Monday, August 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU disqualifies 13 students for submitting fake certificates
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Panjab University has disqualified 13 students for varying periods after they were found guilty of submitting fake certificates to secure admissions to various affiliated colleges.

Of the total, 10 students have been debarred from taking university examinations for a period of five years. Five of these students belong to Guru Nanak Girls College, Ludhiana, and other five to GTB National College, Dakha. These students had submitted fake certificates for getting admissions to various classes, including BA I, BA II, BA III, B Com I and B Com II, for the academic session 2001-2002.

Three students of the Department of Correspondence Studies have been disqualified for a period of four years on the same charge. They had submitted fake certificates to secure admission to BA III.

Students have been disqualified under Regulation 1(a) of the PU Calender (Volume II) which reads “ a candidate seeking admission to an examination on a false representation made in his application will be disqualified for three to five years, as may be decided by the Syndicate”.

It is reliably learnt that these cases did not tell the complete story of the ‘fraud’. There were more cases which were still being examined by the university.

A member of the Syndicate pointed out that “ giving punishment to students alone was not enough. There was a need to go into the depth of the matter and find out the source from where such documents originated. The university should contact the authorities concerned to seek a thorough probe into the matter.” It would be a worthwhile effort to see whether such a move had any links with the university functioning, he said.

A senior official of the university said reports of similar fake degree rackets had been reported in various newspapers earlier this year as well. These fake degrees originated outside the campus. This was evident from the paper quality that had been used. The university papers had water-markings, but it was missing in case of fake certificates and this ultimately led to detection of the fraud.

A number of students in this category had failed in the lower classes. However, for securing admission to various affiliated college of the university, they submitted copies of fake certificates. When their results for the higher class were not declared due to RL(lower), it came to the knowledge of the university authorities that these students were seeking results of a higher class despite the fact that they had not qualified the examination of lower class. A senior teacher pointed out that the case should be pursued to a logical end, instead of just ending it by punishing the students. 


Councillors’ fund not to be used for upkeep of back lanes
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has stopped concretising of back lanes from councillors’ ward development fund due to the shortage of funds with the Road Wing.

The decision to this effect had been taken in a Road Committee meeting held a few months back but it was not made public officially.

The decision comes as setback to sanitation and anti-Congressgrass campaign being carried out by the Municipal Corporation.

Back lanes are considered to be gathering garbage and the grass.

The corporation’s strategy of not allowing councillors funds to be spent on back lanes was meant to encourage those in the city who had volunteered to spend money to provide material and erect iron gates on both sides of the lane, sources told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.

But the corporation’s decision to encourage people’s contribution towards their development has got a rude shock with allocation of funds from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Fund.

Funds worth Rs 10 lakh have been approved by the MP from his fund to concretise around 20 back lanes in Sector 22 and around seven in Sector 21.

The corporation has now reiterated an old decision to provide labour if material and iron grills were collected by the people.

Scheme was later derailed when certain councillors started funding concretisation of back lanes from their funds which resulted in even those people demanding funds who had earlier decided to contribute their bit.

The latest decision even puts a check on councillors contributing from their funds unlike earlier. As Sector 15 and 27 councillors had surplus funds in the past, they had started funding the concretisation of backlanes. The corporation has now realised that even funds from Councillors’ Development fund would deal a blow to the road recarpeting which has only Rs 3.8 crore budget against a demand of Rs 15 crore. Residents of Sectors 11 and 16 have already started work from their own contribution and the councillor of ward number 1, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, has urged the MP not to release funds on this head as the people of the area were showing a way to the city by themselves taking care of their surroundings in a situation where the Municipal Corporation was not in a position to take up the responsibility.


Snag hits 30,000 phones
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 4
As many as 30,000 telephones remained out of order for at least five hours here today after a serious snag developed at the Mohali telephone exchange the moment electricity was shut down at noon.

According to sources, the affected telephones were of 22, 26 and 67 series. Residents reported that the phones did not exactly go dead, but made a sound as if the phone was hung. Many residents made a beeline to the exchange and were told that the snag was being repaired and by five in the evening most of the telephones would be operational.

Mr K.K. Sarangal, General Manager, Mohali, said, ‘‘Sudden fluctuations in electricity can cause such interruptions. Since for the past many days there have been power cuts, one cannot prepare for such interruptions. For some time, the whole exchange was down, but things have been set right and phones are now operational.’’

Although the electricity had been restored by 6.45 pm many telephones were still not working. A BSNL employee said the first to be restored were the emergency facilities. Even on phones which were still giving problems, emergency dial services were available, he said.


Mohali cops take test for efficiency
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 4
As many as 170 constables, head constables and Assistant Sub-Inspectors serving in the Mohali sub-division today took their first-ever efficiency test here. The result of the test will be declared tomorrow and the top 10 policemen will be given CC3 certificates by the SSP, Ropar.

Organised by the Superintendent of Police’s office, the two and half-hour-long written test was based on a frequently used guideline book for policemen, ‘Beat Officer Marg Darshani. The questions dealt with various aspects of their duties and responsibilities. They were expected to answer the questions based on self study and personal experiences during work.

Such tests have earlier been organised in Patiala district by the former Patiala SSP, Mr H.S. Sidhu, for the police staff of the district. ‘‘This unique experiment in Patiala district was immensely successful with the efficiency of the police force showing a marked improvement. In fact, the book had been compiled by Mr H.S. Sidhu, now SSP Ludhiana, while he was SSP Patiala. Various police officers who were posted in Ludhiana that year contributed a chapter each to the book’’, informs the SSP Mohali, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar.

“We have started this trend here so that our force get the basic minimum knowledge of their responsibilities and work. And in case we find that our force requires more briefings, we will do it immediately,” said Mr Bhullar.

The policemen were asked six questions of 10 marks each from the first six chapters of the book. The chapters dealing with the beat system, responsibilities of a beat officer, how to deal with women, children and old people in case of their involvement in a crime, preventive action etc have been authored by senior police officers

The examination was conducted at Government High School, Phase 3B1. Various SHOs acted as invigilators, while the SP supervised the test.

The DSP, Mohali, Mr Daljeet Singh said: ‘‘Our men are happy as they know it is for their benefit and most of them seem to be confident about performing well.’’

Stating that since 80 per cent of the total force comprised constables and head constables, Mr Ramandeep Singh SHO, Police Station Sohana, said the test was essential for them as it helped them learn new things.

Mr Rajinder Singh Sohal, SHO, Police Station Phase I, felt that the test was essential to keep the force in touch with education.



Gradually, the face of the city beautiful is beginning to get blotted. While the concentration of slum dwellers all over the peripheral areas as also in some of the posh sectors is not hidden, the latest tendency is quite disheartening. Most of the dividers on the roads in the Southern sectors are fast becoming residential areas for these slum people.

Not only do they sleep, eat and drink on these dividers and road berms in full public view, they are now even using fences on the roads for drying their clothes. The tendency is particularly noticeable along the berms of the road leading towards Kisan Bhavan from the Canara Bank building in Sector 34. The fencing on the road divider between Sectors 22 and 35 is all the time sporting clothes of these dwellers, who even wash their utensils along the roadside.

Although uprooting these people may not be a very sensible and just thing to do, the UT Administration has to contain the influx of migrant labour and also rehabilitate the existing ones elsewhere.

Now brown rice

For the first time in the city, a special variety of rice is on sale. Being procured from farmers practising organic agriculture in Himachal Pradesh the variety not only scores high on the scale of health, it also tastes good and looks great.

As the name suggests, the rice retains its brown colour when cooked and is thus a gourmet’s delight. Currently being stocked at the organic food counter of CITCO in Kalagram, this rice costs Rs 50 per kg. And the best part is its organic nature, as it has been raised without any use of chemical fertilisers. No wonder those manning the counter are receiving frequent orders for this variety, so much so that their stock is already vanishing!

Risky rehris

The shining colour of mangoes on the rehris along roads attracts everybody. But how dangerous could it be is anyone’s guess.

A major accident is waiting to happen, especially when vehicular traffic is at its peak. The fruit sellers stand on the roadside and motorists brake suddenly to buy mangoes or any seasonal fruit like watermelons, peaches, plums and apples. Hardly anybody cares for parking the vehicles properly and in the process makes the road narrower and highly risky (see photo on top of the page).

Two to three minor accidents are a daily feature along the roads dividing Sectors 32 and 33 and Sectors 33 and 34. Another lot of fruit sellers stands on the road dividing Sector 32 and 46. The roads dividing Sectors 41 and 42 and Sectors 43 and 44 are also popular with them.

Generally they sell at lower rates than the market price, which attracts more people. In the past the MC had mooted several proposals to curb the sellers. At one point of time it was even thought to have designated pucca places along the roadsides. However, this would not have solved the problem.

The rush around these fruit sellers peaks between 2 and 3 p.m and between 5 and 7 p.m.

Water blues

Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh’s contaminated water supply recently came under so much fire after cholera spread in the city that the number of complaints for taking samples has shot up.

The councillors of the corporation were discussing impurity of water while sipping branded water in the August 2 meeting.

The consumer of the corporation water may be led to think that those supplying water themselves were not sure of the quality of water.

However, tests revealed that the real culprit was not the normal water supply but tapless lines, toilets on lines encroaching on government land and hand pumps on lines, if the corporation was to be believed.

Egg or hen

The debate on the reasons behind the spread of cholera seems to have been caught in a “egg or hen” cycle.

The corporation is claiming that the contamination was caused due to the careless attitude of the people who constructed toilets on supply lines, dug pits and punctured lines without putting any taps.

The Opposition parties in the Municipal Corporation say the reason was low water supply forcing the people to take these measures.

The corporation also admits to low water supply but wants the people to be responsible citizens.

The question that remains unanswered is why these causes were not noticed before the spread of cholera to save the people falling sick.

Woman power

The Congress has recently tasted the success of the firepower of women in the House.

The Congress sought to blunt BJP firebrand leader Gian Chand Gupta’s reasoned arguments on cholera by pitting women councillors, Ms Shyama Negi and Pushpa Sharma.

While Ms Negi kept on accusing the BJP of doing nothing during the last five years of its rule in the Municipal Corporation, Ms Sharma found an ingenious way of only repeating questions to Mr Gupta.

Mr Gupta had to finally surrender by folding hands before Ms Sharma and sitting down, leaving councillors in splits.

Admn or MC?

The duality of duties between the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation has left the people here in a dilemma as to whom to approach for redressal of grievances.

Purely municipal issues like water supply, sanitation, roads and horticulture are divided between the two bodies.

A tree fell on a person’s car recently. For removal of the tree he kept on shuttling between different offices of the two bodies to finally find out after at least four rounds that the Chandigarh Administration was supposed to remove the tree.

Elders hurt

Nominated councillors in the city have been feeling alienated from elected members, especially vocal BJP members.

But it seems, nominated councillors have lost their patience as their non-political advice is just not listen to by BJP members.

The elderly nominated councillors have been crying hoarse for decorum in the House but to no avail.

The recently took up cudgels when a BJP leader intervened while a senior nominated member was speaking by standing up and saying “nominated councillors as a group” would not listen to BJP members.

The heat, however, worked in favour of the Congress which was being hounded by the BJP councillors on the Mayor’s failure to take the Opposition in confidence on issues of common interest.

Akhand path for electricity!

Like industrial units in other towns, the Mohali industry is also facing severe power cuts these days. It has caused sharp fall in productivity and delay in their production schedule and heavy losses.

The ban on the use of air-conditioners has further compounded their problem. Unable to do anything in the given circumstances, the Mohali Industry Association organised an Akhand Path on Saturday, to please the rain gods so that they could get rid of power cuts.

No drought in Punjab

Some of the officials in the agricultural and revenue departments of Punjab are praying these days that there should be no rainfall in the next few days, so that they can show some area in the state as drought-hit to justify their claim for Rs 800 crore grant from the Centre.

They agree that under the present rules, the state cannot be declared as drought-hit state. So they have decided to delay the girdawari (official assessment of crop losses), to August 10, so that there might be some area to show as drought hit.

Till today, not even a block in the state has reported 50 per cent loss of crops, says a senior official in the Agricultural Department, though farmers have spent large amounts on diesel to save their crops.

Heritage links

We told readers of this column some weeks back that Chandigarh’s “karate man” P. Raghavan is in Australia these days. He has now written to us telling us that he has received an official letter from the Australia- India Council (Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Government of Australia) stating that his supplementary project entitled “Exploration of India’s ancestral heritage links with Australia” has been widely praised and accepted by the Council members.

This short project will concurrently run along with his major grant project entitled “Contribution of South Asia to the peopling of Australasia” with which he is involved as a senior scientist. He will be representing the Australian National University as a cultural ambassador in this project.

The elements of this supplementary project are: Our current understanding of the Eve or Out of Africa origin of modern humans, whereby the ancestors of aboriginal Australians would have reached New Guinea via Indian subcontinent.

The heritage implications and values of ultimately common ancestry of the indigenous people of India and Australia will be explored through a series of discussions and lectures, preparatory to the study comparing human fossil and modern material from India and Australia.

Whose cholera?

The BJP has accused the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, of making cholera an issue of her own party (Congress).

The Congress said it was BJP cholera as causes behind the spread of the disease were left unattended by the BJP during the last five years of its rule.

She’s versatile

She is the daughter of Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar Mr Pritam Pal. But that is “her good fortune”, not her accomplishment. As far as feats are concerned, she has many to her credit. The lastest achievement: Sukhda Dhanda has topped third year law examination by securing 67 per cent. This is not all. She has topped in all the three years and will be getting a gold medal during the convocation.

The list doesn’t end here. She bagged third prize in National Youth Parliament — a competition organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Sukhda even secured first position in declamation contest organised by the Red Cross Society on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse.

Academics is, however, not her only forte. She has represented Haryana state four times in baseball at the national level. Currently she is planning to prepare for competitive examinations and has joined coaching classes at Panjab University.



Martyr cremated with state honours
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 4
The mortal remains of Subedar Major Sucha Singh of 11 Sikh Light Infantry, who laid down his life in the line of duty in the Machhal sector of Kupwara district on Thursday evening, were consigned to flames with state honours at Behara village, near here, today morning.

The body arrived in the village late last night. Wrapped in the Tricolour, it was carried to the cremation ground amid slogans “Subedar Sucha Singh amar rahe”. A Punjab Police unit reversed arms and fired volley shots. Sukhwinder Singh, the elder son of Subedar Major Sucha Singh, lit the pyre. Wreaths were laid on the body by Mr Amarjit Singh Dhindsa, SDM, Capt Kehar Singh from the District Sainik Welfare Board, Patiala, Mr Balwinder Singh, DSP, and some other administrative officers.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the local MLA, paid his homage to Subedar Major Sucha Singh. He also assured help to the family.

Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, Deputy Chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), and Mr Krishan Pal Sharma, a PPCC member, also paid homage.

“No doubt, the tragedy has pierced my heart but I am proud of being the father of a soldier who laid down his life for his motherland. I am sure Sucha’s sacrifice would yield results,” said Mr Puran Singh, father of the soldier.

Posted at Kupwara district in Jammu, Subedar Major Sucha Singh died along with his two colleagues — Lance Niak Ranjit Singh of Bhauni village in Ropar district and Lance Niak Santosh Kumar of Fatehgarh — while they were on duty at a check post at Machhal Sector in Kupwara district when a grenade, fired from across the border, exploded killing them on the spot. His seven other colleagues sustained injuries in the incident.


Conference concludes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 4
The two-day regional conference of company secretaries, organised by the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute of Company Secretaries, concluded here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice J.S. Narang, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, said company secretaries must give fair and honest advise to their management.

Justice Narang said company secretaries could take their companies to the right direction and should accept accountability.

Mr S. Gangopadhodhyay, president of the ICSI, while delivering his presidential address, said professionals world over were facing challenge and therefore must see their strengths and weaknesses and threats. He said professionals must give priority to service than profit and also adhere to the highest standards of code and ethics.

Mr Parveen Gupta, general manager zone and Company Secretary, Haryana Tourism, and Mr S.P. Narang, Secretary, ICSI, were among others who spoke on the occasion. 


Star trekkers join hands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
A group of people who either own a telescope or are deeply interested in the dark night sky and what lies beyond it have come together to form an association — the Amateur Star Trekkers Association (ASTA).

The association is Chandigarh’s first ever star trekkers’ group who plan to go hiking once a month to the distant galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. Ask them and they’ll tell you that they have seen it all. Be it the moon or the planets, the excitement that is generated when viewing through a telescope is an extraordinary experience.

What the group had gathered here to see last night was not the planets or the moon but the inner core of the Milky Way, says Mr J.S. Dugal, president of the association. This region extends from the summer triangle stars of Deneb and Altair to the Constellation Sagittarius. To the naked eye, one can see a cloud like billowy mass spread across this region. This can be easily be mistaken for the monsoon clouds coming in from the South East, but these are not the monsoon clouds but the faint light reaching us from perhaps over a billion stars in this region. When you point your telescope in this region, you will be treated to a visual feast of stars in all its groupings. The Jewel Box, the Lagoon Nebula, the Omega Nebula or the Star Field. Look at anyone of them and you would most likely remain hooked onto this for a lifetime. The Globular Cluster in Hercules or the Ring Nebula in Lyra is an awe inspiring sight. What a magnificent creation of nature and what a pity that only a few can see it. As the old saying goes: “There are two kind of people, one looks at the dust and the other looks at the stars”.

Finally, Chandigarh has come of age when we talk about star gazing. Although star gazing is a hobby much pursued in the West, in households as well as in educational institutions, in India it is still in its formative years. The members have been pursuing this hobby from their backyards or their rooftops, but it was on Mr Dugal’s initiative that the club has been formed. Mr Dugal is a keen star gazer and ever since he brought his telescope in March this year he has spent most evenings in his Sector 5 backyard tracking distant stars. Mr Dugal owns a constellation sky scanner and is deeply involved with the hobby. He tracks the evening skies regularly and is particularly fascinated by the star clusters. He has been so moved by the sheer experience of it all that he got in touch with other telescope owners of the city and decided to launch this association.

The association has its office at #35, Sector 5, Chandigarh. In a recent meeting of the executive committee of the club, Mr Dugal was appointed as president. Mr Anil Gulati has been appointed as treasurer and Mr Rajbir Grewal as secretary. The meeting has also decided to meet once a month and star gaze collectively. The membership of this unique club is by invitation only. “The idea of the association is unique and owes its origins to this group in the city. Bring your own. Bring your grub, bring your beverages, bring your family and bring your telescope. Then sit back and aim at the stars and enjoy the evening with your friends and family. The club also plans to make collective outings to Chail, Shimla and Kasauli in their pursuit of clearer skies. The idea is to star gaze and what better surroundings than being with your family and friends”, says Mr Dugal. The idea is to achieve the following objectives set out by the association:

a. Bring together people interested in trekking the night skies and also forming a base for further social interactions.

b. To motivate the beginners to get kick started in the subject

c. To explore the night sky to its full potential using telescopes

d. To create a telescope culture amongst people. 


Friendship Day carnival
Our Correspondent

Ramgarh (Panchkula), August 4
The Friendship Day was celebrated by scores of students from educational institutions from Chandigarh, at Fun City, near here today.

A carnival, The Friendship Day — flavour of the season, was organised by Sphinx Adonis Events in association with Yash Raj films for the promotion of their latest release ‘‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge’’, a movie based on three young people.

The highlight of the day included ‘Dosti Contest’ in which Sneha and Swati stood first. They would be given opportunity to meet stars Hrithik Roshan and Rani Mukharjee in Mumbai.

Winners of other competitions are: best male model — Mr Piyush Sharma from GCM, Sector 11, best female model — Avedhana of Government College, Sector 46, best choreographer of fashion show — Jaspreet Kaur, best dance choreographer — Bhawana of Homoeopathy Medical College and best college — Homoeopathy Medical College.


Foetus found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The foetus of a four-month-old child was found near Colony no. 4 in Industrial Area, Phase 1, here this morning. No external injury mark was found on it.

A police official said it was found near the slaughter house. The Industrial Area police station has registered a case. The foetus has been sent for autopsy to General Hospital, Sector 16.

The police has ruled out the possibility of foul play.

Further investigations are being carried out.



Cook ‘n’ serve meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Nestle India Limited organised a cook 'n' serve meet in The Tribune Colony, Sector 29, here today. Nestle's representative Kanu Priya Malhotra gave demonstration of dessert preparations to women of the colony. Recipes she prepared and demonstrated were suji cutlets, noodles bonda and traffic lights.

About 80 women participated in the meet, which was sponsored by The Tribune Colony Committee.

A quiz contest was also held on the occasion. Poonam, Pinto, Chetna and Ajay were declared winners. 


Child’s death: police awaits viscera report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The viscera of a two-year-old female child, Garima Mehta, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her home on the Panjab University campus here last evening, was today sent for chemical examination to Patiala.

The report of an autopsy conducted at the General Hospital, Sector 16, has not revealed the exact cause of death, said a police official. Report of another test has been sought from the GMCH, Sector 32. According to the police any further action in the case would be taken on the basis of the viscera report.

Talking to the TNS, the father of the victim, Rotash Mehta (23), claimed that he was not responsible for the death of the girl. He said on Friday last, when he returned from office he had found the house locked. “On Saturday my wife returned and said she did not want to live with me and packed off her articles and went away with child only to return after half-an-hour to leave the child”.

At about 12.30 noon he went to the market to have some refreshment and bought cold drinks for his daughter. After playing the child slept at about 4.30 pm. “When I noticed that the child was not making any movement I lifted her and called my neighbours and she was taken to the PGI. Rotash said after being questioned he was let off by the police.

He lamented that he was not allowed to cremate his daughter.

Sources assert that Rohtash and Suman Mehta had tied the knot in 1997 and that there were ‘’some differences’’ between the couple residing in B-block on the Panjab University campus. On Friday night the couple had an argument over some issue following which Suman had left the home. The police has already initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.


Cyclist killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
A cyclist, Sargan, was killed after he was hit by a truck near the railway traffic light point. The driver of the truck has been arrested and a case under Sections 229, 324 and 304 A of the IPC has been registered.

In another case, a 56-year-old resident of Sector 24, Charan Dass, who was admitted to the PGI yesterday after he started vomiting, died here today. The victim was employed in the office of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies.

Theft: Three vehicles have been stolen in three incidents in the city. According to the information available, Hakikat Singh, a resident of Sector 21, complained that his Maruti car was stolen from Sector 32. In another case, Anil Kumar of Sector 35 complained that his Tata Sumo was stolen from his residence.

Karam Pal Singh, a resident of Sector 22, complained that his Kinetic Honda scooter was stolen from Sector 17.

Burglary: Sher Singh, a resident of Sector 20, today alleged that one gold bangle, three gold rings, a pair of gold tops, an earring, three wrist watches, five silver coins, Rs 500 in cash and some important documents were stolen from his residence on Saturday. A case under

Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC has been registered.

Beggars arrested: As many as eight beggars have been arrested by the Chandigarh Police for begging in public place. According to the information available, Malkhan Singh, Gobinda, Reddy Bawa, Darab Singh, Ram Garib, Satbir, Neet Ram and Charanji Lal were have been booked.


Stolen: A motor cycle ( HR-03D-4221) was stolen from near the judicial complex here on Saturday. A case under section 379 of, IPC, has been registered.


1 killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 4
One person was killed and four were injured in two accidents in the Chandimandir area yesterday.

A scooterist , Naveen Kumar, was killed and the man riding pillion was injured when their scooter was hit by a vehicle on Madhumati Marg.

In another accident, two scooterists were injured when they were hit by a canter (HR-64-0057) yesterday. 


Are customers shy of using ATMs?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Of late, public sector banks have been making heavy investments in setting up ATMs. But the major question is that are there enough depositors using them? ATM installation is on the rise but this does not appear to have resulted in an increase in usage. To reap maximum benefits from their investment, the banks will need to network the machines and educate not only their staff at lower level but even at the controlling level.

But as long as a person/executive, who is controlling the regional office or zonal office, does not know how to operate the ATM, how can he be expected to educate the customers?

Banks are installing ATMs without giving proper training to their staff, says Mr S.C. Dhall, a keen observer of the banking industrial scene here. While most of banks in Chandigarh claim that the number of ATM transactions is on the rise, the actual scenario is quite the opposite. Just take the case of one bank which is the largest issuer of ATM cards today in the city. No ATM of the bank in Chandigarh is transacting over 150 hits. The average ATM transactions is between 25 to 50 and in some cases even lower than this, he points out.

This may be due to a variety of factors. More ATMs are available today than ever before, but the setting up ATMs is not in proportion to the ATM cards issued by the banks.

Now most of the bankers have realised that increasing the number of ATMs necessarily does not mean more transactions along with revenue. The inference is while the setting up of ATMs is on the rise and the card issue is also increasing, the per card withdrawal per month is as low as three or less than that. The banks have more dormant card holders who seldom use ATM card and still prefer to use the traditional methods of banking.

There are a variety of reasons for the use of ATMs not picking up with customers, he says. The main being that although total volume of cash withdrawal is on the increase, it has not kept pace with the installation of new ATMs.

This is likely to continue until steps are taken to encourage usage of ATMs. Chandigarh has 90 ATMs and these have been installed within a period of only one-and-half year. The first Bank to instal an ATM in Chandigarh was the Personal Banking branch of the State Bank of Patiala in Sector 8, in March, 1995, followed by ATM set up by the Bank of Punjab in June 1995 and ICICI, HDFC. Now ICICI is the leading bank as far as the number of ATMs is concerned.

Translating the existing customer of the bank from teller customer to card customers is, by no means, an easy task. “In a country like ours, which has different segments, different age groups base the likings of banking are also diffeent, so to encourage more non users to use ATMs and give the present users added incentives and new services, the banks need to educate their own staff and personnel,” he said.


Online trading confirmation system launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
In view of the increasing frauds by public limited companies and the brokers with the investors, the management of Bombay Stock Exchange has launched online trading confirmation system, to increase their confidence and transparency of the system. It would enable the investors to verify their trades done on BSE through if they had a contract note with them for the trade concerned.

This was stated by Mr P.S. Reddy, General Manager, BSE, here today He was addressing an “Investor Awareness Programme”, organised as part of the nation wide awareness programme. The BSE has already organised programmes at Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bhatinda, Faridkot, Moga and Ferozepore in Punjab. In Haryana these programmes would be held in Ambala, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat and Sonepat during the next week.

He advised the investors to enter into written agreement with brokers/ sub-brokers, that was also mandatory, to safeguard their interests. They should not deal with unregistered intermediaries, fall prey to promises of unrealistic high returns and speculative trading. One could also trade oneself through Internet-based trading by registering with a broker.

Mr Reddy admitted that there were a lot of companies and brokers, who had cheated the investors. However, the BSE Investors’ Grievances Cell, was taking measures against the listed companies on proper complaints, he added. It had issued show-cause notices, transferring the scripts to ‘Z’ category in case of non-resolution of investors’ complaints.

Mr Rajeev Garg, Deputy Manager, Investor Service Cell, claimed that to upgrade the infrastructure, the management had spent over Rs 90 crore during the past three years. The BSE had set up a trade guarantee fund, out of which the investors were entitled to get payments up to Rs 10 lakh in case of any default by the companies or brokers.

Further, the BSE had starting displaying its arbitration schedule, he said, on the website, 30 days in advance. The investors should know that investors’ rights included to receiving all benefits, material information declared for the investors’ by the company, delivery of shares purchased/value of shares sold within two days after the pay-out day and to receive contract note from the brokers in the specified format showing transaction price and brokerage separately.

Reacting to the complaints of investors, Mr Reddy pointed that in case of suspended companies they could approach the Department of Company Affairs, which could even prosecute the directors of the company in case of serious complaints.


MoU signed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (MARKFED), has inked an MoU with M/s Bindra Agro Industries, Chandigarh, for selling the “Heat and Eat” canned food products of Markfed in international markets.

Bindra Agro will sell these products under its own brand name and packing “Dr Bindra’s Curries” while Markfed will do the manufacturing.

The Markfed products to be marketed through this arrangement are Saron ka saag, dal makhani, chatpata channa, kala channa, alu methi, rajmah, lobia, kari pakora, alu palak, and alu wari etc. Basmati rice in packaging of 1kg, 5kg, 10kg, 20kg, 40kg and upwards will also be marketed.

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