Sunday, March 18, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Premium liquor and beer costlier
Cess to benefit MC, social sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Prices of premium and top brands of liquor and beer will rise in the Union Territory from April 1 as the Chandigarh Administration while announcing its excise policy today preferred to hike the sales tax from the existing 13.2 per cent to 22 per cent to follow the pattern in Punjab.

To off set the hike in prices on account of enhanced sales tax, the Administration has reduced the excise duty the benefits work out to be Rs 50 per case for the consumer. It is being said that whatever now comes to the Administration by way of enhanced sales tax will be partially off set due to the reduction in excise duty.

The reduced excise duty also means that the economy and medium brands will not be affected at all while premium and deluxe brands will be affected and so will be the beer. The economy and medium brands comprise about 70 per cent of the Chandigarh market, said Mr M. Ramsekhar, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

In the policy the Administration has decided to have 59 vends, the same number as last year. The 17 sub-vends will now be treated as full-fledged vends and the total number of liquor outlets would remain the same. Out of these, five would be exclusive IMFL vends.

The sale of country liquor in pouches : The sale of CL in pouches of 90 ml, 180 ml and 375 ml will continue. The procedure and security amount would be the same as last year. For the ensuing excise year, 5 per cent of the licence fee will have to be deposited at the fall of hammer, 5 per cent by 31st March and the remaining 2.5 per cent by 7th of April, 2001.

The ex-distillery price will be announced before the auction scheduled for March 21.The minimum sale price for country liquor 50 degree IMFL 60 degree will be fixed at bottle Rs 65/70. Pint: Rs 33/ 36. Nip Rs 17/ 18.

As in the previous years, the auction will be held by grouping of vends. The groups will be announced before the auction. The grouping will be in such a way that all groups are approximately of the same size in terms of revenue and equally attractive for the intending bidders.

The possession limit in case of country liquor has been reduced from six bottles to two bottles of 750 ml each per person. The excise duty on country liquor will be reduced from Rs 3 to Re 1. The license fee for “Ahatas” in case of liquor shops will be Rs. 50,000/-. If IMFL and CL vends are to run separately, the same licence fee will be charged.

  • Sales tax hiked from 13.2 per cent to 22 per cent to match that in Punjab.

  • To offset the hike, the excise duty reduced. Benefit will be Rs 50 per case.

  • Clubs having membership of more than 2000 members will pay a licence fee of Rs 4 lakh instead of Rs 3.5 lakh. Other category of clubs will continue to pay the same.

  • People holding functions will now pay Rs 1500 instead of Rs 3000 to get licence.

Newly imposed cess will benefit

  • The Municipal Corporation to the tune of Rs 80 lakh annually

  • Modernisation of Excise and Taxation Department Rs 40 lakh

  • Community development like supporting education, health and social welfare measures Rs 40 lakh.

In case of IMFL, the retail vends will be auctioned with country liquor vends in groups. Vends are not to be auctioned independently but the same will be clubbed with the country liquor vends as in the previous year.

There will be five independent English wine shops and 70 liquor shops under ‘one roof’. Excise duty on IMFL will be Rs. 10/- per proof litre in a single slab. This duty was earlier Rs. 17/- per proof litre It has been reduced to account for sales tax which will be levied as per uniform floor rates prescribed by the empowered committee of Finance Ministers.

Private possession of IMFL in case of an individual will be 12 bottles of 750 ml, including brandy and imported liquor.

There will be no maximum limit of Pub Bar licences while the annual licence fee of a Pub Beer Bar has been kept at 1.25 lakh per annum. Duty on beer remains the same as last year at Rs 3.00 per bottle of light beer and Rs 5.50 per bottle of strong beer. Hoteliers selling liquor will have to pay Rs 150/- per litre of imported liquor . Other rates will remain the same as fixed last year.

On location of vends, the Administration has said no liquor vends will be allowed near educational institutions, religious places and in congested areas. Similarly, no licence shall be granted within the radius of 150 m of national highways (except within Municipal Corporation).

Like previous years, reputed provision stores can have a licence for sale of imported liquor at Rs 10,000/- and Rs 30,000/-, respectively.

Minimum sale price of IMFL in the year 2001-2002 will be as under :





Hike per case

Economy Brand

Rs 100

Rs 52

Rs 28


Medium Brand

Rs 120

Rs 62

Rs 33


Premium Brand

Rs 170

Rs 90

Rs 50

Rs 150-175

Deluxe Brand

Rs 250

Rs 130

Rs 75

Rs 200-250

Minimum sale price of beer in pubs
Light beer Rs 15/- per mug (325 ml)
Strong beer Rs 25/- per mug (325 ml)
Due to a new assessment fee off counter sale price in pubs will go up by Rs 3 per mug.



Farmers firm on continuing agitation
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
The agitation of the Bharat Kisan Union entered its third day, and several more unions joined the agitation at Matka Chowk here today. The leaders of unions have announced that they would continue their indefinite agitation if their demands were not fulfilled by March 19.

The President of the Kisan Wing Shromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Satnam Singh Bhiru, also joined the agitation today and said that he will move to different districts to convey the message of the union and bring more farmers here.

The leaders of many others kisan unions of Punjab today openly supported the agitation of the Bharat Kisan Union and declared that they will appeal to all Punjab farmers to join the agitation for the betterment of all the farmers. They also thanked the MLAs, who had raised their problem in the Punjab Assembly.

Talking to The Tribune, general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, Mr Lehmbar Singh Taggar said that in order to put pressure on the government, thousands of more farmers will be “joining us here on March 19.” He also thanked the farmers of the different district, who are bringing langar and milk for them.

The union members also complained that the Administration and the government had not provided them with public utility services at Matka Chowk.

There are more than 5,000 farmers and just a few public toilets. There is no proper service of water and hundreds of farmers have not taken a bath for the last two days. Mr Pashora Singh, Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu and Mr Bhupinder Sambar who represent different unions, said that despite several problems, the farmers are committed to the agitation. “The UT Administration is not cooperating with us”, they said.

Mr Rachpal Singh, president of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, said that newspapers and the Administration must take consideration of farmers’ problem in a more sympathetic way. “We have gathered here to fight for our rights and have no intention to destroy the beauty of the Rose Garden”, he added.

The leaders of various unions, the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the Kirti Kishan Union, the Punjab Kishan Sabha, Punjab Kishan Sabha (CPI) and the Bharti Kisan Union have appealed to farmers of Punjab to join the agitation.

‘We have no option’

Farmers protesting near the Matka Chowk here “took exception” to news-items appearing in various city newspapers today about their drinking of liquor, bathing and defecating in the open.

The farmers have said that they have no other option but to live like this while leaders have subtly asked the protesters to “take care in public”.



PU seeks help from students for hostel
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
A cash starved Panjab University is raising its hands for help towards students asking for a contribution of Rs 100 each for construction of a sports hostel.

A high-levelled committee has recommended collection of Rs 100 each from all students of affiliated colleges. The contributors will also include students on the university campus for contributions in the forthcoming session.

Reliable sources, however, indicate chances of protests from college heads. A senior fellow said that “there was a time when the government gave contributions for construction of sports facilities and hostels. Now when the government has turned its back, college students are being asked to contribute for a facility which a majority of them would never use”.

The already hiked fee and recommendations for increase on other fronts are few other key issues likely to feature in the forthcoming senate meeting. The committee was chaired by Prof Ashok Sahni and included Prof V.K. Bansal, Prof P.P. Arya, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Dr Reet Mahinder Singh and Mr Bhupinder Singh.

The construction office informed the committee that a rough estimate for the hostel was Rs 1 crore 68 lakh. The hostel will have four storeys which will accommodate 230 students at a time. An amount of Rs 42 lakh was needed for construction of the ground floor.

The department of sports will collect the money for which the Panjab University Campus Students Council would be authorised to make the use. The Vice-Chancellor has been requested for allotment of suitable land for the purpose.

The sports hostel is recommended to remain under direct control of the Director, Sports. It has also been pointed out that the money collected from students would not be sufficient for complete construction. Other sources of finance have been asked to be searched for.

For improvement of the sports standard, the university has been asked to allocate more money out of the sports budget. A special request has been made to allocate more rooms for sportsmen and sportswomen in the existing structure.

A fellow said the recommendations “looked too general”. In case of changes needed or a new project envisaged, there was a need for a more clear planning. A reaction from colleges before any enhancement of fee could best show the approval to the plan because there would be certain questions from their quarters.


Cows die mysteriously
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 17
Anxiety gripped officials of the local administration when at least seven cows were found dead under mysterious circumstances near the Phase X market here today. Though officials believe that these stray cows had died after consuming some poisonous substance from a garbage dump, a team of veterinary doctors was called from Ropar to conduct a post-mortem on the carcasses of the animals.

The report of the post-mortem is still awaited, but the possibility of the animals dying of the foot and mouth disease cannot be ruled out. The carcaseses were noticed by some residents of the area who informed a local municipal councillor, Ms Harbans Kaur, and officials of the Sanitation Wing. The carcasses were moved to a dumping place behind the local cremation ground in the Industrial Area by a Sanitary Inspector of the civic body without conducting the autopsy on these.

The Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Jaipal Singh, said, on finding that the council had not sent the carcasses for post-mortem, he had called up the President of the body, Mr Kulwant Singh, as the Executive Officer and the Sanitary Inspector, Mr Harinder Singh, were not available. He along with the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Phase VIII police station, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, inspected the carcasses and then informed the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar.

A team of doctors sent by the Deputy Commissioner were conducting an autopsy on the carcasses in the Kumbhra veterinary hospital till late this evening. The SDM said he had directed the SHO of the Phase VIII police station to take action against the Sanitary Inspector for his negligence.

Mr S.S. Patwari, a councillor of the opposition group, sought action against the President of the body and officials its sanitary for disposing of the carcasses without verifying why the cows had died.


Russian geologist visits crack site
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
“It is a great learning experience for all of us to witness the manifestation of neo-tectonic activity, an amazing geological event, witnessed rarely,” remarked Dr Alexander Strom, a Russian geologist.

He was in the city to study the crack which came to light on March 5. Accompanied by four experts from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehra Dun, they spent a couple of hours at the site in Nada, examining the hillock and adjoining fields.

“We are here to have a quick look at the status of the land in question. Though we are taking down a few notes as of now, a detailed study will follow when we return to the site again,” Dr A.K. Aggarwal, a geologist from Dehra Dun, said.

The experts who arrived at the site said that they got the information of the event, an important one as far as geology goes, at an international conference in Amritsar.

“I got interested in the matter when Prof G.S. Gill of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Geology read out a paper at the conference. It was after his findings, stated in the paper, that I wanted to see the site for myself”, Dr Strom informs. He was associated as a consultant in the Tehri dam project and India and its terrain is not new to him.

Too premature to comment on whether construction in the area was possible or not, Dr Sushil Kumar said that deduction could be arrived at only after a detailed study was carried out of the rocks. “We will definitely come back and prepare our paper on the subject,” he added.

PU geologists, Prof L.N. Gupta and Dr G.S. Gill said, “Any additional knowledge is helpful in such research matters. Sharing of ideas would encourage a healthy discussion.” 


Cheques for quake relief presented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Responding to the appeal of Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen. JFR Jacob, (Retd.), contributions continued to pour in for Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund-Gujarat.

Mr Justice A.B. Saharya, Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court accompanied by Mr Justice R.S. Mongia, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, and Mr G.K. Chatrath, President, High Court Bar Association today called on General Jacob at Punjab Raj Bhavan and presented him a number of cheques amounting to Rs 25,71,283 on behalf of Chief Justice, Judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Officers of High Court, Judicial Officers and Staff of various district courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, and also contributions of High Court Bar Association.

Mr Justice Saharaya informed that Chief Justice and High Court Judges have contributed Rs 1,72,500, whereas officers of the High Court have contributed Rs 9,500. Staff of High Court have contributed Rs 1,67,994. Judicial officers and staff of District Courts of Punjab have contributed Rs 7,97,606 whereas Judicial Officers and staff of Disitrict Courts of Haryana have contributed Rs 7,65,575 and Bar Association of Punjab and Haryana High Court have contributed Rs 6,58,209.

Appreciating the gesture, the Governor said that this amount would be fruitfully utilised for the long term rehabilitation plan for the people affected by the Gujarat earthquake.


Minor fires reported
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
The evening walkers in the Sector 33 Terrace Garden were surprised to see a smoke bellowing out of the ground near the garden today. They rushed to the spot to find a fire engine struggling to control a fire in some bushes.

According to sources in the Fire Department, it took over 20 minutes to control the fire. Fireman suspect that a burning cigarette stub thrown carelessly in the bushes might have caused the fire.

Meanwhile, minor fires were also reported from various parts of the city. However, there was no loss of life and property as the fires were controlled. A husk heap caught fire in Palsora Colony and a pile of garbage caught fire in Dadu Majra. The Fire Department also received a hoax fire call in the office of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Sector 33 here.


47 more auto drivers challaned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
Continuing with its drive against the autorickshaws plying in the city without fare meters, the Chandigarh Administration challaned 47 such auto rickshaw drivers in various parts of the city today.

The Transport Department had asked the SP Traffic and the Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA) to form separate teams and challan the autos which have not got fixed meters as per a notification issued on January 12.



Youth missing
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 17
Mr NS Bhatia, a resident of Phase 4, in a complaint lodged with the police said that his younger brother, Amarjit Singh Bhatia (28), was missing since March 5. He said the youth left for Dera Bassi on his scooter (PB -65-3421) but did not return. The police has registered a daily diary report (DDR).


4 vehicles stolen in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
A scooterist, Muni Lal Yadav, was hit by a Maruti car near the Piccadily chowk here yesterday. According to police sources, Muni Lal was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where his condition was said to be stable.

The car driver reportedly sped away after the accident. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Theft cases:
One Ram Dayal of Uttar Pradesh was arrested by the police under Sections 380 and 411 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Shukla Chauhan of Colony No. 4. According to police sources, the latter had complained that the former had stolen his music system yesterday afternoon. The stolen system was reportedly recovered form the possession of the accused.

Mr Subhash Singh, a Panjab University resident, complained before the police that his house was burgled and a television set and a dinner set was stolen from his residence yesterday night. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC has been registered.

Ms Ravneet Tulsi, a student of Department of Mass Communication and resident of Kasturba Hall, Panjab University reported that her blue Kinetic Honda was stolen from the campus on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the city two Maruti cars and a scooter were also reported to have been stolen. Mr Balwinder Singh Gill of Ludhiana district reported that his car (PB-10-S-4287) was stolen from Sector 27 on Thursday night. Mr Vinod Garg of Sector 37 also reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-L-3515) was stolen from a parking of Sector 17 yesterday. The scooter (CH-03-C-0329) of Mr Davinder Singh, a resident of Modern Complex, Manimajra, was reportedly stolen on Wednesday night from his residence.

In all the incidents, cases under Section 379 of IPC have been registered. 



Police unable to trace killer truck driver
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 17
Fate could not be more cruel for the Ahujas, residents of Mansa Devi complex, who lost a member of their family, 32-year-old Anil Kumar in an accident at the sales-tax barrier here on March 15.

Anil leaves behind a wife who is unable to bear the shock and two children who are too young to realise the magnitude of the tragedy. “Despite the loss, we are trying to have the truck driver arrested. Nothing has happened so far and the police has also not responded,” Anil’s widow, Ms Parveen, said.

Anil’s invalid father is in no position to run from pillar to post in search of justice for his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. “We were relying on the police help, but for the police, it is a routine matter that can wait,” Anil’s father, Mr M.C. Ahuja, said.

The family said, though the truck driver had managed to escape from the scene of the crime, the crowd had taken over his truck and handed it over to the police. Despite this, the police has been unable to trace the whereabouts of the driver.

A police party came to their residence, made some enquiries and left. Since then, the family has not heard from them and no arrest has been made so far in this case. “We are helpless,” is all the family can say.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Police, Dr C.S. Rao, when contacted, said he had no information of any such case and would look into it if it had been registered by the police.



45 gm smack seized from 2 Kenyans
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 17
The local police today seized 45 grams of smack from two Kenyan nationals on the basis of a tip-off near the Phase 7 Industrial Area here .

The Kenyans were going on a Kinetic Honda (CH-01-F-2119) when they were intercepted by a police team. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the two.

According to information available, George Udina and Lenon Olino, brother and sister, were living in Sector 44 of Chandigarh and had been operating in the town . A number of addicts from the town and neighbouring rural areas were taking their supplies from the two. A mobile phone has also been recovered from their possession.


Man drugged, robbed in bus
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
A man who had come from Dubai was reportedly robbed in a city-bound bus from Delhi, after he was drugged by a fellow passenger. The victim had boarded the bus as he had to go to Jalandhar. A case has been registered.

According to information available, Mohan Singh had returned to India yesterday and boarded the bus at Delhi. It is learnt that a fellow passenger reportedly befriended Mohan and offered him “drugged biscuits”. The biscuits were consumed by Mohan and he became unconscious.

Once Mohan became unconscious, the fellow passenger decamped with all his belongings. However, it could not be known at which place on the way to the city he was drugged.

Police sources said that the driver and the conductor of the bus, after reaching the ISBT-17 here took the victim to the General Hospital, Sector 16, in the morning. Mohan was later discharged.


1 killed, 1 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
The driver of a Swaraj Mazda was killed while the cleaner was seriously injured when the vehicle hit a tree on the Kharar-Morinda road near Khanpur village in the early hours of the day today.

According to police, Charanjit Singh of Poonia village in Ludhiana district was killed while the cleaner Sukhwant Singh of Balachaur was seriously injured when Swaraj Mazda (HR-45-5000) hit the tree.

The vehicle was coming from the Morinda side and the accident occurred at around 5 a.m. The body was handed over to the relatives of the victim after proceedings under Section 174 by the police.


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