Wednesday, October 31, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Anti-encroachment drive turns violent
Six injured as villagers pelt cops with stones
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 30
At least six persons were injured, two of them seriously, when an unruly mob of Madanpura residents pelted stones and bashed up members of the demolition squad of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) which had gone there today to remove encroachments. A vehicle of the enforcement agency was damaged by the mob. They were protesting against demolition of illegal structures in the village.

Escorted by a scant police force, the PUDA men and machinery had to make a hasty retreat when the villagers rushed towards them with stones and lathis. The situation deteriorated when the labour force of PUDA retaliated by throwing stones on the villagers. A Junior Engineer, Mr S.C. Abrol, who was thrown on the ground and was hit with fists and lathis, was hospitalised. An SDO, Mr Randhir Singh, and four policemen, ASI Balbir Singh, Pavitar Singh, Hapy Singh and Dhir, were also injured in the stone pelting.

In the retaliatory stone pelting by the PUDA workers, three villagers, Mr Jasbir, Mr Jarnail and Mr Chandu were injured.

There was tension in air as the villagers stood guard at the entry to the village, armed with stones and lathis. Traffic on the road separating Phases 2 and 4 had to be diverted for an hour when the villagers were hurling stones at the PUDA staff.

Officials involved in the demolition exercise lamented that despite being aware of the sensitive issue, adequate police force and other arrangements had not been made. When the villagers “scuttled” the move to demolish a structure of Mr Naib Singh, there were a few policemen to prevent the situation from deteriorating. The Additional Chief Administrator (ACA), Mr Dipinder Singh, the Estate Officer, Mr Chander Giand , the SDM, Mr Jai Pal Singh, and the Executive Magistrate, Mr Bhupinder Singh, along with the additional police force, reached the village after the stone pelting ended.

Initially there were plans to demolish the structures but later it was decided to identify the houses where a stay had been obtained before axing other unauthorised structures tomorrow. The sarpanch of the village, Mr Bhag Singh said there was a stay on eviction of at least 61 plot holders in the village. He demanded that some time be given to the villagers to remove their belongings.

The PUDA officials said 15 days’ time had been given in light of the High Court order. Earlier in the day, the PUDA officials told the villagers that the 61 plot holders with a stay from the court would not be touched and the remaining structures would be demolished. After clearing the encroachments in front of the village abadi, the men and machinery entered the village to remove the first unauthorised structure of Mr Niab Singh.

Agitated villagers retaliated by pelting stones and hurling abuses, forcing the men to make a retreat. An official of PUDA said there was a plan to rehabilitate the villagers. For the major part of the day, the two JCBs were busy clearing the PUDA land of cow dung and material dumped by the villagers. In the evening, FIR was lodged against at least five villagers by the PUDA staff for obstructing government officials from carrying out their duty.

Earlier in the day, the demolition staff pulled down a temporary structure raised by a retired ADGP of the Punjab police in Phase 2 here. The retired police official threatened the PUDA when it went to demolish the unauthorised structure. It was reported in these columns yesterday that the structure adjoining the house of the police official had been left in yesterday’s drive. An official of the Estate Office said the fencing by holder of house no. 648 was not an encroachment.

The anti encroachment wing gave a 15 days’ notice to PUDA and local civic body to check the menace of stray cattle and pigs and impose heavy penalty on people who left their milch cattle to graze in the town. After the expiry of the notice, the committee would take up the matter before a division bench of the high court. 


PUDA unveils SAS Nagar City Centre plan
Tribune News Service

Conceptual plan of the City Centre, Sector 62, SAS Nagar.

Chandigarh, October 30
The renowned Ahmedabad-based architect, Mr B.V. Doshi, and his team made a presentation here last evening of the various alternatives of the concept designs developed by them in respect of planning of PUDA’s City Centre in Sector 62, SAS Nagar. The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had engaged the services of M/s Vastu Shilpa Consultants, of which Mr Doshi is Managing Director. The presentation was made before a multi-disciplinary team headed by Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, who is also Chairperson, PUDA.

Giving details, PUDA’s Chief Administrator, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, said the approach of Mr Doshi to this planning exercise was not merely to see Sector 62 in isolation, but rather to view this development as a focal point for entire region surrounding the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar urban agglomeration. Study had proposed a time perspective of 20 to 25 years. A number of useful suggestions were made regarding two favoured alternative plans and it was ultimately decided that the two would be duly integrated into the final concept design by the Master Architect, which would be submitted to PUDA in the middle of December, 2001.

The salient features proposed in the master plan were to have an open/green space connecting the southern edge of Sector 62 to the existing Leisure Valley. The architect, however, stated that this open space would not bifurcate the City Centre into two diagonally cut slices, but there would be a number of inter-connected courtyards, gardens, activity areas as pedestrian linkages, besides visual connections. The City Centre would also host iconic buildings like Punjab Heritage Centre, museum, library, convention centre, auditorium for performing arts, five-star hotel, multiplex etc.

Mr Doshi stated that he was alive to the fact that the City Centre in Sector 17 of Chandigarh was virtually dead after business hours. He was, therefore, endeavouring to make the SAS Nagar City Centre as one throbbing with activities round the clock. The plan would also provide for suitable residential accommodation in the form of high-rise residential apartments. The architect had also suggested widening of the roads separating Sectors 62 and 69 to 187 feet. The two gurdwaras in the sector would be suitably incorporated in the plan with the overriding consideration of maintaining pristine glory and architectural beauty.

The plan aimed at catering to the requirements of all sections of society. The plan would also try to optimise and segregate the different types of traffic and adequate provision would be made for all types of parking, whether long duration or short duration, on the ground, or underground, or in shape of multi-storeyed parking.

PUDA had separately mandated architect to come out with a proposal for the first sale of commercial blocks in the newly planned City Centre by mid-December , 2001, so that these properties could be put to auction in January next year. Others who attended the meeting included Mr A.K. Dubey, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Mr S.C.Aggarwal, Secretary to Governor, Punjab, Mr H.S. Bhogal, Chief Town Planner, Punjab, Mr Amrit Gupta, Chief Architect, Punjab, Mr G.R. Jakhu, Chief Engineer, PUDA, and Mr J.S.Sekhon, ACA (Projects). 


DRDO scientists fan out to fight bio-terrorism
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Armed with world class biological weapon knowledge acquired in the last 25 years, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has fanned out its scientists across the country to help counter bio-terrorism.

“DRDO scientists have world class knowledge of biological weapons and are advising all states,’’ The DRDO Chief Adviser, Mr K.G. Narayanan, told The Tribune here today.

Mr Narayanan was in the city to deliver a talk on the foundation day function of the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) today.

He said when the world is faced with the anthrax scare, DRDO scientists recently held a meeting of Chief Secretaries of all states to offer their expertise on the whole gamut of biological weapons and how to counter them.

As a follow-up of that meeting, the state authorities were given DRDO capsule courses to be reached to the lowest level of administration.

Extolling the achievements of the DRDO, he said they developed important strategic weapons in the shortest period in the world.

He said though there had been time over-runs in development of the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), yet achievements had still been the fastest in the world.

Mr Narayanan said it was in 1980 when the political establishment started believing in defence scientists and within 20 years DRDO designs had resulted in creating arms worth Rs. 15,000 crore.

He said Defence Minister, George Fernandes’ two year-old decision of opening defence laboratories for private sector collaboration, would take off only now as the modalities were in the process of being finalised.

Mr Narayanan said the DRDO was now faced with the problem of failure to draw talent and retain them but funds were not a constraint.

He, however, said India had been able to draw Russian and East European talent to the country in a few sectors except in defence.

Even India’s chemical warfare expertise was not known to the world till the country decided to join the world protocol in this regard.

He said the country had acquired great expertise of world class in electronic eves-dropping and imagery.

Earlier delivering a lecture on ‘’Indian Engineering Industry and role of R&D’’, he said globalisation, poor education at the grass root level, discouragement to the manufacturing sector, lack of inputs from experts in policies, import of technology and copying models of other countries may fritter away remarkable gains made in the engineering sector.


Man hacked to death
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 30
A 50-year-old man was hacked to death by his neighbours following a clash between the two families over their pet animals.

Pala Ram was killed after the clash near his Bir Ghaggar colony residence in Chandi Mandir village on the Panchkula-Shimla highway this morning. His wife, Ms Pritma, sustained head injuries in the clash.

Employed as a sweeper, with the Military Engineering Service at Station Headquarters, Chandi Mandir, Pala Ram sustained injuries in the clash and died on the spot. His body was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, for postmortem examination.

According to eyewitnesses, the problem started when Ms Pritma Devi was working in her courtyard at about 6:30 am. Her neighbour Mr Kewal Kishan, who had retired from the Army, and his family members reportedly argued with her over the wandering of her pet pigs in their courtyard and scattering of filth there.

A verbal duel ensued, wherein Ms Pritma argued that pairs of cocks and chicken, owned by Mr Kewal’s family, had destroyed her kitchen garden. Soon the arguments took a more serious turn with members of both families joining in.

In the meantime, Pala Ram and his son, Mr Jabbar Singh, came out of the house and argued with Mr Kewal Kishan, his wife, Ms Shakuntla, their sons, Mr Raju and Sonu, daughter-in-law, Ms Neelam, and daughters MsAnita, alias Monu and Ms Meenu. Mr Kewal’s relatives, Mr Kailash and Mr Anil, also joined in.

The problem aggravated and members of both families soon resorted to kicks and blows. In the scuffle, Pala Ram sustained internal injuries and died on the spot. The eyewitnesses said Mr Kewal’s family members used iron rods and sticks in the fight.

The handicapped daughter of the victim, Ms Hemi, was alone inside the house when the clash occurred. Narrating the incident, Ms Pritma said, “Kewal Kishan and his family members dragged my husband to their courtyard and overpowered him. They kicked and hit him, which resulted in his death .”

She alleged that members of Mr Kewal’s family attacked her with a sharp-edged weapon. “A local shopkeeper, Bant Sing, often instigates the family against us,”she added.

The accused reportedly absconded soon after the incident. The residents said that relations between the families were strained over their pets since long. The matter had earlier been taken to the local police, but rapproachement could not be reached at.

The police arrested five persons, Kewal Kishan, Shakuntla, Meenu, Monu and Sonu, for their alleged involvement in the case. A case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code registered against them at the Chandi Mandir police station. 


MC poll: Independents will need 10 proposers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
An Independent candidate aspiring to contest the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) polls, likely to be held in the second week of December, will now require 10 proposers instead of one for his nomination to be valid.

This was announced here today by the Election Commissioner, UT Delhi and Chandigarh, Municipal Corporations and Panchayats, Mr S. Malaichamy, at a press conference.

He said though the date of elections to the Municipal Corporation and panchayats had not yet been finalised, the UT Administration had indicated that these would be held in the second week of December.

The Election Commissioner said the expenditure limit had been enhanced from Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000 for corporation election and Rs 200 from 100 for panchayat elections.

He said the security for candidates had been increased to Rs 3,000 for general category candidates and Rs 1,500 for reserved category candidates.

Mr Malaichamy said the term of the present Municipal Corporation House would expire in December and it had to be constituted by December 23.

He said there would be five observers each for expenditure and general issues. Those found to be exceeding expenditure limit and failing to file expenditure returns would be debarred from contesting the next election.

The Election Commissioner said each of the 583 polling stations of the corporation and 58 of panchayats would have two big-sized ballot boxes each to be taken from Punjab and Haryana.

He said there would not be any use of electronic voting machine in this election, but Delhi was going to change the Act to allow use of EVMs.

He said the Commission had adopted the electoral rolls of parliamentary elections as on January 1, 2001, and there would be seven lakh voters in this election.

National and state parties would only be allowed symbols and local parties and independents would be given free symbols.

He said election expenditure for panchayats had been increased to Rs 15,000 from Rs 10,000.

Mr Malaichamy said returns of the post election had yet not been scrutinised as there was no permanent election commission during the post corporation elections.

He said the Model Code of Conduct for election would come into operation as soon as the Call Upon Notice was issued by the Administration.

The Election Commissioner said security arrangements in this election would be better than that in the post election.

He said a person convicted for more than two years would not be able to contest election, as established in the Jayalalitha case.Back



Pipe scam: BJP claims clean chit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The BJP today claimed that the Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) had given them a ‘’clean chit’’ in the alleged storm water pipe scandal which derailed yesterday’s House proceedings.

This was stated by the party Councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi, after meeting the Chief Engineer, Mr Manmohanjit Singh, here today.

The BJP’s alacrity in clarifying the issue only a day after the Congress sought to make it an issue in the Municipal Corporation House meeting yesterday, has come to scuttle attempts making it an election issue and blunt a corrupt image of the Congress Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel.

Mr Goel had to resign after allegations of his firm supplying soap to the Municipal Corporation.

The BJP retorted by seeking report of Mr Goel, before the House and boycotting yesterday’s meeting on the issue.

Mr Gyanchand Gupta, who was Mayor for one month during the storm water pipelines that remained lying for three years at Mani Majra, clarified the period for which the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, had sought an inquiry also included the other BJP Mayor, Mr Kewal Krishan Adiwal.

He, however, said there was nothing wrong in the purchase as it was made on scheduled rates and there were no tenders involved in this.

Mr Gupta said this was informed to him by the Chief Engineer. Mr Gupta and Ms Shahi met the Chief Engineer.

The two BJP councillors said the Chief Engineer told them that RCC pipes did not get damaged lying in the open and they were not ‘’sub-standard’’ as was alleged when the Mayor, recommended an inquiry into the affair.

They said the Mayor did not have any authority to seek an inquiry into the matter.

The matter had come up before the House yesterday and the Mayor did not pursue it when the Chief Engineer was ready to clarify position on the issue.

The two BJP leaders said pipes kept on lying at Mani Majra as the site approved for 118 showrooms, which was later converted into institutional area.

Sixty per cent of pipes were still used and a few transferred to other sites and the remaining would be used, they quoted the Chief Engineer as telling them.


School violates HUDA norms
Tribune News Service

The temporary change in structure of a school building in violation of HUDA bylaws for marriage celebrations of a school teacher on Monday night. 
— A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, October 30
A local school not only allowed the use of the premises for a former teacher’s wedding, but allowed temporary changes in its building to facilitate the marriage celebrations, allegedly in clear violation of norms.

According to information, a public school in Sector 11 here used its premises for the marriage ceremony of its former computer instructor last night. The main ground of the school was chosen as the venue. Sources informed that the ground was closed to students and staff of the school for the past two days.

Interestingly, the school also allowed a portion of its boundary wall facing the main road to be demolished. This was used as the main entrance to the wedding festivities. It may be mentioned that HUDA by-laws do not allow entrance to any building on the side facing the main road.

Residents alleged that the road was one of the busiest roads in the town and computers had to face a lot of inconvenience due to vehicles of guests having been parked on both sides of the road.

When contacted, the Principal of the school, Mr V.P. Paul, said the school premises could be used for any celebrations by its staff. Regarding the violation of HUDA by-laws, he said the boundary wall had been temporarily demolished and would be raised soon.

He said since mid-term examinations were in progress in the school, the students or the staff did not face any disturbance.


Female panther dies in Chhat Bir Zoo
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, October 30
An alarming increase in the death rate of zoo animals has not only raised serious doubts about the competence of authorities to take care of the animals but has also made the circumstances questionable as mute creatures are continuously loosing their lives.

Death of an adult female panther in its enclosure today evening has brought into question the competency of the authorities in maintaining the animals in the zoo.

This is the fifth death of a captive animal in Chhat Bir Zoo since Oct 16. Earlier, two lion cubs, a neel gai calf and a female mithun had died on October 16, 17 and 28, respectively.

Sources in the zoo said the panther was found dead in its enclosure by the zoo keepers this evening. The number of panthers has now reduced to 12 in the zoo.

Mr R. K. Luna, Zoo Director, confirmed the death of the big cat. He said the animal had some problem in its tail for the past couple of weeks. The problem was detected very late, he admitted.

The incident has raised eyebrows about negligence in handling, lack of medicare and upkeep of animals. Moreover, the reported absence of veterinary staff has deteriorated the situation.


Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 30
A 30-year-old woman committed suicide by hanging herself from of a ceiling fan at her Sector 8 residence here this morning.

According to information, the victim, Neelu Jain, was alone at her rented accommodation. Her husband, Sanjay Jain, a director in a private company in Chandigarh, was away to work.

The incident became known when her daughter, Somya, returned home from school at about 1.30 p.m. The child knocked at the door several times and called for her mother, but to no avail. She then ran downstairs and sought the help of her maid, Sandhya.

Sandhya rushed upstairs and tried to open the door. In the meantime, the others, too, rushed to her help and the door was finally opened. Inside, they found the body hanging from the fan.

The police took the body to the General Hospital, Sector 6, for post-mortem.


Empowering the needy youth through
self-help groups
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Over the past two decades, many tools have been devised and utilised for socio-economic development and uplift of the economically disadvantaged. Of these, micro-finance through self-help groups (SHGs) has emerged as the most powerful tool for generating self-employment, creating micro-enterprises and increasing household income of the poor.

A three-day training workshop on ‘Micro-finance and organising self-help groups’ will begin here from tomorrow under the auspices of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre. The programme is aimed at Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYK) field workers of Punjab and Chandigarh and a team of the National Services Scheme (NSS) members of Punjab Engineering College.

The workshop will be inaugurated by Dr R.S. Gupta, Principal, Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh.

Self-help groups have emerged as a strong mechanism for socio-economic empowerment of people and have become the best channel to deliver collateral-free micro-finance to the poor. Poor people are perceived as ‘unbankable’ by the formal financial sector due to their inability to provide collateral, such as property and assets, and poor saving habits. However, with SHG micro-finance systems like Grameen Bank and Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative (CYCI) have been able to attain remarkable credit recovery.

Using a lively, interactive and participatory method, the participants will be prepared to organise and mobilise SHGs to plan, mobilise funds, implement and monitor micro-finance programmes and deliver micro-finance. Resource persons from development banks, such as the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the Khadi and village Industries Commission (KVIC), the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD) and the CYP Asia Centre will deliver presentations and share experiences. In addition to the introduction to concepts and in-depth analysis, participants will have an opportunity to draw from successful micro-finance models such as the Grameen Bank and CYCI.

“We hope to train youth development workers to address the need for cash income to sustain their families, which is the most critical requirement for disadvantaged communities,” CYP Asia Centre’s Regional Director, Ms Raka Rashid said.

The Commonwealth Youth Programme(CYP) is the only specialised agency for youth development of an international organisation. It is also the only programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat, which is implemented through four regional offices, one each in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. The CYP Asia Centre is keen to help youth in the region to enable them to fend for themselves and be economically strong. Asia is home to a large and diverse population. This great human resource, if effectively used, would be an asset to the region. Empowering young people and making them self-reliant would not only contribute to youth development, but also to the development of their community, country and Asia.


City bazaars decked up for ‘fair’ shoppers
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 30
Crystal jewellery sets, dazzling under the cheerful spotlights, besides glass and velvet bangles displayed on rehris and inside the shops, are luring the homemakers and working women alike as hectic preparations are on for Karva Chauth in the city. The markets too have been decked up for the occasion.

For the shoppers, a large variety of bangles, including metal, velvet and crystal ones with meena work, are on display at the shops. However, bangles coated with glitter and sparkle and with stars and moon embedded on these are the hot favourite among the youngsters this year.

A set of bangles is priced between Rs 50 to 450. Artificial crystal jewellery sets are a bit expensive and cost between Rs 250 and 1,500.

This is not all. Alluring bindis, different from the usual ones, are also attracting the customers at various shopping complexes in the city. Crystal and zarkan bindis and ones with sparkles are the most sought after. These are available in the price range of Rs 5 to 300.

Some of the cosmetic manufacturing companies are also offering gifts on the occasion. The gift items, include leather handbags, purses and fancy tikas on the purchase of goods worth Rs 500 and above.

Booking for mehndi, the most essential ingredient of Karva Chauth, has also started. About Rs 100 per hand are being charged for applying mehndi.

Giving reason for the rush of the shoppers in the markets, owner of a cosmetic shop in Sector 37, Mr Suraj says,‘‘The shopping fever among women for Karva Chauth starts five days before the occasion. The sale of bangles and bindis is at its peak two days before the festival’’.

He adds: ‘‘Shopping by women for the occasion has started in a big way. The timing for opening the shops have also been extended by two hours due to the festival season".

Women are also busy buying fancy heavy suits and sarees for the day. A large variety of embroidered suits have been put on display at most all suit and saree stores in the city. 


200 challaned for traffic offences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
About 200 persons were challaned for various offences during a special traffic drive launched by the Chandigarh police here today.

In addition to policemen from the traffic wing, personnel from various police stations as well as the Police Control Room were also involved.

Giving the details, officials said five nakas each were set up by 11 police stations in their respective areas. The motorists were challaned for visible offences, which included driving twowheelers without wearing a helmet, triple riding, use of black tints on car windows, using a red light and overloading.

The drive will continue daily. Earlier, the UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, briefed supervisory staff, about the drive.


Duty on CSD liquor withdrawn
Tribune News Service

The cut in liquor rates in CSD canteens in Haryana has come as welcome news to Army personnel, who had felt hurt at the imposition of additional excise duty on liquor by the state government.

A large number of serving soldiers as well as ex-servicemen in Haryana had been affected by the state government’s decision to impose a heavy excise duty on liquor sold through military canteens in the state.

An excise duty of 20 per cent on liquor costing below Rs 500 per bottle and 25 per cent on liquor costing Rs 500 per bottle and above, had been levied on CSD sales in Haryana. This made liquor in the CSD canteens in Haryana costlier than that in canteens in Chandigarh and Punjab. The much favoured rum, which now costs Rs 73 per bottle, had shot up to Rs 86 per bottle, while the cost of a popular brand of whisky has come down to Rs 234 from Rs 280.

A number of ex-servicemen in Chandigarh and Mohali had sought to get their liquor cards transferred from the Command Canteen at Chandimandir to canteens in Chandigarh and Mohali.

The decision to do away with the excise duty follows a strong appeal from ex-servicemen at a state level ex-servicemen’s rally at Panchkula last month, which was attended by the then Defence Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh.

There are more than 2000 registered liquor card holders with the Command Canteen at Chandimandir, which is known to be the largest one in the region. Since they visit it regularly, they found it convenient to draw their liquor also from here.

After the imposition of the duty, the sale of liquor at the Chandimandir canteen had witnessed a fall. Those living in Chandimandir, Panchkula or the adjoining areas of Haryana, however, had no choice but to pay more as under the rules they could draw liquor only from canteens which service their place of residence.

Meanwhile, the army authorities have also revised the scale of liquor servicemen can draw from CSD canteens. A letter received by the Western Command headquarters about a week ago says that entitled persons are divided in several categories, which requires consolidation and there is also need to revise the existing scales of liquor authorisation and to apply a more uniform yardstick.

According to the letter, liquor can be drawn in any combination within the stipulated scales, doing away with the earlier restrictions on the number of units of different types liquor which could be drawn. The letter also says that the monthly or bimonthly quotas shall lapse if not drawn, and cannot be accumulated or carried forward.


Zirakpur bandh call by shopkeepers
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, October 30
The Shopkeepers Welfare Association, Zirakpur, has given a call for a bandh tomorrow against the alleged misbehaviour of officials of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat and the Octroi staff with a local shopkeeper here today.

Mr Sunehari Lal, president of the association, said the octroi staff misbehaved with Mr Pradeep Kumar, a shopkeeper, over the octroi slip for some plastic goods. They even tried to manhandle him.

He said the matter was brought to the notice of the Executive Officer of the civic body but the officer too tried to shield the octroi men. A complaint had been lodged with the local police post against the indifferent behaviour of the officials concerned and the octroi men.

He said the shopkeepers of the township will observe a bandh tomorrow to press for their demands.


BJP supports UT employees’ demand
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 30
The local unit of the BJP, has supported the demand of bonus to the UT employees and urged the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, to take an immediate decision on the demand.

The unit also welcomed the UT Administrator’s move of sending a letter of the demand to the minister. In a joint statement, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, Convener of the BJP Ad hoc Committee, Chandigarh, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former Member Parliament and Mr Dharam Paul Gupta, former president of the unit, said the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, had proved unsuccessful as an MP. They also condemned the MP for “supporting” the strike by the UT employees union even after it was postponed sine die.

The statement said the employees had earlier met Mr Jain with their demands and the latter had forwarded the memorandum to Mr Advani.Back


Youth Congress to launch agitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Chandigarh Youth Congress will shortly launch an agitation to compel the Union Government to create more job opportunities for the youth.

In a press note, Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky, president of the Chandigarh Youth Congress, said the Vajpayee government had failed on all fronts. He alleged his government was the most corrupt and was determined to destroy the secular fabric of the country. He announced the city Youth Congress would be revamped very soon and committees would be formed at the state, district, block, sector, village and colony level.

He said a meeting of the Youth Congress activists drawn from different colleges and Panjab University was organised at the Rajiv Gandhi Congress Bhavan in Sector 35 as a part of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress’ plan to galvanise the youth for the forthcoming MC election. Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the CTCC, thanked the youth for showing solidarity with the Congress.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally were Mr Gurpreet Singh Gaapi, Mr Sham Lal Gupta, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr J.N. Shastri, Mr Kulwant Dhaliwal, Mr Pawan Sharma, Mr Narinder Singh Nandi, Mr Rajib Chaudhary, Mr Malwinder Singh Kang, Mr Gurpratap Singh Brar, Mr Parneet Grewal and Mr Akhil Goyal.


Body lies unclaimed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The body of an unidentified accident victim, who died on 19 October, is still lying unclaimed at the PGI. According to the police, the deceased was seriously injured on October 11 and was brought to the PGI. The police describe the deceased to be about 50 years old, with his head shaven and without a moustache or beard. He was wearing a pyjayma, vest and bathroom slippers. He seemed to be from the labour class.

Police have said any information about the decesed may be forwarded to the Sector 36 police station.


HUDA invites applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has invited applications from registered religious institutions for construction of religious buildings.

While stating this here yesterday, a spokesman of HUDA said that land would be allotted on a 99-year lease-hold basis. He said there were six sites in Urban Estate, Panchkula, of with four were in Sector 25 and one each in Sectors 20 and 26 respectively. The last date for receipt of applications is November 29.


F&CC meeting today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Municipal Corporation here today decided to call a meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) tomorrow for approval of an expenditure of Rs 74,000 for organising two functions on the inauguration of greenbelts in Sectors 44 and 45, among other things.

The agenda also included auction of commercial sites in Mauli Jagran and surrender of parking lot by owners of Dhillon Theatre in Mani Majra, F&CC member Ms Ranjana Shahi said.

The agenda has a reference to the Central Government guideline that there was no need to organise functions for facilities created out of the MPs’ and councillors’ funds.Back


Bank to disburse loans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The personal banking branch of the State Bank of Patiala, Sector 8, will disburse loans among permanent Central and state government employees under SBP-Utsav Scheme on the occasion of Divali and Gurpurab.

Mr V.K. Gupta, Chief Manager of the bank, said the loan would be available up to Rs 25,000 and repayable in 10 equated monthly instalments.


PU student robbed, 3 arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The local police today arrested three persons on a charge of robbing a Panjab University student at knife point. Arvind Singh, a resident of Hostel No. 4 on the university campus, lodged a complaint that while he was returning from Ambedkar Bhavan, Sector 37, around midnight, he was stopped by three persons on the road separating Sectors 24 and 25. They snatched Rs 170 and some documents. The police registered a case under Section 192 of the IPC.

The accused, identified as Pardeep, Sunil Kumar and Lallu, residents of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, were apprehended from the same colony. The stolen amount and documents were recovered. The UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, announced a Class-I commendation certificate and a cash award for members of the police party for solving the case promptly.

Liquor seized
The local police arrested Achhar, a resident of Mauli Jagran, and seized 50 pouches of whisky from his possession. A case under the Excise Act was registered against him.

In another incident, the police stopped a person at a naka near the Sector 22 petrol pump past evening and seized 200 pouches of liquor from the bag he was carrying. The person managed to escape. A case was registered.

One arrested
The driver of a government-owned Gypsy, Ajit Singh, was arrested after his vehicle hit two scooterists near the Sector 34 gurdwara. The injured persons, Raj Kumar and Madho Ram, residents of Ram Darbar, were admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The police registered a case. The accused was later granted bail.

Driver held
An autorickshaw driver, Badri Nath, was arrested after Mr Kalu Ram, a passenger, lodged a complaint that the vehicle overturned near the Sector 26 petrol pump due to rash driving, thereby injuring him. The complainant was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The accused was later granted bail.

Computer stolen
A Sector 35 resident, Mr Sanjiv Garg reported that his computer system, including a monitor, CPU, printer and UPS, and Rs 15,000 were stolen from his office in the same sector. The police registered a case.

Theft reported
A Sector 20 resident, Mr Madan Gupta, reported that his bag containing Rs 3,500, passbook, chequebook, identity card and credit card was stolen from the Municipal Corporation office in Sector 17. The police registered a case.


Festival season fails to attract customers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The ongoing recession has shown its impact on sales during the current pre-Divali festive season. City marketes have failed to witness the usual festive buying spree of customers.

In addition, a month-long gap between shradhas and navratras has led to a lukewarm response from the customer this year , leaving the shopkeepers dissatisfied.

“The market is at least 30 to 35 per cent down compared to the corresponding period last year”, said M.R. Tarlok Singh of Khalsa Dry Fruit Store, Sector 22. “Earlier festival purchases used to start right from the navratras. However, this time when Divali is hardly two weeks away, the sales are still not picking up. We hope the situation will improve during the first week of the next month”, he said.

“Customers normally avoid making purchases during shradhas and sales generally pick up from navratras and continue till the festival season is over. However, the one-month gap between the two has led to substantial decline in demand this year,” he said.

The expected increase in prices is not as significant as it used to be earlier. There is a slumps even in the dry fruit market,” said Mr Tarlok Singh.

Gift shops, where festive season sales used to start much prior to other items, are also bearing the recessionary brunt. “The busy season this time seems to have vanished. Earlier during this period, markets used to buzz with activity, but this year very few customers have started purchases” said Mr Vishwa Sethi of Sagar Gift Palace, Sector 17.

To attract customers, companies have come up with various schemes. Sony, for instance, is offering scratch cards on every purchase which may win a customer a Ford Icon car, computer etc. “But we have seen only about 25 per cent improvement in sales compared to the last month. “Volumes are very low compared to last year’s figures”, said Mr Surinder Singh of Surindra Radios.

Kelvinator is also offering free gifts, like fans, automatic irons etc, with its products, whereas Phillips has offered free CDs on purchase of music systems.

Though the customers have not shown much enthusiasm, the market, however, is flooded with gift items including decoration items and crockery. While purchases of gift items, dry fruits have not yet started, there is definite improvement in certain areas such as electronic goods and small items like greeting cards etc. “People have already started purchasing greeting cards and we are receiving a good response “, said Mr Rajiv Chaudhry of English Book Shop.

Apart form companies , city shopkeepers are also offering discounts to attract customers. Classic Lights, a gift shop in Sector 18, for instance, is offering 20 per cent discount on purchases. “However, the response this time is not as good as it used to be”, said Ms Tajinder K. Raheja of Classic Lights. 


84 cr collected under small savings schemes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 30
The UT Administration collected Rs 84 crore in small savings against a target of Rs 75 crore in the last financial year and Rs 30 crore have already been collected out of the targeted Rs 84 during the current financial year.

This was disclosed at a of World Thrift Day function organised by the National Savings Organisation, UT, in collaboration with the Directorate of Small Savings at Poly Clinic, Sector 22, here today.

Speaking on the occasion, guest speakers, Dr M.R. Khurana, Chairman, Department of Economics, Panjab, University and Mr R.S. Sawhney, former Regional Director, National Savings, spoke about the importance of savings in one’s life and how small savings can be increased in the present scenario.

Mr Vivek Atray, Director, UT Public Relations, appreciated the role of agents, group leaders and Sanchayika in charges for helping in achieving the last years target. Mr M.K Malhotra, Regional Director, National Savings (Punjab and Chandigarh), spoke about the history of the day. The Deputy Director of the local unit of National Savings, Mr Rajinder Lalk, was also present on the occasion.

The Chandigarh Police, Ordnance Cable Factory and CTU - III were adjudged first, second and third, respectively, under the Pay Role Savings Scheme of National Savings. Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, was adjudged ‘Best Sanchayika School’ of the country.


Woman entrepreneur
Chocolates for all tastes
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

A day without chocolate is a day without sunshine, say chocolate lovers. For Rameet Bakshi, this holds even greater significance. She loves chocolates, good, hygienic, healthy chocolates and this made her go a step further and venture into preparing them.

Her venture, started a year go on a very small scale, has now become a full time business and she supplies home-made chocolates to all major department stores in Chandigarh, Mohali and even Ludhiana.

“I want to prepare chocolates in all possible tastes and varieties which are hygienic and also affordable”, says Rameet.

An MBA in finance, she had worked in the finance department of a company, and helped her husband in his business before she set up her venture. “However, with that business I was not able to pay proper attention to my son. And that is why I decided to go in for a different venture,” she says.

“I wanted something which would give me the satisfaction of working and also let me devote time to my family”. Her decision followed a crash course in chocolate making in Mumbai.

After some initial experimenting, she decided on a marketing strategy and offered her products to corporates. “A marvellous response from the corporates motivated me to expand and slowly I started supplying chocolates to department stores”. Now she also gets direct orders for marriages, birthday parties etc. “I also prepare special flavours and chocolates in almost any shape you order — teddy bear, Mickey Mouse, heart shape etc.” she says.

“We have different varieties at affordable rates.” The regular flavours include choco almond, date and nut, tangy orange, crazy crunch and creamy plain.

She lays equal emphasis on attractive packaging which includes plastic bags, foils, colourful cane baskets etc. “I also surf the net to know about the health aspects, and quotes relating to chocolates”, she says. She also keeps participating in exhibitions,” though not many as I want to give my customers the special feeling of possessing special chocolates”, she says.

With the expansion of work, her working hours have increased and during the rush season, she works up to 16 hours a days, she says. “For this one needs, apart from zeal, family support. Operating from home enables me to devote time to my family which I feel should be the priority”, she says.


Rough roads ruin business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The condition of roads in Industrial Area Phase I is “suitable” to give nightmares to motorists and entrepreneurs are facing hardships as people do not want to visit the area thus affecting the business.

The road leading to the Central Poultry Farm located on the Chandigarh -Ambala road from the electricity substation is in a bad shape. The condition of all other roads in the area which connect rows of industrial units with the main road can be described with only one word: pathetic.

Owners of plots and industrial units have given representations to various authorities about the condition of the roads but nothing has been done so far. If heaps of garbage block the sides of the roads, the road are dotted with potholes. During the rainy season the situation becomes worse as these potholes are converted into small ponds.

Mr Yuvraj Singh, a plot owner, says this problem is not recent and claims that no maintenance has been carried out in the area in the past two decades. In certain stretches the roads are nothing more than dirt tracks. A visit to the area and one is transported to some medieval era rather than being in the well-planned city of Chandigarh.

In a signed compliant the owners of plots have said that units have been set up in the area by traders and businessmen thus there is need of transportation. In such situations the business is affected while damage is caused to vehicles of transporters and businessmen. 


Muktsar resident wins Spice scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Mr Ramandeep Singh of Muktsar was today declared winner of a consumer promotion scheme “ Spice apnao Australia jao” by Spice Telecom, a mobile phone service provider in the region. He has won return tickets for a couple to Australia.

Ms Vajinder Kaur from Verka and Mr Gurinder Pal Singh from Patiala were declared forthnightly winners of the lucky draw. Both won a three-day and two-night trip to Kathmandu. The consumer promotion scheme, which started on September 27, ended on October 26. The winners were given the prizes by Mr Vinod Sawhny, Managing Director of Spice Telecom.Back

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