Friday, March 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Govt to plug loopholes in Anandgarh project
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, March 29
The Punjab Government proposes to issue a fresh notification to plug all loopholes in the Anandgarh project that have been pointed out by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in its yesterday’s order quashing the notification for the acquistion of 10,500 acres, according to highly placed sources in the government.

They said legal experts were already examining the judgement to take an approptiate action. The sources said the government could now either file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court or remove the shortcomings pointed out by the High Court.

The government is most likely to go by the court order and plug the loopholes in the project. “It is not that the government was not aware of the procedures of site selection,” said a senior Punjab official. Sources in the Punjab Government said if the government followed the court order, a board would have to be constitued in accordance with the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Act of 1995 to select the site for the project.

The government’s immediate reaction will be to challenge the High Court decision and move an SLP in the Supreme Court. However, officials say that the government is not likely to get an immediate relief as the Supreme Court will take long to give its decision.

When contacted, the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, said the government was examining all options. On the question of the likelihood of government moving the SC, he said he would be able to give a definite reply only after consulting the Advocate General. Sources in the Anandgarh Development Authority (ADA) said the government would have saved crores of rupees if it had followed the standard procedures for building new townships.

With the quashing of the acquisition notification, the fate of more than 50 ad hoc employees working on the project is uncertain now. Employees in the office of the Land Acqusition Collector for the project are now virtually without work. Mr Narinder Singh Sangha, LAC, said he was depressed after the judgement. “My team had worked hard on the project,” he said. Dates had already been fixed for hearing the claims of land owners. The acquisition notices now occupy a corner of the office. There are over 30 employees in this office who have been hired on contract for preparing these notices. They do not know whether the government will now retain them or fire them.

Meanwhile, the Pind Bachao Committee has welcomed the High Court order. Mr Angrez Singh, head of the committee, said the decision had raised the hopes of about 30,000 residents of 29 villages who would have been affected by the project.


Snag hits phone services for three hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is at it again.

Thousands of telephones connected onto the Sector 17 telephone exchange went on a blink this morning for more than three hours following a technical snag. The problem affected almost all phones installed north of Dakshin Marg.

Located in the affected area are hospitals, important offices of Punjab, Haryana and the Chandigarh Administration. Besides, phones in the main Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) and the railway ticket booking office were also affected. Booking of railway tickets had to be suspended as the BSNL lines are used for connectivity from the booking counter at the ISBT to the railway station.

The snag was such that on picking up receivers subscribers could not hear the dial tone. Anyone wanting to reach the affected phone numbers only heard a busy tone or the monotonous ‘‘this route is busy, please dial after some time.’’ Surprisingly, the Principal General Manager, Telecom (PGMT), Mr S.C. Vaish, claimed that the problem did not affect the call traffic at all. Some problem might have been caused due to the rain. Minor problems also got magnified due to rain, he added.

In the past three months this has not been the first technical breakdown. Links between Chandigarh and Panchkula have snapped at least twice and the same is true for the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar link. About a month ago the link between the Industrial Area (Phase II) and other exchanges snapped.

Harassed subscribers can only complain, grudge and bear with the system. But this will not be on for long. Major private telecom companies which have bid for licences in the basic telecom sector will pose a major challenge for the still sarkari thinking BSNL and its officials. The private players will virtually woo the high end subscribers with high quality transmission and dependable lines.

A harassed subscriber whose phone stopped working raised a question saying why did the department not have a central number where an official could inform till what time the fault would be rectified and what series of numbers had been affected.

A Sector 21 subscriber said he needed to call up his daughter in Bangalore urgently and he had to go to Sector 34 and place the call while driving a scooter during rain.

And like exchange faults in the past this one also affected business of STD ISD operators, cyber cafes in the area, besides bringing down communication links. The PGMT added that the BSNL was working to have alternative links between exchanges which would take over if the original link failed. 


Rain lashes city, mercury dips
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The city and its surrounding townships continued to experience high wind speeds, sharp showers and a plunging mercury for the second consecutive day today while the officials at the local met office said that the ongoing spell of rain will delay the onset of summer temporarily — at least 5 to 6 days.

Conditions in the past 24 hours have been more like a day during the monsoon rather than spring, but the director of the local meteorological office, Mr S.C. Bhan, says the spell of rain is nothing unusual for this time of the year. The rain will continue till tomorrow. He, however, added that this will delay the onset of summer. Till yesterday the increase in temperature had been gradual.

Today the maximum day time temperature was 26.6 degrees celsius, 4 degrees below the normal average for this time of the year. Since last night people driving two-wheelers have pulled out woollens, while fans have been switched off. Explaining the cause for rain, Mr Bhan said the ongoing spell had occurred due to the confluence of a low pressure over north Rajasthan and western disturbances in Jammu and Kashmir and in adjoining Pakistan.

Meanwhile, rain continued to lash the city and also threw normal life out of gear as people preferred to remain inside due to the downpour. Missing due to the rain were roadside mechanics. Shopkeepers recorded poor sales. However sweet shops selling samosas and pakoras did brisk business. The rain also resulted in several minor accidents as two wheelers skidded.


PGI-CTU tussle hits commuters
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
With the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), expressing its inability to divert bus routes to the bus stop near the New OPD gate opposite Sector 11, problems of the PGI authorities regarding commuting hassles presently being faced by visitors and patients, are to continue. The new block was formally put to use on March 19 after having been completed for more than a year and will be formally inaugurated by the Union Health Minister, Dr C.P. Thakur, on April 4.

According to the PGI sources, CTU expressed its inability to divert more routes, which the authorities had requested for, as according to the CTU, there was no parking space for the buses near the bus stop opposite Sector 11 near the new OPD gate. Moreover, drivers of the buses have also expressed their inability to turn and negotiate this road. Instead, CTU has requested PGI authorities for permission to ply the buses through the institute. All these problems, stress the CTU sources, should have been visualised by the PGI authorities well in advance, as the New OPD has been ready for more than a year now.

As many as 2,400 patients visit the PGI OPD every day and as per the PGI authorities, route numbers 3, 131 and 21 are catering to their needs. Quite a few patients also rely on rickshaw-pullers who are charging as much as Rs 10 to transverse a distance of about 800 meters between the PGI gate opposite Panjab University and the new OPD.

The new block is situated on the road leading to Punjab Engineering College, which culminates near Naya Gaon.

PGI authorities, on the other hand, have expressed hesitation in letting the CTU ply its buses through the premises of the institute, as they feel this would add to the existing traffic problems, besides proving hazardous for visitors.

When contacted, Mr Chandra Shekhar, Director, Technical Education, who is also holding the additional charge of Director, CTU, said that the department had not refused to extend bus services, but expressed reservations based on genuine problems and also offered a solution. “Mr Surinder Kumar, General Manager, CTU suggested to the PGI authorities that they should let us ply the busses through the institute. Buses can easily enter the gate opposite the University and come out through the one opposite Sector 11. However, what they are suggesting is that we should follow a route through the middle of Sector 11, opposite the market. We have tried this and have diverted route numbers 14, 75, 11, 18, 3, 21 and 82. However, this will not be possible once the government colleges on the Madya Marg re-open after the holidays.” “Moreover, to negotiate buses on the road dividing Sector 11 and the PGI, bus-drivers have to transverse an additional distance of three kilometres. PGI authorities should instead allow us to ply buses through their premises. In fact, we have also assured them that the buses will not stop in between and will only operate during the OPD hours from 8 am to 2pm,” he asserted.


Date for replacing faulty meters extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
To make things easier for the consumer and avoid unnecessary harassment, the Municipal Corporation today extended the last date of getting the faulty water meters replaced to May 31.

Giving this information, the Superintending Engineer (Public Health), Mr Manmohanjit Singh, said those who failed to comply with the order till the extended deadline would be charged double the rate of their average consumption. Since the earlier deadline was to expire on March 31, the rush of consumers to get their meters tested and replaced had increased manifold.

Mr Singh disclosed that for the convenience of the public, the MC had decided to open five more water testing laboratories in Sectors 9, 18, 37, Mani Majra and another one in Sector 32. At present, the piles of meters were being checked only in the laboratory in Sector 32. The new laboratories, which will become functional on April 3, will now cater to the area under their SDO’s. People will no longer have to rush to Sector 32 to get their meter tested. Senior officials, including the Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh, and the SE (Public Health), visited various offices today to look into the problem of the consumers and assured them that the same would be sorted out there and then. The SDOs have also been directed to make them available in the offices at all hours for early redress of the visitors to their office.

Meanwhile, the officials have also appealed to the public to use water judiciously in the wake of the coming summers and have already started issuing notices to the violators who are using hose pipes to water lawns and wash vehicles during the peak morning hours. 


Marathi actress going Telugu
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Sonali Bendre travels quite fast. Only yesterday she was in Mumbai facing the charge of having worn clothes which offended the religious sentiments of people. Today she was in Chandigarh, exactly for 30 minutes — to launch a business venture in Sector 35. She arrived by a Jet Airways flight at 1.20 p.m. and had already left by 1.40 p.m., leaving her fans dissatisfied and disgruntled. The level of dissatisfaction of the fans was obvious from the broken glass door of a showroom, which was a 10-minute halt of the actress. It took 15 Chandigarh police personnel to take charge of the situation and save the actress from any sort of mauling. So even before Sonali could really cut the ribbon this afternoon, she was whisked away, back to the airport, by the security personnel.

Given the state of affairs, the only chance of meeting the actress today was at Chandigarh airport, and that too for about 10 minutes. She looked stunning as usual, in her peach-beige outfit, and the first thing that struck the mind was — if looks could kill... she would be termed as a killer. But thank the fact that phrases are not always true, Sonali Bendre’s ravishing looks stop with evoking admiration of people... they don’t really kill.

This, however, does not mean that Sonali is not conscious of her beauty. The leggy Marathi lass, who was born in Mumbai on January 1 some 25 years ago, has never really worked hard to look good. She has been born with beauty, which, she feels, has made things easier for her in the film world. She admitted, “I would not have been in filmdom had I not been beautiful. Good looks make things easier. But that is not my doing. My friends say that my body has some kind of manufacturing defect. People notice my body, not my acting. My efforts in acting have not been recognised.”

The actress, however, added that some of her recent films, like “Sarfarosh”, “Hum Sath Sath Hain” and “Hamara Dil Aapke Pas Hai”, have reversed the trend. “Little appraisal has started with some of these hit films last year,” she said.

Proceeding from here, Sonali went on to share a lot with us — right from her likes and dislikes, her attraction for Telegu films (she has done a new Telegu film titled “Mrugraja” opposite Chiranjeev, and there are many lined up) and also about the rumours that she has been engaged to Mumbai-based Goldie Behl.

About marriage, the actress is quite clear. “I cannot plan my marriage. It will happen as and when it has to. Even if I find a man now, I am not ready for marriage. My family is supporting me on this account,” she said. As for acting, Sonali particularly likes working for Mahesh Manjrekar with whom she did “Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai” last year. She said, “My first film, Aag, was also opposite Govinda. I worked with him after five years in this Mahesh Manjrekar film.” Sonali is doing two more films, each with Mahesh Manjrekar and Satish Kaushik.

With 27 films to her credit (the latest being “Love you Hamesha” opposite Akshay Khanna), Sonali is a mature actress. Though she feels her due has not come to her. “People did notice me in ‘Sarfarosh’. I am trying hard to do sensible acting,” she said.

As the discussion proceeded to a lighter side, Sonali also talked about her love for reading. The actress adores Enid Blyton’s “Folk of the Faraway Tree”, Richard Bach’s “Bridge Across Forever”, and Jeffery Archer’s “Kane and Abel”. Her philosophy of life is clear. “Live and let live”, she says, adding that she is allergic to bananas, dishonest people and nosy parkers.

But all said and done, acting is her first love. She adores many roles, but one role the actress would give her eyes and teeth for is Sally Field’s in “Not Without My Daughter”. Says the actress, “Some of my efforts have been recognised, but not really. As far as acting is concerned, my most memorable moment is the one when I got the Filmfare award just after recovering from an accident.”


‘Connections’ must to have glimpse of Mata
Employees eating away the offerings
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 29
Jagpato Devi, a 75-year-old woman, stood in the queue outside the Mata Mansa Devi shrine for over three hours, bent over a stick, supported by her son. The only propelling force was a glimpse of the Mata. At the altar, she offered her gold earrings, the only remembrance of her husband who died almost 15 years back. Even before she neared the sanctum santorum, she was ushered towards the exit.

Enter the politician or high-ranking official of the government and the scene undergoes a seachange. Putting all activity on hold, the public is asked to wait a while. A key clicks the lock open to a gate reserved for his entry, right next to the Mata. The VIP seeks blessings, puts in a little cash, while the pundits perform puja. In return comes a silver coin from the collection of the last navratras and off he scurries with his guards in toe till next time.

Far too steeped in materialism, the devotee has been put on the backburner while “connections’’ have taken charge even when it comes to sharing God with the brethren. So seems the spirit which has dominated the scene this time as also in the past few years.

If that is not enough, exploitation of the devotee and his faith in God, another bolt comes in the form of the 500-odd employees on duty at the shrine who are literally eating away the offerings in the three meals from breakfast to dinner, everything seems on the house during the course of their duty, a charge denied by the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board.

It seems the “They-also-serve-who-only-stand-and-wait’’ concept is no longer in vogue and has few takers in this present set-up where money has come to be the only guiding force, steering the power-wielding through the crowd and face-to-face with the Goddess.

Most ordinary men, however, are at the receiving end, getting nothing in return, not even a nice long look at the idol of the Mata, and yet returning home with the satisfaction of having paid their obeisance.

Their offerings, not limited to cash, alone come by way of utensils, jewellery, both gold and silver, ceiling fans, wall clocks, clothing and much more. It is learnt that these have been growing with each passing year, the navratras being a bi-annual affair.

In April, 2000, approximately Rs 20 lakh was collected along with 485 items of silver and 29 of gold, 38 ceiling fans and 11 clocks while Rs 20 lakh came by way of cash, 52 items of gold and 617 of silver, 23 fans and 235 utensils.

The board officials claim that after utilising items according to the need of the shrine and its upkeep, whatever comes in by way of offering is handed down to charitable institutions who give in their demand from time to time.

Within two days, as much as Rs 6.47 lakh has been collected in cash and the board has received offerings of 12 gold ornaments, 211 silver ornaments, nine ceiling fans, 165 utensils and four wall clocks.


Who will be the next Chief Engineer?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Who will be the new Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Administration, once the present incumbent, Mr R. K. Jain, retires tomorrow? No formal orders had been issued till late in the evening, indicating who will hold charge till the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) meeting is held as per schedule on April 16.

The name of Mr Puranjit Singh, Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, who is also the seniormost UT cadre engineer, is being discussed in official circles as the possible candidate to take over from Mr Jain. For this the Administration will first have to issue orders recalling Mr Puranjit Singh from the MC where he is on deputation for the past four years.

The next senior most UT cadre engineer after Mr Puranjit Singh is Mr V.K. Bhardawaj. He is presently working as Superintending Engineer in the Administration. He is being tipped to become Chief Engineer, MC, in place of Mr Puranjit Singh. It is learnt that Mr Bhardawaj has expressed his verbal unwillingness to go to the MC. But he may have to move if the Administration decides to do so. Sources said the only point in not sending Mr Bhardawaj to the MC will be to prevent the creation of a vacuum of senior engineer in the Administration. A senior engineer, Mr Kuldip Singh, SE, Planning, is going back to Punjab after completing his deputation in Chandigarh. Same is true for Manmohanjit Singh, SE, Public Health, MC.

Sources said a senior-level SE may be given additional charge of Chief Engineer, MC, till something is decided.

The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, when contacted refused to comment, saying everything will fall in place within the next two days. However, sources say that the Administration will keep in mind the seniority of engineers before issuing orders.


Problems of small farmers highlighted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Land holdings of small farmers are getting smaller and the economy has not developed enough to absorb their growing numbers in the secondary and tertiary sectors. These remarks were made by Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, Punjab, in his inaugural address at the opening ceremony of a national seminar on “Small farmers — their problems and remedies” at the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, here today. The seminar is being organised by the Centre for Indian Development Studies (CIDS).

He said that in certain areas, big landlords, who had resources and expertise, had taken up land of small farmers on rent. With opening of the world economy and communication network, small farmers needed opportunity to grow and compete globally. He said that the land reform policies had not borne fruits as expected.

Land distribution was uneven in Punjab and so was the land utilisation by farmers. Farmers had large land holdings in Ferozepure are but on papers they were untouched by the Land Ceiling Act, he said.

In the Doaba area, in recent times, big farmers had started getting more land holdings individually under their charge. They borrowed on contexts of parting away with shares of profit to the original holders. This also saved a lot of inconvenience to marginal farmers in addition to a fixed income, Mr Arora added.

Dr Dinesh Chandra, Resident Financial Commissioner, Punjab, said that small farming was not viable because the net earnings of small and marginal farmers was less than minimum wages stipulated in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. He highlighted social and economic dimensions of the problems that farmers faced which compelled him to borrow from informal and formal agencies such as private money lenders, commission agents, banks and cooperatives.

Dr Chandra said that the role of informal sector could not be depreciated without offering any alternative source. Rural banks cannot be blamed for not giving loan to farmers because of financial and policy restraints. Proportion of small and marginal farmers in Punjab was 44.8 per cent as compared to the 78 per cent at the national-level.

Dr V.S. Mahajan of the CIDS introduced the subject which had gained immense importance during current times. Dr G.S. Dhillon proposed the vote of thanks. The session was conducted by Dr B.S. Ghumman.


Factionalism mars CTCC meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The new office-bearers of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) will be announced within 15 days, Ms Mohsina Kidwai, AICC General Secretary and in charge of Chandigarh, said here today.

Addressing a press conference, Ms Kidwai, while stressing the need for unity in the local unit of the party, said active Congress workers would be nominated for party posts. The party high command would nominate 10 office-bearers comprising three general secretaries, three vice-president, three district presidents and one treasurer.

While conceding that factionalism was there in every party, she evaded questions on local issues, including whether any action would be taken against four Congress councillors, who were not present at the meeting of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh yesterday.

Demanding the resignation of the NDA Government on “moral grounds” in the wake of the Tehelka expose, Ms Kidwai wanted the registration of criminal case against the former Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, for his alleged role in defence deals. She, however, did not specify whether the Congress would form a government in the event of the Central Government’s resignation.

Later, addressing a workers’ rally at the Congress Bhavan, Ms Kidwai alleged that the BJP-led government was pushing the country towards dictatorship at the instance of the RSS. She blamed casteist leaders such as SP chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, for dividing the secular votes which paved the way for the NDA rule at the Centre.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP, said it was first time in the history of independent India that the government had misused Doordarshan for telecasting the address of Mr Fernandes.

Prominent among those who spoke were, the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, Mahila Congress chief, Ms Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, Mr Sham Lal Gupta and Mr J.N. Shastri.

Ms Kidwai, who was on her first visit to Chandigarh after assuming the charge of party affairs, had the first taste of factional politics at the railway station this morning, when activists belonging to the Bansal faction, Dhawan faction and the Venod Sharma faction, apparently in a bid to show off their strength, raised slogans in favour of their leaders.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Sharma faction, comprising Mr Sunil Parti, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, Ms Shrestha Mehta and Ms Manjit Kaur met Ms Kidwai at the UT State Guest House and apprised her of the different aspects of the local politics.

Simmering differences in the Congress again came to the fore this evening. Mr Devinder Singh Babla, a close confidant of Mr Dhawan, openly attacked the working style of the CTCC chief. He alleged that Mr Bahl did not take into confidence the Dhawan faction, while fixing today’s date for a massive rally and he later backed out of it. He alleged the Dhawan faction, which played a major role in victory of the Mr Bansal, was being sidelined. Things had come to such a pass that Ms Kidwai had to intervene to restrain Mr Babla from raising contentious issues.


17 phariwallahs challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
In a joint special drive, undertaken by the Municipal Corporation and the Estate Office, as many as 17 phari vendors in Sector 22 were challaned and their loads full of clothes were confiscated by the staff even before they could spread them. Nearly 50 other phariwalas, who were yet to display their goods, were taken in by surprise when they found the enforcement staff in large numbers at the venue and tried to protest but could not succeed.

The president of the Old Phari Market Asociation, Mr Partap Singh, who was agitated at the action of the enforcement staff pointed out that where do the authorities expect us to go when all our requests to give us an alternate sites have fallen flat. For the last 6-7 months, even since the staff had evicted them from the Sector 22 market, they have been finding it difficult to earn their daily living. Mr N.K Sood, a phari vendor, said that they will continue to oppose the enforcement staff till the Administration provides them a place to carry out their business. They will sit at their regular place and ensure that the goods are not seized by the staff. Shanti alleged that she had only yesterday purchased readymade clothes worth Rs 2,000 on credit, which were picked up by the staff even before she spread them. The same were dumped in an MC vehicle, which is normally used to pick up wet dust, and must have got spoiled because of the rain, she added.

The drive was led by Enforcement Magistrate, Mr Ishwar Singh, and secretary MC, Mr Ashwani Kumar, who were accompanied by over 50 police personnel, besides their own staff for carrying out the operation. They firmly told the phari vendors that if they put up unnecessary resistance, they will suffer.

The staff issued five challans to shopkeepers in Shastri market, 6-7 in Bajwara market outside Shishu Niketan school for encroaching upon the MC land.

Nearly 10 shopkeepers were challaned in Sector 19 Palika bazaar, main market and Sadar bazaar.


Fusion 2001
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
Be it the dresses or the dance items, everything pointed out at the fact that geographical boundaries were no barrier for creative minds. A perfect blend of East-West fusion was the highlight of the fashion show, ‘Fusion 2001’, organised by the International Polytechnic for Women as part of the 16th annual function at Tagore Theatre in Sector 16 here today.

Seven professional models, Jaspreet, Barkha, Naina, Radhika, Hema, Vandana and Karishma, along with 21 students of the Institute, displayed the creations in seven rounds, including traditional, casual, western, suit, kids, hawai and ethnic round.

The traditional round featured hand-painted sarees, along with ‘lehngas’ while the casual round displayed trousers, capris and jeans in batik print and tie and dye motifs. The show also focused on kids wear in the kids round. The show ended with the award-giving ceremony for the best dress designers. Raman from the Department of Fashion Designing was declared the best designer of the year, while Gagandeep from Fashion Designing and Gulshan from Textile Designing bagged the second and third prizes. 


Air Chief to visit city today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A. Y. Tipnis, is scheduled to arrive at the Chandigarh Air Force Station on a two-day inspection visit tomorrow. He will be accompanied by Mrs Molina Tipnis, President, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA).

According to a statement issued here today, the Air Chief will inspect No 12 Wing and No 3 Base Repair Depot. He will also address Air Force personnels at the station.


Alleged case of octroi evasion
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 29
An alleged case of octroi evasion and beating up of a truck driver by a unit owner of the Phase VII Industrial Area has come to light.

It is alleged that a truck carrying plastic granules coming to the town from Delhi stopped near octroi naka No. 5 last evening. He had been asked by the factory management to enter the town only at night. The truck was carrying material worth about Rs 6 lakh.

It is further alleged that someone came on a motor cycle at night and escorted the truck into the town without paying octroi which came to about Rs 18,000.

It is alleged that when the driver of the truck, Joginder Pal, asked for a delivery receipt for the material from the factory owner, he was beaten up. Mr Manjit Singh, Vice-President of the Municipal Council, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, a municipal councillor, and Mr Ranbir Singh Dhillon, President of the local Truck Operators Union, said that octroi was being evaded by a number of industrial units here.

It is learnt that the owner of the factory paid around Rs 10,000 as octroi today at some other naka in the town.

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