Wednesday, January 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Streetlights to go in private hands
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 9 — Maintenance of at least 4,050 streetlights in the town will pass on to private hands from next month. Under the privatisation scheme, a selected contractor will maintain the streetlights, fed by independent power lines laid at the cost of the civic body for a period of two years.

The tentative cost of maintenance of the identified streetlights has been worked out at around Rs 22 lakh annually. The tenders invited from the enlisted electrical contractors will be opened tomorrow. Though the council has fixed the maintenance cost at around Rs 60 per streetlight point, tough competition between the bidders is expected to bring the maintenance cost between Rs 20 and Rs 40, per streetlight point. An agreement with the selected contractor is expected to be signed within few days. Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the council, said the streetlight points would be handed over to the contractor from February 1.

Officials of the civic body said the contractor would be held responsible for any mishap and repair of the non-functional streetlight points within 24 hours of the damage being noticed. Any delay in carrying out the repairs of the non-functional points would attract a fine at a rate of 20 per cent of the cost of respective point payable on the particular day. Replacing the non-functional lamps and tubes would also be the responsibility of the contractor.

Apart from posting regular patrols to identify the non-functional streetlight points, a representative of the contractor would have to sit at the complaint office of the council here to register complaints on a daily basis.

The terms and conditions forming part of the agreement had been incorporated after studying the privatisation system of street lighting of Patiala and Ludhiana civic bodies. Tenders for providing blinkers at the T-junction of Phase 3A and Phase 3B1 and another at Phase 3B1 and Phase 3B2 have also been invited.

The move to privatise the street lighting system had been hanging fire for the past few months due to opposition by the operational wing of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) which had been looking after the maintenance of these till now. The civic body was paying around Rs 1.25 lakh per month to the electricity department. By rough estimates the council would save over Rs 8 lakh per month after privatisation. The officials are hopeful that the state of maintenance would also improve.

The officials said the process of handing over the points to the contractor would start after the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) gives a no-objection certificate to the council before the electricity department releases the points, due to an existing clause in an agreement between the board and the council. The agreement under the Indian Electricity Act entails that while taking connection of a streetlight the maintenance will be done by the electricity board.

The streetlight points have been classified into five different categories — sodium lamps 70w, 150w, 125w, 150w and tubelight lit streetlights.

Meanwhile, a proposal to privatise the water supply and sewerage in Industrial Area (from Phase 6 to Phase 9) is also pending.


Continuity and fund problems dog MC
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — Even as Chandigarh has had four Mayors in as many years, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh is still faced with the problem of continuity and financial crunch, putting development works on the backburner.

The elected civic body, conceived with a view to provide better amenities to the residents, seems to be a dream gone sour. With the successive Mayors dilly-dallying on the imposition of taxes for the cash-strapped corporation, the provision of even the basic amenities is the first casualty. So much so that the corporation does not even has funds for development of new original works and the Chandigarh Administration has reportedly agreed to undertake such projects.

In fact, a close look at the working of the corporation and the Mayors is an eye-opener. The one-year tenure of the Mayor is one problem. By the time the Mayor settles down and has the feel of his work and functions, almost half of the tenure is over and he is left with little time to implement policies of either his party or that of the corporation.

Even the House of the civic body has remained a forum for fruitless discussion and has passed scores of resolutions. But when it comes to their implementation, the record of the corporation has been very poor. To top it all, the internal wranglings in the ruling BJP-SAD alliance have had an adverse affect on the working of the corporation.

The corporation, however, had certain achievements to its credit. The Garden of Fragrance in Sector 36 was opened to the public. However, the condition of the sector parks remained bad. Though a number of roads, which had not been recarpeted for the past several years, were recarpeted, the condition of other civic amenities left much to be desired.

To begin with, the tenure of the first Mayor, Ms Kamla Sharma, started with much expectations from the political set-up. But soon the harsh reality of inadequate funds took over and the initial euphoria of the win gave way to search for funds to run the corporation and provide basic amenities, a fundamental duty of any elected body.

The tenure of the second Mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, was no better. Ultimately, the commercial property transferred by the Administration to the MC came in handy and these were auctioned to net some revenue for the corporation. The tenure was marked by the suspension of paid parking system for Sectors 17 and 8, which was a major setback to the revenue-generating proposals of the corporation. The imposition of the property tax and the revision in the water tariff, two major sources of revenue for the MC, continued to remain on the files.

It was during Mr Gupta’s tenure that the divide between the two factions of the BJP, owing allegiance to Mr Gupta and Mr Satya Pal Jain, reached the point of no return. This culminated in the victory of Mr KK Addiwal of the Jain group, who was expelled by the BJP, as the Mayor. The internal wranglings in the party continued and no business could be transacted at several monthly meetings of the corporation even as important public issues awaited discussion.

The corporation continued to dither on the levy of property tax though the administration reminded it of imposing the tax saying that grants-in-aid were being reduced by 10 per cent per annum and the corporation must raise its own resources. However, the corporation finally implemented the much-delayed revision of water tariff.

The tenure of Ms Shanta Abhilashi, the last Mayor, was also uneventful. The simmering differences in the BJP came to such pass that its candidates for the posts of the Mayor and the Senior Deputy Mayor had to taste defeat reportedly after cross-voting by certain BJP councillors.

The last four tenures also saw erratic anti-encroachment drives by the civic body. This was a period when the corporation failed to create any asset for permanent income to the corporation though it auctioned commercial property worth several crores of rupees. 


Cold wave claims two more lives

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 (UNI) — The cold wave in the northwest region on the eighth day today claimed a life each in Haryana and Punjab during the past 24 hours taking the toll to 10 while the dense fog played havoc with rail, road and air traffic.

Siachen glacier was the coldest place in the entire subcontinent with mercury plumetting to minus 46°C.

Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and the adjoining tribal belt of Himachal Pradesh shivered under sub-zero temperatures of 15 to 18°C.

Patiso in Lahaul Spiti district reported a low of minus 18°C.

A person was found dead near a godown of the Sirsa railway station in Haryana last night. One more person died in Ludhiana district.

The people in and around the border district of Amritsar braved the low of 1°C for the second successive night, which was three degrees below normal.

The week-long cold wave had earlier claimed five lives in Chandigarh and its suburbs, one in Himachal Pradesh and two in Punjab.

According to Northern Railway sources, many trains emanating from or terminating at Delhi, New Delhi, Ambala, Saharanpur, Amritsar and Kalka ran two to three hours behind schedule due to poor visibility caused by the dense fog.

Vehicular traffic was also disrupted till 11 a.m. today.

People in and around Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, shivered as the cold wave further intensified and the minimumm temperature dipped to sub-zero of 6.7°C, five degrees below normal.

Jammu saw the minimum temperature falling to 4.7°C, the lowest of the season thus far, as it was three degrees below normal.

Ludhiana and Patiala, with lows at 4.1°C each, were other colder places in Punjab after Amrtisar.

Hisar in Haryana for the first time saw the minimum temperature dipping to the lowest of 3.1°C, two degrees below normal while Ambala with 4.5°C and Rohtak with 5.1°C were the other colder places in the state.

The people in and around the union territory of Chandigarh braved the low of 5°C, two degrees below normal, while the maximum temperature during the second half of the day improved slightly to 15°C, two degrees below normal, as the sun shone. However, fogs started descending again later in the evening.

The people in Shimla and upper areas of the district shivered with the temperature dipping to 1.5°C, one degree below normal.

Solan, the midway town along the Kalka-Shimla highway saw the minimum temperature falling to 0.5°C, the lowest so far, while Sundernagar reported the low of 0.1°C today.

Delhi had another cold morning today with the minimum temperature hovering at 6°C at Safdarjung and 5.8°C at Palam.

Weathermen here predicted out no respite from the present cold spell and have warned of recurrence of ground frost in plains and dense fog in the whole region over the next two days.


Mediapersons lathi-charged at GMCH
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — As many as 18 journalists gathered at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital soon after Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann was admitted there were caught unaware in a narrow corridor and were brutally lathi- charged by the internal security staff today evening. Equipment worth lakhs of rupees was also damaged.

Taking up the complaint subsequently lodged by the journalists, the Chandigarh Police registered a case of rioting and criminal intimidation against the security staff. Three guards were also arrested. They will be produced before the illaqa magistrate tomorrow.

The incident took place at about 5 p.m. when reporters and lensmen from both electronic and print media sought permission to enter the emergency. A posse of about 35 men surrounded them from behind and started hitting them brutally without any provocation.

The guards pinned the helpless journalists to the ground before ruthlessly hitting them with tree branches. Some were even slapped repeatedly. A woman journalist was also roughed up. The police, however, preferred to remain a mute spectator all this while.

For the “victims of high-handedness”, escape was not easy as they were dazed by the sudden attack. Some even jumped from the floor to save themselves and their expensive equipment.

According to eyewitnesses the security staff was called in after the glass of a door broke accidentally. Giving details, they said the journalists were knocking at the door after some of them were allowed to enter while the rest were told to wait outside. “We were merely requesting the guards to permit us to talk to some senior doctor when the glass accidentally broke, “said a journalist. “Soon after we heard them blow the whistle. Within minutes we were surrounded from all sides and attacked”.

The entire episode lasted for about five to seven minutes. Immediately after the lathi charge, the security staff cordoned off the area and equipment of some journalists were confiscated. As the journalists asked for their equipment, the guards replied rudely, even hurled abuses at some of them.

Resentment, prevailed among the journalists as they tried to contact some senior officials of the hospital after raising slogans against the security staff.

Denying the allegation of “unprovoked attack”, sources said the lathi charge was ordered as the journalists were trying to enter the emergency, along with the members of Gurdas Mann Fan Club who had broken the glass door. “Realising that the doctors on duty would get nervous and tense, we asked the security staff to push them out,” a doctor said.

Another doctor said the security staff was also considering the possibility of lodging a complaint with the police as some of the personnel were also injured in the clash.

Director-Principal of GMCH, Professor S.B.S. Mann, when contacted, said an inquiry had been ordered. “Acting Medical Superintendent Dr G.S. Dhami has been asked to look into the matter and submit a report as soon as possible,” he said.


Only 40 out of 300 can operate computers
Computerisation drive fails in city courts
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — The computerisation drive launched in the city’s District Courts about three years back has almost fallen flat in view of non-implementation of the software programme designed especially for the purpose. Ever since June 1998 when National Informatics Centre (NIC) officials installed six computer terminals in the city courts at a cost of Rs 5 lakh, they have been awaiting a proper usage. These terminals were installed in the chambers of Judges in the sessions court. Apart from these five terminals, the one installed in the copy branch of the courts has also been awaiting a comprehensive and full-time usage.

The computers were installed in the courts after the NIC conducted a training programme wherein one person from each of the 12 courts was trained over a period of 10 days in operating the system. According to Mr Girish Pant, Scientific Officer, NIC, “These people were trained in feeding the data and the system was ready for operation. But ever since the installation took place in June 1998, the system has not been used to achieve the purpose of providing online information pertaining to any case, fresh or old, including its last and next date of hearing, its stage etc.”

Mr Pant, who is currently handling computer training of the court staff, added that the NIC had designed the software programme and offered the essential training long back. “Even now the training is going on but the implementation is far from satisfactory.”

This year the NIC has already trained nearly 40 more persons. Currently the training is going on in batches of 10 persons everyday between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. Despite the fact that training has been offered in word processing and many other related fields, it is not serving the required purpose. The reason could be anything from lack of initiative to lack of special personnel to handle the computers. As informed by Mr Pant, “I have been visiting the District Judge often. He says that lack of adequate staff is a major problem. As far as we are concerned, we are always available in case the system fails or in case of any other problem. But the fact is that will-power is lacking. Perhaps the people who are taking training with us are too busy with routine work to use the computers.”

Meanwhile, the District Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, when contacted, said gradually the use of computers would be widened. “More staff is being trained and all the six terminals are being put to full use,” he said.

Whatever the claims and counter claims, sources in the court said that only three computers (one in the court of the District Judge and two others in the chambers of the UT Additional District Judges namely Mrs Sneh Prashar and Mr Lakhbir Singh) are in full use. But that use, too, is restricted to feeding of the daily cause list. Reportedly, no old cases have been fed into the computer memory. Also, the plan of procuring judgments as old as 20 years is also nowhere near realisation.

This ambitious computerisation plan, it may be recalled, envisaged computer linkage between the city courts and 500-odd other district courts of the country, besides the Supreme Court. While the linkage was long provided the system is still awaiting operation. Meanwhile, a fresh requirement of about 10 computers is also on the anvil, given the increased number of courts (from 12 to 19).

Another senior NIC official informed that the NIC had launched a similar drive in the Himachal High Court where it became very successful. “Here also connectivity was provided long back. As far as operation is concerned there is no problem except that an initiative is to be taken by the department concerned. The machines should be put to use regularly so that the staff can adapt itself. Technically, the system is quite sound and we have not received any complaint so far. In fact, we have been in regular touch with the court authorities to find out if there is any problem at all.”

With no technical snags delaying the operation, the lack of initiative and inadequate staff seem to be the causes behind the problem. May be with the ongoing training some good could be done to the money which was spent on the massive plan.


Amendments in building byelaws were most satisfying: Adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 9 — Naming the amendments in building byelaws as the most satisfying aspect of her 20-month tenure in Chandigarh, the outgoing Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Vineeta Rai, says it will provide an economic perspective to the city.

The change in building byelaws will result in more people buying property, besides providing for relief to residents of the city, says Ms Rai, who relinquishes charge on January 12. The change was necessary as the city needed to grow while the byelaws were restrictive in nature.

The entry of Chandigarh into the field of information technology will bear fruit in the years to come and project Chandigarh as the next IT destination, besides providing for futuristic facilities. While taking the blame on herself for the delay in ushering in Chandigarh’s IT projection, she says “We have fallen back by three months due to some administrative bottlenecks.”

The IT revolution will also give economic impetus to the city. An OFC project to link the city is under way. An IT park is on its way and so is the “e-governance” project. An MoU has been signed with Microsoft, she says, adding on the work being done in IT sector.

Ms Rai, a 1968 batch UT cadre IAS officer, opines that the bureaucrat has to work behind the scenes but otherwise react to situations. There should be no pomp and show, she adds, explaining her shyness from mediapersons.

“When I came here on April 19, 1999, there was paucity of officers to perform the basic duties to provide a feedback. The Finance Secretary was not there, the SSP was on leave and the Deputy Commissioner had just been posted to Chandigarh. Within three weeks the Home Secretary and Inspector-General of Police were in the news. “Without wanting to take sides, I did not endorse the way things went public then and statements were being issued in the media,” she adds. Another controversy the Adviser handled was the arrest of former Home Secretary N.K. Jain on corruption charges.

Other works include auction of freehold residential plots. Land was allotted to cooperative housing societies which had deposited money in 1991. The rehabilitation scheme for migrant dwellers was given a cut-off date for further allotments. Another aspect that will hopefully be solved soon is the conversion of leasehold plots into freehold ones even for those have General Power of Attorney, says the Adviser. “Luckily the case is presently being dealt with the Urban Affairs Ministry, where I am being transferred,” she adds.

Regarding the controversy in the private life of the present Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, Ms Rai says “The Union Home Ministry had asked me about the same, I said since it was a personal matter, he should continue to serve as long as it did not affect his official duties.” To this the MHA agreed, the Adviser said.

Speaking about the Municipal Corporation, the Adviser says the MC has to generate its own revenue and impose some taxes and the case of imposing property tax on commercial property in the city is an appropriate one. Already the Government of India has imposed a cut. It will be wonderful if the Mayor has a longer tenure than the present system which brings about a change every year, she suggests.


Environment aid for Army units
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — Various Army units under the Western Command will receive an assistance of Rs 1 lakh for carrying out environment awareness and action programmes under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

As many as 14 units and establishments will receive amounts ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for carrying out activities like tree plantation, workshops, setting up nature parks and conducting competitions. These activities will be undertaken under the National Environment Awareness Campaign 2000-01 (NEAC), being conducted by the Environment Society of India.

Six units will receive Rs 10,000 each, while the remaining eight will receive Rs 5,000 each. These amounts have been sanctioned as per proposals received from them by the Environment Society of India.

As per available information, the Military Farms Branch at the Western Command, Headquarters Chandi Mandir, plans to establish a nature club, while the Command Nursery has a proposal to set up a garden for medicinal plants. Station Headquarters, Chandi Mandir, is setting up a fish pond within the premises of the Deer Park in the cantonment.

Besides plantation, 180 Armoured Brigade, 35 Infantry Brigade, 49 Infantry Brigade and 3 Dogra will be organising competitions on environment-related topics. Other units to participate in the programme and organise lectures or workshops include the Scinde Horse, 63 Cavalry, 268 Engineer Regiment, 2 Corps Dental Unit, 16 Infantry Division, 19 Madras and 715 Air Defence Brigade.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has selected 21 government organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs) for participation under the NEAC during 2000-01.

All the organisations have been asked to hold seminars, workshops, rallies, plantation drives and sanitation campaigns. The activities are to be held before March 31, 2001. A workshop for government organisations as well as NGOs from Haryana is scheduled to be held in the city on January 15.


BCL brings latest IT books to city
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — The British Council Library has proved its mettle once again by bringing together the latest collection of books on Information Technology, thus opined several of the visitors who visited the exhibition of books on society and public awareness, organised by the library in Sector 8 here today.

The British Library has been doing a wonderful job in providing the latest volumes to its readers, said Gautam Manik Tala, an IT student from the IBM Institute of Information Technology.” This particular exhibition on IT has helped us students to browse through the latest books which are not available in any other of the city libraries”, he added.

As far as providing the latest editions is concerned, the library has fulfilled the readers’ expectation, said Ashish Gautam, a student of the local Punjab Engineering College. It is a respite for the students dealing with IT, as the Panjab University library does not have the latest collections in this field, he said. However, the library has failed to provide audio cassettes which act like the informative counterpart of the books, he added.

The five-day exhibition has on display about 149 books relating to libraries in the information age, guides for IT professionals, education in the information age, business in the information age, accessing electronic information and how to obtain UK books and journals.

‘The Dictionary of Library and Information Management’, a Peter Collin Publication, ‘Becoming a Successful Intrapreneur’, a practical guide to create an Innovative Information service, edited by Sheila Pantry and Peter Griffiths, ‘Internet in easy steps’ and ‘Speaking Globally’ by Elizabeth Urech are a few of the exhibits that give an insight into the Information Technology related subjects besides helping the readers to make effective presentation across international and cultural boundaries. Another book “The Age of Spiritual Mechanism-a unique look at the future Bill Gates” by Ray Kurzweil also makes an interesting reading.


HVP submits memorandum
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 9 — A rally was organised by the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) from the Majri chowk to the mini-secretariat in Sector 1 in protest against the laxity of the government in carrying out electricity reforms.

In the absence of officials concerned, a 13-point memorandum enlisting the demands was handed over to the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO), Mr Rakesh Jogpal.

The president of the local unit of the HVP, Mr KP Singh, said the projects to be completed with the second installment from the World Bank which included laying of 16,000 km electricity lines, installation of 12,000 new transformers for providing new connections, making 3,71,000 new meters available among others were stalled. He protested that the hike in power tariff was not justified and should be rolled back.

Taking up local issues, Mr K.P. Singh said the imposition of house tax on Ward number 1, 4 and 9 of the Kalka municipal limits was also against public interest.

He alleged that the damaged causeway had not been repaired despite repeated reminders.


Body of ex-lecturer found in park
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — A former lecturer in Panjab University’s Department of Music was found dead in a Sector 36 park in the morning today. Police believes that 71-year-old Narinder Singh could have died of heart attack.

Sources in the Police Department said Narinder Singh left Dehra Dun for his house in Sector 41 by the 5 p.m. bus on Monday and was expected to return home late at night. They added that he had gone to Dehra Dun to meet his brother-in-law who was unwell.

His daughter, Ms Kamaljit, said her father could have decided to walk home after getting down at Sector 35 Kisan Bhavan. “He was fond of praying while walking,” she added.

She further added that they were informed about his death by a student, who in turn was called by the police after her number was found in a diary which Narinder Singh was carrying.

A senior police official said there were no signs of external injuries. Narinder Singh, he added, was still wearing his watch and had Rs 20 in his pocket.

The body, he added, had been sent for a post-mortem examination and the report was expected soon. The actual cause of death, he claimed, would be ascertained only after the report was received. 


Water supply in PGI colony disrupted
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 —Residents of PGI colony, Sector 12, went without drinking water supply for more than 24 hours today. The colony, situated behind the two research blocks in the institute, has about 400 houses in the categories B, C and D of PGI employees.

According to the president of the PGI Residential Complex Welfare society, Mr R.K. Khanchi, this kind of situation is being faced by residents for the third time in the past one year.

As many as 4,000 residents of the area had a tough time today due to the sudden disruption in the water supply, more so as they had not made prior arrangements to deal with the situation.

The supply was disrupted as the pipe of pump booster at Sector 4, which supplies water to the above- mentioned colony, bursted. The repairs were effected by evening when the supply was resumed.


Chautala to meet the Press
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, Haryana, will “Meet the Press” at the Chandigarh Press Club at 11.30 a.m. tomorrow. 


Concern over slaughter of stray animals
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, Jan 9 — The Social Creator Organisation of India has accused the Haryana Government and the HUDA of being in collusion with private contractors who remove stray animals from the roads of the city for the purpose of beautification and take these to slaughter houses in the neighbouring towns.

In a press conference organised here today, the national president of the organisation, Mr Radhey Sham, alleged that though the HUDA had started to nab the animals from November 28, 2000, certain private contractors had started to nab even the pet animals from the houses of milk vendors. Within a period of one month, they had taken around 7000 milch animals, he contended.

Mr Radhey Sham accused the private contractors of hiring help for transferring the animals in the most unhygienic conditions to Tajewala in Yamunanagar district, where these animals ended up in slaughter houses. He said after the animals were killed, their hides were sold at exorbitant rates.

He added that the residents of the adjoining villages of the city were unhappy over the episode and demanded that such practices be immediately banned. He said around 50 milch animals from the city and its nearby villages had been thus killed. He also accused the HUDA of being unable to formulate a concrete plan for nabbing the stray animals and ensuring that these are kept safely.


Body found hanging from ceiling
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — Mystery shrouds the death of a 23-year-old Butrela village resident whose body was found hanging from the ceiling in the morning today.

According to sources in the police department, the room in which Lakhpati Baduni was residing was locked from outside. Sources said there were, however, no marks of external injuries.

They added that a stool, along some egg shells and empty glasses, were lying in the room. Baduni, they further added, had reportedly consumed liquor at night. No suicide note was found, said sources.

It was also added that Baduni, employed with a shop in Sector 34, was sharing the room with Kuldip Parshad. He, sources added, had left the room in the evening as he was working in the night shift with an organisation in SAS Nagar.

A senior police official, when contacted, said a team from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory visited the spot soon after being informed. He added that the body had been sent for postmortem and the report was expected soon.

The cause of death, the officer said, would be established only after going through the report. The police, he further added, would proceed in accordance with the law after recording the statement of the witnesses.


Firm dupes five of over 6 lakh
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — Mr Jasmer Singh of Mundi Kharar, alleged that M M Negi, a Sector 40 resident, Managing Director of Real Value Agro Estate Company, and some other persons, cheated him and four others of Rs 6,41,645. In his complaint, he said he, along with four other persons, had deposited the above said amount with company under its different scheme in April 1999.

Mr Jasmer Singh alleged that the company closed its office and did not return the amount. He further alleged that all the persons he had named in his complaint were absconding.

The police has registered a case against the MD, Ms Nirmal Verma, Finance Director of the firm, and others, under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. The crime cell of the Chandigarh police will investigate the case.

Suicide attempt
A case of attempt to suicide was registered against a Mani Majra resident, yesterday. According to sources in the police department, Mr Pirthi Chand reported to the police that his son Surinder Singh tried to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance yesterday evening.

Surinder was taken to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where his condition was reported to be stable. The reason why he tried to commit suicide could not be known. Police sources said they would be in position to give more information after recording the evidence of the accused and other witnesses.

House burgled
Mr Ashwani Anand of Sector 34 reported to the police that his house was burgled, on Sunday night. The thieves, after breaking the lock of the house, took away four pairs of diamond earrings, one ring, three gold chains and two bangles. They also took away some other house hold goods and Rs 2,600. A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Thief held
Gum Bahadur was arrested from Sector 38 for allegedly stealing a bicycle of a Sector 38 resident. Mr Bir Bahadur had earlier complained to the police that the accused had stolen his bicycle from his residence. The bicycle was recovered from the possession of the accused

A case has been registered.

Scooter stolen
Mr Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Sector 41, reported to the police that his scooter (CH-03-A-0264) was stolen from the parking of Sector 17 yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Liquor seized
Babu Ram was arrested with 154 pouches of liquor yesterday. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.


Santro dealer’s claim
Tribune News Service.

Chandigarh, Jan 9 — Ultimate Automobiles Private Limited has claimed that as many as 150 Santro cars had been sold in the city during the month of December and the sale of this car was on a par with the sale figure of Alto.

In a written statement issued here today, Mr Jaspal Singh, General Manager of the company, said the comparative figures of the past six months show that the sales of Santro car were the maximum.

He reiterated that there was a lot of technological difference between the two cars and Hyundai's Santro was ahead as far as technology being used was concerned.


Move to privatise Shivalikview flayed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 9 — The CITCO Workers Union held a gate meeting at Hotel Shivalikview under the presidentship of Mr Brij Mohan to take serious note of the privatisation of the hotel.

The general secretary of the union, Mr Sanjay Kumar, condemned the move. He said the hotel was an asset of CITCO and the Chandigarh Administration.

The propaganda secretary, Mr Sant Lal, pointed out that the hotel was a profit-making proposition. The union decided to intensify its agitation.

Among those who addressed the meeting were Mr Bhagmal Rana, general secretary, Federation of UT Employees and Workers, Comrade Balbir, general secretary, CITU, Mr Ramesh Kumar Chandolia and Mr R.S. Sandhu, president and adviser of UTSS Federation.

They condemned the anti-national, anti-employee, anti-public economic and privatisation policies of the government, which were being implemented under the dictates of World Bank, IMF and WTO.

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