Friday, November 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major fire in paper unit
Tribune News Service

Ironically, the Industrial Welfare Association, Phase IX, SAS Nagar, had in its general body meeting, held less than a fortnight ago, demanded that a fire tender be placed on permanent duty to cater to the various small-scale industries in Industrial Area Phase IX. ‘‘The demand had come following a fire that broke out in Chandigarh Petro Chemicals, Phase IX, on August 29 this year. But nothing was done in this regard. The fire tenders had to be refilled from Phase I each time they got empty,” said Mr P.S. Sandhu, president of the association.

SAS Nagar, October 31
A tissue paper manufacturing unit in Industrial Area, Phase IX, was destroyed in a fire that started in the wee hours here today. Due to highly inflammable material lying in the factory, the fire raged for over four hours before it was doused by fire fighters.

Although the Fire Department is yet to give its report on the cause of the fire, onlookers stated that a short circuit was the apparent cause of the fire. While no loss of life has been reported, the owner of the unit claims that property worth around Rs 40 lakh has been destroyed.

The factory, Navkirat Enterprises, manufactures and packs tissue papers and is also used as a storage place for women toiletries for trading. Reels of tissue paper along with heaps of cardboard boxes and plastic packing material was stocked in the factory along with a room stacked up to the roof with women toiletries.

According to the owner, Mr Avtar Singh Walia, the family of the watchman of a factory in the neighbourhood saw smoke emanating from the factory at around 3.30 am and raised the alarm. Fire tenders were requisitioned and soon the factory owner also arrived. Two fire tenders continued to work till 9 in the morning before the fire was finally put off.

Eyewitnesses state that flames were seen emanating from the ventilators and windows and by the time the fire was put off, complete premises had been affected. ‘‘Only the office area has been saved and all the raw material in the form of tissue paper reels, packing material, cardboard boxes has been destroyed by the fire and whatever that could have been saved has been rendered useless because of water. The machines too have been destroyed' said Mr Walia.

The single-floor factory premises built on 3 kanals is a partitioned unit with one portion serving as the manufacturing unit and the other as storage place. The fire is said to have started from the manufacturing unit, where maximum damage was caused, and spread to the storage portion through the roof. The machines used for cutting and packing too have been destroyed in the fire.



Inspection of draft rolls from November 7
Tribune News Service


  • Inspection of draft rolls between November 7 and 30.
  • Correction in photo ID cards also to be carried out.
  • Residents who are 18 years or above on January 1 2003, can apply.

Chandigarh, October 31
The Election Commission of India has ordered for special revision of electoral rolls of the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency with January 1, 2003, as the qualifying date.

A draft roll will be available for inspection in the office of the election department from November 7 to 30. The roll will also be available for inspection at all polling stations on November 9, 10, 23 and 24 between 9 a.m and 6 p.m. Eligible voters whose names have not been included in the rolls can file their claims in the office of the election department on all working days between November 7 and 30.

The supporting documents for eligibility of proof of age and proof of residence in Chandigarh should be submitted along with the claim. For age, the applicant should be 18 years as on January 1, 2003. Prescribed forms are available for filling the claims. The forms are available free of cost at the election department and also the polling stations. Eligible voters can also file claims with respect to corrections and alterations in the electoral rolls or in the photo ID cards. The claims will be decided by Assistant Electoral Registration Officers in special camps.

The corrections will also be carried out as per the same schedule. In the past also the Chandigarh Administration has been carrying out revisions of the rolls.



Charges & counter-charges galore on PU poll eve
Sanjiv Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Allegations and counter-allegations reigned supreme at the open-house debate of different student organisations a day before the elections to the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council here today.

The ‘real issues of students’ interest’ remained pushed back into the background at the debate. Charges alleging university favouritism in admitting the Panjab University Student Union presidential candidate on the one side and the PUSU defending its president and charging rivals to be issue-less was the main talk, where two representatives each from the three groups — the Panjab University Students Union — Haryana Students Association — Himachal Pradesh Students Union, the Students Organisation of Panjab University — Association of Panjab University Students and the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad — were asked to address the rally.

Supporters of the PUSU panel came first and occupied the space opposite the stage, which gave an advantage over the rival supporters during the entire debate. Except Kang and Munish Anand, a former president of the student council, anyone else was hardly audible. The SOPU panel and the ABVP occupied the flanks and added their noise to the din.

Kang, who was the first speaker, said the opposition was only rallying to have him ousted from the university instead of talking about any students’ issues. He said as far as allegation against him for not attending the required lectures by giving a fake certificate was concerned, as many as four university committees had found him innocent. He said last year when he was out of power he had successfully led agitation for reappear and improvement chances.

Harveer Singh, the presidential candidate of the SOPU panel, said his organisation had got success in getting a reservation for the economically backward sections of society. Science fair was another success. His speech was disturbed by the listeners to an extent that he got agitated. “Truth speaks louder than any noise of lies and the truth will be evident after the results tomorrow”, he said.

Commitment to work for making the university to announce its falling back on the attendance requirement of 66 per cent against the existing 75 per cent following a circular from the UGC tops the agenda of all three panels and was repeated by most of the speakers.

Deepak Balyan, the presidential candidate of the ABVP, said the rival student organisations on the campus were devoid of any line of thought which the ABVP had. Students need to use their heads and not hearts before casting their vote tomorrow.

Munish Anand said: “I fail to understand why the rivals were ranting against Kang. This is probably for the first time that students were working against the admission of another student. The emptiness of the SOPU was evident from the fact their last general secretary and one of the founders of the party (Bhupinder Beniwal) had joined the PUSU. As far as the ABVP is concerned it first sided with the SOPU, then shifted alliance to the PUSU and now went to the poll alone which was a clear reflection on its standing”.

Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa, a former president of the campus council, said: “Winning or loosing was not the end of the fight for students’ causes. Students need to wait and ponder over the main happenings on the campus from the past few years and they will see the SOPU hand behind all”.

Saurabh Joshi, the candidate for the post of secretary from the ABVP panel, said times had changed and students had seen performance of different organisations in power. The ABVP had stood with the rivals to aid them, however, displeased with their results the parishad decided to go out all alone.

Meanwhile, student organisations with significant national or regional standings have no stakes on the campus. Two students’ organisations of national standing which definitely caused ripples (even though mild) ever since revival of elections — the National Students Union of India and the Students Federation of India — do not figure on the list at all this year.

The All-India Sikh Students Federation which also announced alliances during the past couple of times has also vanished. The university during this period also witnessed bodies like the Haryana Students Union, which was a one-night affair.

The ABVP is the only organisation of national stature which is fighting it out in the arena, all alone this time. It had alliance with the Students Organisation of Panjab University a few years back. It had won during the tenure of Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa, however, it was pushed to such a corner that it decided to walk away from the alliance. Then it shifted its alliance to the Panjab University Student Union and again came to power.

The PUSU and the SOPU are the strongest student organisations in fray for the elections and both have benefactors from the Congress camp. Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath, a fellow, is known to be the man behind the SOPU. Similarly, Rajinder Deepa, a former fellow, and Pawan Valecha, a fellow, are known supporters of the PUSU.

The politics on the campus is more dominated by the regional factors. The leaders mainly belong to rich families. The Haryana Students Association holds a strong grip over students from the state and has also emerged as a strong ally of the PUSU which would appear a lopsided whole without its name.

More individualisation has led to emergence of the Himachal Pradesh Students Union which is itself a portion of the All-Himachal Students Association, a non-political organisation. “We command strength of more than 500 students on the campus which is a sizeable number. We are looking for a distinct identity on the campus”, a spokesperson said.



Councillors give themselves Divali gift
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Members of the fund-starved Municipal Corporation here today gave themselves a Divali gift unanimously passing a resolution to increase meetings’ allowance and approving telephone, constituency and stationery allowances.

The hike, however, only remains a request to the Chandigarh Administration which has to take a final decision.

The House also increased allowances of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor to what they call help them recover part of expenses incurred for serving the people and also to discourage corruption.

The House has recommended that the Mayor be given an honorarium of Rs 5000 instead of Rs. 2000, and entertainment allowance of Rs 4000 instead of Rs 3000, Rs 1000 as telephone allowance against nil in the previous arrangement, apart from Rs 2000 as salary. The Mayor has also been recommended 300 litres of petrol instead of 200 litres.

The Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor will also get Rs 500 a stationery allowance, Rs 500 for a House meeting and Rs 300 for a committee meeting. The meetings’ allowance earlier was Rs 100.

It has been recommended that a councillor should be given Rs 2000 salary, Rs 1000 for the telephone, Rs 1000 as constituency allowance and Rs 500 as stationery allowance.

Senior Deputy Mayor will get Rs 4000 honorarium instead of Rs 1500 and Rs 1000 as entertainment allowance apart from councillor allowances. Deputy Mayor is proposed to be given Rs 3000 honorarium instead of Rs 1000 and Rs 1000 as entertainment allowance.

The proposal was moved by Congress councillor Anu Chathrath on an agenda item of Dr B.R. Verma for the former mayors of the present house during their membership of the House. Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla pleaded on behalf of party councillors saying members of lower income group had been finding it difficult to financially manage the big responsibility of public service and should be supported in this effort. Mr Verma’s proposal was confined only to former Mayors of the House. He said former mayors should be given Rs 3000 as car allowance and Rs 1000 as telephone allowance.

Ms Chathrath said the allowances should be given with effect from January 2002.

The resolution demands even higher facilities than those proposed by the last House for an additional Rs 1000 telephone allowance for councillors, which was rejected by the Chandigarh Administration earlier on the ground that the Punjab Municipal Act did not have any provision for such allowances. 



Separate bylaws for Mani Majra on cards
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Residents of four villages of the Municipal Corporation and Manimajra are likely to get a big relief with the corporation considering to grant them no objection certificates under a separate set of bylaws for these areas.

This provision is likely to provide relief to lakhs of people who had been deprived of legal power and water connections for decades in Manimajra, Bhadheri, Attawa, Butrela and Burail.

The corporation also approved from the next fiscal a separate budget of Rs 5 crore for these villages from the Municipal Corporation.

While intervening during the discussion on an agenda item moved by Chandigarh Vikas Manch Councillor Vijay Rana, Commissioner M. P. Singh said within three weeks a survey would be done in these areas to identify their infrastructural needs and the Chandigarh Administration had allowed them have separate by-laws for these areas.

He also informed a committee would prepare a report within a month for taking up an entire infrastructural project like sewarage, road or drinking water. This entire project would be taken up in a year.

By-laws would be prepared and brought before the house soon, the Commissioner said.

Congress leader in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla proposed that a separate budget of Rs 5 crore and NOCs with a cut off date should be allowed to facilitate the development of these areas on a pattern of modern villages.

He also suggested that instead of doing piecemeal jobs of road, sanitation, sewerage and drinking water, projects of one nature should be taken up in the area. Mr Chawla was supported by Mr Kuldeep Singh and Mr Surinder Singh.

The corporation offered a golden opportunity to rehri-phariwallahs and small shopkeepers by allowing them puting up stalls in Circus Ground during the three-day Divali festival at a rate of Rs 500 per day per shop.

The corporation, however, will not provide any infrastructure to these stalls. Mr Chawla’s proposal on this issue was passed by the House. The House also decided to charge Rs 5000 per stall per day for Divali festival in Sector 17 up to the Bridge Market and Rs 3000 for shops beyond this market. A committee in this regard would start earmarking area for stalls from tomorrow.

It also decided to charge Rs 1000 per day per stall for a separate shopping festival beginning from November 6 to promote tourism in the city and making this festival an annual event.

Pardeep Chhabra, however, got a relief for the shopkeepers of Sector 22 D urging the House not to charge any ground rent from them as they were adding colour to the city and doing social work.

The House, however, allowed a ground rent charge of Rs 500 per day for the display of gift items in the market.

The House plunged into a wordy dual with the Congress doubting the intention of a previous BJP Mayor in purchasing a bus allegedly by-passing procedures and not taking the approval of the House before the purchase of the bus.

This enraged the BJP with Gian Chand Gupta referring to Mayor Lalit Joshi’s permission for a ground “without the permission of the Finance and Contract Committee” for setting up a giant wheel in Manimajra. He also alleged that his agenda item on the issue was not entertained by the Mayor in this meeting.

The Commissioner said the matter had been marked for an inquiry into the entire gamut of bus purchase to the Chief Engineer.

An indication of withdrawal of robbery cases against CVM general secretary Devinder Singh Babla and six traders was given in the House with the Commissioner saying he would take legal opinion on withdrawal of cases or the feelings of the House would be communicated to the Chandigarh Administration.

Criticising the Enforcement Wing, members supported Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla’s proposal for the withdrawal of cases and a policy on encroachment removal.

The House also authorised the Mayor to form a committee to prepare a draft of the policy.

The House sought a report in three months against five officials of the Fire Wing who were indicted by a House committee.

Ms Kamla Sharma, Rajesh Gupta, Chandermukhi Sharma, Dr. K. S. Raju, Shyama Negi, Kamlesh, Jitender Bhatia, Dildar Khan, Amar Kulwant Singh, Ms K. Atma Ram, Brigadier Sant Singh (retd.) and Sohan Lal, among others, made useful contributions in the discussions.



A ‘slight bias’ in favour of three Panchkula sectors?
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

As compared to VIP Sectors, the rest of  the township has...

  • A sum of Rs 124 lakh sanctioned for maintenance of roads in rest of the township as compared to Rs 168 lakh for Sector 1-9, 20-21.
  • Road carpeting on internal and main roads in and around Sectors 6, 7, 8 has been completed, while the rest of the township presents a stark contrast.
  • Road berms cleared in VIP sectors, but it is not so in rest of Panchkula.
  • Almost 25 percent of total dustbins placed in VIP sectors and garbage collected twice a day here.

Panchkula, October 31
Other than three oldest developed sectors here, the rest of township does not figure high on list of priorities of Haryana Urban Development Authority. In terms of maintenance of roads and streetlights, clearing of road berms and sanitation, residents of the township are like poor cousins of residents living in Sectors 6, 7 and 8.

This lop-sided development is in spite of the fact that the population in sectors other than the above- mentioned “VIP Sectors” has increased manifold over the past 10 years, while the population in these three sectors has remained more or less static. Most senior government officials ( serving as well as retired), politicians and other Who’s Who of the region are staying in Sectors 6, 7 and 8.

According to figures collected by TNS, a sum of Rs 124 lakh has been sanctioned for maintenance of roads in Division No. II (Sectors — 10-12, 12-A, 14-19 and Industrial Area Phase I and II). On the other hand, a sum of Rs 168 lakh has been sanctioned for road maintenance of Division No. I (Sectors 1-9, 20 and 21). In the former group, road- carpeting has been done only in Sector 12- A and Industrial Area Phase I.

It may be noted that after the road carpeting was done in Industrial Area Phase II in August, the first rains in the monsoon, barely a fortnight after the work was completed led to the roads being washed away. Similar is true with the newly recarpeted roads in Sector 12- A, which are now in a dilapidated condition. Though officials refused to comment, residents of these sectors allege that road berms have not been cleared here even once during this year.

In comparison, the maximum work with regard to road carpeting has been carried on around Sectors 6, 7 and 8. The main roads dividing Sectors 1 and 6, 8 and 7 4 and 11 and 4 and 12 have been recarpeted. Internal roads in Sectors 6 and 8 have almost been recarpeted and road berms in Sectors 7, 8 and on B-roads in Sector 8 have been cleared.

In private senior officials concede a “slight bias” in favour of Sectors 6, 7 and 8. A senior official in HUDA, while maintaining there was an elitist bias here said the reason for this bias was paucity of funds.

Similarly, maximum number of dustbins ( 13, 15 and 12) are placed in Sectors 6, 7 and 8 respectively ( almost 25 percent of total dustbins). As compared to this, the dustbins in other sectors of the township vary between 2-11, except for Sector 14, which has official residences of all administration and judicial officers in district.

Residents also allege that street light maintenance in the township, other than in Sectors 6, 7 and 8, is dismal. Lt-Col Surjit Singh, president of Sector 12 Residents Welfare Association, said almost 60 percent of street lights on road dividing Sector 11 and 12 had been out of order for past three months. “For security reasons, we have been demanding sodium vapour lamps on culvert near Yadav Bhavan, which has fallen on deaf years. Despite repeated reminders to the authorities, nothing has come so far,” he said. 



BJP morcha for Wakf Board in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The BJP’s national Minority Morcha today urged its local unit to immediately get a Wakf Board constituted in Punajb and also launch a house-to-house campaign for encouraging the children of the minority community to go to schools.

“The Morcha will take up the issue of constituting the Wakf Board with Union Social Justice Minister Mr Satyanarayan Jatia,” its general secretary Shah Mohammed said while addressing the local Morcha workers.

He asked the local unit to undertake a massive membership drive and also educate the people of minority communities about its political relations and equations with the BJP to strike a power sharing deal.

Former BJP MP Satyapal Jain said the country had a composite and tolerant culture and enshrined religious freedom in the Constitution.

He said contrary to it, Pakistan chose the path of a Muslim state and was disintegrated and had been discriminating against Muslims who migrated from India.

Dr Anwar Ali, in charge of Punjab, Himachal and Chandigarh unit of the Morcha, said to check the feeling of insecurity among Muslims, the government should create a regiment in services and name it after Abdul Hameed.

Morcha president Mohammed Salim cited examples of the Congress rule where Muslims had been used as “vote bank”.



Travails of having 8-seater vehicle
Tribune News Service

Mr Tarlochan Singh, a local resident, has been doing the rounds of the registering authority for the past 15 days. He purchased a new model of Hero Honda and the authorities say the company has not supplied the computer code to permit registration. Now for no fault of his, he is pursuing the matter and has even written to Hero Honda.

Chandigarh, October 31
A class of vehicle owners in Chandigarh, who own eight-seater vehicles like Maruti van, Toyota Qualis, Tata Sumo, Mohindra Bolero or any of the big jeeps, are facing harassment at the hands of the Chandigarh Administration.

All such vehicles need to be registered each year. Till a few months ago the vehicles had to be passed for roadworthiness by the Motor Vehicle Inspector. A hue and cry was raised by residents. The Chandigarh Administration relented that the vehicles need not be passed for road worthiness but the road tax will have to be deposited on an yearly basis.

Normally a vehicle is passed for 15 years and the road tax is also deposited for the same period, but eight-seater vehicles are not covered under this rule, thanks to typically bureaucratic red tape.

This is not all. Once the Registering and Licensing Authority issues a registration certificate (RC) it is valid for one year. Now in Chandigarh RCs are issued on smart cards which cost around Rs 75. After one year the owner goes to pay road tax. A small slip is issued saying ‘‘road tax paid’’. This slip mentions the date till tax has been paid. Here starts the problem as the RC mentions a different date of validity. An average cop in the adjoining states sees red in this and harasses the drivers. The only answer to this is to have a new RC each year, which requires extensive paper work.

All this is required to be done only in Chandigarh. In Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh no annual inspection is required and vehicles can be registered and road tax paid in one go. Sources said a proposal to allow one-time registration and payment of road tax had been pending for the past two years. The proposal was mooted by the then SDM (South), Mr Ashish Kundra.

Explaining the reason for this annual check-up, an official said: “The authorities go by the thumb rule that any vehicle which has eight-seat capacity is running as commercial vehicle”. However, in today’s concept this is untrue as a majority of eight seaters are private vehicles.



Fire Deptt launches awareness drive
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 31
Handle crackers with care — with this objective in mind, Chandigarh’s Fire Department has launched a massive drive for creating awareness among school students. The initiative to educate the children about fire safety measures has been taken by the Bharatiya Yuva Sangh.

As the festival of lights is drawing near, the department officials, for the first time perhaps, are going from one school to another issuing a long list of do’s and don’ts to the students.

The move to create awareness among the students just before Divali assumes significance as according to fire fighters kids were involved in a large number of fire accidents. Creating awareness among the students would not only help in reducing such accidents. it would also help the students in taking appropriate measures without delay.

The programme would also enable the students to act as torch light to show the path of safety not only to their family members and neighbours, but also to their friends.

Giving details of the drive, president of the Bharatiya Yuva Sangh, Mr Ajay Singla, said”. “Children are basically being asked to take precautionary measures for preventing the incidents of fire. They are being asked not to play with high explosive crackers, but with small and safe ones”.

He adds, “Children are also being requested against playing with fire in the absence of elders. Sparklers, they can handle themselves, but the presence of elders is essential if they are lighting up an `anar’ or launching a rocket”.

This is not all. Officials of the Fire Department are also asking students to take steps in case of flames break out. “If a wooden chair is on fire, it should be thrown out of the house in vacant area,” says an officer. “Otherwise, the fire should be doused by pouring water over the flames. In case, electric appliances are on fire, water should not be used, sand should be thrown”.

The officer further adds, “If the fire goes out of control, the department officials should be contacted. For the purpose, we are teaching the children to give exact the address, besides details of some land mark in the adjoining area”.

The drive, he asserts, has initially been launched in government schools situated in the city. “Currently, the students studying in Sector 45 Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46 Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 47 Government Model Senior Secondary School, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18 and Sector 20 Government Model Senior Secondary School are being targeted”.

Certain other private schools are also taking initiative in this direction. 



CSIO helps India succeed in ALH project
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) added glory to country’s scientific efforts during the year by filing 12 patents in six countries, winning the technology award for developing a crucial equipment for the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) and earning Rs 9.05 crore through research projects.

This was stated in the annual report of a premier scientific organisation, presented by a senior scientist S.R. Taneja yesterday on the occasion of the 46th foundation day celebrations chaired by its Director Dr R.P. Bajpai.

A renowned scientist from Hyderabad, Dr V.K. Saraswat, delivered the guest lecture on “Technology Development in New Millennium.”

The gathering was informed that the organisation had developed seven instruments, completed 10 research and development projects, transferred five technologies to industries and signed five memoranda of understanding for having coordinated research and academic activities.

Dr Saraswat in his address traced his long association with Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, and talked of various technologies as identified in his book “Technology Vision 2002”, which included agro-food milk, production of materials, steel, aluminum, rare earths and engineering industries.

Dr Bajpai recalled the contribution of his predecessors saying the organisation had gone in the reverse direction of developing smaller things after huge ones.

The chief guest besides releasing the annual report also honoured the team members who developed Head UP Display (HUD) for LCA.

P.P. Bajpai, Vinay Kumar, Suresh Kumar, Sanjay Sharma, Vinod Karar, Vipin Kumar, P. K. Garg, R.C. Takkar, Dr K. Narasimha Rao, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore and Hardeep Singh were honoured by the chief guest.

To enhance the performance of HUD in terms of optical parametres and reduction in lens assembly weight, the CSIO has also been assigned the task of designing new set of lenses.

The organisation has undertaken feasibility studies for the development of HUD for intermediate jet trainer (IJT) aircraft and for helmet mounted display system. It has also proposed to develop an HUD for Jaguar fighters.

The organisation is striving to study the electrical behaviour of DNA at molecular level and develop DNA-based electronics to create bio-molecular electronics.

It has taken up a project to develop cost-effective disposable micro diagnostic kits for tuberculosis, malaria, Hepatitis B and HIV and has initiated work on carbon nano tubes.

The organisation has also created the national ashperic facility in the institute and is working on the national seismic network to assess the local seismicity in the region.



Free medical camp by ITBP
Our Correspondent

Ramgarh, October 31
As many as 400 residents and 60 pets were examined by a team of doctors of the unit hospital during a free medical check-up camp organised by the ITBP, BTC, Bhanu, at Asrewali village, near here today.

The village, located adjacent to Kot Billa village, has been adopted by the ITBP. The residents were also provided with best possible medicare besides being given medicines free of cost. Veterinary doctors also examined animals and treated them on the spot.

A team of doctors comprising Dr Bhaskar Rai, Dr Vivek Mathur and Dr Tek Chand, under the leadership of Mr N. Tangyan, DIG of the BTC, visited the village and interacted with the villagers.

Besides, wives of ITBP, officers also visited women folk in a door-to-door campaign in the village and educated them on personal hygiene and family planning.

The BTC chief assured the villagers of conducting such medical and veterinary camps on regular basis in future.



Markfed staff on warpath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Employees of Markfed went on mass casual leave and staged a dharna in front of the office for the second day today.

They are demanding the payment of bonus and ex-gratia as per previous years practice. The employees criticised the management for deliberately showing losses to the Asia’s largest cooperative organisation, Markfed, they pointed out, had been earning profit continuously since 1985-86 and distributing bonus and gifts to employees ever since.

They announced that they would stage a dharna even on Divali if the management did not distribute bonus and ex-gratia among them by then.



Black Divali for tubewell corpn staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Hundreds of employees of Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (PSTC) will have to celebrate Divali festival, like Dasera without salary in their pockets. Despite state government’s orders to release the salary, the treasury has not paid the salary.

Mr S.S.Walia, general secretary of the employees association, said employees of all state boards and corporations had been paid salary, but for employees of the Tubewell Corporation. Now the office will open on November 6, after Divali and weekend holidays. He urged the state government at least to ensure the payment of salary in time.



700 phones go dead
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 31
Over 700 telephones of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited in Sector 12 and 21 reportedly went out of order following the burning of telephone cables here this evening. The telecom authorities, when contacted, said the snag would be rectified by tomorrow afternoon.



Chief copy holder retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Mr Ishwar Dayal Sharma, chief copy holder in The Tribune, retired today after putting in 37 years of service. He joined The Tribune as a copy holder in 1965 at Ambala. He was given a warm send-off by his colleagues.

Mr Hari Jaisingh, Editor, and Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager, The Tribune, respectively, lauded his services to the institution.



K.K. Kapila
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Mr K.K. Kapila, a 1970 batch IRS officer working as Director of Income Tax (Investigation), Ludhiana, has been promoted and posted as Director-General of Income Tax (Investigation), North West Region, Chandigarh.

He has assumed the charge in place of Mr C.K. Vohra, who has been transferred to Chennai. 



Three vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 31
During the past 24 hours the police has registered three cases of vehicle thefts from different parts of the city.

Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH03A-3001) of Mr Rattan Singh, a resident of Sector 46-B, was reportedly stolen from a parking of Shivalikview Hotel, Sector 17, yesterday. Hero Honda Splendor motor cycle (CH03F-5573) of Mr Mohit Kumar Sharma, a resident of Zirakpur, was stolen from Sector 22 last morning. Mr Gurmit Singh, a resident of Sector 44-B, reported that his Yezdi motor cycle (PJV 12) was stolen from a market of Sector 44 yesterday.

Batteries stolen: Four batteries of UPS system were stolen from the Sector 20 office of the State Election Commission, Haryana, on Wednesday. A case has been registered on the complaint of Mr K.K. Arora, Superintendent (Administration).

Liquor seized: The police arrested Partap Singh, a resident of Shakali village in Shimla district, from Grain Market, Sector 26 on Wednesday for processing 36 bottles of liquor.

Liquor pouches recovered:
The police has arrested Raj Kumar from Budanpur village and recovered 149 pouches of liquor from him. He has been booked under various sections of the Excise Act.

Power theft: The police has booked the owners of M/s SV Poultry Farms for allegedly stealing power worth Rs 67,851. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC on the complaint of Barwala SDO (Operation Electricity).

Burglary: Unknown miscreant(s) reportedly barged into the Bitna Colony residence of Mr Shashi Pal and decamped with silver ornaments and Rs 8000 cash.

Dera Bassi
2 arrested:
The police has arrested two persons while carrying 136 pouches of IMFL liquor from two places, late last night. Sources said, Babu Ram who hails from Uttar Pradesh was caught red-handed near Bhankharpur while carrying 100 pouches of the liquor in a gunny bag. In another incident Sadhu Singh, a resident of Saidpura village, was arrested on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road for allegedly possessing 36 pouches of IMFL liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them.



2 held in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 31
The police has arrested the husband and the mother-in-law of Kiran Bala, who was allegedly set on fire by her in-laws for inadequate dowry on Friday night in Shakti Nagar Colony here.

Sanjeev Kumar, husband, and Amar Kaur, mother-in-law of the deceased, were arrested by the police and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days by a Rajpura court today.

Ajmer Singh, father in-law of the victim, is under treatment in the local Civil Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital after he allegedly sustained burn injuries while saving Kiran.

Three other accused in the case — Sanjna and Rosey sisters-in-laws, and Dyala Ram, maternal uncle — are still at large.



3 impostors arrested
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 31
The SAS Nagar police has arrested three person on charges of fleecing money from street vendors and vegetable sellers posing as employees of the Municipal Council and the police here. According to the information provided by the police, the three persons, Mohammad Kudrat, alias Bhoora, Ram Lal and Khem Karan were caught red handed at the Phase XI sabzi mandi by the police.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, said he had received information to this regard and had planned a trap for these impostors. Policemen in plain clothes visited the markets where the three operated and caught them asking street vendors a fine of Rs 10 for selling their goods.



Electronic goods market hots up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
After two years of slump, market of electronic goods is again warming up on the eve of Divali. Companies are competing with each other to offer discounts and freebies to boost festival sales. The dealers here are thrilled over the customers’ response and expect that the total sales during the next few days would surpass their target.

Mr Surinder Singh at Surindera Electronics in Sector 22, says: “The sale of electronic goods especially microwaves, CTVs, washing machines and DVDs has increased over the past few days.

With the arrival of Divali, and on weekend, it is expected to reach its peak. The companies have already decreased prices by 20-25 per cent, and are offering freebies, besides zero per cent finance offer.”

The dealers say that LG, Samsung, Sony and Phillips are the preferred brands. A 21” flat screen CTV from LG, launched in 2000 at about Rs 23,000 is now available at Rs 17,000.

Sony is offering 21” CTV for about Rs 16,500 against Rs 18,990 prevailing about six months ago, besides free gift of a T-shirt. Similarly, the Phillips has come up with 20” CTV for just Rs 11,000 besides a gift of walkman and scratch and win offer. Videocon has challenged its competitor by offering a free gift of 80 litre refrigerator on the purchase of three-in-one (21” CTV, audio CD and VCD) for just Rs 17,500.

While attending the customers, Mr Charan Preet says, the customers are mostly asking for microwaves, DVDs and new products, as most of them have already purchased TVs and refrigerators. Samsung, which has microwaves in the range of Rs 6,990 to Rs 12,250, has slashed its rates by Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000, besides offering add-on through ‘Narial phoro and inam jito.”

Mr Kamal Goyal at Electronic Centre, Sector 35, feels that the sale is likely to increase as most of the customers have to still start actual buying.

Some of them are expecting special discounts or gifts on the eve of Divali.

He says, despite off-season, the customers are showing interest in air-conditioners. Samsung has slashed the price of its 1.5 tone AC, from Rs 23,000 to Rs 19,500 besides gift of a blanket and lucky coupon offer.

Interestingly, new brands like Panasona has come up to cash the grey market of MP3 VCDs. Mr Tirlochan Singh, GM of the company, claimed that they have already achieved their target.

The company is offering this new audio-system to run 150 song CDs at a price of about Rs 3,000.

Mr Surinder Singh points out that besides lower price the customers can also avail zero per cent credit facility on all consumer durables.

Videocon and Samsung are offering washing machines of 5.5 kg and 6 kg capacity for just Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000, besides freebies.

Dealers say that with the announcement of DA installment for central government employees the sale could increase in the next two days. Regarding the impact of fall in agriculture incomes, they say, the city market is mostly dependent on local customers.



Organic foods register heavy sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
For the first time since its much-hyped inauguration at Kala Gram, Manthan, the organic food counter of Chandigarh sold considerable amount of stock. Out of 60 stalls put up under the aegis of the Tribune-sponsored Rural Development Enterprise summit that concluded at CII yesterday, the organic food stall of CAPART (Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology) fared exceptionally well, recording 200 per cent sale of most varieties of chemical-free foods. The stocks was valued at about Rs 50,000.

Not only were organic pulses and spices put up for sale by Manthan lapped up at the summit, the organisation also registered 35 permanent members from all over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Unpolished pulses, especially the chemical-free variety of rajmah called rajmah 201 was sold the most on account of healthy content and flavour. Apart from this, new varieties introduced by Manthan, like watermill flour (gharat flour) from Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh also registered huge sale.

Talking to the Tribune about the new varieties of organic foods, Mr Navneet Virk, Development Officer, with Manthan, said: “We have also procured special varieties of almonds from Mattan in Kashmir. This variety called the kagazi badaam sold well, along with walnuts procured from the Valley. Out of the 40 kg we ordered, over half of the stock has already gone.” Director General, CAPART, Mr J.S. Gill was also satisfied with the sale of chemical-free foods and mentioned that it was high time the people realised their value.

Among the other varieties that sold most were desi dal, unpolished chana dal and vermicompost. Manthan, which promotes chemical-free agriculture in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, apart from looking after financial sustainability of farmers engaged in organic agriculture, also made many regular members. With an annual membership fee of just Rs 250, the permanent members of this organisation under the aegis of the Ministry of Rural Development, can get free home deliveries. Mr Virk informed that Manthan will inform the regular customers about the new varieties being introduced. “Also home deliveries will be made free of cost,” he said.

Within a month, Manthan will introduce chemical-free variety of basmati rice and also special honey from Gurukul in Kurukshetra.



Shopping picks up as big day approaches
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, October 31
The shopping has already started. As the clock is silently ticking towards the boisterous festival of “patakas” and “dhamaka”, residents are busy looking out for gifts to present on the big day.

A testimony to this effect is the heavy rush in city markets. Go to Sector 22 and you will see housewives dressed up in their festive best looking for something nice and attractive. Same is the scene in Sector 17. Revellers can be seen peeping inside the glass windows looking for the “right stuff at reasonable rates”. The rush is no less in Sectors 19 and 45.

Catering to the demands of the city residents, the shopkeepers have set up stalls in front of their showrooms. As you push your way through the jostling crowd, you can see nice attractive glassware, wall paintings and white metal items glittering in the afternoon sun.

“As always, glass items are the hot favourites among the city residents for presenting to their acquaintances,” says Mr Dheeraj Kumar, a Sector 19 shopkeeper. “The reason for this is not very hard to analyse. Glass items are not only attractive, but are also available at reasonable rates. That’s the reason why most of the residents are going in for these”.

Agreeing with him, another shopkeeper Raghu Rai says: “Glass items are otherwise also useful. Unlike other gifts, the acceptor can use these in his day-to-day routine. This is not all. He can also re-circulate the glass ware if he does not like these as against sweets”.

Other household gifts too are being picked up by the residents. “That’s the reason why the crockery shops in Sectors 45, 44 22, 19, 18, and 15 are jam packed,” says shopkeepers Ramesh Sharma. “They are buying everything from expensive dinner sets to not so expensive trays, table cloths and cutlery sets, besides copper jugs and other such items”.

Adds Mr Sandeep Verma, working with a Sector 15 crockery showroom, “Most of the shoppers are asking for non-stick kitchenware, including tawas and frying pans. Actually, such gifts are good for the newly-married couple setting up their homes. Another reason for the popularity of these goods is that most of the people are turning health conscious these days. Down with ghee is their motive. No wonder, such non-stick products are fast gaining popularity among the residents”.

This however, is not to say that the residents are not buying traditional sweets. “You just cannot think of celebrating Divali without sweets,” says Mr Rajinder Gupta, working with a Sector 22 sweets shop. “That is the reason why the sweet shop owners, anticipating heavy rush, have already started preparing for the big event”.



Lijjat papad to set up bakery in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Punjab is the only state in country that has imposed sales tax on papad, prepared by rural women affiliated to Shri Mahila Udyog Lijjat Papad. Though government claims to create more jobs to empower women, it is actually killing jobs, says Ms Aruna Sharma, Director, Shri Mahila Udyog Lijjat Papads.

She is running from pillar to post to convince the state government to review its decision that would affect the small scale industries. Popularly known as ‘baddi didi’, she is providing employment to more than 1,200 women in Ambala, Karnal, Ludhiana and Jammu.

Just a matriculate, she apparently looks like any ordinary housewife. She keeps fasts and has also perfected the art of papad making. The corporate leaders of the region regard themselves to be fortunate enough if they get a chance to listen to her down to earth tips to run the corporate sector.

Her organisation is based in Mumbai and has an annual turnover of Rs 325 crore. She is providing employment and share in profits to more than 40,000 ‘sisters’ in the country and has been recently awarded along with other directors of the group, the ET Award for women entrepreneurship.

She was recently in the city to participate in Rural Enterprises Summit. A woman of substance in her thirties, Ms Sharma says, she had unwillingly started her career in Ludhiana in 1988, when her father was killed by terrorists. After that she never looked back.

She says, “As a small group of women, we had started making papads, that would be directly sold to agents. The business has grown exponentially over the years. Every member is now earning between Rs 1,000 to Rs 7,000, depending upon the working capacity and they are provided special dough to prepare papads.

Speaking about her organisation, she says with a pride in her eyes, “Only women can become members of our organisation. They are provided free training, financial support without any interest to start any unit, provided it has adequate market in the region. They are trained to run their organisation professionally, and be accountable for its profits and losses.” Despite their limited income, the organisation had contributed to the Gujarat earthquake, riot victims and at the time of other national calamities.

On being asked about their future plans she says that they have recently set up a unit in Jammu and would soon set up a bakery unit in Ludhiana. However, she laments that the state government, which is providing ST exemption worth hundreds of crores to large units, is not ready to provide support to women enterprises.

A mother of three children, she knows how to balance her time between family and profession. She gives credit for her success to her in-laws and husband, who is working with the Punjab State Electricity Board.

“My mission is to empower my sisters in the rural and semi-urban areas, who are unable to find any job. We not only provide them financial independence, but also the confidence and skills to excel in the man dominated world.



Chip that takes care of cell fears
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
An electronic chip aimed at protecting mobile phone users from harmful radiation has hit the Indian stores this Divali season. Farnad Eco Friendly, headed by Mr K.R.Khan, is marketing this chip under the name of Strahlex in India.

Strahlex, working on the principle of neutralising the harmful radiations by emitting counter radiations, is the first to such devices being launched in the Indian market. It is a small, coin sized gold plated chip that can be installed in any mobile handset simply by placing it on the SIM card, between the battery and the cell phone. It starts working instantly without causing any kind of hindrance in the reception or in the functioning of SIM card or handset.

Mr Khan told mediapersons here today that over 40 studies had shown adverse biological or human health effects specifically from cell phone radiations. These results to date clearly show that cell phones are strong risk factors for cancer, especially brain tumour and leukemia, cardiac arrhythemia, heart attack, neurological effects including sleep disturbances, reproductive effects especially miscarriage.




Juke Box Service: Spice Telecom on Thursday announced the launch of its Juke Box Service in Chandigarh.

The announcement was made here on the opening day of the Chandigarh Consumer Fair, organised by the CII. The service allows a Spice subscriber to dial 570 and listen to a selected list of popular songs in Hindi, Punjabi and English. The subscriber also gets the option of selecting a song and sending it to any other Spice subscriber. The subscriber has to pay the normal airtime charges to avail this service. Meanwhile, visitors to the Spice counter displayed a keen interest in Mobile Tombola and Mobile DJ song demand. TNS



BSNL mobiles to ring shortly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
If the officials of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited are to be believed, mobile phones of the company will be launched shortly. Mr A.K.Sanghi, DGM (Mktg & NS), Punjab Telecom Circle, in a press note issued here today, informed people that due to unforeseen reasons, the launching of the cellular services had been delayed.


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