Friday, May 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property tax rate hiked by 3 pc
Admn ignores MC General House suggestions
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh Administration has not only bypassed the resolution of the Municipal Corporation General House with regard to the property tax rate, hiking it from 2 per cent to 5 per cent, but also rejected most of the concessions extended by it to different sections of businessmen.

Though the tax has become effective from today, the corporation had not been able to get a copy of the notification until the closing of offices, sources told The Chandigarh Tribune here today.

The Administration which decided to notify the property tax on commercial establishments and government buildings on the last day of the tenure of the Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), in the evening, had chosen to adopt the proposals made by the House Tax Committee of the municipal corporation.

In an apparent bid to reduce the tax burden on itself, the Administration had brought government buildings under the purview of service tax at an average 75 per cent of the rateable value under category C. The categories had been divided on the basis of business volume in an area.

The House had decided to bring the government buildings under category B, whose rateable value was higher than that in category C.

While the House had exempted business activities in slum colonies from tax, the Administration had brought it in the minimum tax category of Rs 50 per month.

The self-assessment scheme passed by the House had found a way of recovering rent from occupants and tenants by making it a revenue recovery. This would ruffle the feathers of traders who had been agitating against the withdrawal of the Rent Act through a notification.

The House had also approved Rs 20 as minimum tax for booths allotted under the rehabilitation scheme, which the Administration had increased to Rs 50 per month. This minimum tax rate was also applicable to business properties in colonies and villages under the municipal limits.

The Administration had rejected a 30 per cent concession to the industry given after a discussion in the House to restore the rate proposed by the Property Tax Committee.

The tax had only been reduced in the other category (earmarked property) from Rs 14 to Rs 10. The same rate applied for business activities running from residential areas.

The sources in the corporation said as soon as the notification was received the corporation would send a booklet of the self-assessment scheme for printing to make it available to tax payers at a possible rate of Rs 20 per copy.

They said the tax payers would be given one month to pay their taxes as per the scheme.

With the tax not being implemented from April 1, the corporation seems confident of collecting around Rs 15 crore as revenue against a budgeted target of Rs 7.5 crore.

With the Municipal Corporation Act not allowing deficit budget, the corporation during the past five years since tax was earlier approved by the House at 10 per cent might have lost funds in excess of Rs 50 crore to reduce the budget allocation for development by the same amount, the sources said.


Draft notification on property tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh Administration tonight issued the draft notification for property tax on commercial, industrial and institutional establishments.

The notification delivered at the residence of the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, had invited objections from people within 15 days, sources said.


CHB amends quota rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has notified a set of rules which will govern the allotment of discretionary quota flats for which powers wrest with the UT Administrator.

The CHB in its notification has said the board’s (allotment, management and sale of tenements) Regulation, 1979, stands amended. The new rules shall come into force immediately. Now the Administrator will have discretionary powers to allot 5 per cent of the total number of dwelling units or flats under any scheme, however, the allottees will have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the same.


Dignified Jacob bids goodbye
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Finally the super-active Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), bid goodbye to the city today by raising his hand and shouting the traditional Sikh war cry “Jo Bole So Nihal ... Sat Sri Akal”. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his cabinet colleagues standing next to the General responded to the war cry with a full-throated Sat Sri Akal.

Seconds later the General sat in a white-coloured Mercedes and was whisked away to the airport where a Punjab Government plane flew him to Delhi. As the car carrying the General started, his former employees pushed the Mercedes to mark their symbolic gesture of waving him goodbye even as media photographers scrambled for one last shot of the “people’s Governor” as they would to get a shot of a Bollywood actress. It was like seeing the end of an era. The general rolled down the window said a word to a mediaman standing alongside. After that photographers wanted a final shot and wanted the window open.

During the brief farewell ceremony at the Punjab Raj Bhavan, the National Anthem was played twice as people from varied backgrounds thronged the Raj Bhavan to bid the General goodbye. Besides Capt Amarinder Singh, among those who came for the farewell were the chief of the Punjab Congress, Mr H.S. Hanspal, former Chief Ministers Parkash Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal of the Congress. Several senior members of the Punjab Cabinet were there.

The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, led his team of bureaucrats. However, the Secretary to the Governor, Mr Subodh Aggarwal dressed in a traditional black coloured “bandhgala” stood out among his bureaucratic colleagues by way of dressing up for the occasion. The Adviser, Mr Virendra Singh, and his team from the Chandigarh Administration were in full strength.

Air Officer Commanding of the BRD, Air Cdre S.B. Prashar and officers from the Army also came to bid farewell. It was a virtual who’s who of the city which was there. This included officials, politicians, industrialists and social workers.

As the General went about meeting everyone briefly, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Adviser to the Punjab CM said: “We will miss you sir.” It was a statement which echoed in the pandal. An HCS officer was overheard telling a close associate “an era has ended”. In the parking lot a former Mayor was seen walking briskly as he thought he was late and did not want to miss even one minute of the action.

In his very brief speech the General said Punjabis were enterprising people who had served the armed forces. Within minutes he came off the dais and briefly met the Punjab CM and his Cabinet colleagues. He inspected a guard of honour when a band from the police played the National Anthem. As the General inspected the guard of honour a cop walked next to him with a unsheathed sword in hand.

All hell broke loose after that as visitors wanted one last glimpse of the General.


Help’ to candidate: PU seeks report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Following reports that the UT DPI (Colleges), Mr Dalip Kumar, allegedly used his influence to “help” a candidate during examinations, Panjab University has ordered the Principal of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11 (GCG-11) to submit a report in this regard.

The Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University had reportedly received a complaint from the Superintendent of Centre No. 5 located in GCG-11 that the candidate, Nandani was helped by a college lecturer to attempt the BA-II (psychology) paper following “orders” from the DPI.

The candidate, who was appearing as a private candidate, is reported to be the wife of an IAS officer posted in Punjab. An unfair means case has been registered against her.

According to the complaint, a college lecturer had handed over some material to Nandini while the examination was in progress. The lecturer had also asked the assistant centre superintendent to take “special care” of the candidate.

University officials said action would be taken as per the findings of the report. They said only the invigilating staff on duty was permitted to be present in the rooms where the examination was conducted.


Entrance test for PhD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Panjab University will conduct an entrance test exclusively for students who could not qualify the test for PhD conducted on November 11 last year, said a press note issued here today.

“The date of the examination has been fixed as June 24. The candidates are required to send the prescribed forms by May 26, along with a payment of Rs 400.


3 have miraculous escape in roof collapse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
A public verandah roof collapsed in the wee hours today over three sleeping labourers, who miraculously escaped unhurt, in the Sector 22 Bajwara market here.

One of the labourers Nand Lal who did not recognise the other two said when a piece of the peeled off cement fell on him, he was woken up.

Nand Lal said he noticed the roof reclining towards the side of support pillars which had started sinking in the mud. The entire process of the collapse of the roof might have taken around 5 minutes to provide us an opportunity to run away.

It took the corporation officials and the machinery around 4 hours to remove the roof and the debris to provide safety to adjoining shops and the labourers working in the adjoining plot. The public toilet of the corporation in the area was partly damaged during the collapse.

“With death staring me in the face, I took my child along and the cot I was sleeping on to run for safety,” Nand Lal said.

The labourer said he raised the alarm to ask the other two to immediately run away but one of them delayed coming out to pick up his belongings and received minor injuries.

The Municipal Corporation has blamed the adjoining plot owner who had gone for digging for a basement without taking care of the pillars for the incident. Mayor Subhash Chawla rushed to the spot and called the Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, to find out the cause and remove the roof hanging downwards.

The contractor Seva Singh, supervising the digging operation, said the pillars did not have adequate support to bear the pressure and the digging had exposed it.

He said digging had been going on for 10 days here but the sinking process of the pillar was not noticed during this period except today.


PGI fails to recover Rs 12 cr from Punjab, Haryana
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Despite written queries being given to the PGI on the steps it had taken to recover Rs 12 crore from Punjab and Haryana Governments almost 20 days back, the PGI chose not to provide any answers. Senior officials, too, refused to comment on the issue, saying that it is the financial adviser, who was in a position to talk on the issue.

Chandigarh, May 8
The PGI might not tire of crying hoarse about paucity of funds coming in way of completion of its projects, but it has failed to recover almost Rs 12 crore from Punjab and Haryana on account of maintenance cost of 200 beds at the premier medical institute treating patients from the region.

It was after bifurcation of Punjab and Haryana that the Ministry of Health and Family Planning and Urban Development in 1968 decided that the two states would bear maintenance costs of Rs 5,800 per bed annually. The notification in this regard was issued on October 3, 1968, and Punjab was to pay maintenance cost for 120 beds while Haryana for 80 beds at the prescribed rate.

The money was to be paid by the two states from April, 1967, onwards to the PGI, as patients from Haryana and Punjab come for treatment to PGI, the premier institute in North India. While Punjab was to pay maintenance cost for 120 beds, Haryana’s share was put at 80 beds. The annual maintenance cost per bed per annum was revised from time to time.

“Both states continued paying at the revised rate of Rs 23,200 per bed per annum till 1997-98 even though it had been raised to Rs 64,500 per bed per annum in April 1990,” read the audit objection. This in turn has resulted in accumulation of arrears of Rs 657.54 lakh against Punjab and Rs 517.12 lakh against Haryana for a period of 12 years from 1990 to 2002.

As per para number 5 in the audit report, the PGI failed to respond to memo number 33 sent to it on August 8, 2002. However, the PGI has been directed by the audit authorities to take steps to recover or adjust this money and intimate them in this regard.

The financial adviser at the PGI could not be contacted despite repeated efforts for his comments and present status of the outstanding amount close to Rs 12 crore against the two states.

Interestingly, the PGI has time and again been raising the issue of being allocated only Rs 200 crore instead of Rs 401 cr demanded by it by the Union Health Ministry. Making a request for an additional Rs 60 crore in the mid-term appraisal of the 10th Plan, the PGI has said this would enable them to undertake new schemes like setting up of the department of molecular medicine, a new child and psychiatry unit, advanced neuro science centre and construction of a new OT complex.

Recovery of the money from the two states of Punjab and Haryana could help the PGI undertake some of its projects.


3 held for blackmailing businessman
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 8
A 27-year-old woman and her two male accomplices were arrested by CIA officials late last night on charges of blackmailing a Mani Majra businessman and extorting Rs 1 lakh from him.

The woman, Alka, a resident of Sector 4 here, had conspired with her boyfriend, Amit Bhandari, a draftsman with the UT Electricity Department, and his friend, Feroze Khan, to extort money from businessman Naresh Kumar.

According to the police, Alka was also having an affair with Naresh Kumar for the past three years. She used Amit and Feroze to get intimate photographs of her with Naresh and the trio then started blackmailing him.

Alka had met Naresh Kumar about three years ago at Mata Mansa Devi shrine. She had then asked him for a lift to Panjab University, Chandigarh, and the duo had since become “friends”. It was about a fortnight ago that the accused began blackmailing Naresh Kumar with the photographs and asked him to pay Rs 2 lakh. After much bargaining, the deal was set at Rs 1 lakh and Naresh paid the same to Amit in Sector 15. Feroze runs an optician shop in Sector 15 market and money exchanged hands near his shop.

According to the police, while Amit and Feroze got a share of Rs 20,000 each, the remaining Rs 60,000 was pocketed by Alka. It was a week ago that the trio again demanded Rs 1 lakh from Naresh Kumar, who approached the police. A trap was laid by CIA officials. When the trio arrived at Sector 16 to collect the money last night, they were caught.

The accused were produced in a local court this morning and remanded in police custody till May 10.


UT to launch ‘City Portal’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh Administration will launch “City Portal” — an interactive site for the residents — within three months. It will enable the people to download various forms for getting driving licences, ration cards, voter’s identity cards, and register their grievances through e-mail in various departments. This was stated by Mr Virendra Singh, Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh, while addressing a workshop on “E-Governance in Northern States; Sharing of Experiences” here yesterday.

The workshop was organised by the CII, (Northern region). Later, Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Information Technology, Chandigarh, also disclosed that the administration would set up public kiosks to access such information. He felt that though there were lot of expectations from the project, but it would initially provide limited services. Mr Virendra Singh felt that the ‘City Portal’ could prove to be a great success because of high literacy rate and Internet penetration in the city. Further, the public kiosks would offer a chance to other people to approach various department officials, without visiting their offices.

The speakers at the workshop appreciated ‘‘Bhoomi,’’a portal by the Karnataka Government to deliver land titles to farmers, Voice: online delivery of municipal services in Vijaywada district. Mr P. Rajendran, Chairman, IT Sub-Committee of the CII, Northern region, said the e-governance was a move towards a more civilised and efficient form of the government.

He said it would facilitate the democratic process, as the government had already promised to achieve ‘‘I-India by 2007.’’ The session on commercial taxes focussed on tax collection through simplified ways and administrative reforms. While the sessions Chairman, Prof T.P. Ramarao, Coordinator, Centre for Electronic governance, IIM Ahmedabad, spoke on “Electronic governance in India: Lessons from Experiences”, Mr M.K. Jain, Project Manager (VAT), Mastek Ltd, described his organisation’s experiences.

Among others Dr Ashok Khemka, Director and Joint Secretary, IT, Haryana, Mr N.S Kalsi, Director-cum-Secretary, Department of IT, Punjab, Mr Rajiv Sodhi from Microsoft, Dr R.K. Midha, Adviser, (TIFAC), Department of Science and Technology, also participated in the discussion.


SP seeks Mayor’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Janata Party President Ajay Jagga and his Samajwadi Party counterpart Shivi Jaiswal have sought the resignation of Mayor Subhash Chawla on moral ground for his failure to get the Municipal Corporation House resolution of 2 per cent property tax approved by the Chandigarh Administration.

The two leaders in separate statements said the Congress-ruled corporation first approved the tax which was unjustified and was then showed its ineffectiveness by appealing to the Union Home Minister L. K. Advani to get the notification of the Administration withdrawn.

They termed the decision of the Administration to impose the tax on commercial property at 5 per cent by ignoring the recommendations of the corporation as “dictatorial” and an insult to the will of the people.

Mr Jagga said if the Administration felt politicians had failed to generate resources, it should repeal the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, and disband the municipal body.

The Congress seemed confused how to tackle the criticism with Mayor Subhash Chawla saying he would approach the party to get direction as to what strategy to adopt to get the Administration to accept the recommendations of the House which approved tax at a rate of 2 per cent.

Chandigarh Beopar Mandal vice-president Kamaljeet Panchi has urged the Administration to put the onus of depositing the tax on the owners of the property instead of occupants of property.

The BJP had already opposed the tax, blaming the Congress for deceiving the people by imposing a tax despite promising not to do so.


Boom time for Kharar real estate
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 8
Over the past few years, there has been a spurt in the number of privately promoted residential colonies coming up in this township. The rising cost of buying or constructing a house in neighbouring Chandigarh or Mohali, and Kharar being just a stone’s throw away are the prime factors for the real estate boom.

Several hundred residential units of various sizes would come up in this township over the next few years. This, coupled with an influx of people from nearby cities, would drastically change the face of this rural-oriented township. Most of the colonies have been approved by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) or the Chief Town Planner (CTP), Punjab, and are coming up in a planned manner having all civic amenities and facilities.

As per available information, six colonies have been granted approval by PUDA. These include Sunny Enclave, Modern Town, Shivalik Enclave, Janta Colony, NRI Colony and Gulmohar Colony. The case of another colony, PAL Colony, is under consideration by PUDA.

Five colonies have been approved by the CTP under the Town Planning Scheme, which include Hari Enclave, Golden City, Lamba Enclave, Sukh Angra and Mandai Nagar. With the exception of Janta Colony, which is about 10 years old, others have come up within a span of four years.

Needless to say, land prices in Kharar too are shooting up. Current rates of residential plots at prime sites in the aforementioned colonies, according to informed sources, is stated to be Rs 2,000 — Rs 2,500 per square yard, while general land prices in Kharar are hovering at Rs 1,500 — Rs 1,600 per square yard.

According to Kharar Municipal Committee officials, 40 per cent of the land allocated to PUDA-approved colonies is to be left open, while 35 per cent land in the CTP-approved colonies is to be left vacant. These colonies would also have a few commercial sites within their respective enclosures.

Local residents say that several facilities are being provided by the colony developers, which the vast majority of Kharar residents have been deprived off due to the poor state of civic amenities in the township. These include street lights, sewerage, metalled roads, adequate water supply and sewerage treatment plants.

Local government sources say most of those who have acquired land here to develop colonies are not natives of Kharar, but are “outsiders” who have found this to be a lucrative business.

Several colonisers are continuing to acquire land for their respective colonies in addition to land they already possess to expand the colonies. Sources add that about four or five more private residential colonies are in the offing.


Blood donations mark Red Cross Day
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, May 8
The Haryana branch of the Indian Red Cross Society collected 70,000 units of blood by organising blood donation camps in different parts of the state besides distributing 3500 artificial limbs and medicines and cloths worth Rs 4.53 lakh to the poor, needy and physically challenged in Haryana and other states.

This was revealed by Haryana Governor Babu Parmanand while speaking at a state-level function to mark World Red Cross Day today. The Governor and his wife, Mrs Sudesh Kumari, paid floral tributes to Jean Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Red Cross movement.

Babu Parmanand said the Haryana Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society was maintaining 15 rehabilitation centres, nine family welfare centres, 12 maternity and child welfare centres, one home for mentally retarded children, two school-cum-workshops for the visually emphaired and seven drug de-addiction centres in the State. These centres were rendering service to the helpless persons by providing them aids and appliances including tricycles, wheel chairs, clothes, food, blood, medicines and sewing machines.

The Governor exhorted the people and voluntary organisations to donate generously to such institutions. The Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, Mrs Satwanti Ahlawat, highlighted the activities undertaken by the Panchkula Red Cross Society to help victims of natural calamities. She said the society had organised 148 voluntary blood donation camps in the district and collected 10,798 units of blood. She said camps were also held in the district to bring awakening among the people against the evils of drinking, AIDS, female foeticide, dowry and casteism.

The Governor went around the blood donation camp where 52 cops from the police donated blood.

The Governor and his wife also blessed 10 newly wedded couples at a mass marriage function for poor girls by the District Red Cross Society with help from various voluntary organisations. The marriages were performed according to Vedic rites in a pandal at Bal Bhavan in Sector 15.

As many as 17 sewing machines, 10 tricycles, five wheel-chairs and eight artificial limbs and appliances were distributed to widows, helpless and physically challenged persons. The Governor also distributed prizes to winners of painting competition organised on the theme AIDS and Environment.

CHANDIGARH: A blood donation camp was organised by the UT Red Cross Society at Government Museum and Art Gallery today to mark the World Red Cross Day.

The Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, was the chief guest at the camp where 80 persons donated blood. He also distributed special aid and equipment to 39 physically challenged persons.

Appreciating the work being done by the society, Mr Virendra Singh said all physically challenged persons in the city must be identified and rehabilitated. He said this year’s theme adopted by the Red Cross “The truth about AIDS — pass it on” would go a long in tackling the situation, which was assuming alarming proportions.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ramsekhar, ADC, Mr I.S. Sandhu, and the Director, Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, were also present on the occasion.

AMBALA: A blood donation camp was organised in DAV Public School in the city on Thursday.

Teachers of DAV School, students of Government College, Ambala Cantonment, and MDSD Girls College, Ambala City, donated blood. As many as 55 units of blood were collected in the camp.

The Principal of DAV Public School, Mrs Reena Nagrath, and officers of the Red Cross Society and the Health Department were also present.

PATIALA: The District Red Cross Society on Thursday organised a blood donation camp on the occasion of the Red Cross Day at the Polo Ground here. The camp was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh and more than 100 persons donated blood.


Markfed organises cycle rally
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 8
As many as 130 persons today participated in a cycle rally organised by Markfed to mark the World Thalassaemia Day. The rally was flagged off by Mr Lal Singh, Finance and Cooperation Minister, Punjab. It passed through various sectors of the city. Later, the minister told the gathering that the rally was organised to create an awareness among the masses by contributing blood for the needy.

Mr S.S. Channy, Managing Director, Markfed, said their organisation had been striving hard to educate their staff to donate blood generously. He further added that Markfed would hold many more such awareness programmes and blood donation camps every month on rotation basis in each district.

Meanwhile, more than 275 persons donated blood at a camp organised by the Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association at the PGI, on the occasion of the World Thalassaemia Day, today.

This was the first blood donation camp, in a series of six to be organised, to tide over the acute shortage of blood faced by thalassaemics during the summer months. Inaugurating the camp, Dr S.K. Sharma, PGI Director, said the people must come forward to donate the blood, since those suffering from the disease required regular blood transfusion.

Dr Sharma lauded the efforts being made by the association for providing the best available medicare to the people suffering from thalassaemia. Gifts were distributed among children on the occasion.


Cause of anguish among kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The spate of suicides in the city has triggered off a massive debate on the causes and possible remedies of the grave problem. Various NGOs have sprung into action and talked of offering all help possible to stem this rot. Concerned about the issue, three NGOs got together this morning to talk to children about the issue that has widespread ramifications. At a special function organised at Shivalik Public School, Father Joseph of Guru Kripa Society (Ropar), Father Joseph of Roshni (Rajpura) and Father Antony of Nayee Asha (Meerut) addressed 200 students from four schools. These students were from St Stephen’s, Sector 45, St Xavier’s, Sector 44, St Kabir and Shivalik Public School. Speaking to them in the language of friendship and reaching out to them on the very basic aspects of life, the three social workers attempted to create an outlet.

Although the talks centred around the much-analysed cases of suicide, their causes and remedies, it appealed to the children more because of the manner in which minor issues were put across. Father Joseph Kalathil talked about materialistic tendencies and the consequent erosion of values as the prime cause behind growing discontentment. Father Antony told the children to consciously fight the negative processes and make way for healthy and positive thinking.

He told them to see the silver lining in the cloud, apart from underlining the importance of being humble and in control. As is said, ambition is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get. Referring to the countless destitutes in the world, he told the kids to thank God for whatever happiness he has given them. “We must learn to share our joys and divide our grief. The day we realise the power of this age-old principle, much of our strife will be gone,” said Father Antony.


*  Mass media creating hype about kidnapping and other negative phenomena, thereby unconsciously giving the children a reason to emulate crime.
* Lack of parental love and their great expectations.
* Lack of spiritual outlook; over ambition.
* Excessive greed


* Parents should care for the child and not make demands.
* Educational institutions should lay emphasis on great men and inspire children to follow in their footsteps.
* Failure should just be taken as an opportunity to climb up the ladder of success. It should not be registered as failure, in literal terms.
* Children should be apprised of the suffering multitude so that they understand what pain really means.
* Sharing should be encouraged at every level in the society. No one should be left to cry in solitude. Pain, when condoned or neglected, assumes fatal proportions.



Police Dept fails to pay BSNL’s bills
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 8
With the BSNL, having hiked its charges, the SAS Nagar police stations, however, seem to remain unaffected. Every month most of the phones go dead following the failure of the police stations to pay the monthly bills to the BSNL.

The Phase VIII police station’s telephone No. 233535 has been lying dead for over a month now and no one seems to mind it. With the SHO, Mr Ramandeep Singh, available on a mobile along with most of the SIs and ASIs, it seems that the police headquarters in Ropar, too, has stopped begging the BSNL to let it at least have the call receiving facility.

The shortage of funds with the Police Department is the main reason behind the telephones turning ‘dead’ or ‘one way’ after every two months when the time for paying the bills come. The headquarters which is responsible for the payment of these bills shall either pay these bills or have an arrangement with the BSNL for allowing them to receive the calls and not make them. The call receiving facility was available with the Sector VIII police station till about a month back after which this too was stopped. 


Jaspal Bhatti’s Friday humour
Thank God, my phone is dead

My friend Sharmaji looked very happy. When I asked him the reason for that smile on his face, he said, ‘‘My phone is dead for the past one week’’. I was surprised because aren’t you supposed to be tense and unhappy when your phone is dead? Sharmaji explained that he was receiving heavy telephone bills for the past few months. ‘‘I didn’t have the courage to ask my wife or children to cut down on calls. But by God’s grace, my phone has gone dead by itself!’’, he said.

Sometime back if your phone went dead, you had to really hunt out “contacts” in the telephone department to get it working. Now you have to look for the same ‘‘sifarish’’ for getting your phone dead.

The recently announced telephone tariff plan has left everyone so confused that you really don’t know how much each call is costing you. Every telephone subscriber should now have a telephone operator-cum-advisor at home who can tell you whether the call you are going to make is within the periphery of 200 km or not, whether the call is basic, WLL or cellular, and whether the cost of the call fits into your budget or not.

Telephones and cellulars have become such an integral part of our lives that many a times even while bowing our heads in temples and gurdwaras we forget to switch off the mobile. The pressure and mental fatigue caused by mobiles is such that the day is not far when doctors in their prescription will tell a patient of high BP to keep his mobile off for two hours, twice a day for at least 15 days.

A young lady was singing, ‘‘Mere piya gayay Rangoon, wahan se kiya hai telephone’’. when the family CA suddenly shouted, ‘‘Mil gaya! Mil gaya! Fizulkharchi ka karan mil gaya!’’.


Former Tribune employee dead
Tribune News Service

Mr Hari RamChandigarh, May 8
Mr Hari Ram, a former Foreman of The Tribune, died here on Wednesday. He was 69.

He served The Tribune for 43 years and retired in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, son and a daughter.


Tribune Society executive body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The following were elected executive committee members of the The Tribune Friends Cooperative House Building Society, Baltana: Mr Mangal Sain Saini, Mr Sucha Singh, Mr Ramesh Rana, Mr Kamal Dev Sharma, Mr Vijay Saini, Mr Naresh Saini and Mr Rajinder Singh.

The elections were held under the supervision of Mr Inderjeet Sharma and Mr Amrit Lal Singla, Returning Officers.

The committee will elect office-bearers of the society on May 24.


Multipronged policy needed

Harjot Shah SinghA multipronged policy is required for dealing with the complex problem of Sukhna Lake. Measures like afforestation and provision of silt-arresting equipment suitable for various sites in the catchment area are required.

Periodic silt clearance is a must. Construction of silt ejectors and overflow spillways in front of the existing regulator is needed. The crest should be suitably raised. All factors need to be considered simultaneously by experienced technocrats in respective fields. Involvement of neighbouring states is also essential in the present political scenario.

A compact proposal put forward by experts needs to be put in place. Implementation is an important factor and dedicated persons are required for it.

Harjot Shah Singh,
Retired Director,
Hydel Design (Punjab), SAS Nagar


Con man lands in police net
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
A resident of Delhi who posed as Dr S.K. Gupta and tried to befool a shopkeeper landed in police net here yesterday. This was the second time that he had tried to pull such stunt. Earlier, he had managed to defraud an electronics shop of two mobile phones.

As per information, Sandeep Sethi telephoned another shop, seeking the delivery of a Sony video-camera at a house in Sector 22. He promised to pay the money at the time of the delivery.

The shopkeeper concerned was aware of the earlier incident. He informed the police and a trap was laid. When a salesman reached the house with an empty box of Sony camera, Sandeep reportedly tried to befool the salesman but this time he was unlucky. A blue Maruti Zen was seized from his possession. The police is yet to ascertain whether the car belonged to him.


Gangsters threaten Bapu’s followers
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 8
Fourteen members of a gang carrying swords and rods forcibly entered Bapu Asa Ram Ashram at Seonk village of the subdivision last night and threatened Bapu’s followers who were sleeping.

The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, on a complaint lodged by Mr Ranjit Bhai of the ashram.

He said at 9.30 p.m. at least six gangsters entered the ashram and threatened them. A few minutes later, nine more joined them. They threatened the followers with dire consequences.

In the meantime, a large number of villagers gathered and they ran away. Earlier also, ashram followers were attacked by some miscreants on May 2.


Winners of ‘Scratch and Win Offer’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
The draw of the ‘Scratch and Win Offer’ of the Chandigarh Tribune Classifieds was held today. The first prize of a Philips Eye Fi 21” CTV was awarded to the Chandigarh Coaching Centre. The second prizes of a Philips VCD/CD/MP3 player was given to Mr Harbans Singh while the third prize of an audio CD player was given M/s SR Solar Systems, Mohali.

The fourth prize of a personal stereo each will be given to three winners — M/s Mega Marketing, Chandigarh, Mr Fedric Vanhille, Chandigarh and Ms Sonia Likhari, Chandigarh. Mr Ramandep Singh, Branch Head and Mr S.K. Mahajan, Service Head, Phillips India Limited (Consumer Electronics), Chandigarh, took out the draw. All above winners will be intimated by post.


Career planning company launched
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
If you are in the doldrums regarding your career choice, whether to opt for something traditional and secure or stretch your wings towards something unknown and adventurous, then The Mentor, a career planning and development company, is here to see you through dilemma. The company which was launched in the city today completed its first phase of awareness campaign in 13 major schools in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

The company focused on the topic “Wise career decision”. According to Mr Harsh Vijh, career coach of the company it is important to understand one’s true competence, desire, ability and temperament in order to chose the right career.

The company has interacted with at least 2,500 students in 13 schools that include YPS Mohali, St. Stephen School, Shivalik Public School, St. Kabir, Carmel Convent, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, St Annes, St Johns, Shishu Niketan and Sacred Heart in Chandigarh and Hansraj Public school and Bhavan Vidyalaya in Panchkula.

According to Mr Harsh Vijh, in the second phase the company will organise a one-day workshop in these mentioned schools.

The Mentor was launched in Delhi about three years ago and has come to the city for the first time. Besides guiding the students through a series of lectures and workshops, it also promises to provide assistance through e-mail in future. “Each student will be assigned a code number and if later he needs assistance, a panel of experts will provide guidance to him with the help of his profile which is already stored with the company,” informed Mr Vijh.

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