Wednesday, April 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Strikes hit normal life in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Separate strikes by employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, all public sector banks and the electricity department brought work to a grinding halt in the city and its surrounding townships today.

* Power supply disrupted due to mischief in southern sectors.

* Banking services in nationalised banks comes to halt. Payments, cheques and drafts delayed.

* Faults in BSNL telephones remained unattended.

* Power and telephone bills could not be paid.

The strikes were organised by employees’ unions in protest against policies of the Union Government, alleging that these were ‘pro-privatisation’ and ‘anti-labour’. No untoward incident was reported as heavy police bandobast was made.

Employees of the Chandigarh Electricity Department joined the nationwide 24-hour strike at 7 a.m. today. Breakdown in power supply was caused in several southern sectors like 35, 37, 39, 40, 41 and 45. Engineers do not rule out the possibility of mischief. Sources in the department said a switch was found cut, thus the possibility of mischief. However, the supply was restored within few hours.

The president of the Sector 37 Residents Welfare Association, Dr Jagdish Jaggi, said power supply was disrupted due to the strike. Similar reports of disruption poured in from other southern sectors. In the morning a tripping had occurred in Sector 10 which was corrected. Another fault was reported from Industrial Area.

Besides these incidents supply remained largely unaffected and the day passed without a major breakdown. City residents wanting to deposit bills had to wait as no cash collection centre opened. No complaint was attended and no maintenance was carried out by the striking employees who had gone on strike under the banner of the UT Powermen Union. The special teams formed by the Administration carried out repair work in emergency cases.

The Administration had made its own arrangements. All sub-stations were handed over to police personnel to guard against any mischief. A round-the- clock complaint centre was run with the help of Sub Divisional Officers and employees drawn from the electrical wing of the Engineering Department.

Besides this, banking operations in the city came to halt in all branches of the nationalised banks here today as the employees went on the strike in protest against privatisation. However, the work in the private banks remained unaffected.

All branches of the State Bank of Patiala here remained closed. Over 200 officers from Panchkula, SAS Nagar, Ropar, Solan, Dharmpur, Parwanoo and other places participated in a rally held at Sector 8.

BSNL employees of the Punjab circle observed a token strike. A rally was held in front of Telephone Exchange, Sector 34. Due to the strike all services, including telephone fault repairing and new connection booking, remained paralysed.

The co-ordination committee of the Central Government Employees and Workers, Chandigarh, also held a rally during lunch time in Sector 17 to show solidarity with the all-India one-day strike of public sector undertakings and financial institutions. The rally was attended by employees of AG Punjab and Haryana, Postal Department, Census, Survey of India, ESI, Regional Provident Fund, Customs and Central Excise, Central Ground Water Board, TTTI, MES and TBRL, besides others.

Addressing the gathering, leaders condemned the policies of the Centre towards its employees. The reduction in interest rates of GPG and small savings as well as no enhancement in the income tax limit by the government came in for sharp criticism.

Employees of all subsidiaries of General Insurance Corporation held a joint demonstration in front of New India Assurance Company Limited, Sector 17. They were agitated against the abolition of additional casual leave, functional allowances and introduction of Special Voluntary Retirement Scheme and transfer policy.

Employees of the PSIEC, PSIDC and ELTOP affiliated to the Punjab Small Industry and Export Corporation Staff Association held a rally in front of Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17, against the privatisation and disinvestment policies of public sector units. Leaders condemned the economic policy of the government and alleged that it was working under the direction of World Bank.

PANCHKULA: The nationwide strike call by the Leftist unions got a good response from all banks in the township and surrounding areas. Employees of all nationalised banks observed a one-day strike today in protest against what they called the anti-labour and privatisation policies of the government.

Employees of the Telecom Department also joined the strike. Reports of LIC employees of Kalka striking work today have also been reported. These people have been protesting against the outright sale or divestment of shares of public sector undertakings, downsizing and closure of sick units, attack on trade union rights.

KHARAR: A strike was observed by employees of PSEB, various banks and mills here. A procession was taken out by workers of Panipat Woollen Mills and Kharar Textile Mills.


MC dilly-dallies as leaves smoulder
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The Chandigarh Administration's ban on burning dry leaves in the city seems to have been thrown to the winds, courtesy apathy of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, which is not getting piles of leaves gathered at various spots in the city cleared up in time.

According to sources, a number of tractor-trailers of the MC meant to pick up garbage from different places of the city have been lying out of order for the past about a week. Although sources in the office of Medical Officer Health claimed this morning that these had been repaired and would be out on the roads clearing up piles by the afternoon, most of the heaps were still in place till around 6 pm today.

The situation is particularly striking in the southern sectors that fall in zones III and IV, as earmarked by the office of Medical Officer Health. Piles of dry leaves have been lying outside most houses in Sectors 33 and 34 for over 10 days. At many places people have resorted to burning of leaves, in violation of the Supreme Court order which bans the practice. In Sector 19 there are some piles as huge as five feet. At many other places huge piles have been burnt.

Meanwhile, as leaves continue to litter roads and bylanes, it is natural to spot many areas where piles have been burnt. Residents, when contacted, expressed helplessness in this regard. Said one of them, “What is the way out? We have not seen the sanitary inspector since long time now. And we cannot go on lodging complaints with the MC always.” While the officials largely remained elusive over the status of trailers, the same do not seem to be in order still.

Meanwhile, official sources informed that out of the total 50 vehicles available with the MC for the purpose of clearing garbage, around 20 were meant for zones III and IV. After evading the issue of tractor-trailers being out of order, one of the MC employees admitted: “The trailers have been repaired and we have told the sanitary inspectors to clear piles immediately.”


Confusion over toll tax at Bhankarpur
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, April 16
Hundreds of commuters who cross the Bhankarpur railway overbridge are confused and feeling harassed as the construction company has failed to mention the period of validity of the toll tax receipts, time and date on them.

A receipt without date, time and period for which it can be used.
A receipt without date, time and period for which it can be used.
— Tribune photo Pankaj Sharma

Confusion prevails over whether a commuter has to pay twice — for up and down separately — within a gap of 24 hours while crossing the overbridge on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway, that was thrown open to public on April 13.

The commuters complain that the construction company, R.S. Infrastructure Limited, was charging toll tax from them for every round, even if they return after paying a brief visit to either side of the overbridge.

Moreover, the company has not erected any signboard informing the road users about daily and monthly passes. Workers at the toll tax barriers hardly bother to educate commuters, said Mr Dinesh Sharma, a resident of Dera Bassi.

Mr Surinder Singh, who commutes from Ambala to Chandigarh daily, said he had to pay twice a day — on way from Ambala to Chandigarh and back — at the bridge while in other states the toll tax was being charged for 24 hours and not for each round.

Mr Jagdeep Singh, Director of the company, however, denied any controversy over charging of toll tax. He said the company was issuing daily and monthly passes to commuters on demand. Moreover, workers at the toll tax counter were issuing tickets to the commuters only after enquiring about the category of pass they wanted, he added.

Authorities in the building and roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department (PPWD) said the company was charging tax as per the notifications of the Ministry of Surface and Transport.

"It would take time to educated the commuters and for things to become normal", a senior PPWD official said.

However, Chandigarh Tribune team found that neither a signboard listing important information over daily and monthly passes was erected nor the workers issuing the toll tax receipts were educating the commuters. They were just collecting money after issuing them tickets. Even the tickets (No. 025059, 026185) that the team purchased were not bearing date, time and period of validity.

A car occupant, Mr Jasbir Singh, said, "The ticket clerk came to me and demanded Rs 10 for a ticket. He did not ask which category of ticket I wanted".


Middle East developments disturbing: Wisner
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
“The developments in the Middle East are very disturbing as the situation is very explosive,” says Mr Frank G. Wisner, a former US Ambassador to India.

Mr Wisner, who served in India between August, 1994, and July, 1997, was a member of the United States Foreign Service and held the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest grade in the Foreign Service, before switching over to the private sector as a Vice-Chairman of the American International Group, a leading US-based international insurance and financial service organisation. It is the largest underwriter of commercial and industrial insurance in the United States.

He was in the city today in connection with the commissioning of the Chandigarh office of Tata AIG.

Mr Wisner, who has also served as US Ambassador to Zambia (1979-82), Egypt (1986 to 1991) and the Philippines (1991-92), was the man behind the Egypt-Israel agreement. “There have been a number of successful conflict management agreements, especially in the Middle East, which have stood the test of time. Some of the conflicts, however, have defied a solution. And the Israel-Palestine conflict is one of them,” he said maintaining that some other chronic conflicts include those of Ireland, Indo-Pak and Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers.

Mr Wisner was the Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs between 1982 and 1986, a period of intense diplomatic engagement in Southern Africa at a time of conflict in Angola, Mozambique and Namibia and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Currently, he is the Chairman of the US-India Business Council. It may be a mere coincidence that the present US Ambassador to India is arriving here tomorrow with a business delegation and will hold discussions with senior functionaries of the Punjab Government, including the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Mr Wisner, too, met senior functionaries of the Punjab and Haryana Governments here.

Talking about developments in South Asia, he said that it was a “great testing time as nearly one million men in uniform have been deployed on either side of the Indo-Pak border. The snow in Kashmir has started melting. The two governments have to reflect on all options before them to de-escalate tension. Also disturbing are the developments in Nepal. Then there are problems in Sri Lanka.” he said adding that Pakistan had to cease to be a platform for perpetrating violence across the border .

Mr Wisner said his country had an important role to play in defusing tension and taking both sides along for “negotiated solutions”.

Coming to the insurance business, he said that in the past one year, Tata AIG had done fairly well. “Punjab has the big potential,” he said claiming that only the LIC was its rival in the north. The company plans to open offices in Chennai and Kolkata also.

“The changeover from the government to the private sector has been tremendous for me. When I joined government service several decades ago, people used to look up to the government for things like generation of power, telecommunications, roads, bridges, etc. But now all these areas are taken care of by private companies. I am sure the same is happening in India, too.

“AIG has a variety of distribution channels in 130 countries. It was in China as early as 1919 and in 1945 it was in India prior to the nationalisation of the insurance business here. On opening up of the insurance sector to the private sector in 2000, AIG and the Tata group formed joint venture insurance companies.

“AIG and its affiliate funds have invested approximately US $ 424 million in private equity. These direct investments have been made in telecommunications, toll roads and bridges in the infrastructure sector.

“Furthermore, India is one of the key countries for sourcing software service for its global requirements,” he added. “The more we work, the more we invest back in India “, he said. Accompanying him was Mr Sunil Mehta, country head and CEO of Tata AIG.


US Ambassador to meet the Press today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The Ambassador of USA Mr Robert D. Blackwill, will address a meet-the-press programme being organised by the Chandigarh Press Club on Wednesday at 6.45 p.m.

The programme is strictly for regular and candidate members only, according to a press note issued by the club.


Improper storage of ammunition
Loss of over Rs 1 crore
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Improper storage of ammunition at the ammunition depot at Dappar, located on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, has resulted in several thousand rounds of air defence ammunition, meant for various Army units based in the region, becoming unserviceable, thereby causing a loss of over Rs 1 crore.

In its latest report, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) has revealed that over 5,182 rounds of 30 mm ammunition, valued at Rs 1.16 crore, had to be declared unserviceable by user units before the expiry of their shelf life due to “improper storage” and “inferior packing”.

According to the report, the depot had covered accommodation for 12,000 tonnes of ammunition, against which 35,000 tonnes was being held. The overflow of ammunition was stored in open clearings on ‘dunnages’ and covered with tarpaulins. A dunnage is a loose stack of wooden planks or logs on which cargo is kept to keep it out of direct contact with the ground.

Scrutiny of the matter by the CAG brought out that in six out of 10 courts of inquiry (COI) held between August, 1997, and August, 2000, to investigate the causes of downgradation of ammunition, the reason was attributed to inferior quality of packing at the factories concerned and improper storage conditions at the depot.

“Ammunition is being stored in open with torn and worn out tarpaulins leading to seepage of air and moisture,” the report said. The COI recommended improvement in storage facilities to avoid recurrences of such losses.

A joint inspection team consisting of representatives of the Ordnance Factory, Khamaria, and 14 Guards examined 606 rounds at a user unit. The factory officials did not accept the opinion of the COI about use of inferior packing material and they also stated that the seals of boxes were tampered with.

The team concluded that re-packing as well as storage at the depot was not done properly. “These facts substantiate that downgradation of ammunition was due to improper storage conditions at the depot,” the report concluded.

Headquarters Western Command also stated that the depot has approached Army Headquarters to detail a representative of Ordnance Factory, Khamaria, to check the effectiveness of factory packing and ascertain the condition of ammunition in factory sealed boxes.


New-look petrol outlets soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Petrol pumps in the city will soon have a new look. Public sector oil companies, including the Indian Oil Corporation, have launched a programme to upgrade all petrol/diesel retail outlets in the city to worldclass standards. Upgradation of each outlet will cost between Rs 50-60 lakh, according to Mr D.P. Vaed, General Manager, Marketing Division in the Punjab State office of the IOC. There are a total of 14 retail outlets run by the IOC in Chandigarh. One more is under construction.

Mr Vaed said that the upgradation is necessary to retain competitive edge in the open market in the coming days. We are trying to go beyond providing mere customer service and satisfaction.

All public sector oil companies are trying to offer value for money to customers by providing world-class services at the retail outlets. Facilities include autowash, convenience stores, ATM, drug stores, SBI cards etc. Customers from the area would be able to get their daily requirements from these stores. Multi-product dispensers are also being installed at the retail outlets as part of the upgradation programme.


Politicians have ‘grabbed’ property in Mohali
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, April 16
Politicians have created a mess in the town and the surrounding areas by grabbing rural and urban property. The situation now has arisen that it has become difficult for a politician to get a house on rent here.

Stating this here today, Mr Birdevinder Singh, MLA (Kharar), said the affected persons could approach him to get the property vacated.

The MLA, who was speaking at a function organised by Market Welfare Association, Phase II, to honour him, said there was need for discipline in every government department dealing with public utility services. The behaviour of officials towards the public had to improve and they must understand their responsibility. Mr Birdevinder Singh said he would not allow corruption in any department. He said he had planned to set up an advisory committee, which would include retired persons from different fields whose expertise would be made use for public benefit. Discussions and seminars would be organised on various issues so that the best could be offered during the five-year tenure of the present government.

The MLA said all roads under the plan linking the main sectors of Chandigarh to SAS Nagar must be completed. He gave an assurance that the road linking Chandigarh and the Franco Hotel area through Palsora village would also be completed as demanded by the association.

He also said all streetlights in the market would be made functional. The parking area in the market would also be extended as the need arose.


Opposition terms council poll illegal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Kept out by the Congress from the Home Minister’s Advisory Council, SAD-BJP and Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) councillors here today sought the intervention of the UT Administrator to stop an ‘’illegal’’ election slated for April 18 to the council by a show of hands.

The SAD-BJP alliance and the CVM, which had parted ways after the Mayoral election, today came together to give a memorandum to the Administrator, Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob.

In a briefing after the meeting of the Adviser and seven councillors of the three parties — Ms Kamla Sharma, Ms Harjinder Kaur, Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla, Mr Jitender Bhatia, Mr Vijay Singh Rana, Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Mr Rajesh Gupta — said the Congress Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, was resorting to show of hands to prevent a display of dissent in the Congress party, which had witnessed a cross-voting in the Finance and Contract Committee elections.

Mr Rana could not go to the UT Administrator with the delegation but was a signatory to the memorandum.

The delegation claimed that the election by show of hands was a violation of the Punjab Municipal Act applicable on the Municipal Corporation.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M. P. Singh, was present at the meeting between the Administrator and delegation.

Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Ms Harjinder Kaur later told the Chandigarh Tribune that the Congress was flouting democratic norms.

The mayor had not called even a single meeting with the opposition to take a common position on issues of public interest. The report on the alleged bungling on the previous paid parking contract had also not been tabled in the House.

The delegation later met the Home and Local Bodies Secretary, Mr R. S. Gujaral, on the issue.

Commenting on the BJP, CVM and SAD representation to the Administrator, the Congress leader in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla, took the threesome to task for misrepresenting facts to draw political mileage by saying that the election to the council was decided by show of hands during the BJP regime and the present elections were only being held on the same pattern.

Mr Chawla said a divided BJP could not muster courage to hold elections to the council despite administration deciding the procedure.

He said the council elections were not held even once during the tenure of the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani.


CTCC members observe 12-hr fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Members of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) today observed a 12-hour fast to protest against violence in Gujarat and to demand the dismissal of the Modi government in Gujarat for defiling the Sabarmati Ashram.

Congress leaders, led by the CTCC Chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, began the fast at 9 am in Sector 17 along with senior functionaries of different wings, including the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi and leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Subhash Chawla. A large number of Congress functionaries, including councillors and office-bearers, sat in a tent decorated with banners and slogans “Vajpayee hosh mein aao’’, “Dismiss Modi’’.

Congress leaders played records of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs and other patriotic numbers spreading the message of communal harmony. The fast, which was earlier to end at till 5.10 pm, the time when Mahatma Gandhi, was shot dead, was later extended till 9 pm.

At the end of the fast the party leaders observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to those killed in Gujarat violence.

The CTCC chief, Mr B. B. Bahl, told the Chandigarh Tribune that the Sadbhavna month, which was to end on April 13 would now continue till the death anniversary of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, which falls on May 21. As part of the programme “sadbhavna” rallies would be taken out in sectors to oppose the attack on mediapersons, defiling of the ‘abode of peace’, secularism and national unity and to press for the dismissal of the Modi government, Mr Bahl said.

The local unit also decided to join the call given by the All India Congress Committee to gather in Ahmedabad on April 20.

The CTCC office-bearers and councillors will join the protest in Ahmedabad, Mr Bahl said.


Sanitation body to discuss key issues today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The Sanitation Committee of the Municipal Corporation will discuss the recommendation to the Finance and Contract Committee on the procurement of a machine to clean up a sector in a day tomorrow. The Mobile Road Model, estimated at Rs 18 to 20 lakh, can clean a littered sector in a day, sources said.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M. P. Singh, and the Medical Officer Health, Dr G. C. Bansal, have reportedly seen the demonstration of the operation of the machine.

The purchase of the machine will enable the corporation to take up clearing of garbage thereby making it easier for the sanitation staff to maintain cleanliness.

The corporation already has around 1,600 persons in its sanitation department.

The issue of a solid waste plant at Daddu Majra dumping ground, purchase of 150 benches for the sanitation staff to sit in different sectors, terms and conditions of sanitation contracts in four villages, disposal of garbage, purchase for sanitation department, terms and conditions for creation of public toilets, terms and conditions for mobile toilet vans and terms and conditions for a general sanitation contract will also be discussed.


VCD parlours doing brisk business
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 16
Fasting during Navratras has increased the business of video CDs. Strange it may sound, but it’s true. Too weak to go out for shopping and bored of sitting at home, housewives in Chandigarh, surviving on a diet of fruits, are fast hiring VCDs for passing time by watching movies at home.

According to shopkeepers dealing in VCDs, the sale has increased by as much as 50 per cent. “Before the onset of Navratras, we were selling about 10 CDs a week,” says a Sector-35 video parlour owner, Dhiraj Dutt. “Now a days, we are selling as much as 15”.

He says; “It is not just the latest English movies that are being purchased by eager housewives. Our regular Bollywood masala blockbusters, with a lot of action and dance sequences, are also in great demand”.

The housewives, he claims, have formed their own VCD clubs for passing time during Navratras. “Each club has about 10 to 20 members. After watching movies, the VCDs are exchanged among members so as to avoid seeing the same stuff over and over again”.

The low price of VCDs, asserts another shopkeeper, has encouraged this trend. Raghu Yadav, who runs a video parlour in a rehri market, says, “If you do not want the real, genuine, stuff, then you do not have to spend much. A regular good quality VCD costs about Rs 150 only, so you don’t have to think twice before purchasing it especially when you know that you won’t have to see the same stuff time and again”.

This is not all. The number of VCDs being rented out too has gone up. “The idea of renting out CDs is not very lucrative. You have to pay Rs 30 a day for taking home a VCD on rent, while you can purchase it for just Rs 150. But for those who are not the members of any VCD club, buying a VCD defies logic. Renting it out is the only option,” says Dhruv Sharma, working as a manager with a music shop.

“This is the golden period for us. With so many housewives asking for VCDs, we are making some real fast money. And just think of it we still have about three or four days to go before the Navratras end”, he adds.


Road panel meeting on April 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Roads adjoining Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's official residence are in a bad shape because they have not been carpeted for the past five years.

The matter will be coming up before the Road Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh on April 18 as the Chief Minister's staff has brought it to the notice of the corporation.

The meeting was earlier scheduled for April 18 and was deferred as the Corporation House meeting was postponed from April 16 to April 18.

Sources said the work had already been taken up and the committee's approval was required on the issue.

The corporation had not been giving the road priority as it was a closed thoroughfare due to security reasons.

Apart from this, the committee will pass estimates of patchwork and recarpeting of several roads as per the availability of funds.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Pardeep Chhabra, told the Chandigarh Tribune that it would seek information about the requirement of Road Wing and available resources and pass a resolution that the money collected from the auction of parking lots should be used for the improvement of roads in general and parking lots in sectors 17, 8, 9 and 22.

The committee has called all SDOs to be introduced to the members of the committee.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJP joined by the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) today attacked the Congress for failure to improve the condition of roads despite imposing paid parking and property tax on the people.


4 sub-committees formed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 16
The president of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council has constituted four sub committees of municipal councillors for executing various development works in the town. The councillors of the opposition group have been kept out of the committees.

According to information available, Mr Bharat Bhushan Maini has been made the chairman of the finance committee. The other members of the committee are Mrs Indu Sehgal, Mrs Prabhjot Kaur and Mr SS Barnala.

Mrs Paramjit Kaur has been made the chairman of the Education and Advertisement Committee. Other members are Tarlochan Singh, Mr Najar Singh and Mr Ghanshyam Bansal. The Public Health Committee would he headed by Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, Mrs Daljeet Kaur, Mrs Deep Kaur Shyan and Mrs Raj Rani. The Building and Municipal Works Sub-committee would be headed by Mr Phool Raj, a confidant of the president. The other members of the sub-committee are Mrs Amteshwar Kaur, Mrs Inderjeet Kaur and Mr Rajinder Prasad Sharma.

The term for the sub-committees would be one year. A municipal councillor of the opposition group said that the president had constituted the sub-committees after seven months of the formation of the civic body.

Meanwhile, the civic body has applied for a loan of Rs 2.50 crore from a financial institution for constructing its office complex. The plot allotted to the civic body by PUDA has been mortgaged. The civic body has already paid Rs 58 lakh as the first installment against the lost of the plot.


5 fire incidents reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
As many as five minor fire incidents, including in a house in sector 27 and a shop in Palsora colony, have been reported in the city since last night.

Clothes were burnt in the house No 2515 of Sector 27 this morning. A shop near the petrol pump in Palsora colony also caught fire causing an estimated loss of Rs 1,000.

Another shop in Sector 19 reported fire due to short-circuit but it was extinguished even before fire-tenders reached the spot.

Tree leaves near the dividing road of Sectors 8 and 9 and grass heaps in Sector 39 water works also caught fire, Fire Department sources said.


Cyclist hit by bus
Our Correspondent

Lalru, April 16
An unidentified cyclist was seriously hurt when an Ambala-bound Haryana Roadways bus (HR-6TA-0437) hit him on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near here yesterday.

According to the police the victim was a factory employee. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. As his condition deteriorated there, the doctors referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh. He is reportedly in a serious condition. The bus driver sped away, after the accident.


Constable hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
A constable of the Chandigarh Police, Harinder Singh, was injured after his scooter was knocked down by a car near Sarangpur village late last evening. The police has arrested the car driver, Bikram Singh, a resident of Sector 21, and impounded the car. A case has been registered.

Two held

The local police has arrested two persons from Ram Darbar and recovered 35 pouches of liquor from their possession. The accused, both residents of the same colony, have been identified as Rattan Lal and Mahavir Parshad. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them.

Held for gambling

A resident of Bapu Dham colony, Ashok Kumar, has been arrested for allegedly indulging in satta. The police recovered Rs 110 from his possesssion. He has been booked under the Gambling Act.


A Sector 44 resident, Mr Charan Bir Singh, has reported that Rs 3 lakh in cash has been stolen from his Tata Qualis which had been parked in Sector 35. He had drawn the money from a bank in Sector 8. The police has registered a case.


The police has booked a resident of Dhanas, Irshad Alahi and his family members for forcibly entering into a house in the same colony which had been sealed by the UT estate officer following a dispute. A case under Section 448 and 453 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.


Pedestrian hit

A pedestrian, Giri Prasad, was hit by a truck (HYC-2131) last night near Maheshpur. The driver fled the spot. The injured was taken to the Command Hospital. A case under Section 279 and 338 of the IPC has been registered.

Car Stolen

A Maruti car (CH-01E- 8823) was stolen from Sector 17. A case under Section 279 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint by Mr Yashpal.

One Arrested

The local police has arrested Satish Kumar, who had reportedly committed burglary in a factory in Industrial Area, Phase II, and recovered two stereos and a drilling machine.


Cheating charge against tractor dealer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Mr Prem Singh, a resident of Phase 7 here, in a complaint lodged with the Sector 34 police station stated that he had been cheated by Mr Nirmal Singh, owner of a private firm of Ropar, dealing in the sale and purchase of HMT tractors.

In a statement given to the police, he said that a second-hand Eicher tractor was kept by the owners of the shop in lieu of a new tractor. The financing of the new tractor was to be done by the private firm. The new tractor was taken back from Sector 45 here on the pretext of getting it serviced. The owner of the private firm did not return the old tractor.


Scooterist killed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 16
A scooterist was crushed to death in a freak accident on National Highway No. 22 at Bitna turning, near Pinjore, yesterday. Jaswinder Singh was killed and pillion rider Harbans Lal was injured when they were run over by a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-37- 4530). Initially, they had fallen off the scooter when it hit a jeep (HR- 37- 0720) which had suddenly applied brakes. The police has registered the case.


New range of beauty treatments
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 16
On the occasion of its fourth anniversary VLCC launched an exclusive facial and hair treatment range today. The festive mood of the staff members touched everyone who believes “Look good, feel great” mantra initiated by VLCC as the clinic offered a month long discount scheme called “Happy Hours” on beauty and weight loss, starting from today.

The products which were launched, included wine facial, wine hair treatment, Avocado anti-ageing facial and hair conditioning and grape fruit facial. Ms Rita Juneja, the Corporate Manager of the group, who was present on this occasion said in an attempt to make VLCC’s services accessible to all types of clientele, a lot many economy packages on weight loss had also been started. Among them the “inch loss” which helps a person to loose a few inches from a particular problem area has become quite popular.

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