Tuesday, November 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



CAT quashes 84 employees’ transfer to MC
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, November 12
Declaring the transfers of 84 employees of the UT Administration mainly from the Engineering Department to the Municipal Corporation as illegal, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, the UT Administration, and others to provide a fresh chance to them for exercising their option for their permanent transfer or absorption to the Municipal Corporation.

“Transfer from a job held under the UT Administration with the status of government servant to the Municipal Corporation without the consent of the employees concerned has to be declared illegal irrespective of the fact whether such a person is junior most or senior”, said a Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal comprising of members, Mr J.S. Dhaliwal, and Mr V.K. Majotra, while disposing of 24 petitions filed by the employees of the Administration, who were transferred to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in 1996.

The order would, however, have no effect on those employees who had given the consent about their transfers.

The CAT further ruled that the Administration would give a notice of not less than 30 days to the employees to exercise their option of permanent transfer or absorption to the Municipal Corporation.

Taking care of the requirement of workers in the Municipal Corporation the CAT observed that there were not sufficient persons for manning the posts transferred to the Municipal Corporation.

Therefore, the corporation would be at liberty to fill the post on a temporary basis in any way including taking persons on deputation from anywhere if the rule did not prohibit it.

Employees of the Administration had challenged the action of the Administration on the ground that they were regular UT cadre officials appointed through the UPSC. They had expressed their desire not to join the corporation. Their transfer on permanent basis to the corporation was against their consent and thus illegal.

They had alleged that when certain posts or officials were transferred to some other institution, under the norms laid down by the Government of India, persons who were rendered surplus were to be adjusted. The transfers, the CAT observed, should be effected on the basis of their seniority. The last come would go first to the Municipal Corporation.

It may be recalled that when the Municipal Corporation came into being 1996, the UT Administration had transferred certain functions for providing civic amenities to the resident of the Union Territory, by issuing notifications on September 28, 1995 and May 16, 1996. 


70 UT employees serving Punjab & Haryana
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
As many as 70 employees of the Chandigarh Administration have been drawing wages from the Administration while providing their services in Punjab and Haryana.

These employees are working in the Civil Secretariate in the past 35 years. Yes 35 years. And the UT Administration has never ever had any of its office inside the secretariate building thus there is no justification for its employees to be working in the building.

The Chandigarh Administration has, however, uncovered this little known fact about its own employees recently. And not surprisingly, nothing has happened. The 70 employees, who draw wages from the Administration have been working in the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariate to very little knowledge about it among senior officials. In the past 35 years the Administration has maintained a strength of about 70 employees in the secretariate and no one has bothered to check what work they are doing or tried to withdraw their services. Not even the audit people have got a wind of this or they would have written a stinker, said a source.

The bureaucracy posted to Chandigarh Administration hails from either Punjab or Haryana and they cannot defy orders or wishes of their political masters. And all these years employees who should have served the interests of UT have been doing somebody’s else job.

Well placed sources said these employees cost the Administration about Rs 1 crore annually but their services are used by Punjab and Haryana. None of the officials have bothered to call back these employees who are working as sweepers, lift operators and in the horticulture wing.

What is UTs job in posting employees to look after the secretariate is unclear ? UT is the custodian of the Secretariat building under the Re-organisation of States Act, 1966. Even the states do not consider UT as owner saying it is just the custodian.

Senior UT officials have been informed on file about this development but the opinion is too mild. Sources said either UT will be writing to Punjab and Haryana that the services of the employees be withdrawn or the states should pay their salaries. What if the states do not pay? Hopefully the matter will be resolved as things are hotting up.


Third Shatabdi to be discontinued from Nov 17
Tribune News Service

* Passenger traffic had risen by no more than 10 per cent

* Afternoon shatabdi may be shifted to evening, however, this will take at least two months to happen.

* Actual demand is for a Shatabdi departing from here in the evening and not in the afternoon.

* Super fast inter-city train between Chandigarh - Delhi being considered.

Chandigarh, November 12
The operation of the third Shatabdi between Chandigarh and New Delhi will stop from November 17, the Railway board is understood to have decided to scrap the train following a ‘‘poor response’’. Since its launch on August 25 the train had been doing badly on its run from Delhi to Chandigarh while the train from here to Delhi was enjoying close to 80 per cent occupancy. This could have gone up during the peak summer and winter months, as travellers have been demanding a Shatabdi from the city to reach Delhi between 8: 30 p.m and 8: 50 p.m.

According to sources the new train had led to an increase of only 10 per cent in the number of passengers. Better occupancy level in the third Shatabdi departing from here during evening was in fact due to the reason that occupancy level in the afternoon Shatabdi (train number 2012) departing from here at 12: 40 p.m had dropped sharply.

People preferred the evening train instead of the one departing from here during the afternoon, said a top official at the Ambala Railway Division. On its Delhi-Chandigarh journey the timing was so odd for the average commuter that the train’s occupancy level was no more than 30 per cent. And on one day the train was almost vacant.

At present the train starts from New Delhi in the afternoon at about 11: 30 a.m reaches here at 2: 45 p.m. On its return journey the train starts from here at 5: 30 p.m. The train had been introduced on a trail basis for a period of two months. On October 25 the Railways extended its operation till November 17.

According to sources it was almost certain that the Shatabdi departing from here at 12: 40 p.m and reaching Delhi around 4 p.m would be shifted to an evening time to suit the convenience of passengers from Chandigarh as the demand is much greater during the evening hours. The Ambala Railway Division has also suggested this shift official sources said today.

Some loose ends are being tied up to enable this shift. It will take more than three months for this to be done. The biggest problem before the railways is that it has to wait for two months as passengers may have purchased tickets in advance for the departure at 12: 40 p.m and planned their schedules accordingly. Besides this some operational problem also has to be sorted out in order to shift the afternoon Shatabdi to evening.

Also under consideration at the Ministry level is the demand for a super fast train linking Chandigarh with Delhi and having a normal fare. Mr Joginder Singh Bhogal, a former member of the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, has been demanding this on the pattern of inter-city trains operational in other segments. The train should depart from here in the morning and be back in the evening, he said adding that fare should be within the reach of a common man.


MC poll: model code from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The use of official machinery by ministers or those in power, announcement of financial grants, laying of foundation stones, promises of providing public facilities and making ad hoc appointments in a bid to influence voters may attract ire of the Election Commission from tomorrow.

These are, among other things, to be informed to the political parties tomorrow by the Election Commissioner, Mr S. Malaichamy, at a meeting with the start of the nominations.

This is what the Model Code of Conduct, to be issued by the EC, contains. The conduct is meant to ensure fair elections. It has guidelines for holding of rallies, meetings, setting up camps in front of the polling stations, counting centres, observers and special guidelines for the party in power. Candidates have been barred from creating caste, communal, linguistic hatred and disturb public tranquillity. The criticism of opponents has to be confined to policies and programmes, past record and work. Private life not forming part of candidates public life and unverified allegations are barred, the code said. Candidates cannot appeal on the lines of caste, community, religious and national symbols. Bribing, intimidation and ferrying voters is barred as per the code. Political meeting could not be held while liquor is being served. The campaign material has to have printer’s and publisher’s name and address. Carrying or showing disrespect to the effigies of political opponents are barred. Articles that can be used for violent actions should not be carried in processions and meetings.


MC poll: 40 booths likely to be sensitive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
There are likely to be about 40 ‘sensitive booths’ for the December 8 elections to the Municipal Corporation and panchayats.

This was informed to the Election Commissioner UT, Delhi and Chandigarh, Mr S. Malaichamy, at a meeting with officials of the Chandigarh Administration held here today.

The meeting was attended by the Home Secretary, Mr R. S. Gujral, the Inspector General of Police, Mr B. S. Bassi, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramasekar and the SSP, Mr Parag Jain.

Mr Malaichamy asked the officials to give a list of sensitive booths in a week’s time.

Most of the probable sensitive booths were from colonies and villages, the Election Commissioner was informed.

Mr Malaichamy said for ensuring a free and fair poll at the sensitive booths, additional security arrangements would be made.

He said if the number of securitymen in the UT fell short, the administration could seek personnel from Haryana, Punjab and central forces stationed in the region.

Mr Malaichamy today reviewed the poll preparedness.

He said a meeting of parties had been called tomorrow on the model code of conduct which would come into force along with the notification of the elections tomorrow.

Mr Malaichamy held a separate meeting with the returning officers to explain the election process and what they were supposed to do.

He also annulled the appointment of the Chief Wildlife Warden and Deputy Conservator of Forests and Director, Environment, Mr Ishwar Singh, as an Assistant Returning Officer, as he was an Indian Forest Service Officer, senior to PCS and HCS officers who had been made returning officers.

He was replaced with another official.


BJP to send probables’ list after Nov 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The BJP will send its list of probables to the high command after November 17 for the finalisation of the party candidates for the December 8 Municipal Corporation poll.

This was stated here today by the BJP’s ad hoc committee convener, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, while briefing mediapersons about yesterday’s day-long deliberation followed by a meeting of the committee. Both meetings were held in the presence of the BJP national secretary and in charge of the Chandigarh unit, Mr O. P. Kohli.

The committee decided not to invite applications for the elections but asked the contenders to send their intentions in writing to the local party office till November 15. They have also been asked to give their suggestions regarding any other party candidate.

The finalisation of the candidates by the central leadership is being seen as a ploy to do the balancing act in the faction-ridden local unit, which was apparently brought before Mr Kohli in his one-to-one interactions with local leaders yesterday.

The committee also decided to meet on November 17, when it will finalise the list of candidates to be referred to the central leadership.

The ad hoc committee has now been converted into the election committee and its convener has been authorised to set up an election campaign and management committee and a finance committee. It also decided to call a meeting of the party workers on November 18 to support the POTO.

In a separate meeting on panchayat elections which was attended by Zila Parishad Chairman, Mr Darshan Singh, among others, the party decided that it would not contest the elections on party symbol but a list of official candidates would be announced soon. Another meeting in this regard has been called on Divali.


Violating law with impunity
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, November 12
It was a few years back. Dense black smoke enveloped the Sector 19 rehri market as cracker stalls went up in flames. It took the fire-fighters several hours to bring the flames under control. The incident is still etched in the memory of city residents.

Soon after, certain rules and regulations were framed. Each cracker seller was required to keep 25 sand bags at the site. Smoking inside and near the shops was prohibited. The display of crackers on footpaths, too, was banned. The steps were taken, but only on papers.

The reality is there for all to see. Go to any sector market and you will witness crackers being sold, against the norms, on the folding beds covered with white sheets, casually placed on the footpaths in front of the shops.

This is not all. The minimum distance between two stalls should be 15 meters as per the terms and conditions of the licence for selling crackers, but you can hardly squeeze your way through the folding beds. If you do not believe it, go to Sectors 11, 15 and 20.

The story does not end here. The sellers are flouting the conditions by not keeping water tanks of 200 litres capacity at the site. Even fire extinguishes have not been kept. Worse, boards with “Smoking strictly prohibited” neatly printed on them have not been displayed.

The rules also say that there should not be any naked or loose electric wires inside the shops, and the kiosks should have separate entrance and exits and no other business shall be conducted, but, sadly, none of the conditions are being followed.

Interestingly, the police and the Fire Department officials are expected to carry out an inspection of the site before the licence is issued to the applicant. Licencees, on the condition of anonymity, however, confirm that none of the officials had ever visited the spot.

Denying the allegations of carelessness on part of the authorities, the Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, says: “The applicants apply for the licences at least seven to eight days before actually setting up the stalls. At the time of applying, they assure us that all conditions would be complied with, but later on they back out of the undertaking”.

Claiming that the checking of violations was the duty of the authorities in the District Magistrate’s office, he asserts: “Whenever a violation comes to our notice, we write it down on the licence of the defaulter so that he faces problems in getting the same issued the next year”.


Administration to meet expenses
School teachers’ recruitment
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The ongoing recruitment process of school teachers in the recently sanctioned 324 posts ran into rough weather today over the paucity of funds. By late evening senior officials of the administration decided to spend money to meet the expenses from the administration’s own pocket.

The financial sanction for the 324 posts has already been received from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Finance Ministry.

Though the problem of funds cropped up yesterday, it was resolved after much dilly-dallying. The Administration decided that the expenditure incurred in the process of recruitment, estimated to be approximately over Rs 3 lakh, would be spent out of the pocket of the government, a decision the finance department arrived at with reluctance.

Sources in the Education Department said while the usual practice was that the funds for all official communication to the applicants came from the contingency fund, this time the finance department raised an objection in view of the exorbitant expenses.

Departing from convention, the department suggested that the funds for all such matters be diverted from the finances collected by way of fee of Rs 200 charged from the applicants. This proposal, however, was turned down by the Education Department.

“The fee charged from the applicants has to go to the treasury. Spending money on the recruitment work from this fund would unnecessarily invite objections from the audit. We are not ready to get into any hassle just because the Finance Department does not want to follow certain rules. If they don’t give us funds as per requirement, we will stop whatever work is going on in this direction,” an official of the Education Department said.

By evening, it was decided that the funds at the disposal of the treasury from the fee would be spared. “We have come to a decision that this money be spent from the Administration’s own funds instead of touching the fee. Now there is no problem and the recruitment work will go on smoothly,” the Joint Secretary, Finance, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, said.

It maybe recalled that against 324 posts of teacher for government schools advertised by the UT Administration, an overwhelming response had been received with over 16,000 applications being received for these posts.

For the JBT category, the department got 4,765 applications while as many as 683 applicants applied for the posts of Nursery Trained Teacher. The maximum applications were received for the posts of Social Science subject where 3,438 applicants applied. In Maths, 1172 applications were received and 1518 for Hindi among others.


Security beefed up for Divali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
In view of the festival of Divali, the local police has beefed up security measures in the city. Additional police personnel are being deployed in sensitive places and in areas where public activity is high, while night patrolling around the city has also been stepped up.

The issue of security arrangements during the festive season was discussed at the monthly crime meeting chaired by the IGP, Mr B.S. Bassi, here today. Besides other law and order related matters, security arrangements for the forthcoming MC elections also formed a part of the agenda.

The police is also posting additional men at all venues of public functions, fairs and melas around the city. In addition plainclothesmen will also be moving around major shopping venues to check incidents of eve-teasing, snatching and petty thefts. The police has also stepped up vigilance at the bus stand, to keep an eye on the movement of anti-social elements. A general alert has been sounded.

Police officials say that special watch will be kept for persons indulging in gambling or drinking in public places. All policemen have also been directed to look out for any abandoned vehicle or objects. Residents have also been asked to look-out for suspicious persons as well as unclaimed objects inform the police accordingly. Vigilance in various parking lots is also being stepped up.

The Chandigarh Police has also issued a special appeal to the residents to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court, which has recently issued some directions on the use of fire-crackers during Divali.

In a statement issued here today, the police has reiterated the apex court’s directions, which state that the use of fire works shall be allowed only during 6 pm and 10 pm. “Fire works are not to be used at any time within 100 meters of areas notified as silence zones including hospitals, educational institutions and courts.”


City hospitals gear up for emergencies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
While various bodies of doctor and environmentalists are doing their best to create awareness among the public and children against crackers and the city police is trying to minimise the sale of high-velocity crackers, the festival of lights might still take its toll in the form of serious eye infections, injuries, burns, pulmonary and ear problems. Foreseeing this, city hospitals have made elaborate arrangements to meet any emergencies.

For those preparing to celebrate the festival, precaution and some tips are being recommended by specialists from the hospitals.

Air pollution levels in the city will be registering a marked increase and the city residents will have a taste of how it is like to live in Delhi or Mumbai. “There is a marked increase in the levels of pollution in the city during Divali. But awareness campaigns by the administration have proved effective and last year the increase in pollution levels was much lower than previous years,” informs Mr P.J.S. Dadwal, Additional Director, Environment, UT.

“Masks or handkerchiefs are effective in preventing breathing in of soot and other large foreign bodies that can cause pulmonary irritation but then breathing of any amount of smoke is not good for health. Those suffering from asthma or other breathing ailments have been advised to avoid participating in such events,” says Dr S.S. Walia, MD Medicine.

“For children, the biggest danger is from playing crackers or playing with bows and arrows. The arrows cause a large number of eye problems. About 40 per cent of these are serious in nature causing the loss of vision,” says Dr Ashok Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, PGI.

“Other than direct penetration to injuries, which cause the maximum harm to the eyes, there is a high chance of infections caused due to flying amber and even long-term lens problems. Too much exposure to smoke, noxious fumes can consult allergy in the eyes, which can be relieved by sponging the eye with cold water, but the best way is to consult an ophthalmologist immediately. Too much sponging with water is also not recommended as it may cause infections. Parents are requested not to allow their children to play with sharp objects unattended and in case of any injury contact an eye specialist immediately without letting the child to touch the wound. The child should not be fed after any eye injury as in most of such case there is a need to give general anesthesia, sometimes, even for a simple examination,” he says. The PGI has made special arrangements for attending to any emergencies relating to eye problems.

Exposure to sudden bursts of high-pitched sound can also cause ear trauma and noise-induced hearing loss. “The best way to avoid an ear trauma, a perforation of the tympanic membrane is to maintain a safe distance from the bursting crackers and cover the ears,” suggests Dr Meena Raghunathan, working in the Department of Otolaryngology, PGI.

Although the city doctors are hopeful that this year’s Divali will be safer as compared to earlier years, as a large number of organisations have taken the initiative to spread the message ‘say no to crackers’. The Children’s Alliance for Protection of the Environment has been organising rallies in the city’s government schools to make students aware of the dangers involved in playing with crackers.

The Department of Ophthalmology, PGI, has put doctors on special duty from the morning of November 14 till November 16. There will be two teams working round the-clock, one stationed in the male eye ward, 5th floor, Block A, to attend to patients on arrival and the other in the operation theatre. Residents have been advised to bring patients with eye injuries to this ward.


Stalls in Sector 17: notice to MC
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 12
A local court today issued notice to the Municipal Corporation and the president of the Market Welfare Association for November 13 on a civil suit filed by Mr Harish Kumar Bansal, against the resolution of the Municipal Corporation restraining traders from putting any temporary stalls in the shopping complex in Sector 17 during Divali.

The plaintiff had filed the suit for permanent injunction, restraining the Municipal Corporation from objecting or interfering into the putting up of temporary stalls in the open in front of his shop during Divali.

It was alleged that the decision of the Municipal Corporation was illegal, arbitrary discriminatory and imperative against the plaintiff.


Cable TV operators, subscribers at loggerheads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/SAS Nagar, November 12
Confrontation is brewing between subscribers and cable TV operators in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar over the recent hike in the subscription amount. Subscribers in Phase XI of SAS Nagar have resorted to non-payment of monthly subscription which has resulted in disconnection of about 20 per cent connections by the cable TV operator of the area.

Subscribers claim that the cable TV operators conceal the actual number of connections but have hiked the subscription fee on the plea that they were paying to the pay TV channels. However, the Cable Operators Association says that hike had become necessary due to increase in subscription fee by the pay TV channels, rising maintenance costs and entertainment tax charged by the Punjab Government.

Mr Amrik Singh, a councillor of Phase XI, who convened a meeting of subscribers in the area, said the subscribers were removing cables passing over their houses. As a result the cable operator was erecting poles on PUDA’s land to maintain their network. The residents had also written to the Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) to intervene in the matter. A meeting of different residents’ welfare associations of the town would be called to arrive at a consensus on the issue, he said.

Col S.S. Chahal (Retd), president of the Mohali Cable Operators Association, said a cable operator had to pay Rs 130 per connection as fee to various pay TV Channels, Rs 15,000 as entertainment tax to the Punjab Government besides fee for screening pictures on movie channels.

He said the subscribers should realise the ground situation. Out of the total 56 channels aired by the cable operators, at least 29 were pay channels. “If there was any problem, subscribers and cable operators could talk on one platform as had been done in Panchkula,” he added.

However, terming the hike as unilateral, president of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations of Chandigarh ( FOSWAC), Air Marshal Randhbir Singh (retd) while convening the meeting yesterday said cable TV operators had adopted a non-cooperative attitude.

The association threatened to start its own cable network if their demands were not heeded to by cable operators. The residents demand that the cable operators should justify their demand and should give account of payments they make to various pay TV channels. They said the cable operators by showing 56 channels, most of which were useless had increased the burden on the subscribers.

What the subscribers demand:

* The cable TV operators should produce their income tax returns of the past three years.

* Reveal the efforts made by operators to get consumer-friendly package from pay TV channels.

* Cable operators should consult the end users before adding new channels.

* Round-the-clock uninterrupted and clear transmission.

* Non-availability of a channel(s) should result in reduction of monthly rental.

* Consumer-operator disputes must be resolved with the help of welfare associations concerned and the decision of the joint forum should be final and binding.

* Cable operator or consumer, whosoever wants to get a connection disconnected should give one- month notice to the other party

* Workers of cable TV operators should carry photo identity cards.



Haryana to have cultural academy
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 12
The Haryana Chief Minster, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, while unveiling a portrait of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal at Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16, here today, announced that the Haryana Government would soon set up ‘Haryana Cultural Academy’.

Unveiling his father’s portrait, Mr Chautala talked of his close association with M.S. Randhawa, the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh and also founder chairman of the Punjab Arts Council.

He said it was the dream of M.S. Randhawa to have a portrait gallery of about 100 famous personalities of India such as Mr Nek Chand, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Baba Kharag Singh. So far about 65 portraits had been collected for this purpose, he said.

Praising the artist, Mehar Singh, who is also the president of the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademy, Mr Chautala said the artist had captured the kisan leader in his truest colour.

Mr Chautala announced to contribute an amount Rs 50,000 to commission five more portraits of different personalities.

Prominent among those who attended the unveiling ceremony were the chairman of the council, Dr Harcharan Singh, secretary-general Mr H.S. Bhatty, the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi president, Mr Mehar Singh, and the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur.


Housing societies to get loans at lower rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Members of cooperative housing societies in the country will soon be able to get loans at lower rates of interest.

The National Cooperative Housing Federation of India, an umbrella organisation of 92,000 such societies, has tied up with government-lending agencies for reducing the rates of interest. Also in the pipeline is a reduction in charges for insurance cover for the loans. At present, it is Rs 67 per month per Rs 1 lakh of the loan.

Dr M.L. Khurana, president of the Federation told Chandigarh Tribune that the federation had written to the Government of India as well as the LIC to bring down the interest rates. It was likely that the LIC would soon pass instructions to its offices in this regard. At the moment, loans through Housefed are available at a rate of 12.75 per cent on reducing balance.

This was expected to come down in the next few days, said Dr Khurana while not commenting on as to how much would be the new rate of interest. The interest rate would depend upon what the LIC charged from the federation “We will just keep 1 per cent as our charge and pass on the loan to the members of the societies. A national-level housing congress held on November 3 and 4 has mooted a proposal that all state housing federations be provided funds at 9 per cent so that they can lend to their member societies at 10 per cent rate of interest,” Dr Khurana said.

The Chairman of the Chandigarh State Housefed, Mr Sunil Parti, said new rates would be applicable as soon as instructions were received. The National Housefed would also diversify and ask state housefeds to compete with other agencies. This would be done by starting housing projects.

Among the first national-level projects was the acquisition of 700 acres near Lucknow for a major housing project, said Dr Khurana, who had come here with a delegation from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Nepal to see the functioning of the cooperative agencies. Also, Housefed had been allocated a target of 6.25 lakh units during the 10th Five-Year Plan. For this, financial support had been sought from the Planning Commission. Housefed had also approved a draft for the model act to be enacted for working of the cooperative societies. This would be sent to the Union Ministry of Urban Development.

Dr Khurana said Chandigarh State Housefed and Punjab State Housefed were doing well.


Students’ rally against crackers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Students of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, took part in a rally to create awareness about the ill-effects of crackers here today.

Flagged off by Mr S.K. Sharma, president of the Environment Society of India, the rally led by the Principal of the school, Mr S.K. Sharma, passed through streets and markets. Students holding placards and banners raised slogans “Say no to crackers’’ as part of the drive to hold such rallies in various schools of the city.

The rally had banners on noise pollution around silence zones which included areas around hospitals, educational institutions and religious places.

The rally made the public aware of the interim directions issued by the Supreme Court to contain noise pollution and campaign against the use of crackers between 10 pm and 6 am.

Stating that the use of crackers would lead to environmental pollution, the students encouraged the public to celebrate Divali by lighting lamps and worshipping the goddess.

Earlier, Mr Jagdish Kumar, Coordinator, Children’s Alliance for Protection of Environment, administered a pledge to the students against use of fire crackers.


Rally against use of crackers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 12
Dev Samaj College of Education , Sector 36 organised a rally against the use of crackers and other explosives during the Divali celebrations. About 200 students along with Principal Satinder Dhillon and the staff participated in the rally.

Dr. C.L. Narang, NSS Coordinator, Panjab University, talked about the ill-effects of noise pollution created by crackers while Mr Pramod Mahajan urged the students to eradicate violence.


From dress designing to restaurant
Tribune News Service

Almost 24 years ago when the concept of working women was not very popular, she decided to start her own business. A post-graduate in Zoology, she decided to design dresses for her garment selling unit. Today she is managing a venture entirely different from this — a restaurant.

Ms Lalita Ghakkar of Nathu Sweets manages this outlet which is one of the three fast food joints run by her family in the city. “I decided to join the family business because apart from helping in expanding the business it would enable me to manage things better and with complete support of the family”, she says.

Before her marriage in 1977, she was doing research in her subject. Within a month of her marriage she decided not to sit at home. “The idea of women managing business was not at all popular but that did not bother me. I knew business could give me immense satisfaction and so I started designing garments for our unit in the Industrial Area”.

“I never underwent any sort of formal training. Interest in the work you do can make you an expert in whatever you venture into”, she opines. And today, when she has stepped into another line of business, people still seek her help in designing garments.

Her family moved into a new business. They started with ‘‘Apna Gaon’’ resort in Manali and today they own three fast food restaurants in the city. She manages a unit which is a franchisee of Nathu Sweets.

Her work includes managing the kitchen to ensure quality food, and other tasks such as managing the employees etc. ‘‘It is a full time job but it is flexible as other members of the family help me in the business and I can pay more attention to my family,” she says.

This, however, is not the end. Expansion will continue. “In the coming days, our customers will see more additions to this outlet”. Her future plans include a hostel for working women.


DC addresses farmers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 12
The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, has called upon the farmers to adopt judicious use of fertilisers and also crop rotation for maintaining soil fertility.

She was presiding over the monthly meeting of the Kissan Club held here today. The meeting is held in order to acquaint the farmers about crops, fertlisers, seeds and weed management, so that farmers may compete in the international market.

Dr. H.P. S. Sayhi highlighted the control measures of different pests, while Dr R.N. Bhalla stressed upon the use of fertilisers on basis of soil testing. Dr O.P. Mehla spoke on the scientific management of milch animals.


Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Mr Rishi Kant has been appointed general secretary of the Chandigarh unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Cell). Mr Kant’s appointment has been hailed by Principal Gurbachan Singh, president of the local unit of the party.


Woman dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Savitri Devi, a resident of Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, died after an unidentified tractor trailer hit the rickshaw in which she was travelling. The incident occurred near Bhapu Dham colony. She was rushed to the Sector 32 General Hospital with head injuries, where doctors declared her brought dead. The police has registered a case.

One held
The police has arrested Kulbir Singh, a resident of Bhaini Bhangran village near Gurdaspur, for allegedly stealing four wrist watches from the Sector 17 showroom of Surinder Singh. Two of the stolen watches have been recovered from his possession. A case has been registered.

Cop hurt
Lakhwinder Singh, a Head Constable posted at the Sector 36 police station, was injured after his scooter was hit by a Tata Sumo. The vehicle sped away, while the injured was admitted to the PGI. The police has registered a case.

Kamal Mehar, a resident of Sector 11, has reported that nine gold bangles, a “mangalsutra”, four watches and Rs 25,000 cash have been stolen from her residence while she had gone out. The police has registered a case.

Vehicle theft
A resident of Sector 33 Usha has reported that her scooter (CH-01-X-8075), along with a mobile phone and Rs 2,000 cash, which were lying in the glove compartment, have been stolen from Sector 34. In another incident Puneet Jaggi, a resident of Sector 34, reported that his scooter (DAH 2781) had been stolen from Sector 35. The police has registered cases in this regard.

Purse snatched
A Sector 33 resident, Arti Sethi, has reported that two motorcycle borne youths snatched her purse containing Rs 3,000 while she, along with her two sisters, was returning on her scooter from the Sector 34 mela last night. She was, however, unable to read the motorcycle’s registration number. The police has registered a case.

SI loses hand set
A Sub Inspector with the local police, Sukhwinder Singh, reportedly lost his hand radio set in Sector 35 while he was in an inebriated state. According to the police, he had failed to report for duty this morning and had been marked as absent. This is the second incident in the city during the past week where a cop has lost his equipment while in an inebriated state. Earlier, a police constable was suspended after he lost his hand gun in Sector 26.


Woman driver booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 12
A woman driver has been booked on charges of rash and negligent driving and injuring a scooterist near the Ghaggar bridge. The injured, Krishan Lal, was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, while the driver fled away from the spot.

Another cyclist, Joseph P.K., was injured when he was hit by a Maruti car ( HR-03B- 0217) near the Chandimandir railway crossing. The car driver, Sukhwinder Singh, has been booked under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

One arrested: Paramjeet Singh, a resident of Rajiv Colony, was arrested by the police on charges of gambling at the Labour chowk on Sunday. A sum of Rs 1,210 was recovered from his possession and a case has been registered.

Burglary: Cloth worth Rs 20,000 was stolen from a shop on the Nalagarh road. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC has been registered.


Spate of business enquiries at CII fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Business enquiries more than Rs 20 crore were received during the four-day CII Chandigarh Fair 2001, which concluded here today . Nearly 1.65 lakh visitors, including businessmen, visited the fair.

The fair involved participation of more than 100 companies representing diverse sectors of the economy, stated a CII press note. Two new pavilions — ICE 2001 and Finmart — alone received enquiries more than Rs 10 crore.

ICE had participants from communication players like BSNL, Connect and Spice and enquiries over Rs 4 crore were received.

Finmart generated maximum enquiries over Rs 6 crore, particularly in terms of loan options on homes and automobiles.

In good health exposition, insurance companies managed generating more than Rs 4 crore of enquiries, while the North India Auto Show elicited enquiries of Rs 4 crore, mega brands drew in Rs 5 crore and the consumer and decor pavilions generated more than Rs 3 crore of enquiries.

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