Thursday, August 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CBI unearths multi-crore scam in Railways
2 officials made unauthorised purchases;
siphoned off Rs 2.7 cr
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, July 31
Cracking a multi-crore railway store purchase scam, a team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today carried out searches at residences of two senior officials of the Northern Railway, Ambala Division. Till late at night, the CBI had found that the two were involved in siphoning off at least Rs 2.70 crore. Search operations were carried out at Allahabad and Ambala. The CBI sources said this could lead to one of the biggest scam in the Railways.

The CBI has registered a case under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code against two senior officials of the Northern Railway: Gopal Singh, Senior Divisional Electrical Engineer, Central Ambala Division, Northern Railways, and T.R. Sarsar, Divisional Controller of Stores, Ambala Division, who allegedly working together abused their official powers and made unauthorised purchases to the tune of several crores of rupees, said sources in the CBI while adding that the involvement of more officials is also likely to be found. The alleged scam took place in the later part of the 1990’s.

As per the FIR registered by the CBI, demand of store items on official forms of the non-stock items were found to be signed by Gopal Singh for which he is not authorised. Non-stock items are those items which are not used by the Railways on daily basis and are purchased as and when required. The modus operandi was that these two allegedly kept on purchasing without any utilisation. Only the Controller of Stores, Northern Railways, New Delhi, is the competent authority to procure store items and supply to the different stores of the Railway Division.

Sources said items procured on ‘urgency certificates’ in 1997-1998 were not consumed, even during the next three years. The unchecked procurement of items, like insulating PVC tapes having a small shelf life, has resulted in expiry of large quantity of material without being used. It was during this time that the Railways was carrying out its electrification programme and the duo also purchased miniature circuit breaks and other items.

Divisional Controller of stores, T.R. Sarsar allegedly made procurement of ‘rate contract’ items to the tune of Rs. 1.35 crore in 1997, Rs 53 lakh in 1998 and Rs 89 lakh in 1999, which is said to be 120 per cent in excess of the purchase power of the Divisional Controller of Stores.

It has been falsely shown that copies of the supply orders were sent to the Senior Divisional Accounts Officer, Ambala Division, but the CBI investigations revealed that no such copies of supply orders were sent to the Accounts Officer, said sources.

In the FIR, the CBI has alleged that Gopal Singh made the procurements exceeding the budgeted allocations by high margins which is allowed only in exceptional circumstances. Store items are procured through rate contracts from the New Delhi office. The same items were also procured in works contract at Ambala, thus causing huge loss to the Railways.

According to a senior CBI official, Gopal Singh, by abusing his official position procured rate contract non-stock items like miniature circuit brakes in connivance with T.R Sarsar without any requirement only to give undue benefits to suppliers.

Last evening, the CBI registered a case against Gopal Singh, T.R. Sarsar, M\s Adhunik Switch Gear Private Limited, Delhi and other unknown suppliers under Sections 420, 471(A) and 120B IPC read with 13(2) read with 13(1)(D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


UT ties up with BBMB to save Sukhna
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The fast drying up Sukhna lake has forced the Chandigarh Administration to tie -up with the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) to raise the height of the regulator, which controls the outflow of water from the lake, besides that of the retaining wall of the regulator. The height of both would be increased by two feet.

This means that the Sukhna would be able to retain more water, thus increasing its volume. This would be done before the wet dredging starts. So, if the wet dredging increases the depth of the lake by six feet the raise of two feet would add up to eight feet which should be good for the next 20 to 25 years.

Without the increase in height of the regulator, each year several million gallons of water goes down the Sukhna rivulet as an overflow from the regulator end. This water not only goes waste but also adds to the floods in the Ghaggar river downstream. In the past, Punjab had protested that these waters add to the already turbulent Ghaggar.

If the height at the regulator end is increased, it would also require a minor raise in the embankment at the Lake Club end. Sources said if the regulator end is raised by two feet, a six inches gap would remain between the embankment at the club end. The Administration is not happy with this and would include an increase in height at the club side by about one foot.

The BBMB mechanical wing in Nangal has been contacted for construction of the gates at the regulator and also for raising the height. The cost of the project is expected to be around Rs 1.5 crore.

The realisation, came when it did not rain this year, thus putting a question mark on the very survival of the lake. To ward off such situations in future, the Administration wants to

keep a buffer. Besides this, a dried-up lake would not offer much chance of wet dredging as the operation requires water.

Another idea is to build an embankment in the middle of the lake to segregate it in two parts. Then a major operation would be launched to scoop out the dry earth on one side.


Rs 40 cr duty evasion by 76 firms detected
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Officials of the crime prevention branch of the Department of Central Excise and Customs here has launched a special drive against export firms involved in evasion of custom and excise duty. The Commissionaire-I, Central Excise and Customs, which has jurisdiction over Chandigarh, HP, and some parts of Punjab, has found 76 firms involved in evasion of custom and excise duty worth Rs 40.07 crore as compared to 56 firms involved in Rs 35.84 crore during the corresponding period last year i.e. till June 30.

According to senior officials of the department, most of these firms are from Ludhiana, Baddi, Dera Bassi and the surrounding areas. They are engaged in manufacturing and export of yarns, iron and steel, TV parts, pharmaceuticals, bicycle and bicycle parts. The department has so far recovered Rs 76 lakh from some firms as penalty and is conducting investigations in other cases. The department offers up to 20 per cent to any person who provides information in this regarding duty evasion.

The department has recovered a penalty of Rs 7.35 lakh from Surya Pharmaceutical, a Panchkula-based firm, after department teams raided the premises of the firm at Baddi, Banur and Chandigarh on July 26. The company has been found evading custom and excise duty, besides income tax by dumping duty-free raw material in the domestic market imported from Germany and other countries though it was not entitled to do so. The department has now ordered a detailed inquiry into it.

The officials disclosed that a section of about 1,500 units under their jurisdiction was involved in duty evasion. In fact, the end of inspector raj and flaws in the Duty Exemption Entitlement Scheme provided a chance to evade taxes. Under the scheme the firms are given licences by the Director-General, Foreign Trade, to import raw material sans duty for the production of export material. They are also entitled to get refunds for paid excise duty and to get exemption on the profit earned from income tax.

However, an official in the crime preventive branch said after importing duty-free material they dump it in the local market. The Surya Pharmaceutical firm with an annual turnover of Rs 150 crore was just one of them. The department is trying to check duty evasion by taking strict measures against the defaulters, he added.


Classrooms enter digital age
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Without so much as a whimper to announce their arrival, E-classrooms have made an entry into the classrooms of city schools where regular blackboards have been replaced by digital ones and the electronic pen has taken over from the chalk, revolutionising the concept of teaching in the process.


  • Use of digital blackboards and electronic pens
  • Traditional classroom teaching replaced by use of multimedia projector
  • Maths and science being taught through E-classrooms
  • Teachers preparing presentations of syllabi of other subjects as well

Advantages over traditional classroom teaching

  • Enhances interest of students and teachers
  • Writing on blackboards-reduced considerably
  • Better teacher-student communication
  • Better retention and recall abilities
  • Modification and expansion of study material possible

In DAV Public School, Sector 8, the experiment with electronic classrooms has worked out successfully though it is still limited to a couple of subjects. Students of class X are being taught science and maths with the use of multi-media projectors and the electronic pen.

Ask the students and they are very excited about this experiment, finding it interesting, useful and learning more in the process.

“We have practically done away with the use of blackboards for maths and science. Teaching is with the use of multimedia. This software which we have taken from a local company is tailor-made for the CBSE curriculum. Now, instead of wasting time on the blackboard, the teachers get on to the lessons straightaway,’’ the Principal, Ms Sarita Manuja, says.

Pointing out at the advantages of using this software, she says that though the lessons are thorough in all respects, teachers have the added advantage of using the electronic pen to clarify doubts of the students, a facility not available in other softwares.

Besides, it offers a better teacher-student communication, highly structured course material and it is a scientifically proven fact that use of visual techniques leads to greater retention and recall abilities. “Also, the greatest plus point is that change of teachers in mid-session is not bound to disrupt the academic session which is any principal’s nightmare,’’ she claims.

Taking a cue from these lessons, computer-trained teachers have set to work, preparing their own subject bank and using it in classrooms for teaching lessons. “We have started with one lesson to begin with and graduated to adding more such lessons covering the syllabi. The students also seem more interested in learning through use of multimedia projector that studying in traditional classrooms using books and blackboard,’’ the principal added.

The Director of Classtech which has designed the software for maths and science, Ms Ruchi Relhan, informs: “The motivation behind developing this package was the requirement of a tool for teachers to bring the best out of him. This software makes teaching a highly involving and interesting exercise with minimum efforts. And if teaching is effective, learning for the students is accompanied with complete understanding and total logic.’’


Residents to surrender 700 cable connections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Firmly protesting against the arbitrary hike in cable service charges to Rs 170 from July 1, about 700 residents of Sector 45-C today unanimously decided to surrender their cable connections with effect from August 1.

The decision was taken here today by all the members of 13 blocks of Sector 45-C where the cable operator had increased the charges considerably with effect from July 1. In the 700 letters, signed by all the cable consumers of the sector, it has been mentioned that the cable service will no more be availed of from August 1 as a mark of protest against the cable operator's illogical price hike.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Subhash Chander Patial, president, Residents Welfare Association of the block comprising houses 2123 to 2144, said, "For over a month we have been trying to negotiate with the cable operator but to no avail. While the quality of service has deteriorated over the past months, the charges have been arbitrarily hiked. Even today we tried to talk to our operator, but he flatly refused to budge."

Meanwhile, the secretary of the block, Mr Asha Nand Sharma, informed that the connections would be resumed only if the cable operator agreed to charge a flat rate of Rs 110 per connection.


Mayor cancels sanitation contracts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, today directed Municipal Corporation officials to immediately cancel sanitation contracts in the city.

The Mayor said this while visiting Burail and Colony No. 4 to inspect sanitation conditions in these areas.

The Mayor was accompanied by the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, the Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, the Superintending Engineer, Public Health, Mr Swarn Singh, and the Medical Officer Health (MOH), Dr G.C. Bansal.

The Mayor said this after people complained that the sanitation staff of contractors did not visit these areas, regularly.

The area councillor, Mr Vijay Rana, also accompanied the Mayor and officials.

The Corporation is believed to have lifted around 300 truck loads of garbage from the area. But the garbage had become a six-foot heap before it was removed.

The Mayor’s public approval of failure of contract system comes a month after the MOH suggested doing away with the system.


City's organic food counter struggles for sale
Kala Gram's inaccessibility, public ignorance main causes
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Opened with much fanfare in April this year, the region's first organic food counter at Kala Gram is still struggling to break even. Right from April 21, when social activist Padmashri Anna Hazare inaugurated the Rishi Krishi organic counter at Kala Gram, people behind the show have been intensively labouring to spread health awareness among city people.

Being manned by workers of Manthan, a city-based NGO dedicated to promotion of organic agriculture and consumption in the region, the counter has not been registering satisfactory sales.

Blame it on lack of awareness among people or inaccessibility of Kala Gram, Manthan has still not been able to sustain the sale of organic foods, which it procures from 85 farmers in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

As against the targeted sale of Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 per month, the counter is currently earning only Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month. This despite the fact that foods being stocked at the counter are chemical-free and most healthy.

Such is the state of affairs that where right after its inauguration, the counter used to remain open between 9 am and 11 pm, it now opens only between 4 pm and 11 pm.

Where less accessibility to the counter is a major cause behind meagre sales, another reason is public ignorance in the matter. Little realising the value of chemical-free foods, most visitors complain about their comparatively high prices. Associated with Manthan, Mr Zile Singh, a farmer, said, "These foods are bound to be costlier by five to seven per cent because when a farmer is not using chemical fertilisers for growth, his per acre average yield is less. Hence the difference in price. Awareness needs to be spread so that people come forward and make the counter a success. This is very important for the promotion of chemical-free food culture in India."

Currently the counter has about 25 regular customers. Mr Satish Kumar, who mans the counter, said, "Only on the weekends our sales touch Rs 1500 to Rs 2000. The most in demand varieties are 201 Rajma, the new brown rice available at Rs 50 per kg, besides spices and pulses."

Meanwhile, Mr Navneet Virk, executive secretary of Manthan and the man behind the show, said that efforts were on to look for commercial sale outlets for organic foods. He said, "We are trying to tie up with Hi Farmers supermarket in Sector 34 or open an outlet in Sector 17. The problem is that of funds." The present counter has been provided by CITCO, which charges a monthly rent of Rs 2,000.

It may be recalled that earlier, the UT Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, had talked of stocking organic food samples at Lake View Chef and also of starting an organic food festival in Chandigarh. The Managing Director of CITCO ,Mr S.P Singh, said there was still sometime before the festival season took off. While the effort is on to keep the wave of organic food promotion going, the need of the hour is to take the organic foods out of Kala Gram and stock them in a commercial outlet.


City to be developed as tourist destination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Chandigarh administration has decided to develop the city as the tourist destination for the domestic and foreign tourists. This was decided at a meeting held by Ms Rathi Jha, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, and officials of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) here today.

She was in the city to evaluate the ongoing tourism projects and to discuss the new guidelines of the ministry to provide grants. Mr S.P. Singh, Managing Director, CITCO and Special Secretary, Tourism, told her that the Administration was targeting to bring about world-class convention facilities and also promote eco-tourism with treks into the upcoming eco-wildlife park in the Kansal and Nepli forest reserves.

He said that the Administration would submit a proposal within one month to sanction grants to develop Chandigarh as tourist destination. Under that project, botanical garden, eco-wildlife centres, convention centre and tourism information would be developed.

Now the idea is to have a big place for holding exhibitions where pre-fabricated structures will be erected all through the year. Just like Pragati Maidan in Delhi, the open ground near the Beant Singh memorial is the likely site. Chandigarh can easily be the counter-magnet to Delhi for convention facilities as it offers clean environment, world-class entertainment facilities and proximity to the hills. He disclosed that they had already planned a tie up with Rajasthan and the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) for sending tourists


God saves, but stops at slum gates
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Rampant encroachment in slums here has created fresh fire hazards, as found by the Fire Department. In letters to the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Corporation, it had sought that encroachments be removed from the Sector 52 rehabilitation colony. In case of a fire, it will not be possible to rescue anyone from the interior of any of the slums.

The department realised the situation recently after several ambulances could not reach houses in the interiors of the slums to pick up persons suffering from cholera or diarrhoea. These persons had to be brought out physically to be put in the ambulances.

The Fire Department wants that the access to four-storey houses in Modern Housing Complex be widened. A car can barely make it past the entrance, so, any bigger vehicle carrying a rescue squad will be stranded outside. The Housing Board is reported to have taken cognizance of the letter.

A mesh of loose wires in the Sector 52 colony makes it hard to enter the area quickly for emergency evacuation. A lot of these wires are live illegal power-supply cables. The authorities concerned have been apprised of the situation many times, but to no avail.

Survey teams of the Fire Department found no emergency-rescue route in this colony and the department vehicles could enter the colony only from the SAS Nagar side. This way and a road dividing the colony provide rescuers with only a limited access.

The Fire Department had had a great difficulty in controlling a fire in the interior of Burail village a few years ago. Crucial 10 minutes went waste in laying 1,100 feet of duct pipe to reach the spot.


Tax refunds not coming soon
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Income-tax assessees who have filed the returns should be prepared to wait for at least three more months to get refunds. The Income Tax Department does not have enough staff and infrastructure to process more than 2 lakh returns that have been filed, so far.

There was no rush at the return-collection counters in the Institute of Engineers here. Officials there said most assessees filed the returns close to the deadline, putting sudden extra workload on them.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has selected the Chandigarh income-tax office to be among the few in the country to be put online. All its data will be fed into a computer network to monitor tax collection and judge claims.

Ms Hardeep Kaur, Chief Income Tax Commissioner, said: “So far, we have not received any guideline from the head office on how to assess and scrutinise this massive data. Either it has to be fed into computers or assessed manually, before refunds are given.” Since the last date for filing returns has been extended to August 9 and bulk returns are to be accepted till August 31, the data will only be fed after that. Ms Hardeep Kaur said: “It will take at least 3 months before refunds can be issued.”

Some employees have alleged that their employers have filed their tax returns without consulting them. On earlier occasions, they have had to wait till December to get refunds. Mr Varinder Sharma, an man working in a private organisation, said: “The department issues backdated refund cheques that have already expired by the time these reach assessees. No interest is paid for the period of the delay.” Ms Hardeep Kaur said much as the department would like to send refunds directly to the bank accounts of assessees, it could not, as most assessees did not declare their account numbers to the department.


Rechecking of pension cases begins today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
The rechecking programme for new pension beneficiaries of Tau Devi Lal Pension in Panchkula city, the MC area of Pinjore, besides Kalka, Morni, Raipur Rani and Barwala would be conducted from August 1 to August 9.

Stating this here today, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, said the rechecking work for beneficiaries of Panchkula city would be conducted in the Estate Office, HUDA, Panchkula, on August 2.

Similarly, the rechecking work for Kalka ward nos. 8 to 12 would be conducted at the MC office in Kalka on August 1 and for ward nos. 13 to 15 on August 6. She said the beneficiaries who are left out would be covered on August 8.

The DC said that rechecking work in the Pinjore MC area for ward nos 6 to 10 would be conducted on August 7 at the same venue.

She said that beneficiaries of Batore and Rehor villages would be covered at Batore on August 1. Similarly, the rechecking work for Toda, Natwal, Jaspur and Kakrali villages would be conducted at Toda village on August 5. She said Moli, Tabar, Golpura Bahbalpur, Baghwala and Baghwali villages would be covered on August 6 at Mauli village.


General Mehta visits paraplegic centre
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 31
The Chief of Western Army Command., Lieut -Gen S.S. Mehta, and his wife, Mrs Madhu Mehta, visited the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) here today. Mrs Mehta is the president, Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), Western Command.

Lt Gen Mehta was briefed about the activities of the centre which caters to the specialised physiotherapic and rehabilitative needs of the paraplegic and tetraplegic ex-servicemen with a view to install an urge in them to live and motivate them to become self-supporting. Major Gen R.S. Batra, Major General in charge of administration, and Maj Gen TA D’Cunha, head of Ordnance branch in Command HQ, were also present on the occasion.

The Army Commander went around the various sections of the Centre such as physiotherapy room, wards, vocational training workshop and inmates’ married quarters. He took keen interest in physiotherapy of the paraplegics and was satisfied with the latest equipment and facilities available to improve their physical fitness.

Mrs Madhu Mehta appreciated the excellent care and services being provided at the centre. She also gave presents to the inmates.

Vocational training in knitting with machines, cutting and tailoring, wirebrush and candle making and caning of chairs is being imparted to the inmates and their families. Making of school uniform sweaters for Army public School, Dagshai, Military School, Chail, wirebrushes for Punjab Tractors Ltd., S.A.S. Nagar and caning of chairs are the main activities of the centre. The products are sold at a nominal price through AWWA shops, schools, unit canteens and sector welfare societies. Thus, inmates and their families earn while learning these vocational skills.

The Director of the centre, Col Jaswant Singh, said PRC, Mohali, is a charitable institution and is mainly funded from the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund under Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) and the HQ Western Command. State governments of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana are also providing financial assistance on an yearly basis. Individuals, companies/firms and welfare societies can also come forward to support the centre for the great cause.


Mayor lacks grip over officers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The former BJP councillor, Ms Ranjana Shahi, today accused the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, of letting the supremacy of the House slip away by failing to get officers to act on repeated complaints of contaminated water supply.

“The Mayor and the councillor from Sector 52 Rehabilitation Colony and Chairman of the Water Supply and Sewage Committee, Mr Kuldeep Singh, had been informed about contaminated supply months before the outbreak,” Ms Shahi told Chandigarh Tribune. The Congress and its leadership was showing indifference, inaction and escapism towards problems of the people and seemed to be protecting the guilty for the contamination of water, she added.

The Mayor and the Congress leadership should have called an emergent meeting of the House immediately after the cholera outbreak and fix the responsibility on the guilty, she said. Ms Shahi criticised the adjournment of the House saying tribute to Vice-President Krishan Kant could have been given by adjourning the House for half an hour.

The former BJP councillor said the Mayor had betrayed a complete lack of grip over officers exemplified in failures to get the parking rules implemented and protect public interest in the case of cholera outbreak.s


Drool in a China shop
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

A visit to Sector 17 is normally called for both by the residents and outsiders. Whether for shopping, window shopping or some business in the various offices located in this central point of the city or even the movies, or, just an outing, you do land up in this commercial hub. And, it’s natural that at such times, all the walking around leaves you craving for a bite.

Well, Mandarin, Chinese Restaurant, in the Gulati Editions block is the destination for many a family or group of friends. More so, if it’s noodles or fried rice that you prefer. Families with shopping bags in tow or the more sedate suited-booted variety headed for business luncheons, the eatery plays host to the whole gamut of people. This is not to say that a lot of regular clients go there specially to savour the scrumptious delicacies.

Old timers would identify the place as Shangri La, which had been around since the late 70s. It was named Mandarin about two years ago when Mr Anil Kumar Gakhar took it over. The first thing that Mr Gakhar did was to overhaul the interiors.

Open from 10.30 am to 11 pm, you can have lunch and dinner, besides snacks at the dimly lit joint as light music soothes your nerves. Mr Gakhar says that they have introduced certain new items on the menu. In keeping with the demand of clients who drop in around 3 to 7, they have increased the list of snacks. To give quick, full meal-in-one, they have come with rice and noodles with gravy, called Sub Gum Rice and Chinese Platter. Available in both veg and non-veg varieties, it’s an ideal rice/noodle and curried dish combination, at the price of one. Or go in for the triple treasure: a mix of soft noodles, crisp noodles and rice with chopped veggies.

Offering a huge repertoire of delectables in soups, salads, snacks, spring rolls, chopsuey, chowmein, rice, chicken items, lamb delicacies and fish and prawn made in the typical Chinese sauces, honey or garlic sauce, Mandarin claims to give the food prepared in a unique combination of veggies and meat.

Complimenting the snacks are beverages, both hot and cold. Try their Chinese tea, for that authentic touch: it’s a light brew, made without milk.

If you are residing in Chandigarh and have an order for more than Rs 100, you have the option of home delivery, too (call 702026 or 712914).


1 killed, 20 hurt in road accident
Our Correspondent

Lalru, July 31
One person was killed and 20 others were injured, one of them seriously, when a private bus heading towards Ambala collided head-on with a tempo on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Jharmari village, near here, today.

The seriously injured Kaku (35) and Jasbir Singh (25) of Madul village in Muktsar were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh where Kaku was declared brought dead. Jasbir Singh is still struggling for life.

Eyewitness said that the bus (PB-12E-9307) on its route from Nangal to Ambala was carrying over 55 passengers when it collided with the tempo (RJ-13G-4127) on a bridge over the Jharmal nullah.

The accident led to a traffic jam for over one and a half hour, causing inconvenience to the passengers.

Soon after the accident local people, workers of the nearby industries and passengers of other buses swung into action to rescue the passengers in both the ill-fated vehicles.

The seriously injured were rushed to the Sector 32 hospital in Chandigarh in private vehicles.


Stray cattle knocks down scooterist
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
Ramesh Kumar, a 30-year-old man of Sector 11, received serious head injuries when a stray cattle ran into his scooter. Recently, two persons have died here in similar mishaps.

The mishap occurred at about 9 pm near the Sector 15 roundabout when the scooterist tried to avoid the animal. He was rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital and, later, referred to the PGI in Chandigarh. His condition is still serious.

Arvider Kaur, A 30-year-old woman, and Ramesh Gurg, a Chandigarh-based businessman, had been killed within a day of each other here recently in mishaps caused by stray cattle.


PNB workshop on SHG groups
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Punjab National Bank, in association with NABARD, organised a one-day workshop on the self-help group (SHG) here today. Mrs Madhvi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare, inaugurated the workshop. Mr V .J. Mattoo, senior regional manager, PNB, Chandigarh region, presided over the inaugural session. The speakers stated that the SHG was a small group of about 20 poor persons from a homogeneous strata, formed by an NGO. It is financed by the bank, after initial collection of funds by the members among themselves.


Panel to assess losses to farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The local unit of the BJP here today set up an 11-member committee to be led by Mr Harbhajan Singh Kajheri to assess losses to farmers due to failure of the monsoon. The committee will take up the case of farmers with the Chandigarh Administration for taking suitable measures to save them from drought.

The committee has been asked to prepare a detailed report on farmers’ plight within three days and present it to the Chandigarh Administration.


No to construction near Alipur
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
The Department of Town and Country Planning, Haryana, has declared the area around Industrial Estate (Alipur village) as controlled area under Section 4-B of the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Restriction of Unregulated Development Act, 41 of 1963.

This follows a notification issued by the state government on July 11, 2002. The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, said as per the Act, no person would be allowed to erect or re-erect any building or extend any excavation in the controlled area without the prior permission of the Department of Town and Country Planning. The offender would be prosecuted and might be imprisoned for three years. He would also be liable to fine, she added.


4 of family booked in cheating case
Tribune Reporters

Lalru, July 31
Four persons of a family, including a newly married couple, were booked for cheating, criminal breach of trust and detaining a married woman with criminal intent today.

Sources in the police said Vir Bahadur, his wife Charanjit Kaur, uncle Parsa Ram and his wife Chint Kaur, residents of Balana village in Ambala, were booked on the complaint of Vir Bahadur’s former wife, Balwinder Kaur, under Sections 406, 494, 498 and 120-B of the IPC.

Balwinder Kaur alleged that Vir Bahadur had cheated her and married Charanjit Kaur without divorcing her though a case was pending with the court against him. No arrest has been made so far.


Caught red-handed
Shyam Singh, a resident of Palsora Colony, was allegedly caught red-handed while stealing the wallet of an SAS Nagar resident, Mr Gurdeep Singh, in Sector 17 here yesterday. He was arrested under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.

Three cases of theft
During the past 24 hours, the police has registered three cases of theft.

Mrs Raj Kumari, a resident of Sector 20, reported to the police that thieves broke into her house and decamped with a pair of gold earnings tops, two gold rings, a gold chain and Rs 1,000 from her residence yesterday.

Mr Bhim Sen Gupta, a resident of Sector 40, has reported that the lock of his STD booth in Sector 53 was broken open and an STD machine, a telephone instrument and Rs 800 were stolen from there on the night of July 29.

Computer parts were reportedly stolen from the office of the Accountant in SGGS College, Sector 26, on the night of July 29. The police has registered a case on the complaint of Mr Harwinder Singh, Accountant, at the college.

Mr Samay Singh, who was riding a rickshaw, was injured after being hit by an unidentified vehicle in Sector 35 on July 28. A case has been registered under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

Liquor seized
The police has arrested two persons, Mohan Parshad of Colony No. 5 and Manjit Singh of Dhanas, for allegedly carrying liquor pouches. The two were booked under the Excise Act.


Driver eludes police
An unknown truck driver reportedly drove away his impounded truck from the Ramgarh police post yesterday. According to an FIR registered on the complaint of Constable Santosh Kumar, a truck (HR-14- 6275) had earlier been impounded on the charge of rash and negligent driving. However, the driver managed to steer his truck out of the police post and fled. The truck was later abandoned by the driver at Dera Bassi.

Three booked
The police has arrested Mohan Lal, Rajesh and Parkash from a dhaba at Mauli village and recovered 350 gm of opium and 11 gm of smack. The accused belong to Shahabad near Ambala.

Illicit liquor seized
The police has arrested Seresh from Chandi Mandir and seized 50 pouches of illicit liquor from him.



Employee caught stealing papers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
An employee in the office of the SDM, Panchkula was allegedly found stealing certain registration documents from the office at about 6.30 pm yesterday.

It is learnt that the Subdivisional Magistrate himself conducted a surprise check at his office yesterday and found an employee sifting through the files. The employee was reportedly pulled up by the officer. The latter also found two other employees and another outsider in the office, though the office had closed at 5 pm.


ST on vehicles cut in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Sales tax on vehicles has been reduced from 13.50 per cent to 12 per cent, thus marginally bringing down the cost of cars and scooters in the city.

This is in line with the decision taken by the Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers of the different states to bring the sales tax rates of motor vehicles within the ambit of uniform floor rates.


Free mobile service camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Platinum Honda organised a free service and check-up camp for Honda Activa customers in Panchkula, yesterday. The organisers said that to solve the problems of service and maintenance, the company has launched Dr Mobile Service Van of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., which is conducting a reach-customer campaign all over India, through mobile service bans.

Platinum Honda provided this service to 383 customers between August 1, 2001, and July, 2002. About 50 vehicles were checked at the camp yesterday.


Harjani heads industries association
Tribune News Service

S.K. HarjaniChandigarh, July 31
Mr S.K. Harjani has been elected president of the Chandigarh Industries Association.

The other office-bearers are: senior vice-president — Mr N.S. Vohra; vice-president — Mr Jeet Kumar Saini; general secretary — Mr Tejinder Singh; joint secretary — Mr Satish Mehra; and finance secretary — Mr Joga Singh.

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