases need to be identified and emphasis has to be laid on following good industrial practices.


Phariwallas burn effigy of Senior Deputy Mayor
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Hundreds of members of the Old Phari Market Association burnt the effigy of the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Desh Raj Tandon, in Sector 22 today. Members of the association were demanding resettlement of the Sector 22 market.

The president of the association, Mr Partap Singh, said the agitation would continue in Sector 22, until their demand were fulfilled. Hundreds of Phariwallas gathered in the Nehru Park in afternoon and conducted a protest rally.Policemen stopped them, when they reached near the Senior Deputy Mayor's house. Phariwallas then raised slogans against the Municipal Corporation and burnt the effigy of the Senior Deputy Mayor.Back


Eco-project at village
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The Chandigarh unit of the Environment Society of India (ESI) launched an eco-development project by releasing 36 ducks into the Khuda Ali Sher village pond, about 8 km from here, today.

Mr Arun Sood, Regional Director of the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) inaugurated this 15-day project. The project includes vermiculture biotechnology, beekeeping, de-silting and repair of the village pond, besides tree plantation in schools, stadiums and religious places.

Mr Sood said the project would benefit all villages in the UT and its adjoining areas. Mr S.K. Sharma, President of the ESI, said 15 farmers will be trained in vermicomposting and 15 in beekeeping and they will get all necessary equipment for this purpose.


Adopt social dialogue to promote trust: Jacob
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — In order to attain the twin goals of competitiveness and social equality, India needs to adjust its labour market institutions to the demands of the modern economy. We will have to look for new models to favour open dialogue, co-operation and search for common solutions, to pose an alternative to the adversarial relations of the past.

This was said by Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob, UT Administrator and Governor, Punjab, during the inaugural session of the national seminar on “Promoting Social Dialogue in India” organised by International Labour Organisation (ILO) here today.

The three-day seminar will focus on issues relating to social dialogue, concerns of employers, trade unions, experiences of social dialogue in different regions and social dialogue in the rural and unorganised sector .

Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Labour Minister, Punjab, emphasised on the need for labour welfare. He said social dialogue could be attained only by adopting a flexible approach by employers as well as employees.

Mr Tayo Fashoyin, ILO, Geneva, who presented a background paper on “Promoting Social Dialogue — issues and trends”, said there have to be representations on social dialogue at the top level of workers’ organisations, government as well as employers. He also said that according to surveys on economies of different nations, it has been proved that countries which engage in effective negotiations peform better, have fewer strikes and good employer-employee relations. “The workers should be given freedom to suggest ways of handling the work”, he said. He further suggested forming of tripartite or bipartite structures for the same.

Mr A.S. Oberoi, Director, ILO, said that need of social dialogue is not only to deal with a crisis, but essential under all situations. “25 per cent of the work force in India is under-employed and surplus labour of PSUs is also facing a similar threat”, he said.

Mr I.P. Anand, member, ILO, said social dialogues must focus on fundamental issues like poverty, instead of projecting ivory towers views.

Ms Katherine A Hagen, Executive Director, ILO, Geneva, said that we must focus on social and economic issues emerging from globalisation. Dialogues can be effective only if we move with a common cause, she added.


German tourist cremated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The mortal remains of the German tourist Irmgard Exo, were cremated, here today, according to Buddhist rites. Her funeral was attended by her sister Mechthild, representatives of PGI authorities, some German tourists, besides Mr A.S. Mann, a social worker.

Irmgard had come to India for a holiday on October 20. On November 7, she had sustained severe head injuries, when the door of the hired matador she was travelling in, opened and she fell out. The incident occurred near Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

She was referred to the PGI, the very same day, where she was operated upon twice. During the past one month, she had been in a coma in the intensive care unit of the institute. Initially, her sister Mechthild had problems, when she flew in to attend to her sister.

However, following reports about Irmgard’s condition in the columns of Chandigarh Tribune, help had poured in from all over.


Annual day of Home Guards
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The Home Guards Annual Day was celebrated at a function in the Sector 29 Traffic Auditorium here today. Mr Bhim Sain Bassi, Commandant General of Home Guards and the IGP, inspected a guard of honour on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bassi praised the efforts of the Home Guards in helping the Chandigarh police maintain law and order in the city.

Mr Ajay Kashyap, DIG, also appreciated the role of the UT Home Guards in the maintenance of internal security. A message of the Union Government was also read out on the occasion.

A lecture on Courtesy and Polite Behaviour was also delivered by Dr Anuradha Bhandari of the Department of Psychology of Panjab University.


Wireless and cryptography contest inaugurated
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s 15th inter sector wireless and cryptography Competition was inaugurated at Ramgarh near here, today. The ITBP’s 9th Battalion is hosting the three day event.

All seven sectors of the force, — Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal, Kumaon, Jammu and Kashmir-I, Jammu and Kashmir-II, Logistics and Training — are participating in the event.

Competitions are being organised in two categories — individual and team. Teams will comprise four members. In the wireless competition, teams will have to establish a wireless station and then pass on messages. The team which sets up a station in the minimum time and passes messages with minimum errors will be the winner. The cryptography competition will involve sending messages in cypher code and then decoding them at the receiving station.

The competition was declared open by Mr M. S. Bhurji, Commandant of the 9th Battalion, at a glittering ceremony. Till 1998, this competition had been a part of the All-India Police Duty Meet and the ITBP established several records in these events.


Mamata’s removal sought
From Our Legal Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — The removal of Ms Mamata Bannerjee, the Railway Minister, has been sought in a writ petition filed by Dr D.C. Sexena, a retired professor of the Panjab University Chandigarh, holding her responsible for the Howrah Mail accident, which occurred near Sarai Banjara village on December 2,2000, in which 46 persons wre killed and many more have been injured.

The petition, which came up for hearing before Mr Justice R.S. Mongia and Mr Justice K.C. Gupta, was referred to another Bench for hearing.

It was contended by the petitioner, that a similar Railway accident had occurred in the year 1998, near Khanna and the enquiry into the accident was entrusted to Mr M. Mani, Chief Commissioner of Railway Station. The commission made a number of recommendations, but no action was taken on the report by the Railway Ministry. Now, another accident of similar nature had occurred, resulting into the death of innocent persons.

It was contended that the Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Bannerjee, instead of reaching the spot of the accident preferred to attend a rally of her party at Madinapur in West Bengal. It was contended that the minister was no concerned about the death of innocent persons and her interest lay in the Chief Ministership of West Bengal. She is also not attending to her duties as Railway Minister seriously and therefore, the petitioner sought a direction recommending her removal from the office.

The petitioner has arrayed Ms Mamata Bannerjee and Union of India as party in the petition.


Protest march by SAD
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Shiromani Akali Dal, Chandigarh unit, took out a silent protest march against the attacks on Darbar Shahib, Amritsar, Babri Masjid and on various churches, in Sector 17 here today. The president of the unit, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, said that disruptive forces are raising their head and have become threat to democracy and secularism. He appealed to the Government of India to keep a check on such forces.

The general secretary, Mr N.S. Minhas, said the objective of the agitation was to send a message to the government to take action against the culprits, who were behind the attacks on Darbar Sahib, Babri Masjid and churches.


Notification issued
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 6 — The Punjab Government today issued notification of the election of President of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council. The new President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, is expected to take charge by tomorrow. The Principal Secretary, Local Government, Mr N.K. Arora, confirmed that orders in this regard had been passed.Back



Woman held for selling liquor
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — A woman was arrested for allegedly selling liquor from a shop and 11 pouches were seized from her possession. Joyti, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, Phase II, was arrested while she was allegedly selling liquor from a shop at Madrasi Colony, Bapu Dham Colony. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

The local police has arrested Manoj Kumar and Suresh Kumar, residents of colonies in Sector 26, for allegedly gambling at a public place. They were arrested from the kerosene pump, Sector 26, and Rs 250 and a pack of playing cards were seized from their possession. A case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered.

Car stolen
A Sector 22 resident, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has reported that his car (CH-01-K-0587) was stolen on from near the UT Treasury, Sector 17, yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered. Back


Man duped of Rs 7.60 lakh
By Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — A city resident was allegedly duped by a car agency once located at Phase I, Industrial Area, of Rs 7.6 lakh. It is learnt that the agency failed to deliver the car even after three years although 100 per cent payment was reportedly made by the complainant.

In his complaint, Mr Gurpreet Singh, a Sector 35 resident, alleged that he had made payment to M\s Oriental Auto Ltd for purchasing a Ford car in December 1997 and was assured of the delivery in the next 15 days but he was still waiting for the delivery of his dream car. The money paid by him had also been not returned.

When asked why he took so long to get an FIR registered, Mr Gurpreet said, “I had lodged the complaint with the police in March 1998 but it was the police which took so much time to investigate the matter”.

According to the information available Mr Gurpreet made a cash payment of Rs 2.60 lakh on December 27, 1997, the day on which he booked the car. He made the balance amount via a bank draft. According to Mr Gurpreet he got the money as a loan from Canara Bank.

Mr Gurpreet alleged that he was not given the receipt of the amount he paid to the agency on the pretext that the accountant had left for the day and was assured that the receipt would be delivered to him personally.

He visited the agency many times to get the car but each time he was given one or the other excuse. Later he came to know that the Ford Motors Limited had cancelled dealership of the agency but he was assured that he would get the delivery of his car. According to the sources, Mr Anmol Sandhu, proprietor of the agency, had left the country.

Mr Gurpreet informed that he tried to meet Mr Dilbajan Singh Sandhu, who was looking after the business in absence of Mr Anmol, but he too could not be contacted. In the meantime he came to know that the draft was cashed in agency’s account in Delhi.

The police has registered the case against the Oriental Auto Ltd on Tuesday under Sections 420 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code.


297 tyres stolen from godown
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Dec 6 — As many as 297 tyres were stolen from a godown in Bhabhat village, near here, on Saturday night. According to sources, nearly 18 thieves struck at the godown about 1.30 a.m., tied three labourers who were sleeping inside the godown, loaded the tyres in three trucks and fled. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at Zirakpur (Bhabhat) police post.


Jewellery that charmed the eyes
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 6 — Hotel Mountview looked like a fairy-tale castle today as beautiful ethno-contemporary designs in gold appeared before the eyes of the audience.

The evening also saw the World Gold Council announce the names of those from the northern region who had qualified for the Swarnanjali 2000 finals. On display were 10 designs in gold in each of three categories for the Excellence in Gold Jewellery Designing Contest. The categories were casual, men’s wear and bridal wear. Adding to the charm of the metal of dreams were the new-age Cindrellas — models Madhu Sapre, Nina Manuel, Rajlakshmi, Mirika, besides the others. They were complimented by the men in black — Rahul Dev, Sachin Khurana, Vijay Balhara and Ajay Balhara.

The models calmly sashayed down the ramp wearing fabulous gold jewellery. The audience was charmed by the luxury that the World Gold Council brought to their view through the award ceremony.

Most designs on display highlighted the shifting trend towards the blend of modern and ethnic jewellery. The idea behind the show was to balance the professional and domestic desires of today’s woman. The men’s-accessories category had been added to the contest for the first time. This was announced by Mr G.S. Pillai, Manager (North) of the World Gold Council. The council had organised the contest in association with a leading gold manufacturing company of the world.

In the bridal wear section, the thrust was on heavy, but meaningful designs. Practical approach and appeal had been kept in mind by the jury. When the contest was thrown open earlier this year, the council had received some 5,700 designs from all over the country. The designs were first shortlisted by gold designers and manufacturers. Then the first round of the event was held to select 10 regional finalists in each category from each of the four regions. The regional finals were held in Mumbai (west zone), Calcutta (east zone), Bangalore (south zone) and Chandigarh (north zone).

Members of the jury who selected the finalists included Moon Moon Sen, columnist Anil Dharkar, danseuse Vani Ganpati, the Karnataka Minister for Medical Education, Mr Nafees Fazal, Umang Hutheesing of Ahmedabad and sculptor K.S. Radhakrishnan.

The winning designs in the men’s-accessories category were the ones who enhanced a man’s personality. The winners were Sonal Singhi for her gold-embedded watch (crafted by Pradeep), Laxmi Mohan Babu for the handsomely designed gold cufflings (crafted by Rajinder and Leena).

Winners in the casual-jewellery section included an NIFT graduate, Deepa Verma, and craftsman Dilip Kohli, another NIFT graduate, Sangeeta Diwan, and craftsman Jayant, besides Samjay Santra and craftsman Maheshwar Pradhan.

In the bridal section, Deepa and Sangeeta won two prizes, with the other two going to Rosilyn Paul and Sandhya Sinha. After the awards were given away by Adviser to UT Administrator, the other regional finalists were also announced. These were as follows: Casual section — Sandhya, Puja N. Bhargava, Ranjita Rajora, Rosilyn Paul, Shyam, Pratibha Chhabaria and Vishal; men’s wear — Tejmohan Sawhney, Pratibha, Triveni Mahajan, Rajesh and Raman Arora; bridal wear — Puja Bhargava, Vandana Sengupta, Smita and Anjali Shah. The finals will be held in Jaipur on December 10.Back

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