Saturday, December 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Frequent bureaucratic reshuffle
hitting development work
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Frequent reshuffle of the middle-level bureaucracy serving with the Chandigarh Administration is affecting development work, ongoing projects, snapping any kind of continuity in working and even leading to uncertainty among officials and their staff.

This despite the fact that no kind of direct political motive can be attributed to the reshuffle as it happens in the states when a change of government has a cascading affect and all officials are usually shifted. The only direct political boss of the bureaucrat-laden Chandigarh Administration is the Union Home Minister or the state ministers in his ministry, and they are unlikely to interfere in the shifting of PCS and HCS officials in a small Union Territory like Chandigarh.

The chop and change is at such a pace that some departments have had up to four officers in the past 18 months. Even some of the officials have been shifted upto 4 times in the same time span. The Tribune identified close to ten posts in the middle-level where the changes have been in a whirlwind fashion, almost like the chop and change affected in politically inclined states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or even neighbouring Haryana.

One of the most startling case is of Under Secretary Urban Development. In the past three months Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Joint Secretary Finance, Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Public Relations, and Mr Gyanesh Bharti, SDM (East), respectively, were entrusted with the task. This week Mr K.A.P. Sinha was reappointed.

The post of Additional Director of the Government Medical College and Hospital is also like musical chairs. Since June last year 3 persons, Mr Prthi Chand, SDM (Central), Mr S.P. Arora, Assistant Estate Officer, Mr Chander Sekhar, Joint Registrar, Co-operative Societies, have been posted for varying intervals. The latest incumbent is Mr Sunil Bhatia.

Another similar case is of the SDM (South), Mr Ashish Kundra, who relinquished charge in August and since then Mr M.S. Yadav, Land Acquisition Officer; Mr Gyanesh Bharti and Mr H.K. Nagpal have served as SDMs (South), the last official being the latest incumbent. Take the case of Director, Public Relations. In the past 18 months Mr Chander Sekhar, Mr Ashok Sangwan, Joint Secretary, Home, Mr S.P. Arora, have been posted there and finally Mr Vivek Atray was posted as DPR in May this year.

Such changes are commonplace when it comes to post the Chief General Manager of CITCO. Mr N.S. Brar is the present incumbent. In the past year-and-a-half Mr Ashok Sangwan, Mr Gurmel Singh, Director, Industries, and Mr P.S. Gill, Secretary, State Transport Authority, have been posted as CGM (CITCO) for a varying periods of time.

Even as efforts are being made to promote tourism in the city, the Director Tourism has been changed quite a few times in the past few months. Mr Gurmel Singh was posted a few days ago and before him the work was first being handled by Mr Atray, followed by Mr Sangwan.

On the basis of anonymity, an official said: ‘‘it takes almost three to four months to understand the working of a department before any plans can be made.’’ Ideally, in a city like Chandigarh the posting should be atleast for a period of 18 months to two years, the same official said.

Besides this three Joint Registrars, Co-operative Societies, have served in the past one year. They are Mr Ashwani Kumar, Assistant Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and Mr R.K. Kaushik, who was repatriated to Punjab a few weeks ago. Mr Chander Sekhar then took charge. There have been two Directors, Technical Education, since July this year. There have been three officials, who have been Secretary, STA, in the past one year.

Among the most shuffled officials have been Mr H.K. Nagpal, who has been posted as Secretary, MC, Director, Social Welfare, SDM (East) and SDM (South), all in a period of less than two years. In the same period Mr Gurmel Singh has been posted as Joint Secretary, Home, CGM, CITCO, Secretary, STA, and he is now Director, Industries. Mr Ashok Sangwan started his stint with the Administration almost two years ago and since then he has been DPR, CGM CITCO, Joint Secretary, Home, besides holding additional charge of Director, Technical Education and Tourism.

Mr Arora, Mr Chander Sekhar and Mr Prthi Chand have all faced three postings within two years.Back


Common man at the receiving end
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — For the fourth day in a row, residents of the city and the adjoining areas went without any mail as the all-India indefinite strike by postal employees entered the fourth day today.

With the striking employees in no mood to relent, the common man was at the receiving end as the ordinary mail had been suspended for the past four days. Only very essential services like speed post, delivery of the passports, sale of stamps and the sale of the examination forms was being carried out in the select post offices.

With about 97% staff on strike, only skeleton services were being maintained, Mr A.S.I.S Paul, Chief Post Master General of the Punjab and Chandigarh Circle, said. The department sold the postal stationery worth about Rs 15,000 and postal orders of about Rs 20,000, besides the sale of the examination forms for the convenience of the general public in Chandigarh, he added.

The department today also started the delivery of passports from the district headquarters of Punjab, he said, adding that the principle of “no-work and no-pay,” as enunciated by the Supreme Court, would be applicable to the striking employees.

Meanwhile, the courier services are doing a brisk business as more and customers intending to send the important mail, were shifting to the courier services since there is hardly any alternative for the harassed customers.

Apart from the well-off sections of society, the lower sections were also worst hit by the strike in the world’s largest postal network. A large number of the migrants mainly from UP and Bihar, who send the money orders and messages through the ordinary post to their relatives in their native places, are particularly hit by the strike.

The employees were striking against the attitude of the Central Government in delaying the implementation of the December 12,1998, pact with the Ministry of Communication . The pact reportedly includes the upgradation of pay scales of postal employees such as the extra-departmental agents and other class C and D employees.


Is postal strike justified?
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Is the four-day-old indefinite strike by over 6 lakh postal employees for higher wages, which has held crores of Indians to ransom, justified? The answer may be in the negative if the pay and perks of the striking employees are any indication.

According to data collected by The Tribune, over 3 lakh regular striking employees of the Department of Posts get higher starting salaries than several of their counterparts in the Central Government services. For instance, the initial basic pay of postal assistants is Rs 4,000 as compared to the basic salary of Rs 3,200 of similar clerical cadres in the Central Government.

According to sources, the minimum emoluments that a postal assistant gets in the first year of service total Rs 6,415 and the maximum Rs 12,800 per month and that, too, only after about 19 working days in a month. And this is apart from city compensatory allowance, children’s education allowance, medical allowance, bonus and additional DA instalments based on the cost index.

And Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, Chief Post Master General of the Punjab and Chandigarh Circle, told The Tribune that the basic pay on appointment to posts of Group D and postman was Rs 2,550 and Rs 3,050, respectively, and in this way they got Rs 4,114 and Rs 4,893 in the very first year of their service.

The maximum emoluments that Group D employees and postmen got up to retirement totalled Rs 7,297 and Rs 9,495. This was due to the annual increments provided in the scales and also the time-bound promotions available to them and the DA instalments based on the cost index.

Similarly, the 3 lakh extra departmental agents (EDAs), who mostly worked in semi-urban and rural areas and are on strike, were not as badly paid as made out by the strikers. Being part-time agents of the department, they were expected to work up to a maximum of five hours and were also expected to have an alternative source of income, said Mr Paul, claiming that even if they were engaged for a workload of one hour they were paid for a minimum workload of three hours and 45 minutes.

“The EDAs of different categories with workload up to three hours and forty 45 minutes and working for 24 days get emoluments totalling Rs 1,720 to Rs 2,996 per month. And for workload beyond three hours and 45 minutes and up to five hours they get Rs 2,178 to Rs 2,996 per month for 24 working days in a month during the very first year of service.”

Annual increments were provided for these scales and after about 20 years of service different categories of EDAs got emoluments of Rs 2,265 to Rs 4,406 per month for 24 working days in a month.

Picking holes in the argument that the EDAs were poorly paid, Mr Paul claimed that it worked out to a handsome minimum initial daily wage of Rs 72 to Rs 125 for work up to three hours and 45 minutes only and for senior EDAs it rose from Rs 94 to Rs 183 per day for work up to this duration. At this rate, the daily wage for seven and a half hours in the case of the EDAs rose to Rs 188 to Rs 366 per day in the villages.

Six monthly increases in the DA as applicable to other Central Government employees and annual bonus, ex-gratia gratuity of Rs 18,000 and retirement gratuity of Rs 30,000 and 20 days of paid leave per annum were some of the additional benefits they were entitled to.

Regarding the regularisation of the services of over 3 lakh EDAs, Mr Paul said it would entail an expenditure of Rs 600 crore annually. Apart from this, it was a moot point whether the functioning of village post offices would improve with the granting of new pay scales to the staff. Ninty per cent of the post offices incurred losses every year.

However, the employees have their own point of view. They alleged the government is yet to take a final decision on the report of the Talwar committee submitted to the government on April 30, 1997. Even now the government has reportedly agreed to accept only three minor demands of the Joint Action Committee spearheading the agitation.

They say they had waited for a long time and deferred the strike call of May 1 this year on the assurance of the government.


City traffic lights can cause havoc
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The abruptly changing signal from red to green at the road dividing Sector 15 and 16 catches the scooterist by surprise. As he struggles to engage the gear, the wild honking of cars and bikes add to his confusion. Before he realises, a car rams into his vehicle from behind. If only the young executive knew amber was not going to be flashed in-between, he would have been prepared.

Accidents and confusion due to the missing amber at most of the 24 light points in Chandigarh is not uncommon. When riders are not arguing with each other at the signal on the road dividing Sector 18, 17, 9 and 8, they are cursing the “mechanism” at the signal in front of the Reserve Bank of India in Sector 17.

Everyday the unsuspecting commuters allow the engines to idle at the lights on the road dividing Sector 27 and 28 or on the crossing of Sector 29 and 30. They stand there zapped, still shifting gears, while other vehicles rush down the lane.

Claiming the “new system” to be on an “all-India pattern”, a senior Police officer, however, justifies: “The decision to exclude amber while the light changed from red to green was taken a few months back after a thorough study regarding the functioning of the traffic signals in the city was undertaken by the organisation maintaining the lights with the help of our department”.

“The reason behind the move”, he claims, “is not very hard to see. Commuters were earlier crossing the roads without even waiting for the light to change from amber to green. This action was responsible for a substantial minor and major mishaps at the lights. It was then we decided to go in for this direct system being adopted throughout the country”.

The residents, on the other hand, assert that they were not informed about the change in pattern by the Police officials. They add that the problem caused due to this move is worse for drivers coming to the city from near-by cities like Ambala and Patiala. 


IGP’s order on FIR registration
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — For checking compliance of directions on the registration of first information reports in all cognizable offences, the Chandigarh police will be sending “decoy complainants” to the 11 police stations in the city.

The complainants, according to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr, B.S. Bassi, will be sent by the station house officers, besides by the headquarters. They will be asked to report matters like kidnapping and forgery where the accused was named directly, the IGP elaborated.

The move, Mr Bassi added, was being undertaken to check whether the FIRs were being lodged even in the absence of the duty officer or not. The cops, he asserted, had been instructed to register complaints even in the case of cycle thefts without asking for the receipts initially.

Sources in the Police Department pointed out that certain officials dilly-dallied the registration of complaints, particularly the ones pertaining to property disputes, assault and cheating. An attempt at getting the matter compromised was made, they asserted.

At a monthly crime review meeting, the IGP, while directing the registration of FIRs in all the cases coming to their notice, had earlier asserted that attempts to avoid the same would not be tolerated.

The resolve to lodge FIRs was significant as the Supreme Court has time and again observed in its judgements that a case must be registered, and the allegations investigated into, every time a cognizable offence was committed.


Vandalisation of roundabouts

THE City Beautiful owes its charm in no small measure to its beautiful and famous roundabouts, especially at this time of the year when winter flowers are in full bloom. Of late, these roundabouts have been attracting undeserved criticism from many a well-meaning citizen who are suggesting that these should be given a hasty done away with, to make the city roads safer for traffic.

This is obviously a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Those who are suggesting these measures may have their hearts in the right place, but doing away with the roundabouts is no way of bringing sanity to the chaotic traffic on the city roads. Those who lack road sense will continue to act irresponsibly — roundabouts or no roundabouts — unless the traffic police enforces traffic discipline strictly and punishes the violators without fear or favour.

The best of the systems can go haywire in the hands of an inefficient and incompetent administration. Already a few strategic roundabouts in the city have been razed to install traffic lights. And as was only to be expected, this has failed to regulate the traffic and prevent traffic jams.

If anything, the situation has only become worse. The replacement of roundabouts with open crossings has resulted in more and bigger traffic jams. Seen in this light, doing away with the roundabouts is obviously not a desirable solution. I, therefore, suggest that the roundabouts should be allowed to stay.

These roundabouts can be supplemented with traffic lights which allow clockwise, sequential draining of traffic from around them. Even the right of way can be implemented better with these roundabouts in place which will also facilitate a more disciplined flow of traffic and reduce the number of accidents.


Commuted pension

The Fourth Pay Commission made certain recommendations with regard to the pay and pension of government employees. As a result the Government improved the pay scales and other benefits of the serving employees. But it gave a step-motherly treatment to the pensioners. The pay commission had recommended restoration of the commuted value of the pension 12 years after retirement. But the Government did not accept this recommendation and let the period of restoration remain 15 years. Thus a pensioner having Rs 1000 as the commuted value of his pension loses Rs 36,000.

To a retired person, this is a big amount and can mean a lot to him. An addition of Rs 1,000 to his income would make his life comfortable in his sunset years.

When the Government is giving huge perks to MPs and MLAs, it should also do something for the pensioners who have given the best years of their lives to the nation. More so, when the pay commission had made this recommendation after giving due thought to the issue.

Col D.K. Gupta (Retd)

Rail accident

The Minister for Railway tendered her resignation, owning moral responsibility for the rail accident near Jeewanpura. The minister has the moral responsibility to arrange a thorough investigation into the happening without any fear or favour and to punish those found guilty. The recommendations of the commission of inquiry need to be assessed and adopted to ensure that such accidents do not occur in the future. However, if the commission of inquiry holds that the minister shares the blame then, it will be appropriate for her to resign.

R.K. Bahl

Haryana pensioners

The Haryana Government had in 1992 fixed the limit of reimbursement of outdoor expenses for the treatment of chronic diseases at Rs 6,000 for its employees and pensioners. Whereas it has increased the fixed medical allowance, this limit of Rs 6,000 for the treatment of chronic diseases remains unchanged.

A pensioner and his dependents have to incur heavy expenses on the treatment of a chronic disease which can go up to Rs 20,000 in a year. I urge the Haryana Government to raise the limit of reimbursement to at least Rs 12,000 per annum.

Parents of Central Government pensioners are eligible for family pension, but the Haryana Government has not adopted this policy and aged parents of the pensioners in Haryana are not included in the definition of family. I call upon the Haryana Government to adopt rules similar to those of the Central Government in this regard.



Parking chaos in Phase 1 market
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 8 — The planners of the town, being projected as the future destination for the Information Technology (IT) mughals, seems to have made little provisions for parking in certain parts of the town. Swelling number of vehicles and increased activity in the commercial areas has added to the parking woes in the town.

Worst hit is the market of Phase 1. As the day opens for the business activity, traffic chaos take over compelling those visiting the market to park their vehicles on the main road. Right from the traffic lights of Phase 1 and 2 to the PUDA complex on the other end of the market, vehicles can been seen parked in a haphazard manner with the traffic police no where in sight.

In front of the SCF 30 and 32, where a number of lottery sellers have opened their counters, cycles, scooters and rickshaws of the gamblers block the parking area. A number of shopkeepers in a memorandum submitted to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), have lamented that gamblers had affected their business.

Another problematic pocket was the parking in front of the PUDA complex. While the employees working in the different offices located in the complex park their vehicles in the earmarked space, those visiting the offices have to park their vehicles on the main road, often leading to accidents. To reduce the number of accidents, local administration had banned the plying of heavy vehicles on the main road in front of the market during the rush hours but the order was not followed.

The Additional Chief Administrator (ACA), SAS Nagar, Mr Dipinder Singh, said an effort was made to auction a parking shed in front of the PUDA complex but with little success. After visiting the parking area in front of the complex along with his subordinates, he said open spaces would be used for providing a make shift parking. 


SHSAD to start lok jagran programme
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 8 — The SHSAD has decided to start a “lok jagran” programme from December 22 in Punjab against the policies of the Parkash Singh Badal-led government.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the SHSAD and former MP, said under the programme, conferences would be held at various places, the first being at Chamkaur Sahib on December 22. Later, on December 26, a conference would be organised at Fatehgarh Sahib and another one on January 14 at Muktsar.

The dates for other districts would be finalised at a meeting of the SHSAD working committee on December 16 in Chandigarh. The meeting would also take a decision on the agenda of these conferences.

Mr Chandumajra said the aim of the conferences was to make the public aware of the problems created by the Badal government.

He said the Badal government had imposed “family rule” in the state. To remain in power, he said, Mr Badal was allegedly misusing official machinery, selling government property for a song to his relatives and distributing money, liquor and opium among people.

Mr Chandumajra said democracy was being murdered in Punjab. He wondered why Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana Chief Minister, had not protested in Delhi against the WTO regime and were now “shedding crocodile tears” on the issue in Chandigarh.

He said the Badal government could not get godowns cleared for stocking of paddy. The procurement agencies still owed Rs 150 crore to farmers.

Mr Chandumajra said the Badal government was showing that sugar mills in the state were running in losses. The Chief Minister, he alleged, wanted to sell these to his relatives.

He said Mr Badal had rejected Akali culture and adopted Congress culture, which was based on untruth and corruption.

All these aspects, Mr Chandumajra said, would be highlighted at the public conferences in the state.

Mr Chandumarja termed the statement of the SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi, that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was not trustworthy as unfortunate and said that Mr Talwandi made this remark under pressure from the Chief Minister.

He said the SHSAD stood by the side of Mr Talwandi during the SGPC presidential election and it was unfortunate that he criticised Mr Tohra instead of condemning Mr Badal for playing a destructive role in Akali politics.


Nine highest IT payers honoured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Nine highest income tax payers in three categories — salaried, business and profession class — were awarded samman patras at a function in Parwanoo today.

The function was presided over by Mr Boota Singh, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Shimla range, Shimla. The purpose of samman scheme is to honour the highest income tax payers at national, regional and local levels. The scheme is applicable in the case of individual tax payers.

Mr Arun Sharma of Parwanoo was awarded samman patra for showing highest income in business category and Mr Ashim Kumar Dutta of Paonta Sahib was awarded samman patra in salaried category. Dr Ajit Raul Jain from Nalagarh has already been awarded samman patra in professional category at a separate function held in Nalagarh in September 2000.

Mr Boota Singh explained various simple schemes of the Income Tax Department for the convenience of ordinary tax payers. The retail traders, having annual turnover up to Rs 40 lakh, are required to show only 5 per cent of their turnover as income, pay the tax thereon without maintaining any books of account or other papers. Truck operators can show annual income of Rs 24000 per truck. He further stated that civil contractors having annual receipts up to Rs 40 lakh can show 8 per cent of the receipts as income, pay income tax thereon without maintaining any books of account. All these cases will not be taken up for scrutiny.

He also informed the gathering that the department is computerising its operations on a large scale, and within few months, all income tax offices of the country will be networked with each other. He cautioned that after computerisation, tax evasion will become difficult.

Mr Boota Singh also informed that about five years ago, collection of income tax from Himachal Pradesh was Rs 40 crore, which is likely to go up to Rs 200 crore by March 2001. Even the number of tax payers in Himachal Pradesh is likely to touch the figure of 1.60 lakh by the end of this year as against the figure of 43,000 five years ago.


ASC celebrates 240th anniversary
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The Army Service Corps (ASC) celebrated its 240th anniversary at the Western Command (WC) headquarters today.

Several functions, including a bara khana and a memorial service, were held to mark the occasion which was attended by serving and retired officers. Brigadier Surjit Singh, Deputy Director, Supply and Transport, WC, laid a wreath on behalf of all ranks of the ASC.

The GOC-in-C, WC, Lt Gen Surjit Singh, and the head of the ASC, Maj Gen Rajpal, also greeted all ranks and their families on the occasion and lauded the role of the corps in providing supply and transport cover to the armed forces.

In 1760, the ASC was the oldest and largest of the administrative components of the East India Company in the three presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras. It was formed into a formal supply and transport corps in 1901.

The basic function of the ASC encompasses provisioning of supplies and transport including animal transport to the forces and paramilitary forces. The transportation function of the ASC extends from remote mountains and jungles to the deserts and riverine terrain. Although it operates different types of motor vehicles, animal transport still is the main mode in inaccessible areas.

The ASC provides air maintenance in northern and eastern theatres to the troops deployed in far flung areas. The challenge of maintaining troops at 22,000 ft with temperatures dipping to minus 30 degrees is being met by the corps.

The performance of the ASC units in the insurgency affected valley has been creditable and was commendable during Operation Vijay. Besides this, various contingents have been sent abroad on UN missions and have earned accolades for their dedicated and selfless service.

The corps also excels in the sphere of sports and has done the Army proud in the disciplines of hockey, basketball and equestrian sports. 



Engineers’ body resents statement
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The PSEB Engineers Association has taken a strong exception to the statement issued by the Chief Engineer(Generation) BBMB, Mr L.S. Deol, regarding the non-participation of the BBMB engineers in the nationwide strike scheduled for December 12.

According to a press note, his remarks are purely personal and do not represent the engineers working in the BBMB. Meanwhile, Mr Deol, when contacted over phone in his office at the Bhakra Dam, said he stood by his statement that no union has given him official information about the strike call till date.

Good response to housing scheme
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 8 — A housing scheme for five new sectors floated by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) on November 27 has attracted an overwhelming response. A spokesman of PUDA said as many as 8,000 application forms had been sold so far.

He said the maximum response was in the Chandigarh and SAS Nagar branches of the banks where the forms were being sold. The total number of forms would be known after the closure of the scheme on January 2. The rate being offered was Rs 3,350 per sq yard for 125 sq yard, 150 sq yard and 200 sq yard plots and Rs 3,990 for a two-kanal plot.

Quoting the rates attracted by residential plots in the town during a recent auction, he said the highest bid for a 10-marla plot was Rs 5,885 per sq yard and the price attracted by a 400 sq yard plot was Rs 5,100 per sq yard.Back


CHB, CITCO winners in chrysanthemum show
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The Chandigarh Hosing Board (CHB) and CITCO emerged as major winners in the institutional section of the XIV Annual chrysanthemum show here today.

In the individual category, Mr Virender Singh from sector 8, Panchkula, bagged six prizes in different individual categories.

The show, organised by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation , opens for public viewing tomorrow following inauguration by the UT Adviser, Ms Vineeta Rai. The city Mayor, Ms Shanta Abhilashi, will give away the prizes to the winners on Sunday.

Mr Virender Singh won prizes in incurved, incurving, reflexed, spider, button and decoration categories. In the individual category, he was followed by Mr Rajkumar from sector 5, Chandigarh, who won first prizes in anemone and pom pom categories.

Divya from Sector 8, Chandigarh, won the first prize for Korean category whereas the first prize in spoon variety was won by Mr Shiv Prasad from St Xaviers School, Sector 6, Panchkula.

A prize in the category of collection of four flowers was bagged by Ms Deepshikha from sector10, Chandigarh. In the artistic section, Ms Georgina Roy from St Xaviers , Chandigarh, won the first prize.

The CHB won prizes in incurving, reflexed, spoon, collection of four flowers and artistic arrangement categories.

The first prizes for incurved, spider, anemone, korean, pom pom pom varieties were won by CITCO.

The first prize in the institution category for spoon variety was won by the Punjab State Ware Housing Corporation. The decoration category was won by Accountant-General, Punjab.Back


ITBP wireless contests end
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The 15th inter-state ITBP wireless and cryptography competition concluded at Ramgarh, near here, today.

The winning teams were given prizes by Mr V.K. Dandona, Commandant (Staff) of Himachal Pradesh. He was welcomed by the Commandant of the 9th Battalion of the ITBP.

In the team events cipher, Jammu and Kashmir-I, stood first and the Logistics Sector second. In the individual skill of cipher, the L&C stood first and the JK-I second.

In the wireless team events, the HP sector stood first and the L&C stood second, In the individual skills, JK-I was placed first and the HP sector second, The overall championship trophy was won by the J&K-1. 


Philanthropist honoured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — For Mr A.S. Mann, businessman, social worker and philanthropist, it was a befitting honour when he was asked to present the ex-gratia cheques of Rs 95,000 by the Northern Railway officials to the 12 victims of the Fatehgarh Sahib rail accident admitted in the two city hospitals.

Mr Mann, on hearing about the accident on December 1, reached the PGI immediately. With the help of Mr Ashwini Kumar, DRM, Ambala, Mr Asa Nand, DSP, Chandigarh police, he contacted the families of 15 accident victims in Bihar and Utter Pradesh.

He also helped another accident victim, Sunita, reunite with her husband, Ajay Kumar, and children, Vicky and Preeti, who had been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Keeping in consideration his immense help to the accident victims, hospital and the railway officials, he was given this honour to present the victims with the ex-gratia payment.Back


Entrepreneurs block traffic
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 8 — The main road leading to the industrial focal point in Phase IX here remained blocked for over two hours today after entrepreneurs of the area sat on a dharna to protest against the failure of the water supply for the past three days. The blockade was lifted after officials of the civic body assured the entrepreneurs that the problem would be looked into.

Mr Avtar Singh Walia and Mr Amardeep Singh, members of the association of the industrial area, said a private company engaged in laying telephone cables had punctured the water supply line at more than one place. The supply coming from the tubewell had been damaged during the digging work. Earlier complaints to the civic body failed to make any impact.

More than 400 plots had been affected by the water supply failure.

Though the officials had promised to start the supply by evening, the damaged supply line was being repaired till late evening.Back


Kulwant Singh takes charge
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 8 — Mr Kulwant Singh took over the charge as president of the municipal council here today. He was greeted by council officials with bouquets and garlands. Mr Kulwant Singh said improving the sanitation aspect of the town was his top priority. He said he was also interested in getting rid of groupism that was prevalent in the office. Employees would be asked to do work according to their capability and certain persons would not be given important assignments merely on the basis of sycophancy as was going on at present.Back


Musical nite
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Paawan Entertainers will organise a Laxmikant-Pyarelal nite at Tagore Theatre here tomorrow. Local artistes will entertain the audience with evergreen songs based on music composed by the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo and sung by Mohd Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey and others. Mr Raman Kant will provide music.Back


Burglary in Sector 36 house
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — In a case of house-break, burglars decamped with a colour television set, a video cassette recorder, a cordless telephone, two bedsheets and Rs 225 after entering the Sector 36 residence of Mr Jagpal Singh Chahal.

Mr Chahal alleged that the bulgary took place on the night of October 14 while he was away to the USA.

Acting on his complaint, the police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC. Further investigations into the matter, according to senior police officials, was on.

Scooter theft
In separate complaints to the police, two city residents have alleged the theft of their scooters while they were parked in city markets.

Mr Subhash Kumar of Khuda Lahora alleged that his scooter, parked in the Sector 20 market, was stolen on December 6 at about 6 p.m. In the other complaint, SAS Nagar resident R.C. Bhare reported that his scooter, parked in front of the Sector 17 General Post Office, was picked up on December 7.

Taking up their complaints, the police has registered two cases of theft under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code. A senior police officer, when contacted, said further investigations into the allegations were on.

One injured
A Dhanas resident was admitted to the PGI with injuries after the cycle he was riding was hit by a scooter near the bridge. According to sources in the Police Department, the cyclist was identified as Kanwar Bhan. The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC.

Sector 20 resident Mast Ram was arrested by the police on the allegation of consuming liquor at a public place. According to sources, a case under the Excise Act has been registered against him. Back



24 gamblers arrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — In a special drive against gamblers, 24 persons were arrested by the Chandigarh police from the eastern parts of the city in today evening.

The drive, under the supervision of Assistant Superintendent of Chandigarh police, Dr Sagar Preet Hooda, along with the Station House Officer of Sector 19 police station, Mr B.S. Chadda, was carried out on the basis of secret information regarding gambling at public places.

According to a senior police official, special teams of over 15 personnel were dispatched to the sectors on the basis of secret information. The drive, he added, continued for over three hours. Explaining the reason behind today’s drive, he said, “Gambling was a social evil responsible for ruining many families”.

The arrested persons included: Rameshwar, Jai Ram, Ram Kishan, Ram Avtar, Sat Dev, Suresh Kumar, Mohinder Pal, Baij Nath, Sada Shiv, Arshad, Kalu, Tehal Singh, Vinay Parshad, Daya Ram, Sher Singh, Bhukan, Vinod Kumar, Moti Ram, Nathu Ram, Kuldeep Singh, Rasan Ali, Inder Kumar and Bhagwan Dass.Back


Former MP’s son among 7 held
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The Chandigarh police today arrested seven youngsters, including the son of Punjab’s former MP, Bimal Khalsa, in a rioting case on the allegations of causing injuries to three persons.

Sarabjit Singh alias Khalsa, along with Gurjand Singh, Paramdeep Singh, Tajinder Sonu and three others were earlier booked by the Chandigarh police under the Sections 147, 148, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

According to sources in the Police Department, the accused, along with seven or eight others, had attacked Gurjeet Singh and two of his friends in Sector 46 following a tiff.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said further investigations into the allegations were on. He added that the police would proceed further after recording the statements of the witnesses.


‘Holistic development vital for leadership’
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Caring is the primary attribute that a leader possesses, whether in business or in any profession. To be a leader, one has to have a holistic development which includes a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual development.

This was stated by Dr Satinnder Dhiman, professor accounting and management and chairperson of business and management at Woodbury University, California, while addressing a seminar on recent trends and contemporary issues in business management, organised here by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends Today.

Dr Dhiman said that each person is born with certain gifts, which he should polish to serve the humanity better. Giving examples of great people who made significant contribution in various fields of life, Dr Dhiman said that they had to persevere a lot to achieve their goals.

Dr Gulshan Sharma, Director, ITFT, welcomed Dr Satinder Dhiman. Also present on the occasion were Prof Virender Kumar from Government College, Kapurthala, and Mr IPS Atwal, Chairperson, International Punjabi Chamber of Commerce, Chandigarh. Certificates were distributed to the participants in the seminar.


Pagers stop beeping
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Thousands of pagers operated by a leading paging service provider, Modi Korea Telecom, did not work today. According to its officials attending phone-calls from customers, the messages could not be flashed to the paging machines.

People calling the ten digit paging numbers could hear a beep sound and the line used get disconnected. Modi Korea officials said a back up system was being procured from Delhi and it was expected to be in place by tonight thus resuming the network. Meanwhile, subscribers habitual of using the pagers for their work on a day to day basis, felt harassed. 


Trade unions decide not to cooperate
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — The All-India Trade Union Congress, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, the United Trade Union Congress, the United Trade Union Congress (LS), the All India Coordination Committee Trade Unions and the Trade Unions Coordination Committee have decided not to cooperate with the Second National Labour Commission (NLC) constituted by the government since its terms of reference were too narrow and limited in scope besides non-redressal of the problems faced by the country’s labour.

Mr H. Mahadevan and Mr B S Brar, spokespersons for AITUC, said on the contrary the NLC terms pre-supposes flexibility of labour, move towards contractualisation and casualisation of labour. The unions desire the need for bringing the existing laws in tune with the future labour market needs and demands, minimum level of protection, institutional framework which is conducive to a flexible labour market besides minimum wages and linkage of wages with productivity.

In this context, the entire power workers and officers in the country will go on strike on December 12 to protest against the policy of trifurcation, privitisation and hike in power tariffs.

Besides this, the governments removal of quantitative restrictions on 741 items and the unchecked entry of agricultural consumer and various other products from other countries have ruined the rural economy. A comprehensive agricultural labour Act has not been enacted, as a result of which 80 percent of workers in the country are deprived of many social security measures.Back


Chemists’ meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Dec 8 — The All-India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists is holding a one-day meet in Phase IX here on December 10. The presidents and general secretaries of the district units of the association would participate.

Mr H.S. Bhatia, General Secretary of the Ropar Chemists Association, said Mr Sandeep Mangia, Vice-President of the All-India Organisation of Chemists, would address the participants. Mr Harish Sethi, President of the Ropar Chemists Association, said issues like hike in the prices of medicines and extension of renewal of drug licences from two years to five years would be discussed on the occasion.Back



Banks out to woo kids
By Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 8 — Banks in the city are now eyeing a new clientele — school kids.

In the liberalised world of cut-throat competition, banks have targeted to woo kids in the age group of 5 to 12 years as potential clientele. The ICICI bank has crossed this new threshold in banking business. The bank will offer the facility “kid-e-banking”, where the children can open their accounts through their parents.

Children , who opt for kid-e-banking can deposit money and check account balances online as well as by going to the branch themselves. Moreover, the parents will be given access to services like payment of the school fee online.

“The idea is to make the children accustomed to Internet banking apart from promoting the habit of savings in them”, says Mr Anand Kumar, Vice- President and Regional Head, ICICI Bank. The facility , which the bank will start from next week , will be available in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Panchkula and Mohali , in the first phase following which it will be spread in all the districts of Punjab.

Once the account of the child is opened with the bank, the parent will get the facility of ATM, whereas the child can check his account balance, deposit money through Internet .” However, children will not be allowed to withdraw , they being minors”, Mr. Anand said. On the net, there will be two pass words, one for the child and the second for the parent, in order to ensure safety , say the bank officials.

Operating the account will not be boring, claim the bank officials, “Children will be given virtual points for attaining certain targets. The parents and the child can also have an arrangement between them where the parent can reward the child for doing some work or any thing else , by transferring some money to the kid’s account from his own”, Mr. Anand added.

An average quarterly balance of Rs 500 will have to be maintained and apart from savings bank account, a recurring deposit as well a fixed deposit account can be opened. The bank will be approaching the children through their schools and their parents.

The bank will also start bank campus for college students (the main target being those in hostels) who will be given the facility of free inward remittances, Internet banking, phone banking and other facilities. Back

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