Thursday, August 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Student's death sparks protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Shamilima Barua A first-year student of Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, died on her way to the PGI last evening on being taken ill at the hostel. She was given no medical care. Her local guardians were called to the hostel in the morning after her condition deteriorated.

Another student suffered an asthmatic attack last night in the hostel, which has no warden. She was taken to the PGI by the warden of the boys hostel and admitted to the ICU.

The Principal, Mr Naveen Nanchal, was on the defensive when asked about the death of the student. He said: "The girl fell ill on Tuesday. We sent her away with her local guardians. We have a letter of request from the girl for the same".

On the lack of medical facilities, he said: "We have a doctor coming from a nearby dispensary for one hour to attend to the students." He was evasive on how often she came.

On the non-availability of a warden for the girl’s hostel, he said: "We have a warden’s residence but have not been able to find anyone to stay for the night since male members are not allowed as wardens for a girls’ hostel. During the day, the Vice-Principal acts as the warden."

On the locking of hostels during the day: "We don’t want our students to bunk classes and sit idle in the hostel."

On the lack of telephone facility in the hostel: "We don’t have a direct line. However, most students have cellphones with them."

Shaken by the two events, the hostellers and day scholars of the institute went on strike today to protest against the “lack of medical facilities” at the college campus and the “indifferent attitude of the principal and staff” towards the student problems.

After holding a protest outside the college campus, the students held a procession at Matka Chowk in Sector 17 to highlight their grievances. The college authorities, they claimed, had turned a deaf ear to their problems.

They complained that while the college charged Rs 250 as medical fee from students, a doctor from a government dispensary visited the college occasionally and that too for an hour. Besides, the girls hostel which had a strength of 48 had no warden during the night. With no telephone facility, the only option with the girls in case of an emergency was to contact the warden of the boys hostel.

The students said that 17-year-old Shamilima Barua of Assam complained of fever and diarrhoea on Monday morning. She was unable to attend classes. She was told she could either stay at the hostel, which would be locked during the day, or go to her local guardians. She chose to stay back.

Students allege that the college authorities have threatened the students with dire consequences if they go on strike or make complaints to the authorities. “We are at their mercy since all internal assessment and attendance is dealt by them. The Administration ought to come to our rescue,” they urged. Girl hostellers said those without local guardians had been asked to vacate the hostel.

After the students returned from classes in the evening, they found Shamilima with a severe headache and swollen hands. “The authorities did not attend to the sick student. However, the following morning she was forcibly sent away with her family friends. The college authorities refused to take responsibility for her condition,” said a student.

The girl was taken to a private hospital nearby where her condition deteriorated. She was referred to the PGI but was declared “brought dead” by the doctors there.

Gloom descended on the hostel as news of her death reached the students, Shamilima's friend, unable to take the shock, suffered an asthma attack and was taken to the PGI.

The students have decided against attending classes and will meet the Adviser, Mr Virender Singh, tomorrow to apprise him of the “negligence” shown by the college authorities in the case.


PEC professor dies in car accident
Our Correspondent

 Dr Rama Shankar Prasad Zirakpur, August 27
A professor of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, Dr Rama Shankar Prasad, was killed when the Maruti car he was driving collided head-on with a mini truck on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway, 5 km from here this afternoon.

The 57-year-old Dr Prasad was the Head of the Electronics and Communication Engineering Department as also Computer Science and Information Technology Department.

Dr Prasad was on his way back to Chandigarh from Patiala when he met with the accident at 1.45 pm. Such was the impact of the accident that the police had to extricate the body by lifting the steel frame of the car with iron rods.

According to teachers of Punjab Engineering College, Dr Prasad had gone to Patiala, along with colleagues, to attend a meeting convened by the Punjab Public Service Commission, Patiala, to suggest changes in curriculum. He left for Chandigarh alone ahead of his colleagues, said Mr Y. C. Chopra, a former head of the Electronics and Communication Department of the college.

Eyewitnesses said a Tata 709 truck (HP-14A-0900) with temporary registration collided with the Maruti car (CH-03H-6542) headed towards Chandigarh in Chhat village. The professor died on the spot. He is survived by his wife, Mrs Nirmala Prasad, and three daughters.

One of his daughters is working with the NIIT, another is with the Engineering Institute at Tangori and the third is with Wipro. She is in Japan.

Hailing from Patna, Dr Prasad was a graduate from the prestigious BITS, Pilani, Rajasthan. He joined the PEC as a lecturer in 1975. He had been promoted as departmental head a year ago.

His cremation is expected to take place tomorrow. The body was kept in the PGI mortuary after a post mortem at the Civil Hospital, Rajpura. The driver, Gian Singh, a resident of Jubbal in Himachal Pradesh, was nabbed and booked under Sections 279 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.

Dr Prasad’s colleagues said he was a hard working and soft-spoken man who carried out his responsibilities with care.

A pall of gloom descended on the PEC campus where the close-knit teaching community resides.


No need to shift Ranbaxy laboratory
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, August 27
Giving a ‘‘clean chit’’ to Ranbaxy Laboratory Limited for the fire incident in its drug manufacturing unit in S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) on June 11 this year, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today said there was no need to shift the unit from its location and directed the company to get an inspection carried out by the National Safety Council (NSC).

The commission ruled out the possibility of human failure on behalf of Ranbaxy employees and also ruled out the possibility of independent investigation into the fire incident by any independent agency. The PSHRC said ‘‘ since all articles were burnt, it would be a futile exercise to obtain the report of any other agency regarding the cause of the incident.’’

The plea of an NGO, the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) seeking a judicial enquiry by a sitting or retired judge of the high court, was also turned down. The LHRI had also sought that the investigation be transferred to an independent agency like the CBI.

Significantly the PSHRC also ruled out the possibility of shifting and closure of the Ranbaxy from its present location. The Bench of the PSHRC comprising its Chairman, Justice N.C Jain, and member Justice R.L Anand said in the 32-page order: ‘‘Ranbaxy unit is giving employment to hundreds of families, it contributes crores of rupees to the government as revenue and that there is no corroborative evidence to suggest that the activities of the unit has become a health hazard to human life. ’’

The PSHRC has passed the order while acting on two separate complaints filed against Ranbaxy management following the fire incident. In the accident which took place on the factory premises several persons were injured and five were dead.

Talking about the health hazard threat, the PSHRC said that the statement of witnesses that they suffered skin trouble or they had to smell foul odour cannot be a valid reason to order the closure of the unit. There is no corroborative evidence in the shape of medical evidence to substantiate the allegations of the complainants that they had been suffering from skin diseases from time to time or that they developed asthma and lung diseases on account of the smoke which might have emitted from the chimney of the unit.

Talking about the compensation to be awarded to the victims, the PSHRC asked Ranbaxy to take a compassionate view of the matter and try to listen to the aggrieved persons. If anybody remains unsatisfied with the decision of the management in regard to the awarding of compensation and also additional compensation, he or she can lodge a complaint before the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, who after giving a chance to both the parties and after examining other material before him, shall decide the issue regarding the awarding of compensation within three months.


Abhishek's doctor booked for negligence
Tribune News Service

Abhishek Ahluwalia
A file photo

Chandigarh, August 27
The Chandigarh police today booked Dr Sanjay Saluja and others under Section 338 of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly causing a grievous hurt by an act of endangering life or personal safety of others by negligence in the case of Abhishek Ahluwalia whose one leg had to be amputated.

A case under Section 338 of the IPC had been registered against Dr Saluja and others, DSP South S. S. Randhawa said today.

Dr Saluja, when contacted for his reaction, chose not to make any comments saying that he stood by what he had said earlier.

The case has been registered following a complaint made in Sector 34 police station by Ms Anuradha Ahluwalia, the mother of Abhishek, alleging negligence by doctors in Inscol Hospital which led to the amputation of her son's leg. She claimed that it was only a case of simple fracture.

The boy had to be taken to the hospital after a knee injury sustained while playing in St. John's School on July 11.

Dr Sanjay Saluja had then said he had treated the child to the best of his ability and competence and could not be held responsible for the adverse outcome.

He had said there was no need for an amputation in the GMCH and the child could have got a hospital-acquired infection which was very common in government hospitals.

The wife of the Managing Director of Inscol, Ms Nimrit Gujral, had said as far as the services in the hospital were concerned, it had provided the best and there was no deficiency in the services rendered.


More vigilance outside schools
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 27
The police has decided to step up vigilance outside schools following the case of kidnapping of a child in Sector 71. The police has directed school principals to play a more vigilant and responsible role for the safety of students.

The SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, held a meeting with principals of local schools here today which was attended by more than 40 school heads.

The SP said every school should have proper security arrangements. They should maintain a register at the school gate in which the names of all persons entering the school should be noted down. The school authorities should check this register now and then.

He said police beat officers would inspect these registers. No rehris should be allowed outside schools and strangers not allowed to roam about in the school vicinity. Beat officers had been directed to be present near schools in the morning and at the closing hours.

Teachers should brief students and parents about safety measures. They should also ask drivers of school buses, auto rickshaws and rickshawpullers to play a responsible role.

Mr Bhullar said in the Sector 71 kidnapping case the rickshaw puller did not bother to inform the parents that the child had been taken away. He said the verification of the drivers carrying school students was a must but cooperation from schools and parents was needed.

The SP said parents should not send their children to school in overloaded vehicles. He told school principals to brief the parents in this regard and if any vehicle owners violated the instructions, they would be challaned by the police.

He said school buses should not be allowed to ply on internal roads as the drivers were rash which led to accidents. he said he would meet the Municipal Council President and the SDM for setting up pick up points on the main roads. He said underaged students should not be allowed to come to school on scooters and motor cycles.

Some school principals said the police alone could remove rehris in front of schools and direct drivers of auto rickshaws not to overload vehicles. They said a word from the police could be more effective.


Child outwits abductors
Shashi Pal Jain

Kharar, August 27
An attempt to abduct a Class V student of Government School, Khuni Majra, Jugraj Singh, was made in the village yesterday. However, the child was able to free himself from clutches of the abductors.

A team of mediapersons today visited the residence of the child and he narrated the story of his escape. He said he went to the fields as usual on a bullock cart to collect fodder for cattle at about 4.30 p.m. Two persons made him smell a handkerchief and dragged him to some distance.

He was injected with something and he showed marks of the injection. He said the abductors took him to Tola Majra and amidst wild growth of bushes, a scooter was parked there. They were talking on their mobile phones but he could not understand them as he was in semi-conscious state. He said near him was another child who had been put in a sack. When the child in the sack started crying, the attention of the abductors got diverted towards him. “At this moment, I ran as fast as I can towards the village,” he added.

When the father of the victim reached the farm, he couldn’t find his son there and he started searching for him. An announcement regarding the abduction was then made at the gurdwara. Villagers started searching for the child. It was at about 8 p.m. when villagers saw the child running. They immediately reached at the spot where the abductors had kept the boy but they had already left.


Swami to officiate as Director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Prof H.M. Swami, Head of the Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, was today appointed the officiating Director-Principal of the institute, following an order by the Administration. After his appointment, he said his first priority would be to settle the grievances of the faculty regarding promotion rules, so as to have a congenial working atmosphere at the institute.

Prof Swami, joined the GMCH as a Reader in 1992 and became a Professor in 1996. ‘‘I feel another area that needs attention is the cleanliness of the hospital, as following the strike there is a lot of filth and garbage,” he added.

Prof Swami, who is the seniormost doctor at the GMCH, has been posted in place of Prof S.B.S. Mann, who wanted to be repatriated to his parent department at the PGI. A regular Director-Principal will be appointed at the GMCH in due course of time through the Union Public Service Commission.

Sources in the Administration said Prof Swami would enjoy all administrative powers, enjoyed by a full-fledged Director Principal. The appointment of Prof Swami has put to rest all speculation about a dispute arising over the seniority list. 


MC to acquire new fire-fighting equipment
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, August 27
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has initiated the process of acquiring a hydraulic platform-cum-turn ladder in an attempt to strengthen its firefighting arrangements.

The corporation will soon be taking a decision on inviting ‘global tenders’ for the purpose of acquiring state-of-the-art equipment.

The decision to procure the hydraulic platform is significant as, according to sources in the corporation, it will go a long way in bringing under control fires in high-rise buildings, not only in the city, but also in the adjoining areas, including SAS Nagar and Panchkula.

Chandigarh will be the first city in the region after Delhi to get the equipment. Panchkula authorities are also working out modalities to acquire the platform.

Ludhiana authorities were also trying to procure the equipment, but the project was shelved due to “some reasons”.

In Chandigarh, a committee is being set up to look into the requirements and formalities for brining home the machine, sources say.

The equipment, costing around Rs 3.5 crore, will weigh around 28 tonnes. The funds will be provided by the Central Government.

The hydraulic platform, with the press of a button, will go up to 42 m — sufficient to bring under control fire even in the Civil Secretariat, which stands tall at a height of 47 m.

Chandigarh’s Chief Fire Officer G.S. Bajwa asserts, “At present, the ladders available with the Fire Department can at the most reach the second floor.”

“The equipment will not only act as a platform for firefighters to control the blaze, but will also act as a ladder to enable people trapped in buildings to come down.

It will take only three seconds to one minute to rescue victims. It also has a special enclosure for the physically challenged and the injured,” he says.

Regarding the use of the equipment, Mr Bajwa says at least six-month training to handle the platform will be provided to the staff in different batches.

The staff of the manufacturing company is expected to take care of the training, at least initially.

The sources, however, insist that the platform will prove effective only if all access roads are kept clear of obstructions, including trees.

In a place like Sector 17 with concrete slabs in front of showrooms, it will be impossible to transport the equipment to the spot.

Steps, they assert, will also have to be taken for ensuring that the roads, along with manhole covers and public utility service pits, are capable of bearing the weight of the equipment.


Mayor yet to be absolved of charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Worries of the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, are far from over with the Chandigarh Police today denying his reported exoneration from the charges levelled after the June 18 incident in the Chandigarh Club, saying the ‘inquiry has not yet been completed.’

A note issued by the police said the inquiry entrusted to the DSP Central, Mr S.C. Sagar, had not yet been completed.

The note said the inquiry officer had recorded the statements of certain persons and the statement of more witnesses was yet to be recorded.

It said the legal issues were also to be examined and the opinion of the Deputy District Attorney would also be taken.

The note said some documents had been sought from the Chandigarh Club and other clubs of the city regarding the in-house rules for playing cards.

The premature leak of the incomplete report already rejected by the BJP has provided the Congress a boost which would now reject the final findings if the report goes against the Congress. However, political circles are trying to guess who will benefit from the premature report leak and what was the purpose of this.

The BJP had already alleged that the Congress dispensation in Punjab was trying to influence the report in favour of the Mayor, while the Congress had been indicating that the report was likely to be influenced by the Union Home Ministry, which controls the Chandigarh Administration.


NACO efforts bear fruit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Given the social stigma and ostracisation faced by AIDS patients, one cannot help admire the grit and courage of a woman suffering from this disease which killed her husband. She has dared to come forward to join in government programmes launched against the killer disease, as per the directions of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

This makes the UT AIDS Control Society, one of the four societies in the country where people infected with the disease have agreed to work for the prevention, control, care and support of patients by joining the government platform. Despite efforts by various AIDS Control Societies, people infected with AIDS have not accepted posts of Counsellors. Neither are they willing to be members of the governing body of Community Care Centres all over the country.

“The seat kept aside for a person infected with HIV/AIDS on the governing body has been lying vacant for the past many years, given the social stigma attached to the disease,” informed an official from the UT AIDS Control Society. It was in June this year that NACO directed all societies to involve AIDS patients as partners in various programmes and channelise their strength into efforts being made at various levels.

“It involved a lot of convincing to make this woman agree to become part of our fight against AIDS. But being a sufferer herself, she is definitely in a better position to relate and empathise with patients,” said Dr Ajay Wanchu from the Internal Medicine Department at the PGI. He is hopeful that other patients in the near future will come forward to join similar programmes.

There have been complaints from representative of AIDS patients in the past that the nature of information and education campaign messages have in fact, led to an increase in the stigma they face. Hence, the directions were issued by NACO to include them in activities of the UT AIDS Control Societies.

The woman who lost her husband to AIDS said, “keeping in mind the social stigma and ill-treatment meted out to AIDS patients, it is very difficult to come out in the open. One is worried for the family. By joining the UT AIDS Control Society, I will be earning some money as it is difficult for me to bear the expenses of medicines, which cost more than Rs 5,000 every month”.


Power charges on housing societies waived
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 27
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has agreed to waive off operation and Maintenance charges (O & M) charges levied on residential colonies and group housing societies developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

This waiver comes following the recommendation of the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) to the Haryana Power Utilities (HPU) in July last year. This waiver would mean a saving of Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 to each member of a group housing society or residential area, who were earlier supposed to pay O & M charges at the rate 26. 5 percent of the total estimated cost of transformer, high tension cable, low tension cable and panels.

The UHBVN has also agreed to refund these charges, wherever these have already been collected. Mr Deepak Rai Walia, convener, Forum for Common Cause, Mansa Devi Complex, and a resident of group housing society 36, MDC, said these charges were an extra burden for individual flat owners of group housing societies as compared to other residents of the state. “ HUDA while creating infrastructure in various sectors, has already deposited O& M charges to the UHBVN on all material supplied and used for electricity connections to societies. These are already a part of power tariff cost as applicable to the other residents of Urban Estate, Haryana, “ he said.

The HERC had ordered the HPU to refund and adjust the entire O & M charges paid by the group housing societies. Subsequently the UHBVN had filed a review petition before the HERC, which was rejected on February 20 on the grounds that the review petition was not filed in time and that there was no fresh grounds on which the revised petition could be heard on merit.

It was then that the residents of these group housing societies had again approached the HERC on June 17 earlier this year, urging them to ask UHBVN to implement this waiver and refund the amount.


High voltage spells disaster for resident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The entire wiring of a Sector 36 house was burnt when the voltage from the nearby pillar supplying power to the house became high. Recalling the incident, which occurred on August 16, the house owner, Mr P.S. Gill said luckily the problem was detected on time and Electricity Department officials were called but by that time the meter had burned out.

The power supply was immediately switched off and major tragedy was prevented. The replacement of wires and electrical equipment will cost Mr Gill Rs 40,000 and for no fault of his.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune today, he said he had complained to linesmen many times about the wiring on the pillar near his house. The neutral wire which kept the voltage under controls had come loose on its own around 3 a.m. on August 16, resulting in a huge jump in voltage.

Showing the extent of the damage Mr Gill said the entire wiring in his home need to be replaced and in some cases even the conduit’s through which wires are passed have to be replaced as they have been damaged. For replacing the conduits labourers have to make space in the walls, entailing further and expense for the Gills.


Rainfall below normal despite showers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The city and its surrounding areas witnessed heavy rain in the early hours today. The local meteorological office said it rained 5.8 cm in about three hours. Despite today’s showers, the city is still behind the target of what is classified as normal rainfall during a season. In the current monsoon season, Chandigarh has received 67 cm of rain, whereas it should have been 69.8 cm by now.

Today, the rain started around 4 am and continued till around 7 am. It resulted in delay in the supply of milk in the city. Schoolchildren got delayed in reaching their schools and so were the daily commuters.


Another help offer comes to ill-treated kids
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 27
Inspired by a news item published in Chandigarh Tribune on August 6 about a “Principal getting the custody of two students”, Mr Harpreet Singh Jhinjar of Patiala has offered financial help and responsibility for the education these children. Mr S.S. Gill, SDM, Kharar of on August 5 handed over the custody of two minor children (brother and sister) of nearby Sahoran village who were allegedly being ill-treated by their step-mother, to the Principal of Indian Public School, Kharar, where they are studying.

Mr Harpreet Singh Jhinjar is a member of the Indian Vision Foundation.



Overall, crime graph shows decline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The overall crime graph has drastically come down in the city.

With studies showing casual effect of liquor, gambling, drug addiction and illegal arms, Inspector General of Police Rajesh Kumar immediately after assuring charge asked the Crime Investigation Department with gathering intelligence on these issues, SSP Gaurav Yadav told the Chandigarh Tribune.

The effort has proved to be a major success with the doubling of arrests and registration of cases for these activities virtually being able to reduce the crime to half, he said.

The SSP is himself monitoring the performance of Station House Officers on these three counts after having instructed them to crack down on drug addicts, illicit liquor dealers and gamblers.

Unconfirmed reports said certain SHOs have even been admonished for failing to make an impressive performance on these counts.

Sources said the CID has prepared a list of persons and places from where these illegal activities were being run and handed them over to Police Stations.

The SSP said the effort against drug addiction has proved to be a very effective crime prevention measure.

Crime branch and the general public had also started informing the police about these activities, sources said.

As part of this focus, the number of cases registered under the Excise Act have increased to 516 from 245 last year and arrests from 264 to 558.

As many as 50 cases have been registered as against 26 last year under the NDPS Act and arrests have increased from 25 last year to 51 this year.

As many as 144 cases have been registered this year under the Gambling Act as against 55 last year. About 222 persons have been arrested this year against 90 last in this connection.

The police has recovered 56,976 pouches and bottles of illicit liquor against 21,972 last year.

Under the Arms Act, 11 cases have been registered against three last year.

Along with the effort on these counts, the police has also started streamlining and updating the list of proclaimed offenders.

Names of as many as 626 proclaimed offenders have been deleted from the list with the concurrence of District Magistrate.


Held for car theft
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 27
The police has arrested one person on the charge of stealing a car. The vehicle was recovered from him.

In a press note released here today, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, said the police had set up a naka in Phase II on the basis of specific information. A driver of a Maruti car was signalled to stop. The driver tried to flee but was nabbed by the police.

The arrested person, Balwinder Sharma, alias Badri, revealed on questioning that he had stolen the car from Anandpur Sahib a few days ago and had come to SAS Nagar to sell it. The suspect confessed that he had also stolen a car from Khanna.


Two held, snatched goods recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The crime branch this evening arrested Anil Kumar, alias Lucky, and Gaurav, alias Guru, and recovered a mobile phone and a purse, which were allegedly snatched from Abhishek Sharma on August 20 in Sector 22.

The SHO, Mr Satbir Singh, said during the interrogation and the verification of the statements they made, the police was likely solve many cases.

They were arrested from the Nehru Park in Sector 22 on a tip-off.

Both of the accused are 19 years old and are matriculate and unemployed.


Body found along railway tracks
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 27
The body of an unidentified person in his thirties, with both the legs amputated was found, along the railway tracks, near the railway station here this morning. Sources in railway said he was run over by the Kalka-Howrah Mail at around 1.10 am today.

It was not clear if the death was an accident or the person committed suicide. Meanwhile, inquest proceedings under Section 174 of CrPC has been initiated by the railway police. The body has been sent for post-mortem examination to Kalka.

The victim, 5 feet 7 inches, was wearing a blue T-shirt and khakhi trousers, was noticed this morning.


Clinic at Commissionerate office
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 27
The Central Excise and Customs Department is setting up an SSI Clinic at the Commissionerate office here from September 1.

This was announced by the Central Excise Commissioner, Mr P.K. Sirohi, during an interaction with members of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry here this evening. He said the clinic was being set up in order to impart training to the industrialists and also for giving them information on all aspects of the Central Excise.

The Commissioner also agreed to give representation to the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Regional Advisory Committee and Regional Grievances Committee. He said the department and industry have to work together to foster industrial growth and the Department of Central Excise should be viewed as a catalyst in this direction. Mr Sirohi was accompanied by other members of the department, including Mr Varinder Choudhary, Mr Naveen Goel and Mr G.S. Sandhu. The officers also addressed the queries of the industrialists with regards to the Central Excise.

Mr C.B. Goel, president of the chamber, demanded that the service tax levied should be reduced from 8 per cent to 4 per cent. He also said a wide effective strong mechanism should be evolved for ensuring that the actual service tax collected from the consumers is deposited to the department.

HCCI members said industry was facing competitive challenges, and the changes made in past few years in the Central Excise Law and Procedures required further scope for being trade friendly. Industrialists also demanded service tax should be MODVATable against the Central Excise.

In his summation, Mr Rajneesh Garg, Generral Secretary of HCCI, suggested for integrating service tax and Central Excise so that compliance is easier. 


Group LIC policy presented to poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The Manav Vikas Samiti, Catholic Church, Sector 19, here today procured a master policy for a group of 153 persons living under below poverty line from Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).

The policies under the Jan Shree Bima Yojna were presented to the beneficiaries at a function held in Catholic Church which was presided over by Ms Debashree Verma, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC. Under this scheme the dependents of policy holders will got Rs 20,000 in the event of natural death, Rs 50,000 in case of accidental death or permanent disability and Rs 25000 in case of partial disability.

Dr Gerald John Mathias, Bishop of Shimla-Chandigarh diocese was the guest of honour. Addressing the policy holders and gathering, he announced that the Vikas Samiti would try to cover all eligible persons living in the slums and villages around SAS Nagar under the Janshree Bima Yojna of LIC of India.

Ms Verma said she would extend all kind of help for covering persons of low income group under the Janshree Bima Yojna. She particularly appreciated the role of social worker, Mr S.D. Kalia, who motivated the people to become member of scheme. She announced that under a linked scheme of LIC, children of policy holders studying in ninth to 12th class will get a stipend of Rs 100 per month from the next academic session which will be given for two children.

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