Wednesday, August 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Rs 51.96 lakh approved for installing tubewells
Paid parking issue to be discussed on Aug 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC) of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh at its meeting held today under the chairmanship of the acting Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, passed several proposals amounting to Rs 51.96 lakh for boring and installing a new tubewell each for Attawa, Burail, Badheri and Butrela villages, the four villages under its jurisdiction.

Keeping in view the shortage of water and several complaints of low pressure in these villages, the members felt that installation of independent tubewells will help cater to the drinking water requirement of the inhabitants of the villages, besides improving water pressure in the sectors adjacent to these villages. After the installation of the new tubewells, the water distribution network of the villages will be segregated from that of the city.

Stressing the need for increasing the green cover in the city, the F and CC earmarked Rs 22.78 lakh for the development and landscaping works in Sectors 41 and 42. This includes an estimated amount of Rs 6.99 lakh for developing the green belt between Sector 41 A and B; Rs 8.67 lakh in Sector 41 C and D and Rs 7.12 lakh between Sector 42 A and B.

However, the controversial issue of introducing paid parking in Sector 17 was referred to the House keeping in view of the heat it had generated when the same was proposed to be introduced in 1998.The members recommended that a meeting of the House be convened on August 7 to take up this issue before it comes up in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 10.

The committee also approved an estimate of Rs 8.97 lakh for tackling the problem of accumulation of storm water and effectively drain out the water from the underground parkings (one opposite 30 Bays Building and another opposite Godrej showroom) in Sector 17. As per the proposal, an additional underground drain will be provided to both the parking areas, which will be connected with the trunk storm drains near the bus stand.

Taking into consideration the dilapidated condition of the Mansa Devi road from Main bazaar to the UT boundary, which has also developed wide cracks, the members unanimously decided to get the road recarpeted at a cost of Rs 18.75 lakh.

While deliberating the various pros and cons of the proposal pertaining to increasing the ground rent of apni mandis, the members decided to increase the ground rent from Rs 100 per day per mandi to Rs 500.

The F and CC also decided that as a temporary measure, the MCC would regulate the parking of vehicles on the road berm across the V3 road, which divides the grain market and the polytechnic college, Sector 26. The enforcement wings of the UT Estate Office and MCC had cleared the said area of encroachments yesterday and the MC plans to start paid parkings here. An estimate of Rs 2.09 lakh for shifting and providing new road gullies on the recently widened road from Police Lines and polytechnic college to Golf Club in Sector 26 was also passed.

The members also gave their nod to the purchase of 700 tonnes of ordinary portland cement for the MCC at an estimated amount of Rs 19.18 lakh.

In view of the forthcoming Janamashtami, the F and CC allowed a request for installing jhullas on the space adjoining Math Mandir, Sector 20, at the rate of Rs 2,500 per day for 14 days. The members also passed an estimate of Rs 5.40 lakh for carrying out the work of renovation and upgradation of the toilet blocks of the community centres in Sectors 20,29 and 40. The members also decided to rent out a part of the community centre in Badheri to the Directorate of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy on a monthly rent of Rs 4,000.

While, the proposal to develop parks at two abandoned toilet blocks in Ram Darbar, Phase-I, has been referred to the City Beautification and Environment Committee. The matter of providing copper wiring for computers at an estimated cost of Rs 1 lakh installed in MCC was also referred to the Electricity Committee. The condemnation of vehicle (CHOI G-3017) of the Fire Services Department was also approved.

Among the officers present were the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P Singh, the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, the Assistant Commissioner-I, Mr Ashok Vashistha, and the Municipal Secretary, Mr Ashwani Kumar. Meanwhile, the issue of dissolution of House as demanded by Ms Satinder Dhawan will also be taken up at August 7 meeting.


Poll for Mayor’s post on Aug 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Election to the post of Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will be held on August 10. Nomination papers can be filed on August 6.

The election schedule was notified today by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, and would be circulated to all nominated and elected councillors. The meeting to transact the business under the provision of Section 60 read with Section 38 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, as applicable to Chandigarh to elect the Mayor would be held at 11 am in the assembly hall of the MCC office, Sector 17, said the notification.

As per the orders, a nominated councillor, Mr Harish Bhanot, would conduct the meeting of the corporation to elect the Mayor.

The post of Mayor fell vacant following the resignation of Mr Raj Kumar Goyal on July 21, who had been embroiled in various controversies. The Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, had been functioning as acting Mayor since then. He would continue till the new Mayor takes over.

However, as per sub-section (3) of Section 38 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, the vacancy had to be filled within one month. The present term of the MC House expires on December 23.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys were on among various political parties over which candidate was to be fielded.

Mr Goyal had defeated Ms Ranjana Shahi of the BJP in the race for the Mayor’s seat by three votes on December 23 last. At least four BJP councillors were believed to have cross-voted for Mr Goyal.

The BJP-SAD combine had 15 elected members and the Congress four. While Ms Satinder Dhawan, who left the Congress, had decided to boycott the elections, there were nine nominated councillors in the 29-member civic body. The local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, also had the right to vote.

Meanwhile, BJP councillors were divided on the issue whether to contest the mayoral election or seek a fresh mandate. While the councillors owing allegiance to a former MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, were in favour of contesting the poll on the ground that the party may benefit by performing well in the next four months, those belonging to the Gupta group were keen on seeking a fresh mandate on the plea that a fresh mandate at this time would bring rich dividends to the party.

The matter was with the BJP General Secretary, Mr O.P. Kohli, who was in the city yesterday to consult the party on the issue of the Mayor’s elections.

Among those aspiring for the post were Mr R.L. Arora, Mr O.P. Goyal, Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (retd) and Mr Prem Sagar Jain. Though the names of Ms Ranjana Shahi and Mr Rajender Kumar also figured, the general view was that the nominee for the post should not be from among the women and the Scheduled Castes, for these candidates had already served their respective tenures.

The SAD, which decided to contest the mayoral election on its own, had decided to field the Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh, as its candidate.

The Congress perhaps had adopted the policy of wait and watch, even though the party seemed resigned to the fact that the majority BJP should take the responsibility of the Mayor.

Mr Bansal said that now that the notification for the elections had been issued they would call a party meeting to form its strategy. However, they would extend full cooperation to the new Mayor to help development take place, which had been hampered by the BJP during the past seven months of the Congress Mayor’s rule.


Heavy rush on first day of B.Ed admissions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Counselling for centralised admissions to the B.Ed courses in the local Government College of Education and Dev Samaj College of Education drew a heavy rush on the Panjab University campus here today.

On the first day of the admissions today, only aspirants for the general-category (UT pool) and foreign-students-category seats were entertained. Each college has 125 seats in the general category and four in the foreign-students category.

The venue for the admissions was packed to capacity. Many candidates and their parents did not have a seat or drinking water. Many of them had to stand outside the hall under trees.

The UT-pool topper in the medical stream was Kirandeep Kaur who had secured 180 marks out of 250 in the Common Entrance Test for the course. Manmeet Kaur, who had secured 181 marks in the CET, was the general-pool topper in the non-medical stream.

Navneet was first among the B.Sc honours-school candidates with 174 marks, while the top candidate in the fine arts section had secured 147 marks in the entrance test. The topper in the music category had 185 marks in the test. The other toppers were as follows: Pooja Gupta (mathematics section) with 188 marks; and Sukhpreet Kaur (humanities section) with 198 marks.

Private candidates who had made it to the merit list were denied admission because they had not attended regular classes in any local college. One such candidate said, “I took the qualifying examination as a private candidate due to personal reasons. When I had made it to the open merit, I should not have been denied admission.”

A member of the admission committee said candidates who had not been regular college students had not been placed on the priority merit list.


86 Chandigarh Admn employees died in harness
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31
Eightysix employees of the Chandigarh Administration died in harness during 2000, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, informed the Lok Sabha today in a written reply.

The corresponding figures in the previous two years were 97 and 93 respectively, the minister informed the House.

The dependents of the families left in indigent circumstances because of the death of the government servant are appointed to suitable posts on compassionate grounds subject to the prescribed ceiling laid down for such appointments by the government, the minister’s reply said.

The Chandigarh Administration had during the period in question appointed 84 persons on compassionate grounds. The number of applications pending with the administration are reported to be 164, the minister informed the House. There have been 2,015 incidents of violence during 2001, till June 30, the minister informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today.

While there were 3,074 incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir in 2000, the corresponding figure in 1999 was 3071, the minister said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir and north-eastern states were the main threats of extremist and militant violence in the country.

Delhi and Chandigarh form different telecom circles and as Chandigarh is not part of the National Capital Region, local dialling has not been provided between the two cities despite falling within 200 km, the Minister of State for Communications, Mr Tapan Sikdar, informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

A dispute exists between Punjab and Haryana relating to the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and transfer of some Hindi-speaking areas from Punjab to Haryana, the Parliament was told today.

Three commissions have so far been appointed to determine the areas of Punjab which should go to Haryana in lieu of Chandigarh, Mr I.D. Swamy informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

A loan of $ 60 million has been provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) for the Haryana Power Sector Restructuring project, the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Gingee N Ramachandran informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has authorised the Himachal Gramin Bank (HGB) to open branches in Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur districts.


Residents up in arms against cable operators
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
The local cable operators could find themselves in the dock for hiking cable charges yet again with city residents up in arms against the unsatisfactory services and their monopolistic attitude. While they plan to take up the matter with the district administration, dragging the cable operators to the consumer court is also not ruled out.

As the war of words between harassed city residents and peeved cable operators is beginning to hot up, the Residents Welfare Associations in all the sectors plan to join hands and wage a war. A meeting for this purpose will be convened by the end of this week.

The president of the association in Sector 12, Wg Com Ratta (retd), says: “We have decided that taking a united stand against the well-publicised hike is the only way the cable operators can be taken to task. They have neither improved their service in the last few months since the previous hike nor has there been any increase in channels. How do they justify the frequent hike?”

After holding an informal discussion with the office-bearers in other sectors, a meeting for the same has been called on August 4. “We are fed up with the way things are going. Their monopolistic attitude is another source of constant trouble wherein the customer is not free to choose his operator despite two or three cable operators in each sector,” claims Mr R.P. Malhotra, president of the Sector 8 association.

Working in organised cartels, the cable operators do not allow a customer to seek a connection from another cable operator in the same sector.

“We can either continue with the same dissatisfactory service or disconnect the cable permanently. We are at liberty to do only that and nothing else. The others do not entertain customers who opt for them, scuttling all competition in turn. Our complaints, too, go unattended for long times,” Mr S.K. Nayar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association, stated.

However, there is the other side of the coin, the necessity which propels the cable operators to hike rates constantly. Explains Mr Dilbagh Singh, a cable operator, “The various channels keep hiking rates which have to be passed on to the customer. Earlier, we could pay for individual channels but now we have to pay for packages as a whole. We cannot pick and choose,” he said.

Another operator, Mr Rajesh Sondhi, added that the high rates of cable can be attributed to the high charges of electricity in Haryana. “The city is not as densely populated as Chandigarh and there is one connection in a house against two or three in each house in Chandigarh. Naturally, the charges will be high,” he justified.

They point out that while no monopoly prevails, a change of the cable operator is disallowed in most cases since the customer has not paid his dues pending with his previous operator.

The monthly charges for a cable connection are being hiked from Rs 150 to Rs 180, making these the most expensive in comparison to Chandigarh and Mohali.


Workers demand money for not breaking ramps
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 31
Residents of Phase VII here have complained that workers laying telephone cable in the area have been demanding money for not breaking the ramps of houses.

They say that labourers undertaking the digging work initially demanded Rs 500 per house for passing the cable under the ramp without damaging it. Later they settled for Rs 250.

Ms Gurnam Kaur Mann, one of the residents, said today that she had given Rs 250 as others in the neighbourhood had also done so. The money was given to one of the workers. “It is a headache arranging for a mason to get the ramp repaired,” she said.

Mr Manmohan Singh Lang, municipal councillor of the area, said the house owners who did not pay the money or were not at home when the work was going on, had to suffer as their ramps were broken to lay the telephone cables. He said labourers had also damaged a footpath made by the municipal council at various places.


Campaign is peaceful: CHB residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , July 31
While reacting to a Chandigarh Administration’s statement, the Chandigarh Housing Board Residents’ Federation today expressed a sense of outrage and protest against the Administration calling them a body “misguided elements”.

A statement issued by the federation said: ‘‘We fear that soon this administration would dub us ‘traitors’ and would like to send us to the gallows.” What the administration calls a ‘‘needless agitation’’ is one where thousands of CHB residents participate. These include a 95-year-old God-fearing gentleman, humble house wives and three-year-old children. It is a loud and clear but peaceful expression of decade-long agony that seems to know no end. It is a call to the conscience of powerful people for help against an agency — Chandigarh Housing Board — whose track record has placed it under a cloud.

“The Chandigarh Housing Board, by giving a go-by to its basic philosophy, has become a money-making machine (it is already in the eyes of the Income Tax Department). It builds houses at double the price, with material of poor quality, totally abdicating its responsibility. The CHB Residents’ Federation, through a peaceful campaign, has highlighted these issues. 


Sector 21 petrol station challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The UT Weights and Measures Department today challaned a petrol station run by Bharat Petroleum Limited in Sector 21 here for alleged irregularities in dispensing short measure of fuel.

According to sources in the department, during inspection the team checked as many as 41 dispensing nozzles and found that one of them was dispensing 20 ml less fuel than the prescribed limit.

A challan of Rs 5,000 was issued to the petrol station owner.


City slum areas susceptible to weather-related diseases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
With the Municipal Corporation (MC) failing to clear slush and filth even as the monsoon continues in its full form, close on the heels of diarrhoea and cholera cases in the city, viral diseases, dengue, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and other hygiene-related diseases stare the city slums and villages.

Despite the alert sounded by the Government of India under its National Malaria Eradication Programme to all states and union territories to maintain hygiene and cleanliness in the high-risk areas, the authorities concerned seem to be blissfully unaware of the dangers faced by the residents.

A few cases of gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and its worst form —cholera — have already been reported by the city hospitals. This year, the first cholera case was reported by the PGI about 15 days ago and was from outside the city. An infant girl had also succumbed to diarrhoea in one of the city slums around the same time.

However, for diseases like malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue, for which mosquito is the carrier vector harbouring on stagnant water, there seems to be a controversy of sorts. The health authorities of the UT Administration say that clearing filth and removing stagnant water on which mosquitoes flourish is the responsibility of the MC. And that clearing illegal piggeries (pigs are part of reproductive cycle of the carrier vector) is also their responsibility, they add. The MC officials say that eradication of the carrier mosquito comes under the jurisdiction of the UT Administration. There is a proposal to enforce the piggery bylaws in the city which will take care of this problem, they add

Sources in the UT Health Department say that with filth, stagnant water and the fact that almost every alternate household in these areas is operating illegal piggeries, combined with weather conditions in the city, we are sitting on a virtual time-bomb. .

The UT Director Health Services, Dr Rameshwar Chander, said that control of these diseases in the city slums and villages has to be a joint effort. “Ideally the solution should be permanent and not temporary. We are making all efforts to control the vector by spraying DDT and oil on the stagnant water but for a more permanent solution, stagnant water, pigs and filth have to be removed,” he adds.

“This year, 75 per cent less cases of malaria and viral diseases have been reported. There have been hardly any cases of Japanese Encephalitis in the city and very few cases of dengue were reported in the past couple of years, but adequate steps and measures have to be taken immediately.”

Sources add that a few days ago, the UT Health Department, after conducting a survey of susceptible areas had alerted the UT Administration about the impending danger due to the prevailing unhygienic conditions. The same had also been conveyed to the MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, who in turn had issued directions to the agencies concerned in the MC. A formal letter in this regard is also being forwarded to the Commissioner and the authorities concerned in the MC.


New hope for slum children
Tribune News Service

The company of books is giving new meaning to the lives of Panchkula’s slum children who relish attending evening classes in Hansraj Public School in Sector 6.

The 150 children who attend these classes run by Sri Sri Vidya Mandir, come in clean uniforms and skip and jump in the playground during the recess, like regular schoolchildren.

“I want to be a policeman when I grow up. I can already count from one to 10 and I learn something new every day,” says Sonu of Class I. The class teacher says there has been a remarkable change in the behaviour of these children ever since they started coming to school.

In Class III, Pooja enjoys her studies most. “After joining this school, I have made a number of friends. Earlier, I used to waste my time playing in mud or sleeping during the day. Now I have something to look forward to and my parents are very enthusiastic about my studies. Homework keeps me busy most of the time and we keep discussing our school in free time,” she says.

It took some time for the project to take off, says Ms Romi, Principal of the school, “We had to persuade parents to send their children to school instead of sending them to people’s houses to clean utensils and sweep floors. But the response has been tremendous.”

The teaching is done by specially appointed teachers and Hansraj School has allowed the use of its premises and infrastructure. The Principal of Hansraj School, Dr Rajni Thareja, says they had been toying with the idea of starting classes for these children but it did not take shape for want of finances and other assistance. “We found it a good opportunity to lend our premises to the Vidya Mandir. We are happy that the school is doing well.”

The organiser of these special classes for underprivileged children, Mr Ajay Jindal, says: “The purpose of running these classes is to promote literacy in the slums. We will upgrade the school every year and examinations will be held according the schedule of the Haryana School Board.”


Air Force pilots have low stress level
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

An in-house IAF study, has revealed that stress levels among aircrew is low, but it has cautioned that this situation can be dangerous. “This could lead to a false sense of security as even a single mistake while flying could end in a disaster,” says the study, conducted under the aegis of the IAF’s Institute of Aviation Medicine.

The accident rate in the IAF is dangerously high. About 180 aircraft and 55 pilots have been lost since 1990. While technical snags and bird-hits have been held responsible for some of these accidents, most of them have been attributed to pilot error.

The study, excerpts of which have been circulated among some IAF installations, was conducted on 50 pilots in fighter squadrons and attack helicopter units. Interestingly, the stress level among the aircrew was found lower than that found among bankers, nurses and researchers by a PhD thesis submitted to the University of Gujarat.

The study was based on a questionnaire and a discussion, which covered different aspects of their jobs.

The difference between the importance of stress in aviation and other professions is that mistakes resulting from stress in aviation may result in loss of life which is not the case with other professions.

Though the overall stress ratings were low, the study has brought out that all pilots had high scores on “Role Isolation” and “Inter-Role Distance” factors.

High scores on Role Isolation and Inter-Role Distance factors indicate that fighter pilots feel isolated from other branches of the IAF by virtue of their being fighter pilots. They would prefer better interaction with people with other roles such as engineering, logistics, accounts and medicine, who do not understand their role or their problems, the study mentions.

These scores, the study adds, confirm the oft-repeated complaint that the role as an aviator prevents a person from effectively performing other roles and devoting adequate time to himself. Further, the aircrew see their role as an aviator interfering with their role as a father, husband or as a family man, which is a major cause of stress.

Exposure to danger or workload is not the major cause of stress, the study has brought out.

Significantly, the study has revealed that helicopter pilots have high scores on the “Role Isolation” factor. This indicates that attack helicopter pilots feel stressed by the fact that the importance which their role deserves is not being accorded to it, the study says. 


Create market-oriented designs: Annie
Our correspondent

Chandigarh, July 31
A former Femina Miss India-World Annie Thomas urged the aspiring designers to be focussed and create market-oriented designs, while inaugurating the School of Art and Fashion Technology (SAFT) in Sector 44 here today.

Stressing the importance of computers and e-fashions in the field of design, Ms Thomas said that though a number of fashion institutes had mushroomed in the city in the recent past, there were only a few institutes which were providing complete and comprehensive courses.

‘‘Fashion is not just limited to apparel and a few accessories. It also includes health and an healthy attitude towards life ,’’ said Annie. ‘‘Due to the increasing fashion hype, Indian women have not only progressed fashion-wise but also health-wise, besides harbouring an independent and self-reliant attitude,’’ she added. Annie, who won Femina Miss India-World in 1998, is a familiar face in the fashion circle of Chandigarh. Annie, who shot to fame after featuring in prestigious campaigns like L’oreal and Palmolive, is shifting her career from modeling to event management. She has recently joined Poise, an event management company as a vice-president which is into promoting Indian models abroad.

Though Annie had a short stint in the acting field through the small screen (she acted in Khwaish for Sony TV), she was not willing to move into the big screen. ‘‘I was offered a role in a feature film after I won the Miss India title but I was not willing to make certain compromises which were demanded by people involved in this line,’’ she said. The School of Art and Fashion Technology is an offshoot of SAFT, Dehra Dun, a premiere institute of fashion, textile and Interior designing with centers all over the country.

The Chandigarh chapter of SAFT is offering both short-term certificate courses and two-year diploma courses in fashion designing, interior designing, fashion art and illustration course.


New post office soon
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 31
Residents of Modern Housing Complex of Mani Majra will soon have a post office in their area. They had approached various authorities with the demand for this much-needed service.

Mr S. P. Jain, Senior Superintendent, Post Offices of Punjab and Chandigarh, said though there was a post office in old Mani Majra, it was on a small rented premises, due to which the department wanted to shift it to another place. The complex was chosen because its residents found the post office in motor market rather distant.

He said the new building — SCF 54 in the main shopping complex — had been purchased from the Chandigarh Housing Board. This post office will offer all other services except delivery which will be controlled from the old post office. Mr Jain said the new post office will become operational by the next week.

Meanwhile, Mr M. C. Singla, Senior Vice-President of the Category I Residents Welfare Association, said, earlier, residents of the complex used to cover a long distance to reach a post office, but now things would be easier for them.


Independent status for Chandigarh sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , July 31
Chandigarh should be given the status of an independent and permanent Union Territory while Punjab and Haryana should be asked to build their respective capitals thus relinquishing their claim on Chandigarh.

This was demanded by Mr Surinder Bhardawaj, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Janata Dal, at a press conference here this morning. Mr Bhardawaj also demanded the setting up of a metropolitan council with more powers to the elected representatives.

The Janata Dal chief said problems of people of the city had not been solved due to red-tapism and the anti-people attitude of the bureaucracy was not helping matters.


Sec 29 traders stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
A scuffle between traders and MC staff removing encroachments in Sector 29- D market this afternoon led to the angry traders staging a dharna in front of the Industrial Area police station. They were protesting against the “high- handed attitude “ of the enforcement staff of the MC.

The traders alleged that the MC staff forcibly tried to remove their pharis from outside the market, which had been put up to sell rakhis during the festive season. The traders also alleged that the Enforcement staff also demanded graft in order to let them go.

The incident reportedly took place when the enforcement wing of the MCC led by an inspector had come for routine checking. MC officials say that they asked the traders to remove the encroachments, but the latter refused. It was then that more staff was called to assist the team.

In the meantime, things began to hot up and an altercation between the two sides led to one Mr Bimal Kumar being injured. Both parties approached the police and demanded action against the other, but no case has been registered so far.


Gen Shergill retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Lt-Gen M.S. Shergill, Director-General, Mechanised Forces, retired today.

A product of Lawrence School, Sanawar, and the NDA, he was commissioned from the IMA, Dehra Dun, in 7 Light Cavalry in 1962.

He went on to command 7 Light Cavalry and was also Colonel of the Regiment. He was awarded the Vir Chakra during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, an AVSM in 1996 and a PVSM in 2000.

He is the son of the late Major Gen. Rajindar Singh ‘‘Sparrow’’.


Major-Gen Awasthy retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Punjab Regiment officers bade farewell to the Colonel of the regiment, Major Gen S .K. Awasthy, who retired today after putting in 38 years of service. A large number of serving and retired officers were present at a dinner hosted in his honour here.

General Awasthy was currently posted as Chief of the Staff, Army Training Command, Shimla. His earlier appointments included General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, as well as GOC of a division at Amritsar.


Residents plant saplings
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
Residents of the New Kuteer Group Housing Society, Sector 5, Mansa Devi Complex, launched a sapling plantation drive under the aegis of the horticulture wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, Panchkula, on July 30. About 58 saplings were planted along the roadside.

The vacant land had been levelled and cleaned by the resident for the purpose of plantation. The president of the society, Mr Deepak Rai Walia, urged the residents to plant saplings for healthy environment. Pooja was performed and sweets were distributed. Among those who planted saplings were Mr Purshotam Aggarwal, Mr Ashok Bhalla, Mr V.P. Gupta, Mr Atul Arora and Mr A.K. Midha besides residents and their children.


Three theft cases in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Three cases of theft have been reported from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

A mobile phone of Mr Iqbal Singh was stolen on July 29 night.

The stereo of Mr Amar Lal's car parked outside his residence in Sector 37 was stolen on the night of July 29.

A Moped (CH-01Q-4733) was stolen from the MC parking lot yesterday. In all these three cases, the police has registered an FIR under Section 379 of the IPC.

Burglary: Cash worth Rs 5,000 was stolen from an almirah in Lala Lajpat Rai Bhavan after breaking open the lock. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Capt P.S. Soni.

Dead: Amir Chand, who was seriously injured in a road accident near the Sector 10 petrol station on July 28, succumbed to his injuries in the PGI yesterday. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered.

Three booked: The police has booked Sanjay, Dwarika and Narinder on the charges of assaulting Baljit Singh and threatening him in Sector 40 late last night. A case under Sections 452, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

SAS Nagar

Injured: A scooterist was injured in Phase I here today when he was hit by a Maruti Gypsy.

The accident victim was rushed to Dr Jasmer Singh Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI. Dr Jasmer Singh said that the injured person had received a head injury and was in an unconscious state when brought to the hospital.


IT revenue may touch Rs 1,900 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
With a tax base of over 17 lakh assesses, the Income Tax (IT) Department’s North Western Region (NWR) is hoping to generate a revenue close to Rs 1,900 crore, as the last date for filing IT returns drew to a close today.

This year’s target for the NWR has been pegged at Rs 1,920 crore, which, in the light of previous years performance and the fact that the economy is not doing all that well, senior departmental functionaries say is “a bit stiff”. While last year’s target was Rs 1,785 crore, collections amounted to Rs 1,538 crore.

The NWR, headed by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT), Mr J.S. Ahluwalia, is responsible for IT collections in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, besides the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

As far as Chandigarh is concerned, over 1.54 lakh returns were received till this evening, which, according to the Commissioner, Mr Ashwini Luthra, has exceeded the stipulated target by 20 per cent. The net target for IT collections from Chandigarh this year is Rs 345 crore. To achieve this target, IT collections amounting to over Rs 400 crore have to be generated.

The net target is arrived at after issuing refunds. The gross collections from Chandigarh last year were Rs 378 crore, out of which refunds amounting to Rs 28 crore have already been issued during the current financial year so far.

As per figures available with the office of the CCIT, the NWR had a tax base of 16.07 lakh assesses for the year 2000-01, but received only 12.82 lakh returns. Out of these about 9.27 lakh returns were processed.

The year 2000-01 also saw the tax base being widened with the inclusion of about 1.84 new assessees. Over 61,000 new assessees were registered under the one-by-six scheme, under which any individual fulfilling one of the six laid down criterion has to file an IT return regardless of his income.

By March 2001, the tax base in NWR had increased from about 14.35 lakh assessees in 2000 and 11.17 lakh assessees in 1999. There has also been a drop in refunds issued by the NWR from about Rs 200 crore in 2000 to about Rs 155 crore in 2001.

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