Friday, December 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Real estate business remains in doldrums
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Is the claim by the UT administration that its last week’s auction of residential and commercial property in Chandigarh has been a great success, misleading?

The administration does not think so. But a host of bodies which keep a close watch on the real estate scene in the UT are convinced that the administration is trying to present a rather rosy picture in an otherwise sombre and depressing scenario.

The UT estate office’s annual auction of residential and commercial properties which included sale of residential property on free hold basis after a gap of two decades, was held last week. Though the response was somewhat encouraging as compared to the previous years, yet both residential and commercial auctions largely failed, because of various socio-commercial factors.

In a widely advertised auction by the UT Estate Office for December 6 and 7, as many as 80 residential sites were put to auction, out of which only 46 could attract the buyers. The reserve price for all the 80 sites was about Rs 40 crore in which the Estate Office could fetch Rs 16.19 crore i.e. approximately 40 per cent of the total fixed reserve price.

Similarly, 90 commercial sites were put on sale and 46 sites only could bring the bidders. The reserve price for all the commercial sites were over Rs 35 crore but the 46 sites could bring only Rs 18.13 crore which is 50 per cent of the total reserve price. This figure shows that out of 170 residential and commercial sites the auction could attract only 98 buyers which is about 57 per cent of the total sites put to auction.

The reserve price for both residential and commercial properties was over Rs 75 crore, the bided money was just Rs 34.31 crore which is less than 50 per cent of the total fixed price.

According to Mr Ashok Bansal, a well-known builder and general secretary of the Hotel Association of Chandigarh, there are several factors for this phenomenon. The reserve price was very high for certain properties when a constructed residential free-hold property can be brought in the open market at a much lower rate than the fixed price. Similarly, the intending purchaser for commercial property is not getting matching returns...not even the bank rate of interest from his investment because of the high reserve price.

Large sized residential and commercial sites cannot be bought by the individual on account of non-implementation of Apartment Act even after the recommendation by the by-laws committee till date. In the present system, only floor-wise or very large space can only rented out, but the need of the hour is allowing of the splitting of fragmentation of the floors.

Mr Amarjeet S. Sethi, general secretary of the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, says that the building bye-laws in the UT remain obsolete and stringent even after certain recommendations of the bye-laws committee. Moreover, the working and decision making of the estate office requires quicker and speedier momentum. He points out that the commercial property is not free-hold and hence, payment of ground lease rent is very high.

The 15 per cent rate of interest on the pending instalments is very high and 24 per cent penal interest for the delay is highly punitive. The number of instalments is only three in UT against six in Panchkula and Mohali.

Mr J.D. Gupta, an office-bearer of Property Consultants Association, Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali and Mr Arun Talwar, President, Traders Association, Sector 17-C, Chandigarh, say that non-implementation of new Punjab Rent Control Act in Chandigarh and non-notification of all the proposed amendments of the building bye-laws by the amendment committee are other factors which depressed the auction.

In view of the high cost of land and construction, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the common man to own independent residential property in Chandigarh, Recently, about 20,000 residential apartments have come up rather quickly in Chandigarh and its surroundings. Since these are highly affordable and suitable to a vast section of society, there cannot be many takers for the costly residential sites.


Custodial death case
Forensic lab’s report awaited
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Central Forensic Science Laboratory’s report in the “custodial death” case, prepared after reconstructing the event, is yet to be submitted to the Chandigarh police.

The report is to be handed over to the National Human Rights Commission, besides the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where a petition has been filed by the deceased doctor’s father.

For preparing the report, a number of the accused were seated in Tata 407. A dummy was thrown out of the moving vehicle, right on the spot where 29-year-old Dr Amanjeet Singh had reportedly fallen, to determine the exact posture and the circumstances leading to the death.

The victim’s father, Mr Mulla Singh, had earlier sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the death of Dr Amanjeet Singh in August this year.

In a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he had stated that the police version regarding the victim dying accidently “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 his clothes were not dirty. There was no indication regarding the victim falling on the road, he had further added. He had also refuted the allegations levelled by the police regarding the victim being under the influence of liquor. 


Resume duty or face action, postal staff told
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Adopting a tough posture against the striking postal employees, the Punjab and Chandigarh Circle today warned them to resume duty by tomorrow or face action.

Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, Chief Post Master General, told The Tribune that with the Delhi High Court setting tomorrow’s deadline for ending the strike and the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner declaring the stir as ‘‘illegal’’, the striking employees had no option but to resume work. It they failed to resume work by tomorrow they would risk disciplinary action besides the contempt of court.

Elaborating on action against the striking staff, he warned that it could be in the form of termination of service and suspension besides the application of ‘‘no work no pay’’. Tomorrow they would be issued notices why action under Rules should be taken against them.

He said there had been a substantial improvement in the postal services with about 28% of the staff reporting for duty. As many as 729 post offices of the 3,900 remained open in the circle.

Meanwhile, a rally was organised near the GPO in Sector 17 here today. Addressing the rally, various leaders held the Central Government responsible for the prolonged strike. On several occasions, the government had assured to implement the aggrement of December 12,1998, but till date the same had not been implemented.

The leaders challenged the government regarding the invoking of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), which would initiate the downfall of the NDA Government. The leaders announced that the employees would stop work as soon as the government announced ESMA.

Moreover, the Army has denied that it had taken over the delivery of the civil mail. The necessary assistance is being provided to the postal authorities in conveying essential mail bags in the Army vehicles plying between various stations, a press note said.

So far over 300 mail bags have been carried to various stations in Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi, it added.


Farmer presents feast for eyes
 By Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Dec 14 — It is a great achievement for Mr Amarjit Singh, a resident of Bartana village, who claims to have set up a record by producing a 48-inch-long bottle gourd in his fields in Chhat village, about 4 km from here.

Mr Amarjit Singh, who has adopted agriculture as an occupation, instead of going for higher studies for the last 15 years, says that he never thought about registering his name in the any record book for his contribution to the agriculture sector, though he has grown 2.5-feet- long radish and 5 kg cauliflower, apart from growing a 5 kg potato.

He claims it to be the longest bottle gourd ever grown in this area. Mr Singh says that he had nurtured the vegetable like his own child. “My sweat mingled with the soil to produce this marvel”.

A son of the soil, Mr Singh aims to enlist his name in different record books in the field of agriculture and hopes to achieve it within a few years.

“I plough the fields over a foot deep and put mixture of compost and manure in the fields before sowing a hybrid seed, which I purchased from a seed shop located at Zirakpur. I also mixed some pesticides and insecticides to the loose soil before sowing the seed and then piled it on the stems of the plants,” he said.

“Irrigation with extra care is required for the crop till it bears fruit. But I never took any kind of guidance from any agriculture expert before sowing the seeds,” said Mr Amarjit Singh.

“I will contact experts in different agriculture universities and other agriculture information centres about new varieties of seeds and techniques of farming to set records in this field”, added Mr Singh.

The giant vegetable has become a centre of attraction for the residents of the surrounding villages and hundreds of them have thronged the field to have a look at it.


Dividers have become traffic hazards
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Desperate hands frantically turn around the car’s steering wheel to avoid the displaced concrete divider lying almost in the middle of the road separating Sector 22 from Sector 21. The driver succeeds, but the car brushes against a scooter trying to overtake him. The rider sustains minor injuries after falling on the road. The dividers, instead of preventing mishaps, have become a traffic hazard.

Though statics are not available, sources in the Police Department confirm that every other day some one or the other becomes a victim of poor maintenance of these dividers.

Admits a senior officer in the Police Department: “Not only have the dividers resulted in narrowing down the already cramped road, they also slide right into the path of zooming vehicles, leading to accidents”.

The problem, the officer adds, is worse during the night hours. “You are driving casually down the road, avoiding a scooterist here and a cyclist there. Suddenly you realise there is a block of cement dead ahead,” says the officer. “You slam the brakes but, most of the times, it is too late. The steering wheel rams against your chest as the car hits the divider. For two-wheeler riders, it can even prove to be dangerous”.

Going into the background, another officer with the traffic Police says, “The dividers were set up about four years back. The need was being felt as the road, one of the busiest in the city, was too narrow to be safe”.

He adds: “Head-on collisions were taking place between vehicles rushing in the opposite directions. This was not all. Vehicle cutting into Sector 22 market were also causing road accidents. It was for these reasons that the road was broadened and the dividers were set up”.

The objective, feel engineers, has, however, not been achieved. “Had the blocks been deeply set in on a road as broad as the Madhya Marg, the experiment could have been successful,” says a retired road engineer. “Here, a chain through iron poles was all that was required”.


Syndicate poll: rise in number of voters
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — The list of voters for the selection of the Syndicate of Panjab University has shown an increase in the number of voters in the medical science faculty.

Reliabel sources said that 31 members had opted for the medical science stream for only two seats who cast their votes on December 28. There would be 27 voters for three Syndicate seats in the sciences faculty.

The faculties marked for election of members on December 27 include arts, science and language.

A total of 39 voters will cast their ballots for three seats in the arts faculty. The law faculty has seen a decline in voter numbers. There will only be 16 voters for two seats. As many as 21 ballots decide the fate of candidates for two seats in the combined faculty.

The issue is likely to generate little debate from certain quarters as 15 voters in the graduates constituency will abstain from voting in case their case is not decided by the High Court by then. The list also does not have votes of two Punjab assembly speakers, Mr S.S. Hundal and DPI (Punjab).

Senate members meet on December 27 and 28 to decide the final list of syndics at the floor of the house. The combined seats have six minor faculties, including Business Management and Commerce, Dairying and Animal Husbandry, Designing and Fine Arts, Education, Engineering and Technology.


Additional charge for Gujral
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — The work of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) was formally handed over to the UT Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, here today, relieving the Adviser, Ms Vineeta Rai, of the additional work.

Formal orders in this regard were issued by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), following clearance from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last Friday.

Traditionally the work of the CVO was always handled by the Home Secretary, but this changed when Mr N.K. Jain, was posted as the Home Secretary in June 1999 as the MHA did not agree to his taking over as the CVO.


Mansa Devi road encroached upon again
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service 

PANCHKULA, Dec 14 — Yet again shops have mushroomed along the Mansa Devi shrine road — courtesy the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the local administration who seem confused over the issue of jurisdiction of the area of encroachment.

While HUDA has washed its hands off the issue on the ground that the charge of the shrine has been totally handed over to the local administration, administrative officials contend that since HUDA had removed the encroachments earlier, it must do so now.

It maybe recalled that on May 13, 2000 small shops were demolished by the Estate Office of HUDA and 116 shop-owners, eligible according to a survey carried out in 1998, were allotted booths constructed by HUDA a stone’s throw from the shrine distance.

Later, a beautification plan for the front of the shrine was also planned. This, however, has been kept in abeyance till the court decides the case pertaining to granting of stay to 10 shops right next to the shrine. Two others were left out since these had been allotted by the shrine board.

Six months later, it is business as usual in the affected area with booth owners taking the lead and extending their shops right up to the roads followed by small shoplets making their appearance.

When asked about the encroachment, Ram Niwas, running a studio, said,``We have extended our shop till the road just like the rest. The demolition drive is over for good. Again, there are so many others with us. At the slightest indication of the arrival of the employees from the Estate Office, we will pull our tables back into the shop.’’

There are others who are operating from small temporary shacks and tents while still others include booth owners who have put boys on the job along the roadside for more business.

The HUDA Administrator, Mr Shrikant Walgad, said the confusion over removal of encroachments was because the charge of the Chief Executive Officer was with the Administrator. “ Earlier he took the help of the Estate Office to clear the area. Now also, we are willing to help if the administration wants to initiate any action since the land in question belongs to the Mansa Devi Shrine Board,’’ he informed.


RVC celebrates 221 years of existence
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC), an elite and specialised force meant for breeding, training and treatment of horses, cattle and dogs for military service, celebrated 221 years of its existence today.

To mark the occasion, a social get-together was organised for serving as well as retired officers for the corps at Chandi Mandir cantonment today. Nostalgic memories of old days were revived and shared by one and all.

greeting all ranks and civilian employees of the corps and their families, in his message, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, western Command, Lt Gen Surjit Singh, called upon rededication by corps personnel to the service of the Army. The Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt Gen H R S Mann, and Director, RVC, Western Command, Col. A.K.Sinha, also extended their felicitations to all ranks on the occasion.

The proud history of the RVC dates back to 1779. An intrinsic component of the Army, the RVC, has an excellent track record of having met all operational challenges under the most difficult and trying conditions by maintaining a very high standard of health, training and physical fitness of Army animals.

Officers, jawans and animals of the RVC-based at Poari played a significant role in rescue operations during the recent flash floods in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh by erecting ropeways and transportation of basic amenities and supplies to nearby Army units and civilian populations who were cut off by land routes.

The RVC has achieved a milestone in the field of laboratory diagnostic facilities. The P-3 grade Central Military Veterinary Laboratory is one of the two national laboratories recognised by the Department of Animal Husbandry in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Army dogs and their trainers have proved to be a force multiplier in counter-insurgency operations, leading to significant detection and recovery of explosives and tracking anti-national elements. Almost all Rashtriya Rifles units are having trained dogs supplied by the RVC. In fact, during the Kargil operations, the RVC, at a short notice, supplied 1059 mules to transport supplies.

The Corps has also participated actively in UN peace keeping missions and civic aid programmes by organising veterinary camps and extending its breeding activities in forward areas to held upgrade local equine population.


Councillor’s snooping: chowkidar told to report
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14— Taking note of the press reports and the complaint made by the residents of Sector 47 that a councillor had snooped around the community centre yesterday, the Chief Engineer, MC, today summoned the chowkidar of the centre. He has been asked to give a report about the incident, it is learnt.

It may be recalled that a Congress Councillor, Kamlesh had visited the Sector 47 Community Centre yesterday morning to check if the chowkidar was in possession of the booking slip of the function held on Sunday to commission the centre. She not only sought details of the functioning of a library therein but also asked him to go and call the member in charge of the library. The residents had alleged that the councillor not only threatened the chowkidar but also made him leave the premises.

On the booking issue, the minutes of the arts, culture and sports committee meeting held in June 1998 states that “the Residents Welfare Society will be allowed to hold one meeting per month free of cost in the community centre.” And that the same be implemented with immediate effect.

Furthermore, in another meeting held on December 4, the members had recommended that the management of these centres be handed over to the public of the area. They had also suggested various measures to attract members but the Chairman by objecting to the Sector 47 residents’ move to hold a function was only violating the spirit of the resolution passed earlier, pointed out a councillor. 


BSNL to allow free Net access during night hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 14 — Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today decided to allow computer users logging onto the Internet free access during night hours — between 11 pm and 8 am. A formal announcement by the local BSNL office is expected tomorrow, sources said, adding that a new rate package with slashed rates for day time usage is also to be announced. Added to all this is the increase in bandwidth to 32 mega bytes, which is much more than the 2 MB available for the Chandigarh area till now.

The changes in the Internet sector have come about as Chandigarh has been made a node for the optic fibre cable linked National Internet Backbone (NIB) project of the BSNL, which is a major Internet service provider in the country. This is expected to increase download speeds tremendously and connectivity to the Net. All new Internet connections in the Chandigarh telecom district, comprising the adjoining urban estates of Panchkula and S.A.S. Nagar also, will now be provided through the new exchange set up under the NIB, said officials.

All old Internet connections will continue to function with the same logins, passwords and e-mail addresses. However, the new connections will have their e -mail addresses with BSNL and not with VSNL, as was the practise till now.

Shortly, the old connections are to be given a date and told about their automatic ‘‘migration’’ to the NIB exchange connections. Then their logins, passwords and e-mail addresses will also change, local BSNL officials said.

An optical fibre cable connection between Chandigarh and Delhi — which is BSNL’s international internet gateway — will be routed through Ludhiana and Jalandhar. At the moment, all Internet traffic is routed to Mumbai through Delhi and high density traffic on the Delhi-Mumbai circuit slows down speeds for Chandigarh users, explain engineers.

The new equipment will have 56.6 kilo bytes per second modems, much higher than the existing 33.3 KBPS modems used by the BSNL server now. Also the modems will be of digital transmission, a change from the previous analog transmission type. It will also have capacity to provide Internet connections for the ISDN connections which improve speeds for such users.

Also to be announced are the new Internet rates. The BSNL has given new names to its packages. Under the NIB exchange the rates are 1000 hours package for Rs 4,500; 500 hours for Rs 2,300; 200 hours for Rs 1,000; 100 hours for Rs 500 ; 50 hours for Rs 250 and 25 hours for Rs 150.

Last week, a story was carried on how the BSNL was set to make Internet access free of cost. The new tariff package has been sent to for approval to the Union Ministry of Communications. Under this scheme, the user will not have to pay Internet service charges, but will have to pay for the call charges at reduced rates when compared with the present charging rates.

During the day, a user hooking onto the internet through a telephone line of the BSNL will be billed at the rate of one call every five minutes. During night hours, call charges will be halved and the charges will be a call for every 10 minutes, says the proposal. 


Bahuguna launches cycle chalao, paed lagao campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 14 — Eminent enviornmentalist Sunder Lal Bahuguna launched the cycle chalao, paed lagao campaign here today, to promote cycling and planting of trees.

Organised by Yuvsatta, more than a hundred enthusiasts led by Pramod Sharma, President, Yuvsatta and Mukta Sharma, Vice-President, Panjab University Campus Student’s Council, escorted Mr Bahuguna on cycles from Gandhi Smarak, Sector 16, to Dev Samaj College for Education, Sector 36.

Mr Bahuguna also gave a talk on “Politics and Pollution in Water and Enviornment” at Dev Samaj College of Education. He stated that he sought the aura of the youth to inspire himself and laid emphasis on the three Hs — Head, Heart and Head — where the head was to be used for creative thinking, the heart for compassion and the hands for construction. If all three worked in harmony with each other, nature would thrive. He also stated that man had to learn to conquer his greed and lead a simple life to concentrate his energies on important issues and aspects of life. Follow the ideals of austerity, alternate (use of renewable energy) and afforestation, to save the enviornment.

Mr Promod Sharma also spoke on the occasion about the fast changing face of earth and the need of a wake up call to protect it. He also stated that city residents needed to respond more than others as they were the original inheritors of “good earth” and “good air”.

To carry forward the campaign of promotion of cycles as mode of transport and planting of trees, Green Brigade was formed by Yuvsatta. Naturopath and Gandhian activist, Dr S. S. Goindi, was made the convener of the brigade. Mr Bahuguna presented a cycle to Dr Goindi sponsored by the All-India Pingalwara Society. Mr Bahuguna also planted two trees at the college.

A pledge was undertaken by those present to make earth a place worth living full of peace, quite. 

Earlier, the Principal, Ms Satinder Dhillon, welcomed the guests with a bouquet of flowers made by the college students. College prayers were also rendered on the occasion, Other guests present were Mrs Madhvi Kataria, DPI (colleges), and Director, Department of Social Welfare, Mr. Jagmohan Singh, All India Pingalwara Society, Dr J G Jolly, Dr C L Narang, Director, NSS, Panjab University, and Dr Agnihotri.


Non-implementation of directions flayed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Allottees of defence quota plots in the city have flayed the non-implementation of directions issued by the UT Administrator in regard to treating the date of sewerage connection as the date of completion of construction for the purpose of selling property.

According to Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu (retd), president of the Rashrtiya Raksha Dal, the UT Estate Office has failed to implement the directions of the Administrator even three months after they were issued. A delegation of allottees had met the UT Administrator, Lt Gen J F R Jacob, in this regard in February and the Administrator and the UT Deputy Commissioner had agreed to the proposal after studying legal and social aspects. 


Controversy over clerk’s reinstatement
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 14 — Controversy has arisen over the reinstatement of a senior Municipal Council clerk yesterday who had been suspended on a charge of illegally taking away an office almirah containing records. The clerk had been reinstated by the Executive Officer (EO).

The senior clerk, Mr Avtar Singh Kalsia, had been suspended by the then council Administrator and present SDM, Mr Jai Pal Singh, on a charge of unauthorisedly carrying away an office almirah containing tehbazari records instead of handing these over to another employee who had been assigned the work. The Administrator had shifted the senior clerk from the assignment of tehbazari collection to the octroi wing following a complaint against him. However, Mr Kalsia allegedly did not take up his new assignment. A police case had also been registered against him.

The EO, Mr K.S. Brar, had reinstated the senior clerk on the basis of a letter from the Ropar Deputy Commissioner. The letter said that a complaint had been made to the Deputy Commissioner’s office by Mr Kalsia stating that he had been wrongly suspended. After a preliminary inquiry, the letter said, it appeared that the action had been taken on personal grounds and it would take time to probe the entire matter. Mr Kalsia should, therefore, be reinstated pending an inquiry, the letter added.

A copy of the letter had also been sent to the inquiry officer, Mr J.C. Sabharwal, Assistant Commissioner, Grievances, with the direction that the probe should be completed within 10 days.

The civic body president, Mr Kulwant Singh, said today that the EO had not consulted him before reinstating the employee. He said the suspension issue should have been an item on the agenda of a council meeting.

Mr N.K. Marwaha, Municipal Councillor, in a letter to the EO today asked him to quote the rule under which he had exercised the power to reinstate officials. He said only the council had the power to take a decision on the case of the senior clerk. Unless the matter was discussed at a council meeting, no authority, including the Deputy Commissioner, had the power to reinstate the official, he added.


Stage set for declaring Cong office-bearers
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 14 — The stage is all set for declaring the office-bearers of the local unit of the Congress after the President, Mr B.B. Behl, was unanimously elected on December 9. There are indications that 10 members are to be nominated while five would be co-opted to accommodate the favourites of various factions who could not make it in the organisational polls held recently.

As many as five Vice-Presidents, four General Secretaries and one Treasurer will be announced and going by the names doing the rounds in the political circles in the city, the list will reportedly hold little surprises. However, the cooption of members is expected to draw the disapproval of the grass root workers.

According to party sources, Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, Mr Venod Sharma, Mr Harmohan Dhawan and Mr Munish Tiwari are certain to be elected as members of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). However, the names of Ms Satinder Dhawan and Ms Lalit Joshi are also doing the rounds but senior leaders point out that only elected members can be elected to the AICC.

The front runners for the post of vice president are Mr Surinder Bhatia, Mr Ram Pal Sharma, Ms Shreshta Mehta, Mr Kulbushan Gupta, Mr Kuldeep Singh and Mr D.S. Babla.

Out of these Mr Gupta is said to be “demanding” the post of senior vice president since he has remained acting president of the party since May 1999. while Mr Kuldeep Singh has already served a term as general secretary during the tenure of Mr Venod Sharma as party president. Mr Harmohan Dhawan, on the other hand is trying his best to have his trusted lieutenant, Mr Babla, named for the post

The three probable General Secretaries could be Mr Sunil Parti, Mr Subash Chawla, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma and Dr Mohammad Khalid. While Mr Parti belongs to the Venod Sharma camp, Mr Chawla is a Pawan Bansal loyalist and Mr Sharma is the favourite of Mr Munish Tiwari. The name of Dr Khalid is being mentioned since a member of the minority community is also to be accommodated in the set up, the sources pointed out.

So far the only Mr Param Pal Singh Matharoo is the hot contender for the post of party treasurer. He is a confidante of Mr Bansal, MP.

While many names are being mentioned for the post of secretaries the candidates would be named after additional members are co opted.

The three district presidents — Urban 1, Urban 2 and Rural — are also members holding voting of the set up and it is said that an agreement has already been reached that Mr Bansal would name his men to two districts, which ones, it is yet to be decided.

The candidates being named for Urban 1, Urban 2 and Rural units include Mr Bimal Chandan Bitta and Mr Arun Bitta (both backed by the Bansal faction), Mr P C Puri (Mr Sharma) and Mr Harish Kapoor (Mr Bansal) and Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri (Mr Sharma group) and Mr Pawan Sharma (Mr Bansal faction), respectively. These members would have voting rights and each faction is trying its utmost to have his man on the post.

Sources pointed out that in the case of smaller units like Chandigarh the numbers are being increased to adjust members who could not make it in the polls. Presently the arithmatic is 28 elected members plus three presidents plus 10 nominated members (with no voting rights) plus five co-opted members taking total to 41.

The unity among the factions is an effort to improve the party’ s showing in the forthcoming panchayat and municipal polls, the sources revealed. 


Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — A Sector 21 resident, reportedly under debt, ended his life by consuming insecticide late in the evening today. He was declared dead on arrival at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

According to police sources, 36-year-old Gurmeet Singh was unemployed and owed money to many persons. He reportedly consumed the insecticide after asking his daughter to leave the room in his house.

His daughter returned after a few minutes to find him dizzy. She contacted relatives immediately, before taking him to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

A senior police official, when contacted, said further investigations into the matter were on. He added that the police would proceed in accordance with the law after recording the statement of the witnesses.


3 hurt in blast, hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 14 — Three city residents were admitted to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research with serious injuries after a gas cylinder, used in welding, exploded in the Sector 28 market.

The three victims, according to sources in the Police department, have been identified as Gulkhan of Bapu Dham Phase I, Vijay Kumar of Sector 32 and Karnail Singh of Sector 29. Doctors on the duty confirmed that their condition was serious, but stable.

The accident, said sources, occurred at about 12 noon when welding work was going on. The three were taken to the hospital at about 1 p.m. where they were immediately admitted.

The officials of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory were also contacted. They, along with senior officials of the Chandigarh Police, reportedly visited the spot.

A senior police official, when contacted, said the report prepared on the incident by the CFSL was likely to be submitted soon. He added that further investigations into the matter were on.


Cars collide, five injured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — In a collision between two cars on the road dividing Sectors 37 and 38 late in the evening today, five persons, including four of a family, sustained injuries. They were admitted to the PGI. Their condition is stated to be stable.

According to police sources, the injured have been identified as Bhramroop Singh, Maninder Kaur, Satwinder Kaur and Kulbir Kaur, residents of Kajheri village. The fifth person to be injured was Ravinder Singh. The police is investigating the matter.


Vijay Divas traffic restrictions
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Traffic restrictions would be imposed on some of the city roads during Vijay Divas celebrations at Punjab Raj Bhavan, here on Saturday. The traffic would be diverted on alternative roads from 2 p.m. onwards till the end of at Home at Punjab Raj Bhavan.

The road from roundabout of Sector 4, 5, 7 and 8 up to the T- point near Golf Club and the T- point near Punjab Raj Bhavan onwards towards the residence of UT Administrator would remain closed from 2 p.m. till the closing of the conclusion of function.

The invitees at the function with pink parking labels have been told to park their vehicles in the parking area towards Mini Zoo. The senior citizens with pink parking labels can also park their vehicles in the parking area. 


Seven hospitalised following mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Seven persons, including three of a family residing in Chandi Mandir, were admitted to the PGI after two buses and a truck collided near Kurali in the afternoon today. Their condition was reported to be stable.

According to sources in the police department here, the injured have been identified as Ahkil Bhardwaj, Apurva Bhardwaj and Neena Bhardwaj of Chandi Mandir. The injured, said sources, were Gurchanan Singh of Gurdaspur district, Agya Ram of Hoshiarpur district, Satnam Singh of Nawashahr and Malkiat Singh of Ropar.


Jacob visits Press Club today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 15 — The Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd) will share his experiences of the 1971 Indo-Pak War with members of the Chandigarh Press Club on Friday. He was the Chief of Staff, Eastern Command, during the Bangladesh operations. 


Three burglaries reported
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Three cases of burglary were reported from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours. In all the cases, thieves entered after breaking the lock.

In one case, a house in Sector 23 was burgled and the thieves decamped with at least four tolas of gold jewellery between December 11 and 12. In another incident, Ramesh Chand of plot 701, Industrial Area, Phase II, reported that Rs 18,000 were stolen on the night of December 12.

In the third incident, Mr Ranjit Singh of Darwa village reported that his briefcase containing Rs 4,000 and some documents were stolen after breaking the lock of his house on the night of December 12. Cases under Sections 380 and 457 of the Indian Penal Code have been registered.

Woman injured
A resident of Sector 38 (west) was injured when a scooter hit her, yesterday evening. The accused has been arrested.

Ms Amarjit Kaur was standing near a rickshaw on the dividing road of Sectors 24 and 25, when she was injured. She was admitted to the PGI. Her condition was reportedly stable.

A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. The police is investigating.

Eve-teasers nabbed
In an alleged case of eve-teasing, two persons were arrested here yesterday. Sanjay of Sector 5 and Ramesh Chand of Panchkula were arrested from Sector 5.

A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered.

The police is investigating.

Gambler caught
Ravi Kumar, of Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, was picked up by the police for gambling, yesterday. According to sources in the police department, he was arrested from near Government Middle School, Bapu Dham Colony, and Rs 370 was recovered from his possession. A case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered against him. The police is investigating.

Two arrested
The local police arrested Sanjiv Banga of Sector 33 and Anil Kumar of Mani Majra for drinking liquor at a public place, yesterday. According to police sources the two were drinking liquor in a Santro car at the back of rehri market, Sector 18.

The police also claimed that 200 ml of liquor was recovered from their possession. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against them.


Students clash over comment on caste
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 14 — A clash between college students last night in Kalka resulted in hospitalisation of a 19-year old with a fractured jaw bone. The police is making efforts to round up the six persons involved in the beating up of the student. A case under Sections 323, 325, 452 IPC has been registered.

It is learnt that Vikram Rana, a final year student, made a comment on the caste of a boy in his class which resulted in a minor scuffle between him and Gaurav Balgan. This was followed by another scuffle when the former arrived at Gaurav’s residence and beat him up along with his cousin, Gautam, who got a black eye.

The matter did not end there. Gaurav accompanied by five other boys, came to Vikram’s residence armed with rods. Just outside the house, he was beaten up by the boys. Vikram was taken to hospital where he was admitted for a fractured jaw bone. Though caste clash is stated to be behind the scuffle, police sources said that the exact reason for the clash would be known only after the suspects were arrested.


Planet M promises great musical experience
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — The Sector 17 ambience was filled with excitement today, and for reasons not far to seek. The city today saw the largest music store of the country come up in its portals. As the Planet M opened for the grahshanti puja this morning, one had the first view of what the music store of the millennium is all about.

Created in four floors and packed with all international standard facilities with regard to music, the store will formally open for sale to the public on December 25. Sprawling over a 11,000 square feet of area, the store virtually lives upto its name of being the store of the new generation. For it offers facilities in a style and treats the customer as a king.

The store has been designed by a Mumbai-based designer Vivek Verma who lends a distinct character to the store by developing musical staircases, wall sculps and a full fledged DJ console on the premises itself. The store offers a facility to browse through at least 35,000 music titles and apart from the normal features of any music store it is packed with 27 listening boxes which are all interconnected, jukeboxes and a DJ.

The most striking feature of this store is the live performance stage with an inbuilt music equipment on the second floor. Informed Mr Ajay Mehra, Chief Operating Officer, Times Retail, “We are planning to make this place a happening place. So off and on there will be artists to give live performances. You can expect at least two such gala events every month beginning from January.”

Apart from this, there is the DJ console which connects the TVs, jukeboxes all over. There is also a solid security TV system. If that was less, the store is shortly coming up with a European style cafetaria which will offer six basic varieties of coffee and 17 combinations. The cafe will be called Barista.

About music...there is no dearth of that. From rock to raggea to spiritual and classical, the store offers everything. Along with that, there are also books, soft toys, games for children. Not to miss the 74 key positions within the store where the customers can catch their favourite performers, music videos as also concerts.


Punwire staff union demands CBI probe
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 14— The Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union has demanded a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities, running into crores of rupees, committed by the management of the company.

Addressing a press conference here today the president of the union, Mr Shaid Ahmed, said if the government had no involvement in the financial irregularities of Punwire why was it hesitating to ordering a CBI inquiry.

He alleged that frauds committed by certain officials amounted to Rs 158 crore. He said during the year 1998-99 the company had shown losses to the tune of Rs 139 crore. But if the government could recover the fraud money, Punwire could once again start functioning, he added.

He alleged that certain officials of Punwire who acted as tools of the government were being adjusted in various government departments. Giving examples he further alleged that three assistant vice-presidents had been given jobs in Punjab Communications Limited on a handsome salary. Certain other officials has been given jobs in PUDA, PSIDC and various other departments. No effort was being made by the government to adjust hundreds of workers who had literally come on the roads.

Mr Ahmed showed photocopies of various documents to mediapersons which he claimed were records of the company. He alleged that the documents were a proof of the irregularities that the management had indulged in.

Mrs Hardarshan Kaur Mann, president of the Punwire Action Committee, said when the government was claiming that it has very little share in Punwire how could it adjust certain senior officials of the company in other government departments without taking any policy decision. She alleged that an inquiry report submitted by a private company in connection with the irregularities committed by the management, running into crores of rupees, was not being published by the government.


Furniture Expo 2000
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Furniture Expo 2000, a display of office and home furnishings will be put up by Godrej from December 15 for two days. The company, expects a turnover of more than 30 crores by the end of this fiscal in the office equipment division.

“We expect to capture a larger market share after the introduction of our new range of furnishings”, said Mr Praveen Kapoor, Branch Manager, Chandigarh (which caters to the market in J& K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and UT).

The new range would include office furniture, security alarm systems, apart from steel doors for households, modular steel kitchens with wooden or steel facia etc. 

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