Saturday, July 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


RC issue
July 31 is new deadline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The city residents today heaved a sigh of relief after the Chandigarh Administration extended till July 31 the deadline for getting the addresses changed in the vehicle registration certificates.

A wave of exhilaration ran through the crowd as the news about the extension reached them through different sources. Till then, the residents, uncertain about the extension in the deadline, had gathered in large numbers at the Registration and Licencing Authority office in Sector 17, besides the offices of Subdivisional Magistrates in Sector 42 and Phase I Industrial Area.

The decision to extend the last date is significant as the vehicle owners were constantly complaining of inconvenience. Even though the authorities were issuing “numbers” to the applicants for avoiding chaos and special counters had been dedicated to entertaining the applications for change in addresses, the residents were insisting that the procedure was tardy.

Earlier during the day, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court asked the UT Standing Counsel to place on record the Chandigarh Administration’s decision regarding the extension in deadline. The directions were issued in an open court after the counsel said the Administration was considering a grant of extension.

Taking up a petition filed by a former head of Panjab University’s English Department, Prof D.C. Saxena, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, also impleaded Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as a respondent in the case. The Judges also fixed July 22 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

Professor Saxena, was seeking directions to the Chandigarh Administration against implementing the reported notification regarding the change of address in the registration certificates.

In his petition, Dr Saxena had also sought directions to the Administration for formulating a practicable and a humane scheme for implementing the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act without causing harassment to the citizens. He had pleaded that an interim stay should be granted in the matter so that the residents could get the addresses changed without facing inconvenience.

Terming the notification “illegal”, the petitioner had added that a fee of Rs 220, already charged from motor vehicle owners, should be refunded. 


BJP goes into election mode
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, today set the BJP’s poll agenda for next year’s parliamentary elections and declared that the party would seek a fresh mandate on the basis of its performance on the twin issues of development and security of the country.

Inaugurating a three-day training camp of the BJP MLAs from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J and K and Uttranchal here, Mr Advani asserted that the BJP’s performance on the developmental and security fronts had been outstanding. He had no doubt in his mind that people would “once again repose faith in the party under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and who would continue to lead us for years to come”.

Mr Advani said: “We will tell the people: don’t judge us by our promises; judge us on the basis of our performance. Under the BJP-led government at the Centre, the country has been propelled from an era of scarcity to an era of abundance”.

As regards the country’s security, Mr Advani said that the BJP had fulfilled its promise of India going nuclear within a few of months of coming to power at the Centre four years ago.

Mr Advani also made a reference to the proxy war launched against India by its neighbour and said it would not succeeded just as its open wars against India had failed in the past .

The Deputy Prime Minister also traced the history of the birth and growth of the BJP as a political party and said that over the years the country had moved from a single party rule to a bipolar polity which was very good for the democratic setup in the country.

The camp is being attended by 42 of the 45 MLAs who were scheduled to attend it. Those who attended the session included Mr I.D. Swami, Union Minister of State for Home, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, and Mr Bhagat Singh Koshiari, former Chief Minister of Uttranchal.

Earlier, Mr Satyapal Jain, former local MP, Mr Yashpal Jain, President of the Chandigarh BJP, which is hosting the session, Mr Dhumal and Mr Om Prakash Dhankar, Secretary of the party, also spoke.


Advani discusses demolitions with Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The reported misunderstanding between Minister of State for Home I. D. Swami and the Chandigarh Administration over the issue of the ongoing demolition drive is believed to have come up for discussion when Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani and Mr Swami today met the UT Administrator, Justice O. P. Verma.

Sources in the BJP said following the talks between the Administrator, Mr Advani and Mr Swami over the lunch in the Punjab Raj Bhavan, Mr Advani is told to have assured the BJP colony cell president, Mr Meghraj, and his colleagues that there was no need of worrying.

Mr I.D. Swami had also told the delegation and local BJP leaders that the announcement he made still held good as the Chandigarh Administration had clarified that the press release issued in contradiction of his announcement was inadvertently sent.

Municipal Corporation Employees’ Union President Ajit Singh today claimed that Mr Advani had assured a delegation of employees that a bill would be brought in the coming session of Parliament to meet their demands. The delegation handed over a charter of its demands to Mr Advani.

Mr Ajit Singh also claimed that the Home Minister had also assured the delegation that the issue of bringing back the employees of Chandigarh under the Central Service Rules withdrawn through a notification on January 13, 1992.

The Trader Cell of the BJP led by Purushottam Mahajan in a memorandum submitted to the Home Minister asked him to defer the November 7 Rent Act and had demanded formation of a committee to bring out a balanced Rent Act accommodating views of all sections of society.

In a separate memorandum, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal had also made a similar demand asking for deferring the November 7, 2002 notification.

Former Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab Director General of Police P.C. Dogra-led Sanskritik Gaurav Sansthan while presenting its memorandum to the Deputy Prime Minister asked him to enact a law to ban conversions through allurement, force, fraud and coercion.

Mr Dogra-led organisation cited the example of alleged conversion of Dalits in the city in a Valmiki temple on April 14, 2003 in a “fraudulent manner”. Mr Dogra said a fact finding committee had found that the conversions were in a “fraudulent manner”.

The Deputy Prime Minister accompanied by his deputy I. D. Swamy reached the Technical airport through an Air Force aircraft at around 1 pm.

The Deputy Prime Minister went back to Delhi by the same aircraft at around 6.30 pm after inaugurating a three-day training camp for 42 party MLAs from Uttaranchal, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir.


Car on Advani’s route bursts into flames
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A car bearing the registration number HR-26G-2561 burst into flames due to a suspected short circuit near Hallo Majra on the route of Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani minutes after the cavalcade of the VIP passed from the Technical Airport to the Punjab Raj Bhavan.

However, the fire in the car did not affect the cavalcade of the Deputy Prime Minister as this car was allowed to come on the protected route only after Mr Advani’s convoy had left. The car suffered a heavy damage, the Fire Department said.

Car driver Ashok Jain jumped out of the car. He was returning after getting the vehicle serviced when it caught fire.

He said the Ceilo had stopped a couple of times before it caught fire. The fire was noticed when he used the ignition to start the car when it stopped midway.

The fire was controlled by a fire engine called from the Ram Darbar fire station.

The employer of the driver, Mr Charanjit Singh, said the car belonged to his uncle and he had only sent his driver to the service station.

In another fire incident, 75 per cent of a house was burnt in Sector 22C. The cause of the fire is not known.

A tenant in the house (2389, Sector 22C), Ms Shanti Devi, lost a double bed, a carpet, a fridge, some clothes, five suitcases full of house-hold material and windows worth around Rs 50,000.

Firemen prevented a disaster by pulling out the cooking gas cylinders safely from the fire-hit house. Two fire brigade vehicles were employed to control the fire.


Delhi man murdered in city hotel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The body of the executive director of a Delhi-based private security agency, Group 4 Securitas Guarding Ltd, Mandiv Sapra, was found in a room in Mount View in Sector 10 here this morning. The deceased, believed to be in his early 40s, had checked in to the hotel last evening along with his wife, Ms Swapna, a doctor with Escorts Hospital, Delhi.

The police suspects that he died after his throat was punctured with a sharp-edged weapon. Two deep wounds were found on the neck, believed to have been inflicted with a scissor or a broken bottle. His wife who was found lying in a semi-conscious state in the bathtub with a scarf around her neck, has been admitted to the PGI where the police has recorded her statement.

Dr Swapna in her statement said she did know anything about the murder as she had been given an injection by a doctor after she had complained of dysentery. She said she had opposed the injection, but she was forcibly given it, leaving her “unconscious.” The doctor was called last night by Mandiv Sapra. A night guard in the hotel lobby had heard shrieks of a woman in the morning.

The police has taken her blood samples.

The murder came to light when a local client of the deceased, Col Mann, who was scheduled to meet him at 10 am came to the hotel. Where there was no response on the intercom, he alerted the hotel staff and the room was opened with a master key. The body was lying in a pool of blood and there were signs of a scuffle. A suit case found opened.

Teams of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory(CFSL) has lifted finger prints from two half-full glasses of whisky and other objects in the room. An ashtray and a bottle of soda were found broken. His wife had injuries on her arm, which she said were a result of her resistance to the injection.

The police is probing the angle of a third person being involved in the murder. A photo-identity card and two mobile phones have been seized from the room. The police has registered a case of murder on the statement by Mr Sunil Kumar, Guest Relations Manager, CITCO.

The autopsy will be conducted at the Sector 16 General Hospital tomorrow after the arrival of the family of the deceased from Delhi. The couple has a 12-year-old son.

Dr Swapna has been admitted to the PGI.


Hotel murder befuddles cops
Tribune News Service

Points needed to be probed

* Mobile calls made and received on the mobile hand set (s) of the couple

* Any evidence found in the car in which the couple came to the hotel.

* Any entry of the "mystery doctor" in the record of the hotel or any witness to the entry of the stranger to the room

* Finger prints on the glasses of whisky and on the broken bottle of soda

* The third assailant, if the statement of the wife of the deceased is to be believed

* Anything unusual activity seen by the waiter who served cold drink at 2.30 am. Did the waiter see anyone drinking liquor at that time.

* Did the assailant physically molested the wife of the deceased.

* Was the couple under the influence of liquor .

* Any traces of forced entry in to the room.

* Outcome of the blood and urine sample of the wife of the deceased could hold the key to the murder mystery

Chandigarh, July 11
As the Chandigarh Police investigating the murder of Mr Mandiv Sapra, Executive Director of a Delhi-based private security agency, claimed to be groping in the dark, several questions about the motive of the crime remain unanswered. Mr Sapra, believed to be in his early forties, was found dead with two deep wounds on his neck — apparently made with a “surgical” scissor or by a broken piece of a glass bottle. He died early this morning, suspects the police.

Intriguingly, the wife of the deceased was found with a dupatta around her neck. It appeared that she was attempting a suicide. Investigations reveal that there is more to the case.

Circumstantial evidence reconstructed by TNS indicates that it was a planned murder and an effort was made by the assailant (s), believed to be from medical background, to destroy the evidence. Inquiries at the hotel reveal that the couple after checking in the room (no.344), had a tiff over some issue and their argument continued till late in the night. Some guests occupying other rooms on the same floor are reported to have told the police that they heard someone arguing loudly in the room. An employee in the room service wing of the hotel, who had gone to serve cold drinks at about 2.30 am, did not notice anything unusual, said sources in the hotel.

According to the police, a local client who was scheduled to meet Mr Sapra around 10 am came to the hotel. When Mr Sapra did not respond on the intercom, the visitor contacted the hotel reception, following which the murder was noticed. Inquiries reveal that security man who was on duty at the third floor said he heard shrieks coming from the room in the morning and informed the room service staff. An official at the reception was called and the room was opened with a master key.

While Sapra was found dead on the floor, his wife was found in a semi-conscious state in a bathtub. A mobile, believed to be owned by the woman, Sapna, was found submerged in the bathtub. An unconfirmed report said another mobile, believed to be owned by Mr Sapra, was found in the room. The woman was found wearing a pyjama and T-shirt and her undergarments were found in a dustbin in the room.

The woman in her statement given to the police said she was forcibly given an injection for dysentery. But the injury marks found on one of her arms did not match with the injury left by an injection.

A team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), which picked up fingerprints from different objects in the room, also examined the wound on the arm of the wife of the deceased. Sources in the CFSL said the injury appeared to be “self inflicted”.

The theory of a “mystery doctor” coming to the room and two half-full glasses of whisky found on a table along with a half empty bottle of an IMFL, a broken ash tray and littered groundnuts indicate that a scuffle did take place.” Apparently the victim was heavily drunk and could not resist the attack by the assailant for long,” said a police official. 


World Population Day
People outnumber facilities in city
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, July 11
Statistics say it all. In Chandigarh, the population has astronomically increased from 2,57,251 in 1971 to 9,00,914 in 2001, but the facilities have more or less remained the same.

Though the pressure on the infrastructure has greatly increased with more and more people immigrating to the city, besides natural growth of population, little has been done to take care of their needs.

It may sound incredible, but it is true. In 20 years, Chandigarh has added over 50 per cent to its population. The density of population has also increased from 5,631 in 1991 to 7903 in 2001.

The reason behind the phenomenal increase is there for all to see. Every year, over 20,000 births are registered in the city. Over 500 families settle down in Chandigarh every year from all over the region. But adequate facilities for the residents are still lacking.

Yes, it is true that the authorities have been widening the roads “five feet here and five feet there” as everyday over 70 to 80 vehicles are registered in the city, but concrete steps are missing.

In case you are having doubts about it, read this. In 1998-99, the consumption of water was 52,27,262 units. It increased to 5943761 units in 2001. Even the number of connections increased from 82,184 to 1,20,000 in the same period. Though there are six water works in Sectors 39, 36, 32 and12, besides two in Mani Majra, Chandigarh is suffering from water shortage. At present the requirement of water in summer is 90 mgd, while the water supply is just 65 mgd.

If this is not enough for you to take the problem seriously on the occasion of World Population Day, read further. The number of educational institutes run by the government have remained more or less the same. There were and are just four government colleges in the city.

This is not all. In 1999, the number of medical institutes in the city were 48. Only one institute was added to the list till 2001. As far as the government schools are concerned, the parents and the students have a reason to rejoice. As many as 50 new schools have been added to the list. The number of seats have also increased four times. The number of private schools have also increased.

Population experts in the city, nevertheless, insist that if steps are not taken to arrest the population and provide adequate facilities to the residents, Chandigarh will have a tough time in the near future. They add that if “something is not done fast”, the nature will check the increase “which would be very painful”.

Giving details, the experts say that the “natural way” of containing population would include breaking of epidemics and malnutrition particularly amidst the colony and slum-dwellers. Awareness is the only answer, they assert.


Local chapter of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) observed the World Population day today on the theme, “Adolescent rights to health, information and services”, at Youth Hostel this morning.

As many as 72 volunteers and staff participated in the workshop. The adolescents were from rural and slum areas, studying in the government schools and colleges of Panchkula. The aim of the workshop was to train a group of peer educators to work in their villages / areas and impart adolescent health education and information to youth.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, Director, Institute of Stress Management and Research, gave a presentation on teenage stress. He said common stress faced by teenagers were physical changes, sexuality, search for identity etc. He also outlined the points how parents could help their stressed adolescent children.

An interactive session was also conducted in which various queries about communication problem with parents, discrimination between girls and boys and concentration problems. A film on adolescents “Kasba” was also shown to the participants. A rangoli competition was also organised and 15 girls participated in the same.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Ms Pushpa Khanna, president of the FPAI, and Ms Usha Singla, honorary secretary.


Civil Surgeon Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia today said there was an urgent need to bring the population growth in Punjab to the replacement level from the present 2.1 per cent annual increase.

Speaking at a seminar organised to mark the World Population Day, Dr Walia said a massive awareness programme was being undertaken in the district. She said besides creating awareness on the need for having less children, health workers were also instilling knowledge of how smaller families meant healthier families in the rural areas.

Meanwhile, Senior Medical Officers held separate seminars at the block-level in the district in which the adolescent groups were especially sensitised about HIV and AIDS. People were also told to register births and deaths with the birth and death registration authorities in their respective areas.


Illiteracy dubbed root of rising population
Tribune Reporters

Nahan, July 11
The Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, Mr G.R. Musafir at a state-level World Population Day function organised by the Health and Family Welfare Department at Nahan, today called for efforts to control the rising population for improving the general standard of living and optimum utilisation of the available recourses.

The Deputy Director Health, Dr V.K. Chopra, also spoke on the occasion. Earlier, an ‘Anti-Population Rally’ of schoolchildren was flagged off by Mr Subhash Klsotra, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Sirmour. The students carrying banners against the growing population went around the town and , later, reached Zila Parishad Hall, the venue of today’s function.

BILASPUR: The Department of Health and Family Welfare organised a district-level function on World Population Day today in Government Senior Secondary School in Kothipura near here, in which, hundreds of schoolchildren, farmers and Panchayat representatives participated.

At the function, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr B.C. Kapoor, urged villagers to adopt the small-family norm to help, India control its population. He also talked about the importance of registering births and deaths.

A ‘Health Guidance Camp’ was also organised on this occasion and the children participated in declamation and poster in painting contests on the subject. The Nehru Yuva Kendra organised two seminars on this day — one at Jhandutta and another at Ghumarwin.

FATEHABAD: The Deputy Commissioner, Dr R.B. Langyan, today stressed the need for registering births and deaths as it was the basis for all development and welfare schemes. He was speaking at a meeting in the Mini Secretariat on World Population Day today. Many other government officials, representatives of the NGOs, social organisations and members of the local unit of the Indian Medical Association attended the meeting.

The DC urged school authorities to ask guardians of students to bring their birth certificates at the time of admissions. He attributed illiteracy as the reason for the failure of the people to register births and deaths and said Fatehabad district had the lowest literacy rate in Haryana.

HOSHIARPUR: Dr Y.C. Markan, Civil Surgeon Hoshiarpur, said here today that, if the increasing population was not checked, life would become difficult. At a seminar organised jointly by the Shri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Nursing and District Health Department on the eve of World Population Day here yesterday, he also said India was the first to adopt a family welfare programme, but still far from achieving its targets. He said it was difficult to control the population without the help of the youth.

Dr S.K. Sharma, District Health Officer, stressed the need for registering births and deaths, and Dr Ajay Bagga, head of the School Health Programme, said nearly 70,000 teenaged girls were being forced to enter marriage every day in the world.

SANGRUR: The Punjab Government should set up a population control commission on the pattern of a similar Central Government panel by nominating members of voluntary and non-government organisations, besides officials, on it. Besides, village-level population-control committees should also be set up in the state.

These demands were raised in a memorandum submitted to the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner on World Population Day today by Prof Udey Partap Singh, chairman of the Punjab Population Control Committee, an NGO. Dr Surinder Singla, a member of the Central Council of Indian Medical Association (IMA) today urged all political parties to debar members having more than two children from contesting any election and holding any party office. Incentives like tax rebates should be given to government employees sticking to the one-child norm.

YUMUNANAGAR: Focussing on adolescents right to health, information and services for development and empowerment, a World Population Day Health mela for the youth was organised by the Family Planning Association of India (Yamunanagar Branch) in Government Girls High School of Bilaspur near Yamunanagar today. At the mela, 103 women received ante-natal care and treatment for minor ailments.

The anganwari workers assisted in arranging the mela.


Secular forces ‘weakening’ against communalism
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Eradication of poverty, unemployment, regional imbalance, economic and social disparity and price rise have been pushed out of the agenda of political parties to let communalism, casteism and corruption threaten national integrity.

This was stated here today by former Union Minister and All-India Congress Committee secretary Subodh Kant Sahai at a seminar on “Communalism, Casteism and Corruption” organised by the Rashtriya Ekta Abhiyan (REA), led by Mr Sahai.

A Socialist-turned-Congressman, Mr Sahai said surprisingly a few leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Laloo Yadav were fighting communalism through another evil, casteism, only to strengthen it.

Mr Sahai said Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani was trying to plunge the entire country into an atmosphere of hatred that he felt for a particular community.

The Congress leader said the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Ms Mayawati, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and the BJP had pushed the largest state of the country into such a position in which the fall of the Mayawati government might lead to a caste war in the state.

The seminar was attended by activists of the REA from Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The former Union Minister, who has been involved in negotiations between the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee during the V.P. Singh, Chandrashekhar and Narasimha Rao regimes, said the biggest threat to the country was the “contrived legitimacy of majority communalism and a weakening response of the secular forces against the BJP, the VHP, the Shiv Sena and the RSS”.

Warning the country against inaction against communalism, Mr Sahai said the Hindutva forces were trying to create a facade of secularism to subvert the Directive Principles of the Constitution and replace secularism with a Hindu Rashtra.

He said the hardliners from both communities were strengthening those of the other community.

Going into the genesis of the source of strength of the communal forces, Mr Sahai said the centrist forces had been treating the minorities as vote banks and had failed to provide them security and employment.

The secretary of the Sadbhawna Ke Sipahi, led by Sunil Dutt, Dr Shakeel Ahmed Khan, convener of the seminar, Mr Subhash Kataria, social worker and Congress leader Shreshtha Mehta, Mr Rakesh Pant, Mr Kripal Singh Ojla, Hind Mazdoor Sabha leader D.D. Nagpal and a teacher, Ms Rakesh Sachdeva, also addressed the seminar.


7 villages cut off as bridge collapses
Tribune News Service

Manoli (SAS Nagar), July 11
Over 6,000 persons living in seven villages beyond Manoli village here were cut off from the rest of the subdivision when the 12-foot wide bridge over the choe crossing through the village collapsed last night. A large part of the bridge had started crumbling two days ago following overflow of the Sukhna rivulet which passes through the village carrying with it Chandigarh’s sewerage.

The bridge connected Mohali township with these villages and although reconstruction of the bridge began on a war-footing following the visit of the local MLA this morning, the bridge will become functional earliest by tomorrow evening.

According to the PWD head, who also reached the spot, the water had flown over the bridge as the pipes under the bridge were choked. A junior engineer of the Chandigarh circle Public Works Department ‘s drainage wing was recommended to be suspended by the MLA for negligence of duty.

‘‘It is clear that the collapse could have been avoided had the PWD and drainage men been doing their routine maintenance work properly. Despite meetings at the district level for flood preparedness, the field staff seems to be taking things lightly,’’ said Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

More than 250 girl students who use the bridge to reach the only senior secondary school in this village did not come to school. Villagers were seen wading through knee-deep sewerage at a narrow stretch of the choe trying to cross over from the other side.

Manoli village is now divided into two parts due to the fall of the bridge. Villagers who usually take their cow and goat herds across the village had to cross the sewerage along with their herds and reach the other end. For cars, trucks, buses and two-wheelers the only way of crossing across this part of the township to the other is a 10- km road stretch which goes around the cluster of these villages. Before the road becomes functional by tomorrow evening, no carriage on vehicles is possible from Manoli to the villages on the other side which include Matran, Saini Majra, Bakarpur, Wari, Patton, Siau, Premgarh and Manakpur Kalan.

Villagers told TNS that this was the second time that the bridge had collapsed in two years. They said the bridge, built in 1993, was located at the confluence of two separate rivulets coming from the opposite sides, including the one which carried tonnes of sewerage from Chandigarh. ‘‘The bridge is important and needs to be maintained assiduously. But no one seems to bother,’’said Mr Jaswant Singh Baggi, a resident. ‘‘The bridge has been on the verge of collapse for sometime now. Flooding of the choe that flows under it is very common.

There are times during the monsoons when three feet of water inundates the bridge. We have had instances of small children having been washed away in such floods,’’said Mr Harinderjit Singh Gogi, another resident.

The MLA also said that Rs 2 crore had been sanctioned for the construction of a permanent bridge here. ‘‘This is, in fact, one of the biggest projects here in Kharar. The foundation stone of the bridge should be laid by the end of next month as all other procedures have now been completed. The new bridge should be functional in another six months after that,’’said Mr Bir Devinder Singh.


SAS Nagar Diary
190 stray, pet dogs vaccinated
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 7
The Society for Prevention Cruelty to Animals organised a free anti-rabies camp for dogs on the occasion of World Zoonosis Day at Phase XI here. Over 190 stray and pet dogs were vaccinated against rabies.

The day is marked to make people aware regarding an infectious disease that can be transmitted to man by dog, its cure and prevention. Among all rabies is the most lethal disease which is caused by canine bite and its exposure to human being is maximum.

Dr Kanwarjit Singh, general secretary of the society said that SPCA was concerned about the rise in dog bite cases by stray dogs in Mohali. The society is also in touch with research workers and are trying to find cheap and good methods of sterilisation of dogs so that the population of stray dogs can be controlled. Dr R.M. Sharma, president of the society, appealed that the Municipal Council should come forward and take interest in this problem. The team of veterinarians who conducted the camp comprised of Dr Ram Singh, Dr Alamdeep, Dr Rupinder Kaur and Dr Kanwarjit Singh.

Summer workshop

The 22-day-long summer workshop pithu garam ended here this week. On the valedictory day of the camp, a booklet comprising of writings and poems of the children who participated in the camp was released.

The ceremony of the last day was aptly called pher milange in which every child participated. The children sung the camp theme song conducted by Anil Sharma. One act plays were also enacted by the children under guidance of Kulbir Kaur. Harpreet Virk, director of the workshop presented the play Gubaare based on a story by Dr Atamjit Singh.

The booklet ‘Main Sirf ik naam nahin’ was released by Gursharan Singh at the end of the function. The participants were also given certificates by Mr Gursharan Singh. Organised at Sarang-Lok, Phase XI, here, the workshop was conducted under the guidance of Dr Rama Rattan. 


Mr Surjit Singh Mann, Mr Harinder Singh and Mr Sohan Singh Sood have been chosen as senior vice presidents of the gurdwara coordination committee here. While Mr Darshan Singh Kalsi, Mr Naripjit Singh, Mr Joginder Singh and Mr Balbir Singh Sandhu will be the vice presidents, Mr Tarlochan Singh Loch has been chosen as the General Secretary. Mr Joginder Singh Kang and Mr Kabal Singh will be the secretaries while Mr Nirmal Singh will be the cashier.


MC nod to adopt sanitation, public health bylaws
Our Correspondent

No maintenance work at Mohali

Mr Birdevinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Kharar MLA, who attended the council meeting today, said no proper maintenance work was being carried out in the town by the civic body. The sanitation aspect was in a state of neglect, pruning of the plants on the centre verges was not being done and there was no accountability. He said roads had potholes which often led to accidents. He suggested that the work should be done on a war-footing after an area-wise allocation of work was done among the JEs. Reacting to this the council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, said he did not agree with Mr Birdevinder Singh that no work was being done by the council though there were certain shortcoming here and there. The MLA, however, suggested to the president to get used to criticism.

SAS Nagar, July 11
It is time for persons creating unhygienic conditions at public places to mend their ways failing which they will have to pay fines as the general house of the municipal council has cleared a proposal to adopt the Punjab Municipal (Sanitation and Public Health) bylaws 2003 at its meeting held here today.

The house wanted an early implementation of the bylaws but the Executive Officer of the civic body, Mr Harbhagwan Garg, said first the council would have to invite objections from the public in this regard and one month’s time would be given for that. The objections forwarded by the public would then be presented in the house for discussion.

The bylaws prohibit, among other things, defecating, urinating or spitting at public places. Depositing garbage or waste material in the service lanes, parks or roads, spreading water on roads after washing vehicles, depositing of cattle dung in public places and scattering of paper, cigarette ends and handbills in public places. Whoever contravenes any provision of the bylaws will have to pay fines up to Rs 1,000.

The house also cleared a proposal to sent the garbage of the town to the garbage treatment plant being set up at Chandigarh in collaboration with an American company. The daily capacity of the plant will be 500 tonnes. As the daily availability of garbage in the Union Territory is less than the capacity of the plant, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has approached the council for sending the garbage of the town there. The authorities here felt that such a step would prove beneficial as the problem of hunting for a dumping ground, which the council has been facing over the years, would be sorted out.

The proposal to adjust the payment of Rs 1,64,62,915 made by the Department of Local Government, Punjab to PUDA for the land allotted to it in Sector 62 here for constructing a Municipal Bhawan against the payment to be made by the local civic body to PUDA for land allotted to the council in Sector 68 for its office building was cleared. The department had deposited Rs 1,58,64,480 with PUDA for the plot measuring about 3 acre and spent Rs 5,98,435 for constructing a boundary wall here. The council will request the Director, Local Government, to adjust the above amount in the additional excise duty pending with the government.

The council has decided to provide the facility of sulabh toilets free of cost to residents of Matour village as the civic body had not laid sewerage pipelines in the area. The Sulabh International Social Service had written to the council that residents of Matour village were not paying their monthly charges for using the toilets.

The other items cleared by he house include purchase of insecticide for using the garbage collection points at a cost of Rs 50,000, purchase of 30 garbage containers at a cost of Rs 8,55,000, installation of traffic signals at the junction of Sectors 64 and 65 at a cost of Rs 4.95 lakh.


Expert warns of falling farm yields
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Magsaysay awardee environmentalist Rajendra Singh, who is known for his water harvesting efforts in Rajasthan, has warned that the present water management policy has failed to check the depletion of water. This had led to increase in salinity and soil pollution.

While talking to TNS, Dr Rajendra Singh expressed his concern over the falling water tables in most states, including Punjab, that had reduced the supply of water for irrigation.

He was in the city to deliver a lecture on ‘Water Resource Management’ at a seminar organised by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) in collaboration with ‘Kheti Virasat’, an NGO.

“If over-pumping continues, yields will decrease and areas that rely heavily on over-drafted water could be lost from production entirely”, he said. “We need to work hard to increase the productivity of water through efficient conservation and management of water resources”, he said. He stressed upon the need for improving the technology for groundwater management and integrated watershed management.

He also opposed the handing over of natural resources to multinational companies and feared that the country would soon lose its freedom if the government continued with this policy.

Dr Rajendra Singh said that natural resources belong to the public and not to any government or multinational company. “Selling of river waters to private companies is against the rights of the people of our country. Such experiments done in Orissa and Kerala have failed to deliver”, he added. He said that with sufficient water control, it was possible to utilise water more productively on farm. Deficit irrigation was aimed at increasing productivity per unit of water by irrigation strategies that do not meet full evaporative requirements.

Excess rainwater collected behind check dams, surface ponds or percolation tanks could be efficiently utilised for recharging groundwater through recharge tubewells, Dr Rajendra Singh said. Upper catchment and foothill regions of several states provide the greatest scope for rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge because of favourable hydrological formations and surplus runoff, he added.

He said that irrigation, supplementing rainfall, could improve the productivity of water when a limited supply of water was made available to crops at critical periods. “The paddy crop provides a great potential for storage of rainfall. The increase in rainfall conservation in paddy fields results in reduction in irrigation water applied and increased in groundwater recharge”, he said.

The government should frame policies for water management with maximum participation of the local people. The local people should be given all rights on their water — from conservation to distribution — among themselves. Efforts should be made for cooperation among the landless and the landlords so as to avoid any future controversy or dispute over the rights.

He also opposed linking of rivers and said that it would affect the water resources and the environment. He said that the Supreme Court had not recommended linking of rivers. It had only directed that a permanent solution for the water problem should be chalked out.


One doc appears for Rs 700 job
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
Poor remuneration offered by the state Health Department for the posts of house surgeon has put off doctors with one candidate appearing in the interview at the office of the Civil Surgeon today.

The Health Department, through the Haryana State Employment Exchange had given call letters to 15 doctors for interviews, promising them a salary of just Rs 700 per month. The minimum qualification is MBBS. The selected house surgeons are to be posted in the General Hospital here and they would be required to put in 10-hour work shifts.

Doctors who received the call letter, on the condition of anonymity, said even Class IV employees get more salary.

A house surgeon gets Rs 9,400 per month in Chandigarh and Rs 8,700 in Haryana. The salary offered by the Health Department is less than the minimum wages for unskilled labour. Under the labour laws, the minimum wages paid to a labourer is about Rs 3,000 per month and even daily wage labourers get about Rs 75 a day.

Seeing the poor response for the jobs, primarily because of the poor salary, local health officials have now written to the state government to increase the honorarium and bring it on a par with that at the PGI, Rohtak.

The sole candidate, who appeared for the interview today, has filed an application, demanding that the honorarium be hiked. The candidate, who has done house job at the PGI, Rohtak, for the past six months said that the honorarium paid there was Rs 8,700 per month.


Fighting battle for disability pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Exchanging shots with the Pakistani troops in 1965, Captain Pokh Raj lost his power to hear. Soon after the incident, the defence authorities turned a deaf ear to his plight.

Thirtythree years and three writ petitions later, he is still struggling for his rights. Till date, the authorities have not given him full disability pension. Instead of weighing his entire service period — from the date of commission till discharge — the authorities took into consideration the service rendered by ex-Captain Raj till “he attained disability”.

Full of life and enthusiasm, Captain Raj had joined the Artillery Regiment way back in January, 1953. After serving in the ranks, he was granted emergency commission in 1964. A year later, his ear drums were damaged in a blast during the Indo-Pak operation. He was invalidated and out of service on July 15, 1970.

His misery did not end here. After fighting for the country’s honour, Captain Raj began struggling for his rights. His disability was declared “attributable to Army service”, but was granted disability pension only after he filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court way back in 1973.

The pension was, however, less than his entitlement as the entire service period was not taken into account. Representations after representations fell on deaf ears forcing him to move the High Court once again.

Taking up his petition, the court directed the authorities to decide his plea on the basis of a similar case. Nevertheless, the respondents rejected his representation once again.

Captain Raj refused to surrender. He filed another writ petition which was admitted by the court, but remained pending for quite some time before being referred to the Lok Adalat.

Allowing the petition in April 2002, the adalat asked the authorities to grant him the due benefit within three months. The adalat also ordered the payment of 12 per cent interest from the date of retirement till the payment. The order was posted to the authorities, but nothing was done.

Disheartened, but not dejected, he has now issued a notice to the Secretary in the Union Ministry of Defence in New Delhi, besides the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts at Allahabad.

Pleading on his behalf, Chairman of the All India Ex-servicemen Association Bhim Sen Sehgal has now asked the authorities to implement the Adalat orders, besides the payment of Rs 50,000 as damages for “inconvenience and harassment”.

He has concluded: “The petitioner is over 70 years old and has become 100 per cent disabled due to deafness resulting from a blast during a gun battle. He participated in two aggressions, but his matter has been hanging fire for the last 33 years. His whole life has been jeopardised.... As such, he should be granted the relief within a month failing which he would be forced to move the Court once again....” 


Don’t give natural resources to MNCs, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
If the government continues with its ‘flawed’ policy on water management, the groundwater reserves will get depleted in large areas of the country. And the salinisation of the soil, compounded in many cases by increasingly saline or ‘poisoned’ (chemically polluted) groundwater, will seriously affect land that has been highly productive in recent decades.

Talking to TNS, Dr Rajendra Singh, a Magasaysay award winner for his work on water management in Rajasthan, expressed concern over the falling watertable in most of the states, including Punjab, that has reduced the supply of water for irrigation. He was in the city to deliver a lecture on ‘Water Resource Management’ at a seminar organised by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) in collaboration with Kheti Virasat, an NGO.

“If over-pumping continues, yields will decrease and areas that rely heavily on over-drafted water could be lost from production entirely,” he said.

He also opposed the handing over of natural resources to multi-national companies and feared that the country would soon lose freedom if the government continued with this policy.

Dr Rajendra Singh said natural resources belong to the public and not to any government or multi-national company. “The selling of river waters to private companies is against the rights of the people of our country”, he added.

He said with water control, it was possible to utilise the water more productively on farms. Deficit irrigation was aimed at increasing the productivity per unit of water by irrigation strategies that do not meet full evaporative requirements. He said irrigation, supplementing rainfall, could improve the productivity of water when a limited supply of water was made available to crops at critical periods.

The government should frame policies for water management with the maximum participation of local people. The local people should be given all rights on their water — from conservation to distribution among themselves. Efforts should be made for cooperation among the landless and the landlords to avoid any controversy or dispute over the rights. He said, “Social equality, sensitivity of the issue and equitable distribution of water look in accordance with the local social order”, he further said.

Opposing the linking of rivers, he said that it would affect the water resources and environment. He said that the Supreme Court had not recommended linking of rivers. It had only directed that a permanent solution for the water problem be chalked out.


Roads, parks to go to MC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 11
Various parks, community centres and maintenance of roads will be transferred to the Municipal Council by the Haryana Urban Development Authority within a week.

This was announced by the president of the council, Mrs Seema Chaudhary, while addressing a press conference here yesterday. She said that a meeting between the two bodies was scheduled for next week where the formal transfer would be done.

She said that all these works would be privatised and tenders invited for contacting out these works. She also said that subcommittees on finance, sanitation and building works would be formulated at the next Municipal Council meeting.

Mrs Chaudhary and the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Mr O.P. Sihag, denied there was any bunglings in the allotment of tenders for sanitation and streetlight maintenance as alleged by the local MLA, Mr Chander Mohan. They also showed copies of the advertisement placed in various newspapers for inviting tenders so as to validate their claims.


AIATF protest against Lahore bus service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The local unit of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) today protested against the resumption of bus service to Pakistan, in Sector 17 here today.

Activists of the AIATF protested by displaying the dummy of a snake with Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf’s head being offered milk by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Raising slogans against the resumption of the bus service between India and Pakistan, the activists of the AIATF termed the resumption of bus service as a cruel joke on the people of India.

They alleged that the BJP-led Union Government was adopting an ad hoc policy on Pakistan to suit its own ends. “Since Pakistan has used all types of international forums to project the Kashmir issue amidst continued infiltration of terrorists from across the border, there was no point to resume the bus service keeping the national policy at stake,” said members of the AIATF. The AIATF asked the Union Government to stop dancing to the tune of US pressure and adopt a realistic policy in dealing with Pakistan. The Pakistan-sponsored infiltrations need to be crushed with a firm hand, they asserted.


Admn steps up vigil against vendors
Sale of substandard food items
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, July 11
In just over a fortnight after Cholera was first reported in the city, the UT Health Department is getting in touch with their counterparts in the states of Punjab and Haryana for checking the sale of sub-standard food items in the city.

The development is significant as, according to the sources in the Health Department, sub-standard products, including ice-creams and aerated drinks sealed in banta bottles, from the neighbouring cities were being flooded in the city.

The authorities in the other states were being requested to come down heavily on the manufacturers of adulterated and sub-standard stuff so that action could be effectively taken, the sources added. A meeting between the heads of the departments was likely to be convened in near future to discuss the issue, sources said.

The sources asserted that poor quality products from Baltana and Zirakpur were being sold in the city markets after the authorities launched a massive drive to check the conditions under which these were being manufactured in Chandigarh. The manufacturers in the city were facing a tough time as the conditions for the issuance of licenses had been made stringent.

The products, the sources revealed, could be banned after issuing a notification under the Epidemic Diseases Act. Even though nine “banta” and four ice cream brands were banned in 2002, prohibitory orders were not passed against any brand this year. However, strict vigil was being maintained regarding the condition in which these were being prepared.

The authorities have, meanwhile, launched another drive against vendors selling cut fruits and other items outside the city schools — both private and government.

As many as 18 sectors have so far been covered in the campaign carried out with the assistance of special teams by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Wing of the Health Department.

Over 150 kgs of food stuff, including locally manufactured ice creams and banta bottles, had been destroyed during the raids. Action had also been taken against vendors selling kulcha-channa on cycles in front of the schools.

This was not all. Essential utensils used by the vendors for selling their stuff have also been taken into custody for discouraging them from carrying out the business.

The drive, the sources asserted, would go a long way in checking the spread of cholera and other water-borne diseases as some of the vendors, residing in insanitary conditions, were offering unhygienic stuff to the gullable students. Ignorant about the health hazards, the students, prone to infection, were consuming the stuff before falling ill.

The sources added that the drive was carried out under the supervision of the Deputy Medical Superintendent, Dr G. Dewan, and Local Health Authority, Dr Satbir Singh.

Confirming the information, Director Health Services C.P. Bansal said action was initiated against the vendors found selling food stuff exposed to dust and flies, besides those carrying the trade without valid licence or violating the conditions laid down by the authorities.

When contacted, Dr Dewan said, ‘’We are also getting in touch with the school authorities. They are being asked to ensure that the students do not consume contaminated articles, exposed to flies and dust, being sold without proper licence. Moreover, the school principals were also being asked to get the canteen premises inspected, besides ensuring against the sale of local drinks or other hand made items’’.


British Council team formalises library expansion plan
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The matter of expansion of the British Library in Chandigarh was formalised today when a high-level team of officials from the British Council visited the city to inspect the prospective site along Madhya Marg in Sector 9. The new library in Sector 9 will have a special full text database which will offer complete information on Britain and its aspects in one go. Remote access facility will also be introduced in the library so that the members don’t have to physically visit the library to access information.

Although final documentation is yet to be done, the officials confirmed that the library premises would be shifted to a new, larger space by November. The need for expansion of the library stems from the fact that the current library set up in Sector 8 is inadequate to meet the rising demand. There are thousands of members waiting to be enrolled not just from Chandigarh but all over the northern region, except Delhi which has its own British Library.

Talking exclusively to Chandigarh Tribune today, Ms Grace Conacher, First Secretary (Resources Management), British Council, admitted that the Chandigarh British Library was the “newest and the fastest-growing British Library in the country”. She said that her visit was meant to look at the operations of the library and also look for possibilities of future expansion. Ms Conacher visited the site in Sector 9 with Mr Andrew Fogden, IT Support Manager, World, for the British Council.

After inspecting the site, Ms Conacher informed: “The IT Support Manager is accompanying me to see how we can develop and extend more advanced IT facilities for the new library complex which will be double the size of the existing one. The new library will be about things other than just an expanded space. We will have about 200 additional books, DVDs, an additional children’s section, a more strengthened cyber centre with 20 terminals in place of the current five and, of course, a cafeteria to add life to the ambience.”

Adding that the response from the region had been tremendous, Ms Conacher said that the only frustration was of not being able to meet the rising demand. “We now have members from Shimla to Ambala and it is time we shifted to accommodate new members,” she said. Mr Andrew Fogden, IT Head, World, added that he was on a trip of South Asia to find out the possibilities of increased IT infrastructure in the British Libraries.

On his maiden visit to Chandigarh today, Mr Fogden said that Chandigarh British Library has tremendous potential, which would be furthered by supplementing academic and others services with IT services.


Selection of company for garbage disposal begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The municipal corporation today decided to restart the process of selecting a private party to dispose of its garbage in an environmentally friendly manner.

A municipal House committee, comprising five of its members, Chief Engineer V. K. Bharadwaj, Joint Commissioner Kulwant Kalsan and Medical Officer Health G. C. Bansal (member secretary), again saw the technical demonstration of the technology by Terrasafe Private Limited.

The company had offered to convert the garbage of the city into electricity. A demonstration had been given to officials earlier also.

The House had asked the committee to give a comparative statement as to which project, converting garbage into electricity or bio-fertiliser would suit the city. The committee had invited another company, Bio-Asia Technologies Private Limited, for giving a demonstration but the company expressed its inability to be available.


Save water

Water has been quenching the thirst of all and satisfying the parched earth. But this elixir which is indeed a fabulous gift from nature is being wasted recklessly. And truly, it is only water that distinguishes a desert from the abode of heaven. It is ironical that when we talk of the latest developments and inventions we tend to neglect the crucial source on which our very survival rests.

The government has implemented grandiose schemes and built dams but the availability of potable water has declined over the years. The mismanagement of water is all too obvious if we consider the fact that droughts and floods are a regular occurrence in our country.

As we face a drought of alarming proportion we tend to bring in a comprehensive analysis of water supply and sanitation. In the nebulous euphoria generated by the new economy we have forgotten the very basis of our life’s existence. The day is not far when man is awakened from his deep slumber to realise his folly and then make endeavours to save the pristine glory of mother earth.

Sumedha Sharma,
Class IX
Sacred Heart Secondary School


1 hurt as scooter collides with bull
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 11
One person was injured when the scooter he was riding collided with a bull in Phase V here this evening.

Mr Narinder Singh (40), a resident of Phase V here, was taken to the Civil Hospital where he was given stitches on his head.


1 dies in accident

SAS Nagar, July 11
A woman was killed when the motor cycle which was being driven by her son skidded near Sohana today. Naseeb Kaur, a local resident, was riding pillion. She was run over by a truck after she fell from the vehicle. The truck driver fled the scene. A case has been registered. OC


Need for ‘mass campaign’ on VAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The new universal taxation system of Value-Added Tax (VAT) will help to unite all states under one pattern of tax system. However, there was a need for a mass campaign on the part of the Union Government and other related organisations to educate the industrialists and traders to convince them about the long-term benefits of VAT.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr K. Shivaram, president of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners (AIFTP), said confusion had been created among the traders before the implementation of VAT.

The government needed to simplify VAT and get it implemented in a uniform fashion in all states. “Initially we have to face certain difficulties but in the long run VAT will be beneficial both to the nation as well as the traders” Mr Shivaram said.

The AIFTP president expressed concern over thousands of amendments made in the tax laws during the past three decades. He suggested that amendments should be made only for giving relief to a assesses. More than 5,000 amendments have been introduced in the tax laws between 1961 and 2003.

He suggested that the procedure laid down for the appointment of members of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) should be followed for the appointment of members of the Settlement Commission and Board to bring in transparency. The Income Tax Act provides that “a person who is a man of integrity and knowledge” can be appointed as a member of the Settlement Commission. However, in the past 27 years, over 100 members have been appointed in the commission but the government has not appointed a single professional as a member, he alleged.

He demanded from the Union Government to implement the Chellia report that had suggested that there had to be accountability in tax administration. Unless accountability was introduced, tax administration would not improve, he said.

In reply to a question, he admitted that there was no transparency in the quasi-judicial functions of tax administration.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajesh Bindal, president of the local unit of the AIFTP said they were organising a two-day seminar on “Building the nation — role of tax professionals” on Saturday and Sunday in the Law Auditorium of Panjab University. “Experts, who are coming from various parts of the nation to take part in the seminar will present seven technical papers on various topics related to income tax, sales tax, VAT, central excise, central sales tax and other issues”, he added. 


PTL staff protest against disinvestment move
Our Correspondent

Attempts to scuttle press conference

Mediapersons who had been invited by union leaders for a press conference at the PTL canteen were asked to leave the venue by Ms Amar Deepika, General Manager (HRD). She said she was apologising on behalf of the union leaders but could not allow a press conference as no prior permission had been taken by union leaders in this regard. She even tried to stop some journalists, who had come late, from entering the canteen. The union leaders, who later addressed newspersons at a shaddy structure outside the factory, said it was unfortunate that they could not meet the Press in the canteen being run by their own company.

SAS Nagar, July 11
Members of the Punjab Tractors Workers Union staged a protest in front of the factory gate here yesterday against the move of the Punjab government to disinvest the company. The protesters raised slogans against the government and the PTL management for putting the jobs of hundreds of employees at stake by making efforts to sell the company to a private party.

The union leaders said earlier they had been holding gate meetings in protest against disinvestment but if the government did not change its stand on the PTL, employees would be compelled to intensify their agitation. They would then stage dharnas, organise gate rallies, block traffic on main roads and even gherao ministers and members of the PTL management as a mark of protest.

Earlier, while addressing newspersons at a press conference, Mr Deep Singh, general secretary of the association, said the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, had stated that the PTL was going through losses which was not correct. Giving figures which showed profits that the PTL had earned over the years, he said, that during 1999-2000, the company had earned a profit of Rs 133 crore, during 2000-2001 the profit was Rs 112 crore, during 2001-2002 the profit was Rs 100 crore and during 2002-2003 the profit was Rs 42.30 crore only.

He said last year a profit of Rs 80 crore to Rs 90 crore was expected but the figures came down, allegedly due to the wrong policies of the management. He alleged that in order to keep their jobs secure, the management had produced tractors much more than the demand. He alleged that about 15,000 tractors which could not be sold were still lying with different dealers. In a number of cases, he alleged, the payment had not reached the company as fake cheques were received to show that the tractors were sold. He further alleged that about Rs 40,000 was being spent on each tractor for changing some parts in order to sell it. At present only 70 tractors were being manufactured each day when the plant capacity was 200, he added.

Mr Hakam Singh Jawanda, vice-president, said that union leaders had been asking the management to implement the general wage agreement which was due on January 1, 2003. For some time the management kept giving assurances that the agreement would be implemented but now they had refused to do so. He said on the one had workers were not being given their dues and on the other hand about 80 to 90 persons of the management had been allegedly given two to three step promotions.

The leaders said a number of senior officials who had retired from the company had been re-employed and were being given high salaries along with other perks.

They said nine private companies including Mahindra & Mahindra, Escorts Ltd, Eicher Tractors, Taffe & Agro, Kirloskar Ltd were interested in purchasing the company. The government had 23.49 per cent share in PTL.


Now cheaper fuel for car — autogas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Car owners in the city can now bid goodbye to the expensive petrol. Indian Oil today launched “autogas” from an outlet in Sector 34. Autogas is liquefied petroleum, the same as used in homes for cooking purposes. It will cost about Rs 18.11 per litre. Petrol costs Rs 30.66 per litre. However, company officials said the mileage on a per kilometre basis will be only marginally lesser than what is available when petrol is used.

The General Manager, Indian Oil, Mr D.P. Vaed, called it as the “alternative fuel” for the millennium while adding that outlets were available in Delhi and soon outlets would be opened in cities and on highways to make autogas available. Till then, Mr Vaed said, it was advisable to have both options of petrol and autogas in the car as petrol may be required in case of emergency and in areas where gas is still not available.

Indian Oil at present does not have an official or approved kit supplier for car manufacturers. Car companies are getting into the business of providing gas conversion kits. Autogas is faster to fill also as compared to CNG.

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