Saturday, December 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn, IT companies sign MoU
Chandigarh to be first ‘wired city’ of the country
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — Chandigarh is all set to become the first “wired city” of the country with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between a consortium of five IT companies and the Chandigarh Administration at the Raj Bhavan here today.

The companies will be investing almost Rs 200 crore in the next six months to lay a total of 50 kilometres of underground optical fibre cable which will link the city under a proposed futuristic “wired city” project of the Administration.

This will help in speeding up Internet access, providing the latest in telephone systems and satellite TV channels, all through a single cable. This will give a boost to the Administration’s vision of setting up top class IT facilities, all through a single cable.

The citizens of Chandigarh will have access the benefits of hi-tech broadband convergence technologies within the next six months. The companies forming the consortium are Bharti Broadband Networks Limited, RPG Cables Limited, Hathway Data Com Limited, Zee Interactive Multimedia Limited and Powergrid Corporation of India Limited. The agreements were signed by Mr Rakesh Singh, Secretary IT, Chandigarh Administration, and senior officials of the respective companies in the presence of Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (Retd), Governor Punjab and Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, and Ms Vineeta Rai, Adviser to the Administrator.

According to the agreements, the five companies will lay a total of 50 km of ducts and optic fibre cable in the city. The OFC network will enable the companies to provide Internet services to consumers through the high speed broadband network.

The network will be linked to international satellites through the software technology park gateway in SAS Nagar and other gateways, including a direct ofc link owned by the Powergrid Corporation between Chandigarh and Delhi. Mr N.R. Chanda, General Manger of the Powergrid Corporation, when asked about the availability of bandwidth with them said that Powergrid has long distance links like those between Chandigarh and Delhi and has the capacity to handle ten times the requirements projected for Chandigarh.

At least three of the companies, which signed the MoU today, are in the cable TV business and are eyeing the readymade market of satellite channels, basic telephones besides Internet services. They hope to recover the investments within 3 to 5 years. It is being seen that Powergrid and Bharti will be using their long distance ofcs to allow speedy access from Chandigarh to the Web, while the other three will share the lucrative market of providing everything through a single cable.

The network will also provide hi-tech convergence services like Internet over cable, and thereby allowing the use of Internet without using telephones. Each of the five companies are bound to provide eight Mbps of bandwidth free of charge to the Chandigarh Administration for its ‘‘e-governance’’ applications.

The five companies have been selected after an elaborate screening by a high-powered committee appointed by the Chandigarh Administration. In respect of two other companies, HFCL Infotel and Spectra Net Limited, the Administration is considering their proposal separately, as these companies have already laid some optic fibre cable in the city. However, these companies will not be part of the consortium of five companies with whom the agreements were signed today.

The Administration had received 34 applications from leading companies earlier this year for wiring the city out of which these companies were short-listed.Back



Artistic take-off to Punjabi conference 
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — There could not have been a more artistic commencement to the four-day World Punjabi Conference which saw its first event open in the form of a vast exhibition showcasing works by contemporary Punjabi artists today at the Punjab Kala Bhawan in Sector 16. The exhibition, compiled by secretary of the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi, Madan Lal, covers artistic samplings of Punjabi artists through five decades.

Adding flavour to the show was the presence of Governor of Uttaranchal, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, who was impressed by the collection which is vast, with 53 works on the display. Also present were many local artists and about 15 Pakistani delegates who were being kept busy with interviews by TV channels. Coming to the exhibition — the interesting part is the immense variety available in works, beginning from Sohni, the legendary work in oil by Arpana Caur to Melancholy by Toshi Chanana.

The compilation of works has been done in a manner as to record the ideas which artists have played with for five decades. Where on the one hand there are plain, realistic works by Rajesh Mehra (1950s) and K.L. Rangeen (1960s), on the other there stand the essentially-contemporary works which revel in abstract. This set of artists includes Viren Tanwar, Madan Lal, photo artist Diwan Manna with two works from his series titled Waking the dead, and some others.

Interesting also is to note the clear shift in themes and forms. Earlier, there was dominance of oil and water on canvas and works were quite realistic, as the ones like Portrait of life by Mehar Singh, president, Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi, Nude in stream and Raag Megha by Delhi-based Suraj Ghai, Reiki by Paramjit Singh, who has been principal, Government College of Art, Delhi.

Other striking works come from Priti Singh who creates magic with collages. Then there are prints by the reputed lensman Dev Inder Singh. Other works include: Dr S.S. Bhatti’s Stained glass window and Sarkanda song in water colour; Shiv Singh’s Cosmic form I and II in water colour; Brahm Prakash’s Shadow begins I and II; M.K. Puri’s Hand of puppetter, 2000 in mixed media; and Prabhinder Lal’s two untitled works in mixed media.

The day was laced with hectic activity, courtesy the ongoing World Punjabi Conference which saw some very illustrious visitors today. The disappointment that resulted from the absence of some famous delegates who were expected to attend the evening’s youth festival at PU, was covered up a little due to the presence of Khushwant Singh and producer Ramanand Sagar. Among those who did not turn up were Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala, Sukhbir Badal, actor Dalip Kumar, and even the PU Vice Chancellor, Dr I.C. Pathak.

Some mismanagement apart, the show did go on. There were some interesting cultural presentations by the students of four Punjab universities. Right from the poignant presentation of Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s legendary composition Loona by the girls of BBK DAV College, Amritsar, to the mimicry by Poonam Sharma of GND varsity, Amritsar, there was entertainment unlimited at the specially-constructed dome of the PU. And the eminent guests — Punjabi University VC Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Khushwant Singh and Ramanand Sagar seemingly had a wonderful time. As Sagar commented, “I am so happy that I came for the show. More than anything else, it is a chance to view the immense talent these children sport.” Khushwant Singh was equally elated, especially with the play Loona.

Raman Mittal and Yahur Yeidi of the Punjabi University sent the audience into splits with their performance as Punjab de band. Poonam Choudhary’s Heer was also highly-appreciated. There were also giddha performances on the occasion. Back


Fakhr Zaman for Indo-Pak amity
By A.S.Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — Mr Fakhr Zaman, a former Minister in the Benazir Bhutto government in Pakistan, has called upon India and Pakistan to resolve their differences through peaceful means and begin to live in amity like good neighbours .

In a talk with TNS and later speaking at a function to release Punjabi books by authors on both sides of the border, Mr Fakhr Zaman said instead of talking of chauvinism, militarism and belligerence, the two countries should talk in the language of love and affection. He pointed out that there was no hatred between the people of the two countries. “As a matter of fact, wherever I have gone in India ever since my arrival from Pakistan, I have received love, affection and warmth. I feel as if I am in my own country. Punjabis’ penchant for openheartedness and large-heartedness is as much visible here as it is on the other side of the border.

“It is the same story as regards Indians visiting Pakistan. They receive the same love and warmth from their Pakistani counterparts,” he said.

Mr Fakhr Zaman, who is leading a 35-member Pakistan delegation of writers, human rights activists, women activists and scholars to the World Punjabi Conference, which opened in Chandigarh today, pointed out that this was the largest-ever such delegation to India. This showed the importance Pakistanis attached to their visit to India. The function was attended, among others, by the Governors of Haryana and Uttaranchal, Babu Parmanand and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, who also expressed much the same sentiments and called for closer ties between the two countries.

Mr Fakhr Zaman emphasised that there was no hostility as far as the people of India and Pakistan were concerned though there could be difficulties as regards the politicians, who had their own compulsions. He wanted the people of the two countries to press their governments to liberalise travel between India and Pakistan and promote people-to-people contacts which could usher in a new era in the subcontinent. He also noted that this time, they had no difficulty in obtaining visas from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

He expressed the hope that the World Punjabi Conference would pave the way for resolving the differences between the two countries and bring them closer so that India and Pakistan could devote their time, energy and resources to fighting poverty, illiteracy and disease.

The Pakistani leader also pledged to secure a better deal for the Punjabi language in his country. He pointed out that while the language had been flourishing in Indian Punjab, where it was the official language of the state government and was taught in schools at the primary level, in Pakistan it had been pointedly neglected by the government. It was not allowed to be spoken in the state assembly where business was transacted in either Urdu or English. Except for a short period during the Benazir Bhutto regime, the Punjabi language had not been given any importance by the government, forcing them to launch a struggle for securing a proper status for it.

He was, however, happy to note that the younger generation loved the Punjabi language and over a period time, would be able to secure a better deal for it.

Mr Surjit Singh Barnala said love for the Punjabi language transcended all barriers. Countries could be divided, but not the language. While heartily welcoming the large Pakistani delegation at the conference, he noted that there were 16 crore Punjabis throughout the world and, therefore, it was an international language. But it was regrettable that not many Punjabis read and encouraged Punjabi books.

Mr Barnala’s Punjabi book, “Mein Gharo Bhajya”, was also released at the function.

Babu Parmanand also echoed much the same sentiments and said both India and Pakistan shared a common history, a common cultural heritage and a common language. A geographical divide should not prevent people in the two countries from meeting.

The others who spoke included well-known author Kartar Singh Duggal, MP, and Dr Harcharan Singh, Chairman, Punjab Arts Council, while Mr Khoji Kafir conducted the proceedings, which were marked by confusion and mismanagement.


BJP whip to councillors
Polling for Mayor’s post today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — Apprehensive of a split in the BJP, the president of the local unit of the party, Mr Dharampal Gupta, today issued a whip, making it mandatory for all BJP councillors to vote in favour of the candidates fielded by the BJP-SAD alliance for the posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The whip issued in consultation with the central high command further directs the councillors to be present in the poll, scheduled to be held tomorrow in the MC office.

The Secretary, MC, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has approved the nominations of all candidates, who had filed their papers for various posts on December 19.

The elections, marked by direct contest will have Ms Ranjana Shahi (BJP) and Mr Raj Kumar Goel (Congress) for the post of Mayor; Mr Raghubir Lal Arora (BJP) and Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala (Congress) for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor and Mr Mohinder Singh (Akali Dal) and Mrs Suneeta (Congress) for the post of Deputy mayor. The elections for selecting the Mayor will be held at 11am, following which elections to the other two posts will be held.

Both parties have been trying their best on all fronts to ensure their victory in tomorrow’s poll. However, the contest for the post of Mayor is going to be tough this year and the going is not going to be very easy for the BJP mayoral candidate, Ms Ranjana Shahi. If one goes strictly by figures, the BJP mayoral candidate, Ms Ranjana Shahi. If one goes strictly by figures, the BJP has a total of 13 councillors, also have the support of an Akali councillor. Hence, if both factions of the BJP remain united, they only need the support of a nominated councillor to win.

Even during the elections last year when the BJP was united, Mrs Shanta Hit Abhilashi had won by a majority of 20 votes and this may well be possible this year.

On the other hand, if some councillors owing allegiance to the Jain group do not cast vote in her favour, she will have to depend more on the nominated councillors to get exactly the same number of votes to win. One of the senior BJP councillors, owing allegiance to the Jain group, on the eve of the election maintained that the party candidate is sure to win by a clear majority.

Sources reveal that party president, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, along with the candidate Ms Shahi met Mr Satya Pal Jain late in the evening today. He is learnt to have assured them all possible support even though he expressed some resentment over some issues.

It is further learnt that this time, it will not be very easy for the councillors owing allegiance to the Jain group to go against the party’s directive, for one thing is certain that those responsible for the defeat of the party candidate, will be expelled from the party. Meanwhile, the BJP councillors will hold a meeting in the office of the MC at 10 a.m., to ensure unity of the party.

Ms Ranjana Shahi said, “It is not just the vote of 15 BJP-SAD candidates that I need to win, but I wish to get the support of the councillors of the entire house to be there. This is also important in view of the elections to the MC house next year. She further hoped that the nominated councillors, who are all seasoned men in their respective areas will vote on the basis of the merit of the candidate.

Meanwhile, the CTCC president, Mr B.B. Behl, is hopeful that all three posts will be bagged by the Congress party in view of the promised support from the nominated councillors including some from the dissidents of the jain goup. He said that, the Congress mayoral candidate, Mr Raj Kumar Goel is likely to win by securing as many as 25 votes. The city residents, who have tried BJP Mayor’s for the last four years will now have like to try a mayor from the Congress party, who will strive hard for the upliftment of the city, he added.

At a meeting called by the RSS leaders, the Jain group councillors were directed to strictly toe the party. Seven councillors, except Mr Prem Sagar Jain attended the meeting.


HC postpones PU Senate poll
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — Elections of the Panjab University Syndicate scheduled to be held on December 27 to 29 have been postponed for six weeks. This interim order was passed by Mr Justice V.K. Bali of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after a consensus reached among counsel of the contesting parties.

Mr Justice Bali passed this order because it was not possible for the Bench to conclude the hearing of the case today. It was also agreed by counsel for all parties that no other interim arrangement was possible which would not prejudice either party. The stay against the declaration of results in the Registered Graduates constituency granted by the High Court earlier would continue, he ruled further.

The elections to the office of Deans of various faculties, also scheduled for December 28 and 29, have also been postponed for six weeks.

Mr Justice Bali adjourned the case concerning Mr Ajaib Singh’s election to the Senate to January 11. Mr Ajaib Singh has filed his papers for the Senate elections and these were accepted by the Registrar but rejected by the Vice-Chancellor after objections.

The respondents in the case are Panjab University, former senators Ashok Goel and V.M. Singh. Contestants like Mr R.C. Jeewan, Mr Mukesh Arora, Mr Sanjiv Bindlish, Mr Balbir Sagar Sood and Mr Paramjit Singh have become party in the case for early hearing stating that they were sure to win the Senate elections if results were declared. 


Panchayat notice to 50 shopkeepers
By Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Dec 22 — The Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat authorities have issued notice to over 50 shopkeepers of the Lohgarh market and also to shopkeepers on the old Zirakpur-Kalka road to deposit money to have the ownership of the shops. The shopkeepers have been asked to submit the required money besides their replies within 15 days. These shops are being run by the shopkeepers on a lease hold basis.

The notices have been issued on the directions of Patiala Deputy Commissioner in response to the State Government’s policy to give ownership rights to the tenants who were utilising the village’s common land for the past many years on a leasehold basis. They are presently paying negligible rent to the panchayat and all shops are located on the common village land.

According to official sources, the district authorities have fixed Rs 16,000 per square yard as the rate and the shopkeepers have been asked to pay half of the total evaluated value of the area occupied by them to implement the policy. The decision to fix rate of the land was taken by the Deputy Commissioner at a meeting of revenue officers and the sub-divisional officers, recently.

Sources confirm that over 100 shops were running from the panchayat land but only 50 shopkeepers were served notices. The shops which fall within a distance of 33 from the roads were not given notice as they will automatically be demolished by the building and roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department while four-laning the Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

Meanwhile, resentment prevailed among the affected shopkeepers of Lohgarh Market on the decision of the government. The shopkeepers complain that the authorities have given them little time to think upon the decision. Moreover, the rate fixed for the land is quite high and out of their reach to deposit it within 15 days, they said.

Mr Jagdish Lal, a cloth shop owner, said that they had constructed the shops with their hard-earned money on the village common land with the permission of the panchayat.


Will college teachers move court?
By P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union often takes the credit for having got the Punjab Pension-cum-Gratuity Act, 1999, passed in the Vidhan Sabha after a 10-year-long struggle.

The Governor gave his assent on April 19. The same was published in the Government Gazette (Extraordinary) on April 26 as a notification, the Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service of Employees) Amendment Act, 1999.

Till today, the government has not implemented the same. Does this amount to a constitutional violation?

The union is an apex body of teachers spread over 172 non-government aided and un-aided colleges. They are peeved at the attitude of the government. Despite their long agitation, including rallies, dharnas, education bandh and protest marches to Parliament, besides meetings with politicians and bureaucrats, the teachers have failed to get the Act implemented.

The government is unmoved. Either it couldn’t care less about the voice of the teachers or their threat to boycott examinations or the teachers have failed to make the government think. Either way, it is the failure of the teachers.

Who should be blamed for the impasse? A piquant situation persists in the state despite the approval of several memos on the subject by the Finance Department, the Education Department’s 36-page scheme circulated among 139 aided colleges by the DPI and the executive orders of the Education Department.

The union, sources say, is divided whether to move the court or wait for a political and bureaucratic response. The union protests have been continuing since August. So far, there has been no major disruption of education or academic schedules. Will the union take a strident step?

Normally, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh follow Punjab. In this particular case, however, Haryana has taken the lead. A source said that though Punjab took the initiative in 1996, the demand was raised by Haryana teachers later. But they have got the demand accepted. Haryana pays 95 per cent of the gratuity, besides the salary, contributory provident fund and allowances, to the teachers under the grant-in-aid scheme to 107-odd colleges, while Punjab is not paying the gratuity part. In Haryana the practice is 10 years old.

A teacher on retirement gets approximately Rs 3 lakh by way of benefit. But the government is not giving the money to the managements which, in turn, do not pay the teachers. Some retired teachers have gone to the court also.

Can the union have direct confrontation with the government? Will it move the court? These are some crucial issues which the union is debating even as its timetable on the agitation is being followed religiously. The union is already showing signs of deciding to boycott the final examinations. This is not the first time that there has been such thinking. The government, too, has mastered the art of wooing.

The union is convinced that the bureaucracy is misleading the political executive. But is the latter so innocent and ignorant?Back


All set to welcome Dosanjh
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 22 — Eight colourful gates will be set up on the route to the cricket stadium in Phase IX to welcome Mr Ujjal Singh Dosanjh, Premier of British Columbia, here tomorrow.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will host a dinner and reception for Mr Dosanjh at the stadium. Two MoUs will also be signed. The Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and ministers from Punjab and Haryana are likely to attend the function.

The local SDM, Mr Jai Pal Singh, held a meeting with Municipal council officials in connection with the arrangements. The meeting was attended, among others, by Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the council, Mr K.S. Brar and Mr Ajay Kanwar, Executive Officer and Executive Engineer, respectively of the civic body.

Four of the eight gates will be set up by the council and arrangements for the remaining four was the responsibility of the local District Industries Centre. Flood lights or halogen lights would be installed near the gates.

The area and the route were being cleaned and beautified today.


Staff crunch hits E & T functioning
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — Even as a section of city traders term the UT Excise and Taxation Department as a “lawless and whimsical outfit,” officials maintain that all the ills plaguing it are a result of a severe staff crunch.

It is pertinent to mention that hardly any post has been created since 1968. At that time there were only 700 dealers while the number has swelled to nearly 20,000. A team of the Home Ministry, which visited the department nearly two years ago had recommended the enhancing of the staff strength by nearly 50 percent, but nothing came out of it.

Presently, the department has six Excise and Taxation Officers (ETO), while the desired strength should be 18, besides a similar number of Inspectors, clerks and allied staff.

Since this has not materialised, the number of assessment cases keeps piling up and has crossed the 1. 50 lakh mark with more and more cases added each day. Sources said as many as 4, 000 cases are added to the backlog every year.

Even if the staff is sanctioned without delay, it would take more than five years to clear the backlog. Presently, there are only six Excise and Taxation Officers (ETO) who, between them, have to deal with atleast 3, 000 — 4, 000 cases, a workload virtually impossible to cope with.

Besides this, one ETO looks after enforcement of excise cases reducing the strength to five which is woefully inadequate to deal with more than 18, 000 — 19, 000 dealers registered with the department, the sources revealed.

Another drawback is that there are many more businessmen and shopkeepers who fulfill the condition of having an annual sale of Rs 1 lakh, but could not be brought to the tax net for want of adequate staff.

The worst affected are the traders who have no option but to preserve their books till their case is finally settled. There are instances where cases filed in the 70’ s are still waiting to be cleared. In many cases, the assessees' are big companies, corporations, business houses with a huge turnover, who, otherwise are willing to pay tax after proper assessment.

As the authorities maintain that they are short of staff, the members of the Sales Tax Bar Association allege that the pendency was due to the non- implementation of Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, specifying time bound disposal of cases, despite the fact that it is applicable to Chandigarh.

Sources said besides this it is monopolistic attitude and the lack of accountability that has added to their cup of woes. In the absence of a centralised clearing system, certain officers have developed a vested interest with the result that the cases of their favourites are assessed, allegedly for extraneous considerations, while the others are harassed.

It is a common refrain among traders that certain businessmen who land on the wrong side of their ward officers (ETO), have to wait to get their case cleared only after the official is posted out, they revealed.

Sales tax lawyers point out that UT should follow the system prevalent in neighbouring states. There is a three year clearing limit in Punjab and Haryana while the time is two years in Delhi. These states follow have centralsied assessing system which “greatly reduces the scope for under hand dealings.”

Besides this, the limit for summary assessment for officers should be raised to Rs 30 — 40 lakh from the present Rs 5 lakh. A section of traders and lawyers also believes that retired officers should be re employed on contractual basis to clear the backlog. 


‘India needs a strategic plan for tourism’
By A.S.Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — An American university don of Indian origin has said that India needs to strategically plan its tourism if it wants to make its mark in the world of tourism.

In an interview with TNS here today, Dr V. Seshan, Professor of Management Coordinator, International Management Studies, at Seaver College, Business Administration Division at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. said that one of the reasons why leisure industry had not grown as much it should have in India despite liberalisation of the economy and relative prosperity was that the country did not have a definite perspective as regards tourism promotion. India had much more to offer to the tourists than China but still the fact was that China was receiving nearly 40 million tourists a year as against India’s figure of less than five million.

“There has to be greater emphasis on infrastructure development as also on proper packaging of the tourist facilities India had to offer such as the Indian philosophy, stress management through Yoga etc. In the absence of an organised governmental effort in this direction, promotion of tourism to India in this category has been left to gurus and swamis which is not always very satisfactory”.

As regards Chandigarh, Dr Seshan said the City Beautiful designed by the famous French architect Le Corbusier should be promoted as a tourism destination and not as a transit point for the tourists. Targets should also be fixed. That alone would lead to the growth of tourism infrastructure and allied services.

Dr Seshan is in Chandigarh at the invitation of Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT) headed by Dr Gulshan Sharma. He will deliver a lecture on “Why Indian tourism is not doing well” at a seminar to be held at the institute on Sunday.

He also said that the irony of the situation was that throughout the world, governments preferred to spend more on defence rather than on tourism. But it must be realised that $ 1 spent on tourism could generate an income of $ 7 by way additional services and infrastructure.

He said he had no doubt in his mind that Indians could do it if they so desired. Indians had made a mark in every field wherever they had gone in the world. In the USA, Indians had become the richest ethnic group not only because they were honest and hardworking but also because they were the most educated ethnic groups to migrate to the land of opportunities.

In other words, India was aiding development and progress of the USA through free export of its manpower which had been trained and educated in India at a considerable cost. As a matter of fact, India was helping the USA much more than what the USA was aiding India through exports and developmental aid.

Dr Seshan said he himself was the only Indian in a 500-strong faculty at the university. The colour of his skin had not posed any problem as regards his career. “I have been in India for 20 years and in the US for 41 years. Therefore, I know both the countries well. Both India and the USA are truly great countries...” 


Workshop for labour officers end
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Dec 22 — A two-day workshop of labour officers of the northern region, on “Emerging trends in industrial relations”, organised by the International Labour Organisation and the Haryana Government, came to an end today.

Punjab Minister Balramji Dass Tandon, who was the chief guest today, said that the managements and unions would have to work jointly and labour officers would have to shed their traditional roles and facilitate the managements and unions to come together to meet the challenges of liberalisation and globalisation.

The participants looked at the measures required for effective labour inspections, the need for linking productivity with wages and better human resource development. The labour officers felt that they would have to shift from a regulatory role to that of a catalyst, counsellor and facilitator.


JAG celebrates 17th anniversary
Tribune News Service

CHANDI MANDIR, Dec 22 — The Judge Advocate General’s Department (JAG), the judicial wing of the Army, celebrated its 17th anniversary at Headquarters Western Command here today.

To mark the occasion, a conference of JAG officers serving in Western Command was organised to discuss legal matters and functional aspects of the Department. Inaugurating the conference, Chief Engineer Western Command, Maj Gen Madhav Arren, said that it was the duty and responsibility of JAG officers advising commanders to take into account, not only literal and rigid interpretation of laws as applied, but also the spirit behind their origin and application.

Stating that military laws were intended not only to administer justice, but also to ensure maintenance of discipline, Maj Gen Arren said that legal advisers must keep in view the problems and difficulties of commanders and render advice which is not only legally sound, but also pragmatic, practical and positive.

In his inaugural address, the Deputy Judge Advocate General, Western Command, Brig P.S. Hooda said the task of the JAG Department is challenging because of diametrically opposite requirements, of maintaining military discipline which demands implicit obedience of orders on one hand and the urge to uphold constitutional guarantees on the other.

He said that during the year, the emphasis in the Command had been on expeditious disposal of cases. Stating that the increase in Army personnel seeking recourse in civil courts reflects adversely on the Army’s system of rendering justice, Brig Hooda added that legal thoughts imbibing the principle of justice and liberty as applicable to persons in uniform are currently under consideration at the highest level.

In his message, the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen Surjit Singh, said that the role of the JAG Department, which had increased considerably in the recent past in every field of law, had been performed with perseverance in the spirit of the Corps motto of ‘Nayaya Eva Dharma’, by rendering just and impartial advice to commanders at all levels.


Officer ‘beats up’ gardener
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Dec 22 —The HUDA Bagwani Field Karamchari Union-1418 alleged that a member of their association, Karpu Swami, a gardener, was allegedly beaten up by a drunk senior IAS officer while he was working at his residence in Sector 6 on December 16.

The President, Mr Ajit Singh Bagri, said that there were reports of the officer beating up other gardeners sent to his residence from time to time at the instance of officials of the Horticulture Department.

The Administrator, HUDA, Mr Srikant Walgad, and the Superintending Engineer, Mr Jogi Ram, denied any knowledge of the incident. When contacted, the officer in question, also stated that he had been out of town for the past five days and could not comment on the matter.

Interestingly, the manual of the government clearly states that no bagwani employee can be sent to work at the official residences of the officers. In violation of this, the employees are sent to residences of officials to maintain the gardens there.


Plea to CTU on bus passes
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 22 — A member of the Sikh Educational Society of Chandigarh and local municipal councillor, Mr Amrik Singh, has demanded an end to discrimination by the CTU authorities against SAS Nagar and Panchkula students in the matter of bus passes.

In a statement here today, Mr Amrik Singh said for all areas within the Union Territory students had to pay Rs 50 per month for concessional bus passes. However, students living in SAS Nagar, Panchkula who were studying in Chandigarh were being charged Rs 225 per month for the bus passes. This, he said, was discriminatory.

Mr Amrik Singh said thousands of students from SAS Nagar were compelled to study in Chandigarh as the town had only one Government Senior Secondary School and one college.


Special arrangements for New Year’s mail
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — For the convenience of the general public, the Department of Posts has made special arrangements for the clearance of New Year’s greeting mail.

According to Mr SC Patyal, Assistant Director (Mails), in the Office of the Chief Postmaster General, Punjab and Chandigarh, the post offices and the Railway Mail Service have been geared up to effectively handle this additional workload without any adverse effect on the normal mail.

Special “greeting mail only” letter boxes/trays have been provided at important cities like Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala.

The greeting mail from these boxes will be cleared separately to ensure quick despatch to destinations and early delivery. And special counters for the acceptance of new year greeting cards have been opened in important post offices in major towns.

Similarly, separate trays have also been provided for important destinations, including Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Delhi. The postal public relation officers and other field staff are already on the job contacting the bulk mailers to apprise them of these arrangements.

In important post offices, special arrangements for sorting and direct sending direct bags for various destinations have been prescribed. These offices will despatch direct bags for Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, important districts of Haryana, Himachal and all districts of Punjab, Mr Patyal informed.

Meanwhile, the department has come out with the designer greeting cards of 34 kinds. The cards, which are available in important post offices, do not need fixing of the separate postage stamps.


HUDA allots 83 plots
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Dec 22 — The Haryana Urban Development Authority today allotted 83 plots against 2818 applications received for different categories and for different plot sizes by holding a draw at its office in Sector 6, here today.

As many as 1526 applications of the general category were received by 11 floated 10 marla plots located in Sector 11. And 281 applications were received for four, 8 marla plots, in this sector.

Against 13 plots (14 marla) in Sector 12, 337 applicants submit their applications in general category. Five plots of 1 kanal in Sector 21 were allotted against 18 applications of the general category.

Similarly, two and four plots (14 marla plots in Sector 25 and 26) were allotted against nine and 17 applications received respectively. For one kanal plots in Mansa Devi Complex, 32 plots were allotted against 562 applications in general category and six plots of 2 kanal were allotted against 14 applications in the same category.

Plots were also allotted to applicants who applied for the reserved quotas like as government service reserve quota (GSRQ), defence and PMF.

There were no applicants in the GSRQ category for one (1 kanal ) plot in Sector 21 and one (2 kanal) plot in Mansa Devi Complex. Applications were also not received for one, (2 kanal) plot for Defence category.

According to HUDA officials, the allottees have been asked to submit 15 per cent of the total cost of the plot as plot-allotment money. The allottees have to submit the rest of the amount in instalments and to make final payments with in six years.


Workers stranded
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Dec 22 — Employees of Jaiparabolic Springs Limited were allegedly prevented from entering the factory premises by the management for the second day here today.

Mr Jagdeep Singh and Mr Satwinder Singh, president and general secretary respectively of the Jaiparabolic Employees Union, have appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to intervene in the matter and help the suspended employees in getting back their jobs. He alleged that the company had not implemented the agreement that had been reached out between the management and the employees. Instead it had suspended a large number of workers and many others were being issued threats that if they did not mend their ways they would be transferred to far-away places.Back


Recruitment of constables re-scheduled
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — The recruitment of constables (general duty) in the Central Police Reserve Force from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh has been re-scheduled due to the postal strike.

According to the Additional DIG, A S Rathore, the last date for submission of applications has been extended to December 27, while recruitment will now commence from January 29, 2001.

Candidates from Punjab are required to submit their applications on the prescribed proforma to the CRPF Group Centre, Saraikhas, Jalandhar, while candidates from other states are required to send their applications to the CRPF Group Centre, Pinjore.

Tribune employee hurt
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — A Tribune employee, Mr Ashok Kapila, was injured after the scooter he was riding was hit by a Maruti car on the road dividing Sectors 45 and 46 in the afternoon today. Mr Kapila was subsequently admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. According to sources in the hospital, Mr Kapila’s condition was reported to be stable and was recovering.

The driver, according to sources, sped away after hitting the scooter. The police has registered a case and was investigating the matter, said a senior police officer.Back


Gallantry awards
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — As many as 89 awards for gallantry and distinguished services will be presented at the Western Command Investiture Ceremony, scheduled to be held on December 23 at the Kharga Auditorium in Ambala Cantonment.


One arrested for eve-teasing
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 —The local police has arrested a person from near ISBT, Sector 43, on the charge of eve-teasing. Gangandeep Sharma, resident of Ward No 5, Hospital Road, Kharar, was held for the alleged crime at around 1.30 p.m.

A case under the Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Theft in Ind. Area
Mr Rajinder Kumar of Industrial Area, Phase I, reported that 6 quintals of brass was stolen from a plot here last night.

A case under the Sections 380 and 457 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered on his complaint.

Gamblers held
In the past 24 hours, the police has arrested five persons, in two separate incidents, on the charges of gambling at public places. In the first incident Roshan Lal, Pardeep Kumar of Dadu Majra Colony and Ram Ajar of Bapu Dham Colony were arrested for satta. In another incident, Rajinder and Manoj Singh of Uttar Pradesh were arrested from near Hotel Piccadily, Sector 22, and Rs 102 were recovered from their possession.

Cases under the Gambling Act have been registered against all of them.

Held with liquor
Three persons, Khimani of Nehru Colony, Tota Ram of Kumhar Colony and Balram Giri of Rickshaw Stand, Sector 15, were arrested from different parts of the city for carrying liquor, here yesterday, claims the police. 136 pouches of whisky were recovered from their possession.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them.

Car stolen
A Maruti car (DBA-8232) was reportedly stolen from Sector 38 (west) on Thursday. In a complaint with the police, Mr Rajiv Sharma said that the car was stolen from his residence at around seven in the evening. A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. Back


‘Thieves in school uniform’ on the prowl?
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — Panic has gripped students of a Sector 16 school following incidents of alleged snatching and extortion by ‘thieves in school uniform’. During the past few days, wrist watches, wallets, even hard cash, have reportedly been taken away.

Sources maintain that the thieves strike at about 1.45 p.m. — time when the school students are returning home. A majority of incidents, reveal sources, have taken place in front of Sector 16, Shanti Kunj.

The snatchers, in a gang of five or six, come on scooters and motor bikes. They corner the students walking home in ones or twos, add sources.

After slapping and kicking helpless students, they snatch the “booty”. But before departing, they threaten students with dire consequences, claim sources.

Just two days ago, a student residing in Panchkula was reportedly warned against ‘informing authorities’ after he was allegedly beaten up by the gangsters. They left him scared, after forcibly taking away Rs 10 he was carrying.

The fear of ‘being bashed up by the burly bullies’ is so much that most of the students have started walking home in groups of five or six. Others have started travelling by Chandigarh Transport Undertaking buses.

If the theft is of cash, the young innocents prefer not to inform anyone, even their parents. When wrist watches and other such valuables are taken away, they tell their parents about the incident, but request them against informing the police or the school authorities.

A senior police officer says such incidents “are in our knowledge but no formal complaint has been received”. He adds that several police personnel have been asked to keep a “strict vigil” on the route taken by the students returning home. Persons roaming about under suspicious circumstances in school uniforms are also being stopped and questioned, he claims.

Regarding their identity, the officer says that the persons involved in the alleged crime could be “thieves- in-disguise” or they could be students from some other school. The true picture, he concludes, will emerge only after an inquiry is conducted. Back



Maid sets herself on fire
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — A house maid was admitted to the PGI with 80 per cent burn injuries. According to sources in the Police Department, 19-year-old Meeta of Tarn Taran set herself on fire in Sector as she was scared of being asked quit the job and go back home.

Ruling out the possibility of foul play, a senior police officer said further investigations into the matter were on. He added that the police was in the process of recording the statements of witnesses.


Charas, opium seized
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — A team of officials of the Narcotics Control Bureau seized 5.8 kg of fine-quality charas and 90 gram of opium from two Nepali smugglers in the wee hours of today.

According to Rakesh Goyal, Director of the bureau, the Himachal Tourism delux bus (HP-01-1846) was intercepted by a bureau team on a tip-off. The consignment has been seized and the two accused, Man Bahadur and Chebir Rai, have been arrested. They were produced before a magistrate today.

The seizure, made near the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar barrier in the Palsora Colony, is estimated to be Rs 90 lakh in the international market. The bus was on its way from Manali to Delhi, sources said, adding that the consignment was destined from Goa.

Priliminary investigations have revealed that the accused had been carrying out this business for the past 3 to 4 years and had been transporting narcotics to Goa.


Cable operator booked
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 22 — A cable operator was booked by the Chandigarh Police for allegedly screening blue movies in Sector 25 Janata Colony today. According to sources, the accused has been booked under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

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