Thursday, January 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



City briefly comes to virtual standstill
CTU buses keep off the road; collection of bills hampered; power to industry cut
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Those travelling on CTU buses in the city, Kharar, Ropar, Panchkula and SAS Nagar were stranded today and few of them could reach work in time due to the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. pen-down-tool down strike by the central organisations of UT and MC employees and workers.

The strike was ‘’successfully’’ observed, despite the UT Administration invoking the no-work, no-pay rule. Reports were received of payment of electricity bills not being received at several places and water supply bills at two places at least.

The CTU is estimated to have faced the highest loss as its bus services in the city were completely paralysed during the strike hours.

Employee organisations took a procession to the Shivalik Ground and CTU employees also took the buses there.

The employees said the next course of action to force the Chandigarh Administration to accede to their demands would be decided on January 16. The strike was jointly called by the Federation of UT Employees and Workers, Chandigarh, the UT Subordinate Services Federation and the Chandigarh Subordinate Services Federation (INTUC).

A federation release claimed that 20,000 employees of the Administration and the corporation joined today’s strike. It said many parts of the city, including certain industries, remained without power.

The federation said the strike was in protest against the “backing out” of the Administration on the demands earlier agreed to.

It blamed the Administration for forcing a strike on the people by getting employees to withdraw their October 31 strike on an assurance that their certain demands would be met.

The leaders including Mr Bhagmal Rana, Mr Rampal Sharma, Rakesh Kumar Chandolia and Mr Harjinder Singh, threatened that a full day strike would be announced soon if the government failed to decide on the demands of the employees.

The employees are demanding bonus on the central pattern, stop to privatisation of government sectors, withdrawal of private AC and mini buses in the city, adjusting employees of Government Press and treating employees transferred from the Administration to the MC as on deputation.

The other demands include regularisation of daily paid staff, HRA, CCA and other allowances and more promotional avenues.


Adamant traders to widen stir
Tribune News Service

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today served a week’s ultimatum on the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation to withdraw paid parking, failing which it will give a call for a Chandigarh bandh on January 16.

This was announced here today by the CBM president Jagdish Arora and its vice-president Kamaljit Panchi after an emergency meeting tonight.

Chandigarh, January 9
The Sector 17 market today remained closed between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in protest against the paid parking system. The Sector 17 traders Association and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal joined hands to ensure a “successful” bandh and held an “impressive” rally during the two-hour shutdown.

The Punjab State Ministerial Services Union led by Mr Kulbhushan Kanwar and Mr K.K. Jindal, addressing the agitators, announced that the stir will be spread throughout the city till the decision on paid parking was annulled. They along with traders, announced that protest rallies would continue to be organised at Dr Sahib Singh chowk. Sector-wise welfare associations and students would be approached to join the movement.

The Congress has decided to call a meeting of its councillors, local MP Pawan Bansal and other leaders on either January 12 or 13 to determine what exactly is the Punjab and Haryana High Court order on the parking issue and then arrive at a conclusion.

The Congress is considering an appeal against the court order. The meeting was attended by Mayor Lalit Joshi, Senior Deputy Mayor Surinder Singh and party general secretaries and councillors Subhash Chawala, Chander Mukhi Sharma, Kamlesh, Kuldeep Singh and Pradeep Chhabra.

As the number of at the rally today swelled, the anti protesters-riot police was called by the UT authorites which pushed the agitators to a corner and then granted them permission to hold meeting.

The protesters earlier tried to stop parking employees from issuing receipts and blocked traffic for a few minutes. They also went to the parking contractor’s office in Sector 17 and raised slogans against the Adviser Ms Neeru Nanda.

Autorickshaw and rickshaw owners also joined the strike saying they were not being allowed entry into the market sans the parking fee.


Shelterless reject temporary roof
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In a country where millions of people are shelterless, about 300 families did not shift in a temporary shelter provided to them by the Chandigarh Administration here today on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The illegal jhuggies of these families were demolished and they were asked to shift to the temporary shelter in Maloya village.

The Chandigarh Administration provided the shelter on a war footing last evening in the village located on the southwestern tip of the UT. And today a team of the Estate Office waited the entire day for the jhuggi-dwellers but no one turned up till 5:30 p.m. Jhuggis of these 300 families near Sukhna Lake were demolished by the Chandigarh Administration in an anti-encroachment drive on December 22. A public interest litigation was filed and the court had ruled that keeping in mind the cold climatic conditions the Administration must provide a temporary shelter to the displaced families. However, no date was specified about setting up the shelter.

An army of men and machines were deployed at Maloya. Since yesterday morning a 3-acre plot of land owned by the Administration was readied for the jhuggi-dwellers. Bulldozers, labourers and earth moving machinery were moved to Maloya. This morning three tents were erected each measuring 30 feet by 90 feet. Two smaller tents were also pitched. Officials of the Administration while agreeing that these tents were insufficient said contingency arrangements had been made and tents could be pitched at a very short notice depending upon the arrival of the jhuggis-dwellers.


PU answersheets to get new look
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Panjab University has decided to change the format of the answer-sheet of the annual examination to tackle fraudulent marking on the flaps.

The university plans to introduce the new format of answersheets from the forthcoming annual examinations.

Under the existing provisions, the flaps on top of the answersheets are removed when the copies are sent for re-evaluation. It was found that in certain instances a different flap was pasted on the copy where favour was to be done.

The answer-sheets now will be permanently fixed with a single flap which will contain different markings by evaluators, even if the case is referred to a third examiner.

The top page will have three different portions. The first fold will have the marking of the original evaluator. The first portion of the top page will be folded and sealed in case the student applies for re-evaluation. Incase of a need for the third evaluator, two portions of the fold can be sealed.

Confirming the university move, Mr Ashok Raj Bhandari, Joint Controller of Examination, said instead of three pins to staple the copy the new answersheets would have six pins — three of which will invisible on the top. The pages will be also be bound with a plastic adhesive.

The issue of changing the answersheet format turned up during deliberations in reference to a case where a teacher was punished by the university for increasing “massively” the marks after re-evaluation. The marks were increased from zero to 45. The teacher pleaded not guilty, but the Senate decided against him.

The teacher had contended that he had not marked on the flap pasted on the top. The new answersheets will have markings on the top flap as well the answersheets to fix greater responsibility, informed sources said.

The committee on the case held two more meetings after the final decision to punish him. These meetings were organised to work out details of the new answersheets.

Mr Bhandari said “there were chances of the copies having been stolen from stores to make change in the flaps to help certain candidates. The pins were removed to paste the flaps elsewhere. Now, it would be very difficult to remove six pins in addition to which copies will also have adhesives.”

Under the new system, the cover can only be torn and not removed.

In the case pertaining to increasing marks of a candidate after re-evaluation, the teacher said the flap pasted on the copy was not his. Justice D.V. Seghal was the chairman of the committee. Besides holding the teacher guilty, the committee met twice again. Mr Bhandari was the committee convener to work out alterations in the answersheet.


Corruption putting off investors: Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
All pervasive corruption and red tape and lack of transparency in the functioning of the bureaucracy is putting off potential foreign investors in India.

This observation was made by the Canadian Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, Mr Herb Dhaliwal, during the course of an interaction with officials of Punjab Markfed here today as also while addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry here yesterday. Ïndia was impossible to work in, was the general refrain among the potential investors, said Mr Dhaliwal. It was important for the government and the private sector to remove this impression if they wanted to attract more foreign investment.

He advised Punjab Markfed to develop a close relationship with Canadian companies so that successful collaboration could be established for agro-processing projects in Punjab. He stated that he was looking forward to bringing Canadian companies for closer interaction with Markfed. But at the end of the day, it would be the choice of the company if they would like to clinch business in India. Most multi-national companies sought areas of least resistance and invest money where a fair return was possible. He advised that they should remove systemic barriers to large- scale investments and create a legal system which provided a fair playing field.

Whenever a multi-national planned to enter new market and establishes new contacts, the negatives in the scenario got blown out of proportion. He advised that suitable measures be taken to bring more and more investment into Punjab. The way to do this would be through Markfed visits to Canada since all important Canadian companies had visited Markfed in the past one year. He stated that China always had a delegation visiting Canada, but regretted Indian delegations were conspicuous by their absence. Mr Dhaliwal stated that he had advised Canadian Federal Trade Minister to visit India in February-March and the Canadian Foreign Minister would visit Amritsar. He advised Markfed to meet the federal ministers and to take them on a tour to Markfed’s facilities.

Mr Peter Sutherland, the Canadian High Commissioner to India indicated that Markfed had chosen three best areas of agro-processing for Canadian collaboration, namely potatoes, wheat processing and bulk handling and storage infrastructure through silos. In all these areas, Canada was the world leader. He promised to identify potential partners so that a Markfed delegation could visit Canada to clinch the business.

Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director, Markfed, gave a presentation to the foreign delegation about Markfed’s strength and focused on the areas where Markfed could absorb investment. He stated that the annual production of potatoes was 8 lakh tonnes but only 10,000 tonnes were being processed by one plant of Pepsi and it was possible to manufacture french fries, potato flakes and potato granules to achieve more remunerative prices for farmers. For the project, he indicated an investment of Rs 60 crore with an equity of about Rs 10 crore with a project capacity of 50,000 tonnes.

Regarding wheat processing, the Managing Director, Markfed, focused on the manufacturing of wheat gluten, pasta, macaroni, noodles, vermicelli, biscuits, bakery products and starch. He indicated creating a project capacity of 50,000 tonnes for wheat processing at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore with an equity of Rs 13 crore.

Regarding wheat silos storage project, Mr Bains indicated that Markfed would seek coordination of Canadian Agri-Business Stretegists Inc, led by former Federal Minister, Mr Williams McKnight, to participate in setting up of silos for 9 lakh tonnes in Barnala, Moga, Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore. The total cost of the project was 5,000 million Canadian dollars and Markfed hoped to submit the tender before February 18.

Mr S.S. Brar, Secretary, Cooperation, welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Cooperation Minister, who could not make it due to poor weather. He assured the delegation that Punjab had a solid cooperative structure for promoting agro processing and milk cooperatives. He sought investments from Canada in a time-bound manner.

Mr Suresh Kumar, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, briefed the delegation about the cooperative structure in Punjab. The managing directors of Milkfed and Punjab State Cooperative Bank also spoke on the occasion. Mr Dhaliwal observed that food processing, environment, power, light engineering goods, auto components and information technology were the major areas where there was tremendous scope to develop fruitful linkages between companies in the northern region and their Canadian counterparts.

Addressing a CII session on ‘Canada and India: A growing partnership’, Mr Dhaliwal said the Canadian government saw India as a priority area, promising all help from his government to take this relationship forward. He said more ministers from Canada would visit India in the coming months. Mr Dhaliwal said the fact that Canada was the only foreign government to set up office in Chandigarh indicated the depth of the ties between Canada and the region. The office had now enhanced its services to conduct visa interviews here, and Canada was eager to establish a full consulate in Chandigarh. Canada had a 75,000 to 80,000 strong community of Indian origin, the majority from North India.

Mr Dhaliwal said Canada had a three-way arrangement for a project to take up development in 10 villages of Punjab to improve health, sanitation and sewerage there. The partners would be the Canadian government, NRIs based in Canada and the Punjab Government. The project would serve as a prototype for more such initiatives.

Mr Peter Sutherland, High Commissioner for Canada in India, said opportunities for partnership between the two countries existed on three fronts — political, economic and people-to-people. Canadian firms were working in the northern region on projects in sectors such as power, road construction, environment and town planning.

Mr I.S. Paul, Chairman of the CII Chandigarh Council, put forward two suggestions to the Canadian minister: Canadian assistance to develop Sukhna Lake as a sustainable entity, and Chandigarh being made partner city of Vancouver. Mr Dhaliwal promised to consider both suggestions. Mr Paul observed that despite strong links, India accounted for just 0.36 per cent of Canada’s imports. This could grow to 10 to 15 per cent.


Bitta wants Assembly poll deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President of the Anti-Terrorist Front, today said it was not the ripe time for holding Assembly elections in Punjab because of the tension on the border. He appealed to the Election Commission to defer the Assembly election till the situation eased on the border.

He had a dig at the Punjab Congress leadership which he alleged was least concerned about the integrity of the country and was camping in Delhi for getting Assembly ticket. He told mediapersons that he would not contest the Assembly election.

He said: “I would, of course, make efforts for getting ticket issued to the son or wife of Mr Beant Singh, slain Chief Minister of Punjab. I would also try to get ticket allocated to the relatives of those Congress leaders who fight against terrorism,” Mr Bitta remarked.

Mr Bitta was critical of the decision of the government requesting other countries to send terrorists to India for trial. He said it was of no use until POTO laws were made stringent. He said either POTO be scrapped or made stringent. He favoured trial of terrorists by Army Court.

Substantiating his viewpoint, Mr Bitta said the assassins of Lala Jagat Narain and Sant Harchand Singh Longowal had been acquitted by the court. He said the main reason behind their acquittal was that no person appeared as a witness against them. Moreover, judges were not provided adequate security.

He opined that Union Government should ask other countries to hand over all those terrorists who had perpetrated crime in India for trial. He asked all political parties to reach a consensus on India's war on Pakistan. This decision should be taken after having deliberations with leaders of various political parties.

Mr Bitta favoured a ban on electronic media showing our Army and their bunkers on the border. This harmed both our country and our Army, he said.

He said when militancy was at its peak, Congress leaders spoke against militants and in favour of the integrity of the country and sacrificed their lives. However, Muslim leaders did not utter a word against Muslim terrorists.

Speaking on various issues, Mr Bitta said Army, IB and CBI should not be under any Ministry. On the contrary, all these organisation should be under the control of President of India. He sought setting up of a commission to inquire into why a majority of people who had come to India through train had not gone back.

He announced that Anti-Terrorist Front leaders would visit border areas and get youth trained in war by requesting Mr K.P.S. Gill and Ms Kiran Bedi, top police officers of the country, to deliver speeches to them. He said to Army would be requested to impart training to the youth of the front to fight on the border for protecting the frontier of our country.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Bitta said Anti-Terrorist Front would request the UNO to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.

He urged the Congress High Command to deny party ticket to all those leaders of the party who were facing trial in criminal cases or had links with terrorists. He said the Congress should not break its relations with the CPI. He said when the militancy was at its peak both the Congress and the CPI had fought against terrorism.


Ex-servicemen seek better deal
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, January 9
The Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today criticised the government for depriving ex-servicemen and serving soldiers of various benefits and failing to give them a fair deal.

Addressing a press conference here, Brig H.S. Ghuman (retd), executive member of the league, said around 60 per cent of the soldiers retired at 40 years of age but there was no job guarantee in the civil. Their monthly pension was also low with the basic being merely Rs 1,275 (average of the last 10 months’ pay). Retired soldiers had to struggle to make both ends meet. Often, one found such ex-servicemen on duty in front of the gates of private factories, which was a “shame for the nation”.

He said there was no definite criteria for the grant of jobs to the wards of deceased soldiers. Some jobs were given to the kin of personnel killed during the Kargil operations, but a large number of cases relating to the periods before and after that conflict had been ignored.

At the press conference, which was also addressed by Brig Harwant Singh (retd), chief coordinator of the local Ex-Servicemen’s Grievances Cell, the league also focused on the 20-year-old demand relating to one rank, one pension. It sought its immediately acceptance to ensure justice to retired personnel.

The league criticised the Defence Ministry for failing to provide a satisfactory opportunity to soldiers to get their names included in the electoral rolls, denying them the right to exercise their franchise at the place of their posting in the coming elections in Punjab and UP.

The league spokesmen regretted that there had been no fresh appointments in the Sainik Welfare Board for the past four or five years. There were at least 18 posts vacant in the board, they said.

Brigadier Ghuman said ex-servicemen needed to be given a better deal at military hospitals. Usually treatment was available to them subject to the availability of beds. These hospitals were also not adequately equipped to treat certain diseases and ex-servicemen had to depend on facilities available in the civil sphere. He also demanded the giving of various post-retirement allowances to ex-servicemen. 


Fire Dept in a state of ‘war-readiness’
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh Fire Department is in a state of “war-readiness” amidst India and Pakistan a massing their troops on the border and missiles of both trained at each other.

The department has been bracing it up as part of the frontline operator of the civil defence since the tension between the two countries has increased on the issue of Pakistan sponsoring terrorist attack on Parliament on December 13, fire Department sources told Chandigarh Tribune.

The “war-footing preparedness” is not based on any instructions from the Government of India or the local Administration but only as being a vanguard in the management of disaster witnessed during the war, the sources said.

War readiness, however, seems to be in full swing as the Punjab Fire Department has reportedly dispatched two fire tenders on the border as requisitioned by the local Administration, the sources said. This is an indication to be ready to handle disasters that war brings along and that is why the preparedness is there, the sources said.

The Chandigarh Fire Department, which is short of staff, has begun an exercise to immediately fill up vacancies on contract basis on daily wages and is going to launch a regular recruitment drive from January to induct its personnel in the wake of the threat to the city in a nuclearised and missile-armed region.

The region could be the easiest target of Pakistani missiles which are capable of delivering nuclear bombs. The department is not sanctioning any fresh leave and has even called back those on the leave, the sources said.

Ex-Fire Department employees have been intimated to be ready for any eventuality.

The department has also cleared three-to-four-month-old dues of the foreign supplier of a multi-purpose fire tender.

The Fire Department is checking afresh the fire safety systems of sensitive and high rise buildings to ensure safety of life and property caused due to war.

Drawing a picture of a war-hit city, he said the department had to take care of lot of people trapped in buildings, buildings being damaged and destroyed, air-crashes, missile hits and oil depots being hit by bombs delivered by missiles and aircraft.

The sources said that the department was lucky that the Central Government had apportioned around Rs 300 crore for disaster management after the Gujarat earthquake. The department is now a priority field for disaster management which is why the fire brigade is not neglected at a time when it has to be on its toes.


He rode piggyback on predecessor’s popularity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Congress Councillor from ward No 14, rode piggyback on his predecessor Kishan Lal’s popularity as one committed to the people.

A 51-year-old graduate hailing from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, he was a government employee and remained for 14 years, till the year 2000, a member of the Punjab University Staff Association (PUSA).

A person interested in social work, Mr Vaid has been associated with the Congress since 1975. He has been a state convener of the Adi Dharm Samaj apart. He is member of the national executive of the samaj as well as of the state executive.

Ms Shyama Negi, Congress Councillor from ward No 5, emerged as the most popular party candidate, winning her seat by the biggest margin in the December 7 Municipal Corporation elections.

Born in Pauri-Garhwal in Uttaranchal, he took a plunge into politics against an anti-Congress forum led by former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna.

Ms Negi remained president of the Women’s Wing of the forum. The 48-year-old Ms Negi then switched over to the Samajwadi Janata Party led by former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and remained president of the local unit of the women’s wing of the SJP under the leadership of former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan.

Ms Negi joined the Congress along with Mr Dhawan in 1999 before the parliamentary elections and did not quit the party when the former Union Minister dissociated himself from the Congress. She is president of the women’s wing of the INTUC Congress.


Chaudhary defends house tax
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 9
The INLD General Secretary, Mr Pradeep Chaudhary, has criticised opposition parties for making adverse statements over the house tax policy in the township.

He alleged that the Opposition and some leaders had no issue to go to the public except criticising the government. He said they were raising the issue to strengthen their vote bank for the forthcoming elections of the Panchkula Municipal Council.

Mr Chaudhary pointed out that Haryana Chief Minister, Mr O.P. Chautala, had formulated an easy house tax policy after consulting intellectual, industrialists, traders and institutions. He pointed out that nominal house tax was necessary for development works and the government had adopted a liberal policy while framing the policy.

He appealed residents of Panchkula to contribute towards the development works of the township in shape of house tax. He asked them not be misled by adverse statements of the opposition.

Meanwhile, different welfare associations and some individuals criticised imposition of house tax. Dr Harish Khanna, a resident of Sector 6, expressed his resentment over the policy. He said house tax had not been imposed by the Chandigarh Administration.


Villagers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 9
About 200 villagers under the leadership of Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, Vice-President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, sat in dharna and blocked vehicular traffic for about two hours near Bhagomajra village on the Kharar-Morinda road today. Residents of Bhagomajra, Rurki, Peer Sohana Barauli, Mamupur, Gharuan, Ghoga, Bassian, Malikpur Deh Kalan and Batta villages sat in dharna to protest against erratic power supply.

Mr Rajbir Singh, while addressing the gathering, said the villagers were getting supply of electricity only for two hours during day time. He alleged that whenever the villagers had tried to contact PSEB officials about these power cuts, they were never available in their offices.

He alleged that the people were agitated that the Punjab Government was not taking any steps to improve the supply of electricity. He added that because of these power cuts, students were suffering the most.

He also said electricity wires had been stolen from Malikpur village twice, but no action has been taken. He further said in some villages, in spite of wires being laid by the board, 24-hour power supply had not been restored.

Mr Rajbir Singh said if power supply was not improved immediately, the villagers would block the Kharar-Banur road. The dharna was lifted after an assurances from the SDM of Kharar, Mr Devinder Singh, and PSEB officials.


She strengthens communication across borders
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The ring in her voice says a great deal about her character. At the very outset, one can make out that Baroness Helena Kennedy greatly values conversation. This is not just because as a leading criminal law practitioner back home she knows the significance of good communication, but also because she, as a goodwill ambassador of Britain to India, sincerely wishes to strengthen communication across borders.

So when at the British Council Library tonight, she talked about the joy of being in the British Council which promoted connection across the world. This visit of the Baroness was inspired by the need to understand the way the Indian judicial system functioned. The need became impending in view of the fact that the Human Rights Act came into force in Britain only last year. As the Baroness admitted during her conversation today, ‘‘While we are fresh to the field, India is seasoned. That explains the importance of various workshops and seminars aimed at exchanging knowledge about the respective judicial systems.’’

Helena also talked about a new knowledge learning centre which had been introduced at the British Council Library in Delhi. Stressing the need of distance learning, she said that the British Council was interested in making libraries without walls. ‘‘The plan is to make the library facilities available to even those who cannot access them physically. There will be more information about various degrees available in the British universities. We will soon introduce a masters degree creation games which is being offered by the Scottish universities,’’ said Ms Kennedy. She spoke of India as ‘‘getting to the forefront of creative industry.’’

Her interest in the Indian judicial system was also apparent. As a Queen’s Counsel, she was obviously interested in knowing the status of civil liberties in India. A champion of issues related to civil liberty, Helena herself had many significant judicial cases to back her career. As a lawyer, Helena had always been interested in making the law accessible and demystifying it for the good of common man. But more than anything else she had been involved in making the law more responsive to the needs of women and children.

With the reputation she earned for handling sensitive cases concerning gender issues, apart from many other criminal cases, Helena was called to the Bar in 1972. She became a Queen’s Counsel in 1991 and received life peerage in 1997. Her expertise was also reflected from the fact that she had acted in many of the leading British cases of the last decade, including the Brighton Bombing Trial and the Guildford Four Appeal. She was also a frequent broadcaster and journalist on law and women’s rights, Helena created the BBC Television series titled ‘Blind Justice’ in 1987.

As a journalist, Helena had been concerned with creating a dialogue between people and bringing them together. She said today, ‘‘Now that the world is changing so fast, diplomacy is different. The issue of importance is closeness through whatever means possible, whether arts, literature or education.’’

Ms Kennedy talked of the fact that India and Britain had shared history. ‘‘And while the resonance is not all the time positive, we have been partners in suffering. We have something in common and we are more conscious of this fact when we come here,’’ she said, adding that India always intrigued her.

‘‘I am always excited about coming here. I see huge change every time and more often than not the change is positive. There is a greater access to education now and the yearning for learning has continued to increase. The other day I was at the National Science Centre where small kids posed smart questions about science to a nobel laureate who was there. I actually had a lump in my throat when I saw the level of children’s intellect,’’ she said.

Apart from the vibrancy of India, Ms Kennedy was influenced by contemporary Indian writers like Vikram Seth. She said, ‘‘You should be proud that Indian writers are bagging most awards these days.’’

Accompanied by her husband, Dr Iain Hutchinson, Ms Kennedy would go around Chandigarh tomorrow. On her itinerary was a visit to the Government Museum, the Rock Garden and Panjab University. She said she was already smitten with the architecture of the place. 


Cops teach a lesson
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 9
During the ongoing road safety campaign, senior police officers educated students and teachers of different schools in the township, here today.

The students and staff of Government Senior Secondary School Karanpur and Government Senior Secondary School Barwala educated the motorists with the assistance of Pinjore and Chandimandir police personnel, respectively.

Mr Manoj Yadav, SP, said light reflectors were being fixed on various carrier vehicles used in transporting sand loose soil and gravel at Chandimandir, Pinjore and Barwala. Special points were also set up at these places for the purpose.

Mr Yadav further said students of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, along with the police, deployed at various roundabouts in the township, also educated the motorists about road safety. 


Truck drivers get lessons on rules
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
On the third day of the ongoing Road Safety Week organised by the Chandigarh Police, truck drivers, operators and three-wheeler owners and drivers were educated on traffic rules and road safety today.

Police officials held a meeting with truck drivers, owners and members of Truck Operators Association at Transport Area, Sector 26. 


Dedicated to social service

Determination to get the execution of the works pending with the UT authorities concerning the welfare of his sector best describes the underlying personality trait of Mr Vijay K Puri, general secretary of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 61.

“I feel immense pleasure for the cause of social service. I am always out to serve the people in general and the needy ones in particular. I do not hesitate to donate blood as and when required. I have been instrumental for conversion of leasehold flats into freehold basis of as many as 20 residents of my sector”, Mr Puri says.

Mr Puri is a postgraduate in Public Administration from Panjab University. He worked as a senior steno-typist in the Department of Processing and Agricultural Structures, Punjab Agricultural University (Ludhiana), for more than nine years. He is currently working as a private secretary in the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

Mr Puri has put in special efforts to compile an address and telephone directory of the sector residents which is in the final stages of publication. He says he is best known for his ‘work, conduct, punctuality, dedication and integrity’. TNS


Fire in electronics shop
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 9
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire which broke out in an electronic goods shop in Sardarpura locality here late last night. Sources said some passersby noticed flames emanating from a shop owned by Sohan Lal of village Bataoli at about 10 pm and, subsequently, the fire brigade and the police were informed.

Fire tenders and firemen along with local residents and shopkeepers swung into action and brought the blaze under control after an hour. 


Rickshaw-pullers pulled up
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
In its ongoing drive against rickshaw-pullers who do not follow traffic rules, the city police yesterday arrested 13 erring pullers form different parts of the city for causing danger and obstruction in public way. They were found to be plying rickshaws on the wrong side of the road. However, they were later let off on bail. Police sources said the drive would continue.


Water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Due to repair to be carried out in the delivery header at the Kajauli waterworks, the pumping of water from phase I and II shall remain suspended on January 10 from 9 am to 7 pm. Consequently, the evening water supply may be at low pressure.


Fake ‘director’ arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
The local police arrested a man for pretending to be the director of a television serial. Ajay Andley had placed an advertisement in a leading English daily for interviews for selecting male, female and child characters for a serial to be shot in Shimla.

As per police sources, Mr Narinder Mahajan, responding to the advertisement, deposited Rs 2,500 along with a bio-data and photographs with the “director” for getting a role in a 200-episode serial, Lamha, to be telecast on a satellite channel. Mr Narinder was told by Ajay that 36 episodes of the serial had already been shot. In his complaint, Mr Narinder said he was told that Rs 15,000, Rs 12,500 and Rs 7,500 per episode would be paid to the lead character, supporting role and child artistes respectively.

Ajay, whose real name is Harpreet Singh Ahuja, is in fact unemployed and resident of Vasant Vihar, New Delhi. He was posing as director of Andley Film and Television Limited, Mumbai. A police raid by DSP B.D. Bector and Inspector Mani Ram on a hotel room today led to a seizure of large number of photographs of young boys and girls. The police sources added that forged documents, literature and visiting cards were also recovered from his room. A case has been registered.


5 booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 9
For demanding dowry and causing harassment to a newly wed, the Panchkula police has booked five Chandigarh residents under Sections 406, 498-A of the Dowry Act.

Mr Manoj Yadav, SP, Panchkula, said that the victim, Ravinder Kaur of Shakti Nagar in Kalka had complained that Gurmeet Singh and his mother Lajwanti and Karamjit Kaur of Sector 21, Chandigarh, Baljit Kaur and her younger sister of Sector 27-A, were harassing her for more dowry.

Two persons of Indira Colony were arrested by the police for creating public nuisance on Wednesday. The police said the duo — Satish Chand and Rajinder Singh — were creating a nuisance near Aggarwal Dharmsala. A case under Section 160 of the Indian Penal code.

Vehicle theft: Mr Manjit Singh, a resident of Niranjan Pura, Uttaranchal, reported to the police that his Maruti car (UA-07-A-1439) was stolen from the Sector 22 market on Monday evening. Ms Sonia Kanwar, a resident of Sector 30, reported to the police that her scooter (CH-01-Z-9565) was stolen form the Panjab University.


Ex-minister booked for forgery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
The local police registered a case of forgery, criminal conspiracy and cheating against a former Haryana minister and a Joint Director of the ITI, Haryana, besides others, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act here yesterday. The case was registered on the complaint of a DSP (Vigilance), Haryana.

According to police sources, Brij Mohan Singla, a former Haryana minister for Labour and Employment, M.P. Mittal, Joint Director, ITI, Haryana, Gian Singh Sutik, R.N. Bindal and others, allegedly took Rs 40,000 for appointing 78 workshop attendants in the Haryana Government in March, 1998. In some cases, the police sources said, fake documents were prepared by them.

Earlier, the Vigilance Department of Haryana, acting on a complaint against the accused that they had cheated the government in enrolment of 78 employees and forging documents, had conducted an inquiry into the matter. Now, the case would be investigated by Mr S.S. Randhawa, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Central).


PGI security contractor booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
Acting on the complaint by the PGI Medical Superintendent, Prof A.K. Gupta, the local police today registered a case of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code against contractor of the PGI security agency, Punjab Security and Detective Company, Mr J.P. Singh. He was charged with submitting fake bank guarantee certificate to the PGI authorities.

According to police sources, Mr J.P. Singh had to submit a bank guarantee certificate worth Rs 6 lakh as per the conditions laid down in the tender for awarding security of the PGI. He allegedly submitted a fake certificate of the Sector-17 branch of Punjab and Sindh Bank.

The fraud reportedly came into light after proprietor of Prahri Security and Detective Company, Kapurthala, who was also a contender for the contract, produced certain documents to them, which established that the guarantee certificate was fake.

The case was reported to the police after the PGI authorities made inquires with the bank and a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC was registered.


Water purifiers launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Nuvac Appliances Pvt Ltd today launched its complete range of hi-tech vacuum cleaners and water purifiers in Chandigarh and Punjab.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Harish Verma, Managing Director of the company said, ‘‘Targeted at homes, offices and industrial units in and around Chandigarh and Punjab, the Nuvac range of vacuum cleaners and water purifiers is an attempt to make available the international products at affordable and attractive prices in India’’. Due to their technology, international quality and convenient features, the Nuvac range of products are being widely appreciated in other parts of the country.

Mr Verma said even in Chandigarh and Punjab, the company had already test-marketed its products, the response of which had been very encouraging. Enthused by the initial response from various consumer segments, Nuvac was now launching its entire range of products in these markets and the company was confident of faring well.

In both the product categories, vacuum cleaners and water purifiers, Nuvac Appliances’ product range included three models of handy vacuum cleaners, two models of wet and dry vacuum / blow cleaner, two models of ultra-violet water purifiers, two model of reverse osmosis water purification system and industrial water purification systems. These product are priced in the range of Rs 2700 to Rs 5,50,000.

Highlighting the importance of Nuvac reverse osmosis water purification system, Mr Verma elaborated that studies confirmed that impure drinking water was cause of 80 per cent human diseases. Due to the ever growing industrialisation, the sources of water supply had become contaminated making the availability of drinking water a rarity. The quality of drinking water was deteriorating in urban areas and the role or effectiveness of conventional water purifiers was limited to some extent. 

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