Wednesday, March 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bhupa arrested for Chopra’s murder
Confesses to crime, names 2 others
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 4
In a major breakthrough, the Mohali police today claimed to have arrested 45-year-old Brij Bhushan Sharma, alias Bhupa, the main accused in the murder of V.K. Chopra, an Executive Engineer with the Chandigarh Administration, who was shot dead by three masked scooter-borne assailants on February 17 outside a marriage hall here. The weapon used for the murder, a .38 bore, has also been recovered along with some cartridges and the scooter used for transportation by the accused.

Although the Mohali police claims to have caught Bhupa at the Balongi village naka while he was coming from Chandigarh today, sources state that Bhupa had been caught by the police four days ago and his arrest had been “shown” today as a result of a judicial raid on the police station Phase I premises yesterday. Sources in the police have confirmed that there was a judicial raid on the police station last evening, but categorically denied that the team had come looking for Bhupa being detained illegally. ‘‘They had come looking for someone else, but found no one here in illegal custody and left,’’ said a source. 

Bhupa, according to the police, has confessed to the crime and informed that the two other persons who helped him in the crime are Anil Kumar, alias Tota, a resident of Sector 40, Chandigarh, and Nitin Sharma, a resident of Sector 22, Chandigarh studying law at Rohtak.

The three killed V.K. Chopra for a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh, Rs 50,000 of which had already been paid to them by Parampal Singh Matharoo, a building contractor, and Ravinder Sharma, a Junior Engineer with the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh. The latter have already been arrested by the police for having planned V.K. Chopra’s murder.

According to Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, here, V.K. Chopra’s murder had been planned more than two months ago. An unsuccessful attempt on Chopra’s life had been made by the three on the Chandigarh-Panchkula road near a famous Pir Baba’s samadhi, which was frequented by V.K. Chopra every Thursday, informed the police. The weapons used in the crime, a .38-bore revolver and a country-made rifle, were procured by Bhupa and Anil from Uttar Pradesh after having paid Rs 75,000. This amount, according to the police, was paid by Ravinder Sharma to Bhupa who had also used Sharma’s white Maruti Zen to go to UP to procure the weapons.

The police says that although Chopra’s murder is a case of yet another supari killing, Bhupa allegedly had a personal motive behind killing Chopra. ‘‘Ravinder Sharma had a long-standing professional jealousy with Chopra. Sharma resented the overbearing and pushy attitude of Chopra. Matharoo on the other hand, had been harbouring a grudge against Chopra for not helping him in get building contracts from the Administration. Bhupa on the other hand wanted to set Chopra right for having sided with Sunil, alias Titu, of Sector 18, with whom Bhupa had a fight some years ago, resulting in Bhupa being arrested,’’said Mr Bhullar.

‘‘Bhupa and Ravinder are old friends and Bhupa agreed to the crime. He roped in Anil who then roped in his friend Nitin. The three started getting together often at various places to discuss the plan. Anil and Nitin were being given their sustenance and a place to live in at a guest house in Sector 15. Bhupa chose Mohali as the place to commit the crime since he knew that the Punjab Police rules allow more holidays to criminals on parole than the Chandigarh Police,’’said Mr Bhullar.

Stating that a minute-to-minute account of how the murder was planned would be given only after the other two were caught and more time was given for interrogating Bhupa, Mr Bhullar said, ‘‘But we know that Bhupa, along with Anil and Nitin, left for Delhi after the crime and lived there at Sarita Vihar with Nitin’s brother. But since Bhupa is a drug addict and requires a regular supply of smack, he returned to Chandigarh,’’said Mr Bhullar. The SP also stated that Ravi Inder, a Class IV employee of the Chandigarh Administration’s Engineering wing, was picked up for interrogation from Sector 22, but was found to have no links with the accused.


PU sets up investment panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
With a view to tightening the financial administration and overcoming any loss due to delay in investments, Panjab University has constituted a committee to work out the details of future deals.

The university had observed that “due to lack of timely steps in encashment and reinvestment of FDRs, the university has suffered an avoidable loss of Rs 2,81,210 in the recent past. In a similar irregularity, the university suffered another loss of Rs 38, 260”. In view of the loss, “the university decided that an investment committee should formulate the guidelines so as to avoid such incidents in future”. The committee members include Mr R.S.Verma, Mr G.K.Chatrath, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Principal A.C.Vaid, Prof R.K.Kakkar and Prof Paramjit Singh, Registrar.

During a perusal of the case understudy, the Vice-Chancellor had ordered to “ instruct the staff working and dealing with financial matters to be vigilant and updated. The FDO and the Registrar should see that such things are not repeated”.

One of the reasons for the problem was the difference in rates of interest promised by the local bank manager at the time of investment and the one that the university was actually given. It has been pointed out that “legally the university cannot bind the bank to accept the deposit at the rates quoted by it. Therefore, the loss of Rs 2,81,210 cannot be legally recovered from the bank. The audit objection regarding the loss of interest be treated as removed (condoned)”.

The committee had earlier recommended that “ permission be obtained from the Syndicate for opening a saving account in nationalised banks. After opening the account, the STDR (Special Term Deposit Receipts) can be handed over to the bank for clearance”.

It has been recommended that the university open the saving account under the signature of the Registrar after getting permission from the Vice-Chancellor. “The quotations may be called 8 to 10 days before the meeting, but banks should be allowed to deposit the quotations even two hours before the meeting, enabling the university to get the latest rates of interest,” it has been suggested.

The university, during the case under progress, had written to the Chief General Manager of the bank concerned regarding wriggling out of the commitment made by the local branch manager and requested suitable action against the manager. The bank denied the rate of interest in the wake of “ any remittance” received from the university. “Action against the manager was an internal matter,” the bank had added.


Govt school students resent inequality
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, March 4
It is an inequality that class VIII students of government schools are resenting. Even though their counterparts in private schools do not have to take Board examination, they are forced to take these. What irks the parents and teachers alike is that these young students, who are being forced to take an exam which is not even mandatory for all, are not even given a second chance if they fail in one subject, causing countless students lose one complete year in the process.

In the light that the CBSE has been innovating new means to reduce burden on the students, the concept of a Board Examination for class VIII seems to hold little meaning, say to many schoolteachers of the city. While many resent the inequality that exists between the private schools and the government schools on this particular aspect, others feel that if the students of class VIII in the government schools have to appear in Board examination, there should be some relaxation for them, which can be introduced in the form of compartment system.

“When Board examination for class VIII is not mandatory for all, the least the Education Department can do to reduce burden on students of government schools is to give them a chance to appear in a re-examination,” says a senior teacher of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21. “Though for countless students of class VIII a year is lost just because they could not do well in one particular subject, authorities have not given a thought to their problems. If all other Board examinations have a re-examination system, why not class VIII,” says a teacher.

Though majority of schoolteachers and parents are in favour of introduction of compartment system for class VIII Board examination, the Education Department harbours a different notion altogether. “Giving compartment is like giving crutches to a child,” says Ms Rajesh Choudhury, District Education Officer, Department of Education, Chandigarh. “The course for class VIII is not tough and hence we will be spoiling them, if we give them a chance to re-appear at such a young age,” she maintains.

Mr D.S. Mangat, Director Public Instructions, Education Department, Chandigarh, puts forward a more profound theory to counteract the people’s sentiment. “If we introduce the compartment system for class VIII and let them repeat a paper after six months, the child in the meantime will be subjected to a prolonged period of uncertainty,” he says.

“When the CBSE has realised that final examinations for even Plus Two classes holds practically no meaning for the students and a need is being felt that the system should be amended by introducing grading system why have a board exams for class VIII at all? says Mr Jagdish Kumar who has recently retired from the Education Department, Chandigarh UT.

This is one major reason why almost all private schools in the city that have a choice in implementing Board examination system for class VIII students have refrained from doing so. “Students are already overburdened and instead of making them to take part in this rat race at such a young age, we should give them a respite to enjoy their childhood,” says Ms Sekhon, Principal of Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Chandigarh.

“I do not know why we need to appear in Board examination in class VIII when the marks we secure in class VIII, or even classes, X or plus two are not going to get us anywhere if we do not clear some competitive examintion,” says Rajesh Gupta, a student of plus two. “The best tip we have learnt from our seniors is to try to secure only 55 per cent marks in the Board examination and concentrate more on the competitions,” he adds.


Avalanche warning in HP
Fresh snow in higher reaches

Srinagar, March 4
Heavy snow in the valley has forced wild animals, especially leopards to intrude into human habitations in causing panic among residents, official sources said today.

The residents, who are facing difficulties due to waterlogging and disruption of electric supply and communication links since the past three days, are facing a new threat from wild animals forcing the Wildlife Department to take precautions.

Two such incidents were reported from Gulabbagh in the Zakura area on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday and the Suleimaun shopping complex, Dalgate yesterday, the sources said.

The Wildlife department had activated its control room near the Dal lake for round the clock vigil and asked people to contact the control room in any emergency.

Even as the sun shone brightly today after about a week, the heavy snow caused damage in many areas, particularly in the suburbs.

SHIMLA: Water in taps were frozen and thick ground frost occurred in Shimla and other mid-hills as the minimum temperature dipped to minus 4° C in the state capital following intermittent heavy snow in the entire tribal belt and scattered rain accompanied by icy winds in the lower hills.

People of Shimla experienced the coldest night of this winter last night and most parts of the town remained without water due to the freezing of water.

The higher reaches in the tribal areas had another spell of heavy snow, further aggravating the avalanche threat and people had been advised not to venture out during the day.

The Snow Avalanche Study Establishment has issued a low warning against avalanches at 3000 metres and above altitudes, especially in the tribal belt of Himachal.

People in and around Chandigarh and most of Punjab and parts of Haryana shivered as day and night temperatures dipped by seven to three degrees below normal under icy winds blowing across the snow-capped mountains.

The day temperature in Chandigarh today stayed near 19° C against the normal of 26° C.

Amritsar (7.2° C), Ludhiana (8.8° C) and Patiala (7.6° C) were among the coldest places in Punjab.

A house was damaged in a landslide in Chamba yesterday. PTI, UNI


Nikita Anand — the new face of vivacity
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
You don't have to labour too hard to sense real beauty. Cutting across all shams and pretensions, beauty has the power to touch you in the most unassuming fashion and impress you with charms so simple that you can't help being smitten and struck!

Nikita AnandIt's this element of beauty which Miss India (Universe) 2003 Nikita Anand embodies in plenty. At the first instance, Nikita comes across as an ordinary girl with ordinary aspirations, but a deeper conversation with the beauty queen reflects a great deal upon her extraordinary ambition, which is rooted in the elements of social justice. Remember that heart-felt answer of Nikita Anand which went a long way in fetching the coveted Miss India title for her.

When asked which was the cause she could give her life for, Nikita had answered brilliantly, "I will stand up for the cause of the elderly who have not been given their due share of attention. I will work to secure their dignity."

At another platform this afternoon, Nikita talked of similar concerns. She was in the city to attend the annual convocation of National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD). For all those who honour the spirit of endeavour, it was indeed a pleasure to watch the lady in white especially after she so fondly quoted our very own Kalpana Chawla, "The path from dreams to success does exist. All you need is a vision to follow it....."

Ask Nikita Anand how long has she pursued her dreams and she flashes that million dollar smile of her's. "I have been into contests since the age of 13 years. I have also modelled for long. Miss India crown for the most coveted one and I always wanted to win it. Now that I have emerged a winner, life stands changed. I am suddenly more responsible, more conscious than I was," said the Delhi-based Nikita.

Little flustered by the fact that the euphoria in favour of India's beauty queens ended two years back, Nikita said that she was working hard to achieve her target. "I think every Miss India Universe has been under a great deal of pressure to prove herself. When you represent your country at a universal platform, you cannot take chances with anything. I can feel the responsibility and I know what it means to be the ambassador of one's country."

No wonder Nikita is driving herself hard. While a whole team of experts is working overtime to arm Nikita Anand with everything required to make a difference on the international platform, she is not sparing any effort on her part. "I have always tried to excel in whatever I do. My Army background has come handy. With all the travelling, I have a better understanding of life, I can adjust better to situations. Army life instills in you discipline, self control and focus, which may, otherwise, elude you."

Impressed with Lara Dutta and Aishwarya Rai, Nikita is herself not sure of what way she would head in the future. "Life will be taken as it comes. I have no plans of joining films but I cannot commit on my future. I may continue with my fashion design course at NIFT, Delhi, start modelling or gratify my passion for singing." And what about her role as a beauty queen? "With the Miss India title to my credit, I am better placed to talk charity. But I will always try my best to convert words into actions so that I can contribute some bit to society."

As the future beckons her into its formidable fold, Nikita does not forget to thank her mother who is the force behind her success.


Ms India presents diplomas to NIFD students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
For the 400 students of National Institute of Fashion Design, Sector 8, it was a moment of great joy when none other than Miss India Universe Nikita Anand graced their annual convocation function at Tagore Theatre today.

Excited to the hilt the students not only had their fill by seeking the beauty queen’s autographs all day long, they later also had a chance to informally interact with her during a dance party organised at a discotheque in Panchkula.

The occasion appeared almost festive with the students gathering in great numbers to catch a glimpse of Nikita who later received a special good luck card painted by the NIFD students.

The two-hour-long convocation ceremony witnessed Nikita presenting diplomas to the pass outs of various batches of fashion, textile and interior design courses at NIFD.

The function began with Director Ritu Kochhar and Ashok Kaushik honouring the beauty queen, who later presented the following awards to various centres. Before proceeding with the award giving ceremony, Nikita Anand talked at length about herself and her own career as a designer. She also motivated the students with some words of wisdom. The awards of excellence were as follows:

Overseas category: Best overall centre: Dubai; Most enterprising centre: Malaysia and tanzania; Best academic centre: Bangladesh.

Degree centres category: Best overall centre: Jaipur; best academic centre: Hauz Khas, Delhi; Most enterprising centre: Vadodara.

Diploma centres (bigger) category: Best overall centre: Ahmedabad; most enterprising centre: Nagpur; Most result oriented centre: Surat; Best academic performance: Kolkata; Best fashion show: Ludhiana; Most organised centre: Bangalore.

Diploma centres (smaller) category: Best overall centre: Ambala; Most enterprising centre: Kota and Moga; Most result oriented centre: Gandhidham; best academic performance: Varanasi; Best fashion show: Rajkot and Most organised centre: Pritampura, Delhi.


Milk producers refute BKU allegations
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 4
Mr Gurnek Singh Bhagomajra and Mr Narender Singh Shiomajra, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Ropar district Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd, today refuted the allegations of a large-scale bungling in the Punjab Milkfed levelled here the other day by the BKU leader, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal.

Addressing a media conference at the Mohali Milk Plant of the Milkfed, the two leaders said the Punjab Milkfed was one of the best cooperatives in the country which had started making profits year after year. This had not only benefited milk producers of the state but also the milk consumers who were getting quality milk at reasonable prices.

Therefore, it was unfortunate that the BKU leader had tried to run down the cooperative by making misleading comparisons with private companies and baseless allegations with regard to the introduction of new practices and procedures and purchase of modern equipment for milk plants.

The Punjab Milkfed paid to its members not only a reasonable rate for their produce but also bonus, incentives and veterinary services and medicines free of cost which were not being offered by other organisations.

Mr Bhagomajra, who is also president of the Ropar BKU, said while he would not like to join issue with the state BKU leader, he wanted to emphasise that he himself was involved in the purchase and introduction of milk-o-testers in the state which had brought about the much needed transparency in the milk procurement operations. Their introduction had minimised milk pilferage and short changing of milk producers which was going on earlier during manual testing.

This in turn had put out of business a powerful lobby of vested interests who were now trying to impute motives and run down the Punjab Milkfed.

The conference was also attended by Mr D.D. Maini, General Manager, Milk Plant, Mohali, and Mr S.C.Aggarwal, General Manager, Punjab Milkfed, who said the Mohali Milk Plant was an ISO: HACCP certified unit and quality and quantity was checked for all products under strict vigilance. Steps at the village level and processing in plants were being directly observed. The plant was processing and marketing three lakh pouches per day and supplying the same to Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali, Ropar, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

At present, 836 societies having 41,000 milk producers as members and supplying about 2,15,000 kg of milk daily were attached to Milk Plant, Mohali, they said.


‘Fluctuation behind underweight pouches’
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 4
The Mohali Milk Plant of the Punjab Milkfed denied today that milk pouches being produced by it were frequently underweight due to pilferage. “The entire process of filling the processed milk in pouches at the plant is automatic and at no stage can anyone fiddle with it,” said Mr S.C. Aggarwal, General Manager, Punjab Milkfed, and Mr D.D. Maini, General Manager, Mohali Milk Plant, in a talk with mediapersons here today. “What can happen is a minor disruption in the filling process due to voltage fluctuations. We have installed voltage stabilisers at the plant but some times the surge in voltage is such that it affects the milk handling process resulting in less filling of milk pouches. Incidentally, the process is such that if one pouch gets less milk, the next pouch automatically gets more milk”, they added.

They said they were laying emphasis on “customer delight” these days and leaving no stone unturned in “achieving perfection in all processes in the plant from procurement to processing, packaging, distribution and we match international standards in quality and quantity of our products”.

As per BIS standards laid down for quality and quantity, all rules and regulations were being followed meticulously, but still, due to mechanical or human error, there were stray cases where an underweight pouch had reached customer. The Milkfed had advertised in newspapers offering to replace such pouches.

However, there had also been cases in which persons had approached them with such complaints with the ulterior “motive of blackmailing us,” they complained, adding that “they do not even show us the packet and when they fail to get anything out of us, they approach the Press with misleading claims to defame our organisation.”

We have had such instances in the recent past. There have also been instances of complaints in which the milk pouches were deliberately punctured or tampered with. All our dealers and agents have been told to honour the customer and replace any damaged or tampered pouch which is further checked in the plant for its authenticity, they said.


13 hurt in police lathi charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
At least 13 persons, including 6 women, were injured when the local police used water cannon and later resorted to lathi charge to disperse the mob that had blocked traffic on the Chandigarh-Shimla national highway for more than a hour this morning.

Residents of Darshani Bagh Colony, Indira Colony, Kishangarh, Raipur Kalan, Shanti Nagar, Janta Nagar, Shashtri Nagar, Subash Nagar and nearby areas gathered on the highway near Kalagram, and blocked the traffic in protest against the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to acquire 54.37 acres of the Darshani Bagh area for handing over it to the Municipal Corporation to construct a housing colony.

The injured were rushed to the local hospital and dispensary and were discharged after first aid. The highway was cleared after an hour, but the mob again gathered and blocked all entry roads leading to the Mani Majra township at different points for another one hour. However, senior officials of the police claimed that routes were diverted to clear the traffic jams. No one was arrested, claimed the police.

The Land Acquisition Officer of the Chandigarh Administration had issued notices to residents of Darshani Bagh area under Section-9 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, on February 6, 2003. The declaration of the same was earlier issued under Section 6 of the LA Act on January 29, 1993.

The president of the Residents Welfare Association, Darshani Bagh, Mr Hem Raj Garg, alleged that the award of the land was to be announced within two years from the publication of the declaration. He claimed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a civil writ petition No. 4433 of 1996 vide order dated August 11, 1997, (Annexure IV), had held that acquisition proceedings had been lapsed. Accordingly the apex court had also quashed notification under Sections 4 and 6 of the LA Act. Hence, the award at this stage could not be announced, he alleged.

Mr Subash Chawla, Mayor, said the Finance and Contracts Committee of the Municipal Committee passed a resolution, last month, that they would pay the cost of only the vacant land lying with the Notified Area Committee (NAC), Manimajra (later transferred to MC), to the administration.

He clarified that MC had never demanded the land, at present under residential areas to construct a housing colony. Neither, they had any role in acquisition of 54.37 acres pocket No. 8 (Darshani Bagh). The administration had initiated the acquisition process, he added.

The councillor of Mani Majra Mr Surinder Singh, has condemned the lathi charge.


Security tightened in Lalru
Our Correspondent

Lalru, March 4
Taking serious note of the spate of robbery incidents in Dehar and Lalru Mandi where masked robbers struck at two houses and hacked Shadi Ram Saini, an employee of the Ambala Municipal Council, in the wee hours yesterday, the Patiala police deployed two commando companies here today.

Police sources said the companies were being headed by two senior police officials — the SP (Headquarters) and the SP (Operation).

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, DSP, Dera Bassi, said 20-odd migrant labourers had been detained for questioning to find clues about the identity and the suspected hideouts of the criminals.

He said teams had been constituted and a thorough “identification drive” had been launched to identify the culprits. Apart from tightening security in the area, a special checking drive had been started at various exit and entry points of the subdivision.

Mr Brar, said police parties had been pressed into service for the verification of various migrant labourers working with various industrial units in the area. He suspects a gang of Bihari migrants behind the crime.

It may be recalled that in a robbery incident, one person was hacked to death while five members of his family, including a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, were critically injured when a gang of armed robbers struck at Hill View in Dhakauli village, near Zirakpur, in wee hours of January 5. The robbers decamped with cash, jewellery and other valuables worth lakhs.


Documents of 5 MC vehicles seized
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 4
Documents relating to five MC vehicles, which had not been registered over the past many years, were seized by officials of the Chief Vigilance Office of the Local Government Department here today. Earlier, fines amounting to about Rs 2.50 lakh had been imposed on the civic body by the department concerned for violating the rules.

The Chief Vigilance Officer, Mr A.K. Kansal, said the action had been taken on the directions of Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Secretary, Local Government Department. He said the department would take action against officials held responsible for not getting the vehicles registered with the State Transport Authority. He said penalty amount would be recovered from the officials on whom the responsibility was fixed after the completion of an inquiry that would take about 10 days.

He said most of the vehicles that had not been registered were being used by the sanitation wing and had been purchased more than five years ago.

He said earlier a penalty of about Rs 35,000 was imposed on the council for not getting a funeral van registered in time. The Executive Officer of the council had been directed to recover the penalty amount from the officials held responsible for adopting an indifferent attitude.


Sweepers block traffic near police station
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
Agitated over alleged misbehaviour with three women members of the Sweepers Union Chandigarh by a contractor and reported use of derogatory words by some cops against leaders, around 200 union activists gheraoed the Sector 19 police station and blocked traffic for over three hours here today. Dispute over the charges of house-to-house garbage collection is being cited as the reason behind the tiff between the contractor and the women.

On the other hand the contractor alleged that it were the women who misbehaved with him.

The police station was gheraoed after the police allegedly “pushed out” around 10 union members from the police station who had reached their on an SoS call by the women. The union members alleged that some police-personnel used derogatory words against them. The police has refuted the allegations.

The situation became normal only after the SHO pacified the union leaders. Complaints of both parties have been taken into account. However, no case has been registered.

The tiff between the contractor and women started when the contractor, Mr Udham Singh (a resident of Sector 21) offered Rs 15 per month for the collection of garbage house-to-house against Rs 70 which the women were charging in Sector 19. The contractor and the women — Phoolwati, Usha Rani and Shanti — entered into an altercation and both parties charged each other of using derogatory words and assault.

Mr Udham Singh called in the police and both the parties reached the police station.

In the meantime, the women brought the matter to the notice of union. The agitating members dumped garbage and parked three dumpers of the Municipal Corporation in front of the police station to lodge their protest.


Need to enact law for abandoned brides: Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
With the number of abandoned brides reaching 8,000 in Punjab, the Governor, Lieut- Gen J. F. R. Jacob (retd) here today expressed the need to enact a special law to deal with the social evil.

Presiding over the annual general body meeting of the Indian Council of Social Welfare, Punjab, he said the problem of abandoning brides by NRIs was becoming serious. A need was being felt to enact a special law to punish those who indulged in this inhuman practice. He said around 40 such cases were reported from a village.

The governor said the law could make it mandatory for NRIs to get no objection certificates for getting married in India. He urged volunteers to create awareness against the practice.


Conversion formula rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Samadhan, a pressure group for social justice, here today rejected the new conversion formula for converting leasehold land to freehold, terming it “discriminatory.”

The president of the organisation, Mr R. P. Malhotra, said it had suggested a uniform formula for the conversion, which was ignored by the Chandigarh Administration.

He said the formula had a provision for the Administration to increase the conversion uniformly by fixing a higher land rate.


Consumer forum holds camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The local Consumers Forum today organised a consumer awareness camp at Khijrabad village in Ropar District. Ms Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar inaugurated the camp at Government Senior Secondary School.

Mr R.K. Kaplash, Vice-Chairman of the forum, in a press note issued here today, claimed that this was the fifth camp in the series, under which the forum was organising consumer awareness camps at the grassroots level. Ms Jain said district administration had allocated Rs 10 lakh for the construction of a building of the consumer court at Chandigarh.

Earlier, Col Sarwan Singh briefed about the activities of the organisation.


Tribune employee loses 15,000
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 4
An employee of The Tribune, Mr Lovkesh Kumar, reportedly lost Rs 15,000 somewhere en route to the Sector 34 Telephone Exchange, Sector 11 market and later to the Tribune office in Sector 29. He was carrying the money (30 currency notes of Rs 500 each) in his trousers’ pocket.


Encroachments removed in Sector 38
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Estate Office today removed minor encroachments in House No 5013, 5037, 5305, 5312 and 5457 in Sector 38 (west).

The anti-encroachment drive was launched to send a signal to others to themselves end violation of building bylaws , an official spokesman said here today.

He said the drive would be carried out in a big way as soon as the staff was available for the purpose.

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