Thursday, January 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property tax likely in city
Admn plans to reduce grant-in-aid to MC
By Ajay Banerjee and Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 3 — The Chandigarh Administration has issued “directions” to the Municipal Corporation to impose property tax in the city. This might have a political fallout and increase the cost of living here.

How the tax will be approved

To impose the property tax, the Municipal Corporation will have to first formulate the necessary bylaws. The bylaws have already been approved by the MC’s House Tax Assessment Committee headed by a senior BJP leader, Mr Prem Sagar Jain. These bylaws will be studied by the Administration. The Administration will issue a draft notification, giving a month’s time to invite objections. 

If the MC doesn’t impose the tax, the Administration will issue a “directive” to press for its imposition. This is being done to generate some revenue for the cash-starved MC, according to sources in the Administration. For the past four years, the MC has been adamant on not imposing the property tax.

The MC had passed a resolution in this regard in 1997, but political compulsions have saved the tax from being imposed. With the MC elections scheduled for the end of this year, the issue will become more complicated. Every time the MC asks for more funds, the Administration reminds it of the property tax.

Game to pressurise Mayor

In political circles, this is being seen as a game to put pressure on the newly elected Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal. He belongs to the Congress that is in a minority in the house. Now, the BJP-SAD combine, that had been delaying the decision on the issue for the past four years, can get the resolution passed. In the 29-member House, the Congress has only five members, while the BJP-SAD combine has 15. There are nine nominated members.

While, technically, the BJP-SAD combine can get the resolution passed easily, the Congress will have to bear its political fallout in the MC elections at the end of this year. Mr Goyal has already said that there will be no more taxes. He has even indicated that there may be a reduction in the water tariff.

The Administration has said that there will be a 10 per cent proportionate decrease per annum in the grant-in-aid to the MC. Therefore, the MC needs to generate additional revenue urgently.

Estimates of the Administration and the corporation has shown that by imposing the property tax on commercial property in the city, the MC will generate a revenue of Rs 20 crore. With the increasing commercial activity, the revenue can greatly reduce the huge deficit of the MC.

The 1917 resolution of the MC had proposed a 10 per cent property tax on the “rateable value” of the commercial land and buildings. There will be a 10 per cent service tax on government buildings as well. Sources in the Administration say that even this is the lowest tax rate in the country. For residential property, the MC is yet to work out a system of taxation. However, with the Administration breathing down its neck, the MC may finally impose the tax.

Before the MC was formed in 1995, Mani Majra was covered by a notified area committee (NAC) and residents used to pay a sort of property tax that was called the house tax.

Even after the grant-in-aid from the Administration and receipts of the MC, there will still be a huge revenue gap in this financial year. The MC had revised the water tariff past year, besides imposing a cess on sewerage to increase the revenue.


HC order on commercial properties
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — In a landmark judgement the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that a tenant occupying commercial premises will have to vacate it , if the owner wishes to use the same for his personal need.

Mr Justice R.L. Anand handed down this 23-page judgement on a petition filed by Mr Rakesh Vij, a respondent tenant of SCF No. 8, Sector 16, against Dr Raminder Pal Singh and challenging the order of the Rent Controller, Chandigarh, under Section 13 of the Rent Restrictions Act as extension of Urban Area Chandigarh for ejectment of the respondent from the SCF.

Dr Raminder Pal Singh Sethi has filed the petition under Section 13 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act 1949 as extended to the Urban Area of Chandigarh against the respondent tenant, Mr O.P. Vij, seeking ejectment of the latter from the SCF on the plea that the premises was required by him for personal use and occupation.

It is mandatory that residential premises can be got vacated when owner desires to reside in the same and the High Court has extended this law to the commercial premises also.

Mr Justice Anand observed, “In nut shell, I have tried to show through this order that the Amending Act of 1982 does not require any separate repealing by the Legislature or by the High Court or by the Supreme Court. It has already lost its value and importance after passing of the judgement in Harbilas’s case from which there is no escape for us”.

Mr Justice Anand directed the tenant to hand over the possession of the premises to the owner within two months.


Power failure: partner states “to blame”
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Are the partner states in the northern power grid, by and large, responsible for the collapse of the entire power generation system in the northern states?

Power experts say so. The Northern States Electricity Board, an organisation of Chairpersons and other senior functionaries of the partner states, suggested some remedial measures a few months ago to avoid repeated failure of power generating machines in the partner states following the tripping of the grid.

One of these was to install the “under frequency load shedding” system through special relays. These relays are designed to operate at a frequency lower than 48.4 HZ and to cut off selected loads. Though most of the partner states have installed this system but this is not made operational by these because of certain reasons. Informed officials, who have dealt with the system operations in the electricity boards, say that lot of operational “nuisance” is involved in this system.

As soon as the frequency turns below 48.4 HZ, the feeder system automatically trips for load shedding. As in certain states, the dipping of frequency is quite common, feeding system continues to trip repeatedly. Tripping of the feeder makes officials concerned to face the wrath of the people served by it. To avoid criticism from people, officials concerned prefer not to operate the relay system. Though use of special relays is mandatory for all the partner states but practically officials concerned keep it dead.

A senior functionary of the PSEB told The Tribune that all thermal plants in Punjab trip out at 47.5 HZ ( cycles per second) since these units are not designed for operation at such a low frequency. With the tripping of one thermal unit, grid collapse takes place. Likewise, once the western UP separates from East UP because of tripping of any transmission line or power generating system, west-UP system including Delhi, BBMB, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan suffers a frequency drop and this in turn causes thermal units to trip on low frequency and results in grid collapse.

Moreover, most of the 400 KV lines which transmit power generating systems in the Northern states are operating with almost nil “redundancy” or standby capacity. In other words, these lines have no capacity to bear additional power load in case of a fault in other part of the power transportation system. Therefore, the tripping of even one heavily loaded 400 KV line( such as Singrauli-Kanpur or Kanpur -Agra) could lead to serious overloading of the other lines and increase the possibility of grid collapse. Sources say that because of resource crunch, these lines, which required to be upgraded, have not been taken care of by the authorities concerned and consequently grid failure has become too frequent in recent years.

Sources say that during the normal operation the 400KV lines may be loaded upto 500MW ( Limit being 700MW). On January 1 and 2, when the tripping of grid was reported plunging the entire north into darkness, on the two poles of Rihand-Dadri line was under shutdown reducing the capacity of the line from 1500MW to 70 MW which obviously increased the loading of 400 KV line resulting into the collapse of the system.

Sources say that in case of such emergencies, coordination among the all state electricity Boards and other partner organisations like National Thermal Power Corporation, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and the Nuclear Power Corporation has to be made within a few minutes. However, because of multiplicity of organisations within state electricity board, such coordination has become a difficult process and it has affected the functioning of the grid. The integrated power grid was set up to facilitate the transportation of power from various national power generating units like national thermal plants, national hydroelectric plants to the partner states. It has some advantages and also disadvantages like collapsing of the entire power generating system.


Sec 21 mechanics resist MC staff
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — The MC enforcement staff, which had today gone to remove the encroachments made by auto mechanics in the residential area of Sector 21, had to come back following opposition by the mechanics.

The Inspector Enforcement, Mr Kashmira Singh, when contacted, said that the mechanics had been issued warning three to four days ago to remove the encroachments on their own. Since they had not done so, we wanted to remove the same. A large number of mechanics gathered there and the Secretary, MC, Mr Ashwani Kumar, had to intervene to resolve the matter. The president of the Mechanics Welfare Association, Mr Mahender Chaudhary, said that all encroachments in the residential area would be removed in one or two days.

It may be recalled that the Residents Welfare Association of the area had earlier filed a case in the court but despite directions, the encroachments in the area were not removed.

The enforcement staff also issued as many as 60 challans in Apni Mandi, Sector 15, where a large number of unauthorised rehri-phari vendors were doing brisk business. The apni mandis were set up only to facilitate the farmers to sell their fresh stock to the customer. Few challans were also issued in Sector 22 where some of the phari vendors were found selling their wares either on scooter or by carrying them in hands.

In an attempt to clear the Sector 22 market of encroachments, the MC had in September last year removed all phari vendors from the public corridors and pavements. They have since been agitating and demanding that a fixed place be allotted to them from where they can sell their wares. Subsequently, the Chandigarh Administration had alloted them a piece of land in Sector 40, adjacent to the shopping area but following stiff opposition by the shopkeepers, they were forced to move out. While the MC authorities are yet again contemplating the move to rehabilitate the 300 odd phari vendors by way of day markets at three to four different places, the same is not acceptable to them as they want a fixed place for all days even though for a shorter duration.

Meanwhile, the phari walahs who have been out of business for over three months, have now found an innovative way of selling their wares. They either keep their stuff on scooters or sell it by carrying it in their hands. They are back in large numbers in the area near Kiran Cinema. Even two and a half years ago, the authorities had removed them from Sector 22 but after few months they were back again. The day market proposal mooted then also had fizzled out, for the same was not acceptable to them. 


ADA faces cash crunch
Plan to float bonds for Anandgarh project
By Nishikant Dwivedi

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — After having fallen short of funds, the Anandgarh Development Authority (ADA) now plans to float bonds for collecting money to pay for the acquisition of land for the proposed township.

The bonds are to be floated jointly by the ICICI and R.R. Financial Services. The two have been categorised as ‘‘financial arrangers’’ for the project. Reports have it that the said institutions would provide a sum of Rs 400 crore during this calendar year by the financial institutions.

It is learnt that the government is reportedly approaching other financial institutions for funds. Mr R.K. Verma, Addtional Chief Administrator of ADA, said, ‘‘We are getting positive response from other financial institutions also’’.

Due to paucity of funds, the ADA has not been able to honour its own dossier which had promised that the construction of Anandgarh would start on January 1 this year. The day has passed off without any progress in the project. The project was announced on Baisakhi in 1999.

If the present status of the ADA is an indication, the construction work cannot start in the next six to eight months, point out sources in the Punjab Government.

Sources in the authority point out that approximately Rs 1,800 crore (including the repayment of interest) are required for the initial stage of the Anandgarh project. On the initial stage, the authority is planning to develop 5,000 acres of the area out of the total 15,000 to be acquired for the township of Anandgarh. Sources point out that approximately Rs 20 lakh and Rs 11 lakh are required for the development and acquisition of land per acre.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Minister of Housing and Urban Development , Punjab, had announced on January 2 at Phagwara that the sale of plots in the Anandgarh would commence in April- May this year.

A senior architect said that at least six months would be required to make the master plan for the project of this magnitude. According to sources, the Authority has not yet set any deadline for the master plan. Satnam Namita and Associate, have been selected as the master planner for the new township. Mr Satnam Singh of the firm could not be contacted as he is said be unwell.

When contacted, Mr Karan A Singh, Chief Executive Officer, ADA, denied any delay on part of the Government. He said, ‘‘The date of the construction activities for Anandgarh was tentative.’’ He added, ‘‘Actually there was some delay during the selection of the architect for the township’’. When asked about the court case, he remarked, ‘‘The matter is sub judice and I cannot comment’’.

Mr R.K. Verma said, ‘‘We are on the right track and very soon Section 6 of the Land Acqusiton Act would be notified’’.


Chilly winds sweep city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Chilly winds today swept the city with the day temperature going by five degrees below normal.

The Meteorological Department sources said that the maximum temperature recorded today was 14.60C. The minimum temperature recorded was 8.40C, which was 2.2 degrees less than the yesterday’s temperature. The maximum temperature recorded yesterday was 17.60C.

The lowest temperature recorded this season was 30C on December 3, 2000.

Sources in the Meteorological Department indicated a dry weather accompanied by cold winds in the coming 24 hours. The city is also likely to have frost.

The early hours of this morning witnessed a heavy fog. Buses and trains were delayed due to bad weather, much to the discomfort of drivers as well as commuters. Mr Satbir Singh, a local resident, said he had gone to see-off his mother to Jalandhar at about 8 a.m. “I had to wait for nearly one and a half hours before the bus left the stand”, he added.

The fog disappeared at around 11 a.m. Around 1 p.m., the sky was again overcast and the cold wave continued to sweep the region. It remained cloudy except for minor glimpses of sunlight. Early morning office-goers were severely hit. Even those in the later shifts had to face a tough time to reach office in time.

A doctor at the Sector 32 Government Hospital said for the coming couple of weeks, each one of us has to ensure safeguards against the cold wave.

“Cosy beds and television sets remained best partners”, a schoolboy quipped. He added that this is pleasantly allowed by parents for a change.


Cops eye VIP brats in papa’s car 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — All VIP brats zipping down the fast track of life in their daddy’s Gypsy or white Ambassador car with red light atop, beware. The Chandigarh Police is launching a massive drive against the misuse of official vehicles.

Coming Monday, men in khaki will keep their eyes open for “all official cars being unofficially driven by kids”. The cops will reportedly be keeping a “special vigil” on the geri route. Other roads and streets will also be kept under surveillance.

The decision to launch the operation is significant as VIP brats, misusing official vehicles, were involved in a large number of “unreported” accidents last year. Cops also believe that out of 129 drivers challaned for using red light atop the vehicles without any authorisation, several were VIP kids.

Otherwise also, the cops believe that the kids possess licence for driving cars and other four-wheelers, even though licence for light transport vehicle is required for handling official cars.

The kids, on being stopped, also intimidate the cops by dropping names. Several complaints regarding misbehavior by the brats were reportedly handed over to the senior authorities by the “lower staff”.

The drive is being instituted “for the first time” in Chandigarh as, a senior police officer says, “taking pangas with the VIPs can have serious implications”.

For the purpose of catching the violators, alert cops are being posted at the traffic lights and other “strategic points”. Gypsies and bikes attached with the police control room will also be patrolling the city.

Sources in the department reveal that the cops will be checking the documents after stopping all such vehicles. “If the driver is not carrying a licence for handling a light transport vehicle, strict action will be taken against him”, sources elaborate.

“The action,” says the Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, Mr Balbir Singh, “includes impounding the vehicles. The violators will be punished regardless of the officer’s position who has been allotted the vehicle”.

Expressing the desire of carrying out such drives “later on also”, the SP adds, “the intention is not to target any official of Punjab, Haryana or Chandigarh, but to boost the moral of the cops and send across the message that no one is above law”.


Police gets clue in theft case
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — On trail of thieves involved in yesterday's safe break incident, the Chandigarh Police has reportedly laid hands on "certain vital clues". Initial investigations carried out by the police has revealed that the "theft was carried out in the Sector 18 medical distributor's shop by professionals".

Refusing to rule out the possibility of the staff's involvement in the theft, the police believe that the information about the cash could have been handed over to the professionals by the "insiders".

The cops also believe that the 12-feet-high wall was scaled by the thieves after keeping two bundles of currency notes on a stool. After climbing the wall, they pulled the bundles up.

A senior police official, on the condition of anonymity, says that the owners could also be mistaken about the amount of money in the safe. "The safe isn't big enough to store Rs 7 lakh," he asserts.

Taking advantage of the darkness due to the power failure, the thieves had reportedly decamped with Rs 7 lakh after break opening the safe. The culprits, believed to be two in number, had reportedly entered the corner shop from the backside after scaling the wall with the help of wooden frames for packing glasses.

The two had reportedly climbed up the frames leaning against the outer wall and jumped into the backyard before locking the door leading to the first floor flat where three employees were sleeping.

The thieves, armed with rods and pencil cell torch, had then broken two locks on the back door of the shop before breaking the safe and removing cash from the drawer.


Super Bazar liquidation
Cooperative movement becomes victim of bureaucracy
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Super Bazar which was synonymous with affordable essential commodities during the 60s till the late 80s and presently under liquidation, is the sad tale of how a shining example of the cooperative movement was systematically " decimated by an indifferent bureaucracy " leaving the fate of 204 employees and their families hanging in balance.

A liquidator is taking stock of the assets of the organisation and will do the needful to meet the liabilities and losses incurred over the decades. An outfit which posted a profit of Rs 44,436 in 1970-71 is in the red presently to the tune of Rs 1. 25 crore.

Super Bazar was registered with the Registrar of Companies in 1965 and started functioning in 1967 with 47 employees and a corpus of only Rs 1.50 lakh. Shops selling essential commodities for the middle class and weaker sections were opened all over the city and were a grand success.

A great hit from the start, every year saw a rising profit graph and the funds were invested in real estate and opening medicine outlets in the city. This too proved to be a wise move and the unit currently operated nine medicine outlets which made a profit of more than Rs 10 lakh annually.

Super Bazar currently owns two industrial sheds, several booths besides a shop-cum-flat valued at more than Rs 7 crore at the current market price. An inventory of stocks worth lakhs lying at various outlets across the city is being prepared which would be disposed off in due course.

Meanwhile, irate employees, who were rendered jobless overnight are of the view that indifference on the part of the UT Administration to streamline the organisation in tune with the compulsions of liberalisation sounded the death knell of the once profitable venture. They are quick to point out that while some outlets needed to be closed down, rapid inroads had to be made in others. This is here that the bureaucracy failed us. Officers failed to see the writing on the wall and let the rot stem, they allege.

They allege that right from the beginning it was run on the lines of a government department and was even headed by an IAS officer till the late 70s. After that junior administrative level officers were at the helm of affairs and more often than not, the charge was an additional one with the result that they had little time to devise ways to improve the functioning and scope of the organisation.

They point out that till 1983 a profit of Rs 58, 878 was posted but after that the slide began. Nothing was done even then with the result that we have now accumulated losses in excess of Rs 1.25 crore.

"We pleaded that we should be employed elsewhere as is the practise in other departments but we shocked to see a public notice in the newspapers informing us that our services have been terminated. We were not even given a chance to present our view point before the authorities. Our plea to equip us with alternative skills to earn a livelihood also fell on deaf ears," they pointed out.

"Presently, the condition of many families is pitiable, especially those who had a single bread earner. We have not been even paid the termination and other due benefits. Most of us have been forced to do odd jobs to keep the hearth fires burning," an affected employee lamented.

An appeal by the employee union is currently pending with the Secretary, Cooperation, but they are reportedly pessimistic about the outcome. 


Today is Braille Day
Louis Braille — alive in ‘letter’ and in spirit
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809, in France. The significance of his contribution is its critical role in the history of the visually impaired. Without a system of effective communication through reading and writing, their education would have been as stagnant and non-creative as it had been since writing was discovered.

If there is one reason for a large number of blind people leading useful, productive and integrated lives, it must surely be the universal acceptance, more than 100 years ago, of the Braille system of embossed reading and writing by touch. Braille's, however, was not the first method to be invented which involved the tactile sense for reading.

The great breakthrough was, nevertheless, achieved by Louis Braille, the son of a cobbler, born in a village called Coupvray, near Paris. He became blind at the age of three while playing with his father's implements. He entered Harry's school in 1819, where he studied under Harry's system. He also studied to become a good musician.

Braille was a good student and was subsequently appointed as a teacher in his school. Louis Braille succeeded in fashioning one of the most ingenious systems of reading and writing by 1825, when he was only 16 years of age. In 1829, he issued a pamphlet stating the results of his experiments. Subsequently, he produced a revised version of his work. It was more concise a method than any other followed till then.

The Braille system is derived from an arrangement of six dots in quadrangular spaces, referred to as the Braille cell. Each arrangement of dots and spaces occupies a cell. The dot positions are numbered one-two-three downwards on the left and four-five-six downwards on the right. In total, 63 formations of Braille symbols can be had by combination and permutation. For the sake of symmetry and ease of learning, he grouped the symbols into seven symmetrical lines. Braille has been used for musical notation, shorthand system, scientific and mathematical codes. It is also used for marking instruments and special equipment for the blind as well as for outlining maps and diagrams. For its advantages and its simplicity, it was accorded universal recognition in 1854, two years after its inventor's death.

Braille's system, hence, transformed the lives of millions of blind persons throughout the world. It made all the difference between a worthless life of idleness and on e of social dignity and usefulness. Since Braille appeared on the scene, many more devices have opened newer vistas of knowledge for the blind. Cassettes, optical aids, optocom, speech calculator and a host of other such instruments have brought the written word within the reach of the blind. Yet, the Braille system has remained a foundation for their education. Its value, especially in a developing country like ours, where for a long time, the masses may not be able to use highly sophisticated equipment for some time, is indisputable.

Louis Braille will live on, showing to the world that there are no boundaries to courage and faith.


Rousing farewell to Handa
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Mr B. L. Handa, who was promoted as IG, was given a rousing farewell by the 9 Battalion of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at Ramgarh today.

An IPS officer on deputation to the force for the past five years, he was DIG, Himachal Pradesh sector, and was instrumental in curbing infiltration in Chamba district. A renowned writer in Hindi, he is also the recipient of the Presidents police medal for gallantry and the Presidents medal for meritorious service.

During his tenure, the HP sector won the championship in inter-sector ambulance drill and wireless competition, besides other athletic meets. Troops of his sector also did commendable job in the flash flood in the Sutlej in August and the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

He was seen off at Chandigarh railway station by Mr S. C. Nayyar, ADIG, Mr I. S. Negi, Commandant, BTC, Mr M. S. Bhurji, Commandant, 9 Battalion and other senior officers of the force.


Mohali residents threaten dharna
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 3 — The local Residents Welfare Association will stage a dharna in front of the office of the municipal council if the civic body failed to roll back the hike in water and sewer charges by January 20. To register its protest, a delegation of the Citizens Welfare Council of Phase X today met the president of the civic body.

Mr Ripudaman Singh, Chairman of the council, said the president of the council had conveyed to them that the possibility of reducing the hike in the water and sewer charges or withdrawing the same was being explored. Details of the revenue and the expenditure incurred in the supply of water had been sought from the Public Health Department.

The issue of the hike was expected to be taken up in the next meeting of the council scheduled to be held on January 15. Mr Triloki Nath, general secretary of the council, said an effort to oppose the hike from one platform representing different welfare associations.

Officials of the council said that though effort would be made to roll back a part of the hike in water and sewer charges, a close examination of the revenue and the expenditure incurred in supply of water by the council had revealed that despite the hike the expenditure was more than the revenue.

The welfare council also took up the issue of industrial pollution, repair of damaged storm and sewer manholes, repair of roads, setting up community complex — comprising post office, dispensary and a community centre — in Phase X, installing of traffic lights at accident-prone areas in the town and construction of a government senior secondary school in Phase X.

The issue of commercial activity being run from residential premises was also raised in the meeting.


SPCA restores life to benumbed bull 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Had it not been for the agility of some Sector 21 residents and the general concern on part of SPCA officials, the severe cold would have consumed a bull which was spotted in a critical condition this morning.

It was about 9 a.m. in the morning when a black bull was spotted outside house number 2093 in Sector 21. At that point it was seen shivering on account of cold and its horns were also found to be bruised. In not less than about 15 to 20 minutes the cold wave which swept the city this morning started taking its toll on the poor creature which could no longer sustain the numbness, and finally collapsed.

Informed Mr Inderjit Singh, resident of house no 2094, “The bull was in a very bad condition when we saw it.” It was then that one of the residents also covered the bull with a blanket. He informed, “Since the blanket was small in size, it could do the bull no good.”

Finally, it was the Tribune team which reached on the spot and further tipped off the officials of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals regarding the situation.

Within about half an hour of the tip off, the SPCA sent two men in a Swaraj Mazda vehicle to pick up the bull and get it to the society’s premises in Sector 38. Mr Ranvir Sharma, compounder of the society, himself administered medical treatment to the animal whose legs were cramped out of cold. He said, “He injected the animal and also administered some medicine to it.”

The bull’s condition was finally restored at around 1 p.m. when it was able to stand and move around. It was, however, kept in the society for better care. According to society members, the animal would be kept there itself unless it recovers completely.

This is not an isolated incident. Many such cattle are loitering around the city in the absence of adequate care on the part of the MC which bears the onus of rehabilitating them. The condition of cattle ponds is less than satisfactory. Moreover, there is no shed for the animals in the ponds at Sectors 25, 45 as also in the Industrial Area. The MC will perhaps take a cue from today’s accident to jump into action.


Little faith in state services exams
From Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, Jan 3 — Claiming to have lost faith in the state services examinations following repeated allegations of cheating and use of unfair means, the aspirants, as well as IPS officers, are asking for a change in the pattern of conducting the papers. The new system, they insist, should be based on the method of conducting Civil Services Examination.

The candidates, talked to by Chandigarh Tribune, feel that a lot more than sheer hard work is required to succeed in these examinations. Money and influence work, they alleged.

Mr Sagar Preet Hooda, Assistant Superintendent of Chandigarh Police, said: ‘’I never had any faith in the state services examinations, particularly in the Haryana Civil Services examination. General perception is that it is very tough to get through these exams with only hard work”.

He added: “I thought it would be wise not to waste energy in preparing for the HCS examinations and concentrated on the examinations conducted by the UPSC and got through”.

He further added: “I think the public has lost faith in the state examinations as there have been several allegations of malpractices. In larger interest of justice, these exams should be handed over to the UPSC with some modifications in the existing rules.

Gurjit Mahi, a Ph.D student says: “We can’t even think of preparing for these examinations as heavy amount of money is involved in these exams. I appeared once for IPS examination, but did not get selected due to lack of financial help for the interview. The system should be checked.

Parvinder Bishnoi, a candidate for HCS examination, said: “I have only fifty per cent hope with these exams. I believe that fairness would be observed while checking the papers and only deserving candidates will be selected. The invigilators should be strict and stern in their approach.”

Ranjit Malik, another candidate for HCS exams says: “I have no faith in the policy of these exams. As the paper starts, it gets leaked within 10 minutes and photostat copies can be seen in the hands of people outside the campus. The examinations should be conducted on the IAS pattern. Hard work is the key to success only if unfair means are checked and controlled by the commission.”

Santokhwinder Singh Nabha, President, SOPU, remarks: “I have no faith in these exams, especially after reading about the yesterday’s incident that happened in the HCS. It is a wrong practice and the commission should conduct an inquiry, preferably by higher authorities and get a case registered. The invigilator in these examinations should be fair. The corruption-level should be checked in these exams.”

Misha Aggarwal, a student of SD College, says: “Many a time we have heard about the paper leakage in these exams and most of the papers get solved before the start of examination.”


LIG residents’ delegation meets Mayor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — A delegation of the LIG Residents Welfare Association, Sector 41-D, led by its president, Mr R.K. Mann today met the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, and submitted a memorandum of demands. While highlighting their problems, they pointed out that some of these problems were being faced by them ever since the allotment of CHB flats in the year 1987-88.

The problems include, non-provision of streetlights and road gullies for outlet of rain water and in certain areas, low water pressure on the first and second floor during summer season and non-functioning streetlights on the V6 roads. Among the demands are development of parks, fixing of MS flats railing, development of green belt from Shivalik Public School to petrol pump on the road dividing Sector 40-C and 41-D, cleanliness and proper maintenance of V3, V4 and V5 roads and construction of bus queue shelters at various points. They have also sought the completion and functioning of the community centre.

The general secretary of the association, Mr S.K. Juneja, claimed that the Mayor has assured them that he would look into the matter and would direct the authorities concerned to take up the matter at the earliest.


15 injured as bus falls into ditch
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 3 — Fifteen persons were injured when a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-37-1908) fell into a ditch near Alipur in Barwala this morning. According to sources in the police, the accident took place after the front wheel axle broke and the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The injured were taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where most of them were discharged after first aid.

The doctor on duty at the hospital said that most of the patients had received blunt chest injuries.

However, Somnath, one of the injured in the accident and a head constable posted at the Haryana Police Headquarters, alleged that the patients were sent outside for x-rays and that the hospital did not have infrastructure adequate enough to meet an exigency.

While three injured persons, Shivram, Suresh and Somnath were kept under observation for the day, the others were discharged after a couple of hours. One case, that of Yogesh, who had come in with a fractured jaw bone, was referred to the PGI.

Those injured in the accident include Rajinder, Gopichand, Jogi Ram, Gurdial, Jaswinder, Yogesh, Joginder Singh, Kharaiti Lal, Narinder, Amardas and Ram Dutt.


3 youngsters injured
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — In separate accidents, three youngsters were admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research with injuries today afternoon. A case of rash driving was also registered after a Sarangpur village resident met with an accident.

Sources in the Police Department said Rakesh Bali and D.P. Bali sustained injuries after the scooter they were riding skidded near the Punjab Engineering College in Sector 12. Sources added that the accident took place at about 1 p.m. Their condition was reported to be stable.

In the other case, Sachin Sharma of Sector 22 was admitted to the PGI after the motor cycle he was riding and a jeep collided on the Sector 20-21-33-34 chowk. His condition was also reported to be stable.

Meanwhile, a case under Sections 279 and 337 was registered after Surinder Kumar, going on a motor cycle, was hit by another bike near the Aroma traffic lights at about 8 p.m. on January 2. 


Fairs to mark year of women
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — The State Social Welfare Advisory Board today decided to organise sammelans, workshops and fairs on women empowerment this year as part of the plan formulated by the Central Social welfare Board to observe this year as “women Empowerment year’.

A spokesman for the board said a state committee, comprising of noted journalists and experienced specialists, besides official and non-official representatives had been constituted to implement various monthly programmes for the welfare of women.


Dharna by sangharsh panel members
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Members of the Anandgarh Hatao Sangharsh Committee held a dharna outside the office of the Anandgarh Development Authority, Sector 38, here today. They raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

Villagers from the 29 villages, to be acquired for Anandgarh, were demanding scrapping of the Anandgarh project. They had come by tractor-trailers and trucks. The rally was addressed by various leaders of the committee.

The agitating villagers blocked traffic for about one hour.


5 arrested for gambling
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 3 — Five persons were arrested by the police in different cases on the allegation of indulging in gambling during the past 24 hours.

According to sources in the Police Department, Bablu Kumar, Joginder Kumar and Chotte Lal were booked under the Gambling Act after being caught by Head Constable Joginder Singh. Sources added that Rs 110 was also recovered from their possession.

In the other case, Mani Ram of Sector 44 was arrested on the allegation of indulging in satta near the Laxmi Narain Mandir in the same sector. Sources added that Rs 270 was recovered from him. Senior police officials, when contacted, said cases under the Gambling Act had been registered against the five.

Mopeds stolen
In separate complaints to the police, the theft of two Mopeds has been reported by city residents. Mr Daya Shankar of Sector 47 alleged that his Moped, parked outside his house, was stolen on December 31.

In the other complaint, Ms Kusum Lata of Sector 40 alleged that her Moped was stolen while it was parked outside the Haryana Financial Corporation office in Sector 17. Taking up their complaints, the police has registered two cases of theft under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

Fax machine stolen
A fax machine was stolen from the office of an advocate in the Punjab Advocate-General's office. In his complaint, Mr Krishan Kant Chawla alleged that the machine was stolen from his Sector 11 office while it was closed. The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC.

Liquor seized
Three persons were arrested under the Excise Act from different parts of the city. According to sources in the Police Department, 124 pouches of liquor were seized from Sadhu Ram, Dev Narayan and Raj Kumar.



Mild winter results in distress sale of woollens
By Ruchika Mohindra Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 3 — The mild winter this year has forced hundreds of woollen retail outlets in the city to indulge in distress sale by selling their wares at a discount price. Even as the prices of woollens are down by 10 per cent to 50 per cent, customers still remain elusive.

This is perhaps for the first time that the winter sale in the various retail outlets has begun right from December — courtesy the mercury level not falling down and the bone- chilling winds refusing to sweep across the city. Earlier, the discount sale on all the woollens would begin in the first week of February and this was generally an off-season sale.

A visit to the various market places in the city today showed that almost all outlets selling sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts, shawls, woollen blankets, mink blankets and woollen and other fabrics meant specifically for the winters were offering heavy discount to the customers, who are having the best of both worlds.

In fact the customer had the best deal with the discounts being offered on not just on the non- premium segments, but also on the branded woollens like Monte Carlo, Casablanca, Pringle, Creative Line and Rage. So, for all those who were craving to buy the best of clothes for the party season in the last week of December, from the Christmas celebrations to the New Year’s Eve bash, they had a lot of variety to choose from.

This year, however, the weather gods decided not to show their harsh side and the temperature rarely fell below eight degree celsius (minimum) and 22 degree celsius (maximum) during the month of December. Even during this month, inspite of the rains cooling the temperature to some extent, the weather has been anything but chilly. It is also expected that there would be no greater fall in temperature and even the still fall now would remain only for another fortnight. This has turned out to be the main reason for the distress sale of the woollens right from the third week of December.

Mr Mohinder Singh, Managing Director of Your Cloth House in Sector 20 and an executive member of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and Wholesale Cloth Merchants Association, while talking to TNS lamented that this year only 25 percent of the stocks piled up for the winters by the various retail stores had been sold.

“Thus the shopkeepers were left with no option than to sell off the stocks at a discount price or face loss and also make arrangements for stocking up the woollens for another season. So the best bet was to put up a discount sale and get as much return as possible,” he said.

Most of the shopkeepers contacted by TNS claimed that this year business was down by almost 75 percent. Mr. Mukesh Kumar, proprietor of Merry King’s, a readymade garments store in Sector 17, informed that he had been selling the wares at the discount price of almost 40 percent for the last more than 20 days, but the customers were still not forthcoming.

He said that the general practice for all retail outlets was to place the orders for the forthcoming winter in the summer months of June and July. “Thus the investment of lakhs of rupees is made almost four months before the winters begin. This year, too, the same held true, but other than a reasonable sale of sweatshirts, no their woolen garment sale showed an upward trend.”

Most businessmen also complain that the recession in the hosiery industry is also responsible for the decline in the sale of woollens. Mr Suresh Bansal of Bangalore Silk and Sarees said that there was a severe cash crunch in the market. “The buying capacity of the common man has gone down with the rise in the standard of living and the prices of the basic requirements going up. Where a couple of years ago, the daily sale of garments was around 20 to 25 pieces a day, it is now a mere one to two pieces a day. Even the industry is selling the woollens and the fabric at comparatively low prices if the payment is made in cash,” he said.


Rice millers in financial crisis
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, Jan 3 — The local rice millers were facing a lot of financial problems due to the non-availability of space in the local depot of the Food Corporation of India and due to this the millers are not in a position to deliver the rice in the Central pool.

While talking to this correspondent some members of the Rice Millers Association said here today that they have to incure expenses of about 2 lakh per month per sheller as fixed expenses and they could not recover them as they were not milling the paddy stored in their rice shellers as the FCI was not accepting the rice.

They said that the depot of the FCI at Kharar has a capacity of 7200 mt and it has already been exceeded. They said that only one special rake has lifted the rice from Kharar during December last year and some road supplies were also made. They said that now the Union Government has taken a decision that only old stock of rice would be lifted from Punjab and since there is no old stock in Kharar hence no supplies were made from Kharar. They said that due to this they could not mill the paddy.

They have urged the Union Government to order the lifting of rice from the FCI Kharar so that space could be made available for the new rice.


‘Raise tax-coverage limit’
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 3 — The Panchkula Small Scale Industrial Association has urged the government to increase the coverage limit for the local area development tax. The association has also requested the sanctioned subsidy to be disbursed and proper supply of power be ensured.

The association members said that the limit fixed for the tax coverage should be raised from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, as it had direct impact on the small-scale sector which was already under recession and facing stiff competition due to imports.

‘‘The scheme of granting capital subsidy to new units has already been dropped, but the payments of the subsidy already sanctioned by the government has not been made to the units so far’’, said Subhash Saini.

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