Tuesday, February 27, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sector 32 woman clubbed to death
Third murder in a month by persons known to victims

Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — A 45-year-old housewife was brutally murdered by unknown assailants at her Sector 32 residence this morning. This is the third reported case of murder during this month.

The victim, Prem Lata Soni, was alone at her residence when the incident took place. Her body was found lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen and blood was splashed all over the walls of the kitchen. She was reportedly killed after being repeatedly hit on the head with a heavy weapon. The victim was reportedly unflicted two blows, one on the front and the other on the right side of her skull, which crushed her head.

A visit to the spot showed that the murderer had made a friendly entry into the house. Two glasses of tea and a tray of biscuits and other snacks were lying on the table in the drawing room. Two glasses were also found lying near the body of the victim in the kitchen. It is suspected that after the accused were offered tea, they asked the victim to fetch them a glass of water each. When the victim went to the kitchen the murderer used some kind of a blunt weapon to kill her. The police has also not been able to recover any weapon used for the murder.

The murder came to light only when a family friend, a Registered Medical Practitioner in Burail, Dr Gurdeep Singh, came to visit the victim at around 11.45 am. He reportedly found the doors of the house open and after calling for Mrs Soni, he found her body in the kitchen. He then informed the police and also summoned a few neighbours. Meanwhile, a sister of the deceased, Mrs Nirmal Verma, who stays nearby was also informed of the incident.

The deceased’s son, Mr Bhupinder Soni, who is working with Eureka Forbes in Sector 7 was also informed. The mother and son were staying together in the house ever since the marriage of the deceased’s two daughters. The husband of the victim, Mr R.P. Soni, has been living in Saudi Arabia for the past many years.

It is also alleged that the Soni’s had lost a lot of money in a business venture that they had started some time back and had been unable to pay back their loans. They were also reportedly engaged in some litigation with a former business associate.

Mr Mohinder Kumar, next-door neighbour of the deceased said he had seen the victim leaving home to deposit electricity bill at around 11 a.m. “Before this, I had also seen a moped parked in front of the house. I suspect that this belonged to the pandit who was a regular visitor to the Soni household. But we neither heard nor saw anything after 11 a.m.,” he said.

Incidentally, nothing has been missing from the house. The UT Inspector-General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi, who visited the spot alongwith the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, and other senior police officers, when contacted conceded that the entry into the house was friendly and also that the accused had possibly pre-planned the murder as the assault on the head of the deceased appeared to be very forceful.

According to the information available so far, the police has rounded up some persons in this regard on the grounds of suspicion. The SSP, Mr Jain said they had a few leads and were hopeful of solving the murder soon.


Home alone?


  • Formation of Neighbourhood Watch Scheme to improve the physical security of the neighbourhood.
  • Raising of boundary walls to the permissible limit and affixing of grills on top of the wall.
  • Affixing of grills on windows and ventilators.
  • Installation of burglar’s alarm.
  • Use of cat’s eye and door chain.
  • Use of motion sensitive lights to improve the peripheral of the house
  • Use of two way communication devices from outside to inside.
  • Verification of servant’s/ tenant’s antecedents.


  • Entertaining outsiders and strangers when alone at home.
  • Handling cash and other valuables in the presence of servants or strangers .
  • Keeping cash or valuables at home.
  • Letting newspaper vendors drop newspapers when away from home for days together.
  • Employing casual labour/ carpenters from unknown sources.


Have heart, Prof Calafiore is here
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — Before Prof Antonio M. Calafiore, gave the world the failing heart surgery programme, as many as 50 per cent of an estimated 6 to 10 million patients of congestive heart disease in the country were destined for certain death due to lack of proper management of the disorder. The only treatment they could hope for was a heart transplant or a bypass surgery.

They have hope now. Prof Calafiore, a pioneer in the field of beating heart surgery, brought this new concept of shaping the heart and on November 24, 2000, treated for the first time in North India a failing dilated heart at a local hospital in the city. Prof Calafiore is the Director of School of Cardiovascular Perfusionist at the University of Cheiti (Italy) and holds important positions in other universities as well.

His name is associated with intermittent antegrade warm blood cardioplegia, arterial conduits for myocardial revascularisation, left anterior thoracotomy, beating heart coronary surgery and conventional surgical treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy.

Addressing the media exactly two months after the successful operation, here today, Prof Calafiore shared his experience about the surgery, that gave Mr Sohan Singh, a patient of dilated heart disease, a new lease of life. A beaming Sohan Singh, greeted Prof Calafiore with a bouquet and shared his experiences with mediapersons.

Mr Sohan Singh had been leading a restricted life for the past two years because of his serious heart failure, which had became totally unmanageable by drugs due to drastically decreased blood supply to the heart.

He was a candidate for heart transplant, says Prof Calafiore. But the number of heart transplants are extremely restricted the world over, and in India, during the past six years, only 40 transplants had been carried out, he adds However, after undergoing reshaping of the base of the heart combined with a bypass surgery, Mr Sohan Singh is fit and active and walks 5-7 kilometres daily.

“Surgical techniques are more or less the same, all over the world,” says Prof Calafiore while adding that it is the combination of surgeries worked out in a specific patient in a particular situation which makes all the difference .

For example, repair of the heart valve before it starts leaking in a congested organ was not considered a viable situation. The new concept, however, is different according to which, it is better to correct the valve even if no leakage has been reported.

“The mortality rate at about five per cent is acceptable,” says Prof Calafiore. “The best part is that the programme offers the patient a surgical option with low risk with long term results. This makes sense for a country like India where the people suffering from heart disorders are increasing by the day and dying without a surgical option.”

Prof Calafiore will be visiting and operating at the same city hospital four times a year and will be conducting failing heart surgeries.

Local cardiologists, who are practicing these techniques with Prof Calafiore here, said that the techniques were so simple, that they were reproducible by any doctor with a minimal surgical experience. Dr Jaswal said that the reshaping of the heart could give a dying patient another lease of five to ten years of productive life. The Italian doctors technique was now being incorporated in medical textbooks as well.


Railway Budget receives mixed response
‘Hike in freight charges unfortunate’

By Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — The Railway Budget presented by the Union Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Bannerji, has received mixed response from the industrialists and the common man. While the decision to spare all classes of passengers from hike in fares has been lauded by most, it was generally opined that the hike in freight charges was avoidable as it will have an inflationary impact. The Budget has also ignored the developmental aspect and is more of an “populist Budget”, it was felt.

The PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has welcomed the decision not to hike the passenger fares. “But the decision of increase in the freight charges on steel, coal and other goods would have a direct bearing on the price mechanism and would hit the industry which is already in doldrums”, said Mr Ashok Khanna, former president of the PHDCCI. But the PHDCCI has appreciated the efforts by the Railway Minister to modernise the railway administration but an effort to cut down the staff size was the need of the hour, it opined.

Mr Beant Singh, Resident Director, PHDCCI, said the minister has made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore for adopting safety measures. This he said, is meagre as compared to the vastness of the railway network and the recent spate of railway accidents. The PHDCCI expressed hope that the ministry shall review the meagre provision made in the Budget for the railway safety as this should be given the highest priority.

The CII has also complimented the Railway Minister for attempting to consolidate the earlier initiatives and unfurling some new measures such as decentralisation of powers to zonal railways, continuation of volume discount scheme, extension of RORO package, which is being experimented at Konkan Railways, special lumpsum rate for merry-go-round rates and offering of goods sheds to develop ware housing, extensive use of IT and telecommunication to improve passenger services and amenities. The CII, however, expressed concern on the virtual wipe out of the internal resource generation and accruals with unsustainable operating ratio at 98.5 per cent and budgeted at 98.8 per cent for 2002. “This clearly reflects an urgent need for restructuring of the railways system and lay stress on fundamental reforms ”, said Mr Arun Bharat Ram, president CII. It was unfortunate that the passenger fares have not been revised for the second consecutive year but the already high freight rates have been increased further, he added.

Phasing out of cross subsidisation was a major demand for a long time and in the absence of any measures to rationalise the freight and passenger fares, CII feels that the Railways would lose its share to the roads all the more.

The CII has also expressed concern over a negligible change in the plan outlay for the current year at Rs 11,090 crore over the budgeted outlay Rs 11,000 crore for 2000-01, thereby sending negative signals.

A senior BJP leader, Mr Gian Chand, while appreciating the Budget, said it is a Budget for the common man. “Hike in fares always hit the middle class and the Budget this time is one of the best railway budgets in history”, he said.

Ms Vimal Mukerjee, a resident, is happy that there has been no increase in the passenger fares. “Thank God they have left the passenger fares and essential commodities untouched, However, no attention seems to have been paid to the improvement of the Shatabdi which is deteriorating every day”, she said.

Kishore Sharma, a marketing executive in a private firm, feels that the Budget speech was more of an election speech for the forthcoming election of the West Bengal Assembly elections. “Three per cent hike in the freight of some commodities could have been avoided as it will add to the cost of goods thereby adding to the inflation. The burden put on the corporate sector would ultimately shift on the common man”, he said.


City’s ‘character’ under threat?
By Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — The Chandigarh Police has expressed concern over the City Beautiful showing signs of turning into a major nodal point for the world’s oldest profession in the region.

The police emphasises that with most of the sex workers from various parts of Punjab and Haryana having chosen the city and its satellite townships for their operations, Chandigarh’s unique character is under serious threat.

Although there is no organised form of prostitution or a red light area in the city, many of the sex workers reportedly operate from Sector 22, Sector 20, Sector 34, Industrial Area and Sector 44. It is learnt that the city being the “land of opportunity” for most of the rural population from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, many of the young women from these parts who come here to build a safe future for themselves, are lured into the trade by easy money.

It is also learnt that a large number of sex workers from West Bengal and Orissa are also being brought to the city. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr. Parag Jain, said that the city had a lot of floating population and it was difficult to curb such crimes. “The migrants from different parts of the country are staying here without their families and the sex workers are catering to their needs,” he said.

Informed sources claim that the most popular pick-up joints in the city are the bus stand, Sector 22, Sector 34, Sector 29 and a few places in the Industrial Area. It is alleged that a few of the gangs work in collusion with the rickshaw pullers, who ferry them around the various parts of the city in the hope of finding a customer.

It is alleged that a few of the “madams” are carrying on work on the pretext of keeping paying guests. A large number of these young girls, coming here to seek professional training in various fields, stay as paying guests before being lured into the trade. Sources clarify that the number of such “madams” is very less and that most of the sex workers are married and into the profession to add to the meagre resources of the family.

It may be recalled that in most of the recent drives launched by the city police, the accused women have been primarily residents of rural areas of the neighbouring three states. In November last year, the police had arrested three “call girls” operating in and around the city with the help of their mobile phones. The “pimp”, a city resident, was also arrested by the police.

All the three women — Priya Devi, Bindu alias Neetu and Meenu alias Sheetal — hailed from Panchkula, Moga and Ambala, respectively. While 28-year-old Bindu of Moga had allegedly joined the profession as her father was suffering from tuberculosis and the money was required to support her three younger brothers, Priya Devi, got into this trade in order to fend for her young son after she had been ditched by her husband. Similar was the case of Meenu of Ambala district, who too, had joined the gang for easy money.

In another case in January earlier this year, a Mumbai-based model-cum-actress was among the three alleged prostitutes arrested by the Chandigarh police. The 19-year-old Panchkula girl, was reportedly operating here as a member of a gang headed by a Sector 4, Panchkula, resident, alongwith a Narwana resident. Investigations in this case, too, had shown that this gang had maximum number of women from the interior parts of Punjab, who had come here to better their prospects.

The police claims that they are keeping a check on all those people who thrive on the fruits of this trade. “The perception that the police is not doing much to stop the menace of flesh trade is baseless. Routine raids cannot be conducted, but each time that there is some definite information, the accused are set up with the help of a decoy customer,” said SSP Parag Jain.


Traffic Awareness Project launched
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Feb 26 — The Punjab Minister for Local Government, Mr Balramji Dass Tondon, launched the Traffic Awareness Project undertaken by the Rotary Club, here today. The project will cost Rs 18 lakh.

Mr Tandon directed the President of the Municipal Council to give Rs 1 lakh out of the Rs 2 lakh to be spent on the Chawla Chowk under the project, from the civic body funds for this purpose.

Responding to a request from the Punjab ADGP (Traffic), Mr D.R. Bhatti, the minister also asked the authorities concerned to give some space in public parks to the traffic police for creating awareness on road safety among children.

Mr Tandon said road traffic had become heavy and about 3 lakh new vehicles hit the Indian roads every year, adding to the congestion. He said people should become selfdisciplined as far as obeying traffic rules was concerned. He favoured the construction of overbridges wherever required.

The Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurinder Singh Garewal, said there were some high-accident-rate areas in the Ropar district like SAS Nagar and the 7 km stretch from Khanpur Chowk to the Balongi road barrier. He said to decrease the number of accidents, it was necessary to speed up work on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana bypass.

The Deputy Commissioner also wanted four-laning of Ludhiana and Phagwara highways to be taken up on priority. Mr Bhatti said, in Punjab, there were about 650 murders a year, but about 2,500 persons were killed in road accidents in this period.

He said a survey indicated that in Patiala, Ropar and Ludhiana, more than 100 persons in each place died in road accidents every year. He said that the emphasis should be on engineering, education and enforcement to cut traffic accidents. There should be road dividers on all main exit roads of towns. This would cut down the accident rate by 50 per cent. Traffic parks should also be set up to educate the public.

The ADGP (Traffic) said 50 first-aid posts were being set up in the state and 29 ambulances were being introduced to deal with traffic emergencies. Within six months, he said, the “traffic map” of the state would be changed.

The Chairman of the Traffic Awareness Project, Dr B.S. Chandhok, said the project would cover a 4 km stretch of road from the PTL Chowk to the Punjab Cricket Association crossing. Extra efforts would be made to make Chawla Chowk on this stretch accident free.

He said adults would be involved, instead of schoolchildren, in this project. Children would then learn about road safety from their parents. Seminars, exhibitions and group meetings would be held from time to time. 


Is civic sense lacking among residents?
Rose Garden in poor shape after festival
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — Chandigarh may be a well-planned and highly literate city, but when it comes civic sense, it compares poorly even to a moffusil town. This fact again came to the fore today after witnessing vandalism at the Sector 16 Rose Garden during the three-day Festival of Gardens which concluded yesterday.

Even as thousands of visitors to the garden enjoyed themselves, flower beds and the area around the garden, where stalls were put up, were at the receiving end. Damaged flower beds, littered with sundry things, again brought the question of holding the festival in the garden to the fore.

A visit to the garden by a Tribune team was an eye-opener. A majority of the flower beds were damaged and the flower petals were thrown there by the general public after plucking the flowers. The worst-affected were flower beds, which were without the temporary protective fences. Not only this, the rose petals were also thrown into the flower beds, which had the protective fences.

The flower beds were littered with sundry items, including polythene bags, pamphalets, bottles and in one flower bed even an empty bottle of beer. The absence of dustbins in the garden may be one of the reasons for littering but that reflects poorly on the civic sense of the visitors.

A Horticulture Department employee informed that littering and damage to the flower beds was an yearly affair and it would take a few days before the flower beds were set right. Echoing the same sentiments, Mr Shiv Kumar, an employee of a milk booth in the garden, said the damage to the flower beds was inevitable as thousands of people visited the garden during the festival.

When the team visited the area around noon, sweepers were busy cleaning the area outside the garden where stalls were put up. They will begin the cleaning of the garden only when they were ordered by the superiors, the sweepers added.



Behera’s garden adjudged best
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — “Gardening is a wonderful hobby through which you can really relax,” said Dr Arunanshu Behera of the PGI, whose garden was adjudged best in the small garden category, contests for which were held as part of the Festival of Gardens here on Sunday.

Dr Behera, who won the first prize last year also, started participating only three years back. For him the maintenance of the garden was a year-round affair.

Meanwhile, the prize of the best open space maintained in a market has gone to the Traders Association, Sector 8-B. It is for the fourth consecutive year that the market has won the first prize, informed Mr Madan Mohan Arora, president of the association, adding that the beautification had been done purely by personsal contributions from the members.


Exhibitions to mark Science Day
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — To mark the National Science Day, the Survey of India is holding an open house from February 26 to 28 on its office premises in Sector 32 here. City residents can visit the office on these days to see how surveys are conducted and maps are prepared.

According to the Director of the North Western Circle of the SOI, Brig K.S. Khatri, demonstration of map-making techniques like digitisation, photogrammetric surveys, scribing and printing is being held in these days. Equipment used for field surveys is also on display.

A variety of maps, including some ancient ones, produced by the Survey of India have also been put on display. To give the public an exposure to the map-making process, video and slide shows have also been organised.

Meanwhile, the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation will open all its laboratories here for the public on February 28 to mark the National Science Day. A lecture on Agri-Electronics for Quality Production and Management will be delivered by Dr, Anwar Alam, Deputy Director (Engineering) of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

Besides this, a declamation contest on Computers — Boon or Bane has also been organised for wards of the CSIO personnel.

The Chandigarh chapters of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian Science Congress Association will hold various functions to mark the National Science Day on February 28 and March 1.

Prof W. Selvamurthy, Director of the Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Dr P.N. Tandon, emeritus scientist and neurologist of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and a former President of INSA, and Dr H.Y. Mohan Rao, emeritus scientist and botanist of Delhi University, are to deliver lectures on the occasion. Dr Selvamurthy will give a lecture on Life Sciences in the Service of Soldiers, Dr P.N. Tandon will speak on Recent Researches on Brain Research and Dr H.Y. Mohan Rao will deliver a lecture on the Miracle of Seeds.

The National Science Day is observed on February 28 because it was on this day that the Nobel Prize was conferred on Sir C.V. Raman.



“Special guests” at Raj Bhavan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — A total of 35 mentally challenged children from Asha Kiran School for Mentally Disabled Children, Hoshiarpur were today ‘special guests’ of Punjab Governor, Lieut Gen. J.F.R Jacob (retd.).

The kids conducted by their Principal, Ms Reena Sharma, were happy to spend an evening on the lawns of Punjab Raj Bhavan. While little Chinoo mesmerised everyone by singing and dancing to the tune of Dil tote tote ho gaya . Ankit and Gonu impressed the Governor by singing patriotic songs.

The Governor was happy to spend precious moments with the special children and wanted to share every bit of their happiness. Chinoo was quick to extract a prize for singing the song by asking a cap from Governor’s aide. General Jacob immediately arranged few caps for the children.

Ms Reena Sharma thanked the Governor for arranging a of one-acre plot at Hoshiarpur for the institute. She said construction process was on for new block of building. She said children wanted to participate in the parade and cultural activities at the Republic Day state level function. The Governor said he would suggest to Punjab Government to consider the participation of children in the function.

As the children spent their evening singing and dancing some children were anxious to share their fascination for Abhishek Bachchan while another one wanted to tell about birth of a baby girl in her family. The children also presented artistic hand-made candles made by them to the Governor.


Enumerators visit Haryana Raj Bhavan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — Mr Sham Lal Goyal, Director, Mr N.S. Bhadoria, Assistant Director, along with other enumerators, Census Operations of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, visited the Haryana Raj Bhavan today and filled in the form of census about the relevant information as to the Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, and his family.

The Governor revealed the information regarding his qualification, age, mother tongue, languages, residence, state, birth place and caste to the enumerators.

He appealed to all the residents of Chandigarh to supply correct census data to the enumerators and thus cooperate whole-heartedly in making the census operation a success, which will continue till February 28.


Trophy for railway unit
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — The 1101 Railway Engineer Regiment (TA) has been won the Chairman Railway Board Trophy for the fourth time for being the best Railway Territorial Army Unit in the country in the year 1998-99.

Mr S.P. Mehta, General Manager of the Northern Railway, presented the trophy to the regiment at a function held on the unit premises here today.

The trophy is awarded for performance in training, inspection and the other tasks. The Commanding Officer of the unit, Col P.K. Gupta, and the Senior Deputy General Manager of the Northern Railway, Mr I.P.S. Anand were also present at the function.


GMCH lift gets stuck
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — Some persons were trapped for 15 minutes inside a lift in Block A of the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital here after it got stuck today. The doors of the lift were forced open to take out the trapped persons.

The hospital officials said, after the incident, all the other lifts there had also been stopped for a while. The company that maintains the lift has been informed and its technicians have begun the repair job.


Ex-serviceman found dead
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — A 56-year-old ex-serviceman reportedly died near the Cricket Stadium, Sector 16, here this morning. Pancham Singh, alias Fauji, was reportedly suffering from some ailment. Sources in the police department ruled out any possibility of foul play.

According to police sources, Fauji was wearing a yellow sweater, brown trousers and a dark yellow turban. The deceased was a resident of Balongi and was working as a peon in the Directorate of Industries, Sector 17. His cycle was recovered from near his body.

When contacted, a senior police official said that the body had been sent for postmortem and the exact cause of death would be ascertained after receiving the report.


Gold ring, kara snatched
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Feb 26 — During the past 24 hours the local police received two cases of thefts here. Mr Paramjit Singh of City Cable reported that Sonu of Sector 37 and Shama, trespassed into his office and snatched his gold kara and ring. The duo reportedly ran away after committing the crime. A case under Sections 452 and 392 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

In the second incident, Mr Rattan Sarwal, resident of Sector 22, reported that Om Prakash of the same sector trespassed into his house, assaulted him and took away Rs 800, which were lying on the dining table.

A case under Sections 147, 149, 323, 380, 452 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

Pick pockets held
The local police arrested Davinder Singh of Mohali and Rakesh Kumar of Indira Colony from Mani Majra bus stop allegedly for pick pocketing.

The two were booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code.

Scooterist hurt
A scooterist Ms Chanchal Khosla, resident of Sector 10, Panchkula, reportedly suffered injuries after being hit by an unknown Maruti van near Phulkari Nursery, Mani Majra yesterday afternoon. She was admitted in the PGI for treatment.

The van driver reportedly had sped away. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code was registered.

Vehicles stolen
Mr Jatinder Kamboj of Sector 45 reported that his Bullet motor cycle was stolen from the parking of the General Hospital, Sector 16, here yesterday.

Ms Ompat Devi of Panjab University reported that her Kinetic Honda (CH-01-E-3996) was stolen from near Rose Garden, Sector 16, on Saturday.

Two cases under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

2 crushed to death
A woman and her three-year-old child were crushed to death, when the scooter on which they were travelling, was hit by a CTU bus near Kajheri this afternoon.

It is learnt that the deceased, Shanta (25) and Parvinder (3) had come to Kajheri this morning on the occasion of the inauguration of a new shop by a relative, Sham Lal, in Kajheri.

The driver of the bus, Sukhwinder Singh, has been arrested by the police and a case under Sections 279 and 304 A of the IPC has been registered against him.

Suicide by youth
A-26-year-old mechanical engineer is reported to have committed suicide because he was not getting any job. His body was found hanging from the wooden frame of a cupboard in his house in Sector 46 this morning.

According to the information available, it is learnt that Anand Kumar Sinha had completed his degree in engineering from a Maharashtra based college in 1996. However, he was unable to find a job and was reportedly under depression. He was also undergoing treatment for the same in the PGI for the past one year.

One booked:
The Kalka police has booked Manohar Lal Arora, a local resident in a forgery case.

The police sources said that the accused has been arrested on the complaint of Mr Lacchi Ram of the same village for cheating him by selling his some part of the property without power of attorney.

Earlier, the complainant had alleged that Manohar Lal sold his property to a third party by showing his power of attorney of the property which earlier had cancelled.

A case under Sections 420, 471 and 68 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered with Kalka police station against the accused.


Two injured in road mishap
From Our Correspondent

LALRU, Feb 26 — Two Ambala residents, Gurminder Singh and Sarjant Singh, sustained serious injuries when their Tata Sumo collided head on with a truck near Dapper village on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway about 2 km from here in the afternoon today.

According to sources, a truck (without registration number) which was taking a turn to a godown along the highway, collided with the Ambala-bound Sumo (HR-01K- 1877) coming from the opposite direction. The impact of the collision inverted the vehicles.

The injured were rushed to the Ambala Civil Hospital for treatment. 


Take care of your own tourists: envoy
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, February 26 — Nearly 6 per cent of the GDP of Austria comes from income from tourism. And if a small European country like Austria with a population of just eight million can achieve it, why cannot a big country like India of subcontinental proportions do it?

This is an interesting question which even the experts may find it hard to explain. But the fact remains that Austria received as many as 20 million tourists last year. Tourism and the leisure industry together contributed 13 per cent to Austria’s GDP, said Dr Herbert Traxl, Austrian Ambassador to India, during the course of an interaction with TNS here today.

He disclosed there were 1.3 million beds in Austria catering to both domestic and international tourists. Tourism provided direct and indirect employment to more than seven lakh persons which constituted 16 per cent of the total labour force.

Farming was now being relegated with 3 per cent employment in agriculture while the services sector contributed 60 per cent to the GDP. The Indian tourist industry, on the other hand, continued to turn in a lacklustre performance, making a meagre contribution to the country’s economy, with planners and the government continuing to blunder from one policy to another in a bid to promote tourism.

Dr Traxl emphasised that Austria was endowed with abundant wealth in the form of nature’s bounty: mountains, rivers, streams, meadows, forests and a clean environment. The second form of wealth available in Austria was its cultural heritage.

“Why do tourists visit different places? It is i) either for recreation on the beaches, trekking in the forests and sunbathing or swimming in the sea and rivers or ii) to satisfy their interest in seeing nature, to intermingle with the local people or savour their culture, etc.

“We in Austria were fortunate to have these two types of wealth provided by nature. And, therefore, by necessity, we had to develop a tourist policy. Austria had a tourist policy as far back as 1850 for the preservation of the cultural heritage....”

Dr Traxl also spoke at a seminar at the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT) on “Trends in Austrian tourism” which was attended by a large number of students from the local colleges. He also distributed certificates among some of them. Later, he called on the Adviser to the Administrator of UT, Mrs Neeru Nanda.

He emphasised that it was important for every country to look after what it had by way of nature’s bounty: Natural beauty and resources and cultural heritage. A clear-cut environmental policy was very important for the conservation of nature and the cultural heritage. “We have done a lot to clean up and preserve lakes in Austria and we are proud to say that the water in the lakes there is now fit for drinking.”

The mainstay of any tourism industry in a country was domestic tourism. “For India, domestic tourism is very important. This is your immediate future. Look after your own people who are willing to spend. Foreign tourists can come later. A sizeable middle class has emerged in India which is willing to spend on travel and leisure. When I was first here 20 years ago as Austrian Ambassador, there was a very small number of people who could go out to spend on vacationing. Now the number of this segment has increased.

India, with its vast and rich cultural heritage, wildlife, forts, palaces, temples, cuisine, festivals and other attractions could be promoted as a major destination for foreign tourists. The present-day tourist wanted to experience and share the life style of the host nation. Since it might be possible to tap all strata of society, tourism planners and policy makers should consider finding out “niche” markets.

In the context of quality of services provided, it must be remembered that it was easy to get a tourist for the first time. But it was very difficult to get him again. Therefore, it was very important to treat him with great care. “In Austria, we have a large number of tourists who come faithfully every year from America and other parts of the world, often to the same hotel. Repeat tourism is very important for the success of the industry.

Also remember that a tourist was very, very sensitive to the service and environment he was provided with. It is not easy to induce a tourist to spend his money in the same place again and again. A tourist is the complete master of his money. He can spend it wherever he wants it. “You might lose clients so easily. Therefore, you have to be very careful how your treat him.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Gulshan Sharma, Director, ITFT, suggested that like many other countries which were providing information in India on their educational courses and other programmes, Austria should also follow the trend. Chandigarh could be considered as one of the venues for holding such a meeting. He also suggested that a seminar on the cultural heritage could be organised in Chandigarh with Shovna Traxl Narayan, an eminent artist, speaking on the dances of India with their importance in tourism.

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