Tuesday, August 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Volleyball player found dead
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 11
A 24-year-old volleyball player was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his house in Phase VII here this evening. According to the police, the deceased, Navdeep Singh, had most likely died of over consumption of alcohol but chances of suicide and murder are not being ruled out.

Navdeep, who belongs to Qasim Bhattian in Faridkot, was living in his uncle’s house here with his cousin Karampal Singh. According to the SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, the two, along with a friend had been drinking before going off to sleep in the wee hours today. While Karampal left for his office early morning, his friend, Gurvinder Singh, woke up at about 3pm and tried waking up Navdeep.

Navdeep did not respond. His body had turned cold. A private practitioner next door, Dr Chawla, was rushed in immediately who declared Navdeep dead. The police contacted the parents of the deceased in Faridkot. Some of Navdeep’s relatives also reached the house on hearing the news.

Navdeep’s cousin, Ajai Pal, doing law at Panjab University said Navdeep was a national level volleyball player and had done his graduation from the SGGS College, Sector 26, Chandigarh. He had failed in one subject and was preparing for the reappear examination. Although the relatives denied that Navdeep was either a heavy smoker or alcoholic, sources in the police, said Navdeep tended to drink heavily and also smoked dope.

A Nepali helper, Aemu, who cooked for Navdeep, reportedly told the police that Navdeep and his friends had returned yesterday from a birthday party of a friend from Khalsa College, who had accompanied them back to their house here. But she left at 7 pm, after which, Navdeep asked for dinner to be cooked and left in the kitchen and dismissed Aemu.

The police informed that although there was no marks of injury on the body, nor prima facie evidence of murder, the possibility of suicide and murder could not be ruled out till the post-mortem report. 


Now file IT returns electronically
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Employers in the city can file their tax deducted at source (TDS) through a compact disc (CD). But individual income tax assessees will have to wait for another year to file returns “electronically”. The city has been chosen as one of the first 17 cities in the country to have the facility of bulk filing of salary returns through employers. Codenamed ‘Suvidha’, the entrepreneurs employing at least 50 persons can avail of the facility.

Mr Vijay Khanna, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, North-West Region, said the electronic filing of returns by corporate houses has become possible due to computer networking of the department.

All the employers have to do was to download the software called ‘Bulk Return Preparation Software’ and transfer the date on a CD. The Commissioner of Income Tax (Computer Operations), Mrs P. Sahi, said under the new facility, an employer would have no interface with the Income Tax Department, either at the time of filing of returns or at the stage of issuing of refunds.

The scheme had also been launched in Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Bangalore, Baroda, Bhopal, Chennai and Delhi.

Sources in the Income Tax Department revealed that individuals not having income from business and profession were eligible under the scheme called ‘e-returns’.

Procedure for filing ‘e-returns’

* The taxpayer can approach an authorised ‘e-return intermediary’ of his choice with details of income and supporting documents.

* The intermediary will transcribe the date on the return of income and transmit it online to the server of the Income Tax Department

* The department will send a provisional receipt online.

* The intermediary will submit the return along with a provisional receipt at the income tax office and an acknowledgement will be issued.

* The department will process the electronically received returns on priority basis and issue refunds. 



No more running after Estate Office clerks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
It is good news for 70,000 people who own properties in Chandigarh. They will not have to run after clerks at the Estate Office to deposit annual ground rent, lease money, installments and other fines. The Bank of Punjab will do the job for them. The bank signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chandigarh Administration to this effect this afternoon.

Depositing money meant for the Estate Office into any of the 115 countrywide branches of the bank will be a reality soon. The bank has been given two months to set up its systems, announced the Estate officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, after signing the MoU on behalf of the Administration.

The Joint Executive Vice-President of the Bank, Mr D.P. Singh, signed the document on behalf of the bank.

No extra payment shall be charged by the bank for transactions conducted by it pertaining to Estate Office properties, the DC explained.

The Executive Director of the bank, Mr Tejbir Singh, said besides accepting cheques, “we will accept money through credit cards of all banks and also debit cards of the bank. Normal credit card charges shall apply. Owners can make payments in any branch of the bank which are interconnected. The bank has a system of a secured Internet gateway to card payments”.

The MoU will pave the way for e-Governance. According to the agreement, the bank will provide technology to the Estate Office for computerising its property records and providing a system to process customers’ applications.

The contract is for eight years. The NRI customers of the Bank can access information regarding their properties and pay charges sitting anywhere in the world through the Internet gateway.

As per the MoU, the Estate Office will provide space to the bank for an extension counter and installation of the ATM within its premises. All public queries shall be answered by the “Help Desk.”

The Bank shall provide hardware free of cost, including two servers, 80 computers and networking equipment. The Bank shall provide a free software system for accounting pertaining to all properties of the Estate Office. This software system shall comply with the guidelines provided by the Administration’s consultant, Price Waterhouse Coopers.

The consultant shall be the quality auditor for the hardware and software systems to be provided by the Bank. Four banks had showed keenness in accepting money on behalf of the Estate Office. The Bank of Punjab was selected for the job. The no-due certificate, a major hurdle for any property owner, will also be issued by the bank.


Cops prepare for Independence Day
Twentythree nabbed in raids
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
The police today launched a hunt for “terrorists and anti-social elements” who are likely to “sneak into the city” to strike ahead or on the occasion of Independence Day.

Policemen led by SDPO S.C Sagar swooped down on Janata Colony, Sector 25, in the wee hours here today. The SHOs of Sector 11 and 17 were also accompanying the team. As many as 23 persons were nabbed after a two-hour-long drive. Later in the evening, raid on hotels and rest houses in the central subdivision of the city were carried out.

“The campaign has been launched, as in previous years, to pre-empt any terrorist and anti-social activity”, SSP Gaurav Yadav said.

The SSP said the Sector 17 Parade Ground, the main venue of the Independence Day function, had been cordoned off and the process of its sanitisation had been initiated. The vehicular traffic would be regulated around the Parade Ground area on August 15.

The Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus, and hotels in its periphery were checked to find out those entering the city. The campaign would continue till the Independence Day to make sure that there was no untoward incident on the day.

The police has intensified its vigil, especially on the entry and exit points and vital installations in the city. Special pickets have been set up and checking of vehicles have also been increased. Sources said in the coming days various checking drives will be intensified. All senior officers of the police have been asked to personally monitor the security arrangements.

Besides, the police is also in constant touch with its counterparts in the neighbouring states to exchange intelligence reports. ‘‘In addition all those persons who have been released from jails on bail or parole recently are being watched’’, informed a senior police official.


Advani signs note on MC Act amendment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Municipal Corporation Employees Union today informed that a cabinet note on the proposed amendment to the Punjab Municipal Act had been signed by the Deputy Prime Minister and a query had been marked to the Department of Personnel and Training.

Mr Suresh Kumar Gill, general secretary of the union, said the information was given to a delegation of the employee union by the Joint Secretary, Home Department, Mr P.K. Jalali. The delegation was led by a former member of Parliament, Mr Satya Pal Jain.

The delegation was assured that bonus for last five years would also be recommended to the Finance Ministry.

Meanwhile, the union in a meeting criticised the decision of the Himachal Pradesh police to register a case against some corporation employees who were performing their duty. The union threatened that if any effort was made to arrest any officer, the corporation employees would strike work.


Brutal ragging forces boy to leave Army Institute of Technology
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A 17 year-old Gaurav Malhotra’s nightmarish experience at a boys-hostel of Pune-based Army Institute of Technology continues to haunt him. The boy, who had secured a seat in the prestigious institute this year through an All-India level entrance examination, was “brutally” ragged by his seniors.

Refusing to go back to resume his studies at the institute, Gaurav recalls the horrible experience he had for a week at the institute — which churns out a disciplined-cadre of engineers for the Indian Armed Forces. Alleging inaction on the part of the institute authorities, the parents have shot off their complaint to the Adjutant General, Army Headquarters and officers of Southern Command.

“The brutal ragging has left a permanent scar on his psyche. When my son told me the manner in which he was sexually abused and forced to do objectionable acts, I could not believe my ears”, said Mrs Bindu Malhotra, mother of the victim.

Talking to the TNS, the boy said he had reported at the boys hostel on July 27. The same night the trouble started when his seniors started ragging him. “I was shown some pornographic pictures and directed to imitate the same actions. I was slapped when I refused. There were other boys in the room who were also being ragged in the same fashion. Then I was taken to the rooftop of the hostel building and told to walk on the edge of the roof. I was spared late in the night”.

The next day the victim was asked to perform a similar objectionable act. Not able to bear the ignominy of the ragging, the boy called up his mother at Patiala on July 29. “ Though I did try to console my son, I could not sleep for the entire night and left for Pune the next morning. The Director of the Army Institute of Technology assured me of looking into the matter”, said Mrs Bindu. Gaurav said he was also threatened by his seniors when he was calling up his parents from a STD booth.

In a written complaint to the senior Army officers, the mother of the boy alleged that the warden and the Joint Director of the institute talked to her in an indifferent manner.

She claimed that she repeatedly told to the senior officers about ragging at the institute but no action was taken against the erring students. “Will the authorities act after some untoward incident takes place?”, asked the mother of the boy. She claimed that other victims were not coming forward to complain as they feared harassment at the hands of their seniors.

“Still knowing that my son will lose one crucial year, we have withdrawn him from the institute”, said the father of the boy who did not wish to be quoted. 


Saboo appeals to Rotarians to make world polio-free
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Past Rotary International President Raja Saboo has called upon the Rotarians to gear up to make the world polio-free by 2005. Addressing Rotary leaders of 75 clubs of district 3080 comprising areas of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttaranchal and UP here last evening Raja Saboo said the Rotary International had taken a pledge to banish polio.

Raja Saboo said there had been a resurgence of polio cases last year. Although Chandigarh had remained without any fresh polio case in this period he called for strict vigilance because of the large number of migratory population in the city.

The workshop was held under the leadership of District Governor Kawal Bedi. Dr R.S. Bedi, who chaired the meeting, said India contributed 85 per cent of polio cases and was one of the seven remaining polio-endemic countries of the world. So far 95 polio cases had been reported throughout the country this year.

Dr G.S. Kochher, Coordinator, Polio-plus Committee of Chandigarh, and Chairman, Indian Medical Association Academy of Medical Specialty, discussed the role of Rotarians in immunisation , which needed to be strengthened, specially in the slum colonies.

Dr Mohini Bhasin, state surveillance coordinator, Haryana, stressed on the importance of accurate surveillance as Haryana was close to UP where 30 cases had been reported this year.


Woman seeks action against Dr Chahal
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 11
The case of alleged sexual harassment of Ms Sandhya Sharma, senior T.B. Laboratory Supervisor, Civil Hospital, Kharar, by Dr G.S. Chahal, state T.B. Officer, took a new turn today when Ms Sharma along with her colleagues met Mr Bir Devinder Singh, local MLA and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, here today. She gave Mr Bir Devinder Singh a written complaint demanding action against Dr Chahal.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh talked to Principal Secretary and asked him to look into the matter. According to the Deputy Speaker, the officer told him that till today the case file had not reached him. He had ordered for the file to be presented before him and assured that action would be taken accordingly, the leader added.

Ms Sharma reportedly alleged in her complaint that the then Secretary, Health, Mrs Rupen Deol, had constituted a sexual harassment committee headed by Dr Padma Gupta. After an inquiry Dr Chahal was indicted and action was recommended against him. She said she was directed to attend the inquiry in March 2003. Which completed its report in June, but till today no action had been taken against Dr Chahal nor had she been given a copy of the inquiry report.

Meanwhile, Dr Chahal refuted all charges and said all this had been done to defame him. He said allegations had been levelled as Ms Sharma’s work, as per reports, was found not satisfactory and a case was being prepared for action against her.


Link ambulances through wireless, says Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
All ambulances in Chandigarh will have to be linked through the wireless so that police control room vans can summon the same in case of an emergency, instructed UT Administrator Justice O.P. Verma (retd) during a meeting of senior officers here today.

There are six ambulances with the General Hospital, three with the GMCH, six with the PGI and a number of them with the Punjab Red Cross, the Haryana Red Cross and certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Chandigarh.

Justice Verma asked his Adviser, Mr Virendra Singh, to come out with a blue print of a scheme within two months to provide vocational education to the under-privileged children. Providing conventional education to the underprivileged children would serve no purpose as white-collar jobs were on the decline. He said children living in slums and villages should be encouraged to opt for vocational courses for self-employment.

The Adviser should identify vocational courses with greater chances of employability in the small-scale sector.

Justice Verma said the earn and learn approach would be most suitable for children belonging to under-privilege sections.

He asked the Deputy Commissioner to demarcate the boundary on missing links, especially on the border with SAS Nagar and Panchkula.

An orientation programme had to be started for teachers who had been identified to act as counsellors in various schools to check suicidal tendencies among students under pressure from parents and the peer group.

The Administrator said there were over 100 suicide cases last year and “we must involve Parents-Teacher Associations in the task of preventing students from taking any drastic measures.”


Exotic plants grace Herbal Garden
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Some of the most exotic varieties of medicinal trees and shrubs will grow close to Chandigarh, with the UT Forest Department completing the plantation process on the 35 acres earmarked in Sarangpur village for the Herbal Garden project.

Started about six months ago, the plantation process in the garden has concluded. The Forest Department has raised 60 varieties of medicinal trees and 35 varieties of herbal shrubs and climbers. They have been procured from places like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala and Lucknow. Till now, the department has received Rs 16 lakh from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which is funding the Herbal Garden. Another Rs 10 lakh will be released next year for maintenance.

Being developed as part of the Botanical Garden, which is a Rs 8.25-crore project, the Herbal Garden of Chandigarh will house some of the rarest medicinal plants.

These include Taxus baccata, a hill species, helpful in fighting cancer, Adansonia digitata (Kalpa vriksha), a tree of rare availability, and Gingko biloba (Fossil tree), that has survived through ages without changing its constitution.

The Chinese use this tree to prepare tea that enhances vigour and vitality.

The Deputy Conservator of Forests, UT, Mr Ishwar Singh, informed The Tribune that Chandigarh had the ecosystem of the Aravalis as well as the Shivaliks. “Herbal varieties of both hills and the plains can grow and survive here. Some Middle Himalayan varieties can also survive.” A Senior Horticulture Extension Officer, Mr Satish Narula, added that some exotic varieties may also be brought from abroad.

Apart from being a potential eco-tourism and educational site, the garden is being developed to conserve biodiversity of medicinal plants.

A Nature Interpretation Centre is also being set up. This centre will circulate leaflets on the benefits of herbal varieties planted in the garden.

It will contain the following details: name of the variety, its family, the part of the plant used for cure, cultivation technique and uses.

Mr Ishwar Singh informed, “We will train farmers to grow distinct herbal varieties. Plantation of similar varieties will be discouraged so that local competition is eliminated and diversification is encouraged. Saplings will be given free of cost.

The Forest Department will also identify pharmaceutical companies where farmers will be helped to market their produce.”

At present, the farmers growing medicinal varieties are finding it difficult to sell their produce. There are only two big markets for such varieties – Khari Bawali, Delhi, and Amritsar.


I-Day bus services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
On Independence Day, the Chandigarh Administration will operate special buses for students and general public from various Sectors to Parade Ground and the Inter-state Bus Terminus in Sector 17. The special buses will run on the following routes from 6.30 am to noon: The Industrial Area, Phase-I, to Bus Stand via Sectors 28, 27, 19 and 18.

Sector 48 to Bus Stand via Sectors 48\49, 46\47, 31\32, 33, 34, 35 and 22\23; airport to Bus Stand via Hallo Majra, The Tribune (29\30), Sectors 30, 20, 21, 21\22 and 17\22.

Mani Majra to Bus Stand via Mani Majra Town, Modern Housing Complex, Sectors 26, 7\19, 8\18, 10\17 and 17\22; Khuda Ali Sher to Bus Stand via Naya Gaon, Punjab Engineering College, Sectors 14 and 16.

Ram Darbar to Bus Stand via Sectors 47, 46, 45, 44, 43, 35\36 and 22\23; Maloya to Bus Stand via Sectors 39, 40, 40\41, 38, 37, 36 and 22\23.

Sarangpur Barrier to Bus Stand via Dhanas, Dadu Majra, Sectors 38 West, 37, 36, 23\24, 23 and 22\23; Kaimbwala to Bus Stand via Lake, Sector 8, 9\8, 18\17 and 17\22.


International Youth Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
International Youth Day was observed here today at the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre as part of worldwide celebrations.

Mr Hassan Shifau, senior programme officer, CYP Asia, in his introductory address said the Commonwealth was an organisation based on mutual benefit, trust, understanding and it worked for democracy, peace, education and health, good governance, international trade, technology transfer etc. Youth empowerment was one of the main areas of focus, he said.

He said in Commonwealth countries, about 30 to 50 per cent population accounted for the youth ranging from 16 to 29 years of age. Mr Hassan also spoke on centre’s activities in the region.

Mr M.P. Vaishnav, former Chief Secretary, Punjab, was the chief guest at the inaugural function. He said wage employment and self-employment were activities connected with economic growth. But, if the skills did not match the employability requirements, it would again lead to major problems. “We, therefore, have to organise activities taking into consideration future requirements,” he said.

Lieut-Col Ravi Bedi, director of the Youth Technical Training Society, spoke on “Creating employment opportunities for the rural youth”. Mr Vivek Atray, director, Information Technology and Technical Education, UT Administration, highlighted the opportunities available to the youth in the field of information and communication technology. He said new job opportunities would be available to young people in coming days as more and more multi-national companies were setting up their projects in Chandigarh.

Mr Gopalji, Deputy Programme Adviser, Ministry of Youth Affairs, gave away certificates to the participants. A painting workshop was also organised on the occasion.


Ex-servicemen up in arms against CSD tax

BRIG Mohinder Singh (retd), president, All India Ex-services League (AIEL), is highly critical of the Punjab Government for its decision to levy sales tax on all items purchased from the CSD canteens in Punjab. In a letter to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, the AIEL president has requested him to review this decision.

The unsavory and unprecedented decision of the state government has been resented by all the ex-servicemen organisation in Punjab and Chandigarh.

Surprisingly, three weeks after levying the sales tax, the Punjab Government has now said that this tax is levied only on selected CSD items, including liquor, automobiles, etc. The reason given in support of this argument is that the concession was being misused as the attractive CSD items were being passed on to the civilians.

Unfortunately, the Punjab Government has gone to the extent of tarring the good image of the Army just to justify its unreasonable decision to earn more revenue. Leave alone the Army even the public does not support this decision according to the Internet Poll published in The Tribune on August 2.

Incidentally, if you buy an attractive item from the CSD canteen today, you are debated from purchasing the other item of this kind within three years.

There are no two opinions in the country about the Army being the cleanest organisation in India. One can safely say that if the number of corrupt people in civilian set-ups in India is 98 per cent, in the Army, it is less than 2 per cent.

War wounded soldiers

Paratrooper Baldev Raj and Havaladar Man Singh
Paratrooper Baldev Raj (left) and Havaladar Man Singh. 

The sad reality of war is that many soldiers get killed and several times more get wounded in it. Of the wounded, those who are disabled and are boarded out of service, need to be rehabilitated. But very little attention is being paid towards their rehabilitation in India.

No one could have perceived this reality more clearly than Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi and Maj-Gen Ian Cardoze (both retd), who are wounded soldiers themselves. Joining hands with them is Mr Mukesh Anand, son of an Army officer, who is a successful Mico-Bosch distributor. Together, they have formed an organisation called the War Wounded Foundation (WWF) with the former as its president and the latter two as vice-president and executive-director, respectively.

The WWF was inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), on August 4, in Chandigarh. Some of the corporate sectors such as Apollo Tyres, Indian Oil Corporation and Pepsi have already come forward to help the war wounded in their rehabilitation. More are likely to chip in for this noble cause.

The two war wounded and disabled soldiers who attended the inaugural ceremony were Paratrooper Baldev Raj of the 9 Para, who came from Kurukshetra. He lost his left eye in a mine blast in Sri Lanka in 1988. The other one was Havaldar Man Singh, Sena Medal, of the 27 Rajput, who came from Mohindergarh. He lost his left leg in Jammu and Kashmir in 1992 and has an artificial leg. Col Sanjiv Kumar the third one, who lost his eyesight in a road accident, came from Ambala.

Injustice in pension

All Central Government employees, barring defence personnel, get 50 per cent of their pay as pension on retirement. The defence personnel are selectively being discriminated against. Not that the successive service chiefs have not brought this lacuna to the notice of the government repeatedly. But all this falls on the deaf ears of the mandarins of the government.

The condition laid down is that an employee has to complete 33 years of service to earn 50 per cent pay as pension. Almost all the Army personnel below officer rank, cannot complete 33 years of service. Take the example of a jawan who retire after 17 years of service. Even with the weightage of five years of service, he completes only 22 years of service and this fails to meet the requirement.

During the British regime, the members of defence forces were governed by a different set of rules and were given more than 87 per cent of their pay as pension because of their terms and conditions being different than those of their civilian counterparts. “But our own government instead of rewarding us for all the sacrifices that we make for the country selectively punishes us”, say the defence pensioners.


Brahma Kumaris’ rakhi programme
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 11
A three-day Raksha Bandhan programme of Brahma Kumaris began here today with the tying of rakhis to mediapersons.

Brahma Kumari sisters explained the true meaning and significance of Rakhi and stressed the need for shunning vices.

Tomorrow morning Brahma Kumari sisters will tie rakhis to Punjab police commandos in the Commando Complex here and in the evening to inmates of the Paraplegic Home.

Sisters will organise a similar function for police personnel at the Police Lines at Ropar on August 11 and another one on August 12 at Sukhshanti Bhavan in Phase VII here. The finale of the Raksha Bandhan programme will be organised at the bhavan on August 12.


8-yr-old driver injures couple

Panchkula, August 11
A couple was injured when the Maruti Esteem car by which they were travelling was allegedly hit by a Zen car being driven by an eight-year-old child on the road separating Sectors 4 and 5 here last night.

According to the police, the child was coming from Sector 5 in a car (HR 42D 0026), when he hit Esteem car (PB 10T 0408), injuring Mr Rajnish Vohra and his wife, Ms Jyoti. The couple was going to Sector 10. TNS


BSNL Raksha Bandhan offer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to have one-day special promotional scheme for Landline and Cellone connection on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan tomorrow.

Any landline connection booked in the name of one’s sister under the general tariff plan will be given without any registration fee, installation charges and free rental for two months, according to Mr R.C. Vaish, Principal GM (Telecom), Chandigarh.

In case of a Cellone connection taken in the name of one’s sister, no activation charges will be levied and it will carry a benefit of free talk time for Rs 600. Subscribers have been asked to approach the Commercial Officer/Customer Service Centre concerned for booking these connections.

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