Wednesday, February 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Online payment of phone bills soon
BSNL to offer discounts to corporate houses, high-end callers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited will shortly provide the facility of online payment of phone bills to its subscribers. While a private company has been entrusted with the job of obtaining the consent of the customers and collection of money, details, including charges for the facility, will be finalised within a few days, said Mr R.C. Vaish, Principal General Manager Telecom, Chandigarh, while addressing a press conference here today.

Mr Vaish said the BSNL was also in the process of transferring the STD subscribers to 5ESS switch, which being more powerful would help enable the nigam to provide better services to its users . "5ESS is a powerful switch and shifting the STD subscribers- all categories of phone users will get better services as traffic will be equalised".

Under its "Discount to corporate account holders" scheme which was shortly implemented here, the BSNL has been able to offer discounts to 16 account holders. According to the scheme the corporate houses, high-end callers, public sector undertakings of centre and state etc can avail discounts —five per cent and 10 per cent , on their combined monthly gross bills where the bills exceed Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively. Depending upon the total amount billed , BSNL is offering facilities like voice mail, electronic exchange facilities, consultancy for complete telecom solutions , directory on CD, features phone, and various other facilities without any extra charges.

Explaining the online bill payment facility Mr Vaish said the private company, after obtaining the consent of the customer will debit his account . In case a customer, due to high billing or any other problems wants to clarify before bill payment, he can inform the company not to debit his account.

Regarding its WLL services, Mr Vaish said so far 550 connections had been given here. "Only when the BSNL (head office) gets a positive response or this service, will it be keen to launch other services in this circle", he said. Meanwhile, providing details of the Chandigarh telecom status by the end of January this year, he said working connections are 1,94,867 against 44 telephone exchanges and one WLL exchange. The waiting list on this date was 5,904 compared to 3,214 during corresponding period last year.



Machine to collect phone bills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
In a move which will do away with the need to have ‘babus’ in bill-collecting procedure of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a machine has been installed at the telecom centre located inside the exchange building in Sector 34.

An automatic cheque collecting machine at the Sector 34 telephone exchange.
An automatic cheque collecting machine at the Sector 34 telephone exchange.—  A Tribune photo

The machine manufactured by a Trivandrum-based company is programmed to issue a receipt after the user puts in a cheque for the amount in the bill. The working is almost like an ATM machine used to withdraw cash.

Explaining the system officials said a user had to enter his or her telephone number on the screen and a bill would appear on the screen. It would carry details like amount to be paid and last date of payment.

The consumer will write a cheque for the amount in the bill and places it in a designated place on the machine. The cheque will get automatically picked up and within 10 seconds the machine will produce a receipt. The details printed on the receipt produced for the consumer will also get printed on the rearside of the cheque to prevent any confusion and from getting lost in the handling. The receipt will have details like telephone number, amount paid and date.

Till now cheques or cash are deposited at a cash counter where a clerk uses a computer to issue a receipt. The machine will now issue the receipt. Users at the Sector 34 exchange expressed appreciation for the machine and the ease it offers for the consumer.



Zing missing at Jhankar inauguration
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
Jhankar-2002, the three-day All-India Inter-University Youth Festival, began at a low note in the Panjab University today as only teams from four universities apart from the host university turned up on the first day. The inaugural function held at the Gymnasium Hall was well attended but the University Auditorium where songs and music competitions were held drew a poor response from the students.

The festival has been organised by the Panjab University Campus Students Council on the theme ‘Students, Amity and National Integration’.

The festival began with a march by PU students and participants from the Student Centre to the Gymanasium Hall where the Governor of Haryana inaugurated the festival by lighting a lamp.

Teams from Kashmir University and Aligarh Muslim University took part in the group song competition. Ms Radhika Garg of Panjab University and Mr Virat Wadegonkar from Nagpur University were the two participants in the classical music (instrumental), while Mr Jaswinder Singh (Regional Centre, Muktsar), Mr M.A Vaid (Kashmir University) and Mohd. Johaed (Aligarh Muslim University) apart from Neelema Ahuja took part in the folk songs.

Participants in sketching competition were Ritika Sinha (Aligarh Muslim University), Gayatri Walia (Punjabi University, Patiala) and Geeta (Panjab University), and in still life painting competition, Kahkashan (Aligarh Muslim University) and Priyal (Panjab University) took part. Results of all the competitions will be declared on the concluding day.

Earlier, Haryana Governor, Babu Parmanand, while inaugurating the festival, called upon the youth not to forget the rich cultural heritage of the country. He said India is a country with various religions and castes and there was a variety of classical dances and folk songs, which were far better than the western culture.

The Governor stressed upon the need of channelising the energy of youth for the betterment of masses, especially women, children and disabled. He hoped that the students who had come from different states to take part in the festival would intermingle to learn from each other. The Governor also released a souvenir ‘Abhinandan’ on the occasion.

PU students later presented songs, dances and cultural items.

A musical star nite by Punjab folk singer Hans Raj Hans will be one of the major attraction on the second day tomorrow.



Chandigarh Club case hearing on March 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today fixed March 19 as the next date of hearing in the Chandigarh Club case for enabling the UT Administration to take a comprehensive decision on encroachments by institutes, individuals and organisations.

Delivering the verdict, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Bakhshish Kaur, also directed the Administration to take a policy decision regarding "regularisation, or otherwise," of construction carried out without obtaining sanction from the competent authority.

The Bench also ruled that the Administration could take another decision on extending lease to the Chandigarh Club. Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Singhvi added that at the present stage they did not wish to express their opinion on the lease matter.

Earlier, during the proceedings, the counsel appearing for the Chandigarh Club stated that though the lease to the club had not been renewed, the Administration had been accepting lease money. Arguing before the Bench, he added that the acceptance of lease money by the Administration should be treated as "implied extension".

Meanwhile, the UT Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, present in the court during the proceedings, gave details of the action taken by the authorities against alleged encroachment carried out by the Chandigarh Club and also against the construction carried out on the club premises without obtaining sanction from the competent authority.



City cop returns with four UN commendations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
For Sub Inspector Neeraj Sarna, a year-long stint with the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a life-time experience. Rubbing shoulders with professional law enforcers from around the globe, it gave the Chandigarh police officer a chance to be the first among equals.

Back in the city a few days ago, Neeraj, who was awarded four commendation certificates by the UN, was the only officer from the Chandigarh police in the last batch of the Indian police personnel sent to Bosnia. About 12 officers from the Chandigarh police have gone for UN missions since 1995.

“It is a totally different working atmosphere there,” he said. “Only your calibre counts and if you are capable only then you can get an important position”. We have to be very particular about our job and the work procedures and administrative channels are very smooth and streamlined,” he added.

Posted at Berko district, about 190 km from the capital city of Sarajevo, Neeraj initially was a shift monitor and later became the administrative officer of the station. The district, with a population of about 20,000, has a special status in the country and has about 150 monitors from 43 countries, including half-a-dozen Indians, besides those from neighbouring countries. In October last year, he was appointed as the personnel officer in the chief of support unit.

In fact, the seniormost Indian officer in the batch, Mr P.S. Sandhu, is also presently posted at Chandigarh. As Deputy Commissioner of the 1,800-strong International Police Task Force (IPTF), he was the number two person and the first Asian officer to be appointed to that position.

There are lot of avenues in policing open to mission personnel. They could work as station monitors, human rights investigators, community policing officers, special investigative teams, training personnel or the border police.

Interestingly, during his entire 14-month stint, Neeraj, like other members of the IPTF did not carry any weapon. “Quite unlike the mission in Kosovo, it was an unarmed mission with only local policemen authorised to carry weapons. Our job was monitoring and training,” he said. It was a good experience working with the local police. Their approach is totally professional, backed with good infrastructure and equipment, he added.

Though a peaceful country, IPTF personnel were advised against driving off-roads because of the presence of a large number of mines. As far as driving is concerned, he was very impressed with the locals’ strict adherence to traffic rules. Getting a driver’s licence in Bosnia is very difficult. So every one is extra careful,” he remarked.



Ambulance service by ex-servicemen body
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, February 5
The Social Brotherhood Group of the Ex-servicemen Army Welfare Society will soon be launching an ambulance service in the city. The ambulance will be equipped with essential gadgets required to administer aid to the patient while being taken to the hospital in cases of emergency.

According to society chairman Bhim Sen Sehgal, all members will contribute towards purchasing the ambulance. Each member will pay around Rs 5,000 for the vehicle. “The donation is totally voluntary. The van will cost around Rs 2 lakh. Another Rs 3 lakh will be required for purchasing the equipment,” he said.

The decision to purchase an ambulance for the members is significant because, according to the chairman, it will go a long way in ensuring timely medical care to retired personnel in cases of emergency. “We will no longer be dependent on the state-run services for saving the lives of our fellows in trouble”, Mr Sehgal added.

Elaborating the activities, Mr Sehgal said the group was already sending vehicles to handicapped soldiers, who were unwell or were in trouble. As many as 15 ailing patients had been attended by the members.

He added that a consolidated list containing names and address of all the members was periodically circulated so that they could be informed in case of emergency, including accidents, admission to hospitals, death of any ex-servicemen belonging to the city, or any untoward incident. “Even if a member is left stranded in the middle of the road due to some problem, members rush forward to provide help”.

Giving details Mr Sehgal said; “The criteria for enrolling a member in the group was that the retired personnel should have his own conveyance and a telephone. Twenty nine members had been enrolled in the group with five members from each sector. The aim was to enroll over 200 members.



Another bomb hoax in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
There was panic for the second consecutive day in Sector 17 after the local branch of the Punjab and Sind Bank received a call that a bomb had been planted in the bank premises.

According to the police, at about 2 p.m., the telephone at the bank was answered by an employee Jaswant Singh, who was told by a person on the other end that there was a bomb in the bank’s office.

The police was contacted immediately and the bomb detection squad, dog squad and the quick reaction team were scrambled. The area was cordoned-off and the branch was evacuated.

A two-hour long search however, yielded nothing suspicious and the call was termed as a hoax. Since the bank telephone does not have a caller-identification system, number from which the call was made could not be traced immediately.



Meeting on National Youth Policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
A National Youth Policy provides for broad guidelines from which action programmes and services can be developed to facilitate meaningful involvement of youth in national development. This was stated by Mr M.M. Rajendran, Governor of Orissa, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function held at the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre, Sector 12, here today on “National Youth Policy Review Meeting’’.

He said it was a crucial time when Asian countries were making their national policies for the development of the youth and when society was going through a revolutionary change in its structure. Special attention was being given to fundamental education upto 14 years, which had been made compulsory.

The problem of secondary education and higher education to the youth was the need of the hour. Claiming that the quality of education was deteriorating in many states of India, he added that the Union Government and non-Government organisations needed to come to its rescue.

He highlighted that while some students had computers with them, others did not even have books to carry on their further education. This was a division in society which needed to be wiped out. He said other countries of Asia should give priority to do something concrete for the welfare of the youth.

Mr Rajendran stated that the crucial problem of society was the growing unemployment faced by the youth, in which 80 per cent were urban unemployed youth. The other major problem being faced by society included female foeticide, which should be curbed at all costs. He advised motivational work for the youth at rural level. He said the youth were to be motivated at a lower level to wipe out the curse of dowry. The youth could be used to spread the message regarding health care, child care, culture and agricultural development.

The Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh Administration, Ms Neeru Nanda, also spoke. She said society was facing the problem of gender ratio which was widening day by day. She added that girls were coming forward in all walks of life as compared to boys. She said she had directed the education authorities of Chandigarh Administration to bring the boys on a par with girls to take part in different educational, cultural and other activities.

In her welcome address, Ms Raka Rashid, Regional Director of CYP Asia Centre, said that a Commonwealth Youth Policy was committed to assist member countries to formulate and implement national youth policies so that individual nations could utilise and support the participation of youth people in development. While South Asia was grappling with poverty, natural disasters, gender discrimination, unemployment and ethic conflict, South East Asian societies were challenged by a tendency among young people to pursue material gains while positive culture and social values took a backseat, she said.

The objectives were to review and assess the progress made by the development and adoption of NYP, and to identify constraints, if any. These also included coming up with strategies to overcome these and to review the present status regarding programme of action and implementation plans, added Ms Rashid.



Sonia makes brief stopover in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
All-India Congress Committee President Sonia Gandhi today arrived at the city airport enroute her poll campaign visit to Punjab.

Ms Gandhi got down at the airport and immediately boarded a helicopter to go to Jalandhar and Balachaur for her election rallies.

She was accompanied by Congress office-bearers Moti Lal Vora, Ahmed Patel and Amika Soni, among others.

Meanwhile, the UT unit of the Congress here today decided to accord a gala welcome to Ms Gandhi, who is scheduled to come to the city for the inauguration of Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, on February 7.

The local unit, in a meeting, today decided to put up 20 to 25 welcome gates from airport to the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan in Sector 35.

AICC treasurer Moti Lal Vora today visited the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan to see the preparations. The Bhavan is being decked up for a special occasion.

Ms Gandhi is likely to stay in the city for half-an-hour.

Congress leaders from Punjab and Haryana, including Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Mr Bhajan Lal and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal will join the UT Congress unit to welcome Ms Gandhi at the airport.

She would again be welcomed at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan by party office-bearers. Ms Gandhi will hold a workers’ conference at the Bhavan.



MCC views its ‘peeping’ powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will be able to ‘’peep’’ into every household of the city after a massive house-to-house survey it will get conducted to collect information for its geographic information system (GIS).

The MCC today saw a presentation from the Punjab Engineering College for the installation of the GIS, which will provide information on each house, each street, each sector and the whole city.

The purpose of the installation of GIS was to have access to instant information on computer on the status of each part of the city to take immediate decisions.

Information on these matters at present took a lot of time due to involvement of several agencies.

An initial survey card prepared today would be sent to all Executive Engineers to seek their requirement of more information required to be collected to help them plan long term and monitor day-to-day functioning.

The Executive Engineers were required to send their comments on the information sheet by Friday, corporation sources said here today.

The MC would pay a sum to the Punjab Engineering College which would conduct the survey on behalf of the corporation.

The information so gathered would be updated fortnightly to know the day-to-day position.

The information would be available on a computer network accessible to officers of the corporation.

The survey would be conducted after the Executive Engineers sent their comments on their requirement of information.



Save Earth, say religious leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The International Conclave held under the auspices of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation here endorsed the Declaration on Ecology and Spirituality that had been adopted on January 30 by the World Congress of Faiths (UK) in Punjabi University at Patiala.

The declaration, that calls for observing 2004 as Unesco’s Year of the Ecology and Spirituality, was signed by Dr Richard Boeke, chairman of the World Congress of Faiths, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, and Dr Rev Marcus Braybrooke, president of the World Congress of Faiths, in the UK.

The declaration says that the humankind is facing an unprecedented ecological crisis that is threatening the existence of all life on this planet. The pulsating presence of the Holy is found in both nature and humanity, as envisioned by most prophets and founding principles of religions. Guru Nanak spoke of air as a guru, water as father and earth as the great Mother, focussing on the integral bond between man, nature and God. The declaration calls upon the UN to declare 2004 as Unesco’s Year of Ecology and Spirituality — when everyone will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the compilation of the Adi Granth.

In his inaugural address at the conclave, Dr Boeke said the man-made ecological crisis was a sin against the Earth. Dr W. Owen Cole (UK), in his special address, said this crisis was due to the materialism of the western civilization. Quoting a New Testament writer, Dr Cole said no one should be unconcerned when the Earth was being turned into a life threatening poisonous dustbin. Dr Alan Race of the UK talked about adopting contemplative and prophetic approach to the problem by contemplating Mother Nature and our place in it as a system of intricately woven connections and dependencies.

Dr Rev Marcus Braybrooke said spiritual and religious leaders of the world should join hands in averting the potential threat posed by the ecological crisis. He also said the declaration would be on top of the agenda of inter-religious movement.

In his address, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia said it was tragic that when it took billions of year for life to emerge on the Earth, it took just three centuries of industrial revolution for man to destroy it.

He said man was in an Oedipus-like situation, ruthlessly exploiting and plundering nature, in a sense, raping Mother Nature, tearing off its ozone cover and denuding it of its forest clothing. He called for a paradigm shift in our approach and said, “If God has any colour, it has to be green, for God is greenery and greenery God.”

Mr Joginder Singh Sawhney, Senior Vice-President of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, said the foundation had played a pioneering role in the organisation of the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations and it would do the same for promoting the declaration.

Over 200 delegates and participants attended the conclave. They included many scholars from the West like Dr Alan Race, Editor of the World Faiths Encounter of the UK, Dr W. Owen Cole of the University College of Chichester in the UK, Dr Joy Barrow, Visiting Lecturer in Sikhism of the University of Surrey, Canon Michael Ipgrave of the Interfaith Relations Advisors of the Church of England, Canon Patrick Rosheuvel, a prison chaplain, and Dalbir Singh Deol, another prison chaplain.

Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia addresses an international seminar on ‘Ecology and Spirituality’ in Guru Gobind Singh Bhavan, Chandigarh, on Friday.



Mouth-watering’ exhibition from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Bi-annual Hospitality Crafts Exhibition 2002 of the Food Craft Institute, Sector 42, scheduled for February 7 and 8 promises to be yet another mouth-watering affair.

With the preparations at the institute in full swing, a number of tempting dishes in bakery and confectionery sections food and beverage, and cookery have been lined up for the two-day extravaganza.

The Principal, Mr Alok Shivapuri, says the idea behind the exhibition is not only to pamper visitors with good food but to create an awareness among youngsters about opportunities in the hospitality, hotel and catering industry.

For this purpose, there would be a career counselling interface for students interested in detailed information about courses at the institute, curriculum, various other institutes, admission procedures, fee structure, placement and other relevant information about hotel management and catering technology.

The interface would be an in-house affair with the faculty of the institute scheduled to ``educate’’ the interested candidates. Also, the exhibition will consist of displays and models of front office and housekeeping departments of the institute.

The exhibition would be inaugurated by the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, on February 7 at 10:45 am. The exhibition would be open from 10 am to 5 pm.



Narrow escape for city resident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
A sector 24 resident, Jaswinder Kaur, had a narrow escape when gas leaking from the kitchen LPG cylinder burst into flames when she tried to light the stove early this morning. She has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital with 20 per cent burns.

According to the police sources, the gas had been leaking from the cylinder throughout the night. When she went into the kitchen for daily chores at about 5.30 a.m. and tried to light the gas stove, the gas hanging in the air was engulfed in flames. A door and a window grill in the kitchen were damaged.



Man alleges being kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
A Sector-15 resident, Mr Vimal Mehra, alleged that he was kidnapped by brother-in-law of his friend today evening and later thrown out of a moving car in Sector 17. He suffered injuries on his left knee, both wrists and on right eye.

Talking to this correspondent tonight, Mr Mehra, a businessman, said that the accused, a resident of Shimla, along with three other persons, kidnapped him from Sector 15 and forced him to consume liquor. ‘‘I was captive in his Santro car for over three hours and later I was thrown out of the moving car in Sector 17 market’’, alleged Mr Mehra.

Mr Mehra said that he was kidnapped because he happens to be friend of the accused's relative with whom the latter has ‘‘problems’’.



Police to have career counselling sessions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
To elicit a better response from local residents in the forthcoming recruitment of constables, the Chandigarh Police will be conducting career counselling sessions in various colleges. This is the first time that such a step has been taken by the police. The recruitment is scheduled to be carried out in April.

Stating this here today, the UT DIG, Mr Ajay Kashyap, said that it had been observed that the percentage of local residents among candidates for the posts of constables in the local police was very low. In the last recruitment rally held here, less than 20 per cent of the aspirants belonged to Chandigarh. The remaining were from neighbouring states.

The counselling sessions would be conducted jointly by officers of the Chandigarh Police and experts from Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 20. A team led by Dr Navita Mahajan had worked out the contents of the sessions. The sessions would include a 10-minute audio-visual presentation and an interactive session. All pertinent information about the recruitment process and career prospects would be made available during the sessions.

Ten colleges had been selected and a time table for holding the sessions had been drawn up. These would be held from February 7 to February 9. Attendence in the sessions would not be compulsory. Though the minimum educational standards for constables in matriculation, schools had not been targeted as it was found during interaction with principals that school students were underage to apply for the posts of constables. In the last recruitment drive, maximum number of candidates were found to be plus two, followed by graduates.

Mr Kashyap said that the police would like to recruit more personnel belonging to the city as local persons were more familiar with the area, population and character of the city. Besides, they would also have a greater stake in the wellbeing of the city.



Villagers resent land acquisition
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 5
The process to acquire 289 acres of land for industrial estates of the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) near Kambali village has attracted strong reaction from the land owners in the area.

Highlighting the issue, Dr Jasmet Singh Kambali said while announcing a compensation of Rs 15 lakh per acre, the Land Acquisition Committee, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, had discriminated with the land owners. He said the rates of adjoining urban areas were quite high. Due to the periphery act, the villagers are not able to sell their land.

He said as the industry was already in dire straits, there was no sense to acquire more land for expansion of the industrial estate. “The financial condition of the PSIEC was not good enough to pay for the land compensation price. There was an urgent need to maintain the existing areas”, said Dr Kambali.



‘Lawyers should act as social reformers’

A student of the Department of Laws, Panjab University, Mandeep Mittal, opines that legal profession is one of the best professions of this world. Lawyers are the social architect on whom lay the social responsibility of assisting the temples of justice. Laws are intended to regulate the behaviour of the people. But not society can be regulated by laws only. It is not the laws but the social awareness among people which can bring happiness. today this field is being polluted by some unscrupulous ones.

God has given a chance to lawyers to ensure justice in society. All of us think that somebody else would come and fight to wipe out social menaces. But we fail to realise that opportunities won't come at our doorstep and knock at to be grabbed, it requires our own efforts to grab the opportunities. Only then we can think of a prosperous and happy society.

I think that we all belong to a privileged class, if I can call it a privileged one because we have been and we are being taught at the cost of these poor people. So we certainly owe some duty to these people.

Student life is the golden period of one's life. Students must not waste it but do something good so that their parents and teachers could feel proud of them. Achieving greatness and sticking to the values should be the guiding principles of their lives. The aim of my life is to serve people and this nation and to attain heights in legal profession. TNS



A way of life

TV has become a household necessity, a way of life. The cable operators have started monopolising the trade at their whim by constituting a syndicate. Residents, having the right to information/knowledge through modern technology at reasonable tariff, should be protected through the MRTP by declaring the cable TV service an essential commodity.

By enacting a law, the Union Government can restrict the channel owners/cable operators to provide programmes free of charge or at very nominal rates. However, the cable operators should be allowed to charge the nominal operational expenses every month. A blueprint of townwise state-governed cable services may also be chalked out to help generate revenue for the state government as also provide hassle-free service to the people.

Frequent revision of subscription rates at their whim, poor quality of reception, blacking out one channel or the other and not attending to phone calls of subscribers have all become a routine practice of the cable operators. As per an agreement, a monopoly practice for not providing cable connections to the subscriber opting out of a fellow cable operator in the area is also in force. Apart from creating conditions free from any competition, this leads to harassment of subscribers and forces them to accept whatever is provided to them at exorbitant rates.

Samadhaan, a Chandigarh-based pressure group for social justice (Phones: 540869 and 562899), has been trying to resolve this problem through the following measures: declare the service an essential commodity and bring it under the MRTP Act; empower the district administration to regularise the tariff from time to time; enact law to force the cable operators to provide services free of charge; make it mandatory for the cable operators to lay cables only in front of the houses as in the case of telephones; restrict the monopoly practice of not providing a connection to the resident opting out of a fellow cable operator in the area; an agreement to provide services for a certain period of time with detailed terms and conditions between the subscriber and operator before providing a connection; and envisaging state-controlled cable service providers.

R.P. MALHOTRA, President, Samadhaan Chandigarh

Why this bias?

The cable operators of Panchkula have been harassing TV viewers with indiscriminate hike in cable charges from time to time. This is unfair. Compared with the people of Chandigarh who get better services, many more channels and fewer tariffs of Rs 150 and Rs 160, the services being provided to the residents of Panchkula are far below expectations, that too, for higher tariffs of Rs 165 and Rs 200. Why this discrimination for Panchkula?

Instead of being customer-friendly and providing better services as in Chandigarh, the cable operators at Panchkula are too rigid with the customers with a view to making huge profit. All customers at Panchkula should unite together on the issue and stop subscription of TV channels until the cable operators mend their ways and establish parity of rates.


In packages

One way of resolving the cable operator-resident standoff could be the offer of channels in packages. The pay channels could be grouped in different packages or offered individually at mutually agreed upon rates. This way, the viewer doesn’t pay for the channels he doesn’t watch and the cable operators too need not pay hefty fees to the pay channels for non-viewer count.

However, this involves investment in technology which can regulate the transmission to individual houses. This technology is not new and is readily available in many western countries. The viewer can pay rental (and/or security) for the (addressable) cable boxes which need to be installed for every connection. This will involve cable operators acting together for installing the infrastructure and resolving the addressing problem for boxes provided by individual cable operators.

M.S. CHAGAR, Chandigarh

Discipline must

In ‘Young Voice’ (Chandigarh Tribune, January 16), Mr Vaneet Sharma has rightly stated that discipline is essential for success in life. Discipline is, however, not a new word. It shows strength because of its three “Is”. And where there is strength there is success. Without discipline institutions cannot run. Forces cannot achieve their goals.

P.N. GUPTA, Panchkula



2 minors held for stealing Rs 2 lakh
Tribune Reporters

Kharar, February 5
The local police arrested two minors today in connection with theft of Rs 2 lakh from the bag of Mr Bant Singh of Lakhnour village.

Mr Bant Singh has lodged a complaint with the police that the amount was stolen from his bag yesterday when he boarded a bus for his village from Kharar. The police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC, in this connection.

According to the police the two minors — a girl, identified as Varsa aged about 12-13 years and a boy identified as Shalu aged about 12 years were arrested yesterday.

The police has also recovered the amount from them. They were produced in the court of Ms Preeti Sahni, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, who has remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days.


Trespass case
The police has arrested a resident of Pantpur village near Ropar, Jaswant Singh for allegedly trespassing into the house of a Maloya resident, Laddi, and threatening her. The accused was accompanied by a person residing in Togan village, who escaped. A case has been registered.

One held
A resident of Ram Darbar, Om Parkash was arrested near the Industrial Area Fire Station and 100 pouches of whisky were seized from his possession. A case under the excise Act has been registered against him.

Fraud case
The police has booked a clerk employed with the Indian Overseas Bank after a Mani Majra resident, Rekha, lodged a complaint that she had deposited Rs 1.20 lakh with a society based in Sector 20 through the clerk. Her money was not being returned to her. A case under Sections 420 and 406 for cheating and breach of trust has been registered.

Godown burgled
A scrap dealer in Industrial Area, Khushi Ram, has reported that his godown was broken into and brass items and scrap weighing about 1200 kg were stolen. The police has registered a case.

Girl abducted
A resident of Mauli Jagran, Sagwa Ram has reported that his minor daughter has been abducted by a resident of the same colony. The police has registered a case.

Scooter stolen
Sector 35 resident Baldev Singh has reported that his Kinetic Honda scooter (PB-65-9422) has been stolen from the same sector. A case has been registered.


Scooterist Killed
A scooterist died on the spot when the scooter on which he was riding collided into a stationary truck near the MOI factory in Industrial Area here. The victim, Harpreet was a resident of Dyalpur Sodhian village. The police has registered case against the truck driver, Bhupinder Singh for parking his truck on the road without giving any indication.



ICICI Bank branch inaugurated

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
In continuance of its click and brick strategy, the ICICI Bank inaugurated its 16th banking office of the Chandigarh region at Patiala today.

The branch was inaugurated by Mr Surindra Kumar, Regional Director, RBI, Chandigarh region. The function was presided over by Mr Mohan Shenoi, Senior Executive Vice-President, Retail Banking. Also present on the occasion were Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, District Commissioner and Mr Manmohan Singh Bajaj, Chairman, Patiala Improvement Trust.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Surindra Kumar complemented the bank on its phenomenal growth. The bank had formed strategic business units such as retail banking, international banking, government institutional group, financial institution group and corporate banking group to give thrust to business development. Speaking on the occasion Mr Anand Kumar, Regional Head, Retail Banking, Chandigarh Region, emphasised that the Chandigarh Region had witnessed exponential growth over the past one year by way of branch and ATM expansion and also on business parameters.

During the present nine months of the current fiscal year, the ICICI Bank doubled its deposit base in the Chandigarh region. Mr Anand Kumar confirmed that the ICICI Bank would be soon opening new branches at Ludhiana, Bathinda and Dehradun.

The day also marked the inauguration of three ATMs in the Chandigarh region. The new ATMs are located at Surya Complex, Leela Bhavan — Patiala, HPCL Petrol Station, Kalka-Chandigarh highway — Panchkula and Millerganj — Ludhiana. With this, the bank has 51 ATMs in the Chandigarh region. The ICICI Bank has over 750 ATMs across the country, which is the single largest network of any bank. All ATMs of the ICICI Bank are Visa and Master enabled thus facilitating cash withdrawals by customers having Visa and Master debit/credit cards.

As part of the retail strategy, the ICICI Bank branches offers a bouquet of financial shop for all financial solutions. The ICICI Bank will be leveraging its core competencies to provide world class banking products and services at Patiala. 
ICICI Bank branch inaugurated



Hearing aids launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Widex, a Denmark based hearing aids manufacturing company which has its presence in more than 80 countries, has launched it’s entire series of hearing aids here.

“The recent range, which we are making available at affordable prices, has been introduced to cater to a larger customer base”, said Mr Mike Dittman area export manager, Widex, while talking to TNS.

Bravo-the new range of digital hearing aid, is meant for different types of hearing losses and offers features like clear speech intelligibility, discreet design,convenient volume control, beep-tone indication, minimum internal amplifier noise and easy fitting procedure.

Priced between Rs 18,000 and Rs 30,000, Bravo models — completely inner canal (CIC), in the air and behind the ear, are also equipped with volume control for minor volume adjustments and a possibility of switching between the microphone, telecoil or microphone plus telecoil, said Mr Dittman.

He said the company registered a turnover of almost $ 250 million.

“Though India’s share is less than 1 per cent of our total market, our main aim is to spread awareness among people, who are normally used to buy hearing aids without going in for proper testing or without matching the aid to their requirement”, he said.




Loan mela

The State Bank of Patiala will organise a week-long Housing Loan Mela at it’s Sector 8 branch here. The mela will start on February 8. Loans will be provided at an annual rate of interest of 11.50 per cent on daily reducing balance and there will be no service charges, said Mr V.K. Gupta, Chief Manager of the branch. The bank will also consider the take over of house loan of other institutions and banks in cases where repayment has already started, he said. TNS

Swarn sambandh

A four-day jewellery exhibition will be held at the CII from February 15. The exhibition would collect together the top jewellery houses from across the country who will showcase ethnic and trendy gold jewellery designs. TNS


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |