Friday, June 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Faridabad Mayor sailing in choppy waters
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 27
The Mayor of the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF), Ms Anita Goswami, seems to be in choppy waters. More than two-third members of the corporation have joined hands to bring a no-confidence motion against her. The members are likely to hand over a letter of `no-confidence’ personally to the commissioner, Gurgaon Division, tomorrow.

If the commissioner accepts the letter, it would be the second time in the last one year that a mayor is facing a `no-trust’ move. Last year, Mr Devender Bhadana was ousted.

It is reported that 17 out of the 22 elected members have signed

the letter. Although there are 25 elected members, three are under suspension. These include Mr Shivcharan Lal Sharma, a former Senior Deputy Mayor, and his wife, Mrs Maya Sharma, who represent Ward No.

Five and Six, respectively. They were suspended after a case of fraud was lodged on the complaint of a corporator.

The third member to be suspended was Dr Ramanand Rastogi, who represents Ward No. Four. He had been booked in connection with violence during an anti-encroachment drive.

Although Mrs Renu Bhatia, yet another corporator, had also been handed over a suspension order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the same.

The appointment of Mrs Goswami in July last year had annoyed the majority of the members, including some belonging to the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). First, because her appointment was perceived to be on `instructions’ of the Chief Minister; it was felt that the mayor had been `imposed’ on the body.

Second, since the post of mayor is reserved for a backward class candidate the appointment was seen as a violation of norms. (Goswamis are not deemed as ‘backward’ in Haryana, although the mayor had reportedly procured a certificate from UP).

It is alleged that the co-ordination and communication between the mayor and the corporators has been poor, forcing several members to boycott the open darbars held by the former.

Moreover, only four meetings of the MCF have been held so far, of which two had been boycotted by the members. The suspension of various members also aggravated matters. While the MCF had decided in its last meeting to work for nullifying the suspension of Dr Rastogi, the members have alleged that the mayor did not take interest in the matter and write to the police chief for withdrawal of the FIR.

The decision to disband various committees formed during the tenure of the former mayor and `not taking the members into confidence on new Committees’ were some other irritants.

It is learnt that a prominent activist of INLD, who hopes to get the party ticket from Ballabgarh in the next Assembly election, is leading the charge against the mayor, whom he regards as a potential rival in the constituency. (The mayor also resides in Ballabgarh).


No going back on DVB reforms, pact inked
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
The Government of NCT of Delhi today signed a shareholders’ agreement with Tata Power and Brihanmumbai Suburban Electric Supply (BSES). This follows the inking of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 31 whereby the government and these two private players formalised the share acquisition agreement for allowing private sector participation in the distribution of electricity.

BSES will have a controlling interest in two distribution companies covering south and west Delhi and central and east Delhi. The third distribution company covering north and north-west will be managed by Tata Power. Under the terms of the agreement, the six companies – a holding company, generation company, transmission company and the three distribution companies – replacing the DVB will become operational from July 1.

The signatories to the agreement were Principal Secretary (Finance) Ramesh Chandra, Tata Power Deputy Managing Director Firdose Vandrevala and BSES Managing Director S. S. Dua. On the occasion, the government spokesperson said that BSES presented the government with a cheque for Rs 293 crore and Tata Power for Rs 187 crore. Among those present at the event were Finance Minister M. S. Saathi, Health and Urban Development Minister Dr A. K. Walia, DVB Chairman Jagdish Sagar and Chief Secretary Shailja Chandra.

Soon after the signing of the agreement, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told mediapersons that the event was a logical sequel to the MoU arrived at with the two companies. She said the government and the two private players had exchanged documentary notes with great optimism that the people of Delhi would be able to “get a continuous supply of quality power”. The shareholders’ agreement, she added, was a step towards the July 1 handing over of the distribution of electricity to private players as the DVB had been plagued by corruption and mounting losses.

According to Principal Secretary (Finance) Ramesh Chandra, who was a member of the core committee that was mandated to negotiate with the bidders, the private players will be allowed 16 per cent return on the issued and paid-up capital and free reserves, subject to the companies reducing the Aggregate and Technical (AT&C) loss by 17 per cent in five years (in the case of south-west and north-northwest zones) and 17.25 per cent (in the case of central-east zone).


CM defending the indefensible: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
Accusing Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s attempt at defending the indefensible as “shameful,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said the Congress leaders’ springing to the defence of legislator Jaspal Singh who has been held guilty by the Lokayukta for stealing electricity was politics at its lowest.

The BJP Legislature Party met during the day and condemned the Congress leaders for rallying around the “guilty” legislator. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagdish Mukhi told mediapersons the Congress was speaking with a forked tongue on the issue of corruption. Reiterating his demand for the Congress legislator’s dismissal, Mr Mukhi said the chief minister was supporting Mr Jaspal Singh because it suited her political interests.

“When the Lokayukta passed adverse remarks against the then Food and Civil Supplies Minister Yoganand Shastri the chief minister chose to act swiftly. This time round she has chosen to make the Lieutenant Governor the target of her ire,” he said. Criticising the chief minister for deflecting from the issue of corruption, Mr Mukhi said the Lieutenant Governor had simply discharged his constitutional duties.

Lokayukta Justice RN Aggarwal had in his June 14 order held Jaspal Singh guilty of large-scale power theft, meter-tampering and manipulation of electricity bills. Also of failing to maintain the norms, integrity and conduct that ought to have been followed by a public functionary.


Akali factions get personal on penultimate day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
On the penultimate day of campaigning for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections, the mudslinging touched new depths with the Akali factions levelling personal allegations.

The debate deteriorated even as senior Akali leaders like Parkash Singh Badal, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Simranjit Singh Mann, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Bhai Ranjit Singh joined in the campaigning.

SAD Delhi president Paramjit Singh Sarna in his campaign alleged that corrupt practices had touched a new high during the tenure of Mr Avtar Singh Hit of the SAD (Badal). He alleged that the offerings made by the members of the community were being misused by the Badal-controlled DSGMC members, which had drastically affected the financial position of the committee-run schools and colleges. On the other hand, Mr Avtar Singh Hit alleged that the rival Akali factions, devoid of issues, were making an “imaginary” issue of corruption to hoodwink the electorate.

While the SAD Delhi released photographs to establish the links between the Sad (Badal) candidates and the Congress leaders, allegedly involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the SAD (Badal) released telephone bills to prove the nexus between the Congress leaders and the SAD Delhi leaders. Meanwhile, the party strategists had a close look at the electoral roll containing the names of 3.17 lakh voters to assess the outcome of the elections. Though both the parties are expecting a reasonable turnout, they alleged that the other faction could indulge in bogus voting as a large number of political activists from Punjab have descended on the Capital.



Intelligence report indicts wards of Ghaziabad cops
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, June 27
The adage goes: Children of thieves become thieves. By extension, children of policemen, who are supposed to be the protectors of law, must become law-abiding citizens, if not cops. It is not so in Ghaziabad, it seems. A secret inquiry conducted by the intelligence department has found that at least 13 sons and two daughters of Ghaziabad policemen have either links with criminal elements or indulge in objectionable activities.

Though the report has not been made public, it is all panic stations here with senior police officers in the range moving around glum-faced. Several policemen, living in the official accommodation in the Police Lines and whose wards are understood to have been blacklisted, have moved out. The news about the inquiry began doing the rounds when the IG of Police and DIG of Meerut Range spoke to the SSP, Ghaziabad, and also summoned him and some other officers to Meerut on Wednesday.

The inquiry was ordered after numerous complaints were received of wards of some cops being involved in crimes. The report states that 13 sons and two daughters of Ghaziabad policemen were involved in objectionable activities.

Though the report was handed over to the then SSP, Mr Prashant Kumar, it had been kept under the wraps for a few months by the top brass. But now that the report has leaked out, it is giving anxious moments to the police personnel. Even the higher-ups in the range and zone are worried.

Police sources said that the IG of Police, Dr Vikram Singh, and the DIG, Mr Arun Kumar, had spoken to the SSP and asked for his explanation and also summoned him along with some other officers to Meerut. It is learnt that another inquiry has been ordered to find out how this report had leaked out.

The SSP said the policemen whose wards were found to be involved in unlawful activities would be asked to vacate the official accommodation in the Police Lines. Some of them had already vacated their quarters, he added.


Units want pollution norms simplified
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, June 27
Representatives and owners of several industrial units today called for changes in the procedures adopted by the Pollution Control Board. The venue was the one-day ‘Appreciation training programme on environmental legislation in India’, organised jointly by the local unit of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA).

President of the GIA Jagan Nath Mangla said that though there was no doubt that the industry should conform to healthy environmental standards, the government also must understand the importance of transparent and simplified procedures in regulating the units.

He lamented that the industries in the state were forced to apply for the “consent” of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) every year afresh in the prescribed form along with the required fees whereas in some other states, the industry needed to send a simple application for renewal. It was highly improper for the board to charge the consent fee every year when there was no change in the working of the unit concerned, he added.

According to him, the industry in Gurgaon had recently conducted a programme in association with the SPCB wherein few units were issued “exemption certificates” by the board exempting them from applying for consent. Since then, the board had discouraged the issuance of the certificate. At present, it was insisting that the non-polluting industries too must apply for the consent.


No takers for govt orders at PGIMS?
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, June 27
The Director, Pt B. D. Sharma Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Maj Gen (Retd) Virender Singh Punia, has handed over additional charge of the office of Medical Superintendent to Dr B. P. Dass, Prof and Head of Radiotherapy Department, in gross violation of the government orders.

The post of the Medical Superintendent had fallen vacant following the appointment of Dr S. S. Sangwan as Dean of the PGIMS. (Dr Sangwan, Prof and Head of Department of Orthopedics, will continue to function as the head of his department besides discharging all academic duties and responsibilities.)

Maj Gen Punia, perhaps, was not aware that a former Director, Dr S. S. Yadav, had on September 30, 1997 passed similar orders and handed over the additional charge of the office of Medical Superintendent to Dr (Mrs) Nirmal Gulati, Prof and Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.

The government had then taken a strong exception and set aside the orders of the Director on the same day on the ground that they were issued without the approval of the competent authority. In fact, the then Commissioner and Secretary, Health and Medical Education, was camping at Delhi on that day and she had set aside those orders from her camp office.

Interestingly, Dr Nirmal Gulati was appointed as officiating Medical Superintendent in place of Dr B. P. Dass, who had then expressed his inability to carry on the duties of Medical Superintendent and was relieved of the additional charge on September 30,1997 at his own request. Again when Dr S. S. Sangwan was given additional charge as Medical Superintendent, Dr Dass had communicated that his name may not be considered because he would not be able to perform these duties.

It is surprising that Dr B. P. Dass has been given additional charge as Medical Superintendent at a time when he happens to be on vacation. (He has gone to his home town in Orissa and is likely to resume on July 15.)

As per rules, the Medical Superintendent should be a clinical Professor with at least five years experience as Professor. Others fulfilling these qualifications are Prof S. B. Siwach, Head, Medicine Department , Prof Balbir Chhabra, Head, Anesthesia Department. Prof A. K. Vohra, Head, Psychiatry Department, Prof A. D. Tiwari, Head, Pediatrics Department, and Prof N. K. Sharma, Head, Neurosurgery Department.

Dr Siwach, who had served the institute as Director, may not like to accept the job. Dr Chhabra is due to retire in a few months and the Vigilance Department has registered a corruption case against Dr Tiwari. Thus, the choice was limited to Dr A. K. Vohra and Dr N. K. Sharma. It appears that the Director was well disposed towards both of them.


City school on the wrong side of law
Our Correspondent

Panipat, June 27
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. R. Anand, said that if the owner of the MJR Public School did not obtain the Change of Land Use (CLU), the administration will not hesitate to demolish the entire building which had violated government construction laws.

Talking to mediapersons in his office, the DC, however, said that in the interest of the school children, the administration was ready to help the school administration if it applies for CLU and fulfils other government formalities. When asked about the CBSE affiliation of the school, he suspected that some false documents might have been submitted to the CBSE for affiliation.

The administration would also write to the CBSE authorities for verification of the submitted documents, he said. The DC maintained that the administration was forced to initiate action because the school owner, Mr Fateh Singh Saini, did not respond to the notices issued by the office of District Town Planner since 1993.

He said that it is the official duty of the administration to ensure that illegal constructions are not carried out in the controlled areas earmarked by the government from time to time. It may be recalled that a portion of the school building was demolished on June 19 by the administration as the school authorities reportedly failed to obtain CLU of the land on which the school building is constructed.


The Punjab National Bank (PNB) has fixed a target of computerising the branches in the Karnal region by March 2003.This was stated by the General Manager, Northern Zone, Chandigarh, Mr U.S. Bharghava, while speaking at the banker-exporter-importer meeting organised by the PNB here on Wednesday evening.

Nearly 1,500 branches of the bank are to be interlinked with each other, he said, adding that the bank had planned to link various branches in Panipat as part of the first phase. He informed the bank had achieved an export-import turnover of Rs 22,400 crore during 2001-2002 as compared to Rs 18,055 crore during the previous year. 


UHBVN cashiers robbed of Rs 1 lakh
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, June 27
Unidentified armed robbers reportedly robbed a team of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vidyut Nigam (UHBVN) here of almost Rs 1 lakh at Jassaur Kheri village on the Asaudha-Khar Khoda road here this evening. According to information, three cashiers of the Electricity Department, Mahesh, Rajesh and Prem, accompanied by a policeman were returning to Bahadurgarh with the cash and receipts of the electricity bills of Jassaur Kheri village in a Swaraj Mazda vehicle.

As their vehicle slowed down at a speed-breaker in front of a public school, situated one and a half kilometres away from Jassaur Kheri village, a Santro car overtook them and blocked their way. Four pistol-wielding youths got down from the car and directed the cashiers to hand over the bag containing cash. When the cashiers resisted the attempt of the youths to snatch the bag, one of the robbers shot at the windshield of the vehicle and threatened to shot them all dead. The policeman had no arms to foil the designs of the robbers.

The cashiers eventually had to hand over the cash. The Electricity Department officials said that fortunately the cash had been put into two separate bags. The cashier gave the robbers the bag that contained less money. The police have launched a massive hunt to arrest the robbers.

Flood protection

Elaborate arrangements have been made to protect the district from any flood threat during the coming monsoon season.

Mr Mahender Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, was addressing a meeting of the district officials in the PWD rest house at Bahadurgarh here on Thursday. He directed that all remaining anti-flood measures should be completed positively by June 30.

Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner visited various drains, link drains and other water courses and inspected the desilting and repair work carried out there. He instructed the Executive Engineer, Water Division, Mr M. S. Sangwan, to complete the desilting of the canal running through Bahadurgarh town by engaging JCB machines as soon as possible. He also directed the Forest Department officials to plant saplings along the canal and road banks.

The Deputy Commissioner informed that four flood control rooms had been set up in Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh. The district revenue officer and the SDM, Bahadurgarh, would, respectively, be in charge of the control rooms. He said that flood control rooms would be functional from July 1 and anyone can make contact on telephone no 54270, 52446, 52447 and 310306 about any flood related information.


CNG allocation for Delhi increased
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 27
The government has announced an increase in the allocation of natural gas for Delhi’s transport sector from the present 0.98 million cubic metres to 2 million cubic metres per day, leading to an increase of 1.02 million cubic metres per day.

Official sources said, that the government has sanctioned additional allocation of natural gas to the extent of 1.02 million cubic metres per day on firm basis to Indraprastha Gas Ltd, which supplies Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for transport sector in the Capital. With this, the existing allocation of 0.98 million cubic metres per day has gone up to 2.0 million cubic metres per day, they said.

It is reported that the Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL) will sign the necessary gas supply agreement with Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) within a period of 90 days and would pay the relevant transportation charges for the gas supply. Sources said with this, the total dispensing capacity of IGL will go up to 6.91 lakh kg per day by end of the month from 4.80 lakh kg per day.

IGL would invest Rs 273 crore this fiscal year to increase CNG dispensing stations from the present 94 to 110 by March 2003. This was sufficient to feed 10,065 buses, 3965 RTVs (Rural Transport Vehicles), 12,750 cars, 7,216 taxis and 48,565 three wheelers, sources maintained.

At present, there are 4231 buses, 2165 RTVs, 10,350 cars, 4816 taxis and 36,565 three wheelers using CNG as a fuel in the national Capital.


All-India Kashmiri Samaj rejects VHP proposal
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 27
The All-India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS) has rejected the VHPs proposal of creating a separate homeland for the Hindus. In a statement released here today, the AIKS has dismissed the fourway division of the state.

The spokesperson of AIKS, Mr Gautam Kaul, said that the state would not subscribe to any such proposal, which will seek any combination of territorial division on communal lines.

“ We stand for a secular state of Jammu and Kashmir. We lay claim to enjoy the cultural and economic heritage of not only our home state, but of the whole country and will not see the valley out into small parts,” he said.

He added that the Kashmiri Pandits felt alienated from the politicians and political parties for the lip service paid to their woes.


Light emitting diodes to revolutionise lighting industry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are poised to emerge as a very important light source of tomorrow, according to the Managing Director of Osram India Ltd, Mr Gagan Mehra.

In a detailed presentation before lighting industry professionals, organised by the Indian Society of Lighting Engineers (ISLE), here on Tuesday night, Mr Mehra demonstrated the decisive advantages that innovative LEDs offered through their advanced technology, making them a viable alternative to conventional lamps in several applications.

He said at the recent Frankfurt international fair, the German lighting company, Osram Gmbh, had exhibited and demonstrated vastly improved LEDs that had five times the lumens output of the existing ones. In view of the encouraging manner in which research was progressing in the development of better and more efficient LEDs, they could replace conventional lighting sources sooner than expected.

Besides having the technological advantage of low power consumption and heat generation, LEDs had a high colour efficiency, extremely long life and did not have any ultraviolet or infrared radiation.

They offered exciting creative design possibilities for innovative light solutions because of their compactness and flexibility, low power consumption, long life and maximum safety and reliability even in difficult operating conditions.

An LED consists of several layers of semiconductor material and the light is generated in a thin layer, called the active layer. Unlike incandescent lamps that radiate a continuous spectrum, an LED emits an almost monochromatic light of a particular colour. Under reasonable operating conditions, an LED could last up to 100,000 hours, Mr Mehra disclosed.


Malaria committee constituted
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, June 27
A district level malaria committee has been constituted following a circular by the Haryana Government. A spokesman for the Health Department said today the committee, chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, consisted of all the MLAs, chairman of Zila Parishad’s, Civil Surgeon, District Development and Panchayat Officer, District Education Officer, District Public Relation Officer, president of Indian Medical Association and officials of Nagar Parishad and Public Health, Agriculture and Irrigation Departments.

He said a District Malaria Officer had been appointed as the Member Secretary of the committee, which would suggest effective measures to deal with the disease.


The district police have challaned 348 vehicles including jeeps, maxi cabs, cars, Tata Sumo, Tata 407, autorickshaws, buses and mini buses on charges of illegal transportation of passengers, overloading and driving without proper documents under ‘Operation Blunder’ observed from June 19 to 25. A spokesman for the police said that two wheelers were also challaned under the Motor Vehicle Act during the period.

Liquor seized

Faridabad: About 270 pouches of illicit liquor were seized from three persons including a woman, in the NIT area here. The accused were identified as Madan Lal, Kala and Indira.

In another incident, three persons identified as Bhgat Ram, Tek Chand and Subhash have been arrested for gambling in public place. The police have also arrested a pickpocket from Ballabgarh town in the past 24 hours.

Body found

Sonepat: The body of a 27-year-old woman, Mrs Poonam, was found hanging in the house of her in-laws at Nahra village, 25 km from here on Wednesday. According to a report, the police have registered a case of dowry death against the family of her in-laws. However, no arrest was made in this connection. According to another report, the Murthal police have recovered the body of an aged woman (60) lying on the G. T. Road near Qumashpur village, 13 km from here on Wednesday night. The body was unidentified.


AI staff protest against assault by Customs men

New Delhi
A large number of employees of Air India today demonstrated outside the offices of the Customs Department at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport to protest against the alleged assault on one of their cargo officers, Sanjay Talwar, by some officials of the customs.

The demonstrators, led by the office bearers of the Air India Employees Guild, later dispersed after they were assured of a probe into the incident. Some slight damage was also caused to the Customs office. The police said that they were looking into the allegation but no case had been registered as yet. The normal functioning at the airport was not affected. TNS


Six-member gang of auto thieves busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27
The Delhi police today claimed to have busted a gang of six members involved in auto theft with the arrest of six persons and recovery of stolen property. The gang was active in South-West district.

They were arrested from Mayapuri and kept in police custody. They have been identified as Ashish Thakur, Rakesh Chauhan, alias Rinku, Sanjay, Ravi Verma and Dipender and Ayub Khan. Ayub used to keep the stolen goods.

The suspects used to steal vehicles parked at MCD parking lots. The police recovered a Qualis and a Cielo from the MCD parking at LNJP. During interrogation, the suspects confessed to being involved in 16 more auto theft cases. These vehicles were lifted from Dabri, Chandni Chowk and Mayapuri. Most of the stolen vehicles were sold to a person in UP. A police team has been sent to Meerut for further recovery of stolen vehicles.

In another case, the North-East district police arrested three persons who were also involved in auto theft cases in the area. They have been identified as Manish Kumar Arora, who was the gang leader, Amin and Mushir Ahmed. Manish was reportedly a notorious auto thief and was recently released from jail. He organised the group comprising Amin and Mushir who were also released from jail recently. Three Maruti cars and a countrymade pistol along with four cartridges have been recovered from their possession. Manish specialises in theft of Maruti cars. He used to dispose them of in UP.

Huge liquor seizure

The Delhi Police today claimed to have seized huge quantity of illicit liquor, hidden in a Maruti car and arrested the driver for allegedly smuggling it from Haryana to the Capital.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (West), Dependra Pathak, said that the seizure included 14 cartons of Rock Feller whisky and 672 quarter bottles of Mastana whisky. Cases have been registered under the various provisions of the Excise Act.

He said that the driver of the Maruti car (DL4C-D-9926) Karim Khan, who was arrested from the spot, disclosed during his interrogation that he had hired the car about two months ago. He also disclosed that he had met a person in Bahadurgarh (Haryana) who suggested to him that quick money could be made by smuggling illicit liquor from Haryana to Delhi. Karim Khan disclosed that he bought the liquor at low cost from one Dalbir alias Dallu, a resident of village Lava Siddipur in Bahadurgarh, to sell it at higher price in the jhuggis of Raghubir Nagar and Tilak Nagar areas of the city. There have been several cases of deaths by consuming cheap liquor in the jhuggis of Central Delhi and in all these cases, it was discovered that the liquor was smuggled into the Capital from neighbouring Haryana.

The police said that the Bahadurgarh police had been contacted and efforts were being made to ascertain the identities of others involved in the racket. Further investigations were continuing.


Gas agency staff robbed

New Delhi, June 27
Two unidentified youths robbed Rs 1.50 lakh from employees of a gas agency in the Yamuna Vihar area of North-East district. The victims, Mathura and Suresh, were going to deposit the money at a nearby bank. When the victims reached Yamuna Vihar Block-B, the youths intercepted them at gunpoint and snatched the bag and ran away. When the victims raised an alarm, one Vishal tried to catch them but the suspects fired at him. He received two bullet injuries and had been admitted to a hospital. A case of robbery has been registered in Yamuna Vihar police station, the police said. TNS



Fashion industry in the pink of health
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 27
The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) has predicted some good news for the fashion frat. The FDCI has foreseen that the ‘business of fashion’ is ‘poised for a dramatic growth’.

Talking to the media here today after announcing the name of the participants in the forthcoming Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW), the FDCI chief, Vinod Kaul, said, “The success of any event is reflected by the repeated participation of the key players involved. Over the last three years, the LIFW has established itself as the most sought-after event among the fashion design industry. This year too, the event will involve more designers, models, shows, buyers and visitors.”

The fashion week provides a platform for the designers to showcase their displays and also attract buyers and buying houses from across the globe. The first-ever LIFW saw the participation of 32 designers from across eight cities. Though the event was far from being counted as successful, the subsequent event managed to pull a fair share of designers. With a new team at the helm of affairs this year, the event, scheduled to be held in the Capital in August, is expected to draw in the best of designers and less controversy.

Recognising the need of the new designers to be prepared in advance on the sales and business front before they take part in the mega event, the FDCI is organising a workshop for them on July 12 and July 13. The workshop, ‘Business of Fashion’, will touch on subjects ranging from logistics to range planning and other issues pertaining to production and quality.

Mr Kaul said, “Market sensitivity is critical to the growth of this sector and the event presents a platform to designers to be able to combine their skills of style and salability.”

Leading designers like Ritu Kumar, Monisha Bajaj, Nikhil and Shantanu and Meera and Muzzafar Ali will participate in the event.


Indifferent staff drive away customers from nationalised banks
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, June 27
Notwithstanding the sweeping economic reforms that included liberalisation in the banking sector and the increasing interest of foreign banks to enter India, personnel of nationalised banks have persistently refused to mend their ways in dealing with the public.

Bank customers continue to be harassed, as the attitude of majority of bank employees, including officers, remains callous, sometimes bordering on stubbornness. Even those officers who are sympathetic to the aggrieved customers find themselves helpless as bank men, drawing hefty salary and enviable perks, often get protection from their trade unions, which are more concerned about the rights of the staff than their responsibility to the clients.

The normal transaction hours in a bank branch are between 10 am and 2 pm. However, most of the branches start functioning not before 10.30 am. Even at that time, bank employees can be found busy in gossips, having tea and exchanging notes on shares etc. They love to do anything barring attending and dealing with customers.

On an average, about 30 minutes are required to get payment from a savings bank account if everything goes smoothly. In fact, bank employees have become so indifferent to customers that one who wishes to withdraw one’s own money is treated as seeking a favour from the employees. An entry of transaction in a savings bank passbook takes a long time. Foreign currency rates, which fluctuate almost daily, are not updated. A demand draft cannot be purchased unless you spend about one to two hours.

No wonder, deposits in savings bank accounts are decreasing though the number of accounts might have registered an increase. A senior functionary of the bank confessed that over the years, the demanding customers have shifted to the cooperative banks where one gets better service with politeness. And that is the reason of decline in the amount deposited in the savings bank accounts in the nationalised banks.

Though the Indian Bank Association, an organisation of banks, has invited the public through advertisement hoarding at prominent places to send their complaints in respect to nationalised banks in a particular post box number. These complaints are handled by one bank, deputed by the association. That bank passes the complaints to the respective banks, which are supposed to deal with them. However, the experience of several customers is that they never get a chance to explain their grievance or put up their cases and their complaints are summarily dismissed.

However, some bankers said it is wrong to put the entire banking sector in the dock for the lapse of a handful of employees who may be rude to customers. They pointed out that the public had too many expectations from bank employees while there were formalities and procedural delays in banking transactions.

They added that normal banking was affected on account of a number of civic activities that bank managers, in the rat race to increase the business of a respective branch, had to take up. Such activities included acceptance of water charges, power bills, challans and school fees etc. As a result, customers would suffer because the banks would not sanction more staff for the additional work.

Denying the allegation of summary disposal of complaints, they said that each bank had a customer service committee, which met at least once in a month. Even the union was involved in this exercise. Aggrieved parties were called to put up their cases and given an opportunity of hearing, they claimed.

This claim is disputed by a large number of customers. They alleged that the educated jobless youths were harassed on some pretext or the other while releasing the loan amounts sanctioned under various government schemes to them. They also alleged that they were being forced to give 'nazrana' to them before they get the amount of the loans.

They also demanded a high-level probe into their complaints and punish the unscrupulous bank officials who were found harassing the customers, particularly the loan-seekers for business and other categories. Such an inquiry was likely to expose the misdeeds of the bank managers and officials of the nationalised banks.


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