Friday, January 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gold rush: 2 travel agents dupe three
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Three illegal immigrants are running from pillar to post for justice here after languishing in Malaysian and Thai jails. In a complaint lodged with the local police, it has been alleged that two local travel agents duped the three persons of more than Rs 3 lakh by promising to get them settled in Malaysia with lucrative jobs. But they landed up in Malaysian jail before being finally deported back to India on “emergency certificate” issued by the High Commission of India.

In the complaint lodged against Dimple and his father Balwant Singh, local residents of Daddu Majra village, with the local police, Gabbar Singh (31), a resident of Sector 21 D, has accused them of receiving a sum of Rs 1,02,500 and later Rs 50,000 in cash to get him settled in Malaysia with a lucrative job.

The complainant alleged that Dimple and Balwant Singh failed to send him to Malaysia through a proper channel. Instead, he was first taken to Thailand and then by manipulating with the local travel agents of Thailand and Malaysia, the accused allegedly tried to take him to Malaysia. But he along with others landed up in Thai police custody. Later, they all were pushed out of Thailand by the local authorities. Again an attempt was made to take them to Malaysia but they were detained by the Malaysian authorities.

While talking with the TNS, Gabbar Singh said: “From July, 2001 to July, 2002, I remained in the custody of Thai and Malaysian police besides illegal confinement of the travel agent. My passport and tickets were forcibly taken by the Malaysian authorities.”

“In order to get out of trouble, I managed to pay Rs 50,000 more through my relatives here. I finally got an ‘emergency certificate’ from the Indian High Commission in Malaysia to return back to India”, he alleged.

Gabbar Singh has also allegedly accused Balwant Singh of cheating and playing fraud with him. He said Balwant Singh accompanied him to Thailand where they met another travel agent, Sunny, in Hatyai who agreed to send him to Malaysia through Jaleel.

Two other persons — Jai Prakash and Lalhan, residents of Ramnagar village of Dhewaria district (UP) — were also introduced to Balwant Singh by Gabbar Singh who allegedly paid Rs 1.10 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively, to get themselves settled in Malaysia. But they also met the same fate. For many months, they had to stay in the illegal confinement of the travel agents in Thailand and Malaysia before returning back to India.

The complaint has been referred to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the local police for preliminary investigations. The investigating officer of the EOW, SI Puran Chand, told the TNS that preliminary investigation into the complaint was under way. However, the FIR would be registered only after preliminary investigations.

Meanwhile, when contacted, Balwant Singh denied the allegations and said he had not received any money from them. He said he was in Thailand when the three persons left India.

However, he accepted that Gabbar Singh had talked with him in Thailand and said that he was coming to Bangkok.

“I introduced him to Sunny in Hatyai who had a deal with him to send him to Malaysia. In India, he paid the amount to Madan Lal who arranged his visa and tickets to Thailand. I have no role in the whole episode”, added Mr Balwant Singh.

He also alleged that Gabbar Singh and Jai Prakash had repeatedly threatened him of dire consequences, the reports of which were lodged with the Maloya police post at regular intervals but no action was taken.



Raids on CA’s office continue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The police along with income tax officials today conducted search at the Sector 35 office of Mr N.K. Garg, a practising Chartered Accountant.

The searches continued till late in the night. Some persons working in the Sector 35 Quiet Office of the Chartered Accountant were reportedly questioned. However, the main suspect is yet to be arrested by the police. Sources said police teams were being sent to suspected hide-outs of the Chartered Accountant in different cities.

After preliminary investigation, the Income Tax Department had got a case registered against the Chartered Accountant for claiming IT refunds fraudulently on the basis of TDS certificates from the accounts of employees of genuine and fake companies at Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in the northern region. The Income Tax Department has so far identified over 28 such companies.

Sources in the police said the several files were seized by the raiding parties after warrants to search the office and residence of the Chartered Accountant were procured from a local court. The search at the Sector 40 residence of Mr N.K. Garg will be conducted tomorrow.

Police parties were also being sent to Delhi and Mumbai to verify the records of the companies against whom the Chartered Accountant had drawn refunds on the basis of fake documents. It is learned that the police was keeping a tab on the calls being made on the mobile phones by the suspect and his family members.

Though the income tax officials denied involvement of its employees in the scam, the facts indicate to the contrary. Some lower rung officials of the Income Tax Department could be in the net once Chartered Accountant was interrogated, said a police official.

The Chartered Accountant went missing a week before the FIR was registered. Sources in the Income Tax Department said though the preliminary inquiry by the Additional Commissioner, Range-4, Mrs Poonam Sidhu, was given about six days ago the FIR was registered only yesterday.



IT Dept for random verification
Tribune News Service

Finance Ministry takes serious note

* Following the expose of the multi-million scam of claiming income tax returns on the basis of forged documents, the Union Ministry of Finance is reported to have taken a serious note. Perhaps, such a scam has come to light for the first time.

* The police has alerted the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Union Ministry of Shipping about the chances of the Chartered Accountant, Mr N.K. Garg escaping from the country. Enquires reveal that details of the passport of the Chartered Accountant were being sought from the local passport office.

Chandigarh, January 30
The Income Tax Department has decided to approach the Institute of Chartered Accountants to get the registration of controversial Chartered Accountant N.K. Garg cancelled, that would ultimately bar him from practising in future. It has also been decided to carry out random verification of all IT returns filed during the past couple of years involving big refunds.

Talking to TNS, in an exclusive interview here, today, Mr Vijay Khanna, Chief Commissioner, IT (North-Western region), said he had ordered to investigate all IT returns filed by the controversial CA during the past few years. “The IT Department suspects that he might have claimed returns on fake documents in the past also”, said Mr Khanna.

He said they were writing to the Institute of Chartered Accountants to cancel the registration of N.K. Garg. As per the instructions of the Union Ministry of Company Affairs, it was mandatory for a person to be a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants to practise.

The IT Department has also marked an inquiry into all suspected cases of IT returns in the region. A proper policy is likely on cards to get the TDS certificates verified from the ITOs in all cases of returns filed beyond certain limit of amount. When asked about the limit of amount, Mr Khanna replied that it was yet to be worked out.

However, at present verification is not carried out in all cases. The verification was mandatory only in suspected cases. “We are going to carry out a random verification of all IT returns filed during the past couple of years involving big refunds”, he added.

In reply to another question, the Chief Commissioner said: “Suspicion is that the controversial CA must have withdrawn IT returns in other regions also. It would be premature to say anything about the total amount of fraud done by him”.

He said it would take at least one week to investigate into the returns filed by him. He made it very clear that separate FIRs would be lodged against the controversial CA in all cases of fraud. They will not club all the frauds in a single FIR.

Meanwhile, Mr Khanna spoke to the local SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, over telephone this afternoon and stressed upon joint investigations into the fraud.

It is learned that the police had earlier sought the help of IT Department for further investigations into the case.



Waiting for CM
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 30
Even as the Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, failed to keep his much -hyped appointment with the physically challenged here today, no one really seemed to be bothered about 100 physically challenged persons, accompanied by 200 attendants, from the district. They were made to wait since morning but got the promised tricycles, crutches, wheelchairs, artificial legs and hearing aids.

First the Chief Minister made everyone to wait for over an hour and then decided not to show up . Then the ministers, now in charge, took another 40 minutes to talk to TV channels, get photos clicked with the tricycles they had given to the awaiting persons.

‘‘Is this not an important appointment to keep?’’ questioned Mr Ajit Sailani, one of the five persons who were to be honoured by the Chief Minister at the function. ‘‘Never has any Congress Chief Minister missed a function organised to help the physically challanged,’’ he pointed out.



Halfway houses for mentally challenged
Pratibha Chauhan & Gurvinder Kaur

Chandigarh/Patiala, January 30
With a view to providing medical and residential facilities to mentally challenged persons, two halfway houses have been set up — one in Chandigarh and another near Patiala.

The Psychiatry Department of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Chandigarh, has established Prayatan while Sadhu Basant Residential Care (SBRC) institution has started functioning on the outskirts of Patiala city.

Dr B.S. Chavan, Head, Psychiatry Department, GMCH, said the concept of halfway houses and therapeutic communities had come up to cater to the needs of these half- recovered patients. He added that as part of the District Mental Health Programme, Prayatan had been opened in Sector 47-C near Ram Mandir.

“Due to the lack of residential infrastructure, the house will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will have facilities like library, indoor and outdoor games, gymnasium and TV,” he added. The patients would prepare their own food and they would be taught social skills by a clinical psychologist.

Dr Chavan said proposal for the construction of a 25-bed residential complex was in the pipeline to minimise their disability and help them gain self-confidence to lead an independent life. He added that they would be given vocational training so that they could become financially independent.

The SBRC institute, which has been sponsored by Sadhu Basant Trust, is a residential facility for persons with mild or moderate mental retardation.

The SBRC project took shape out of the concern of parents of mentally challenged children who were keen on ensuring respectable life for their wards. Many such children, whose needs are presently being taken care of by the Navjivani School of Special Education based at Sular village on the outskirts of Patiala, wanted similar arrangements for their wards. Consequently, the Navjivani team conceived the SBRC as a separate home for the mentally challenged. Ms Satwant Kaur of the village, who had earlier donated 1 acre of land to Navjivani School, donated another acre to the SBRC institute.

The chairman of the project, Dr N.S. Sodhi, said mentally challenged children were generally neglected, particularly after the death of their parents. He said at the SBRC institute, mentally challenged persons would be gainfully employed to enhance their self-esteem.

The SBRC institute aims at accommodating 90 persons in a three-storey complex whose first phase has been completed. Apart from having trained staff and professional supervision, the house uses audio-visual aids and other instructional facilities to train the inmates in various crafts.



Police remand for ex-Colonel
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 30
Ms Preeti Sahni Judicial Magistrate, today remanded the CEO of Punjab Digital Systems, Col Manmohan (retd), who was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau yesterday, in police custody till February 1.

The public prosecutor, Mr Charanjeet Arora, and the SP (Vigilance), Mr Darshan Singh, had demanded a 10-day police remand for the accused.



Be austere, Bahuguna counsels youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
To raise awareness regarding the issues of environmental concern, specially increasing pollution levels and deforestation as well as to promote the use of bicycles, volunteers of Yuvsatta, in association with the Panjab University Research Scholars Association and the Life Insurance Corporation of India, organised the Third Sunder Lal Bahuguna Environmental Slogan Writing Contest here today.

As many as 50 NSS volunteers from Government College, Sector 11, accompanied Mr Bahuguna on bicycles from Gandhi Smarak Bhavan, Sector 16, to the university campus. Those who joined in the programme, included Mr Ishwar Anand, Director, Environment, UT Administration, Mr S. Nirmal Singh, Dean, Student Welfare, Dr R C Sobti, Dean, Foreign Students and Prof K C Kaistha, Chairman Department of Sociology.

The noted environmentalist asked youngsters to adopt the “3-H Formula” (head, heart and hands) for the overall development of their personality as well as the well being of the nation. He advised them to use their head for creative writing, heart for compassion for others and hands for constructive work.

Mr Bahuguna said three major challenges confronting mankind today were danger of war, increasing pollution and hunger. He said youngsters should rise to the occasion by adopting austerity in life, finding alternatives for energy conservation and going in for afforestation.

Mandeep Dhillon from the University Business School was awarded the first prize in the slogan-writing contest. Six contestants who won consolation prizes include: Pinky Handa (Sociology Department), Virendra Khatra (law department), M. Rebita (Sociology Department), Suman (sociology department), Bharati Thakur (Gandhian Studies) and Surinder Singh (environmental science).

In a separate function, organised at the Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, Mr Bahuguna reiterated the need to create awareness on issues of environment.



Homage paid to Bapu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, (Retd.), today led the people of Punjab and Chandigarh in paying homage to all those known and unknown people who sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle.

In a solemn function organised at UT Secretariat, officers and Staff working in UT Secretariat assembled in front of the deluxe building.

Two minutes before 11 am Guard Commander of a contingent of Chandigarh Police gave an order to present arms rest on reverse arms. As the buglers sounded the last post, the Guard reversed arms. On the last note of the last post, siren was sounded.

After two minutes the siren was again sounded to signal the end of two minutes silence.

The guard presented arms and sounded the rouse Prominent amongst those present on the occasion were the Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, Inspector General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar and Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gaurav Yadav.

Meanwhile, the District Congress Committee (Urban), Ambala Cantt, took out a prabhat pheri on the occasion of “Balidan Divas”, on Thursday. President of the Ambala Cantt unit of the party, Mr Ashok Jain said, “Mahatma Gandhi spearheaded the freedom struggle against the Britishers. Despite being sent to jail, Mahatma Gandhi continued to lead the freedom struggle and India became free,” he said.

The Mahila Congress led by former Mayor Lalit Joshi held a separate function in Mani Majra which was attended by Congress chief B. B. Bahl, Urvashi Sharma, Indu Sharma, Mohni Sharma, Noori and Sheila Maurya. Students of Mary Gold Model School joined Mahila Congress workers in singing “Ram dhun”.

Blood donation camp:Girls outnumbered boys in donating blood at a camp organised by the Punjab University Campus Students’ Council to mark the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi today. As many as 125 units of blood were collected.



Leaders pay homage to Bapu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Various functions were organised here today to pay homage to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Lt-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob led the state and the Union Territory in observing a 2-minute silence to remember Gandhiji who was killed by Nathuram Godse on this day.

Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee President Bhajan Lal led the Congress in paying homage at a state-level function at the PCC office here. The Chandigarh unit of the party led by its President B. B. Bahl and MP Pawan Bansal also organised a function at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan. Nationalist Congress Party led by Gurbachan Singh held a function in its local office.

The function organised by the local unit of the Congress was attended by Mayor Subhash Chawla, former Mayor Lalit Joshi, Mr Sham Lal Gupta, Param Pal Singh Matharoo, Ms Shreshtha Mehta, D.D. Jindal, Pawan Sharma, Jagat Sharma, Mohmmed Khalid and Prem Chand Premi.

Mazdoor Sudhar Sabha President remembered Gandhiji’s oft- repeated quote “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” at a function. The sabha cleaned the roads of Sectors 31, 32 and 33 and took out a ‘prabhat pheri’.



Mughal times: craft times
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
In India, there was greater emphasis on the finesse of craftsmanship rather than on saving of labour. Stating this while delivering a talk on “Technology in a pre-industrial setting during the Mughal era” at the ongoing seminar on Science Technology and Society at Panjab University, Prof Om Prakash from the Delhi School of Economics added that most of the technology innovations during the pre-British times were low in capital usage and not always connected with saving of labour.

On textile technology, Dr Ishrat Alam from Aligarh said efficient cotton ginning machines, which removed cottonseed from the fluff without crushing them, had been in use in India over 2000 years ago, which went on to become popular in China and the West.

In his assessment of the contributions of Hindu scholars to medieval science, Prof S.M.R. Ansari from Aligarh said persons like Manulal Falsafi, Ratan Lal Ashki wrote extensively on arithmetic and published encyclopedias on science and knowledge besides contributing to studies in astronomy.

Archaeologists O.P. Srivastav and V.K. Singh, both from Aligarh, spoke on the discoveries of terracotta discs and medieval systems of storing water. Dr D.D. Dangwal from Shimla shared the history of forest conservancy in India and dwelled on the manner in which scientific forest management came into existence.

In her paper on Systems of Medicine in the Bombay Presidency, Mridula Ramanna stated that at the beginning of the 20th century, only around 10 per cent of the population in Bombay consulted allopathic doctors.

Satpal Sangwan from New Delhi underlined the importance of studying history of science.

While speaking with the TNS on the role of Indian scientists during the Second World War, Dr J.N. Sinha, Reader in History at Delhi University, said scientists had as important a role to play in the freedom struggle as political leaders of that time.

Dr Sinha, who did his Doctorate on “The Science Policy of the British in India during the Second World War”, said: “One of the most remarkable achievements of the Indian scientists was that during the war years, they were able to pressurise the British government into chalking out a programme to organise science in India for the development of the country.” Based on the report of Prof A.V. Hill, an eminent British scientist, a separate department of planning and development was created by the British in 1945, he added.

“The Indian scientists wanted that the resources available here were used for reconstruction and development as well as economic growth of the country,” Dr Sinha remarked. “Concerned at the problems of the country, Indian scientists found during the war, they stepped up efforts after 1939, devoting more public lectures and articles on the subject. They organised symposiums on various scientific and technological aspects of development, often touching upon their political implications,” he said.

“By the time the Second World War broke, Indian leadership in science and politics had forged a common front to work for the freedom and progress of the country,” he commented.



It drizzled all day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The city and neighbouring Ambala and Patiala here today had a daylong drizzle, which reduced marginally the maximum temperature.

Rainfall recorded in the city and the two other places was 3 mm each, which brought down the temperature by 2 to 3°C.

The drizzle that followed heavy down pour on Tuesday night is like to continue in the area in the next 48 hours with the presence of moisture between 50 and 95 per cent.

The Meteorological Department has forecast mainly cloudy sky and possibility of rain or thunder shower tomorrow but has also indicated that the biting cold is not likely to make a comeback in the next couple of days.

The maximum temperature in the city on Saturday is likely to be 10° C. The maximum temperature recorded today was 15.1°C in Ambala, 16.6°C in Chandigarh and 15.9°C in Patiala.



CII to launch village project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The CII, Northern Region, in association with the Voluntary Health Association of Punjab will launch an integrated rural development project in Bhoj Palasra village, Morni hills, Haryana from February 1.

This rural development project is a key initiative in the CII northern region’s community development programme. Its goal is to address community needs, including technology access, education and learning opportunities for children, empowering women through micro-finance, environment and health management community building and economic development. The project has been designed after field visits, village meetings, and brainstorming with the community, who are the major stakeholders in the project. Women also play a significant role in the project.

“No country or the company has the entire solution to the challenges of sustainable development,” said Mrs Chanda Singh, Chairperson, Social Development Sub-Committee, CII, Northern Region. “At the CII, we believe that the creation of stronger and deeper partnerships offer greater potential for achieving true sustainable development success. The CII, Northern Region, hopes to reach out to many such undeveloped villages in the vicinity.”

Mr Manmohan Sharma, Executive Director, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab, said more such partnerships should take place in order to change the face of rural India.



Ajit Salani honoured
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, January 30
Ajit Salani, a film producer and freelance journalist, has been honoured by the Punjab Government for his contribution to the welfare of physically challenged, said today that much more needed to be done for this section of society.

He said he was happy that the government had recognised his services but he would have been happy had it helped him in rehabilitating physically challenged persons.

Salani, who lost his eyesight at the age of 11, lamented that the government had not given enough attention to the needs of the disabled class. At times even grants meant for this section of the society got lapsed as the money could not be utilised in due course of time. The benefits meant for the disabled did not reach the rural areas.

Salani said the Person with Disability Act, 1995, had so far not been implemented in the real sense. Even though many years have passed the benefits stated in the Act have not been passed on to the affected persons.

He demanded that a high-powered committee constituted for the welfare of the disabled class should comprise persons who could understand their problems.

Salani had organised a large number of programmes at state and national levels to provide a platform to the disabled class and to create awareness among the government and the society about their needs.

Apart from producing two feature films, Salani has produced and directed six documentary films. He has also received a number of awards earlier. To mention some of them he had received the Balraj Sahni Sanmman Pattra in 1980, the Hellen Keller Award in 1988, Punjabi Literary Circle Award in 1991 and the National Award by the President of India 1n 1994.



Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 30
A 22- year- old woman, Lakshmi, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself in Manav Colony at Saketri village today morning.

According to the police, the victim hung herself with a rope from a hook fired in the ceiling.

Her husband, Nanhe Ram, was away at the time of the incident. The victim reportedly committed suicide following a marital discord. The police says that she had been living separately from her husband for the past one month but come back to live with him a few days ago. She is survived by a five-year-old child.



2 cops suspended for drinking on duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Two cops of the Chandigarh Police were caught while consuming liquor on duty near the PGI in the wee hours of this morning. According to the information available, the two cops, Head Constable Rajinder Singh and Constable Harbans Singh, who were on PCR duty, were found drinking by the inspecting officer, DSP Om Parkash.

A medical examination of the cops was conducted and they were placed under suspension.

An employee with a commission agent in the Sector 26 grain market has allegedly gone missing with Rs 70,000 cash and a minor girl. According to the information available, the employee, Hira Lal, employed with Rajinder and Company in Sector 26, was given the cash by his employer for some work.

The suspect after collecting the money from his employer allegedly eloped with the girl, who studies in Mani Majra Senior Secondary School. The father and other members of the family of Hira Lal also work for the commission agent. The father of the girl has lodged a case of abduction against Hira Lal. A complaint of the loss of the money had also been lodged with the police.

Pirated CDs seized
As many as 100 pirated video CDs were seized by the police during raids at a shop in Sector 40 here this evening. According to the information available, the pirated VCDs of recently released Bollywood movies were being sold at Rs 100 each.

The raids were conducted after a private firm authorised to protect the copyright of the movies gave a tip off to the police. The private firm M/s Malhotra Copy Rights Protection Agency, complained to the police that pirated VCDs of Bollywood movies were being sold in the city.

Mr Sachin Kapoor, General Manager of the firm, said the master VCDs of the movies were yet to be released in the market. A case under the Copyrights Act has been registered by the police.

A 53-year-old man died after consuming excessive liquor in Sector 52 here this morning. According to the information available, the deceased Chaman Singh was a drunkard. He was declared brought dead at the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Three separate incidents of theft have been reported from the city on Thursday. According to the information available, Paraj Kumar Chahal, a resident of Sector 21, complained that his Maruti Car was stolen from outside Ashram in Sector 33.

In another case, Uttam Singh, a resident of Sector 52, complained that five silver coins, a pair of earrings, three towels and two ladies suits were stolen from his house while he was away yesterday.

In yet another case, Raj Kumar, a resident of Kumhar Colony, said cash, coins worth Rs 3000, and some other documents were stolen from a plastic bag lying in his shop. A case has been registered at the Sector 11 police station in this regard.



Catch’em young is the new mantra

Manoj Kumar

THE ICICI Bank has launched an innovative ‘Young Star’ scheme for the minor customers to promote banking habits among school-going children. It would also help build up its base among the potential customers. After opening an account, the young customers will get trendy passbooks with pictures and an access to the website of their accounts, says Mr S.N. Patnaik, AGM and Regional Head, Retail Banking of the ICICI Bank, Chandigarh Region.

Though the minor customers cannot withdraw money without parents’ approval, they can get a feel of the banking services through Internet and personal visits. He claims that the bank is offering all financial solutions to retail customers under one roof. The bank's share in the total banking business has reached about 10.75 per cent in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

ICICI Bank has emerged as the second largest bank, says Mr Patnaik, followed by SBI. In Chandigarh region, comprising Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, HP and J&K, the total deposits have crossed Rs 1,500 crore. He says the business volume of the bank has grown by over 60 per cent over the past one year.

Mr Patnaik (46), who hails from Orissa, has done post-graduation from the JNU, Delhi and also has an MBA degree. After that, he says, ‘‘I began my banking career in 1981 by joining Canara Bank as a probationary officer. However, later in 1995, I decided to join ICICI Bank, because of tremendous career growth opportunities and challenging job environment.’’ In 1999, he was assigned the task of setting up Chandigarh Regional Office, and worked here for a year. After serving in other regions, he has been again transferred here recently.

He claims that despite stiff competition, the Bank has emerged as a leading player in the retail banking. Because of world class, customer service, he says, and lowest rate of interest rate, the bank has witnessed a marvelous growth in housing and auto loans. Recently, it has started a new service for the trading community with additional services. The ICICI Credit cards have also grown by 40-45 per cent per annum during this period.

His mantra for this success, he says, is focus on customer service and to target salaried class accounts He says, ‘‘We are offering personal attention to the customers. For this purpose, we have attached a relationship manager to a group of customers. Once a customer enters the branch, it is the duty of the relationship manager to take care of transactions, deposits or any other need of the customer, who can just relax in the premises. ’’

He claims that ICICI Bank has also emerged as a leading technology in the country. He says: ‘‘Out of about 7 million customers of the bank, more than 1.3 million are using the facility of Internet banking. Since ICICI bank’s all 1200 ATMs are networked, it offers the facility to withdraw amount from across the country. In the region 82 ATMs are interlinked.

When asked about the future plans of the bank, Mr Patnaik says the bank is now focusing on small towns to increase it base in the market. There is a plan to open four new branches in Haryana and to add ATMs in the region as well during the current financial year as well.



Award for Modern Automobiles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Modern Automobiles, Chandigarh, an ISO 9001-2000 company, has been awarded Best Performance Award for local dealer for the years 1999-2000, 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 in M 800 category. “Our motto is ultimate customer satisfaction in all spheres of sales and service”, Mr M.S. Vij, CEO, Modern Automobiles, said here today.


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