Thursday, February 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Clashes mar polling in Banur
Complaints of deletion of votes in Kharar constituency; EC orders inquiry
Tribune Reporters

Banur/Kharar/Morinda, February 13
Window panes of several vehicles, plying on the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway, were today broken following a clash between supporters of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal at Lalru during the polling in the Banur Assembly constituency. The vehicular traffic on the busy highway remained disrupted for over an hour due to this.

Voters being ferried to polling booths by various political parties in Naya Gaon village, falling under the Morinda assembly constituency, on Wednesday.
Voters being ferried to polling booths by various political parties in Naya Gaon village, falling under the Morinda assembly constituency, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the SAD-BJP candidate from the Banur constituency, who was caught in the clash, had to beat a hasty retreat from the site. No person was, however, injured during the poll violence.

Rumours of bogus voters waiting to cast their votes in the sensitive Banur, Kharar and the Morinda constituencies kept the Punjab Police on tenterhooks. Barring minor scuffles, no major case of violence was registered in the sensitive Kharar and Morinda assembly segments.

Motorists moving on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway felt the heat of the poll violence when a Congress workers objected to alleged bogus voting by SAD workers at a polling booth in Government Senior Secondary School, Lalru. Things flared up when Capt Kanwaljit Singh tried to intervene in the matter. Mr Mahesh Kumar and some other Congress supporters exchanged heated arguments with Capt Kanwaljit Singh, following which the SAD candidate was gheraoed. In the violence window panes of a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-37-3961), two buses of the CTU and some cars were smashed. The police watched the scene from a distance.

Soon after the incident the Congress candidate, Ms Sheelam Sohi, reached the polling station along with her supporters and stormed the polling booths to inquire the Presiding officers about bogus voting. She said that although the polling station was declared hypersensitive, the personnel deployed at the polling station failed to maintain law and order there. She alleged that there was bogus voting at the polling stations in Bartana, Dharamgarh, Banur, Behra, Neebuan and Khijjargarh (Kanaur) villages. A minor clash was reported at Khijjargarh village.

Congress workers block the traffic on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway on Wednesday in protest against the alleged rigging by Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Capt Kanwaljit Singh at a Lalru polling station.
Congress workers block the traffic on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway on Wednesday in protest against the alleged rigging by Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Capt Kanwaljit Singh at a Lalru polling station.

In the Kharar assembly constituency, polling was marred by large-scale complaints of deletion of votes in the revised electoral rolls. A number of voters, who had brought along their voter I-cards and other identification papers, had to return without casting their votes after they were told that their votes were deleted in the revised electoral rolls. Several complaints of deletion of votes were received from different parts of SAS Nagar and Kharar.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has marked an inquiry into the complaints of deletion of votes in SAS Nagar falling in the Kharar Assembly constituency. The Additional Electoral Officer, Mrs Usha Sharma, who visited the town, said responsibility for the deletion of votes would be fixed.

There was lack of enthusiasm among voters in SAS Nagar as around 30 per cent voting was reported.

The police booked a SAD worker, Satinder Gill, for alleged disorderly conduct during polling at a station in Phase 1 of SAS Nagar. A polling agent of the Panthic Morcha, Gupreet Singh, had a scuffle with a Congress polling agent, Amar Kumar, at a polling station in Phase X when the former objected to a bogus vote allegedly being cast by a Congress supporter. The matter was solved after the police intervened. The Kharar police booked two youths, Parminder Singh and Rajinder Singh, who were found distributing objectionable posters. A case under Section 188 of the IPC has been registered against them, said the DSP, Kharar, Mr Roopinder Singh.

Slogans were raised against the Punjab Government by a small group of voters led by Mr Harinder Pal Singh Billa, a former Municipal Council President, in front of Government Primary School, Phase III B1, in protest against the deletion of names from the voters’ list. Mr Billa questioned why lakhs of rupees were spent on preparing voters’ I-cards if these were not to be used.

Mr Khushjiv Singh, a resident of Phase IV, said that when he came to cast his vote he was shocked to find that his wife’s name did not figure in the voter’s list.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a municipal councillor, said at the voting centre in Gian Jyoti Public School the voter’s I-cards of her two children were made in 1995 but now their names were missing from the voter’s list. She claimed that the names of nearly 400 persons living in Phase II had been deleted from the voter’s list.

Mr Inderjit Singh, a resident of Phase III B2, said he got a slip indicating his vote number from party workers sitting near the voting centre at Government Senior Secondary School, Phase III B1, but could not cast his vote as his name did not figure in any of the voter’s lists available at the four booths on the school premises.

Mrs Shashi Bala, a resident of Phase III B1, said at the voting centre at Government Primary School, Phase III B1, that her husband, Mr Anil Kumar, had died about seven years ago, but his name was still in the voters’ list though her own was missing.

The voter turnout remained a bit low throughout the day. At booth no 137 in Phase X only 337 votes had been cast by 3.15 p.m. out of a total of 824 votes. As many as 270 names had been deleted from the voters’ list.

By 3.30 p.m. only 322 votes out of 657 had been polled at booth no 142 located on the premises of Aanchal Preparatory School, Phase XI. Here again the names of 522 persons had been cancelled from the voters' list. As many as 375 persons had cast their vote at booth no 142A on the school premises out of a total of 786 votes. The names of 223 voters had been deleted from the voters' list.

At booth no 185, located in the PUDA building, only 64 votes had been polled till 11 a.m. At booth no 179 in Gian Jyoti Public School, only 107 votes had been cast by 11.45 a.m. out of 556 votes. The names of 221 persons again stood cancelled at this booth. At booth no 174 in Government Senior Secondary School, Phase IIIB1, 146 persons had cast their votes by 12.30 p.m. out of a total of 641. The names of 226 persons had been cancelled from the voters' list.

The Returning Officer, Mr Jai Pal Singh, said that a number of persons were living as tenants in the town and they kept moving from one place to another and did not take the trouble of getting their vote made again. As many as 8000 persons had applied for fresh votes out of which 7165 new votes were prepared.

He said a house-to-house survey had been carried out in the town and a cancellation list was prepared in accordance with that survey which was displayed for inviting objections. Objections had been invited from November 14 to November 20 last year. People did not bother to raise objections during the specified period.

He said he had brought the matter to the notice of the Election Commission.

Mr Charanjit Singh, former president of the Municipal Committee, Kharar and a leader of the Congress party, said that about 4000 votes were deleted from the lists this time in Kharar alone and the Punjab government and the officials concerned were responsible for this. He has demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.

Mr Roshan Lal, a Municipal Commissioner, who was sitting in a camp in Khanpur village said that the votes were cancelled without any logic and the voters faced a lot of problems because of this and they were seen moving from one booth to another.

A large number of residents also met mediapersons and demanded a proper inquiry into the matter.

In SAS Nagar, the Panthic Morcha was reportedly planning to move court against the local administration for deleting votes without properly verifying the voters during the revision of polls. Representation of several voters were being collected before taking the legal recourse.

In the sensitive Nayagoan area of Morinda, tempers ran high amidst charges of bogus voting by the Congress and SAD candidates. However, the elections passed off peacefully with over 60 per cent polling being reported from the Morinda constituency. Two rival candidates of the seat, Mr Jagmohan Kang of Congress and SAD-BJP nominee, Mr Ujagar Singh Badali, allegedly entered polling booths here “several times” along with their armed bodyguards. The cops on duty never bothered to stop them from entering the booths, alleged the villagers.

The TNS saw several trucks ferrying “voters” allegedly for bogus voting by both the Congress and SAD in Naya Gaon. The trucks unloaded the “voters” and again went to ferry another round of such voters. The police was a silent spectators to the whole drama. The situation in Naya Gaon became very tense when a Punjab Police cop (in plain clothes) reportedly brandished revolver to “shoo away” voters of SAD. The SAD candidate, Mr Badali, also alleged that armed supporters of the Congress in a Fiat Uno car tried to scare his supporters. However, Mr Kang denied the allegations.


* There was confusion among voters when a former MLA from Kharar, Mr Jagat Singh Gharuan (who shares his surname with that of a rebel Congress candidate for the Kharar seat, Mr Harnek Singh Ghauruan) issued an appeal in favour of the Congress candidate, Mr Bir Devinder Singh 

* Another appeal was issued by Rajbir Singh (who is namesake of the Panthic Morcha candidate, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala) in favour of the SAD candidate, Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang. Apparently to confuse the voter of the rival candidate, the name of the persons issuing the appeals was printed in a small font size at the end of the matter.

* The Returning Officer for the Kharar seat, Mr Jaipal Singh, has written to the proprietors of different printers presses to give details of the number of posters (Coloured and other) printed by them for different candidates. The cost of printing the posters would be added in the expenditure of the respective candidate.

* The Punjab police remained on tenterhooks as it kept on receiving fake complaints about bogus voting in the Kharar and Morinda constituencies.

* Special nakas were set up to check movements of bogus voters in SAS Nagar.



Six SAD workers booked
Our Correspondent

The vehicle of Mr Kuljit Singh Randhawa, election agent of the Congress candidate in Banur, that was allegedly damaged by the SAD workers in Kanaur village on Wednesday.
The vehicle of Mr Kuljit Singh Randhawa, election agent of the Congress candidate in Banur, that was allegedly damaged by the SAD workers in Kanaur village on Wednesday.

Banur, February 13
Six supporters of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Shiromani Akali Dal candidate in the Banur assembly constituency and Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, were today booked for allegedly indulging in poll-related violence.

According to the police, Kehar Singh, Santokh Singh, Inderjit Singh, Mohinder Singh, Joginder Singh and Paramjit Singh have been booked under Sections 427, 506, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code by the Banur police.

These six SAD workers have been booked on the complaint of Mr Kuljit Singh Randhawa, a former president of the Dera Bassi Truck Union.

In his complaint Mr Randhawa has alleged that his car (HR-03B-4244) was attacked by over 50 workers of the SAD while he objected to alleged polling of bogus votes at a polling booth in Kanaur village.

He further alleged that Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s supporters used sharpedged weapons, lathis and revolvers in the attack in which he along with his friend Mr Ajit Pal Singh, general secretary of the state Youth Congress, had a narrow escape.



Ambush laid for hooligans
Tribune Reporters

Geri route closed

In view of its past experience, the police has decided to seal the Sector 10 ‘geri’ route on St Valentine’s Day. Youngsters on vehicles will be shooed away from there and Panjab University will also close two of its three gates. Only university students and residents will be allowed to be on the campus.

Chandigarh, February 13
Valentine’s Day revellers in discotheques, do not even think of putting your arms around any girl dancing on floor. If you pick up a fight, bouncers will finish it and hand you over to the police.

For controlling hooliganism inside and outside discotheques, private securitymen in plain clothes have been deployed there. Dhruv Sharma, who works in a private security firm, says, “Smart guys will mingle with the partying crowd, gather information from the irritated persons around and call the police before hooligans do any mischief.”

Police officials in casuals will also assist them. A senior police official, says, “Officials of the Intelligence Wing and the CID will keep a regular vigil on crowd and regular police force will help them in this.”

Another senior police official says that policemen will even help guards in frisking visitors and being on the lookout for unclaimed vehicles in parking lots.

The decision to post policemen at discotheques has been taken in view of recent reports of incidents of violence. A senior police official says that, a few years ago, a youngster had even pulled out a pistol at the girl of his desire whom he had found dancing with another guy.”

Many police officials said arguments with baton-wielding security guards were not uncommon. There have been several drunken brawls in parking lots in front of discotheques as bouncers are often not enough in number.

Last year, two groups had clashed in a market after having an argument over a girl in a discotheque.

“Our aim is not to spoil the mood, but to check harassment of girls,” says police officials.


The police has made arrangements to ensure that Valentine’s Day passes off peacefully here. Policemen have been deployed outside Government College, the only co-educational college in the town, and all major markets here.

The Station House Officer of the Sector 5 police station will be in Government College with adequate staff to check any nuisance. Special police squads in markets of Sectors 7, 8 and 11 and PCR squads will be on highest alert.

According to a press note issued by the police here today, any person found giving flowers, cards etc to any girl in the town will be strictly dealt with. Revellers will have to follow traffic rules.



Win over your Valentine with small gifts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Cupid’s angles - in dazzling metallic bustiers over glittering faux leather pants - are all set to shine on February 14 in discotheques and college campuses. For them, it is all decided. The guys can shake, rattle and roll on the polished dance floor with their hearts palpating for love pangs in fluorescent T-shirts over regular jeans. Pretty damsels will be ruthlessly pocketing the trophies of love in embroidered spaghetti tops over ultra-suede pants. In days that are no more and will, perhaps, never come back, it was all very easy. Just tear the jeans from the knees, wear a tank top over it, don dark sunglasses, and zip down the street to lovers’ rendezvous for whispering sweet nothings with the light of your life under the rejuvenating shade of a Banyan tree.

Today it is different. One love, one life, one token of remembrance is not enough. So many “blushing honors” have to be achieved, more names of singing admirers to be added in the files and folders of memory.

No wonder, the shopping has begun. Dress-to-kill glam doll Noor has already pulled out Rs 3,000, for a chic crystal-beaded top, from her newly purchased sequinned bag she plans to clutch in her silvery hands touched by diamond hoops.

“Am gonna hog the spotlight with sparkling stars on my new dress at the St Valentine’s bash in a discotheque,” the undergraduate asserts. “Honest mirror on the wall tells me that I am fairest of the all, no doubt about it”.

Noor does not know. Is ignorant of the “stiff struggle” she is going to encounter from Zubina. The postgraduate student, looking for an unlasting romance, is planning to dress up and flirt her way through the party with feminine frills, ruffles and lace.

“Gee, I have spent all my savings on a boat-neck top with frilled sleeves, lace pants and a frilly pouch,” she reveals. “All this is for the afternoon revellery. For the evening bash, I have borrowed from a newly married pal a nice purple skirt with frill trimming, to be matched with an asymmetrical stretch top. Along with it, I will apply intense gaze eye shadow”.

Poor Zubina. She also wanted to pick up a pearl bracelet and crystal-studded slip-ons but “acute shortage of encouragement from a somewhat miser daddy” is preventing her “standing out from the pack of party clones”. “The slip-ons were not even expensive. They were costing just Rs 895, but dad was adamant. Kept his foot down. Refused to pull out the green currency notes from his wallet. Now I will have to manage with standard sandals. For the first time in my life, I am sorry for myself”. Well, Zubina, do not worry. May be your knight in shining leather jacket will buy you a pair of transparent plastic peek-toe pumps. All the best for it and have a nice time collecting gifts.


Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but are expensive too. Gold is no good if you are not planning to beg, borrow or steal. Silver is inexpensive but not all damsels like it. So, cute and cuddly teddy bears, for hugging in your absence, continue to be the hot favourite on Valentine’s Day in 2002. Depending upon the size and the cuteness of the soft toy, you can buy them for anywhere between Rs 350 to Rs 3000.

Chocolate packs neatly wrapped in cellophane paper and tied with cheerful ribbons are also in, like always. But before giving them to your heart’s flame, make sure she is not calorie conscious, lest the gift is passed on to somebody. Bouquets are elegant but tend to wilt away even before her love withers. Otherwise also, she might face problems in explaining its flowery presence. Cards can get you caught. If your affair is not an open secret, avoid cards, please. Cassettes and perfumes should be purchased only if you are sure of her tastes.

You can buy her a nice watch, or else black-rimmed shades. A good chain-belt will also do. Simple, decent, hoops are costing just Rs 200. Denim jackets can be picked up for Rs 800. Or else, you can take her along to the arcade and buy her a sequined bag, even an extra-long scarf for the remaining winter days. Remember another thing. You do not have to be rich to appear rich. Buy a lot of small but significant gifts like brass bells, wall hangings and mounted posters. Ethnic stuff can be bought from so many emporiums in the city.



V-Day — it’s all about money honey
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Valentine’s Day is invading the market as much as it is invading the mindset. Since the beginning of February, there is excitement in the air. Markets are laced with products for the D-Day. Musical cards, rare flowers, party music, live bands and heavy discounts on beauty packages — the industry is thanking the day for its commercial prowess.

However, real players of the day — adolescents — are not into the day’s spirit... they are into a relationship one moment and out of it the other. Valentine’s Day has been changing with years as it becomes popular. Sociologists and psychologists say that, for youngsters, the day is no more than “an excuse to give let out suppressed desires and a diversion from the boring routine”. They say that idle youth use this occasion to do things that are not permitted otherwise. The concept of the day has altered the definition of love greatly.

A 20-year-old boy frequenting the ‘geri’ route, when asked, said the day was about anything but loyalty. He has been frequenting the route for three years, but his “self-professed love” has not survived the test of time. It has changed on every occasion. He says, “Valentine’s Day means breaking free and voicing your emotions. It is not about putting the final stamp on relationships.”

A third-year student of the Sector 11 Government College for Girls is ready to don her best clothes on the day. She already has an appointment with the best beautician in city that is offering a 50 per cent discount on all packages. Ask her what is in this day that inspires her and she says, “It is a day of reckoning. Let us see who is the most sought-after girl this year. Last year, four boys presented me with flowers and I hope the number increases this year.”

The day is also about number games; while boys compete for approaching girls with gifts, girls compete for receiving these. Many youngsters said they saved hard to buy expensive gifts for their Valentines. However, neither the presenter nor the receiver is thinking beyond the price. A student of the Sector 11 Government College for Men said, “Most of the time, we just yield to the hype, but if I choose to ignore the day, I will be called a fool. Finding a girl to give her a flower is a challenge for me... if I don’t get one, I will hate myself.” A psychology student of the GCG-11 said, “If you are not a part of the hype, you are a misfit. Receiving flowers is question of prestige.”

A law student of Panjab University said, “The day is more of a forced practice. I may walk upto a girl and give her a gift without feeling anything for her. Relationships made on this day wither away with it.”

Dr Rajesh Gill of the PU Department of Sociology, said, “The day is promoting exhibitionism and it is nothing but a diversion from the routine. The society has nothing to offer our idle youth who are now looking for outlets. The connotation of the day is sensuality and not love. These relationships are temporal and there is a lot of negative force on play. The statement of love is bound to change.”

Dr J.M. Jerath, head of the PU Department of Psychology, said the day was a sought-after diversion for youngsters. He said, “The youth get a fresh excuse to let out their emotions and there is nothing wrong with the day if the relationships are mature. However, youngsters of today are far from mature. They are into a relationship and still out of it, in which regard, the day does not further a healthy trend. The society is also to be blamed because it has not been able to handle its youth well.”



My dear Valentine...

“VALENTINE'S Day” is a light-hearted occasion celebrated almost all over the world by the sending of “valentines” to a loved one. The origin of the expression points to St Valentine who, according to tradition, was the bishop of Terni martyred at Rome. This saint’s name is often omitted from the calendar of saints’ days.

Most Roman Catholic saints have their festivals. Saint Valentine’s festival is held on February 14. However, the custom of sending valentines to a loved one on that date every year seems to have arisen because it accidentally coincides with the Roman mid-February festival of Lupercalia.

“Valentine” reminds one of, besides the martyr, Pope Valentinus (A.D.827), a town in North Nebraska and some boys given this name. The list of persons related to the occasion is like this Valentinian I (A.D. 321-375) was the emperor of the Western Empire from AD 364 to 375). Valentinian II was the emperor of the Western Empire from AD 375 to 392. He was alternatively called Valentinianus II.

Valentinian III (AD 419-455) was emperor from AD 425 to 455. He is also known as Valetinianus III.

Valentine’s Day has been, over the years, particularly used for choosing a point of time in February for sending one’s sweetheart messages of love. Now it is uniformly called St Valentine’s Day and used for sending cards, flowers or words of romantic or light-hearted nature. Mating of birds is reputed to be one of the references in respect of this day.

Young persons give messages which are comical or satirical too. But the tokens of expression on this day have caught up with the perception of love not yet requited or yearnings not yet met with fulfilment. All in all — the saints or the emperors concerned notwithstanding — it is the symbol of such joy as is hopeful, scintillating and largely good for something! The celebrations need not be sacramental. But these must not be derided as the Shiv Sena is doing in Mumbai either. — K.P.S. 



Parties set to fight it out in court
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
A local court seems to have become the battleground for political parties with eight cases having been filed against various parties so far and many more expected in the coming days.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) filed three cases, including two criminal cases and a civil, against the Congress. Reacting to the defamation cases filed against it by SAD, the Congress also filed a counter defamation complaint against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, and others. The Congress has also filed two complaints for quashing of cases filed against it by SAD.

Besides political parties, a former Additional Director of Information and Public Relation, Punjab, has also filed a suit for recovery and attachment of property against the Chief Minister of Punjab and his son. He alleged that the Chief Minister had directed him to work in the election campaign of his son, held in 1989-90.

The electoral battle in Punjab shifted to a city courtroom on February 2, when the general secretary of a local unit of SAD (Badal), filed a criminal complaint against the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee. He claimed that the contents of the advertisement were false, malicious and against the party chief.

Later on February 4, the Chief Minister’s son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, also general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), filed a criminal complaint against the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee President Amarinder Singh for defaming him and his family through the publication of defamatory advertisements in newspapers last month.

On the very next day, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his Sukhbir Badal also filed a civil suit against the Congress, seeking recovery of Rs 5 crore as damages. The Chief Minister and his son also deposited Rs 4, 90, 350 by way of court fee mandatory under such cases of defamation. On February 8, Capt Amarinder Singh reacted to the legal battle and filed a complaint seeking quashing of the defamation complaint filed against him by Sukhbir Badal.

Later on February 12, the Congress also filed a defamation case against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal. The congress also filed a case for quashing of the criminal complaint filed against the PPCC by a general secretary of a local unit of SAD.

The former MLA of Ludhiana, Mr Nirmal Singh Mahant, had also filed a civil suit against the Congress. Later on February 6, a former MLA of Ludhiana, Mr Nirmal Singh Mahant, withdrew the civil suit filed.

* A civil suit filed by the Chief Minister of Punjab and his son Sukhbir Badal against the PPCC and the Congress will come up for hearing on March 15.

*A defamation complaint filed by Sukhbir Badal against the PPCC president will come up for hearing on February 21.

*A local court reserved its order on a defamation complaint filed by the general secretary of a local unit of SAD (Badal) against the PPCC for February 19.

* A defamation complaint filed by the PPCC and the Congress against the Chief Minister of Punjab and his son will come up for hearing on February 23 for preliminary evidence.

* A complaint filed by the PPCC for quashing of the case filed against it by the general secretary of local unit of SAD will come for hearing on February 19.

* A complaint filed by the PPCC for quashing of the case filed against it by Sukhbir Badal will come up for hearing on February 21.



F&CC likely to reconsider property tax issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The issues of property tax and hike in water and sewerage charges are likely to be again put before the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) in its next meeting which is likely to be held on February 18 or 19.

This will be the second time since the Congress assumed power in the new MCC House that the imposition of property tax will come up for the consideration of the political class. First time, the Congress did not allow the matter to be placed on the agenda of the last meeting of the House.

The Congress was likely to decide on holding two meetings of the F&CC, first one specially on budget and the second on the remaining issues in subsequent week, the party sources told the Chandigarh Tribune here today. Issues like paid parking, recoveries from taxi and cable operators, departmental purchases and benches for sweepers would be discussed in the second meeting, they said.

The F&CC is likely to give the parking contractor a hearing and offer negotiations for the benefit of both parties. The negotiations will mainly focus on not charging fee at the entry point.

Negotiations have become necessary in the wake of the contractor resisting changes in the terms and conditions having financial implications and threatening to sue the corporation for breach of agreement.

Property tax proposals have been rejected time and again during the past five years of corporation’s existence. But the Central Government and the Chandigarh Administration seem uninclined to give up. The Central Government is so keen on imposition of property tax that it has offered sops to encourage people and their political masters.

The Home Ministry is believed to have offered a matching grant if the property tax was imposed. The city is amongst those rare places in the country where property tax is not applicable.

Political observers are also viewing MCC Commissioner M. P. Singh’s participation in a national seminar on property tax and reforms in the sector as an effort to bring ideas for an acceptable form and formula of the tax in the city. The Bangalore formula of property tax allowing self-assessment is being considered as one of an acceptable forms of the tax.

The Congress is still divided on the issue.

The hike in sewerage charges is likely to come in the wake of a court order for creation of a fund by the Punjab, Haryana and UT to treat polluted water before it flows into rivers. The court had also suggested to impose a cess on water for the purpose.

Surcharge on water is already in existence in the city.

The F&CC is likely to reconsider the rates of parking charges for taxi operators with a condition that they first deposit the amount which could not be recovered from them in the wake of a court case.



Opening new vistas in education
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
She has come as an ambassador for opening new vistas in education for the youth and exploring the potential and promise India holds out to the outside world.

That’s the Chief Executive of IDP Education Australia, Ms Lindy Hyam, for you, in the city with proposals to tie-up with various universities in the country. She says: “Australia has been absent from India as far as education is concerned despite being innovative, progressive and quick to address new market trends. In comparison, the UK and the USA which have been marketed well have elicited tremendous response”.

The CEO, during her visit to universities, is armed with projects which include joint programmes for undergraduate and postgraduate classes, awarding joint degrees to students taking examinations, degrees of combined subjects of the Australian and Indian curriculum and initiating various online programmes.

“We have earned a very positive response from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the IGNOU. They are keen on tying up with us since all universities in Australia, in turn, are operating through us in foreign lands. Also, there is no denying the fact that we have made our mark in distance education and are easily the best,’’ she adds.

She claims that the UGC, while showing great interest in the plan, has assured of greater support in case it materialises, assuring her that they were in favour of bringing greater flexibility into the field of education.

Excited about the response her proposals have drawn from various quarters, Ms Hyam explains:” Some of the universities have asked us to draw out a complete plan and get back to them within two months. This means a lot of work once I am through with my tour.’’

The only hitch in executing the entire education curriculum, she feels, would be the recognition of the degree by the Indian and Australian governments. “We will have to thrash out the question of mutual recognition of degrees which is of prime interest to the students who will subsequently enroll with us and the students’ welfare is uppermost in our minds,’’ she states.

However, even before the visit of the CEO was finalised, the offices of the organisation located in five cities of the country, which include Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, did the spadework to test the waters.

For the purpose an in-depth research was carried out in the cities where the organisation pinned down the requirements of Indian youth to looking for an internationally recognised degree, increased chances of employment with recognised organisations and a chance to improve status and financial position.

“This was carried out with the sole purpose of watching the interest of the students while framing the policy and finding the most `suitable match’ in terms of individual requirements,’’ she said.



No-clue to ‘source’ of detonators
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The local police is still groping in the dark about the source of over 3,500 low-intensity detonators that were discovered in Kalka yesterday. They have not ruled out the possibility of the explosives being meant for some terrorist activities in the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh.

Police investigations into the blast incident yesterday have so far revealed that these explosives have a low intensity and are basically used for commercial purposes like blasting of hills to construct roads, in mine blasts etc. However, the police has been unable to make any headway into the origin of the detonators.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, informed that a team of the Kalka police had visited Jai Prakash Industries in Kalka , who are engaged in construction work in Nathpa Jakhri project. “The experts have informed that these detonators are low intensity explosives, used for commercial purposes. It is also learnt that this is a controlled item prepared by Indian Explosives Ltd. and can be obtained only on a valid license issued by IEL.”

The police officer, however, said that instances of these explosives being sold off to non-licencees by unscrupulous dealers from areas rich in mines as in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have often cropped up.

When asked if the explosives could have been meant for some terrorist activity in Himachal, the officer said that the possibility could not be ruled out. He said that so far no explosion by terrorists had ever been reported from the hilly state, though terrorist activity from Jammu and Kashmir had often spilled over in Himachal. He said that the explosives were bound for Himachal and could also have been meant for construction work.

The police investigations have so far revealed that the detonators, weighing about 6.5 kg, were being brought in the Delhi-Kalka Himalayan Express on October 9, 2001. However, the carrier (one who was bringing the explosive), possibly scared of the intensive checking by GRP at Kalka railway station, where the train terminates, left the detonators in the train.

This bag was found by the railway safai karamcharis, who handed over the same to the GRP. The GRP personnel deposited this as lost property and after the limit of three months was over, auctioned it off yesterday.

It was here that Suresh Kumar bought the detonators, thinking it to be scrap for Rs 45. He took the same to his brother, Rakesh Kumar, a scrap dealer. It was while Rakesh Kumar was examining it that the detonator went off, resulting in minor injuries to Suresh and the loss of three fingers of Rakesh.

The SP said that investigations were on and they were trying to get in touch with Delhi police for further investigations.



Camp on livestock
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The Department of Animal Husbandry organised a camp to improve the position of livestock in the district and to cure the diseases afflicting them at Barwala today. Deputy Commissioner Jyoti Arora presided over the camp.

Speaking on the occasion, the DC said that animals were not only meant for our livelihood, but also improve our economic status.

She said that dairying was a more paying occupation for farmers in the district, which has been facing an acute shortage of water for irrigation because of its geographical situation. She asked the farmers to buy high-yielding breeds of cattle like Murrah buffalo and Shankar cows.

It was also announced that the Animal Husbandry Department had introduced a scheme of insurance of animals under which high-yielding animals were insured at a premium of Rs 450, with Rs 225 being paid by the department.

She spoke about evolving of a new system where the dairy farmers were paid for their milk by cooperative societies. She said that 60 new societies would be set up in the interior of the district to ensure that farmers got good value for their yield.

The Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, said that the department was implementing a programme of improvement in the breed by artificial insemination.



Residents reject pact on cable tariff
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
The Panchkula Joint Welfare Association Forum has rejected the compromise between the Panchkula Residents Welfare Forum and the Panchkula Cable TV Association by claiming that this compromise was not acceptable to a majority of the residents.

In a press release, Mr Hemant Kinger, convener of the forum, said that the Residents Welfare Associations of Sectors 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20 and 21 had decided not to pay to the operators more than Rs 150 per month.

He pointed out that a new cable operator, Ms Krishna Communications, was now in the field and was offering to provide the service at Rs 140 per month. He said the operator had laid his main cables in Sectors 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.

It may be noted that the Panchkula Residents Welfare Forum led by Mr R.P. Malhotra had resolved the stand-off between the residents and the cable operators with both the parties agreeing on a bimonthly package of Rs 360 or a trimonthly package of Rs 500 per connection.

It is learnt that the operators led by their president, Mr Rajesh Sondhi, had challenged that new operators promising a tariff of Rs 150 per month would be unable to provide as many channels. They promised that if the new operators would provide as many channels, they would further decrease the tariff by Rs 20 per month.



Man critical due to HUDA negligence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Negligence by HUDA staff in storing iron railings meant for dividing the road leading Railley village from Sector 12-A cost dear to three commuters on the road after night fall. It is learnt that HUDA had been installing iron railings on the road divider. After the workers finished the day’s work in the evening they negligently left the iron railings on the road. Street lighting on this road is deplorable and visibility becomes almost nil after dusk.

Residents of Sector 12-A complained that between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. three commuters got injured, one of them critically, when they failed to see the iron railings lying on the road.



Bank employees defer strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Following an assurance by the management to meet the demands of the employees of the Central Bank of India, the employees have decided to defer the nationwide strike call for February 15.

The strike call was given by the Central Bank Employees Congress affiliated to the Indian National Bank Employees Federation and the Indian National Trade Union Congress, in support of their demands, including promotional avenues in clerical and sub-staff cadres, restoration of staff welfare schemes, etc.

“In view of the acceptance for meeting demands of the union by the management within a reasonable period of time, at a meeting held recently, we have decided to defer the strike call,” stated Mr B. S. Gill, general secretary, Central Bank of India Employees Congress, in a press release today.



Air-hostess training workshop ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The 10-day air-hostess and cabin crew training workshop conducted by IAAN Creations concluded at Hotel Aroma today. The audio-visual production house had roped in serving professionals in the field to offer expert advice on a variety of topics ranging from job profile and industry to communication skills and formal and informal speech system.

Among the other modules offered during the course were training in body language and mannerism (through video recording), personal grooming covering health, nutrition and dress code, safety standards, first-aid procedures, situational management, customer care, service procedures, positive attitude and stress management.

Other topics included in-flight announcements, passenger interaction, leadership, interview techniques and group discussions. Later a complimentary photo session was also held for the participants of the workshop.



Tibetans usher in new year with prayers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
For Tibetans based in the city, it was a moment of prayers. Whereas in the earlier years, they have been ushering in their new year with great jubilation, this time it was more of praying than rejoicing.

Dressed in traditional attire, the Tibetans welcomed their new year, Losar 2129, praying for peace in the world as also in their strife-torn homeland. They also prayed for the wellbeing of the Dalai Lama who is suffering from illness.

In order to invoke blessings, Mohyal Bhavan, the venue, was all done up with folk motifs. With motifs all over, the bhavan made a peaceful picture.

A small cultural function organised at the bhavan featured traditional dances like the yak dance and the natural beauty of Tibet. There were also some solo song presentations.



Holiday mood in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
The city was in holiday mood with a very few visitors in offices amidst confusion over a closed day in the offices of the Chandigarh Administration. All offices of Punjab were closed, while the Administration had offered special casual leave for its employees who are registered as voters in Punjab.

There was low attendance in government-run schools and colleges with students and parents being unsure if classes would be held. Several government employees headed for a welcome break to adjoining tourist destinations. In UT offices visitors were advised by the staff on duty to come only on Thursday.



Truck driver robbed of Rs 20,000
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 13
A truck driver was reportedly robbed of Rs 20,000 in the Sector 8 market this afternoon. He had come here to sell his produce of tomatoes from Rajasthan. The police has registered a case in this regard.

It is learnt that the truck driver, Baldev Singh, had come to Sector 26 grain market in Chandigarh to sell off his tomato crop in his truck (RJ-13G-3860). He reportedly made Rs 14,400 from this deal. He was accompanied by his brother, Gaggi.

In his complaint to the police, Baldev Singh has alleged that this morning, after he had sold off his crop, he met a man who offered to send some goods to Barnala in Punjab. The duo struck a deal and Baldev Singh followed him to Sector 8 here.

Upon reaching here, the man asked Baldev Singh to leave his truck with Gaggi in the market, and accompany him to Sector 4 in order to get the slip for carrying the goods out of Panchkula. When the duo reached there, the man asked Baldev Singh to wait while he went to get the slip.

Baldev Singh waited for a long time, but the man did not return. It was then that he hired a rickshaw and went back to Sector 8, where he had left his truck. When he reached here, he was aghast to find that other than the Rs 14,400 that he had earned here, an additional Rs 5,600 that he was carrying had been stolen.

His brother informed him that two scooter-borne youth wearing helmets had come there and while one of them overpowered him, the other broke open the lock of the glove compartment and stole the money.



1 booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 13
The police has booked a resident of Patiala for cheating and forgery under various Sections of the IPC on complaint of the owner of a Sector 9-based travel agency.

As per the police sources, the complainant, Mr Joginder Singh, alleged that Deepak Vohra gave him a cheque of the Bank of Punjab worth Rs 88,065 against purchase of four air tickets from Delhi to Trivendrum. After inquiry, Mr Joginder Singh came to know that Deepak had no account in the said bank.

Woman harassed: Ms Sukhdeep Kaur, a resident of Sector 45, reported to the police that she was being harassed and maltreated by her husband, Taranjit Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, and her in-laws for bringing more dowry. She was married in the last September. A case under Sections 406 and 498A of the IPC has been registered.

Scooterist hit: A scooterist, Sanjiv Sharma, a resident of Sector 22, was injured when a car hit him on February 8. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC was registered against the car (PB - 65 - B - 1128) driver who fled from the spot, said an official press note of the UT Police issued here today.

Car stolen: Mr S.L Garg, a resident of Sector 15, Panchkula, reported to the police that his Maruti car (HR - 03 - B - 8043) was stolen from Sector 17 yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

17 rickshawpullers booked: The local police registered six cases under Section 283 of the IPC against 17 rickshaw pullers for allegedly causing danger and obstruction in public way in different parts of the city here yesterday. However, they were released on bails later.


Held for stealing: The police has arrested Pal, a resident of Rajiv Colony on charges of stealing a lid of a manhole in Sector 19. According to FIR registered under Section 279 and 311 of IPC, the lid had been stolen by Pal alongwith Deepa on February 12.

PO arrested: The police has arrested a proclaimed offender in an accident case of 1992. Brij Lal was arrested by the police yesterday. He is accused of hitting a rehri wallah with his truck and injuring him. He had been declared a PO in December, 2001.



Youth killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 13
A youth of Dera village was killed in a head-on collision involving a Canter and a truck on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near, here late, last night.

According to the police, Raja died on the spot and his body was extricated by the people after breaking open the window panes of the Canter.

The Canter (HNL-7090) was deployed on election duty and carrying passenger towards Dera Bassi while it collided with a truck (HR-38-2646) coming from the opposite direction.

After registering a case, the police has sent the body to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem examinations.


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