Saturday, July 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



PU to seek 100-cr grant from UGC
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Panjab University will ask the University Grants Commission (UGC) for a Rs 100-crore developmental grant for the period of the tenth five-year-plan to carry out its various development, maintenance and upgradation plans.

Recommendation to this effect has been made by a committee constituted by the PU Vice-Chancellor to assess the requirements and demands made by the various teaching and non-teaching departments of the university. The committee will also recommend the total figure to the VC for further consideration of the UGC.

The sum is Rs 40 crore more than the demand made by the university for the last five years in 1996 since the university has decided to make some ambitious plans for the next five years. With the UGC having chosen the university as one of the eight universities of excellence in the country and the NAAC having given a five-star status to the university, the UGC is likely to consider the university’s demand seriously.

For a university facing a massive financial crunch, sanctioning of the said amount can mean a life saver but many feel that the UGC may not be in a position to sanction the amount in its totality to the university.

The UGC has to cater to more than 200 universities in the country and its own budget is limited to a few hundred crores.

Sources in the university also state that the PU, for the last five years, has demanded approximately Rs 60 crore out of which the UGC has sanctioned only Rs 2.7 crore as development grant. Another Rs 1.37 crore the university has got for itself as major research projects besides substantial amounts from other fund-giving agencies, an amount which is much higher than a comparative figure of the other universities of the region.

Considering the fact that the total budget allocated to the UGC by the Central Government to give out to its universities is only Rs 450 crore and with 200 universities to cater to, the amount per head comes to about Rs 2 crore. But the UGC’s own budget is likely to increase as a result of which the PU will get something close to what it received from the UGC for the last five years as grant for development.

But for many reasons the university is likely to get much more than its just divided share from the UGC kitty. The PU has been chosen as one of the eight universities of excellence in the country and is thus in line for special UGC grants. Five of these universities have already been given these special grants.

The NAAC too has given the university a five-star status which too makes it eligible for some enhanced attention from the UGC as far as grants are concerned.

Sources also state that the special visiting committee constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has recommended that the university’s budgetary requirements are far more than what is being agreed to be contributed by the Punjab Government and UT Administration. These recommendations too are being considered by the PU as an approving nod to go ahead with its major development works.

The university has demanded a major chunk of amount for carrying out the development of its land in Sector 25. The university owns more than 200 acres of land in Sector 25 out of which only 70 acres has been developed so far. There is a proposal for building more departments and buildings in this sector which include a library, hostels and a centre for religious studies.

Another large chunk of the demand is being asked for new infrastructure as well as renovation and upgradation of the existing one keeping in view the new challenges.

There is also a demand for more funds to be allocated to start new courses in the university which will require large investments for the state-of-the-art equipment needed to run these. Bio-genetics, information technology, electronics, public health are some of these fields. There is also a demand for additional equipment in the science departments.

Another overhead the university has listed is the complete net-working of the university computer system for optimal utilisation in the university and affiliated colleges. There is also a demand for providing the faculty members with individual computers as at present only few departments in the university have PCs.

Among the other development schemes there is also a plan for new buildings and extension of current ones in the university. Many departments of the university are sharing a floor and these departments for many years have been demanding more space for their students and faculty.

Proposals of the university for the tenth plan development schemes will be sent to the UGC which will then send a committee to review and make recommendations on the plan submitted by the university. This is likely to happen in the next two months.


Rally against shielding ‘culprits’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 6
The parents of the deceased children — Rimpi and Vikramjit Singh — have demanded the arrest of Kiran Vir Singh Kang, a Youth Akali Dal leader, in the Siau murder case.

Mr Dhani Ram, the father of one of the murdered child, five-year-old Rimpi, alleged at a press conference held here today that the police was sheltering the accused in the case. Kiran Vir Singh and Mewa Singh, the father of the main accused, who were named in the FIR, were not arrested and had been given a clean chit by the district police in gross violation of the legal norms.

The father of the other murdered child, eight-year-old Vikramjit Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh, who was serving in the Army, had met the Punjab Governor along with his higher officials to demand justice in the case. The Governor had directed his OSD to look into the case. However, even after that if Kiran Vir and Mewa Singh were not arrested, we would move the court against the district police, Mr Dhani Ram said.

The parents of the deceased children —Dhani Ram, his wife Jagmohan Kaur and Jaswinder Kaur, wife of Jarnail Singh — came here to attend an all-party rally held today against the alleged biased role of the district police in the case.

The Siau murder case, in which two minor Dalit children were murdered brutally by certain residents of the same village over a minor feud, took political colour today with the opposition parties organising a joint rally over the issue.

The allegations of the parents against the police assume significance in view of the fact that the SSP Ropar, Mr G.P.S Bhullar, in a press conference held on Tuesday gave a clean chit to Kiran Vir and Mewa Singh in the case.

He had claimed that during investigation nothing substantial had been found against Kiran Vir to suggest his involvement in the case. Moreover, the complainants in their statements to the investigating officer had not blamed Mewa Singh and Kiran Vir in the murder case, he had maintained.

However, the complainants refuted the claims of the SSP. They alleged that they had never told the police that the Kiran Vir and Mewa Singh were not involved in the murder case The biased role in the case was illustrated from the fact that generally in a murder case the police demanded a police remand of the accused. However, in this case, the accused were either let off or sent directly to the judicial custody, they alleged.

The SSP when asked to comment about the allegations of the parents told them to be baseless. He said the parents in their statements before the investigating officer in the case had not named Kiran Vir and Mewa Singh in the murder case.

On the basis of their statements, the police had not arrested them. However, now under pressure from the political leaders of the opposition parties, who wanted exploit the situation, they were retracting from their statements. Still if they wanted to add something to their statements they could meet the investigating officers and get it registered, he said.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the opposition parties in the rally held today accused the ruling party of sheltering the accused in the case. Mr Balwant Singh, general secretary of the CPM, Punjab, while addressing the rally blamed the police of sheltering the accused political leader even in a heinous crime as the Siau murder case. He said the opposition parties would continue their agitation till the accused leader was arrested.

The general secretary of the PPCC, Ms Davinder Kaur Garcha, alleged that the SAD/BJP government was sheltering police officials blamed in the various custodial death cases. The main accused in the Morinda custodial death case had also been let free by the police, she alleged.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, the vice-president of the SHSAD, Mr Bhupesh Sharma, PPCC member, Mr Ramesh Goel, secretary, PPCC, Mr K.P.S Rana, Dr Joginder Singh Dyal of CPI, and Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli were among others present in the rally.Back



200 workers not paid for three months
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 6
At least 200 daily-wage and contractual employees of the Punjab School Education Board have not been paid their salaries for the past three months.

The employees have been marking their presence in the attendance register and were even working overtime in the examination branch as the results of different examinations were being compiled. A board official said in the wake of a court order directing removal of the employees by March 31, 2001, the board had stopped paying them salaries till the time of a case was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

But the official did not give any satisfactory answer regarding the work being taken by the board in the examination and other departments. No reply on the issue of allowing the employees to mark their presence in the duty register was also given.

The affected employees said they had been told by the board officials that they were working on their own risk as the case was in the court.

An official of the board said a Division Bench of the High Court in an earlier judgement had directed the board to dismiss the daily-wage and contractual employees after filling the vacant posts of clerk and helper through proper procedure by March 31 last. Following this the board had conducted a test for the vacant posts and the result was about to be declared.

In the meantime, another Bench of the High Court while disposing of a writ petition filed by certain daily-wage employees last month directed the board to examine their case in the light of a notification by the Punjab Government for the regularisation of services of the employees. The board was directed to regularise the services of the employees within three months if they met the conditions specified in the notification. Similar orders had been passed by the court in two separate writ petitions filed by clerks and helpers, respectively.

Against around 200 daily-wage and contractual employees working as clerks, helpers and restorers with the board, around 16 regular posts of clerk and around 80 posts of helper were lying vacant. Acting on the earlier judgement of the Division Bench when the board authorities were about to declare the result last week, the daily-wagers got a stay on the declaration of the result. The case, which came up for hearing before a Bench, was adjourned till July 30.


Railway computers lose time sense
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
For the past six days, computers at the rail-ticket-reservation counters of the Sector 17 Inter-state Bus Terminus (ISBT) and the local railway station have been showing timings that do not match with the actual schedules. The team of the Railways that is supposed to feed the new timings into the countrywide rail-ticket-reservation computers is to be blamed for this, according to sources.

Due to this goof-up, those who want to reserve train tickets are suffering as confusion prevails over the arrival and departure schedules of trains.

On July 1, The Ministry of Railways had changed the timings and and the frequency of hundreds of trains. It had also introduced several new trains. However, the computers at the reservation counters continue to display the old timings, due to which, commuters do not know which time-table to follow. The timings published in newspapers do not match with the ones on the tickets.

In several cases, the differences between timings shown of the ticket and the actual time of arrival is more than several hours. Sources said the Railway team had not been able to feed now timings into the computers because it had received the information from the wing that controlled the movement of trains after much delay. The software will take about 60 days to commit the changes because tickets can be reserved 60 days in advance. The software does not accept changes made before 60 days. Almost all rail tickets are booked on-line and this problem is being faced by commuters nationwide.

Sources said, through several complaints had been lodged by officials of various railway division to the Delhi office, nothing had been done so far to improve the situation. Meanwhile commuters, most of whom had booked tickets before June 30, continue to miss the trains after this sudden change in timings. 


Licence fee for using govt land around houses mooted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The resource generation committee of the Municipal Corporation, which met here today, decided in principle that the city residents who are using the government land around their houses should be made to pay for the same. The proposal to levy licence fee was mooted in accordance with a resolution passed by the MC House in January, 2000, wherein the members had suggested that Rs 25 per hundred sq ft per year should be charged.

The Chief Engineer, MC, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, was asked to get an assessment done of the open spaces, 6-10ft beyond the V5 and V6 roads near the houses and also make rough cost estimates of the funds it would generate for the MC, if the charges approved by the House are levied. The same should be put before the committee and recommendations sent to the House for approval. Mr Bhanot is of the view that “if you commit an illegality, you should pay for the corrective measures also’’ The members also enquired if the money generated by levying licence fee will be enough to provide tiled foot paths along these roads.

The members suggested that the residents should be allowed to grow hedges, grass and flowers on open spaces provided six ft space is left along V6 roads and 10 ft along V5 roads. And in lieu of the licence fee, the civic body will provide tiled footpaths on V-5 and V-6 roads, the members added.

The committee, which met here today under the chairmanship of nominated councillor, Mr Harish Bhanot, examined various proposals to raise funds from the citizens, who can afford to pay. With a view to generate a new fund called the development fund, the members deliberated on the areas where taxes and fees can be levied without making the people feel the pinch of the same.

The committee while examining in detail the issue of levying development tax asked the officers to explore modalities to impose professional tax on those running private institutions, coaching centres, computer institutes, doctors, advocates, chartered accountants, nursing homes and clinics, who are earning lakhs by doing so.

It was also suggested that atleast 50 per cent of the extension fee being charged by the Administration from the plot holders for non-construction should be transferred to the Municipal Corporation, since the MC continues to provide basic services such as water supply, sewerage and drainage facilities, besides roads whether construction on the vacant plot is done within the stipulated time or not. The matter should be taken up with the Estate Office.

The issue of charging road tax from those vehicle owners, who have their vehicles registered in other states but plying here and vice-versa also came up for discussion, as is being followed in Mumbai. A common man had recently brought this issue to the notice of the MC. However, the same was not found to be very practical on all India basis. Air Marshal ( retd) R.S. Bedi, however, suggested that petrol cess should be charged and the amount collected can be used for road construction, repair and maintenance. The more is the petrol consumption, the more is the cess paid by the vehicle owner to the MC. The chairman intends to take up this issue separately at a later date.

Mr Bhanot also suggested that the funds so generated should be used to provide single room tenements to migrants and other less fortunate people from the lower strata of society.

The meeting was attended by the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P Singh, Assistant Commissioner-I, Mr Ashok Vashishtha, Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh and BJP councillor, Air Marshal (retd) R.S Bedi.


Farmers seek compensation from PSEB
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, July 6
Farmers of Haibatpura village, about 4 km from here are feeling harassed by the transmission lines survey and construction wing of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for on-payment of compensation amount for the installation of electric towers in their fields, which were installed over four years ago.

The farmers alleged that despite repeated representations and visits to the board’s office in SAS Nagar, they had failed to draw the attention of the authorities towards their grievances. The farmers complained that the PSEB had turned a blind eye towards their genuine demands.

The PSEB had installed electricity towers in the fields of over 10 farmers for 11,000 KV-overhead high-tension-transmission cables starting from Saidpura-located power house to a feeder at Mubarikpur over four years ago.

The department had also installed towers to support high-tension cables from the Saidpura power house to Mubarikpur-situated a 25-KV transaction substation (TSS), to provide power supply to feed the Ambala-Chandigarh-Kalka railway line last year. The farmers alleged that the employees of the board had installed the towers despite a protest by the farmers at that time. Crops were also destroyed to make way for the material and digging up of land to sink pillars of the towers, they added.

Moreover, sand, gravel, bricks, iron rods and other construction material remained lying in the fields for months which further aggravated their problems, said Mr Krishan Kumar, an affected farmer.

The worst affected farmers include Mr Krishan Kumar, Mr Dharam Pal, Mr Amar Singh, Mr Banarsi Das, Mr Ram Lakhan, Mr Joginder Pal, Mr Dharma, Mr Panna Singh, Mr Chamela Ram and Mr Sheesh Pal.

Some of them were affected while the towers were constructed for drawing of transmission cables from Saidpura located substation to Mubarikpur feeder over four years ago while others were affected while getting electric connection from the power house to 25 KV TSS at Mubarikpur.

For this purpose, the power towers were constructed and over 1,000 sq yard agriculture land had been damaged by the authorities.

This act of the department had affected them adversely. The prices of the land where the overhead high-tension wires were installed, had crashed down to a great extant. Moreover, no construction could be done in this area. Even the industrialists avoided to purchase the land surrounding these towers for the expansion of their units. ‘‘We have paid a number of visits to the office of the department in SAS Nagar to claim our compensation but the officials often ignore us on one pretext or another’’, said Mr Joginder Pal.

The authorities had given them compensation for the damaged crops while constructing towers. A representation had also been given to Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, in this regard but to no avail, they complained.

Mr K.K. Goel, Executive Engineer, was not available for the comments. 


Officers ‘fabricated’ statements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Fresh evidence has revealed that former Kargil Brigade Commander, Brig Surinder Singh, did not require permission from higher formations to vacate posts during winter. Further, some of the officers who deposed before the court of inquiry conducted to investigate into the matter were alleged to have made false statements.

A letter issued by the General Staff (Operations) Branch of Headquarters 15 Corps on December 2, 1997, said the decision to vacate and re-occupy winter vacated posts, depending upon snow conditions, would rest upon the formation concerned. The letter was sent by the Corps to Headquarters 3 Infantry Division as well as Headquarters of 121 and 102 infantry brigades.

One of the reasons cited for terminating the services of Brig Surinder Singh, ex-Commander 121 Brigade, was vacating the Bajrang post in Kaksar without seeking proper permission.

“It is clarified that the posts be vacated keeping in view the safety of troops deployed vis-a-vis the requirement to man the posts till it actually becomes untenable. Also the posts should be re-occupied at the earliest during summer. The decision to occupy/vacate posts rests with the formation concerned,” the letter stated.

A noting made by officers alongside the first-sight dak stamp on the letter’s reverse stated : “We have ceased asking them following the tele-conversation of the BGS with the Deputy GOC, while another noting stated that the matter (as stated above) has been disseminated to the brigades. In fact, the brigade commander himself had passed orders on December 18, 1998, that no post was to be vacated in view of the heightened tension in the area. While 18 posts had been vacated during the previous year, one post was vacated due to climatic conditions in 1998.

The post in question, south-west spur of Point 5299, also referred to as the Bajrang post, had been declared a winter vacated post, which implied that it was to be vacated during winters depending upon the snow conditions. A signal from 121 Brigade to HQ 3 Division on October 24, 1998, stated that winter vacation of posts would be carried out based on the actual snow state at the post and negating the possibility of occupation of the posts by the enemy. A list of the posts listed as winter vacated posts along with dates of their vacation and reoccupation during the previous year was also forwarded along with the signal. As per the list, the Bajrang post was vacated on November 12, 1997, and re-occupied on July 12, 1998. It also contained the proposed date of vacation in 1998.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that some officers were caught fabricating statements before the court of inquiry. It is understood that the court stated in its findings that some of the officers had tried to bluff their way out. Some of the officers concerned are also reported to have faced administrative action. It is learnt that at least one of the officers, who had been cleared for promotion, was eventually not allowed to pick up his next rank. Brig Surinder Singh, it is learnt, had also written to the convening authority, alleging that one of the witnesses was caught making incorrect statements during questioning, but the court modified his statement to read “No comments”.


Special arrangements for IT returns from July 16
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The local Income Tax Department has decided to make special arrangements for filing of returns for salaried and non-audited assesses from July 16 at Jat Bhavan in Sector 27.

The Commissioner, Income Tax, Chandigarh, Mr Ashwani Luthra, told The Tribune, here today the arrangements were to be made at the Jat Bhavan and not at the DAV College as last year as the academic session had started.

He said the decision to change the place had been made in the wake of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) decision to extend the last date of filing of returns till July 31.

Mr Luthra said that the department had made additional arrangements to cope with the rush likely to build up due to the CBDT deciding to merge the date of filing of returns of individuals, the last date of which had been June 30, and that of non-audited accounts which used to be due on August 31 earlier.

He said the change of the date was convenient to both assesses and the department which would now save time and duplication of work because of only making one arrangement, instead of two, with the change.

Mr Luthra said the department had made arrangements for senior citizens to save them from being jostled around.

He ruled out the possibility of heavy rush of assesses saying that the department had already received 70,000 returns by June 30 and around 15,000 more returns were likely to be received.

Mr Luthra said that the non-company assesses, who had been paying tax in advance in installments, would now have to clear their dues a month early for being able to file returns.

He said the income tax collection had been increasing to go up to Rs 380 crore by the end of 2000 from Rs 200 crore in 1999 with the corporate sector contributing Rs 84 crore.

Mr Luthra said arrears in blocked up cases pending in tribunals and courts had been substantially brought down through persistently pursuing these cases and the department made a refund of Rs 78 last year. The filing of returns had already begun from April 1. 


For a good vegetarian meal
Harvinder Khetal

“We have taught the Chandigarh vegetarians to come out and stand in a queue to wait for their turn for Khana,” claims Mr Neeraj Bajaj, the owner of Sindhi Sweets, along with his brothers Kishan and Inder. This eatery needs no introduction to city folks. They have patronised it so much that it has now seven outlets — four in Sector 17 and one each in Sectors 8, 18 and 37.

Mr C. L. Bajaj, his father, started the venture on July 15, 1976, with one shop, recalls Neeraj. Today, in its silver jubilee year, he dreams of setting up the first food plaza of the region, spanning five floors, complete with a lift.

How did the Bajaj family script this success story? A visit to the Sindhi Rasoi reveals waiters deftly carrying trays of puffed rotis, bhaturas and puris and steaming hot dishes at any time of the day. Mr Bajaj says that their family has been in this business for generations, first in Sindh (now in Pakistan) before Independence, then in Yamunanagar and now here. All their cooks are trained in-house and each specialises in a particular item. The secret mix of masalas is roasted and ground in the kitchen daily for giving the distinct flavour, which beckons you to return again and again.

“I come to this place for three reasons — the food is delicious, yet like a home meal (easily relished stuff like curry chawal, pau bhaji or special Amritsari kulcha), it is reasonably priced and with bagsful of my shopping in Sector 17, I find it the best way to wind up the day,” smiles a regular customer. The variety of items offered here attracts another. “Depending on my budget, ranging from Rs 5 for a samosa to Rs 12 for snacks like gol guppas and Rs 60 for a meal comprising peethiwali puri, lassi and faluda kulfi, I like to snatch a bite here,” she gushes.

While the fame of their sweets like motichoor ladoos, patisa, and malai puris, has spread far, the Bajajs do not rest on their laurels. They are always innovating and adding, be it their menu or the décor. This year, there is the new rainbow ice-cream made on Italian machines.

Emphasis is laid on making the mithai as well as the snacks and food to the taste and liking of Chandigarhians. Thus, we have low-sugar, sugar-free and low-fat sweets. The meals are also cooked with minimun oil and chillies. Even their 16 varieties of namkeens are all roasted and made to suit the hygiene and calorie-conscious clientele. Water served and used in the snacks is filtered.


Are the authorities ignoring Mohali cops?
Dearth of accommodation hitting morale
Kulwinder Sangha

Police station of Sohana and a police post of Phase XI being run from dilapidated buildings in SAS Nagar.
Police station of Sohana and a police post of Phase XI being run from dilapidated buildings in SAS Nagar. 
— Photo Manoj Mahajan

SAS Nagar, July 6
The local police is being ignored by the authorities concerned in the matter of the provision of buildings for offices, police stations and residential accommodation, adversely affecting the morale of personnel.

It is learnt that the absence of proper working and living conditions are leading to the lack of interest in work among personnel from whom the government has high expectations in terms of performance. Besides, as the families of most of the personnel are compelled to stay away from the town, the personnel tend to take a longer period of leave when they decide to go home, once again hitting work.

Plots earmarked for police use in different phases have been lying vacant for years, and it appears that the government is in no hurry to allocate funds for constructing the buildings. Police officials complain that the town is expanding with new development taking place all around but the Police Department is being meted out “step-motherly” treatment at the hands of the authorities. The impression given is that the police, through its “influence”, will not face any problem in making its own arrangements for houses and offices.

It is learnt that a six-kanal plot in Phase IV had been earmarked for the construction of the SP’s office-cum-residence and sent to the office of the DGP which, in turn, forwarded it to the Home Department for the sanction of funds. Sources say the file has been gathering dust in that department for the past about six months.

The SP’s office has been functioning in rented accommodation in Phase IV for years. The police has been receiving notices from the landlord for the vacation of the premises. The SP himself at present stays in the Commando Complex in Phase XI.

In Phase VII a piece of land measuring 1.1 acres had been set aside for the police years ago. however, it has still not been finally decided what exactly is to come up on that land.

Similarly, in Phase XI land has been earmarked for a police post. So far, only temporary arrangements have been made for the post on the one-acre plot. A masjid exists in the plot and PUDA will have to provide an alternative site for it.

In the first half of the 1990s the police had purchased 31 kanals in Nanumajra village for the Sohana police station building and other requirements. A plan for constructing 112 residential quarters had been approved, the funds allocated and even tenders called. However, sources say, PUDA authorities are not allowing construction work as the area falls in the expansion project of PUDA and the quarters will “disturb” their planning. Moreover, high-tension electric wires are passing over the area.

The Sohana police station at present is functioning in a building on an encroached piece of land and the police is being served notices by PUDA in this regard. Police officials say there are no alternative arrangements for shifting the police station. People are reluctant to give their premises on rent.

Apart from all this, there are also no proper arrangements for the office of the DSP. A residential quarter meant for other ranks has been turned into his office in the Phase I police station. The DSP reportedly lives in transit accommodation in Yatri Nivas in Chandigarh.

The SHOs, too, have no government accommodation and are staying on rented premises.

In the Commando Complex here there are 24 flats for officers, but a number of these are occupied by personnel on the Chief Minister’s security and the commandants of Commando Battalions. When police officers from outside come to the town, they face accommodation problems as there is no gazetted officers’ (GO) mess.

In Phase VII there are as many 120 residential quarters constructed for district police personnel. However, almost 50 per cent of them have been occupied by the staff attached to VIPs.


Fire damages bank record
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Record of Punjab State Co-operative Bank, Sector 34, were reportedly reduced to ashes in a fire which broke out last night. The record was lying in an almirah of the record room on the third floor of the building. Though the cause of the fire and the amount of loss are yet to be ascertained, the possibility of short-circuiting cannot be ruled out.

According to information available, two fire engines from Sectors 17 and 32 were rushed to the site. The timely action of the firemen prevented the fire from spreading beyond the almirah.

Sources, however, maintain that damage to the record was irretrievable since most of it got burnt and the rest was badly soiled during the fire-fighting operation.

Though fire prevention and safety equipment was installed in this high-rise building by the bank, the same was not functional and nor had the bank obtained the required no-objection certificate from the department . The security personnel on duty also lacked basic training to handle the equipment to extinguish the fire in case of emergency, it is learnt.

The fire has once again brought out that most of these buildings in Sectors 17 and 34 are either not equipped with the mandatory fire prevention and safety equipment or the same are not functional.


Move on stamp duty reduction hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The CHB Residents Federation and the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha have hailed the move by the UT administration to reduce the stamp duty to bring it at par with the rate prevailing in the neighbouring state of Punjab.

In separate statements, office-bearers of the CHB Residents Federation — Mr Nirmal Datt, chairman, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, president and Mr B.S. Chadha, general secretary, and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, general secretary of the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha — said that the proposed reduction would provide great relief to the residents of Chandigarh. They pointed out that the reduction in stamp duty would increase the revenue accruing to the administration through larger, sincere compliance of a practical policy.

The federation emphasised that same approach needed to be adopted with regard to the transfer of ownership fee recently imposed by the CHB authorities. The fee, at 10 per cent of the original price plus the up-to-date interest on this amount, was not realistic. This fee must also be brought on a par with the fee charged in Punjab, which was 5 per cent of the original price. Similarly, the conversion fee for freehold needed to be reduced as at present, it was three times more than what the people paid annually.

They appealed to the Administrator of UT to resolve the issue of additions/alternations by asking the CHB authorities to review the hastily given concessions which left out many sound structures, which could be regularised, if necessary through a reasonable composition fee to be decided by the board.

The federation was of the view that the problems of CHB residents which the administration in the past allowed to develop due to apathy could still be solved. A rally would be held on July 8 in Sector 41 to highlight the issues.

Mr Sethi was of the view that reduction in the stamp duty would encourage people to invest in real estate. He also urged the Administrator to take immediate steps to end ad-hocism in the working of Estate Office. There were different sets of rules for different people, he alleged.


Sengupta installed Rotary Club chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Mr Indrajeet Sengupta, a city businessman, was installed as the 25th president of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown, along with 11 other members of the board of directors, at a simple and solemn ceremony held here today. Mr Prem Anand was installed the secretary of the club.

The function was attended by Mr Tejendra Khanna, Chairman, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and former Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, Mr R.K Saboo, past Rotary International president, visiting Rotary dignatories and members of the club.

Addressing the audience, Mr Sengupta talked about the major community projects, which are proposed to be undertaken by the Chandigarh Midtown Club in its 25th year of service to mankind. These include economic rehabilitation of fourteen 30-65 per cent disabled young men and women now settled in the city and the peripheral village of Sarangpur at a cost of Rs 2.60 lakh in partnership with the Rotary Club of Wollaton Park, Nottingham, UK, and the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

A survey has revealed that only 5 per cent of the disabled actually are provided with only class IV jobs, even though they may be qualified otherwise.This will help in providing self-employment to the disabled. Besides this, the club will continue to run the night school for children of brick-kiln workers, provide nutrition and select deserving high performers for formal education in government institution, to provide them a brighter future, at a cost of Rs 2.80 lakh.

Mr Sengupta further disclosed the vocational training centre in Saranpur, presently imparting tailoring skills, would be upgraded to include an electrician’s course. The practice of providing free intra-ocular lens implants shall be continued and 200 implants for the poor and deserving shall be undertaken at a cost of Rs 3.60 lakh again in partnership with the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Further, to create an ambience for sutained development, the club proposed to promote the concept of child spacing and birth control.

Mr R.K Saboo, lauded the projects undertaken by the club during outgoing president, Vanita Gupta’s tenure and emphasised the necessity of improvisation in efforts for improving the quality of life of the have-nots. He appealed to them to think big, plan big and act big for the dreams you dream are not enough.

Later, the chief guest, Mr Tejender Khanna, called on the enlightened professionals from all walks of life to get together and collectively think to bring in social reforms. He took pride in being a Punjabi and highlighted the achievements of eminent Punjabis like the former Finance Minister who got the country out of debt and Mr Manmohan Singh, Mr Chander Mohan who had developed tractor-trolley in Durgapur etc. He lamented the degradation on social structure and pointed on the need to reform the system of public governance.Back


SGPC member’s plea on holy cities
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 6
Reacting to a demand by the ruling Akali Dal about granting status of a holy place to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, a local member of the SGPC, Mr Hardeep Singh, today said first the holy cities of Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Talwandi Sabo be granted this status.

He said demand raised by the ruling regime in wake of the Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s visit to India was justified but first it should seek status of holy city of historic importance to Sikhs. Mr Hardeep Singh said the Central Government should also give the status to Patna sahib and Hazoor ( Nanded) sahib.

He blamed the ruling BJP regime at the Centre for not coming forward to talk on the issue of Pakistan giving corridor to pilgrims to go to Kartarpur Sahib. Blaming the Centre for ignoring the historic places related to Sikhism in different countries, he said a gurdwara related to the ninth guru in Dhaka (Bangladesh) had been included in the residence of Bangladesh President.

He said by auctioning sites to liquor vends near gurdwaras, the ruling regime in the state had harmed the sanctity of religious places.

 Sai devotees celebrate Guru Poornima
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Devotees of Sri Sai yesterday celebrated Guru Purnima in the Sector 29 Shirdi Sai Temple here with great fervour.

According to Mr Vijay Kumar, President of the Shirdi Sai Samaj Committee, the devotees thronged the temple at 6 am and performed mangal snan on Sai Baba.

At 6:30 am, the path of Sri Sai Satcharitra began, which was followed by bhajans by TV artiste Nitin Bharti of Saharanpur.

At 8.30 pm Rannchhor Dasji of ISKCON delivered sermons .

In the evening, langar was distributed among the devotees. Back


Complaint-redress meetings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The UT police will hold its bimonthly alternate complaint redress meetings in all the three police subdivisions, the EOW and the CAW cell tomorrow.

It is learnt that the sessions will be held in the police station, Sector 17, for the Central Subdivision, Police Station, Sector 26, for the East Subdivision and in Sector 34 for the South Subdivision. The meeting for cases pertaining to economic offences and crime against women, will be held in the Home Guards building in Sector 17.

The three SDPOs will chair the meetings in their respective areas and DSP B.D. Bector will chair the meeting in the Home Guards building. The meetings, wherein complaints of the people will be solved instantly, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is learnt that the SSP , Mr Parag Jain, will be visiting all these venues.


Balance everything in the house

How badly do you want abundance in life? The answer to this question will be “very badly”. Everyone needs abundance in life. I personally suggest that if one wants abundance, one has to balance things.

Balance means “not just your house but also your aspirations”.

First of all, think of the aspirations that will make you happy and fulfilled. You should start by thinking deeply about these things.

If you want success, you identify what kind of success you want. If you want a relationship, you should likewise think exactly about the kind of relationship you want.

Feng Shui has the potential of enhancing and actualising all your aspirations. Thinking about them will go a long way towards making this happen. Think of the way you want things to materialise. After this, channel the earth energy in your home and environment. Do not expect over night success. Be patient and make adjustments wherever necessary. Doing this will help you achieve good fortune.

— Harshna

Address your Feng Shui queries to:
E-mail: [email protected]
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



BJP leadership issue hots up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The issue of change in the local leadership of the BJP today picked up momentum with the party in charge of Chandigarh, Mr O.P. Kohli, seeking opinions from individual the office-bearers, party councillors, district and mandal presidents.

According to party sources, Mr Kohli met the office-bearers in the morning to get their opinions on the continuation of Mr Dharam Paul Gupta as the party president. While a majority of the office-bearers, owing allegiance to the Gian Chand Gupta-Dharam Paul Gupta faction, wanted the current president ot continue as the election to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) were round the corner, the other faction, owing allegiance to Mr Satya Pal Jain, wanted a change in the leadership.

It may be recalled that eight councillors of the 13 BJP councillors sought the removal of Mr Dharam Paul Gupta as he had failed to take their faction along with him. Even Mr Jain is understood to have sought the removal of the party president. The Jain group is supposed to have suggested the name of Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, Vice-President, for the top post.

Earlier in the day, a tree plantation function was organised by the party in Bapu Dham Colony on the eve of the birth anniversary of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of the erstwhile Jan Sangh.


Bitta seeks release of ’71 Pows
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, Mr MS Bitta, today demanded the release of 54 prisoners of the war (POWs) of the Indo-Pak war of 1971 languishing in Pakistan jails.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Bitta said the success of the Indo-Pak summit would be judged by this gesture of Pakistan. A delegation of the front, accompanied by the families of the PoWs, will submit a memorandum to the Pakistan High Commissioner in a couple of days on this issue.

He also demanded that representatives from the UN, the USA and the UK should be invited for the summit so that Pakistan did not go back on the agreements to be signed during the forthcoming Agra summit like it did by attacking India in Kargil in 1999 after Prime Minister Vajpayee’s Lahore bus yatra. If Pakistan went back on pacts signed by it then, the international community should declare it a terrorist state.

Urging the political parties not to politicise the return of separatist leaders like Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, he wanted an all-party meeting to chalk out a strategy so that terrorism did not raise its ugly head in Punjab again.

Appealing to the electronic media not to make heroes of the separatists leaders, the former Indian Youth Congress(IYC) chief demanded the setting up of the anti-terrorist courts for the terrorist where their cases should be decided within three months.

He regretted that the police officials, who performed their duties during terrorism, were being framed while the separatist leaders were given red carpet welcome.

Announcing the front’s programme to observe a “swantantra sangram divas” to inculcate a feeling of patriotism at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on August 14, he said families of the freedom fighters would be honoured on the occasion. He also said that on December 16, “vijay divas” would be celebrated where families of the Kargil martyrs would be honoured.

Regarding his entry into the electoral arena, he said he had no plans to rejoin active politics again. He added that he was a loyal Congressman and would decide on campaigning for the party at the appropriate time.


PCL employees form panel
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 6
Employees of the Punjab Communications Limited today formed a joint action panel comprising members of the Punjab Communications Employees Union, PCL Workers Union, Association of Diploma Engineers and the PCL Executive Welfare Association to oppose the decision of the Punjab Project Approval Board to reduce the shareholding of ECP in the company to 26 per cent from 70 per cent.

Leaders of the joint action committee stated that the government was selling Puncom assets of Rs 180 crore at a low price of Rs 27 crore to a private party. They lamented that the ECP was going ahead with its decision. Another representation was given to the Managing Director of the ECP in this regard. 

DG Bhandari on 2-day visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Director-General, Artillery, Lieut Gen M P S Bhandari is on a two-day visit to Headquarters Western Command.

He also called upon the Governor of Punjab, Lt Gen J F R Jacob (retd), at the Raj Bhavan here today. General Jacob himself is an artillery officer.

General Bhandari also had discussions with senior Western Command functionaries on operational and departmental matters.Back


Deaf and dumb girl
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
A deaf and dumb girl has been staying in Jai Durga Deaf and Handicapped Children Welfare Centre for the past two months. She is around 14 years of age and is unable to tell anything about her address and relatives. Anybody knowing about her can contact 146, Sector 27-A, Chandigarh. (Telephone 656915, 656918). 


Opium smuggler arrested
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 6
The police has arrested an opium smuggler and seized 1.5 kg of opium from his possession at a naka on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, near Jawaharpur village, last night.

Sources in the police said that the accused, Gurdev Singh, was arrested while he was carrying the drug in the glove box of his scooter (CH-Ol-8068). The accused tried to flee when cops gave him a stop signal. He was overpowered after chasing for a short distance.

The police has impounded the vehicle and a case has been registered against the accused.



Sister-in-law, four children abducted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
A 21-year-old youth is alleged to have abducted his own sister-in-law, three nieces and a nephew in order to settle a score with his brother.

It is alleged that Ramesh abducted his sister-in-law, Labh Kaur alias Labbo and her four children, Billa (8) Kala (6) Sapna (3) and Laddi (2)


7 fall ill after eating poisonous food
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Seven persons were admitted to the city hospitals after they were fed poisonous food yesterday afternoon. The police has registered a case against the cook, Ram Sharan ‘Bahadur’.

Brothers Mr Darshan Singh and Mr Ram Sarup, besides Mr Ram Lal, all residents of Sector 40-D, had some guests at their house yesterday afternoon. Ram Sharan reportedly served them lunch, after which, they and their guests — Mr Amarjit, Mr Surinder and Mr Chand Singh — became ill.

While Mr Ram Lal and Mr Darshan Singh have been admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, the others, including the servant, have been admitted to the PGI. A case under Sections 269, 270, 337 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered.

Immolation bid: A 26-year-old youth, Sanjay Sharma, tried to immolate himself at his Sector 46 residence today, reportedly after his mother refused to give him money for buying drugs.

The youth shut himself in the kitchen and truned on the knob of the LPG burner. Luckily, there was no supply to the burner from the cylinder, which saved him. After this, he ran away as feared that his parents and the fire-fighters who had gathered there would scold him.

Three cases of theft: Three cases of theft have been reported from different parts of the city in the past 24 hours. A Maruti car (CH-03-C-7372) was stolen from a parking lot in Sector 34. Another Maruti car (PB-11-D-2021) was stolen from outside KC Cinema yesterday. Both cases have been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

A rickshaw-rehri was allegedly stolen by a man named Parshad from ouitside his house in Kamal Colony at Palsora. The accused has been arrested and a case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered against him.

Bus stoned: Occupants of a three-wheeler (CH-01-D-3076) reportedly stoned a CTU bus (CH-01-G-5762) near Daddu Majra village yesterday. Later, the accused sped away from the spot. A case under Sections 279, 147 and 149 of the IPC has been registered against them.

Six arrested: Six persons, including two women, were arrested and 270 pouches of Hero whisky, 12 bottles of Officer’s Choice whisky and five bottles of Aristocrat whisky were seized from them. Cases were registered against the six persons — Sheela Kumar, Goldi, Giano, Rita, Avtar Singh and Dev — under the Excise Act.


Market Pulse
Nek Chand opens showroom
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
Bags, bags and more bags. If you want to buy them, go to Samsonite Travel World, a showroom for travel companions, inaugurated by the creator of wonderland out of rubbish, Mr Nek Chand, here today.

The showroom with wide range of lightweight and fashionable soft luggage and bags designed by world famous designer Philip Stark caters to all age groups — Trunk and Co for the youth, Sammies for the kids and American Tourister , an economic range, and AT Voyager for the business class.

Samsonite Travel World in Chandigarh is the 36th number in the chain of 75 showrooms all over India. Talking about the future plan Mr. Saket Bhardwaj, district manager of Samsonite, said that within a few months time the Travel World is going to introduce a wide range of products, both luggage and non- luggage and a customer care service to facilitate the customers to make the right choice.

Among the products available here, hip bags, backpacks, wallets and duffel bags in nylon and canvas projecting a sporty look and rugged image were particularly attractive.

An economy range A T basic and AT Meridian cater to the Indian taste, while a line of colourful, lightweight bags in the shape of ducks, whales and Koalas are specially designed for the children between the two to eight years old.

On today’s occasion the company officials, including Mr. Sudeep Sharma, Mr. Deepak Chopra , Mr. Himmat Singh and the proprietor Mr. I P Chadha and Mr Rakesh Chadha were present.


Market panel’s plea to Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Sector 42-C Market Welfare Association today said that its members were increasing facing problems in their area.

Mr Naresh Arora, president of the association, said the entire market was covered by congress grass, weeds and was surrounded by stagnant water with the onset of the rainy season. The entire area from front of the showrooms and to their back was inundated with water. It had become a breeding place for mosquitoes.

He said parking lights on the roundabout dividing Sector 42-43 were not functioning. The association urged the Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob, to look into their grievances.



Petro card launched: Bharat Petroleum has introduced a petro card in Chandigarh along with other major cities. This is a re-usable pre-paid card that can be loaded and used at 520 retail outlets of Bharat Petroleum all over India. There are no transaction charges, no service charges, no annual fee just a onetime fee of Rs 250. The company is carrying out re-enrollment drive in Chandigarh, Panchkula and it’s two Ros in Ambala and Parwanoo. During the drive, special incentive would be given to customers who wish to enroll in petrol card tm scheme. The incentive includes free petrol plus a Parker pen or a three-CD set of Encyclopedia Britannica 2001. For every purchase with the petro card the customer gets loyalty points, which are called petromiles. These petromiles can be collected and exchanged for a wide range of gifts. TNS

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