Saturday, February 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


20 pc of city residents pay taxes
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Chandigarh has one of the highest percentage of income tax payers as per population in the country. About 20 per cent of the city’s population pays taxes while the all India ratio is just 2.3 per cent. A whopping Rs 245 crore was collected as net taxes last year from about 2 lakh income tax payees in the city.

This financial year the Finance Ministry has set a target of Rs 345 crore, the average at this ratio will be Rs 12,250 for each of the 2 lakh tax payers. ‘‘ We are hopeful of meeting the target,’’ said a confident Mr Ashwini Luthra, Commissioner Income Tax, Chandigarh zone, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune. The ratio of tax payers and tax collections is comparable and even better than the metros, he said.

The number of tax payers in the city has gone up from 1 lakh to 2 lakh in the past two years. Actually, the fence sitters, who were on the fringes , are also filing returns, he reasoned, explaining the rise in numbers. The 1/6 scheme has also brought in more assesses. Moreover the taxation slabs have come down and businessmen are now realising that growth in business is linked with income tax payments. Before joining hands in any commercial activity all banks or joint venture partners ask for income tax returns.

In the last two financial years, the jump in tax payers and collections has been huge. In the year ending March 31, 1999, about Rs 140 crore as collected as net taxes. And within two years — for the year ending March 31, 2001 — this target has jumped to Rs 345 crore. This is also 20 per cent of the entire collection of the north western region comprising Punjab, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

Appreciating the city’s educated class, Mr Luthra said about 85 per cent of the city’s population filed its returns while quoting the permanent account number (PAN). The rest were new assesses, thus could not quote PAN.

Next on the target of the authorities is total computerisation, which will be in place within the next three to four months. Also on the cards is rationalisation of workload that is to be effected countrywide, said Mr Luthra. The department is also aware about ‘‘ E—commerce ’’ activity and is soon going to act and look for ways and means to tax the transactions.

Talking about pending investigation cases, he said a couple of hundred cases of returns filed about three years ago are pending. 


Fact sheet

* Among the top tax payers is a local businessman whose individual annual income is more than Rs 1 crore .

* About 7,000 city residents file returns on annual income of more than Rs 2 lakh.

* Hundreds of people are within the Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh per year bracket.

* Tax collections have risen by almost Rs 200 crore in two financial years.

* Income Tax authorities say no “witch hunt” to bring in more taxes.

* Also ‘‘ no prying’’ unless specific information about concealed information.

* The department has just unearthed a case in which a person made transactions of Rs 2 crore and was not even filing his returns what to talk about giving taxes.


Special buses for students by CTU 
By Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) has decided to run special buses for students of Panjab University, colleges and schools of the city.

The office of the Director Transport, UT, through the Director Public Instructions, Colleges and Schools, and the Registrar, Panjab University, is in the process of devising a special university-colleges-schools integrated bus route, on which these student special buses will ply.

This decision comes in wake of the poor response to the student-special bus, which CTU had started early this year for colleges on the Madhya Marg and Panjab University. Dr Amar Pal, Director, Transport, UT, states that this bus was started on an experimental basis and the colleges and PU were supposed to respond to the utility of its services, but since there was no effective feedback, the services could not be extended to other routes.

Sources in these colleges state that not many students were using this special bus, as the timing did not seem to suit the specific colleges. Also, there were no morning timings to pick up students from various sectors. Dr Amar Pal, however, clarifies that the bus service was started on a purely experimental basis on a single route and all problems of this variety will be kept in mind before the new service is started.

The office of the Director Transport, is in the meanwhile, collecting data on prescribed forms from the University, colleges and schools of the city regarding their time preferences, number of users from a particular sector group, number of students with valid CTU passes etc. based on which, a comprehensive and detailed route for school children, college students and University students will be worked out. “We are receiving almost 10 filled forms a day from various institutions of the city and in another fortnight, all the information we need will be available and then as soon as possible the route will be worked out. “says Dr Singh.


Teenage suicides common during exam days
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Her mother was surprised when Anubha suddenly started showing signs of psychological depression. The cheerful 15-year-old student of Class X, till now, had always been at the forefront in games as well as in studies.

Now, with what appeared to be a certain change in biorythmics of her moods and body, Anubha not only stopped eating and started losing weight but also started complaining of general weakness with aches and pains in the body coupled with frequent bouts of sweating. What surprised her mother even more was that her daughter, who had always been an above average student, performed badly in the pre-board exams.

Anubha was fortunate. Her parents took these signals as a warning sign for the impending danger in future and acted fast. They took her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her as a clear cut case of psychological anxiety, apprehension and fear. Something which many students, in the pre-examination days of February and March, under stress from their parents and teachers to perform well in the exams, may suffer.

She, fearing under-achievement in final exams, was feeling the same. Can I score well enough was the big question which also proved to be the focus of distractibility.

According to the information available from police, on an average one to two cases of suicide are reported because of anxiety, before the exams, every year. The police believes that actual number could be more as many of these cases go unreported. However, what is certain, as per the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, is the fact that teenagers often play kidnapping drama to escape wrath of their parents after they have performed poorly in exams.

Dr Adarsh Kohli, Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology, PGI, says that whereas some amount of working anxiety is required in every child, however, actual problem begins when the parents and teachers tend to over do it. “Pressure to the extend of creating stress is unfortunate. As when the child is under stress he or she is beyond logic reasoning and that is why number of teenage suicides are reported during the pre-exam days. The youngsters are just unable to cope up with the pressure,” she adds.

Dr Kohli laments the fact that teachers as well as the parents lack the psychological sensitivity to handle the child, especially after he or she has done badly in exam.

Stress before examinations can lead to some irreversible implication on the child’s psychologically. “While writing the exam the child may just go blank despite knowing all the answers. Stress can also alter the child’s personality whereby he can lose touch with reality and start behaving in a biazzre fashion,” says Dr Kohli.


Tips for the parents

  • Try to estimate your child’s actual capacity.
  • Your attitude should be supporting. While some amount of stress may be required, especially for a careless child, but do not over do it.
  • Refrain from criticism. Instead provide practical positive suggestions of how to go about the studies.
  • You can do better next time, should be your advice.
  • Please do provide him or her with time for some leisure activity. A movie or an outing always helps.
  • Mental health is important and so is the care about food and sleep.


Tips for the students

  • Have clearly defined goals. Writing down an objective makes it more definite and approachable.
  • Plan well the way you want to study and get moving towards your goal. Do-it-now is the secret of efficiency.
  • Break up the task as they can be accomplished if divided into less frightening units.
  • Ignore setbacks but do something every day.
  • Use your imagination positively. Do not picture defeat. Instead dwell upon positive aspects of life — happiness, hardwork and success.


UT to get Rs 20 cr additional revenue
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, today communicated to the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), saying that Chandigarh will be getting Rs 20 crore as additional revenue in the next financial year, that is 2001-2002.

The Union Finance Ministry had already accepted and approved estimates of Rs 534 crore as net budget for Chandigarh. With the hike the Administration will be getting Rs 554 crore. The money will be used to fund several long-term projects which require constant funding, sources said.

Besides this the money will be used to make payments for large-scale land acquisition made for development of third phase sectors. A detailed note had been made about this informing the Finance Ministry that this was the last phase of land acquisition in Chandigarh and money was required. Chandigarh’s budget is a part of the Union Home Ministry’s Budget and it is approved by the Parliament.

The FM’s letter which was received today is in response to a request by the Chandigarh Administration seeking a hike after generating an additional Rs 24 crore by way of revenue in the present financial year. The Administration had requested the Union Finance Ministry to hike the same amount in the next budget for better management of the city and its expenses.

A letter in this regard had been written by the UT Administrator to the Union Finance Minister, seeking use of the money for ongoing projects in Chandigarh. General Jacob had said the idea behind this to see that the good work done in the field of collection of revenue gets plouged back for the benefit of the city. The General’s letter comes after the Ministry of Finance did not agree to allow use of additional funds for Chandigarh as all money has to be deposited in the treasury and utilised as per allocation.

Actually the Ministry in its budgetary allocation for Chandigarh had approved for a deficit of Rs 38 crore during the year 2000 and 2001. By pulling up the sales tax and excise collection teams and by plugging the evasion in taxes, the Chandigarh Administration has been able to net in an additional Rs 24 crore, thus bringing down the deficit from Rs 38 crore to Rs 14 crore.

The deficit target for the next year has been fixed at Rs 10 crore. Till about 3 years ago the revenue collection in Chandigarh used to far exceed the expenses. However, the implementation of the Vth Pay Commission has increased the load of the government as the wage bill has almost doubled.

The same had been put forward to the ministry also. The Administration has also said that it carries out the task of housing and distribution of power. Both tasks are carried out by independent boards which have s system of borrowings from banks. The Administration cannot borrow from banks or any other institution.


HFCL to support PU R&D projects
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Himachal Furturistic Company Limited (HFCL) will support the R&D projects of Panjab University besides offering scholarships to deserving students, Group Chairman of the HFCL, Mr Mahendra Nahata, said here today.

Inaugurating the Chandigarh Symposium on Microelectronics (CSME) — 2001, at the PU campus, Mr Nahata while complimenting the PU, the CSIO and the SCL for organising the symposium, emphasised the need for accelerated development of the microelectonics in the country to come up to international standards.

Saying that India has distinct advantage of having largest pool of technical talent, he was of the opinion that currently Indian IC engineers were providing services to MNCs only. Acknowledging that the industry was partly responsible for the situation as not enough investment had been made in the R&D sector, he said without developing the indigenous products manufacturing sector could not progress in the country.

In his keynote address, the PU Vice-Chancellor, Prof KN Pathak, said there had been an overwhelming response of the industry for recruitment of students of the M.Tech(Microelectronics), started in collaboration with the SCL about two years back.

He also said that the region was suitable to the development of microelectronics industry and urged the industry to set up establishments here to make the area hub of microelectronics activity.

Dr MJ Zarabi, CMD of the SCL, regretted that microelectronics activity in the country had not grown to the desired level mainly on account of the domestic industry being small and fragmented and lack of competitive fabrication facility. Dr Zarabi expressed the need for manpower development in the country in the IC design through the introduction of the courses at the B.Tech and M.Tech levels for engineering students.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Prof SK Sharma, Director of the Central Instrumentation Laboratory of the PU said interaction between the industry and university was must to reap the benefits of the globalisation.


Quake: need for information management system
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, February 16 — Involvement of quake victims both in their rehabilitation and relocation through village-level committees and putting in place a proper information management system for relief distribution are some of the important issues which the Gujarat Government must address itself while handling the aftermath of the January 26 earthquake in the state.

Gujarat is one state which has an effective network of village-level committees called Village Watershed Committees. The same Village Watershed Committees or new ones should be constituted to ensure not only the proper distribution of relief among the quake victims but also to ensure their proper rehabilitation and relocation, says Prof Sudarshan Iyengar, Director of the Gujarat Institute of Development Research.

Accompanied by Mr Digant Oza, a journalist, Professor Iyengar is in the city to attend a two-day conference-cum-workshop on the preparation of the District Disaster Management Plan at the Sector 19 CRRID here.

Professor Iyengar said more than 7,900 villages of the state were affected, of which nearly 200 had been destroyed. The tragedy was compounded by a communication gap as there was no proper assessment of the gravity of the disaster in the first place. Communication between the affected areas in Kutch on the one hand and the state headquarters and the Central Government on the other hand was neither proper nor regular. As such, rescue and relief operations were inordinately delayed.

He agreed that because of the nexus among builders, politicians and the administration, the quality of civil works was below the norms because of which the damage was much more. Incidentally, not many government buildings or even housing board units, which were otherwise considered substandard, were damaged in the quake because of strict structural controls. Private builders followed no such controls.

“Why we say that there is an urgent need for an information management system, both in relief and rehabilitation programmes, is not only to cut wastage but also to ensure the equitable distribution of relief. Some areas are overflowing with relief while others are yet to be reached. There is an urgent need to identify the relief measures required for each of the affected areas.

“The most disturbing part of the whole tragedy has been that the rest of the state has been gripped by a fear psychosis. As such, the un-affected areas did not know how to react to the catastrophe,” said Professor Iyengar, maintaining that though many of the NGOs came forward and joined the relief and rehabilitation programmes, they lacked proper guidance and organisation.

“The most redeeming feature of the worst-affected area — Kutch — has been the formation of the Janpath Nagrik Pehl, a federation of various NGOs which is not only organising and overseeing the entire relief and rehabilitation programme in the affected areas but also trying to ensure that basic needs of the victims are met immediately. It has divided the entire Kutch area into 23 zones and in each zone there are a cluster of villages.

“Unless we take the disaster management plan to the village level, we cannot succeed. A disturbing thing has been the decision of the state government to relocate the devastated villages without taking the villagers into its confidence. The same is being done in the distribution of relief and the taking of other rehabilitation measures. We feel that people must be involved and consulted in their rehabilitation and relocation,” said Professor Iyengar, whose institute has already conducted a preliminary survey of the devastation caused and submitted its report to the state government. He felt that it would take one to five years for normalcy to return to Gujarat.

Meanwhile, Prof Pardeep Sahni, Chairman, Public Administration Department of Indira Gandhi National Open University, stressed the need for an integrated approach to handle disasters. He said that more and more autonomous institutions should be set up and there should be a proper networking of all such institutions for a national disaster management plan.

The emphasis, he said, should be more on creating the basic infrastructure at the panchayat level as had been done by Indira Gandhi Open University in setting up a Risk Task Force at the village level. Each Task Force would include able-bodied young men and even women of the village who normally remained there the village and enjoyed popularity in the area.


Disabilities to be listed in census
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Acting on the request of Union Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, the ongoing census operations will list disabilities of persons.

No information on infirmities was collected during the Census operations of 1941, 1951, 1961 and 1971. However, a simple direct question on the aggregate number of those who are totally blind, totally dumb and totally crippled was included in 1981. The idea was to make available a frame, mainly for further sample surveys. In 1991 census, the information on disabilities was not collected.

Notwithstanding the different limitations of the census data on the physically handicapped, there had been demand from different quarters to reintroduce question on disabilities in the census questionnaire as no other agency in the country could provide such an information for the country as a whole. Accordingly, a question on the disability has been included in the census-2001.

The five types of disabilities have been identified as — in seeing; in speech; in hearing; in movement and mental.

A person who can not see at all or has blurred vision even with the help of spectacles, will be treated as visually disabled. A person who can see or hear properly with one eye or one ear but is unable to see or hear with the other eye or the other ear will be recorded as disabled. A person who is able to hear with the help of hearing aid will not be considered as disabled.

A dumb person will be recorded as having speech disability. Similarly, a person whose speech is not understood by a listener of normal comprehension and hearing will be considered as having speech disability. This question will not be asked in respect of children upto three years of age.

If any of the limbs of a person is affected rendering that person unable to move without a stick or without the help of other or to lift any object or to pull any object near him with his arms, will be recorded as having disability in movement. Absence of a part of a limb like a finger or a toe will not be considered as disability. However, absence of all the fingers or toe or a thumb will be considered as a disability in movement. Persons having problems of joints like arthritis, which hamper their movement, will also be considered as having disability in movement.

A person who lacks comprehension appropriate to her/his age or who generally depends on her/his family members for performing daily routine will be considered as having mental disability. It should be left to the respondent to report whether the member of the household is mentally disabled and no tests are required to be applied by the enumerator to judge the member’s disability.

In case of multiple disabilities it is upto the respondent to decide as to the type of disability she/he wants the member of her/his household to be classified into.


Sant Waryam Singh for survey-based relief
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, February 16 — A survey-based efficient delivery system can provide immediate and meaningful relief for the rehabilitation of the victims of any disaster, says Sant Waryam Singh, founder of the Vishav Gurmat Ruhani Mission, suggesting close involvement of village elders or other respectable persons in the system.

Inaugurating a two-day conference-cum-workshop on the “District Disaster Management Plan” organised jointly by the High-Powered Committee on District Disaster Management plans of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development at the CRRID here today, Sant Waryam Singh wondered why human beings or science could not forecast natural disasters when small creatures like ants and crickets or even dogs could forewarn of rain and even quakes.

He said that some Saintly persons could make forecasts and predictions. He corroborated his point by referring to certain recitations of Guru Nanak Dev forewarning people about the forays of Mughal ruler Babar.

Talking about his experiences in Bhuj, Sant Waryam Singh said that it was unfortunate that there was not enough machinery available to clear the rubble. There was no delivery system for the relief and rehabilitation programme. There was no contingency plan available with the administration which could be effectively used in such calamities.

He said that after the earthquake of January 26, mission decided to provide relief to the victims on February 2. Nineteen trucks carrying essential items, including foodgrains and blankets, left for Bhuj. More relief was sent on February 14.The relief team comprising 120 volunteers was divided into three groups. One of the groups conducted a survey and found out the requirements of the people of a particular area while the other distributed relief. The third group handled the headquarters, where food was cooked and more than 8,000 eat there everyday.

He stressed the need for involving village elders and other respectable people of the area in the relief distribution mechanism. Mr J.C. Pant, Chairman of the High-Powered Committee on District Disaster Management Plans, said that though the committee was notified before the great cyclone of Orrisa in 1999, it was actually activated shortly afterwards.

The committee had already produced a source book on disaster management. Two copies each of this book had been supplied to the Deputy Commissioners of all districts in the country. The book provide guidelines and basic assistance in the preparation of the district plan by listing 31 types of disasters, divided broadly into five categories.

Mr Pant said 15 to 20 centres of excellence needed to be developed throughout the country and these needed to be networked for round-the-year watch. A quick and response system needed to be developed with the provision of infrastructure in each of the five zones. He said that “development should not become disaster."

Earlier, Mr Rashpal Malhotra, founder-Director, CRRID, while introducing the subject said that even the Deputy Commissioners of certain districts of Jammu and Kashmir had been specially deputed to join the conference-cum-workshop.

Mr Anil Sinha, Joint Secretary and Member-Secretary, High-Powered Committee on District Disaster Management Plans, said that the country was “shaken” not by the quake but by inaction on the lessons of the Orrisa cyclone.

Between these two major disasters, the country had learnt some lessons, he said, suggesting a close look at the existing systems and the need for developing new responsive mechanism to handle such disasters.

Later, the Deputy Commissioners of various districts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir presented the action plans they had prepared for managing disasters.

Among those who joined the deliberations were Prof S.K. Goyal, Prof G. C. Kar, Prof G .P. Mishra, Prof Sudershan Iyengar, Dr Yogesh Atal and the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, (Mr N. K. Arora) and Haryana, (Mr L. M. Goyal).


TA officers to be attached to Army units
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, February 16 — To overcome the huge gap in training and to inculcate leadership qualities, officers commissioned into the Territorial Army (TA) will be attached to the regular Army units on a long-term basis.

“TA officers will be attached to Infantry battalions for a period of two years which, depending on the officers’ availability and willingness, can be extended up to five years,” a TA officer revealed. “At present, there is no structured training for TA officers,” he added.

The Central Government has granted sanction for this and volunteers for attachment will be shortlisted by the MS Branch at Army Headquarters. Attachment is different from embodiment, where TA officers are posted in TA battalions only when called out for active service for specific tasks.

The first batch of 25 such officers is expected to begin attachment in three or four months. Attachment will be to Infantry units based at peace-time locations as well as to those in the field or deployed in counter-insurgency operations. “The officer will go wherever the battalion he has been allocated is based,” a source said.

The decision comes in the backdrop of TA units being increasingly mobilised for counter-insurgency duties and expert committees recommending certain changes and reorganisation of the TA set-up. While the raising of additional Infantry units has been approved, expanding the concept of TA to armoured, artillery and air defence formations has also been recommended, though a decision on this aspect is yet to be taken.

“About 50 per cent of the TA has been mobilised for counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in the North-East,” a TA officer stated. “The absence of adequate or structured training leaves a lot to be desired in their performance in such situations,” he added. Further, with the expansion of this force on the anvil to reduce the pressure on the regular Army as well as the exchequer, sources say that it makes sense to have well-trained officers.

During the period of attachment, the TA officer will be an integral part of the unit and will be required to perform all operational and administrative duties. The attached officer can also be detailed to undergo training courses conducted by various Army establishments.

Under the present system, after a candidate has been accepted for commission in the TA, he undergoes initial training for 30 days. In addition, 10 weeks post-commission training is compulsory within two years of the commission, besides training for a continuous period of two months every year.

Apart from the above-mentioned training, which is basic or refresher, a TA officer has little or no exposure to military life and activities. A TA officer can also volunteer for additional training and specialised military courses like the Young Officers’ Course, the Junior Command Course, the Weapons Course and, in some instances, the Commando Course.


Martyr’s spirit kept undying
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — There is little you can say about a person who sacrificed his life fighting for the nation 35 years ago. But you can say a lot about his brother who donated a cheque of Rs 1 lakh for the Gujarat quake victims. The cheque was handed over to him just last year as a token of gratitude by the Indian Air Force for his younger brother’s supreme sacrifice in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. A former Director General of Police, Haryana, Mr S.S Brar came to the Tribune office yesterday to hand over this cheque to the Editor, which will go towards the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

His brother, Jagdev Singh Brar, aged 22 took off from Halwara in his Hunter jet fighter in the wee hours of September 7, 1965; the Indo-Pak war was at its peak and his target was the Sargodha airfield and other installations, recalls, Mr Brar. Little Ben Brar, as he was known within his Air Force family, had a mission to destroy an enemy target based somewhere in the Sialkot sector. The mission was successfully accomplished. But on the way back, he and his squadron commander were intercepted by the Pakistani aircraft and the two were shot down, he adds.

“And we lost the prized possession of our family”, says Mr Brar sadly with a heavy voice. “Jaggie, as we knew him, was too good to be merely human, too genuine sans hypocrisy to fit into this materialistic world of today. No wonder he was named ‘Little Ben’ — for little he was with his innocent ever-smiling face,” recalls Mr Brar. He was a promising flier who, in his two-year service, belonged to the elite Thunderbolts Aerobatics team being formed at that time.

Handing over the cheque to The Tribune, Mr Brar said, “I wish, instead of me my parents were alive to hand over this cheque of their beloved son for this noble cause. My mother passed away only last year and this amount came to us a little later.” In the last 35 years all that the family got was a telegram, declaring him Missing in Action and his baggage a year later. Till this recognition came, he remained an unsung hero, like many others who gave up their lives, he added.

He went on to add that the amount was given to the living next of the kin of all those Air Force men, who had laid down their lives for the cause of the country. The cheque and a memento, a token of remembrance and gratitude on the part of the IAF was presented at a function held at Western Air Commmand Headquarters, New Delhi.

“When I went up to the dias to receive the cheque and the memento my thoughts besides going to my brother were as to how to utilise the said amount for a worthy cause. I thought of many outlets but somehow it kept getting delayed. And then the January 26 earthquake happened. After seeing the havoc it had caused in the lives of thousands, there were no doubts left in my mind, I knew where this money had to go.”

The senior retired police officer, who is known for his honesty and integrity in poice circles is of the view, “This is just a small step towards removing grief from a few faces. As for me, I feel my brother has surfaced again after 35 years. Do such people really die?



Dead phones of Panchkula

On Saturday (Feb 10) my telephone in Sector 21, Panchkula went dead. Some of my neighbours also had the same complaint. On Sunday, a neighbour called at the local telephone exchange and persuaded a mechanic to accompany him in his car to set the telephones right. He announced that the roadside box which fed current to the phones was locked and the key was with another mechanic who would not be resuming duty before Monday. But the lines were not restored even on Monday.

On Tuesday (Feb 13) the President of the Sector 21 Residents’ Welfare Association went to meet the DGM to apprise him of the situation.

Even on the fifth day, the connections to two houses, including mine, were not restored. I rang up the DGM and was assured that it would be restored but till the time of writing (Feb 14) my telephone remains lifeless.

Inefficiency seems to have increased in direct proportion to the hike in rentals. It is time the residents approached the consumer courts for such failures, including those of power and water supply.

Tribhuvan Nath

Road widening

It is heartening to see that HUDA is in the process of widening some busy roads in Panchkula but the exercise has been undertaken without proper planning. The sides of the roads are being dug, and the tiles are being removed and placed right on the edge of the metalled part of the road, making it narrower and more prone to accidents.

The tiles should have been placed on the other side, away from the road, or the work should have been carried out at night, or in small stretches at a time. At present, these tiles and narrow roads cause inconvenience to pedestrians as well as to vehicular traffic.

Jyotsna, Janak Khanna and Sakshi

Panchkula Prevent Anandgarh

The Punjab Government needs to be prevented from establishing a new city (Anandgarh) near Chandigarh. The new city will, besides, disturbing the ecological balance of the area, cause a set-back to the environment of the City Beautiful.

A top consultant, Mr E.F.N. Ribeiro, has strongly opposed the establishment of the new city in the immediate periphery of Chandigarh. It will create congestion in the city and turn it into an urban jungle of concrete, bricks and steel and damage its neat, clean and healthy environment. The Pollution Control Board and the Indian Air Force, have also objected to the establishment of the proposed city of Anandgarh.

The Punjab Government should be advised to drop the idea of establishing a new city near Chandigarh.

Karamjit Kaur


Dharna against anti-encroachment drive
 Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — To protest against the anti-encroachment drive jointly carried out by the Enforcement Wing of the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation yesterday, the furniture market in Sector 34 remained closed for the entire day today.

A large group of shopkeepers protesting against the removal of their storage from the area behind their shops, the shopkeepers also blocked the road near the small roundabout of Sectors 33 and 34 as a result of which traffic was disrupted for almost two hours.

Mr S.C. Sagar, DSP (South), and the SHO of Sector 34 police station, Mr K. I. P. Singh, who reached the spot tried to persuade the shopkeepers to remove the dharna . However, the shopkeepers agreed to do so on the condition that the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, Mr M. Ramsekhar, personally received their memorandum.

Later, following an assurance from the DC’s office the shopkeepers ended the dharna and, led by the president of the Sector 17 Traders Association, Mr Kamaljeet Panchi, met Mr M. Ramsekhar.

The memorandum of demands, besides letting the shopkeepers use the backyard of their shops for storing their material, also included permanent solution to the ongoing problem by allowing them to build a second storey.

The other members of the delegation included Mr Jagdish Arora, President, Sector 7 Plywood Association, Mr Sewa Singh, Chairman, Sector 34 Furniture Market, Mr Hazara Singh, President, Sector 34 Furniture Market, and Mr M.P. Verma, Chairman, New Beopar Mandal.


Earthquake relief fund
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Responding to the appeal by the Punjab Governor the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), contributions continued to pour for the Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund-Gujarat.

Members of the management of the Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Gurdwara, Sector 34, handed over a cheque for Rs 1.22 lakh to the Governor. The managment, students and staff of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan contributed Rs 1 lakh to the fund.

The Indian Council of Social Welfare, Punjab, has collected Rs 35,000. Out of this, Rs 15,000 was given through the UT Red Cross and Rs 10,000 through the Punjab State Social Welfare Advisory Board. Another Rs 10,000 is being sent directly to the Gujarat branch of the Indian Council of Social Welfare.

Meanwhile, Dr G.S. Preet, Director of the Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, flagged off four trucks full of relief material containing rice,ration,tea, blankets, woollen garments and medicines collected by the Punjab state branch of the Indian Red Cross Society.

The Punjab Architecture Department collected the second instalment of Rs 24,911 for the relief fund and presented the draft to Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, Punjab.

Employees of the Food Craft Institute, Sector 42, presented a cheque for Rs 13,900, whereas various individuals deposited Rs 16,500 at the counter of the Red Cross established at Karuna Sadan, Sector 11.


Selling of commercial sites flayed
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, Feb 16 — Members of the Panchkula Welfare Federation have flayed the authorities for selling of commercial sites in Sector 20 without developing them.

Members of the federation said that the commercial plots were put in open auction at Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula and that the reserve price was fixed on the basis of average prices fetched in the last auction. The authorities have now changed the practice of fixation of reserve prices which have resulted heavy losses to Haryana Urban Development Authorities, the federation, alleged.

Mr J.S. Sangari, president of the federation, alleged that the in the first auction SCO sites in Sector 20 were sold at price ranging from Rs 62 lakh to Rs 65 lakh each and the bids below Rs 62 lakh for one site were rejected. The authorities had announced that the sites were not sold at a price less than 62 lakh.

Surprisingly, the similar sites were sold at a price of Rs 55 lakh each, which caused huge losses to HUDA. The purchasers were also eligible to get the allotment of the plots purchased by them in open auction cancelled after getting 10 per cent of the total amount of the consideration money confiscated. This will fetch him a huge profit, he pointed out.

The federation said that the commercial sites, in sector 20, which were sold in May 2000 have been denied possession due to non-availability of the actual area shown in the sanctioned demarcation.

Moreover, there is no water supply to the construction site of the commercial complex. The purchasers were being put to great harassment. Roads shown in the plan of the area towards highway were conscious by their absence. Electricity poles were also missing, complained Mr Sangari.


Councillors plan dharna on tariff hike
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Feb 16 — Municipal councillors opposed to the ruling group in the local civic body have decided to organise a dharna by residents if the hike in the water and sewerage charges in the town is not withdrawn.

In a statement issued here today, the councillors, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, Ms Harbans Kaur, Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, Mr Manmohan Singh Lang and Mr Tarlochan Singh, said a meeting would be held on February 18 at Gurdwara Amb Sahib where a decision on the dharna, to be held in front of the council office, would be taken.

They said the issue of the hike in the charges had not yet been placed on the agenda of any council meeting despite repeated demands. They alleged that the council President was claiming that the hike had been reduced but in reality the consumers were getting bills at the revised rates.

The councillors said the President, on the pretext that the council revenue was inadequate, not only wanted to retain the hike in the charges but also introduce new taxes, including house tax and levies on commercial set-ups.

However, Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the Municipal Council, said that the opposition councillors had no real issue to take up. In fact, he said, he had given an assurance that the water and sewerage charges would be reduced in due course of time and there was no reason to stage a dharna. Besides, he wondered how house tax could be levied in the town when the Punjab Government had scrapped this levy.


ITBP to host wireless meet
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The Indo-Tibetan Border Police is hosting the new millennium All-India Police Wireless Meet-2001 from February 21 to 23 at the Basic Training Centre, Bhanu, near here.

According to the Commandant of the ITBP Transport Battalion, Mr A.S. Chhina, all state police forces as well as para military forces and central police organisations have been invited to participate in the meet, where various aspects of HF wireless communication will be evaluated by a team from the Directorate of Coordination Police Wireless (DCPW).

During the meet, a seminar-cum-demonstration on surveillance and wireless equipment is also being organised. In addition, a welfare exhibition of local products manufactured by various welfare centres of the force at place of deployment in the Northern sector is being put up.

The meet will be organised by the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prof P.K. Dhumal, while the closing ceremony will be presided over by the Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd).


Move to tax PF withdrawals criticised
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The Association of Senior Audit Officers and Audit Officers of the office of the AG (Audit), Punjab, today criticised the Central Government’s proposal to tax the PF withdrawals at the 30 per cent.

In a statement, the association, termed the proposal a “big blow” on the face of the salaried class as the PF was the only source of their life-long savings. They contributed to the maximum to the PF so that the withdawals could be used at the time of necessity.

The proposal is neither good for the government nor for the salaried class, the statement added.


Cops rewarded
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The special investigation team formed by the city police to solve the murder of Mr H.S. Brar, a resident of Sector 44, have been sanctioned commendation certificates with a cash reward for solving the murder within 24 hours by the UT Inspector General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi.

In an official press release, the UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, informed that the UT Administrator and the Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), has also appreciated the job done by the team led by Inspector K.I.P. Singh.

It was also informed that while Inspector K.I.P. Singh got a cash prize of Rs 2,500, the two SIs and an ASI were sanctioned Rs 1,500 each and the seven constables and one head constable were awarded Rs 500 each.


Sachdeva enters poll arena
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Nominations opened today for the annual elections of the President and other office-bearers of the Chandigarh Club slated for March 3.

Mr R.S. Sachdeva, a Mohali-based businessman, was the first to enter his nomination papers for the post of President. Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, another aspirant for the post, said that he would file his papers on February 18.

Four nominations were received for the post of Vice-President. They are Mr Sunil Gupta, Mr Arun Talwar, Mr Sunil Khanna and Mr Vinod Gupta.

Thirteen nominations were filed for the eight-member executive committee of the club.


City resident wins Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The treasure hunt organised on the occasion of Valentine’s Day by local advertisers has proved to be a big hit among the youngsters. The hunt was meant for the people of Chandigarh, Panchkula, and Mohali and it began from a restaurant in Mani Majra.

About 100 people gathered in front of the venue and they were all supposed to find out four treasure spots placed in Chandigarh and Panchkula with the help of clues. The rally was flagged off from a shop in Sector 11 with a clue sheet being provided to the participants. The event started at 10.15 a.m. and ended by about 11 a.m. when Amit Kansal, a Sector 28 resident, returned after tracing all the spots. He won Rs 10,000. Mr Kunal Bhatia of Sector 16, Panchkula, won the second prize of Rs 5,000. The third prize of Rs 2,500 went to Mr Subhash Gupta of Sector 9, Panchkula.


Quiz on films on Feb 18
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society, Chandigarh, is organising a quiz on films in the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, on February 18 at 10 a.m.

The programme will be based on old Hindi films which is known as the golden era of Indian films starting from 1950. Anybody can participate in the quiz. All questions will be on films and those who give correct answers will get attractive prize.

The society has been holding this type of functions for the past several years.

The anchors of the programme are Mr V.M. Sharma and Ms Leena Mukherjee, Ms Latika Sekhija, all from the Government College for Women, Chandigarh.


BSNL cables damaged
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 —The Assistant Manager (South) of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, today complained that their cable in Industrial Area, Phase I on Plots No. 127 and 128 had been damaged by Spectra Punjab Projects, while laying their underground cable. This adversely affected more than 70 per cent of the telephone services.

He said efforts were being made by the BSNL to restore the services to this area.



Body found in Sukhna Lake
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The body of an 18-year-old boy was taken out from Sukhna Lake by the police after it was discovered by some evening walkers. The deceased was identified Mukesh Bhandari, a resident of Sector 7.

The police is yet to ascertain the motive behind the death. Family members were intimated soon after, and the body was brought to the Sector 16 General Hospital.



Nazeem gets police remand
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — The Judicial Magistrate Mr Pushwinder Singh, has remanded the notorious gangster, Nazeem, who was arrested in a joint operation by the Rishikesh and Chandigarh police in Mani Majra last evening, in police custody for four days.

Nazeem, who was wanted in at least 23 cases, including nine murders, was arrested from the Motor Market Mani Majra after a long chase by the police led by the Rishikesh SP, Mr Umesh Kumar, yesterday. He carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head. He was also featured in the popular TV serial, India’s Most Wanted, a few weeks back.

It is learnt that he was working for the notorious Pratap Singh gang and had been in hiding here in the Bultana village for the past two months. A .312-bore countrymade pistol was also recovered from him yesterday and a case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act was registered.


Maruti car stolen
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — At least three cases of theft have been reported in separate incidents in the past 24 hours.

A Maruti car (CH-03-9111) was stolen from the parking of the DC office in Sector 17 at about 2.30 p.m. yesterday. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the complaint of the owner, Charandeep Singh.

In another incident, a mobile phone was stolen from a car parked in the Sector 15 market. A case has been registered on the complaint of Mr Ashish Sachdeva.

Cash worth Rs 20,000 has been allegedly stolen by the cleaner of a truck, Dalip Sakhiya, on the intervening night of February 14 and 15. A case under Section 381 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of the truck driver, Sewa Singh, who has alleged that the cleaner ran away with the money.

Liquor smugglers held
Two persons, Durga Dass, a resident of Phase II, BDC, and Harpreet Singh, a resident of Chohan village in Amritsar, were arrested by the police in two separate incidents on charges of liquor smuggling. While 31 pouches of Hero whisky were recovered from Durga Dass, 12 bottles of Binny and three bottles of Director Special whisky were recovered from the latter near the ISBT.

Eve-teaser booked
A resident of Colony No. 5, Ashok Kumar, has been booked by the police for eve teasing near small chowk between Sectors 46 and 47. In another case, a resident of Janata Colony, Ms Rekha, has accused a man, Kashmira alias Bagri of assaulting her mother at about 8.30 pm yesterday. The injured woman was admitted to the PGI yesterday and a case under Section 326 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 11 police station.

Man commits suicide
A young man, in his early twenties, is alleged to have committed suicide by hanging himself from a hook in his rented accommodation in Kishangarh village. His body was found hanging from the ceiling by his landlord in the morning today.

Two injured
A middle-aged woman was seriously injured when she was hit by a scooter near Palsora Colony this afternoon. The injured, Satpal Kaur, a resident of Sector 55, was rushed to the PGI.

In another incident, Sadhu Singh, a resident of Sector 20, was injured when he was hit by a scooter near the Math Mandir in Sector 20. He was going on a bicycle.

Youth drowned
Dera Bassi:
Newly-wed Naresh Kumar (23) was found drowned in a well here today. According to sources, the deceased, who got married on February 2, had been missing since Thursday. He was noticed in Ward No. 3 well by Mangat Ram, a local resident. After registering a case, the police has sent the body to the Rajpura Civil Hospital for post-mortem examination.


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