Tuesday, January 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT to adopt AP model for tax collection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Chandigarh is aiming to replicate the Andhra Pradesh model of e-governance and for running its offices and also for the collection of various taxes, levies and fees . Also on the cards is the arrival of other top Information Technology companies in the city.

The UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), who was recently in Secundrabad to inaugurate a seminar on ‘Management of Change for National Security’ utilised the opportunity to get himself updated on the progress made by Andhra Pradesh in the field of IT and e-governance. And now the Director Information Technology, Mr Vivek Atray, is headed for Andhra Pradesh to attend a scheduled exhibition. Mr Atray will be making a presentation at Hyderabad tomorrow.

General Jacob had a productive meeting with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr Chandrababu Naidu. The Chief Minister apprised the General of the progress made by the state in the field of e-governance and IT.

Sources said the main purpose of the Administrator’s meeting with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh was to know about the steps taken by Andhra Pradesh to make e-governance people friendly.

Mr Naidu informed the General that tax collection and all revenue collection in Andhra Pradesh had increased after the computerisation of these departments. He said as new Value added Tax (VAT) regime was coming into force with effect from April, 1, 2003, Andhra Pradesh was all set to open VAT accounts of traders online. Since the Administration is also dedicated to have total computerisation of its offices the Andhra experience will be valuable.

On the invitation of Mr Chandrababu Naidu, General Jacob also visited Cyber-city in Hyderabad. He saw the facilities being provided in Cyber-City to the IT firms. General Jacob appreciated the design and total computerised controls in the IT City.

The Administrator also had a meeting with the Chairman of the Satyam Computers, Mr B. Ramalinga Raju, who after a long meeting decided to consider setting up a unit at the upcoming Technology Park in Chandigarh. Infosys has already set up base in the technology park and has pledged an investment of Rs 100 crore in phases.


New Chd-Panchkula road to open soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
A new road between Chandigarh and Panchkula is set to be opened shortly, as workers of the Engineering Department are giving it the final touches. This road will start from Saint Kabir School, Sector 26, and culminate at Panchkula.

Sources said a formal opening would be announced soon. They said initially it was thought that the road would be opened before the installation of the streetlights. The idea was dropped due to foggy conditions, as it becomes difficult to drive at night. Cold conditions have also delayed the work on the road.

Even as the streetlights are yet to be installed and a final coat is to be given, residents have already started using the road. A portion of the road is being used by motorists of Mani Majra.

Speaking on the new road, a regular user said the only drawback was the railway crossing enroute. He added that the route could only be popularised if a railway overbridge was built. “Even if one knows the timing of the trains, the passing by of a goods train can result in closure of the road. And in these conditions when trains are running late, there can be no synchronisation”, he added.

The road is ideal for those going to the upcoming IT park. The railway crossing is on the road leading to Modern Housing Complex and also on the bifurcation to Mani Majra. But for those going to IT park, they will be spared of any railway crossing.


Schools reopen amid thick fog
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, January 20
Even as dense fog blocked the visibility in the early hours of the day, all private schools in the city reopened today after a gap of over a week, giving the parents a reason to complaint and students a reason to shiver. Despite the fact that the timing of almost all the schools were advanced by half an hour i.e. from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm, the parents complained that the “foggy conditions” had not actually changed.

Though the parents were a bit hesitant to send their little ones to the schools, the students did brave the weather and managed to reach their respective schools. Some of them were, however, late. In some cases, students even reached the school half an hour after the classes had started. The school authorities were, nevertheless, accommodating.

“We allowed the students late by 15 minutes or so to attend the classes,” said the Director of St Joseph School’s kindergarten, Ms Simar Grewal. “After all the weather was to be blamed for the delay not the students”.

The schools — both government and private — had initially declared holidays in the institutes keeping in view the “cold and foggy conditions” prevailing in the city. The government schools had subsequently resumed regular classes after claiming “it was not possible to keep the institutes closed for long just because of the cold weather”.

Some of the schools affiliated with the Independent Schools’ Association had also resumed classes despite the decision that the junior classes up to Class II would continue to observe holidays “till further notice”. The action had resulted in confusion and low attendance, as a large number of junior students, unaware of the resumption of regular classes, had stayed back at home.

Today, the parents who come to drop their children on two-wheelers complained of “adverse conditions” as they struggled to drive through the dense fog. Others driving down to the schools in cars with the headlights on were also “not at all happy with the decision to reopen the schools”.

The president of the Independent Schools Association, Mr D.S. Bedi, when contacted, asserted: “It is not possible to keep the schools closed for long because of the weather. The studies suffer and we do not think the parents should be complain about it”.

He added: “The students should learn to be a little tough and face hardships as they come along. After all they cannot snuggle in warm beds throughout their lives. It is not easy for the students, specially the ones reaching the schools on bicycles or two-wheelers. But then studies are also important and cannot be ignored because of bad weather”.


Chilly weather to persist in region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Change in the life-style of middle classes more than anything else may have led to the uproar over the “unprecedented cold wave conditions” in the region which forced the governments of Punjab and Haryana and the UT Administration to close down schools in the region a couple of weeks ago.

Schools remained closed in Haryana from January 9 to 18 in Punjab from January 10 to 15 and in Chandigarh from January 11 to 15. They have since reopened and are working normally. But the weather conditions have not improved to an appreciable extent. And if the weather bureau is to believed, cold wave conditions accompanied by foggy weather, will continue for a few days more. Cold and foggy conditions are not unusual in the region for this part of the year, say weather experts. But the slowly changing lifestyle has been making the middle classes more and more comfortable loving. “Switching on the heater in homes and workplaces whenever the mercury drops has become a habit with them,” it is pointed out. “Similarly, during the summer, they cannot work and sleep without chilled air from their airconditioners”.

According to data available with the local weather bureau, similar cold wave conditions prevailed in the region two years ago. Normal life was disrupted but not to the extent that schools had to be closed. As a matter of fact, the minimum temperature in Chandigarh dropped to just one degree Centigrade on January 10, 2001. This figure is yet to be touched this year. The minimum temperature here was 2.6°C today. It was 1.6°C yesterday and 1.4°C on January 10. However, Chandigarh experienced the coldest day in nearly two-and-a-half decades on January 11, 2003, when the day temperature dropped to just 8°C.

According to information available here, dense fog enveloped Chandigarh and large parts of Punjab and Haryana for yet another day today, disrupting road, rail and air traffic in the region. Hazardous traffic conditions led to several road accidents leading to loss of life and injuries to passengers.

The residents of Chandigarh who enjoyed a sunny day yesterday woke up this morning to a foggy morning, once again intensifying the cold wave conditions. The fog was so dense that it reduced visibility to just seven metres forcing vehicles carrying school children and office-goers to crawl at a snail’s pace with head lamps on to warn oncoming vehicles. Fog, however, began clearing up by 11 a.m. and a mild sunshine shown on the city till evening.

Weather bureau said that foggy conditions in the city today were caused by a western disturbance over J and K yesterday which led to an increase in the moisture here. A clear sky during the night led to a further fall in the temperature which in turn gave rise to dense fog in the morning.


No flights to city for 3 more days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The uncertain weather has forced Indian Airlines and Jet Airways to keep flights between New Delhi and Chandigarh cancelled for the next three days.

According to Mr B.P. Nautiyal, Station Manager, Indian Airlines, the operations on the New Delhi-Chandigarh and Chandigarh-New Delhi sectors would remain suspended till January 23.

Jet Airways has also suspended the New Delhi-Chandigarh and Chandigarh-New Delhi flights till January 23, says its local Station Manager, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Dhami. No surface travel facility would be provided for the Chandigarh-Delhi sector for the suspended flights, Mr Dhami added.

There have been no flights between Chandigarh and New Delhi since January 17.


Cong to stake claim to MC chief’s post
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 20
The victory of 14 Congressmen in the Municipal Council elections here has prodded the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee to throw in that into the ring for the post of President of the first council here.

The position taken by five unattached councillors, BJP’s opposition to any truck with the Indian National Lok Dal and the reputation of the ruling party managing control over civic bodies, despite being in minority, are likely to come in the way of Congress ‘ new found aspirations for the post.

The party leadership will hold a meeting with its councillors to discuss the issue tomorrow. The councillors, mostly office-bearers of the local unit of the party who resigned from party positions to jump into the fray, are now pressing the party high command to stake claim for presidentship. Though the party had boycotted the poll, partymen have won 45 per cent of the total seats.

Already the names of at least two Congress-aligned councillors, Mr Naresh Rawal and Mr. R.K. Kakkar, are doing the rounds as aspirants for the post. The five unattached councillors, who were supported by the Indian National Lok Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party are also known to have allegiance with the Congress find themselves in a piquant situation.

With the Congress and the INLD claiming victory as that of the party, Mrs Renuka Rai Walia (Ward No. 2), Mr. S.S. Goel (Ward No. 9), Mrs Sharda Gupta (Ward No. 22), Mrs Sharanjit Kaur (Ward No. 24) and Mr Pawan Mittal (Ward No. 27) are being wooed by both parties.

With the Indian National Lok Dal hitting the prospects of the BJP directly in these elections, the BJP state leadership says there is no possibility of a reunion to ensure a President backed by the INLD. A senior functionary of the state unit of the BJP, when contacted, said the party had not approached the electorate by proxy (BJP was the only party to have fought the elections on the party symbol) and had not indulged in any misdemeanour to win the elections. He said the party would not like to align with a party that had cheated the voters and harmed their (BJP’s ) interests.

But going by past history of the INLD, especially in the Kalka civic body poll, where the party had won a single seat as compared to 12 by the Congress but still managed to get their own candidate elected as President, the Congressmen’s dream of selecting their President in Panchkula, will be an uphill task.

Meanwhile, it was back to normal today after yesterday’s hustle-bustle. In Sector 16, Sector 15 and Sector 12 the newly elected councillors, Mr S.S. Goel, Mr Naresh Rawal and Mrs Manvir Gill, went on a thanksgiving trip in their wards.

In Ward No. 9 (Sector 16), Mr S.S. Goel, along with his supporters, took out a procession.


Special police team to check theft of computer parts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Concerned over the rise in the incidents of theft of computer hardware accessories by organised gang (s) in the city, the Chandigarh Police has devised a new strategy to tackle the crime. A special investigating team (SIT) has been entrusted with the task of tracking down the computer-savvy criminals, who have been striking in the city at will.

Sources in the police said information gathered by the investigating team had revealed that at least 30 cases relating to theft of computer parts and computer hardware accessories during the past over one year had been reported at various police stations in the city. Several mobile sets have also been stolen in the incidents.

At least nine incidents of theft of computer hardware accessories, worth around Rs 20 lakh, have been reported to the police. Significant among these were burglary of computer hardware worth lakhs from an SCO in Sector 8, Sector 20, and another in Sector 18.

A police official said all cases related to the theft of computers and computer hardware were being jointly investigated. To track down the stolen mobile phone sets, the police had reportedly written to the cellular service providers in the region with the code numbers of stolen sets. The cellular service providers have been asked to keep a watch on the users of such sets. Efforts were also being made to record communication, if any, by the users of such sets through the transmission towers.

Sources said the market of such stolen computer hardware accessories and the mobile sets was also being ascertained. Employees at the shops selling computer hardware accessories were also being questioned.


Four computer thieves held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
With arrest of four computer ‘‘thieves’’ the Chandigarh Police claims to have solved several cases of theft of computers and mobile phones in the city. All arrested belong to well-to-do families.

Criminals’ confession....

Yadvinder, Amanpreet and Harprit —all friends for long time, stepped in to the world of crime the day they went on a trip to Shimla along with a son of Punjab DSP. “ We took some drug initially for fun sake and began stealing computers and other items to get money for our drugs’, said Yadvinder, adding that they used to sell a CPU for Rs 5000. “ We seriously want to get rid of the drugs and are undertaking drug deaddiction course”, said Amanpreet Singh. He urged the mediapersons to give them a chance to reform their lives.

Eight cases of burglary have been solved by the CIA wing of the Chandigarh Police. At least five central processing units (CPUs), two coloured monitors, a laser printer, and 10 mobile phone sets had been recovered from the burglars. While one member of the gang, Rohit Arora, was already in judicial custody, the other three members, Yadwinder Singh, Amanpreet Singh and Harprit Singh, were today remanded in 14-day judicial custody.

Investigations by the police revealed that all suspects were drug addicts and used to steal computers and computer parts to meet their daily requirement of smack. The modus operandi of the suspects Yawinder Singh, a diploma-holder from an ITI, Amanpreet Singh,a diploma-holder in civil engineering and Harprit Singh, a plus two pass out — all residents of Phase X in SAS Nagar, was to develop friendly relations with students doing postgraduate diploma in computers at private institutes. They used to gather information whether the students kept computers at their residences. And then they planned their thefts accordingly.

The gang was busted after Mr Vikas Khosla of Sector 15 had reported to the police that at around 6 pm on January 15, he saw three youths, one of them carrying a CPU, escaping on a Bullet motor cycle from near his house. Later, he found his own CPU was missing from his house. A team of CIA later tracked down the CPU to a computer repair shop in Sector 35. As per sources, three persons had left the CPU at the shop for repair as its hard disk was malfunctioning. The motor cycle allegedly used by the trio was also found abandoned in Sector 21. The police then carried out raids and arrested two of the youths.


Rs 1800-cr Central Govt plan to modernise prisons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Central Government has drawnup an ambitious Rs 1800 -crore plan for modernising prison infrastructure in the country on a cost-sharing basis with the states, says Mr L.C. Amarnathan, Director-General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development.

The Centre and the states would share the expenditure in the ratio of 75:25. The Centre would spend Rs 1052.30 cr in next five years and the states Rs 57.98 cr on modernising and building new prisons.

Similarly, Centre would spend Rs 248.42 cr and the states Rs 13.60 cr on expansion and renovation of existing prisons. Of the total plan of Rs 1814.92 cr, the share of the Centre would be Rs 1350 cr and the states would share the rest.

For the current financial year, the outlay is Rs 360 cr which includes the Central share of Rs 270 cr, said Mr Amarnathan, revealing that the Bureau of Police Research and Development has also been entrusted with the task of preparing a draft of the model prison Manual for the country.

Mr Amarnathan was here to inaugurate a six-day vertical interaction course on “Identification of Best Prison Practices” which the Bureau is organising in collaboration with the Institute of Correctional Administration.

Senior prison officers from UP, Punjab, Delhi, Assam, Himachal, Tripura and Tamil Nadu are attending this course.

Mr Amarnathan advocated a new law on prisons underscoring various alternatives to imprisonment to meet the problem of overcrowding of prisons. At present, the occupancy of prisons in India was 128.51 per cent of their capacity. Of the total prisoner population of 2,72,079 (prison statistics-2000), only 63,976 (23.51 per cent) were convicts while of the remaining 1,93 627, (71.17 per cent) were undertrials and 14,477 (5.32 per cent) were detenus, lunatics and others.

Of the total convicts 1,741 (21.97 per cent) are women who otherwise are just 2.9 per cent of the total prisoner population of the country.

Earlier, Dr Upneet Lalli, Deputy Director, Institute of Correctional Administration, in her address of welcome, said that the modern prison manual draft would be discussed by the participants in the course. Mr Amarnathan said suggestions made during the course would be incorporated in the manual.

Dr B.V. Trivedi, Assistant Director, Bureau of Police Research and Development; and Dr Hira Singh, Former Director, NISD, New Delhi; besides Dr Upneet Lalli are the key resource persons for the course.

The focus of the course is to provide an informal forum at the national level to improve human resources in Indian prisons and to deliberate on various issues relating to the prison administration, like perspective planning to make them self-reliant.


13 secys held in another swoop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Chandigarh Police today once again swooped on the dismissed Panchayat Secretaries and arrested 13 agitating members of the Association of Dismissed Panchayat Secretaries of Punjab. With this the total number of arrested Panchayat Secretaries has gone up to 98 during the past couple of weeks.

The 13 dismissed Panchayat Secretaries were arrested at a time when they tried to gather again in Sector 17 to protest against the Punjab Government’s decission to remove them from service. An FIR under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC was registered against them.

According to the police, all 13 dismissed Panchayat Secretaries were produced before a local magistrate who remanded them in judicial custody. They were later shifted to the local Burail jail.

Meanwhile, a few police personnel have been permanently deployed, till further orders, on the site of the dismissed secretaries’ agitation as a preventive measure to prevent the agitating dismissed secretaries from gathering again.

The Berozgar B.Ed Adhiapak Front, Punjab, will also join the expelled panchayat secretaries to campaign against Congress in the forthcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The front has also planned to meet the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, on January 22. The front members who are on indefinite fast here for the past 35 days, are demanding filling of thousands of vacant posts in different schools in Punjab.

In an emergency meeting held here today, leaders of other teachers’ union also assured the front of their support. The front has alleged that the state government was acting against the interest of teachers in name the of new education policy. This was stated in a release issued by the front here today.

Incidentally, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is campaigning in support of Congress candidates in HP elections. The front has decided to follow the election rallies of the Chief Minister to expose the ‘true picture ’ of his policies, said a leader of the front.


Growing traffic plagues Corbusier’s dream
Solution files gather dust in offices

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The growing number of vehicles on roads in the City Beautiful has become a menace not only for the residents but also for the policy makers. Le Corbusier, the French architect who designed this city would have never dreamt of this “hazard” plaguing the very spirit of the city.

Day by day, the situation of traffic is getting worse. Everyday, 200 motor vehicles are added to the already existing fleet of 6 lakh registered vehicles, and at least 50,000 vehicles from other parts of the country ply on city roads daily.

In 1995 there were only 3.5 lakh motor vehicles in the city keeping the environment of the city balanced. But during the span of just seven years, the addition of 2.5 lakh vehicles has posed a serious threat to the local environment apart from compounding problems regarding the management of traffic and causing loss of human lives in accidents.

Although from time to time, the local administration and the Municipal Corporation have tried to manage the problem of growing traffic by widening the roads, starting up the project of separate cycle tracks, constructing parking sites and putting up traffic lights at various points but all these have not solved traffic problems in the city.

The policy makers of the city and also the residents are worried about the future of the city. “The growing number of vehicles in the city resulting in the degradation of environment and fatal accidents is the biggest problem that needs to be solved at the earliest so that the nature and spirit of the city as designed by Le Corbusier can be preserved”, said Mr Balbir Singh, SP, traffic and security, UT police.

He admitted that it had become very difficult to control the growing traffic in the city amidst the overall shortage of police personnel in the city. As many as 76,067 persons were prosecuted for violation of traffic rules and 494 accidents were reported in the last year in which 108 persons had died and 482 had been injured.

“From time to time special programmes are organised by the traffic police to educate the people about traffic rules. A similar exercise was launched by the traffic police last week on the eve of Road Safety Week to educate people about traffic rules. This exercise was a success in creating awareness among residents about the traffic rules”, Mr Balbir Singh added.

“The crux of the traffic management problem lies in the fact that both slow and fast vehicles ply on the same road. Cycle tracks constructed on Jan Marg and Madhya Marg have given a little relief. A similar track on Poorav Marg is also the need of the hour to reduce fatal accidents,” he further said.

It is worth mentioning that keeping in view heavy rush on the Piccadily roundabout, a proposal of opening four sides of the roundabout by putting up gates with lights during less traffic and closing these during rush hours was submitted by the traffic police a couple of years before the local administration but so far nothing has been done in this regard. It is learnt that at present the proposal is lying in the office of Mr Pooranjit Singh, Chief Engineer of Chandigarh Administration, and gathering dust.

Another proposal to manage the congestion of traffic on the approach road leading to the UT Estate Office, 30 Bays building and the Central State Library was suggested by Samadhan, a local NGO, about more than 18 months ago. Even Mr Pawan Bansal, local MP, vide his letter (No. PB/LS13/2001/1676 dated 18.7.2001) had approved the proposal but so far nothing has been done in this regard.

Mr R.P. Malhotra, president of the NGO, had also drafted a sketch of the plan to ensure smooth flow of traffic. It has been proposed to demolish the existing cycle shed in front of the UT Registrar’s office. And for a minor re-alignment of the road from Estate Office towards 30 Bays Building, a few yards of land (shaded portion) belonging to the Central State Library building has also been proposed to be included in the road to widen it for two-way traffic (shown in the drawing by a divider with dotted lines in the sketch).

The policy makers of the UT administration need to spare a thought on the growing menace of traffic and preserve the very nature and spirit of the City Beautiful. Otherwise, traffic jams, accidents and environmental degradation will shatter the dreams of Le Corbusier.



Kataria blames Admn for BJP defeat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
After the brief bonhomie over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal issue, the relations between the BJP and the INLD in Haryana has gone back to the familiar terrain of acrimony over the municipal elections in Panchkula.

Talking to the TNS today, Mr R.L. Kataria, President of the BJP’s state unit, claimed that the local administration of Panchkula was blatantly partisan and played a key role in ensuring BJP candidates’ defeats in various constituencies. According to Mr Kataria, in 15 wards, where the BJP candidates were the potential winners, the elections were managed in such a way that the Independent candidates could win.

He alleged that these wards were identified and the local administration connived with the Independent candidates to get 150 to 200 bogus voters enrolled in the electoral lists of each of these constituencies. It was these votes who tilted the balance against the BJP, Mr Kataria said.

He added that they had also brought the anomaly to the notice of Mr T.D. Jogpal, Election Commissioner of Haryana. Mr Jogpal told that it was too late for weeding out the false voters from the lists, Mr Kataria said. “We told him that how could there be 80 voters living in a tiny house. We also gave him proofs about enrollment of bogus voters”, the chief claimed.

Mr Kataria, who is all more upset about the BJP’s showing at Panchkula since the area falls in his parliamentary constituency, said it was only the BJP which had the guts to fight the municipal poll in its own symbol. The Congress as well as the INLD representatives fought as Independents, Mr Kataria said and alleged that even though the INLD was not contesting poll officially, the president of the party’s state unit had campaigned in the elections along with a battery of ministers and party legislators.

The BJP, it is understood, was also puzzled with the way some of the local civil and police officials, who are otherwise related to important BJP functionaries, completely ignored their connections with the party and allegedly helped the independent candidates.


Pasla group holds convention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Mangat Ram Pasla-led group of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) here today held a joint session with the MPCI, the All-India Forward Bloc and the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML).

Addressing a joint session, Mr Pasla said the Punjab Government was implementing “anti-people” economic policies of the BJP-led Central Government with vigour.

He said the Congress had failed to implement its own manifesto.

The convention was presided over by Mr Inderjeet Singh Garewal (CPM-Pasla). Mr Zohra Singh and Mr Jagjeet Singh Lyalpuri of the MCPI and Mr Rajwinder Singh of the CPI-ML addressed the convention and talked about the WTO regime, privatisation and liberalisation.

They alleged the central and state governments were blindly following privatisation and liberalisation.

The AIFB president, Mr V.P. Saini, MCPI Politburo member, AICTU Secretary Malkiat Singh and Mr Trilochan Singh Rana also addressed the convention.


Garbage collection scheme launched in Sectors 27, 28
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Mayor Subhash Chawla today launched the garbage bin-free area scheme in sectors 27 and 28.

With the launch of the scheme, residents of the two sectors will have to make arrangements for dumping garbage only at designated places in the two sectors. Garbage bins from other areas have been withdrawn.

Anybody found dumping the garbage at places other than the designated ones would be penalised with a maximum fine of Rs 500 on offence committed each time.

The residents welfare associations of these areas have made arrangements for the lifting of the garbage from each household on payment. Residents will now either have to join the residents welfare associations or make a private arrangement of carrying the garbage to the sites notified by the Municipal Corporation earlier.

Mr Chawla praised the Medical Officer Health Wing for the implementation of the scheme that has already been successful in sectors 8 and 15.

Local MP Pawan Bansal assured residents that the garbage disposal would be given top priority.

The function was attended by local area councillor Harpreet Kaur Babla, her husband and rebel Chandigarh Vikas Manch leader Devinder Singh Babla, former Mayor Lalit Joshi and councillors Vijay Rana, Jitender Bhatia, Balraj Singh, Pardeep Chhabra, Sohan Lal Vaid and Pushpa Sharma, among others.


Royal Jats enter bicentenary year

The 1 Jat (Light Infantry), redesignated 2nd Battalion, The Mechanised Infantry Regiment, 1 Jat (LI), will celebrate its bicentenary in November. The British had bestowed on it the honour of Royal Jats for its splendid record in both World Wars. Besides, the unit was given the distinguished title of the Light Infantry (LI) for carrying out the longest march in history. The unit was in the first batch of six infantry battalions in 1969 that were reformed into mechanised battalions. In the Jat Regiment, the battalion being the oldest, is also called “Dadi Paltan”.

In World War-I, for winning the famous battle of Festubert in France, the battalion was awarded the Battle Honour of Festubert. This day is celebrated by the unit on November 16 every year. There is a Jat Officers Regimental Association in the UK and the retired British Officers of the Jat Regiment have regular get-togethers and celebrate important regimental days, as we do in India. They also publish a Regimental Newsletter in March every year. Some of them who served in Jat 1 (LI) will attend the bicentenary celebrations.

Ms Gwen Martin, wife of the late Col Alan Weston Martin, has expressed the desire to present to the battalion Col Alan’s OBE, regimental sword and medals, which she says that Col Alan would have been very happy to given to the regiment.

Construction project meets opposition

After a long wait, the government took a decision to build 1,98,881 dwelling units for he armed forces personnel at 231 stations in four phases. In phase one, the construction of 61,658 dwelling units in 81 stations is to be completed by 2006, but the project is being opposed by civilian bungalow owners in almost all cantonments. In Ambala and Jalandhar cantonments, the bungalow owners have already been served with notices to vacate the bungalows.

In the Jalandhar cantonment, where 90 per cent of the bungalow owners are serving or retired Army officers, there is a great resentment against this move. Some of the affected owners have even told their wards to quit the defence forces. The bungalow owners say that the Army has over 2,638 acres lying vacant in the cantonment, which should be more than enough for the new project.

In the Ferozepore cantonment, the bungalow owners, in a memorandum submitted to the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, have said that more than 2,000 acres are vacant in and around the Ferozepore cantonment for the construction. A delegation of the Ferozepore Bungalow Owners Association (FBOA), accompanied by some political heavyweights, has met Mr Fernandes, who has assured it that a high-powered team of the Ministry of Defence would visit Ferozepore to review in the situation. In view of the developing situation, the Army’s new project may get delayed for years.

Punjab ex-servicemen

When Capt Amarinder Singh took over as Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab last year and began to show a special concern for ex-servicemen, hope for better crossed their minds. One of the main promises given by the CM to them was that 13 per cent vacancies reserved for ex-servicemen in Punjab would soon be filled.

As reported by the Ex-servicemen’s Grievances Cell of SAS Nagar, the Punjab Government is showing a lack of interest in filling the 13 per cent quota. The cell has written to the Chief Secretary of Punjab on this issue and has requested an immediate review of the functioning of the Department of Sainik Welfare.

Lt-Col S.S. Sohi (retd), General Secretary of the cell, says that, against the ex-servicemen quota of 1,365 jobs in the Punjab Education Department, only 8 vacancies have been filled from 1991 to 2001. In the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, he says, for 907 vacancies, only 35 ex-servicemen have been selected and one of them is awaiting his appointment letter since 2000.

Brig Harwant Singh (retd), president of the SAS Nagar Ex-servicemen Cell, says that, like Labour Chowk in Chandigarh, there is an Ex-servicemen chowk in Jalandhar, where ex-servicemen assemble every morning to make themselves available as daily wagers and labourers. Such is the plight to ex-servicemen in Punjab. Over to Capt Amarinder Singh.

Pritam Bhullar



MC, UT staff threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Coordination Committee of government and MC employees and workers of the UT, Chandigarh, here today threatened to hold a protest on February 11 to seek immediate implementation of employees’ long-pending demands.

This was decided at a meeting of the committee held here today and chaired by its president H. S. Bajwa.

The working committee of the federation condemned the Chandigarh Administration for not holding talks with representatives of the Coordination Committee despite repeated requests.

Employees have been demanding release of bonus, treating transferred employees of MC as on deputation, restoration of technical scales to non-ITI employees, fixed travelling allowance and uniform for Class III employees, cash payment for working on Saturdays, end to termination of services of CTU employees and filling of vacant posts.

Employees also want HRA, CCA and DA to daily wager, care allowance to General Hospital employees, revision of honorary allowance for Anganwari workers and helpers and regular pay scales for kitchen gardening employees.


IGP’s directive to SHOs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh, Mr Rajesh Kumar, today directed the Station House Officers (SHOs) to improve the recovery of stolen vehicles and check burglaries and house thefts in their respective areas. Officials were also asked to solve the cases related to property disputes.

The directions were issued at a meeting chaired by the IGP. Officials were also asked to improve the sanitation in their police stations.


134 pouches of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The local police has arrested five persons under the Excise Act from various parts of the city during the past 24 hours and seized 134 pouches of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) from them. Five cases under Sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act have been registered against them in the Sector-34 police station.

While 24 pouches of Hero Whisky were seized from Opender Kumar, 20 pouches were seized from Jia Lal, 26 pouches from Vijay Kumar, 30 pouches from Jagarnath Prasad Gupta and 35 pouches from Kanta Prasad. All the five are residents of Colony No. 5.

Eve-teaser held

The police has arrested Amit Kumar, a resident of Sector-7A, and Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Sector-8, on charges of eve-teasing. Two cases under Section 294 of the IPC have been registered against them.

Mobile phone set stolen

Mr V.K. Dogra, a resident of Sector-6, Panchkula, today reported that someone stole a mobile phone set from his pocket from the fourth floor of the PGI yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.


The police today registered a case under the Noise Pollution Act against a resident of Dhanas for playing loudspeakers beyond the permissible decibel (DB) limits at a marriage party in Saini Bhavan in Sector 24.

According to information, a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High court, who lives in Sector 24, complained to the police that loudspeakers were being played at high pitch at two marrigage parties in Saini Bhavan, Sector 24, and another at Ambedkar Bhavan, Sector 37.

Organisers at Saini Bhavan refuse to pay heed to police directions on the issue and were booked under the Noise Pollution Act.


Man booked

A resident of Jaswantgarh Kot has accused Inayat of Billa village of attempting to molest his wife while she was sleeping in her house. The victim raised the alarm and the accused fled away after threatening her with dire consequences. The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 376 , 511, 506 of the IPC.

Five arrested

The police has arrested five persons — Jagir Nath, Rajesh, Jeet Singh, Dayal Singh and Arjun Singh — on charges of gambling at a public place and seized Rs 930 from them.

One held

The police arrested Om Prakash, a resident of Mauli Jagran, on charges of casting a fake vote at polling booth No. 12 in Ward No 4 . The man was arrested on a complaint of the Presiding Officer, Mr S.S. Goyal.


Conman dupes patient, held

Chandigarh, January 20
A patient from Karnal was duped by a conman on the pretext of getting him medically examined in the new OPD of the PGI here. The victim, Mr Surinder Kumar, during a visit to the hospital came in contact with the cheat, Manish Kumar.

The cheat promised the patient to get certain tests done at a cost of Rs 3,000. The deal was fixed at Rs 1,500. After giving the money, Mr Surinder Kumar waited outside the OPD for the tests. But Manish Kumar never turned up. After some time the cheat appeared and was caught and handed over to the police. A case has been registered. TNS


High drama at Leisure Valley

Chandigarh, January 20
High drama was enacted in Leisure Valley in Sector 10 when a scribe of a vernacular media dialled the Police Control Room (PCR) giving information that certain youths were taking smack near Government Arts College.

When a PCR vehicle from the Sector 3 police station reached the spot, five youths were caught smoking cigarettes, samples of which were sent to Narcotics Control Bureau of examining the contents. While four of the youths, who were NCC cadets, were students of DAV College, one was from College of Men, Sector 11. Four of them were residents of Chandigarh and one from Panchkula. TNS


LIC agents asked to focus on customer service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Life Insurance Corporation of India agents should focus on providing customer service, apart from enhancing business volumes, said Mr S.B. Mathur, Chairman of the LIC, while addressing the Chairman Club Agents’ Convention that concluded here yesterday. He called upon the agents, development officials and branch managers to provide additional services to policy holders, to compete with the private agencies.

He said, the North Zone has registered a growth of 132 per cent in total premium collection during 2001-02 as compared to the previous year. To expand its business in the North Zone, LIC has recruited hundreds of new agents during the current fiscal year. He said, in addition to lower segments of the customers, the LIC would now onwards focus on upper segments as well. Leading agents from the Northern, Central and Eastern parts of the country, comprising four zones of the LIC of India, participated in the convention.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Mathur disclosed that the LIC had planned to become a transnational player in the insurance sector. Branches are being opened in Nepal, Sri Lanka, USA and other countries.The total funds with the LIC have crossed Rs 2,47,000 crore during the past year. Despite the entry of more than 20 players in the field, the LIC has registered an unprecedented growth in selling policies.

He claimed, “We have accepted the challenge of private players and are now focussing on every segment. The earlier policies are being revised to adjust with the falling interest rates and needs of the buyers.’’ He said the North Zone, which had contributed about 15 per cent business to the total business of corporation, would also target business from the upper segment income groups. He also announced the enhancement of housing loan limit to Rs 8.5 lakh to the Chairman Club agents.

He asserted that LIC was among the world leaders in the insurance sector, which had over $ 1600 million round table agents, including 165 from North Zone recognised by the Global Standard. Regarding the customer services, he said the corporation had introduced online collection of premium from policy holders in 60 towns and special info-centres were being set up to provide information to customers.

Among others Mr R.N. Bhardwaj and Mr R.K. Vashishtha, both managing directors, Mr P. Jagjit Singh, Executive Director ( Marketing), Mr M M Mukherjee and Mr S.K. Kapahi, Zonal Managers of North and Central Zones, respectively, also addressed the meeting.


MC seals 2 SCOs in Mani Majra
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 20
The Municipal Corporation today sealed SCO No. 904 and 905 in Mani Majra as the allottee had failed to pay the premium.

SCO No. 904 had been purchased by Mr Sunil Uppal for Rs 1,06,60,000 and SCO No. 905 had been purchased by M\s Guru Kripa Estate for Rs 1,07,60,000 in an auction held in April 1997. Though both the allottee had deposited 25 per cent of the total cost but did not pay rest of the amount.

The remaining amount was to be paid in three annually equated installments along with 10 per cent interest. These sites were resumed by the Assistant Commissioner of MC in his capacity as an Estate Officer and eviction proceedings were initiated against them under the Capital of Punjab (D and R) Act 1952. The two allottee had filed a revision appeal against the eviction proceedings before the UT Administrator but it was rejected. They later moved courts but their pleas were dismissed.


A massage to tone up mind and body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Do you wish to have a healthier, more relaxed body, mind and spirit and low-stress lifestyle? Have a Swedish massage.

Developed in the 1700s by a Swedish doctor, Swedish massage has long been thought of as the first organised and systematic method of modern massage therapy. Swedish massage refers to a collection of techniques designed primarily to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The specific strokes and manipulations of Swedish massage are each conceived as having definite therapeutic benefits. Swedish massage can relax muscles, increase circulation, remove metabolic waste products, help the recipient obtain a feeling of connectedness, and a better awareness of their body and the way they use and position. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular programme for stress management.

It also has many specific medical uses. Joint movements and stretching are commonly performed as part of the massage. The primary characteristics are touch and movement. The massage session can last from 30 minutes to 1-˝ hours.

VLCC, Chandigarh, is offering three different packages in Swedish message. These are relaxation massage for stress relief, anti-cellulite massage to do away with unwanted fat pouches and water retention relieving massage.



Launched: Godrej Infotech Ltd., a subsidiary of the Godrej and Boyce Ltd has launched SMS_in_Biz.This solution offering has received a tremendous response. (SMS) that integrates with industry leading applications, databases, e-mail exchanges, Internet and intranet infrastrcuture. Says Mr Pradeep Kapoor, CEO, Godrej Infotech Ltd: "It is our constant endeavour to continuously innovate and stay with technological advances made and stay ahead of our competition. We have over three decades of providing cost effective and high quality IT solutions".

Award: Arrow won the award for the “Most Admired Menswear Shirt Brand of the Year” at the Images Fashion Awards, 2003. The award was given at a function held at Taj Lands End in Mumbai on January 17.

Showroom: Amartex Industries Limited, a Panchkula-based company, has decided to open a showroom at Kangra, according to Mr Anil Bhardwaj, GM Marketing, of the company.

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