Sunday, December 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Judge’s daughter’ breaks law, nearly kills 2
One of the injured PEC girls serious
Tribune Reporters


The mishap occurred on the road dividing Sectors 16 and 17 at about 5.30 pm. The broken windscreen and the damaged bonnet of the Maruti car showed that the scooter had been hit from behind.

The girls who got injured had been coming in from the Sector 17 side and the car had been coming in from the Matka Chowk side when the collision took place near the office of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

The late husband of the mother of one of the injured girls, Shivani, was a Commandant in the Indo-Tibet Border Police.


The police were in a fix after the accident. Till late Saturday, it had been saying that the injured girls were not in a position to give a statement. Usually, it is doctors who allow the police to take the statement of the injured.

In this case, as the person said to be the offender is influential, the police is scared to touch her. Usually, senior police officials are never shy of sharing the facts of any case with the media, but, in this case, the police has been saying only that the investigations are on.

A case of rash driving, under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC, is registered against the offender in cases such as this. If the condition of the person hit is serious, charges under Section 338 of the IPC are also added in the FIR. 

Chandigarh, December 7
Two female students of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) were injured, one of them seriously, when a Kinetic Honda scooter they were riding was hit from behind by a car near the traffic lights of Sectors 16 and 17. The car was allegedly being driven by a daughter of a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and it had, reportedly, jumped red light.

The injured girls, students of the Electronics Department of the PEC, have been admitted to the Emergency Ward of the PGI.

According to an eyewitness, the impact of the collision threw the scooter a few metres away. Shivani, the girl who was driving the scooter, was taken for a CT scan late today with a swollen head. She had been driving with helmet on.

Her companion and the pillion rider, Preeti, who lives in Sector 38 West, said Shivani and she had been coming in from Sector 17 when hit by the car from behind. The impact shattered the windscreen of the car; and the front grill and the bonnet, too, caved in. A police official said the car was being driven by Harpriya Grewal, daughter of a High Court Judge.

The vehicles involved in the accident — the Maruti car (CH-01-M-5808) and the scooter (CH-03-C-7939) — were towed away to the Sector 17 police station. An eyewitness, Mr Kapil Kohli, who is also a neighbour of one of the girls who got hurt in the mishap, said he feared that the police was delaying the registration of a case against the driver of the car, as she was linked to a sitting Judge of the High Court.

The voice of Shivani’s mother choked when she said she was worried about the condition of her daughter. A number of relatives of Shivani and Preeti were outside the Emergency Ward. The Head of the PGI Department of Haemotology, Prof Gurjeevan Grewal, who is also Harpriya’s mother, was at the bedside of the injured girls. The PGI authorities, however, were silent on the condition of the girls.

A police official said the girls were not in a position, at this time, to give a statement, but it was investigating the matter. However, one of the girls, Preeti, was in her senses and talking to her relatives.Back


‘4-day wonder’ gets a month-long break
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Proving to be a ‘four-day wonder’, the evening OPD facility at the PGI, which was started on December 2, has been temporarily withdrawn.

Though the difficulty with which the PGI was able to meet the December 2 deadline is no secret, the decision to withdraw the facility, taken at the Staff Council meeting today, came as a surprise to all. “The evening OPD services at the PGI would be discontinued temporarily due to winter vacation from December 7, as half of the faculty would be proceeding on leave,” said a PGI spokesperson. However, these services would be resumed from January 7, after the winter vacation, he added.

Though the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, could not be contacted, sources said it was after receiving a communication from the Union Health Ministry that the decision to discontinue evening OPDs for a month was taken at the PGI Staff Council meeting. “Conceding to the request from the AIIMS authorities that the starting of evening OPDs be postponed till the completion of winter holidays, the Health Ministry took a decision that the facility would be started at both places after the winter vacation,” said a senior official.

“Though the reason being cited for temporarily withdrawing the facility is said to be the starting of winter vacation from December 7, but this is not a new development and all of us were aware of it, so what was the need to run the facility for merely four days,” quipped a faculty member.

Majority of the faculty members said they had pointed it out before the start of the facility that December 2 was not an appropriate date as winter vacation was due in five days. They said they had tried to convince the Director at the faculty meeting that he should convey to the minister that the December 2 deadline should postponed as apart from holidays, winter was not an appropriate time to start evening OPDs as it would start getting dark very early and not many patients would come. As the news of temporary withdrawal of evening OPD facility spread, faculty members heaved a sigh of relief and said had the Director explained the practical problems to the minister, the PGI would not have to cut a sorry figure by running the facility for mere four days.

On the other hand, a large number of doctors said since the facility had already been started, the PGI should have taken a stand and continued with it. “When the public has started coming in large numbers it is not right to withdraw the facility, create confusion and in the process bring a bad name to the institute,” said the head of a department. With evening OPDs being temporarily withdrawn for a month, all eyes are now set on the restart of the facility from January 7.


NK Jain accuses SSP in bail plea
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 7
Mr N.K Jain, senior Haryana bureaucrat and a former UT Home Secretary, filed an anticipatory bail plea in a local court today, alleging that he had been falsely implicated in what had come to be known as the Shimla-girl rape case. He also said he suspected that the UT police had framed him at the behest of the UT Senior Superintendent of Police.

The SSP, at the time of joining here in 1999, had to make several rounds of the office of N.K. Jain, then the UT Home Secretary, as the earlier SSP was not relinquishing the charge. N.K. Jain also said the SSP was frustrated and acting in connivance with M.K. Jain, who had a score to settle with him.

“I am prepared to join the investigations and cooperate with the police. There is no chance of my tampering with the evidence or absconding,” said N.K. Jain in his bail application.

While filing the challan in the case earlier, the UT police had accused four persons — Ram Lal, Baldev, Surinder and Narvir — of gang rape. M.K. Jain has been given a clean chit by the police. The police said a supplementary challan would be filed against N.K. Jain after he joined the investigations.

When N.K Jain failed to join the investigations, the UT police obtained arrest warrants against him from a local court. After filing the challan, the prosecution committed the case in the court of the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr Justice H.S. Bhalla, for December 9.

Regarding his bail application, N.K Jain said: “How can law be changed only because M.K Jain and the UT SSP want it so. Can anyone be tried for a murder that has not been committed. Also, can suspects be tried for rape when the victim says that she has not been raped by any of them. In this case, her version is that she never conspired with anyone to frame M.K. Jain and it was M.K. Jain who raped her.” The UT and the girl have been named as parties in the application.

“The challan mentions that a conspiracy was hatched by the applicant with Ram Lal in August-September 2000. However, the applicant had no motive to hatch a conspiracy against M.K. Jain. Besides, there is no verbal or documentary evidence to establish prima facie that the applicant remained in contact with Ram Lal in person or on telephone from August 2000 to August 2002. This shows that the story is cooked up,” said N.K. Jain.


Corruption case: 3 cops transferred
Tribune News Service


The transfers ordered by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) can rake another controversy. The transfers have been ordered at the time when a new IG is taking over on Monday. The new police top brass can revert the transfers.

Chandigarh, November 7
The controversy regarding the alleged involvement of officials of the Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police in a case of corruption registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today saw the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr B.S. Bassi, order the transfer of three police inspectors, including the in charge of the Operation Cell, Mr Jagbir Singh, to the security branch of the Chandigarh Police.

The CBI had registered a case against a Sub-Inspector of the Operation Cell, Sarwan Singh, for accepting a bribe from the wife of an accused in a fake-passport case. The wife of the accused had alleged that the in charge of the Operation Cell had also demanded bribe. The CBI had then questioned Inspector Jagbir in this regard.

According to the information available, the IG has also ordered transfer of another Inspector J.S. Cheema to the CID cell. Inspector Cheema, who had been booked in a corruption case by the CBI, had recently been reinstated and posted in the Police Lines. Another Inspector, Mani Ram Kadian, had been transferred to the Police Lines, in September over his alleged involvement in ‘plotting’ the infamous rape case of a Shimla girl.

But some other officials, whose names had also surfaced in the controversy have been left ‘untouched’. Though senior officials of the Chandigarh Police claimed that the transfers were a ‘routine’ matter, but sources in the department said there was much more behind the move. The officials did not rule out the possibility of the corruption case having a ‘bearing’ on the transfers.

The transfers have taken place within eights months of the large-scale transfers in May this year. 


PU postpones semester exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Panjab University has decided to organise special lectures for students who are falling short of classroom attendance to make them eligible for appearing in the semester examinations.

Students from the departments of political science, sociology and law had been denied roll numbers.

The examinations of the ongoing semester have been rescheduled and will be held after December 25.

Special lectures will be held between December 9 and December 24, the time period during which the examinations were scheduled. All students who are falling short of lectures will pay Rs 500 as fee for additional classes. The university will make payment to guest faculty, if any required by the department.

The arrangement of one-time exception for the first semester students of the above mentioned departments “will not be treated as a precedent”. The students will be required to give an undertaking that they will abide by the rules and regulations if they wish to take advantage of the facility provided this time.

Malwinder Singh Kang, president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council, welcomed the decision and said sentiments of the students who could not attend the classes due to compelling reasons had been taken cognizance of by the university.

Meanwhile, students, during a meeting of the Syndicate today, organised a dharna in front of the Administrative Block saying that the university had no right to stop the ongoing examinations for the benefit of a handful of ‘defaulters’.

More than 800 students were affected because of halting of the ongoing examination process, they said.

A written representation was sent to the Syndicate also. However, the university decided to stick by its decision of postponing the examination saying that it was keeping the “academic interest of all in its mind”.

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, in a press note, condemned the move to postpone the semester examinations. Dr Ambedkar Students' Association has also criticised the university action.


PU approves of external examiners
Students’ representation in Senate mooted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Panjab University Syndicate today decided that practical examinations in science and commerce classes at the undergraduate level in affiliated colleges will be conducted by an external examiner from the current session onwards.

The Syndicate accepted recommendations of a high-level committee in this regard. However, external examiners will be employed only for the final year students this year. Next year, the process will be applied to the second year, followed by the first year subsequently.

The hike in fee for the conduct of the practical examinations by external examiners will be shared equally by students and colleges. The Syndicate approved the proposal of Principal Tarsem Bahia for giving representation to students in the Senate. The matter, however, needs a formal clearance by the Senate.

The Syndicate approved a committee recommendation to give accommodation to women teachers in Working Women’s Hostel. This will be applicable in case a woman teacher has one child only.

Principal A.C.Vaid said the university should arrange for the conduct of refresher courses during autumn and summer vacations or during preparatory holidays. Teachers face a lot of trouble at the hands of college administrations if opting to go for a course during an academic session.

The Syndicate referred an item, pertaining to a letter from teachers seeking the university not to give charge of a department to teachers above 60 years, to the Senate. The proposal had come from certain teachers saying that the university was still not clear about the retirement age because the matter was pending in the court so the university should not give charge to such teachers.

The Syndicate withdrew an item pertaining to writing off about 1640 books, rendered useless by the university library. The Syndicate accepted the proposal of Prof P.P.Arya, a fellow, seeking the university to allow undergraduate students to take up diploma courses, along with their normal graduation classes, saying that the university had already cleared the matter.

The university also decided to constitute a committee to look into a proposal by Principal A.S.Dua wanting an improvement chance for students of MA, M.Sc and M Com. The Syndicate took notice of Dr Deepak Manmohan pointing out that the university should exempt NET examination to students who submit their PhD thesis before December 2002.

The Syndicate extended the date of completing refresher courses for teachers till December 2004. The earlier date was December 31, 2000. Teachers who were superannuating within the next three years were exempted from doing the courses.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, was felicitated by the Syndicate for being selected for Goyal Prize by Kurukshetra University for his achievements in the field of physics.

Prof S.K. Kulkarni was felicitated for being invited to deliver Col R.N. Chopra Oration 2002 at the annual conference of the Indian Pharmacological Society.

Prof B.S. Ghumman was felicitated for his appointment as a non-official Director of the Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited by the President of the country.


‘Red alert’ for Mohali helmet-less women
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 7
Even as members of the SGPC based in this township claim that more than 30,000 Sikhs have, in a signature campaign, showed resentment against the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ‘forcing Sikh women to wear helmets’ the SAS Nagar police is all ready with its challan books to start implementing these orders from tomorrow morning.

The DSP, Mr Daljit Rana, said that the police had been over the last one week alerting women drivers in the township about wearing helmets. It would now be issuing challans in case the women were found driving two-wheeler without helmets.

Mr Birinder Singh, in charge, traffic police, here had also stated that the police would also be challaning pillion women riders without helmets. In such cases the challan would be issued to the driver of the two-wheeler.

The start of issuing of challans to women drivers of the township is also likely to create an amusing situation specially after at a meeting held last week at Gurdwara Amb Sahib Phase VIII, here. It was decided that gurdwaras in the township would be reimbursing the challan amount to Sikh women in case they were challaned for not wearing a helmet.


Tuesday syndrome’ to affect New Year Eve revelry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Invigorating golden elixir’s beads busting at the brim of sparkling cut-glasses will not raise the spirits of so many revellers, and the hoteliers, in the city on New Year Eve. The reason is not very hard to see. In 2002, December 31 falls on a Tuesday. Now you will ask what’s wrong with that? Well, for some of the believers, munching non-veg snacks and gulping hard drinks are strictly prohibited on Tuesday. And what’s a party without a little drink.

Little wonder, to drink or not to drink — that is the question haunting the revellers. “Ever since I attained the freedom to drink and celebrate, I have abstained from meat-macchi, besides drinks, on Tuesdays”, says Dinesh Sharma, working as a senior sales executive with a multinational organisation. “Don’t know what I will do this year”.

He is not alone. Dinesh’s best friend Rahul Kapoor too is facing the same predicament. “In Chandigarh, New Year celebrations have always been a costly affair in hotels and restaurants. This year also, no eating joint will host a dance and dine party for less than Rs 800 a couple, I am sure. For believers like me, the proposition is not a very spirited one”.

Agreeing with him, Ludhiana-based businessman Ramesh Thakur adds, “Why should I waste a thousand bucks when I am not even going to eat, drink and be merry. I’ed rather order mushroom onion cheese pizza at a fast food joint than celebrating the occasion by twirling on the dance floor without savouring a Bloody Merry or a Red Indian on New Year Eve”.

In 1991, again in 1996, residents encountered the Tuesday syndrome. “Believe it or not, many residents, besides regular visitors from boom towns in Punjab, did stay back at home to watch boring programmes on the idiot box,” says Ashok Chauhan, working with a Sector 35 hotel. “We will not be surprised if they do the same thing this year also”.

That’s the reason why Ashok and some others in the hotel industry are “not too sure of the response”. “It’s not easy to predict the scale of celebrations. However, despite all odds, we are keeping the tradition alive. The show is on for us,” asserts Raj Gopal of another Sector 35 hotel. “We are planning to call a group from Delhi to perform on the occasion”.

Incidentally, Raj Gopal and Ashok Chauhan are not the only ones worried about the celebrations. Even city’s chicken joints are not making elaborate arrangements. A Sector 22 chicken-joint owner is not preparing “extra quantity” for the big day. Another owner of a sector 18 joint is preparing just a “little more”. “We are preparing 25 per cent extra instead of double the quantity we normally cook for the occasion,” he claims.

Even wine shops in the city are not expecting a rush. “This time, the sale of alcohol would be down by almost 30 per cent,” proclaims Ramesh, working with an English wine and beer shop.


Health hazards posed by incinerators

Apropos of the report ‘Incinerators in residential areas obsolete’ (Chandigarh Tribune, November 17), the disposal of biomedical waste is a major cause of concern in the world. Though the West has also made mistakes in this area, they have been quick to learn from their mistakes. They have not been averse to taking remedial steps.

Incinerators are on their way out in the advanced countries due to the wide-ranging ill-effects they precipitate on human health. Biomedical waste incinerators are a major source of environmental pollution with toxic emissions, especially dioxin and cadmium, according to a study by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). It is a fact that burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons forms dioxins. Incinerators burning chlorinated hydrocarbon wastes (e.g. PVC) are the major source of dioxins in the environment (nearly 95 per cent). Many scientists say that low-temperature combustion (less than, say, 1,400 °F), produces dioxins.

Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that remain highly persistent in the environment when they are formed as an unintentional by-product of many industrial processes involving chlorine. According to the CARB, dioxins are “highly toxic” and the health risks resulting from breathing these emissions are unacceptably high. Toxic effects in animals include severe weight loss, liver necrosis (death of tissue) and hypertrophy (enlargement), skin lesions, immuno- suppression, reproductive toxicity, teratogenesis (birth defects), carcinogenesis (cancer) and death. Dioxin is an animal carcinogen and a “potential human carcinogen”. Laboratory experiments reveal that even with low body burdens dioxin causes learning disabilities, significant increase in fatigue, anger, anxiety and sense of isolation.

As per a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency, dioxin is clearly one of the most toxic chemicals known to pose a serious threat to the health of public. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a part of the World Health Organisation, announced the most potent dioxin, 2,3,7,8-TCDD, is a class 1 carcinogen, i.e. a “known human carcinogen.” Exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems (at levels 100 times lower than those associated with its cancer causing effects); and that dioxin can cause immune system damage and interfere with regulatory hormones. An impaired immune system would expose a person to risk of disease from other causes. Other devastating effects of this highly toxic chemical include drop in sperm count, increase in the incidence of testicular and prostrate cancer, endometriosis (painful growth outside the uterus of cells that normally line the uterus) and increased incidence of breast cancer.

Being fat-soluble, dioxin bio-accumulates up the food chain. There is no known way for men to rid themselves of dioxin other than letting it break down according to its chemical half-life, which is quite long. Women, on the other hand, have two ways by which it can exit their bodies: it crosses the placenta into the growing infant; and it is present in the fatty breast milk. This is also a route of exposure, which poisons the infant, making breast-feeding for non-vegetarian mothers quite hazardous.

Many incinerators are not designed to exceed 1,400 °F in their secondary chamber. Presumably due to this, they do not effectively sterilise wastes they burn. The list of products of incomplete combustion emitted through incinerators reads like who’s who of chemical rouges’ gallery: arsenic, ammonia, benzene, bromodichloromethane, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, chromium, chlorodibromomethane, chloroform, cumene, 1,2-dibromoethane, dichloromethane, dichloroethane, dioxins and furans, ethyl benzene, lead, mercury, mesitylene, nickle, particulate matter, naphthalene, tetrachloroethane, toluene, trichloroethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, trichloromethane, vinyl chloride, xylene, and so on.

Traditionally, the mouth and lungs have been considered the means of entry for toxins into the human body. Now new evidence suggests that absorption through the skin may be another way for some chemicals to enter the body. In addition, the skin of babies may allow more toxins to pass through it than the skin of older humans. Also, chemicals administered at low doses are more effectively absorbed through the skin than are chemicals administered at high doses. The importance of this finding seems to be this: if someone is going to expose a community to small amounts of dioxins and furans for a long time, they must consider absorption through the skin, and especially in case of babies and children. Those likely to have the highest dioxin levels in their bodies are people who live near a dioxin source or eat food produced near a dioxin source, children, breast-fed babies.

I am glad to learn from The Tribune report that the Haryana unit of the Indian Medical Association has raised cane with the state government on this important issue. Finally someone is beginning to take notice of the serious health hazards posed by incinerators installed to dispose of biomedical waste in our region also. To say that the technology is obsolete would be a gross understatement. It is time we formulated proactive, long-term strategies to safeguard our environment and health from deleterious effects caused by pollution from incinerators. The following steps are proposed to address this menace:

* Immediate halt to the incinerator of municipal, hazardous, medical, military and radioactive waste, and any such waste incinerated in cement and/or aggregate kilns, or other devices.

* Banning the use of chlorinated organic compounds (including plastic, PVC) in industry.

* Shutting down of incinerators serving individual institutions if these don’t meet the stringent prerequisites.

Available alternatives include the on/off-site steam sterilisation. Steam sterilisation (also called autoclaving), means heating the wastes in a metal chamber by filling the chamber with super-saturated steam under increased pressure, and holding the temperature at 121 °C for at least 30 minutes. It effectively sterilises waste, killing viruses and bacteria. The wastes then go to a landfill. Steam sterilisation is the cheapest way for a hospital to come into compliance with cadmium and dioxin emissions. Needless to mention its high degree of safety and efficacy.

Vivek Khanna, Dept of Microbiology & Basic Medical Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Fate of court summons

It has become a regular practice for some people to avoid receipt of court summons for one reason or the other. They even take resort to greasing the palms of the messenger. The judges normally give two to three months time for every date. Subsequently, even though a year passes by, summons are not served on the party. In case the judge goes on leave or is transferred, the case is further delayed. At times, advocates unnecessarily ask for a date with an aim to delay the case.

To obviate any inordinate delay, the courts should send summons to the nearest police station of the individual where the person can be called, summons served and returned to the court, duly accepted. This way, corruption in serving summons will end and the cases can be decided early.

The Law Ministry should look into the matter, do something to speed up cases and end corruption.

Lieut-Col P.S. Sarang (retd), Chandigarh

BSNL services

The services provided by the BSNL in Zirakpur are far from satisfactory. The staff deputed here for redressing public grievances is rude. Since there is no facility of complaint on telephone here, one has to go to the telephone exchange for the purpose.

My telephone went out of order last month. I had to run from pillar to post for about 12 days for getting the facility restored. The phone went out of order once again. I visited the BSNL office to lodge complaint. When I asked the staff to let me know my complaint number, the employee not only refused to give it, but also misbehaved with me.

Can’t the BSNL authorities provide good services in small towns and villages where there are no competitors for them? The BSNL authorities should train their staff in how to be soft-spoken and listen to public grievances with a positive approach.

Parminder Singh, Zirakpur


Manch asks govt to set up sugar mill
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 7
The central working committee of the Shivalik Vikas Manch has asked the state government to set up a cooperative sugar mill between Naraingarh and Yamunanagar, so as to ensure a free market for sugarcane farmers in the region. The meeting of the working committee of the manch was held last evening under the chairmanship of Mr Sadhu Ram Saini. The problems of sugarcane farmers of north Haryana were elaborated and discussed, especially those of sugarcane farmers, after the private sugar mills refused to pay the rates announced by state government.

Since all three private sugar mills are in this part of the state and the cooperative sugar mills are spread over other parts of the state, the farmers here feel cheated, said Mr Saini.

Inteqal day observed:- A district-level function to mark inteqal day was held at Mini Secretariat today.

Other than tehsildar, Panchkula, the naib tehsildars, kanungos and patwaris from all over the district participated. As many as 181 inteqals were also registered on this occasion.


Ex-services League rally tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Indian Ex-services League has decided to hold a rally in New Delhi on December 9 to draw the government’s attention toward its demands.

Brig Sant Singh (Retd), president of the League, said yesterday in a statement that the Central government had failed to concede the demands of ex-servicemen.

One of the important demands of the League is pension. The League wanted that at least the pension of soldiers should equal to half of their last drawn pay. At present, the pension is too meager.

The League also wants the removal of differences between the pre-January 1996 and the post-1996 disability pensions.

The disability suffered before January 1996 or after has the same physical affect on the soldier concerned so there should be no discrimination on this count. 


Property owners to hold press meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
A meeting of the executive body of the Property Owners Welfare Association was held here last evening. It was decided to hold a seminar-cum-press-meet to clear the ill-founded apprehensions created by the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal among the general public regarding the outcome of the recent amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949.

The seminar will be addressed by representatives of various welfare bodies of the city. A few experts on rent matters have also been invited to express their impartial views on the matter to remove public apprehensions.

The members strongly refuted the claim of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal that the notification will result in revenue loss in the shape of income tax, sales tax and excise. By getting the market value rent, the owner will be liable to pay more income tax and while paying high rent the tenants will be forced to declare multi-fold business turnovers resulting in proportionate increase in sales tax, excise and income tax.

Fear of large-scale evictions and displacement of businesses was also termed as a false propaganda by a group of the Beopar Mandal leaders. Motives behind such a move were to somehow keep the issue alive for personal glorification and political aspirations, to maintain hold on occupied properties and to evade taxation by declaring low turnover.

The members were of the opinion that the leaders of the mandal should tender an apology for burning the effigy of General Jacob who is considered in high esteem by the entire city for his untiring efforts.


BJP clears nominees’ list for MC poll

Panchkula, December 7
The BJP has reportedly cleared its candidates for the forthcoming elections to Municipal Council here. The list was prepared during a meeting of party leaders held under chairmanship of the state vice-president of party, Mr A.P. Manchanda.

It is learnt that the list has been sent to the party high command for final approval which will be released only on November 15 — a day before the nominations are to be filed. TNS


Slogan contest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 7
To educate the masses about measures required to reduce road accidents, the Loss Prevention Association of India Limited (LPA) is organising a slogan contest.

Entries in English and Hindi have been invited from students of class VIII, IX and X in the form of slogans not exceeding 15 words on "How to prevent road accidents".

The entries should be mailed directly to the Loss Prevention Association of India Limited, Warden House, Sir P.M. Road, Mumabi-400001, by December 31. This was stated by Mr A.W. Smarth, administrative officer, LPA.


Two commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 7
In two separate incidents, a domestic help at the residence of an HCS officer and a sweeper at a mobile toilet reportedly committed suicide during the past 24 hours here. While one victim was found hanging from a ceiling fan, the other died of consuming Celphos tablets.

The domestic help at the Sector 24 residence of Mr Mahavir Singh was found hanging from the ceiling in a room on the first floor of the house, this morning.

According to information available, Ravi (23), after performing the routine cleaning job at the house, entered a room, bolted it from inside and hanged himself. The victim had probably removed his shirt before hanging himself as it was found missing from his body.

It is learnt that Ravi, a resident of Nepal, had started working for Mr Mahavir Singh a few days back. Earlier, he was working at the house of an officer in Karnal. The reason behind him taking the extreme step is not yet known as the police did not find any suicide note. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

In the second incident, 22-year-old Ram Kumar was found dead in his jhuggi in Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, late last night, yesterday.

He was employed at a mobile toilet and was living aslone and was said to be an introvert by nature. A post-mortem examination report suggested that Ram Kumar had consumed celphos tablets. Inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC have been initiated. 


PU don’s house burgled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 7
Burglars broke into the Sector 40 residence of a Panjab University don Dr Akhtar Mahmood and took away jewellery and other goods worth Rs 1 lakh on Thursday evening. This is the second burglary in his house in less than one and a half year.

At the time of the burglary, the house was unoccupied as Dr Mahmood, who teaches at Department of Biochemistry, had gone to Malerkotla to meet his relatives on the occasion of Id. The burglars reportedly entered the house by breaking open an iron grill on the rear side of the house.

The professor returned home yesterday only to find the house ransacked. According to him, the items which have been stolen include jewellery, a VCR, a Canon camera, watches and binoculars. Earlier, in June, 2001 house of professor Mahmmood was also burgled and at that time the burglars had decamped with goods worth Rs 35,000. Dr Safrunnisa Mahmood, professor’s wife, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Experimental Medicine at PGI.


Woman arrested

The police has arrested a 40-year-old resident of Nahan, from near Billa village, on the charge of immoral trafficking. The accused was reportedly coming here every day for clandestine operations. The police received information that the accused was operating along National Highway No 73 and enticing truckers and residents in the area. A police party, headed by DSP Rajesh Duggal, set up a trap and caught her red-handed.

The police has booked her under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Immoral Trafficking Act.

Assaulted: A saw mill owner was reportedly assaulted with kirpaans by five persons near Madhanwal village, late last night. Mr Asif Chaudhary, a resident of Sector 25, here and owner of a saw mill near Madhanwala, alleged that he had a dispute with the accused, following which Brij Pal, Amrish, Kesar, Krishan Anand and another person assaulted him. A case under Sections 148, 149, 452, 323, 324 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

Booked: The police has booked Bal Krishan on the charge of trying to run over Lajja Ram with his truck. The incident took place in Shiamtu village a few days back, following an altercation. A case under Sections 279, 336 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.

10 arrested: The police has arrested 10 persons in separate incidents on the charge of disrupting public life. Thakur Dass, Narendra Kumar, Chaman Lal, Avtar Singh, Sinder Singh, Purshottam Kumar, Markanday, Raghubir Ram, Nirmal Singh and Bicha Tiwari were arrested in three separate cases on the charge of creating nuisance while in an inebriated condition.


Companies bank upon free insurance to boost car sales
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Car sales in city and surrounding towns are witnessing a slight increase this month, as compared to the same period last year. Car dealers are offering schemes of free insurance and other freebies. These schemes are being offered for a limited period on the purchase of cars to boost the sales. The possibility of increase in prices of new models in the beginning of next year has further strengthened the sales.

Inquiries made from leading car dealers revealed that most of them were offering free insurance.

The models under this scheme included Alto, Wagon-R, Zen of Maruti Udyog Ltd, Tata Indica and Santro models. Interestingly, Maruti was not offering free insurance on its popular brand — Maruti 800.

Company dealers said that company had already slashed its prices by Rs 17,000 to Rs 18,000 in July this year, resulting in increase in sales country-wide. So it was offering that deal on other models, worked out by sharing company’s profits with dealers’ margin.

In addition, Maruti was also offering free car stereos on Alto, Wagon-R and Zen models. However, in case of Esteem and Omni, only free insurance was available. Mr Aashish Gupta, executive director at a leading showroom of the Tata Indica, said,‘‘ Almost all car manufacturers have come out with free insurance policy in collaboration with insurance companies. It benefits both the parties and passes on additional benefits to customers.

We are further expecting increase in sales during the last 10 days of this month.’’

A senior official of the MUL disclosed that the Maruti— still leader in the market— was set to increase the price of all its models by 2 to 3 per cent by January next year. It would set in motion an increase in prices by all car manufacturers. Since price had not substantially been increased during the recent past, the companies were likely to revise the price due to increase in cost of inputs such as steel and power.

He said MUL, which was running its Gurgaon plant on natural gas, would have to shell out an additional Rs 80 crore annually due to a cut in its supply by the government. He added further that the company would shut down its plant in the last week of month for its annual maintenance exercise.

The new models, as per the revised safety measures, would come out next year. The government had already announced work safety measures such as rear seat belts and high mount stop lamp.

Commenting upon people’s perception about decline in resale value of models purchased during November-December as compared to new models in January, Mr Hemant Pathak, a sales executive at another car showroom, said,‘‘ If customers calculate the value of free insurance, stereo and the likely increase in prices, they would find it beneficial to buy now. It is right time for the purchase,’’ he added.

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