Monday, November 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

 

 

PGI financially indisciplined institute, points out CAG
Tampering with tender documents common
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
If the report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) of India is anything to go by, then chances are that the PGI will prove to be one of the most financially indisciplined institutions in the country. The report, which deals with the accounts of the institute from 1993 to 1998, has, beyond listing areas of serious audit objections, stated on many occasions that there are clear indications of financial bungling going on at the institute.

The main points of objection as listed by the CAG include the Budget grant under Plan to the tune of Rs 15.10 crore remained unutilised during 1993-98; works on the PGI progressed at a slow pace; medicines/disposables worth Rs 5.17 crore were provided to indoor patients without any account of replacements by patients during 1995-98; for admission to the MD and MS courses, 58 to 92 per cent of the sponsored seats advertised during 1993 to 1998 remained vacant; 19 sets of laundry equipment valued at Rs 44.05 lakh purchased in 1992-93 were found to be substandard but their replacement by the supplier had not been sought; laboratory equipment and other medical equipment worth Rs 4 crore were lying either uninstalled or were non-functional, resulting in blocking of funds; technical sanction to the detailed cost estimates of works, against which Rs 21.63 crore had already been spent up to 1997-98, had not been obtained; due to incorrect preparation of cost estimate (Rs 7.46 crore), the actual cost of five works had exceeded the initial cost estimates by Rs 4.14 crore and items condemned in 1986-94 have yet to be auctioned.

Among other things, the CAG found out that the institute did not maintain accounts in respect of individual advances to suppliers, contractors, outstanding liabilities or general ledger to consolidate the monthly entries of subsidiary books, and priced inventories of fixed assets created.

Also in order to reconcile cash balances in the bank passbook with those appearing in books of account maintained by the institute, a monthly bank reconciliation statement was required to be prepared. It was noticed that bank reconciliation was not being carried out regularly.

Then, cheques of the value of Rs 30.71 lakh issued in favour of suppliers during 1990-93 had become time-barred but not adjusted (by cancellation) in the accounts by the institute. Delays in effecting bank reconciliation is fraught with the risk of fraud/misappropriation of money.

The hospital has not charged the clinical testing fee to the tune of Rs 2.30 crore. The reasons given by the institute in cases of endocrinology were general in nature and not accepted by the auditors as in some cases the fee was charged whereas in other similar cases the fee was not charged.

The PGI also made a single quotation purchase of Rs 34.55 lakh instead of obtaining offers/bids from at least three firms. The Director of the PGI stated that considering the technical superiority of the chosen model of the equipment, the price difference of Rs 3.70 lakh was minor. Again the auditors found the reply non-tenable as the prescribed procedure of obtaining of offers at least from three firms before purchase of material/equipment was not followed.

The auditors also found that supply against 10 year old purchase order had not been received. A check of the records for purchase of material by audit revealed that though the payment of Rs 3.38 lakh against seven purchase orders placed during 1981-88 for supply of spares of machinery had been made, the consignments were still awaited. After a lapse of 10 years, the Director ordered in May, 1998, the Medical Superintendent to investigate the cases thoroughly for fixing responsibility. But no progress has been made in the matter.

The auditors found that tampering with tender documents was common in the institute and in at least one case, the rates offered by a firm were changed to favour the firm to make its offer the lowest, thereby getting the contract.

The PGI also does not prepare any cost estimates for maintenance works. During 1993-98 san expenditure of Rs 16.12 crore had been incurred without such estimates of annual repairs and maintenance works for the buildings of the institute.

Misappropriation of stock was also found by the auditors. The matter was investigated by the CBI and in their report received in November, 1997, the misappropriation of Rs 3.55 lakh had been confirmed. Departmental action, however, had not been taken.
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Lease or free: Red tape puts conversions on hold
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
It seems to be a case of “His Excellency proposes and the clerk ‘badshah’ disposes” if one considers what has been happening to people-friendly measures of the UT Administrator. The bureaucracy makes all efforts to scuttle the plans during the implementation.

Nothing proves it more than the decision of the UT Administration to allow conversion of leasehold property into freehold property. However, the conditions laid down by the bureaucracy for the conversion are so tough that only a few are able to meet these. Figures show that, out of about 36,000 leasehold dwelling units and sites in the UT, only about 1,800 sites of the Estate Office and 1,200 houses of the Chandigarh Housing Board have been converted into freehold, so far.

“This constitutes only about 10 per cent of the sites and dwelling units in the UT,” says Mr R.P. Malhotra, President of the Samadhaan, a local NGO and a pressure group for seeking social justice. “This should have been enough to make the UT Administration take notice of the slow rate of conversion. However, it seems that the bureaucracy has adopted a careless attitude, leaving the Governor alone to face flak from the public.”

According to Mr Ashok Bansal, General Secretary of the Hoteliers Association of Chandigarh, there are about 4,000 leasehold auctioned residential sites, 3,500 leasehold plots allotted under the society category and 3,500 leasehold sites under model scheme. Besides this, there are about 25,000 leasehold residential houses built and allotted by the Chandigarh House Board. Out of these, only a fraction has been converted into freehold, and that too, after a lot of running around by allottees.

Mr Bansal said allottees liked the freehold system as it offered them security. However, the bureaucracy had created many hurdles on route to conversion, the first of which was the linking of conversion with the type of building on the site. In the absence of an NOC, the conversion was stalled. He said the leasehold title should be on land and not on the building and its fixtures, as the Estate Office insisted.

The second hurdle was the “complicated and wrong” method of calculation of conversion charges. Another hurdle was in the case of those properties that had changed hands on the basis of general power of attorney.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, General Secretary of the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, said the process of conversion in the UT could be quickened if the Administration changed the existing conversion policy.

The Administration could adopt a formula that covered its loss of 2.5 per cent ground rent of each leasehold property. A 10-time lump-sum one-time payment of 2.5 per cent ground rent by way of freehold stamp duty difference and conversion fees might be charged on respective property. The interest from the collection of this payment should take care of 2.5 per cent loss and save everyone from paying collection and establishment charges.

Conversion should be delinked from obtaining the NOCs on buildings, completion, sewerage certificate etc. If there were any discrepancies or violations, the owner, after conversion, should continue to be dealt with according to the law as earlier. He or she might be asked to furnish an affidavit and indemnity bond on these violations at the time of conversion.

In such cases where the property had changed hands on the basis of general power of attorney (since all sites sold by the Estate Officer are in the name of original allottees), it should be first converted into freehold in the name of the original allottee and then in the name of the holder of the GPA by way of a sale deed.

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Another sambhar falls prey to trauma
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, November 18
An adult male sambhar that had strayed into Bhabhat village near here was reportedly chased to death by some unidentified residents today morning. However, villagers claim that the animal died due to shock after finding itself in an inhabited area.

According to sources, some poachers chased the animal for a long distance and the scared sambhar strayed into the inhabited area. It later fell into a ditch adjacent to the house of Mr Vimal Kumar and died.

The wounded animal was noticed by village watchman Swaran Singh at around 6 am. Staggering in a street near the village gurdwara, the animal was noticed by some residents, who then raised an alarm following which more residents assembled and followed the animal to have a look at it.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Swaran Singh revealed that the animal had a wound near its nostril which seemed like an old bullet wound. The skin of the animal had also sustained a deep cut on its chest near left foreleg and was being chased by dogs.

The villagers passed the information on to Mr Dharam Singh, sarpanch of the village, and subsequently to the Bhabhat police post under Sohana police station.

Sources in village said the carcass was taken to a nearby field by some residents who allegedly tried to cut the carcass apparently as venison but on seeing the police they dispersed from the scene.

The zoo authorities did not allow the police to look into the matter and directed it to take up the matter with the Ropar forest and wildlife authorities. Later, Mr Amarpreet Singh, ASI at Bhabhat police post, made an arrangement to send the carcass for a post-mortem examination.

Some villagers opined that the animal had escaped from the Chhat Bir Zoo while others felt the animal had arrived from a nearby forest area around the Air Force station.

When contacted, Mr R.K. Luna, Director of Chhat Bir Zoo, denied that the sambhar had escaped from the zoo premises.

Mr Amarpreet Singh, said action would be taken only after receiving the reports of the post-mortem examination in a day or two.
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Contractors encroach upon HUDA land with impunity
In lieu of ‘monthly fee’ to Estate Office staff
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
Unscrupulous building material contractors have set their shops on HUDA land along the sides of a road, even as the Estate Office staff chooses to look the other way.

These contractors have openly displayed their wares, which include bricks, tiles, sand, adhesive sand (bajri) and gravel (roari) along the sides of the road and are running a roaring business by encroaching upon HUDA land. However, most of these contractors maintain that they are only displaying their wares here, and stocking their wares in the plots elsewhere, so as to attract more customers.

Around half a dozen of these unauthorised ‘roadside shops’ have come up on the road leading from Housing Board light point in the township — right from the Labour Chowk onwards. Talking to TNS, most of these contractors alleged that they managed to carry on their business here by ‘paying a monthly share’ to the staff of the Estate Office and Road Inspectors.

Mr S.K. Nayar, president of Citizens’ Welfare Association, while alleging the connivance of Estate Office staff in allowing these encroachments to grow, says, ‘‘ Many a times, the Enforcement Staff, if removing these encroachments, leaves back most of the material of only those contractors who are paying them a ‘monthly share’”.

A senior HUDA official, when contacted, denied that there was collusion of HUDA officials. ‘‘We remove the encroachments time and again and will further take an action against them,’’ he said.

Interestingly, several of these contractors have now also branched out to internal roads dividing the sectors. A number of these shops can now be seen on the dividing road between Sector 9 and 10, Sector 21, dividing road between Sectors 15-16 and in Industrial Area Phase I.

These contractors inform that though business takes a beating on these roads, but this is compensated for “as the Estate office staff or Road Inspectors do not come here for removing our wares or collecting their ‘monthly fee’,” informed a contractor, who has set shop on the dividing road between Sector 15- 16.

It is learnt that these contractors have a direct dealing with the brick-kiln owners and the sand and gravel miners, who leave the goods here. They have further engaged rehri wallas and occasionally engage the services of the transporters union for transporting the goods to the customers from these roads itself. With these vehicles occupying major portions of these busy roads accidents occur frequently.

They also refuse to give a bill for the goods supplied by them. As one of the contractors on the dividing road between Sector 9- 10 informed, “We do not have a sales tax number, so cannot give a bill. Also, the sales tax is chargeable on the first stage at most of the items supplied by these contractors.”
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Move to include 2 villages in MC limits
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 18
The Punjab Government has initiated a move to include Balongi and Ballo Majra Nagar Panchayats within the limits of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council. The two villages on the north-east fringe of the town have a population of over 4,000.

Sources in the government said, acting on a demand of the panchayts of the villages, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had directed the Local Government to do the needful at the earliest. It could not be ascertained what steps had been initiated by the Local Government Department, but residents of the villages sought that a separate notified area committee (NAC) be constituted here on the lines of the Naya Gaon NAC.

The sources said, earlier, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority had objected to a proposal for constituting an NAC at Balongi, comprising village panchayats of Balongi, Balongi Colony, Bad Majra, Bad Majra Colony, Raipur, Jhujjhar Nagar, Daun and Balolpur, spread over about 4,000 acres. A few months ago, the issue had been discussed at a meeting between officials of the Local Government and the housing and urban development authorities. The proposal was grounded after PUDA officials said it providing basic amenities at these places would involve huge costs.

A senior official of PUDA said including an area within the limits of the SAS Nagar civic body, where planned urbanisation had not taken place, could disturb the planning of the region. Earlier the Punjab Town and Country Planning Department had objected to a move by the local civic body to include the area on the north-east fringe of the town in the municipal limits. The department had said this would encourage unauthorised construction in violation of the Periphery Act.

Dr Gurnam Singh Balongi, a resident of Balongi village, said including the villages in the SAS Nagar municipal limits would not serve any purpose as villager would still not be able to raise structures on their land.

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Booth damaged in fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
A booth in Mani Majra was partially gutted in a fire that broke out late this evening. According to information available, the booth was lying closed for the past three years.

The owner of the booth had stocked 25 beddings in the booth, which caught fire. Fire department officials, when contacted, said that the fire could not have been caused by short circuit because the booth did not have power supply. The exact cause of the fire could not be known, they added.

It is learnt that the fire could have spread further but for the timely action by the Fire Department.

Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the firemen took about an hour in trying to extinguish the flames. 
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Economic scenario discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Servants of people today organised an open discussion in association with Janshakti on “Globalisation, Indian industrial sickness and labour’s response” to commemorate the death anniversary of Sher-e-Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai. His contribution to the trade union movement was tremendous. He set up the first united central trade union in 1920, which contributed towards the freedom movement before Independence and working class unity after Independence, providing the base for the Indian industrial growth.

Speaking at the seminar, Mr A.D. Nagpal, All-India Secretary of the HMS, highlighted the exploitative policies of the G-8 countries through institutions of WTO wherein their share in the World Trade had increased significantly while causing sickness of industry in under-developed countries like India. He also lamented the tendency of foreign investors not to start new industries in India but to purchase the existing industries. He decried the dumping of goods at cheap rates in the Indian market. He also flayed the latest WTO proposals of Doha, which would cause unemployment in agriculture, putting 60 crore Indians at a disadvantage.

Prof P.P. Arya, convener of Janshakti, referred to the exploitative tendencies due to unplanned policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, involving contractual labour, larger number of hours of work violating the Factory Act, low wages violating Minimum Wage Act and unjust retrenchment and lay-off, leading to unemployment because of the increasing sickness of industry. He was of the opinion that the split of the AITUC in 1947 by the political parties for their narrow political objectives of gaining power was a historical mistake and should be rectified immediately.

Prof Veer Singh, Director of the National Law Institute, Kurukshetra University, referred to the dismal scenario that the Indian labour was facing and was likely to face more because of the policies of economic imperialism followed by the rich countries. He believed that trade unions should shed their political mentors and be united on non-political lines so as to fight the menace of exit policy, extreme wage differentials and contractualisation of labour.

Mr Bant Singh Brar, general secretary of the AITUC, Punjab, emphasised on reorganising nearly 36-crore work force in the unorganised sector to checking the extreme exploitation prevailing in the Indian society. He also decried the fragmentation of trade union movement in India and wanted that Lala Lajpat Rai’s example of setting single unified trade union be followed.

Prof B.B. Tandon, a former Professor with the University Business School, was of the view that globalisation was an acceptable fact. Only thing required was to be cautious against its evil effects. He wanted the working class to increase its productivity and levels of saving to face the threat of foreign competition.

Mr V.P. Vadhera, general secretary of the HMS, Chandigarh, decried the policy of rich nations to globalise, which was increasing their well-being and causing unemployment, poverty and misery to under-developed countries.

Mr M.S. Gorzi, convener of the CITU, Chandigarh, said in 1970 the number of least-developed countries was 23 and because of the policies of G-8 countries their number had gone up to 49. He also said 70 per cent of the labour force in Chandigarh was not getting minimum wages. He said the policies laid down by the rich capitalist countries could not solve the problems of 22 crore unemployed and 43 crore below poverty line people in India.
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CHANDIGARH CALLING

WHAT havoc a small error by an official sitting in a cozy office can cause was realised by residents of Chandigarh last week. Tension prevailed between members of two communities over allotment of land to a religious place of one community.

It all started when a particular minority community asked the Chandigarh Administration for a piece of land on a payment basis. The Town and Country Planning Department approved a site in Sector 46-B. The only problem was that the religious place of another community was sharing a common boundary wall. There were protests. The entire sector was cordoned off. The police had tough time pacifying youths on both sides. The situation was about to turn communal and could have given the city beautiful a really bad name. Members of the minority community pointed out that they had just asked for land and had even paid up some money for the site and were not to blame. And no one in his better senses would have advised the coming up of a religious place adjacent to the religious place of another community.

Better sense prevailed on elders of both communities. And it was decided that the minority community, which was made the fresh allotment, would be given land at a new site. The tension subsided but it kept the District Magistrate and the SSP on their toes for than 10 hours. How about some action against the person who actually created this problem?

Quieter Divali

Hectic efforts of Non Governmental Organisations and the Chandigarh Administration in creating awareness against busting of crackers had its impact in Chandigarh. Various schools held special rallies denouncing crackers, which burst very loudly, and created awareness about pollution caused by such crackers. Also highlighted was the safety aspect of the crackers.

Going by the results, it had the desired impact. Fewer crackers were sold. The pollution was lesser and the Divali was less noisy but no less enjoyable in any manner. And the best part was that the hospitals reported a drop in cracker related injuries by about 40 per cent. Doctors in the eye department of the PGI which functions on Divali night heaved a sigh of relief. Doctors have been advocating safety and careful use of crackers for long.

Actually, parents have also become very careful the way their kids use crackers. In several homes it was just phuljharis and anars. Kids were also more interested in getting a pair of jeans or a new tee-shirt from their parents rather than crackers.

The only persons to be cribbing about all this were those who set up cracker stalls.

Bleeding Afghanistan

While there is growing impression of the increasing indifference of the younger generation to the happenings in the world, it seems all is still not lost. There is hope of bringing them back to all our culture stood for — camaradrie, trust and bonding.

Despite of the fact that the race fore materialism is slowly gaining ground, there are a few youngsters keeping our faith alive, the faith that teaches us to care, to love and respect one another.

This is evident from the emotions it has stirred in Prinyanka Chaudhery, a 19-year-old student of Jesus and Mary College, Delhi, and a resident of the city, prompting her to pen down a few lines on the US attacks on Afghanistan sent to Sentinel.

Her poem titled “Bleeding Afghanistan” goes like this:

Fireworks in a Moonless sky

the deafening silence follows.

A veiled city torn apart.

A tear drop rolls,
a broken home,
a broken heart.

Why must we fight
our own brother.
Shed his blood and stain our hands?

In the name of God
men kill each other.
For a ruined lonely land.

Why must we be blind
and swallow our tear
when we see the children bleed.

They build their cities
on our graves,
harvest our souls and feed their greed.

For a lost cause we lose our lives.
To quench their thirst
our blood flows like wine.

Dear Brother in this thoughtless war
we all shall lose,
all that’s yours or mine.

So stop and look.
And think again.
The orphaned children cry.

The frail old mother,
The widowed young bride.
Is this why we must die?

Damp squib

Even as the frenzy whipped up by cultural events in the city during the festive season begins to die down, it has come as a cause of great concern for those at the helm of affairs in educational institutions.

Most of these events turned out to be a damp squib as far as participation of the student community was concerned and failed to muster the enthusiasm it usually invited.

In this grim scenario, it has forced the heads of educational institutions to put their thinking caps on and do a rethink on the activities agenda which has continued year after year without any change.

Students, today, admit that debates, declamations are passe and quiz contests and IT-oriented contests are in. This being hotly debated among the powers that be, next year’s festival seasons for the students promises more innovation and experimentation, if officials are to be believed.

Monkey menace

That trees are being felled indiscriminately in the higher reaches is evident from the fact that the monkeys are now heading towards the city. Going by this, one is forced to believe what Maneka Gandhi says: "Out of four crore monkeys counted last year, only three lakh remain."

Only the other day, students of Government College for Girls in Sector 11 were taken aback by a fleet of monkeys which created virtual havoc in the area around the physiology department of the college. They teased girls, threatened to take away their packets and danced around as if they were the real owners of the college.

As for the girls, they were heard shrieking at the top of their voices. Little used to seeing the creatures so close, they were seen running away and hiding in whichever classroom they came across. Meanwhile, you can well imagine what became of the lecture going on in that particular class.

The monkeys, who numbered at least 10, vanished after having a good time for about an hour. They had perhaps planned to visit Government College for Men in the same sector!

Reshma's charms

You cannot help being smitten by Reshma's humility. On the day the Haryana Cultural Welfare Department organised her concert in Tagore Theatre (November 16) she literally won over the crowd not just with the range of her voice but also with the range of her wit.

She first cited some of the English phrases which she says she has been cramming all these years. "I repeat them on the stage before every performance so that the people I am singing to do not have an idea that I am so illiterate." As she began the concert, she kept enlivening it up with several anecdotes like the one in which she mentioned how answering in a "yes" to every English person proved heavy for her.

Earlier also, when she had gone to visit the Rock Garden, she was flanked by people who took some time to realise that she was Reshma. The unassuming folk singer climbed up a horse created by Nek Chand and started singing at the top of her voice, much to the surprise of the visitors around. The visitors went crazy asking the press people who this lady was. Finally when the secret was revealed an intensive photo session with Reshma began, and Reshma did not refuse even one man!

When confusion ruled

PFA's much-hyped fund raising programme with star Sanjay Dutt failed to impress many. The evening began with confusion and ended with it. While the people who had bought PFA's donor passes worth Rs 1,000 each kept waiting for the promised rendezvous with the star, the star vanished from the scene in less than 20 minutes.

Not just that even the auction of clocks which was conducted by the PFA received very weak response. A designer clock signed by Sanjay Dutt did not seem to interest many people as the bid began at Rs 5,000 and ended at Rs 10,000. The third call never came. In fact when no one came forward to purchase the Nuances clock, Sanjay Dutt's friend Rajiv Bali had to do the needful (to save the grace of his friend). It was sad to see that the city had enough spirit but little heart!

Press releases galore

There is a barrage of political press releases in the newspaper office these days with the political parties and residents welfare associations seemingly positioning themselves for the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh polls.

While the Congress and other non-BJP, non-Akali parties are claiming on the people’s behalf that the City Beautiful has been starved of development by the Akali-BJP alliance due to their internecine factional fights, the BJP claims unprecedented development in the city.

The Residents Welfare Associations are being roped in by political parties to do their bidding.

Mudslinging

The city which is going to see only the second elections to the Municipal Corporation after its formation in 1996, has seen a new phenomenon added to it with most of North India’s newspapers making the city its base.

The phenomenon has provided more space for politicians to fill up the newspapers space prodding the political class to make efforts to get into the newspapers.

Reporters are hard put to confirm each press release coming from political parties which are fragmented in groups.

Reporters have to be more cautious now to check the veracity of press releases generally sent by one faction of a party or rival parties which apparently affect their rivals.

There have recently been two incidents when a section of the BJP and the Congress complained to the police that signatures of their activists were allegedly forged.

‘Rukna teri shaan’

The UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) has his own way of dealing with the bureaucracy. He makes it clear how he wants things done. At times he coaxes them and cajoles them and in lighter moments may even behave like a commoner with the officers.

In the past, just to cite an example, he has coaxed the bureaucrats on the issue of rightfully handing over the Defence Services Officers Institute (DSOI) to the fauj-based setup. Last week, he took a veiled dig at the officialdom at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Chandigarh Administration and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

He used an old fauji war cry, ‘‘chal chal re naujawan rukna tera kaam nahin chalna teri shaan,’’ to illustrate his point. Speaking to officials he said he hoped the war cry would not become ‘‘chal chal re naujawan chalna tera kaam nahin rukna teri shaan’’. “I want to see an electric trolley bus running on city roads within my lifetime”, he thundered.

Party has it all

Rallies or sammelans of political parties in the city are a routine affair. Hardly any day passes when we do not see political rallies addressed by national or state-level leaders. These rallies become monotonous or lacklustre unless interspersed by comic anecdotes.

The BJP sammelan held in Sector 33-A at the BJP office was dressed among others by Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, and Mr O.P. Kohli, National Secretary of the party, among other orators. All leaders spoke in volume about the leadership qualities of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and preached all workers to sink their differences.

However, when the turn of Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP from the city, came he created humour by saying that those who accuse the local unit of the BJP of factionalism were sadly mistaken. The party has “Yash” (the name of the new coordinator of the outfit after the abolition of the team of officebearers of the party.) It has Gian, (the name of the former President of the party was Gian Chand Gupta). It enjoys the virtue of Satya (Mr Jain’s own name). It has “Prem”, the name of a former officebearer of the party. It has Dharma (religion), the name of a former President of the party, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta.

He said any political party which had all these virtues could not be said to be ridden with factionalism. And the meeting ended on a happy note.

— Sentinel
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CVM announces 16 candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch here today announced a list of 16 candidates and four more are likely to be announced tomorrow.

The candidates are Mr Sandeep Singh (Ward 1), Mrs Neeru Manchanda (Ward 2), Mr Shyam Sunder Arora (Ward 3), Mr Lal Bahadur Gupta (Ward 4), Ms Sumitra Geeta Ram (Ward 5), Mr Gurmeet Sehgal (Ward 9), Dr O.P. Varma (Ward 11), Mr Neeraj Bajaj (Ward 12), Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla (Ward 13), Mr Shyam Lal (Ward 1s4), Ms Leelawati Chauhan (Ward 15), Ms Satinder Dhawan (Ward 16), Mr Jatinder Bhatia (Ward 17), Mr Ram Lal (Ward 18), Mr Shugan Chand (Ward 19) and Mr Lachman Das (Ward 20).

The candidates for Ward 6, 7, 8 and 10 will be announced tomorrow.

Mr Davinder Singh Babla, party general secretary, who had reportedly been sulking, was appointed chairman of the campaign committee in his presence in a press conference today.

Mr Babla dismissed reports saying it was the handiwork of the Congress which this time would not get even one seat.

Akali factionalism fails to die down: The factionalism in the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fails to die down as the run-up to the December 8 Municipal Corporation elections begins.

A faction led by the Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, had unilaterally announced two candidates Ms Harjinder Kaur herself and party general secretary, Mr H. S. Sahni, another party general secretary, Mr N. S. Minhas, said here today.

A senior party leader, Mr G. S. Palia, said that these candidates had been asked to campaign in their constituencies.

The party president, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, said that they were party rebels who had been propped up by the Congress and should contest election on their symbol.

Two more Panthak Morcha candidates: The Panthak Morcha announced Ms Gurpreet Kaur from ward Number 13 and Ms Kulwant Kaur from ward number 11, bringing its total of candidates to five. The party said it would announce five more candidates tomorrow.

NCP, Samata, Janata Party and JD-U to have alliance: The Nationalist Congress Party, Samata Party, Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) have in principle agreed to have seat adjustment and will contest the election under the banner of Chandigarh Democratic Alliance (CDA).

The alliance was likely to be formalised tomorrow when the NCP and the JD-U found winnable candidates on couple of seats, the JD-U president, Mr Surinder Bharadwaj, said here today.

They would announce a common minimum programme (CMP).

The JD-U, however, announced Ms Babita Devi from ward number 5, Ms Saroj Devi from ward number 7, Mr Amrik Singh from ward number 8, Mr Pawan Kumar Mittal from ward number 11, Mr Vinod Kumar from ward number 19 and Mr Shamim Ahmed from ward number 20 as party candidates.

The NCP has already announced 10 candidates.

Ticket seekers of Congress and BJP kept waiting: Ticket seekers of the BJP and the Congress have been mobbing party offices and top party leaders finalising panels of candidates or final lists.

While the Congress election committee meeting held with the party National Secretary, Mr Bhubaneshwar Kalitha, as observer continued till late last night, the top local BJP leadership was huddled in meetings with BJP national Secretary, Mr O. P. Kohli, but lists were not finalised.

Mr Kohli then left for Delhi to discuss a panel of two-member each from all 20 wards with the high command to announce it tomorrow.

Mr Kohli was believed to have consulted the local RSS leadership to seek their opinion who had reportedly briefed him.

Mr Kohli today wanted to meet those persons, who would like to brief him about prospects of probables.

An unconfirmed report said that the high command had been asked to drop those councillors who had rebelled against party decisions in the past.

A section of the BJP, however, even rejected the idea of panels.

The BJP ad hoc committee convener, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, left for Delhi and a former party President, Mr Dharampal Gupta, was already in the national capital.

The Congress members, who reportedly seemed to have finalised more than 10 candidates, remained closeted in Hotel President finalising the list but later failed to do so. The Local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, said that the list would be out by tomorrow to give candidates time for seeking astrologers’ advice.

The finalisation of ticket, however, seemed heading for the last day of nomination on November 20 as both parties were waiting for candidates of each other to have a strategic edge.

But the delay game could drag the finalisation to November 24, the last date of withdrawal, with all hopefuls of political parties filing their nominations as Independents to be later sponsored by parties.

The parties might also give authorisations to two candidates from one ward to buy more time to be decided later.
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‘Apprehensions on POTO unfounded’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The BJP today became proactive a day before the winter session of Parliament, kicking off a campaign amongst the people in support of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), which the Opposition has vowed to vote down.

“Since 1995 when TADA lapsed, the Congress and the United Front governments, parliamentary consultative committees, Chief Ministers and Law Commission had been considering to bring a piece of legislation to replace TADA and sudden opposition now is aimed at vote-bank politics,’’ the Union Minister of State for Food Processing, Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, told a party gathering here.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the National Unity Day against terrorism observed by the BJP across the country, he said the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader, Mr Somnath Chaterjee, had supported a more stringent legislation on the pattern of Israel to replace TADA in the Parliamentary Consultative Committee earlier.

Mr Gupta said that the apprehensions of POTO’s misuse were unfounded as those who were detained by the Congress regime under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), like Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr L.K. Advani, would not allow violation of human rights.

Terrorism cannot be contained by law alone and it can only be checked when the people themselves are woken up and are vigilant against such elements as Village Defence Committee fighters in Doda have done.

Mr Gupta said the provisions of POTO are less harsh compared to TADA, brought out by the Congress government.

The party national secretary and Chandigarh affairs in charge, Mr O.P. Kohli, said the allegation that such pieces of legislations are harsh on minorities are unfounded as only 6 per cent of those arrested under TADA were Muslims.

He said how could a piece of ordinance be harsh when it had been put to Human Rights Commission’s scrutiny, adding that the Opposition was doing vote-bank politics compromising national security.

Mr Kohli said that the Congress-ruled states like Maharashtra and Karnataka have laws against organised crimes which are harsher than POTO.

He said those who are opposing the ordinance need to be exposed and an “international environment” was being created against terrorism resulting in the USA, France and Britain enacting special laws against terrorism without even a whimper of protest from the Opposition.

Former Lok Sabha Member Satyapal Jain said that the fear for the Press could not be more than lawyers who do not disclose their clients’ location.

He said India had been attacked by foreign “terrorists” for years and the Congress should remember that their leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were amongst those politicians targeted by terrorists.

The local party general secretary, Mr Neeraj Tayal, said that the focus of POTO was to prevent terrorist activities.

Former Mayor and former party president Gian Chand Gupta congratulated Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani for declaring a war against terrorism.
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NDA govt favours consensus on POTO
Tribune News Service

Ambala, November 18
Union Minister Ved Prakash Goel today said that the BJP-led NDA government was keen for consensus over the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

Talking to mediapersons at a function organised to mark “Ahinsa divas” here, Mr Goel said we don’t want confrontation over national issues. “Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has already spoken to Sonia Gandhi in this regard”, he said.

Mr Goel said that in 1995 TADA had lapsed. “So, POTO is needed. After the extraordinary attack on the twin towers our issue of terrorism has now become global”, he said.

He stated that work is in progress at the Kandla port where modern berths, including container berth, is being constructed. He observed that there was overwhelming response to the Resurgent India Bond. “We are not facing foreign exchange problem”, he said.

Among others, Ambala MP, Mr Ratan Lal Kataria, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mahinder Kumar, Mr Darshan Lal Jain and Dr Bajrang Lal Gupta were present on the occasion.

Earlier, students of the Jain School, took out an ‘Ahinsa rally’ through Ambala Sadar. The rallyists stressed upon non-violence.

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INTERACTIVE
The most ‘vocal councillor’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Ms Ranjana Shahi, representing Ward 17 comprising Sectors 31 and 47 and Colony 31, took a plunge into politics leaving her top corporate management post and is considered to be the most vocal councillor. She is said to be the running candidate of the BJP from seven seats in the coming MC poll.

She says principles and commitment are her driving forces in politics. Chandigarh Tribune has interviewed her as part of ‘’Question Your Councillor’’ series at a time when the elections are round the corner. The interview is produced here:

Q: What are your achievements during the last five-year term?

A: The Sector 31 labour colony was the first in the city during past 20 years to have been rehabilitated; 100 per cent roads were recarpeted, streets in economically weaker section houses were cemented; all parks were developed from the scratch as there was not even basic development of them and the first waterfall of the city was developed in the ward.

I can claim responsibility for getting the highest number of development projects done in one of the most backward areas before I took over. The biggest community centre-cum-banquet hall was developed; a dispensary was built in Sector 47 on a dumping ground and the Jagatpura road was built.

Q: What do you think you could not do for the electorate and Why?

A: Despite repeated pleadings with the Administration, I could not upkeep the abandoned land earmarked for future development in Sector 31 and an automatic and regular system of upkeep of its facilities and sanitation, which should have been a collective effort of the councillors.

Q: How did you use the corporation forum to redress the grievances of the people?

A: After understanding the problem, identifying whether it relates to the executive or legislature or the Administration. If it related to the executive, I would contact the official concerned in both the Administration and the MC and if it was a matter of policy I would get it passed in the House.

Q: What did you promise to the voters during your election campaign?

A: The ward would not lag behind in development compared to other wards; a community centre will be built and the people will not be able to accuse me of corruption.

Q: How responsive has been your party towards the people’s grievances?

A: As a party councillor I had been suggesting to my colleagues how to get the problems of the people redressed. The party had picked up able individual candidates to be able to handle problems of the people.

Q: How supportive has been the bureaucracy?

A: Very much.

Q: Will you like to re-contest the election in view of your performance?

A: Yes, the party willing. I would, however, like to work for the whole city.

Q: What will you suggest to your successor if you do not contest this time? What must he do to overcome bureaucratic and party hurdles?

A: Understand the problem deeply before taking it up and once public cause is taken up, take it to a conclusive stage.

Q: Why should the voter vote for you?

A: They could vote for me as a performer and major contributor to the policy making for the development of the city.

Q: What have you gained personally being a councillor?

A: Deep insight into people’s problems and the civil administration at this young age.

Promises  Performance
Roads  Recarpeted 100 per cent, but what about upkeep.
Parks 

A job well done, but constant vigil on maintenance was required.

Community Centre

Promise kept

Corruption

Allegations with substance not made.

Ward will not lag behind Development works undertaken but lot needs to be done to bring it at a par with the most developed wards.


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REMINISCENCES
To young professionals in a hurry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh
All his life, advocate Anil Malhotra has handled sensitive cases with success. His Sector 16 office is decorated with photographs showing Mr Malhotra being felicitated by different dignitaries.

Ask him about the secret of his success and he asserts: “I have never argued a case without going through the relevant documents. I first check and cross-check the facts and then support the arguments with related cases already decided by the courts.

This practice looking for case laws and cross-checking facts, he asserts, was practised, and is still being practised, by all veteran advocates. “When we were novices, we used to discuss important cases with senior advocates. We used to take pride in consulting the seniors because of our respect for them.”

Now things have changed, Mr Malhotra believes. “The deference for seniors has, to a large extent, been diluted. Consulting senior advocates is not considered necessary. As a result, petitions are sometimes not supported by relevant case laws”.

Clarifying that most of the new entrants are indeed sincere to the profession, he nevertheless adds: “They should be doing a little more spade work. Instead of drafting petitions in a hurry, they should first acquaint themselves with the facts and then dig up the case laws even if they have to spend hours in the process. In any case, they should support their arguments with the best possible material”.

He concludes: “They youngsters should not direct their efforts to earning money, but to earning a name. They should ensure proper presentation of facts before the judge by making sure that the petition is not drafted in a superficial manner. Senior advocates can also be consulted. Another thing they should remember is that success and glamour follow hard work and dedication. There will be time enough for celebrations once they are able to carve a niche for themselves”.
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BP insures 33,000 truck drivers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Bharat Petroleum insured 33,000 truck drivers in the northern region as part of its Divali promotion campaign.

A free personal accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh for a period of six months along with free chocolates for the family has been provided to the truck drivers. "The response received from truck drivers across the country has been tremendous. The programme gave us the opportunity to interact and build a level of trust with one of the most important but neglected consumer segment," said Mr K.R. Venkataraman, General Manager, Sales and Marketing

As many as 95 popular trucking centres in 14 states throughout the country were covered during this programme. A team of 1,000 external associates and BP employees helped facilitate the campaign. 
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Corps of Engineers’ anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Corps of Engineers celebrated its 221st anniversary at Chandi Mandir Military Station with zest and gaiety today.

The Chief Engineer, Western Command and Colonel Commandant, Border Roads Organisation, Major-Gen Madhav Arren laid a wreath at the Veer Smriti war memorial to pay homage to martyrs.

In the evening, a large number of serving and retired officers attended a social get-together where they exchanged views and shared old memories. The GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh was the chief guest.

It was on this day, over two centuries ago that three groups — Madras Engineers, Bengal Engineers and Bombay Engineers were amalgamated to form the Corps of Engineers. The corps has three main branches, Combat Engineers, Military Engineer Services and the Border Roads Organisation, besides two other establishments, the Survey of India and Research and the Development Establishment (Engineers).

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Open bins irk Sec 24 residents
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 18
Residents of Sector 24-D are forced to live under an ‘‘ever persisting’’ foul odour coming from the open garbage bins put up by the Municipal Corporation in the area.

These small garbage bins often remain over filled and the corporation workers never bother to remove the garbage spilled on ground while emptying the bins in the dumper, complains the residents of the house numbers 3278 to 3287 and 3245 to 3252. The residents complain that the foul smell coming out of the garbage bins has made their life miserable.

According to Mr Ashwani Munjal, a resident, the garbage often spreads in the adjoining area on windy days. The residents complain that the because of the littered garbage, the newly laid road in the area, has also become unfit for use.

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READERS WRITE

THIS is apropos of a news about a seminar held at the ICCSR, Panjab University, Chandigarh, about the Copyright Act where the keynote address was given by Mr Hari Jaisingh.

I would like to add that unless books are made available to masses cheaper the Copyright act will prove to be an exercise in futility. I am dismayed to read the whole proceeding as brought out by Chandigarh Tribune that none of the participants has pointed out the increasing cost of the books. The high prices of the books compel the anxious readers to go in for photocopy of the costly books. An average book lover cannot purchase the books which are released at big functions. The cheaper books are those which are written by less familiar writers and these books have hardly any market value as well as readership. Till yesterday, the Nobel prize winner Naipal was less known but now that he has been given (or will be given some time now), he has become a hero and whatever stuff he will write will be available at a high price. As a matter of fact, in the field of academics he now can mint money by writing anything. And that will be a hot stuff and saleable. Maybe, some people purchase it to display in their reading or drawing room. The important matter is that the printers/publishers should print the books and make these available to the masses on cheap rates so that these are purchased by one and all. Once books are made available at cheaper rates the copyright act will remain safe and there will be no duplicacy or conspiracy or act of violation.

Ujagar Singh, B-46/I, Sector 49-B, Chandigarh
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National Solidarity Day
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party today observed National Solidarity Day at Labour Chowk. Senior state leaders of the party also participated in this programme.

The main objective of the programme was creating public opinion and awareness against terrorism. All those present supported the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) mooted by the BJP, and criticised the Congress for its "negative stand" on the issue.

The leaders appealed to the general public to put up a united fight against terrorism in the larger interests of the coming generations and the country.
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SHSAD leader joins Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Mr Nirmal Singh Beli, vice-president of the Nayagaon circle of the SHSAD, has quit the party and joined the Congress along with his followers.

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Theft in Dadu Majra house, cash stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A Dadu Majra resident, Mr Kurunesh Kumar, has reported that his house was broken into while he was away and a gold ring, a mangal sutra, Rs 8,000 and coins amounting to Rs 1,200 were stolen. The police has registered a case.

Suicide bid: A resident of Sector 24, Suman, reportedly tried to immolate herself at her residence today. She was rushed to the PGI with 100 per cent burns. According to police sources, she has stated before a magistrate that her husband, Lakshman, a factory worker, was having illicit relations with another woman. As a result the relations between them were strained and she used to be ill-treated and beaten up by her husband.

The police has arrested her husband. A case has been registered.

ASI hurt: An ASI with the local police, Karam Chand, was injured after he was hit by a motor cycle driven by a resident of Sector 22, Vishal Sharma, near the Sector 19 gurdwara. The accused was arrested and later bailed out.

One booked: The police has booked a Sector 15 resident, Sita Ram, after 200 pouches of liquor were found in a vehicle abandoned by him near his house. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Scooter hit: Sector 28 resident Subash Chand Gupta was injured when his scooter was hit by a Haryana Roadways bus near the Mani Majra light point. He was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The police has registered a case.

Cycle stolen: Sector 20 resident Om Parkash has reported that his black Hero Ranger cycle has been stolen from the Sector 17 Parade Ground. The police has registered a case.

In another incident, Sector 28 resident R. Varinder Singh has reported that his bag containing two gold sets, a gold chain, a necklace set, his identity card, driving licence and Rs 1,200 has been stolen from the Grain Market, Sector 26.

Two booked: 
SAS Nagar
The anti-goonda staff of the police has booked two Nigerian nationals, Jessica William and Henry William, under the NDPS Act. The two were living in a house in Phase 3B2. However, the amount of the narcotics (reported to be smack) recovered from them is not being disclosed by the police. An FIR has been registered, said a police official.
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1 held for stealing cars; 4 vehicles recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
The CIA staff of the Panchkula police has arrested Vicky of Mauli Jagran and recovered four cars reportedly stolen by him from the town.

It is learnt that the accused had been nabbed by the Balongi police almost a fortnight ago and a number of cars were recovered from him. His interrogation by the Balongi police had revealed that he was also involved in a number of cases of vehicle lifting in Chandigarh and Panchkula.

Subsequently, he was handed over to the Chandigarh police, who recovered their case property from him. Two days ago, the Panchkula police had taken his remand and four cars were recovered from him.

It is learnt that the accused, after stealing a car, would change the number plates and then run these as taxis in SAS Nagar, Kharar and other neighbouring areas. He has now been sent to judicial remand till December 1 by a local court.

Another accused in a theft case in Pinjore Police Station, Babu Lal, was also arrested by the police. 
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SBP organises customers meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
More than 100 persons participated in a customers meet organised by the State Bank of Patiala here today. The meet was organised by the personalised banking branch of the bank to celebrate customer interaction fortnight.

‘‘Banking with maximum facilities to the customer has to be offered in order to meet the challenges posed by increasing competition in this industry’’, said Mr A K Purwar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He said the bank was taking initiatives and would continue in its endeavors to offer better services to its customers. 
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