Sunday, December 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Shotgun’s words to prevail 
Evening OPDs to start on schedule, says PGI director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Notwithstanding the adamant stand adopted by the Resident Doctors of not joining evening OPDs, with faculty, nurses and technicians joining in, the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, today put an end to all uncertainty, firmly stating that as per the wishes of the Health Minister, the PGI would meet the December 2 deadline.

“It was the tactical move of giving the final verdict of starting evening OPDs from December 2, rather than asking for the opinion of the faculty, which did the trick, as they reluctantly gave their consent for taking on the responsibility in the absence of the Resident Doctors,” remarked an unhappy faculty member, summing up the outcome of today’s meeting.

“It is a facility which will benefit public so we have decided to start evening OPDs from December 2, as per the wishes of the Union Health Minister, Mr Shatrughan Sinha,” Prof Sharma told mediapersons. Asked if he would talk to the Resident Doctors, Prof Sharma said though he had received their memorandum, he did not wish to disturb them as his doors were always open for talks. He added that the PGI would manage the evening OPDs, with the help of the faculty members.

Firm in their resolve, the Resident Doctors Association today pasted small notices all over the PGI campus, urging one and all to boycott evening OPDs. They made it clear that they were prepared to face any action but would not join evening OPDs at any cost.

Despite the PGI faculty, at their meeting held yesterday, made it amply clear that the idea of evening OPDs was not acceptable to them, succumbed to the pressure from the Director, who sought their cooperation in starting the facility from December 2, against all odds.” If the Director had already made up his mind of going ahead with evening OPDs from December 2, then why the futile exercise of holding a meeting with the faculty,” remarked a senior faculty member.



Police station sans phone, power!
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 30
No electricity, no telephone and water barely reaching the taps. No, this is not a medieval Indian village...this is the state of the Central Police Station Phase VIII here catering to more than half the population of the township. For almost a week now, this police station is functioning without any electricity, the telephone was cut months back and water shortage is a perpetual problem here.

The police station has received a whopping bill of more than Rs 2 lakh but it remains unpaid as ‘there is no money’. The PSEB stopped the electricity supply some days ago and since then the station runs on generators which function intermittently and in the night the place plunges into complete darkness.

The policemen colony housed in the station premises also has no electricity but according to sources, the residents of the colony themselves are partially to be blamed for the cut. The bill of the station is whopping as the policemen here use it and then they have to pool in money to pay the bill. Any delay in collecting the sufficient amount leads to such cuts.

The telephone bill too has not been paid for months. The telephone was till a few days back, on the receiving calls mode only but that facility too was removed when the station did not pay bills for several months.

The Station House Officer (SHO), Mr Pritam Singh Bedi, when contacted stated it had become difficult to work efficiently in the station specially without the electricity. ‘‘Here are days when we are working in complete darkness with torches or candles’’, he said.

This police station which caters to Phases 3A, 3B1, 3B2, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and many adjoining villages cannot receive any emergency calls either. ‘‘Earlier, at least we used to get information on the phone when people called us, now that facility too has ended. We are managing with the personal mobile phones that we have,’’ said Mr Bedi.

When contacted the SP, SAS Nagar, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, stated that he was aware of the problem being faced by those running the station and those living in the colony. ‘‘I have requested the SSP Ropar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, to see if some amount can be sanctioned for paying these bills and he has assured that he will do his best to get the electricity and telephone in working order at the station.’’



Half of AIDS victims are women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Striving to catch up with their male counterparts in practically every field, this is one domain where no woman would ever want to foray. Latest figures indicate that out of the new HIV infections being reported, 50 per cent belong to the fair sex.

With 14,000 HIV infections being reported in India daily, there have been 66 AIDS deaths in the northern region alone during the past four years. “The most alarming fact is that while there were a total of 423 HIV positive cases from the region last year, within the past 10 months alone this figure has crossed 438, confirming our worst fears that the number is on the rise,” remarked Dr N.M. Sharma, in charge of the UT AIDS Control Society.

Doctors point out that this shift in the trend of more and more women acquiring HIV infection could have serious repercussions. “With more women acquiring the infection, the chances of infants being born with the disease are high, aggravating the already grim scenario in India,” says a senior PGI doctor, treating AIDS and HIV positive persons. The figures released by the WHO indicate that out of the total 14,000 HIV infections being reported in India per day, 2,000 are children below the age of 15.

With screening of 1.44 lakh persons done this year, a total of 2,572 tested positive from the region, with 157 of these HIV infections being from the city. While the total number of AIDS patients from the region stands at 654, the number of these persons belonging to the city is 24. Dr Sharma, said with the latest figures clearly establishing that the number of AIDS and HIV positive patients was on the rise, there was all the more need to create awareness by focussing on community participation.

He informed that on the occasion of the World AIDS Day tomorrow, the UT AIDS Control Society had invited representatives of 11 political parties so that their views could be ascertained before formulating a policy. He added that the role of political leaders in generating awareness against AIDS would also be assessed.



7,000 students hold rally against AIDS
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 30
Around 7,000 young boys and girls comprising NCC cadets along with NSS volunteers and students from different schools held a rally to observe World AIDS Day Campaign-2002.

Organised by the State AIDS Control Society, UT Chandigarh, the rally was flagged off by the chief guest Mr Karan A. Singh, Secretary, Health and Chairman, State AIDS Control Society, from the Football Ground in Sector 17 here this morning.

Dr C.P. Bansal, Director Health Services, UT Chandigarh, while presiding over the rally after it culminated at the Government College of Education, Sector 20, highlighted the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day campaign and the underlying meaning of the slogan “Live and let live”.

Mr Karan A. Singh while addressing the rally said the youth shared a big responsibility in combating the dreaded disease and also had an important role to play in eliminating the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS. Ms Surinder Tangri, Principal of the Government College of Education, was the guest of honour.

The campaign will conclude tomorrow with a high-level sensitisation workshop at the UT Guest House, Sector 6.

Panchkula: Hundreds of students of Jainendra Public School here took part in an AIDS awareness rally, which was flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, from Old Panchkula today. The children, carrying banners and placards, went through various sectors of the township. The rally culminated at the bus stand in Sector 10. The rally was organised in association with the Unnat Bharat Vikas Parishad.



Govt doing precious little on AIDS’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The fight against the AIDS virus is 98% awareness and just two per cent control and management, says Nafisa Ali, well-known film personality of yesteryear, who is now one of the country’s leading campaigners against the dreaded disease. Nafisa Ali has made Delhi the main area of her fight against HIV and set up her own organisation called “Action India Trust” for the purpose. “We are doing our best to spread awareness about the disease among the people. Most people do not realise how important it is to take precautions and do everything possible to protect themselves against HIV which has no cure. “And mind you, it is spreading like an epidemic with each passing day”.

A former Miss India, Nafisa Ali has acted in a few Bollywood movies, including “Junoon” with Shashi Kapoor and more recently “Major Saab” with Amitabh Bachchan in which she sang and danced to the beats of the popular song “shaava, shaava...”

Nafisa Ali was in town today on the invitation of Mr Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman of Agro Tech 2002 and also Vice-President, CII, who is her old friend.

Nafisa Ali was highly appreciative of the $100 million grant announced by Bill Gates for the fight against AIDS in India. “I was not in India when Bill Gates came here. But I feel that this money is most timely and needed by social organisations involved in the fight against AIDS. I plan to personally write to Bill Gates to seek a grant for my outfit.”

She criticised the reported remarks by the Union Minister, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, challenging the projections about AIDS in India by Bill Gates. “The minister obviously does not know anything about the serious proportions the AIDS virus is assuming in India. I think he is just worried about his votes and vote-bank. We are the people who are actually working among the AIDS patients and are aware about the extent of the problem.

“Actually, it could well be described as human rights problem because HIV-infected patients are forcing themselves on their wives and spreading the virus. I don’t mind telling the minister that his government is doing precious little to fight AIDS and is extremely measly in giving grants to non-government organisations involved in combating the disease,” she remarked.

She said she was happy to be in Chandigarh because it was a nice, clean city with spic and span roads and streets. The visit to Agro Tech has been an education for her. “I always like to go out and see things for myself because every visit is an education and one gains knowledge about what is happening in the world”.



Starry city wakes up to Chandigarh Carnival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Had the students of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, not laboured through the past week, the venue of the Chandigarh Carnival would not have looked as impressive as it looked today. Taking a sharp twist from the last year when the theme of the entrance to the Leisure Valley was fairyland, this time the ambience was more wild and exciting. As the procession of vibrant floats, puppets and tableaux, all created on the art college campus, entered the venue this morning, the entire city seemed to join in the celebrations of colours, that enveloped the ambience all day.

The carnival, being organised by the CITCO and sponsored by The Tribune, looked different from the last year. Not just in terms of activity content but also in terms of the crowd it attracted. Creative corners dotted the venue. From larger than life puppets which were seen in the city for the first time to the stealth sixer, a virtual reality ride that simulated experiences for visitors, the carnival was just about fun and excitement.

Unlike in the past when the entire affair just depended on routine folk performances, camel rides or kite flying, today the show was full of zing. The most attractive features were big-size puppets, created under the aegis of the Friends of Children corner, a special music corner where children could play with musical instruments and a potter’s wheel where they could indulge in creation. A sand pit was also prepared for children.

Big puppets in various shapes were created by Vijay, Abhishek, Gyan Dev, Rajeev, Sunny and Ravi. Then there was another category of puppets called “Golu Puppets” created by Ravi, Aarti, Sunny, Anu and Nana. The third section was the most interesting — comprising interactive puppets which spoke with the visitors directly, leading them towards the venue of the puppet theatre show. Throughout the day, two puppet shows were staged at the venue, titled ‘Beauty Contest’ and ‘Dream Merchants.’

In fact, Friends of Children corner looked most attractive, with children and adults indulging in art and craft activities from mask making, macrame, origami to face painting and plain drawing. Yet another feature was the corner where Jod Gyan, an NGO, supplied kids with loads of educational and science toys, puzzles and games. The corner was put up by the CEVA, mask theatre group Navitaal, Chandigarh Mafia, Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, Saranglok, SAS Nagar, and Jod Gyan.

Alongside progressed folk presentations — right from Bhawalpuri, Garhwali, Jhang to Multani and Punjabi, organised by the Environment Society of India. Senior citizens also pitched in their efforts in the senior citizens’ corner, put up by Government Museum, Sector 10. Painting, sculpture and poetry progressed under the coordination of Aditya Prakash, Shiv Singh and Mr S.K. Sharma, respectively. Renowned artists like Dr S.S. Bhatti, Aditya Prakash, Hargopal Jhamb, P.S. Verma, J.R Yadav, Jodh Singh, Malkit Singh, B.M. Chug and G.S. Gill unleashed creative impulses by painting on the theme of “jungle.” Among the poets were Govind Rakesh, Gurdip Singh and Rajpal Sharma.

From culture to adventure, the journey of visitors was not too long. Perched at the entrance to the carnival was the stealth sixer, a virtual reality ride which took the visitors by storm. Almost everybody took the adventure ride, which offered real life jerks and jolts, even as those taking the ride could see where they were heading. Today only car rides were given.



Shankar’s songs add zing to carnival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Keeping its promise of live concerts during the Chandigarh Carnival that opened here today, CITCO presented a live concert by the Punjabi singing star Shankar Sawhney, who had hit the music shelves with his album “Kudi Kurmuri”.

Starting from this very song which has always inspired creativity in him, Shankar went on to present many famous Punjabi numbers, interspersing his presentation with a number of Hindi film songs. The perfect medley of music that he managed on stage this evening at Leisure Valley did serve to endear him to the restive audience which wanted more and more spice to keep itself going.

However, the only thing that lacked was the audience participation, something which the city is invariably known for. It really takes time to get a high at least when it comes to a live concert. However, the crowd was more than expected, and Shankar kept wading through the evening with his melodies.

He also spoke in between to the Chandigarh Tribune about his first all-Hindi album which is being prepared for release in 2003 January. The two videos of this album, which is still untitled will be directed by actor Deepak Tijori, who is busy working on the settings. before that Shankar will come up with another Punjabi album, with music by Mahendra Bablu, who earlier worked as a team with music director Jaidev.

Another interesting point that Shankar raised was that the producers of ‘Kaante’ had lifted his song: “Mangya yaar hath jodke, keda main taaj man laya”, he said, “They have altered the song a bit, but basically it the song has been written by me. Since ‘Kaante’ is a T-Series film and I am also working with T-Series I could not do much about it.”

Shankar also said the competition among Punjabi singers was very healthy. “We meet up often at parties and we feel good for each other’s success. I cannot talk about others, but this is at least true for me.”



Residents lose sleep over ‘noisy’ problem
Authorities do little to enforce rules
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, November 30
Being woken up at four o’clock in the morning or not being allowed to sleep till late in the night by blaring loudspeakers is common for residents here. The authorities responsible for enforcing the rules relating to noise levels are doing little to bring the offenders to book.

Residents living near places where loudspeakers or music systems are used brazenly in violation of the rules are having a harrowing time. Those using loudspeakers at a high volume care little for those who may be sick, students busy with their studies, the elderly or for the fact that every person has the right to live in peace and quiet.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had, under notifications dated November 22, 2000, and February 14, 2000, placed restrictions on the use of loudspeakers and public address systems. The ministry drew attention to the increasing ambient noise levels in public places from various sources like industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, loudspeakers, public address systems, music systems, vehicular horns and other mechanical devices which had deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of people.

The ministry in its notifications said, among other things, that a loudspeaker/public address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from the specified authority. A loudspeaker or a public address system shall not be used between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. except in closed premises for communication within e.g. auditoria, conference rooms, community cells and banquet halls. The State Transport Commissioner, Punjab, had sent copies of the Union Ministry’s notifications to the SDMs and others concerned for implementation.

Loudspeakers are used till late at night here and no authority questions the offenders, says Mrs Manmohan Kaur, municipal councillor living in Phase II. At times the music at functions linked with weddings is played till 2 a.m. much to the annoyance of those living in the area. She says that there should be a limit to the volume and the timings should also be fixed. People keep “cursing me” for getting the community centre made in the area as it has become a source of nuisance, she adds.

Mr Surjit Singh Garewal, a municipal councillor living in Phase IIIB2, says a lot of disturbance is there when functions are held but then there is no solution. “We cannot ask people to use orchestra at a low volume because being in politics we can’t disappoint them.” But certainly music at high volume should not be allowed after 10 p.m. The authorities concerned have to take a tough stand, says the MC.

Whenever functions are held in the area the blaring music goes on till as late as 2.30 a.m. and it becomes difficult for the people around to go to sleep, says Ms G.K. Nanda, a resident of Phase VI. “As I am working I have to go to my office with a heavy head due to lack of sleep. We had earlier met the SDM to lodge a complaint in this regard but soon after he got transferred and the problem stands as it was”, complains Ms Nanda.

The SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, said today his office granted permission for the use of loudspeakers only till 10 p.m. Copies of the permission letters were sent to the police stations falling in the area for implementation. He said he had even written a letter to the SP requesting him to get the orders implemented which had been issued by the Ropar Deputy Commissioner regarding use of loudspeakers.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, could not be contacted for comments. 



Communal rivalries cannibalistic: Nayar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
These are “cannibal” times that the country is facing in terms of the communal rivalries, said Mr Kuldip Nayar, a Member of Parliament, in his lecture on “Communal Tension in India”.

Mr Nayar was delivering the Lala Achint Ram Memorial Lecture organised annually by the local chapter of the Servants of the Peoples’ Society at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan here today.

Mr Nayar, a former High Commissioner to the UK, said he was quoting a Hungarian poet while referring to the ‘cannibalism’ of the times.

However, the word best summed up the national conditions today. The country was burning in Kashmir, in the North-East and sudden developments like repeated incidents of violence in Gujarat were matters of great concern.

He said the country had preferably chosen to be a secular state at the time of Independence whereas by number game it could easily have declared itself a ‘Hindu’ state. However, leaders under Mahatma Gandhi chose to ignore the path of communalism. “Gandhi’s teachings have held the country together for nearly four decades and subsequently cracks have started to surface which need immediate redressal.”

Pakistan was continuing its subversive activities in the valley and the results were visible. Kashmiri pandits were languishing in cities like Delhi and Jammu. The communal tension had seeped deep into the human psyche and needed immediate attention, Mr Nayar added.



200 attend seminar on women empowerment
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 30
Over 200 men and women participated in ‘Women Empowerment Day’ programme organised at Janta Colony, Sector 25, here today by the Slum Development Committee of the Municipal Corporation.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Shyama Negi, Chairperson of the committee said, “Education is essential for the development of women. Education of women will help check the prevailing atrocities and discrimination against the fair sex. Women empowerment is possible only if women themselves realise the relevance of education. She also lamented that various schemes of the government for upliftment of women have failed to reach a majority of women.”

Mr Didar Khan, nominated councillor to the MCC and member of the committee said: “Women participation in economic activities is essential for nation building at a faster pace.

Formation of self-help groups has not only helped the women to meet their financial requirement but also to develop the wisdom to use their own resources.”

Among others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Khati Ram and Mr Subhash of Janta Colony.



Rent Control Act: a perspective

The Supreme Court and the High Courts, in various rulings, have opined that a statute may, with the passage of time, become arbitrary and unreasonable. In so far as a social legislation like the Rent Control Act is concerned, the courts have ruled that the law must strike a balance between rival interest and should try to be fair and just.

The Supreme Court, in Parapati and Sons Vs. Alapati Jallaiya case, ruled: ...Notification exempting the buildings whose monthly rent exceeds Rs 1,000 per month for applicability of rent act...The landlord’s normal rights vested in him by general law continue to exist till and so far as they are not abridged by a special protective legislation and during such period the said rights remain suspended...In case of tenants, the theory of vested rights is not available. The moment protection of tenant under Rent Act is taken away, the tenant cannot claim any protection under Rent Act.

The rent control legislation in India was first introduced by the British Government in 1941 soon after the outbreak of World War II, to protect the tenants against various arbitrary actions of landlords, the base year of 1939 for fixation of fair rent being the year of the outbreak of war. The legislation was introduced as a temporary measure and was expected to be repealed and reviewed by respective States periodically as this was a State subject. The legislation continues to exist in almost all the States in one form or the other.

After Independence, the Punjab legislation was renamed as the “East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act 1947” and was applicable to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Union Territories of Delhi and Chandigarh. The legislation was re-enacted in 1949 without any change. Haryana, Himachal and Delhi adopted the 1949 Act and revised it many times to suit local conditions. However, successive governments in Punjab brought an amendment in 1956 to debar the landlords from evicting tenants of commercial premises. This was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998. In 1985, an amendment was made for authorising retiring government servants to get the residential units owned by them vacated for their own use.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, the Centre and the States became aware of the imbalance in the rent control legislation which were unduly tilted in favour of tenants and had resulted in shrinkage of rental housing. The investors had practically withdrawn for constructing residential and commercial property. The Centre formed expert bodies to study the problem and recommend remedial measures to be introduced in the Rent Control Acts of various States. Their recommendations were discussed at the Chief Minister’s Conference in New Delhi on March 7, 1992. A decision was taken to prepare a Model Rent Control Legislation as the guide for framing of balanced Rent Acts. The Centre forwarded this draft legislation to all the States in July, 1992.

Suggestions contained in the legislation were, among others, to introduce summary trial of disputes of rented property by setting up tribunals and excluding jurisdiction of all Civil Courts except the Supreme Court. To help States achieve this, the Constitution was amended (Amendment No. 75) and enacted in July 1993.

The broad recommendations and suggestions in the Model Legislation are: first, premises where rent for single tenancy is above the cut-off rent should be taken out of the preview of the Rent Act. The cut-off rent limit is to be decided by the States for every Urban Area/City and should be related to the population and size of the city. And secondly, for old tenancy, the rents should be enhanced and revised rent should be payable by the tenant from the date of enforcement of the New Act. The rates of enhancement for calculation of revised rent should be (i) from 1950 to 1960 — 4 per cent; (ii) from 1961 to 1970 — 6 per cent; and (iii) from 1971 onwards — 8 per cent per year for residential premises and 10 per cent per year for non-residential premises. This recommended increase works out to increase in the wholesale price index over the period.

It was decided that only a fraction of increase as worked out above will be applicable for weak tenants of residential premises depending upon the area of the premises. The increase in rent should be effected gradually in yearly instalments not exceeding five depending upon the duration of previous tenancy.

A net return of 10 per cent per year of market price of the property to the owner has been recommended to attract the investors to build more rental housing. Property tax should be the responsibility of the occupant of premises.

Default of non-payment of rent should not be condoned more than once and also the tenant should ensure the regular payment of rent during litigation, failing which the tenant should be evicted. If there is any dispute regarding the rate of rent, the court should fix interim rent within 15 days of the receipt of application.

At the time of ordering eviction, the trial court tribunal should also pass a decree for arrears of rent along with interest on delayed payments, if any. New construction should remain exempted for 10 to 15 years from the date of completion. Commercial premises should be governed by the Contract Act as far as possible and no litigation of any kind should be permitted with respect to the tenancy. Refusal to pay revised rent should be a ground for eviction. Registration of all the tenancy agreements should be compulsory on payment of nominal charges as fixed by the State Government.

Wing-Cmdr JATINDER SINGH, Chandigarh


The Union Territory Administration deserves to be complimented on the bold decision to rationalise the property owner-tenant equation. Sadly, while the state allows private ownership of property, the de facto owners were actually the tenants.

Of course, it remains to be seen how effectively this rule is implemented. A great wrong will be undone if the rule is implemented in letter and spirit. The important thing is that the measure is not anti-tenant. A person looking to rent a premises is hard put to prove his credentials and has to pay artificially inflated rates. Every owner looks upon his potential tenant as a future adversary and is reluctant to give his premises on rent. Further, investment in the housing sector will increase many fold if the laws are fair to both the owner and tenant thereby increasing the overall availability of buildings for rent. The boost to the economy will come at a time when we need it most.

The laws at present were eschewed in favour of a few shopkeepers who were exploiting both the property owners as well as the public. While they have buildings in their possession at a fraction of the market rates they were not giving any of these concessions to the public. These are the very people who are likely to protest the most.

The government should see through this and remain firm. Justice has been delayed over the years following pressure from a few vocal self-servers. It is time the dictum that fools build houses and wise men live in them changed. For it has been a reality far too long.



Mr M.L. Sarin rightly says that the periodical review of the Rent Control Act is essential in national interest (Chandigarh Tribune, Nov 21). In Chandigarh’s case, the Administration has done just that by striking a balance between landlords and tenants. The ends of justice would be fully met if there are summary trials under the new rent notification, specially for retired/ retiring senior citizens before they pass into oblivion.

Imagine an affluent shopkeeper paying a petty rent of Rs 525 a month for an SCO for which his neighbour is paying as much as Rs 28,000. There are even cases where the former is earning many times more by sub-letting a part of the premises. One must pity the landlords who had invested their hard-earned money in the Sixties as an insurance for their old age. Most of them have long since died after their persistent requests for increase in rent/ vacation of their premises fell on deaf years. Bravo, advocate Sarin for his well-balanced piece on the Rent Act!

MADHU SHORI, Chandigarh



CBI inspector dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
A CBI Inspector, Bharat Bhushan, who was posted at Chandigarh with the Special Investigation Cell died on the spot when his car was hit by a speeding vehicle on the Pinjore-Nalagarh highway near Madhawala village here this evening.

Senior CBI officials rushed to the spot on hearing about the accident, which took place at around 9 p.m.

The vehicle which hit his car sped from the spot. According to reports, he was on his way to his native village in Himachal Pradesh, when the mishap took place. He was rushed to the nearest Civil Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. The matter is still being investigated. However, no case had been registered till the filing of the report.



‘Shocking’ bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
A resident of 3134, Sector 44, Mr Satish Kadiyan, who lives all alone in his house has been ‘‘ shocked ’’ by the UT Electricity Department. Mr Kadiyan, who is out of his house between 9 a.m and 6 p.m has been sent a bill of Rs 1.73 lakh for having allegedly consumed close to 24,000 units.

A shocked Mr Kadiyan has approached the power department thrice but to no avail. He says such huge bills have been coming in the past six months and each time he is promised that corrective action will be taken.



Tribune employee retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Head Driver of The Tribune Trust Hari Krishan retired from service today after putting in 20 years of service. He was given a warm send off by his colleagues.



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Ms Ginny Barth, Director of the Will-O-the-Wisp Adventure Camps, Chandigarh, today clarified that she did not suffer from thalassemia as erroneously mentioned in a news report in these columns.

In a statement, she said her child was not mentally challenged. She emphasised that it was her bonding with the children in general that encouraged her to organise adventure camps for them.



Child murdered within hours of ‘kidnapping’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
A six-and-a-half-year-old boy, Nihal, who was found dead at a secluded place in Sector 29 here yesterday was murdered within hours of being “kidnapped”. The victim was reported missing at around 3 pm on November 27 last.

The autopsy done at the Sector 16 General Hospital, is reported to have confirmed the death due to strangulation. On the missing portion of the victim’s left ear, the doctors have indicated towards the possibility of an animal having eaten it. The earlier theory of Nihal being a victim of witchcraft might not hold much ground, said a police official.

Nihal alias Ishu, a class II student at Sector 32 Government School, had returned from school at around 2.30 pm and left home for playing after changing clothes. The father of the boy said the boy behaved very strangely when he left home. Sources in the police said there were missing links in the information provided about the events before the boy went missing.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, has not ruled out the involvement of someone known to one or more members of the family. Investigations by the police have reportedly indicated that the child was taken in a vehicle before being strangulated. 



Youth held with 2 kg opium
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 30
The police seized 2 kg of opium from a youth during a special checking of vehicles at the PCA Chowk here last night.

The youth, Ajvinder Singh, a resident of Nurpur Bedi, has admitted that he has been transporting opium in small quantities from Dher Majri village to addicts in SAS Nagar, Ropar, Morinda, Khamano etc.

According to Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, the youth was caught while he was coming from Chandigarh and crossing SAS Nagar on his motorcycle. The opium was found in a bag on the bike. The police has registered a case under the NDPC Act.

Mr Bhullar further said that the police had also arrested Balwinder Singh, a resident of Hoshiarpur, for robbing people after throwing chillies into their eyes. 



Three held for stealing cars
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
The police today achieved a major success by busting a three-member gang of car thieves. The gang was involved in stealing luxury cars and then selling them after preparing forged registration papers at a lower price.

According to information, the gang, comprising Sarit, Himanshu and Mohan, was active in New Delhi, Panchkula and Chandigarh. The police had received an information that the gang was operating in Sector 16 and a team led by DSP Desh Bandhu rushed to the spot and arrested them. A Ford Ikon (DL- 04T- 0128) was recovered from them.

The SP, Mr Ranbir Singh Sharma, said the police found the registration papers of the car fake. A case under Sections 379, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against them.

During the interrogation, the accused confessed to have stolen various luxury cars from this region and selling them in New Delhi and those stolen from New Delhi were sold off here. The accused were presented before a local court and remanded in police custody till December 7.

One killed: A woman, Kanti Devi, was killed near Rampur Jangi village when she was run over by Maruti van on Friday evening.

Poppy husk seized: The police seized 60 kg of poppy husk from a couple in Ramgarh on Saturday. The accused had been identified as Rajpal and Ramshri of Daffarpur village.

Three arrested: The police has arrested Chabbi Lal, Dinesh Kumar and the Gymkhana Club manager, Sohan Lal. The accused were creating noise pollution by playing music at a private party after 11. 30 pm without the permission of the authorities.

Youth robbed:
Two unidentified youths snatched one mobile phone set and one gold bracelet on knife-point in Geetanagri, Ambala City, last evening.

According to information, Jasmeet Singh, a student of Class XII in a local school, was returning home on a scooter when two youths stopped him. One of the youths asked for a lift to the next chowk, while the other reached the chowk through a short cut.

The youth sitting on the rear seat took him on knife-point to Satsang Bhavan where the other youth was already present. When Jasmit Singh tried to escape, he was attacked with the knife. He sustained injuries on his right hand. The youths later snatched his 20 gm gold bracelet and a mobile phone set and fled the scene.

The police has registered a case in this regard.

Burglary: Thieves stole cash and valuables worth Rs 5,500 from a house in Ashok Colony here. According to information, Rajiv Kumar in a complaint lodged with the Maheshnagar police station said the thieves entered his house and decamed with the cash and other valuables. The police has registered a case.

Cash stolen: At least Rs 2,550 in cash were stolen in two separate incidents in the city during the past 48 hours. According to the information available, Mr Kharaiti Lal reported that Rs 1,550 in cash were stolen from his unit in Industrial Area, Phase I here. In another case, Ramesh Chander, a resident of Sector 45, complained that Rs 1,000 in cash were stolen from his booth.



Committee constituted
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 30
The Punjab Government has constituted a committee for the delimitation of wards of the local Municipal Committee and appointed Mr S.S. Gill, SDM, Kharar, as its Chairman.

According to a notification issued by the Local Self Government, Punjab, the government has proposed to hold the municipal elections in time. The government has appointed Mr Charanjit Singh, a former president of the Municipal Committee, as member of the Delimitation Committee.



Scooterist killed

Chandigarh November 30
A 25-year-old scooterist was killed and the pillion rider was seriously injured when the scooter they were riding on was hit by a truck near the Dhillon Complex, Mani Majra, on the Chandigarh-Panchkula highway.

According to the information available, Amrit Pal, a resident of Zirakpur, along with his friend, Harjeet, a resident of Gharuan, were negotiating a turn near the Dhillon Complex, when they were hit by a speeding truck, coming from Panchkula side. While Amrit Pal, died on the spot, Harjeet was admitted to PGI, with serious injuries. The driver of the truck, Om Prakash, was arrested by a PCR vehicle. TNS



From medical representative to Managing Director
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Since multinational and big domestic pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to check their overhead costs while they seek hefty profit margins, patients have to pay extra price even for life-saving drugs and other medicines. In that scenario, there is a scope for those small and medium-sized firms which can provide quality medicines at a reasonable price and ensure a reliable delivery system, says Mr Paramjit Singh Chhatwal, Managing Director, Torque Pharmaceutical (P) Ltd.

He says despite stiff competition from national and regional players, the company is determined to become one among the top 25 players in the country. The company started its operations in Chandigarh in 1985 and later set up a plant near Derabassi in 1992. Its annual turnover has increased from Rs 1 crore in 1996 to Rs 30 crore by last year.

Hailing from Kalanaur village in Yamunanagar district, Mr Chhatwal (51) did his graduation in medical science from Valabh Mahavidyalya in Mandi district. After that he says: ‘‘I joined as a medical representative with Standard Pharmaceutical and worked for over eight years between 1972-80. Later I started a retail medical store in Sector 37, which is still in operation.’’ Due to his wide experience, he claims, he decided to start a small unit in the Industrial Area in partnership with his friend Mr Amar Iqbal Singh Bedi with an initial investment of Rs 1.20 lakh each.

Today the company is making nine types of formulations. These include tablets, capsules, liquid orals, dry powders, external liquid, ointments, eye/ear drops, dry injections and small volume syrup. Manufacturing more than 200 formulations, he says, the company is bringing out 20 new patented products every year and deleting 20 products from its production line, which become obsolete or financially unviable.

With a skilled labour force of nearly 200 employees, the company is supplying medicines to more than 14 states. It is also exporting medicines worth Rs 5 crore to Middle East countries and Canada. Mr Chhatwal claims that the company is paying about Rs 4 crore as excise duty annually and Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh every month as sales tax. He laments that since the government has given exemption in excise duty to firms with a turnover of up to Rs 1 crore, resulting in a large scale tax evasion, the genuine players find it difficult to meet the competition.

What is your dream project, when asked, he says: ‘‘I want to set up a general medicine hospital for public near our factory premises. Since most of the corporates are stressing on opening of super-specialty hospitals, I want to promote the goal of ‘Health for all’ by preparing medicines for the masses at reasonable price.’’

Regarding his company’s future plans, Mr Chhatwal says, the company has plans to strengthen its R& D division and build up a good team of professionals. He claims that since the pharmaceutical sector has a vast potential in the domestic and international market, the small players can tap the market on the basis of their quality products and efficient delivery. 



Celebrities at Agro Tech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Agro Tech 2002 which opened in the City Beautiful today drew a bouquet of compliments from certain distinguished women who went round the mega agri technology exposition.

Maya Alagh, well known media and film personality and wife of Britannia baron, Sunil Alagh, was quite impressed with the fair. “I never expected that it would be such a wonderful presentation and coming from the field that I am in, it was no less than eye opener to see the display of tractors etc.”, smiled Maya who felt that Agro Tech shows the strides India has made in the agro industry.

On Chandigarh, the lady with the famous “oof oh” smile remembered how she came here last when she was just 10 years-old. “I am looking forward to going around the city this afternoon and feel that it is a beautiful place the media can also benefit from”, said Maya who promised to keep coming back.

Ms Nafisa Ali, former beauty queen, film actress and high profile social activist, said, “Punjab is the main contributor to agriculture in our country as Capt Amarinder Singh rightly said, the government storehouses are full of foodgrains which do not reach the common man. These programmes will definitely bring technology to the local map”. Ms Anuradha Mahindra of Verve magazine and wife of Mahindra and Mahindra chief Anand Mahindra found the choice of Chandigarh as an exhibition centre as a wise one. “The Agro Tech is all about exploring the possibilities and opportunities that exist in India”.



‘Agriculture key to economic growth’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
India’s agricultural economy will have to play a key role if the country is to realise the tenth Five-Year Plan target of eight per cent economic growth. This was said by Mr Anand G. Mahindra, Chairman of Agrotech 2002, while inaugurating a seminar on new agro-economy here today. He said corporate India had realised the importance of the agro sector only recently when it impacted its bottomline. Convergence of industry and agriculture would find the way out of the crises.

Giving a conceptual framework for growth, Mr Sundeep Waslekar, president of the Strategic Foresight Group, a Mumbai-based think tank, said five million Indians were middle class in the traditional sense of owning cars and mobile phones. Another 35 million were the bike-class and the rest were still in the bullock cart category.

Mr Gunender Kapoor, Executive Director of Hindustan Lever, cited the Chinese example to show that despite agriculture contributing just 17 per cent to the GDP of China, the country was staging an impressive five per cent growth annually.



Industrialists support beopar mandal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Chandigarh Industries Association today joined in the protest against the amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, saying this act was unjust and industrial units will be adversely affected.

This will give sweeping powers to the landlords thus eviction of tenants would cause losses as established units, including installed machinery and equipment, will have to be shifted. This means a shifted unit will also have to seek fresh power connection and registration from the central excise and sales tax.

The association totally stands by the stance of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and urged upon the Chandigarh Administration to withdraw the amendment. A status quo will help in maintaining peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, the mandal today announced that college students could join in the agitation of the traders. A decision in this regard was taken today to involve the younger generation as they will be affected the most by the ramifications of the Act. The relay fast of the mandal entered the sixth day today.


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