Wednesday, October 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Placement agencies defraud youths of Rs 2 crore
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Duping the unemployed

  • Placement agencies recruit field officers to get new clients.

  • Charge registration fee and advance commission of up to Rs 5,000 to offer non-existent jobs.

  • Issue interview letters of fake companies.

  • Over Rs 2 crore collected from about 7,000 youths.

  • Over 100 agencies operating from the city.

Identity cards issued by placement agencies to youths to lure clients.
Identity cards issued by placement agencies to youths to lure clients.

Chandigarh, September 30
Thousands of educated unemployed youths from the city and surrounding towns have been defrauded of about Rs 2 crore by a network of placement agencies in the city. Some of these companies have already closed down their offices, and the youths are running from pillar to post to get back the amount deposited and their salary for three to six months’ work.

Run by a few smart persons under different names, like Subh Agencies, Jupiter Aqua Lines Enterprises, Divya Jyoti, Sarasvati, Bhargavi Agency, Bhartiya Network and AIMS Placement Agency, these agencies have collected Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 as security amount from the youths to appoint them as field officers to further recruit new clients. There are about 100 such companies in the city.

Inquiries with the Chandigarh Police reveal that these companies have hired cabins on rent in Sectors 22, 26, 34 and 35 under different names. The youths are lured through advertisements in newspapers, and by placing pamphlets in newspapers distributed in Ambala, Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda and other towns. A police official disclosed that on the complaint of some youths from Ferozepore, the police had registered a case of cheating against Pawan Kumar of Subh Agencies for cheating them on August 20 this year. The accused is currently on bail, and is allegedly again running the agencies under different names.

As per the modus operandi, the youths are given proper identity cards signed by the nominees of the proprietor. They are promised that they would be offered a salary of Rs 5,000 per month, besides conveyance allowance. Their job is to bring educated youths from surrounding towns and villages by promising them that they could be employed as security personnel, salesmen, marketing executives or given jobs in various offices. The new clients are again asked to get themselves registered by paying Rs 200, besides Rs 2,500 in advance as commission of the agency to help them get jobs from private and semi-government companies. But they are given interview letters of their own companies and never get the promised job.

Sanjeev Kumar, a youth from Babyal village in Ambala district, who was appointed field officer by Bhargavi Agency (SCO 1104-05, Sector 22 B) on August 11, was shocked today when he found that the company had closed down its office. Inquiries from the neighbouring shopkeepers revealed that the office was closed down on Sunday. Anil Kumar and Sheetal, who were running the office, have now disappeared.

Neeraj Kumar, a youth from Ambala Cantonment, claimed that he was employed by Jupiter Aqua Lines Enterprises, SCO 497-498, Sector 35 C, and issued an identity card bearing serial No. 03/0386, valid from August 4 to November 3, 2003. “Despite payment of Rs 2,700 and deposits of over Rs 10,000 from recruited clients, I have not been paid any salary till today. Now, I am being threatened not to visit the company office again.”



BSNL to disconnect 10,000 connections on Monday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Chandigarh Telecom District, has announced that it will disconnect over 10,000 land line connections on Monday, October 6, of those subscribers who have failed to deposit their bills in time. Their outgoing calls have already been debarred and they have been given additional time of over 15 days to deposit their bills, said Mr R.C. Vaish, Principal General Manager, BSNL, here today.

It is for the first time during the past one decade that BSNL will be taking such a drastic action against the defaulters. A few months ago also, it had disconnected about 1,500 connections in the city to recover the payments. There are about two lakh fixed line subscribers in Chandigarh circle.

Addressing a press conference, he claimed that about Rs 54 crore was outstanding for the past many years towards defaulters in the city, including Rs 10 crore as disputed amount. But as per the new policy, he said, “We have decided to take strict action against the defaulters. Apart from disconnecting their connections, police action would be initiated against them to recover the amount.”

Ms Namita Sekhon, General Manager (Finance), admitted, “Out of an average monthly billing of Rs 19.8 crore in Chandigarh circle, we are collecting Rs 18.4 crore on an average. No doubt, there is an improvement in collection, but there are cases pending over the past many years in which customers have not come forward to deposit their bills.”

Referring to the new value-added services, Mr Vaish said landline to mobile SMS service would be launched next month in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. It would enable the subscribers to send SMS to mobile subscribers, without changing their instrument, through the BSNL network. The BSNL will also launch the WLL service “Tarang” in Chandigarh and Mohali next month. It will enable the customers to get the latest Hyundai handsets by paying just Rs 20 per month as an insurance charges.

He disclosed that by December, the BSNL would launch direct internet access services (DIAS) and managed leased line network (MLLN) in the city. It would provide customers “always on” internet access and simultaneous service of telephone and internet on a single connection. Further, customers would be able to get additional bandwidth up to 2048 kbps.

Announcing a festival bonanza for its corporate customers, Mr Vaish said,” BSNL has decided to waive initial charge of Rs 10,000 on leased line internet ports, valid up to October 15. Any subscriber who opts for lease connection, at least for six month, will get the discount.”

Regarding the change in the numbering scheme, he said, all telephone numbers of Mohali would be changed on October 2 at 0000 hours from six digit to seven digits by prefixing ‘2’ except in levels of ‘256’ and ‘257’ which would be changed to 2236 and 2237, respectively. In case of any problem, the customers could dial 1501, a special number set up to deal with problems. The customers would have to re-lock their STD codes in case of 256 and 257 series. he added. The telephone numbers of Chandigarh would be changed with effect from October 11 and would have to prefix ‘2’.



UK police in India to get murder victim identified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Lancashire Constabulary in the United Kingdom has for the first time come to India to identify a male murder victim whose skeletal remains were found on July 26, 2002, in a rural locality in Lancashire.

Addressing a press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club, Detective Sergeant Graham Coates and Detective Al Yusuf said they came to India after nine months of an exhaustive inquiry failed to identify the person in England. They said the forensic experts had indicated that the body might be of an Asian, possibly from India. They said this identification exercise was even unique for them as all possible leads in England had come a cropper. The effort of the British police to try to identify a murder victim even abroad is seen unusual in India as the domestic police has not been doing so in cases of unclaimed bodies.

The Constabulary has roped in cricketer Virender Sehwag playing for the county to make an appeal to identity the body and inform the police. This investigation has been code-named “Operation Complex.”

Suspecting that the person could have been an illegal migrant, the detectives said nobody should be afraid of coming out and claiming the remains as the investigation was to unearth a murder and was not connected to immigration.

The Lancashire Constabulary has made similar appeals in Mumbai and Gujarat before this last one. The places of appeal had been identified considering the fact that Britain had migrants from these areas.

The effort to identify the man through the Press, however, will be confined to India only although Pakistan is also a possible place of origin of the victim.

The detectives, who consider this a unique case of its kind in Britain also, said with the ethnic forensic experts establishing the skeletal remains of an Asian male with a strong possibility of being from India, a clay model and a computer sketch of the person were made.

They said Dr Caroline Wilkinson of Manchester University made a life-sized clay model of the victim’s head, believed to be an accurate representation of how the victim would have looked like.

Experts from Glasgow University’s human identification unit prepared a computer-generated image of the man’s face. The photo released shows him to be of Asian origin.

The remains were found in a rural drainage ditch off Mill Lane, Charnock Richard, near Chorley, Lancashire, by a woman whose dog got hold of a bone of the victim.

This place was a few hundred metres from the north-bound carriageway of the M6 Motorway. The police said there was no clothing on the skeleton and no personal effects. Expert opinion suggests the man died some time between October, 2000 and June, 2001, and was found more than a year later.

The experts felt he had suffered traumatic head injuries that were probably the result of a deliberate assault making it to be treated as a murder.



PGI staff union comes to ousted Director’s defence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Coming to the defence of the ousted PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, the PGI Employees Union today shot a letter to the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, seeking reconsideration of the decision to remove him.

The union today made a representation to the minister, terming Professor Sharma’s removal from the post of Director as “victimisation” on a petty charge, which merely amounted to a minor penalty.

“While we appreciate the Institute Body’s wisdom of not giving the Director’s charge to Prof R.J. Dash, Head of Endocrinology Department, but the move to ask Professor Sharma to proceed on leave on a petty charge has led to a lot of resentment among the employees,” reads the representation sent by the union.

The rival factions in the PGI, who are always pitted against each other over major issues concerning the institute, were unanimous in welcoming the decision of the Institute Body to hand over the additional charge to Prof N.K. Ganguly, Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “By not granting extension to Professor Dash, the institute has been saved from further damage, as his continuation as officiating Director would have further vitiated the already politicised atmosphere,” remarked a senior doctor.

An official circular, issued by a senior PGI administrative official, stating that Professor Dash would retire today was sent to the Dean, Medical Superintendent, all heads of department, senior professors, procurement officers and other senior officials. It put to rest all speculation about his being given an extension. A section of doctors and officials at the PGI were still hopeful that the Health Ministry might grant extension to Professor Dash.

The representation sent by the employees union to the Health Minister has opened up a Pandora’s Box, as old issues have been raked up, where serious allegations had been levelled against former Directors. The union has extensively cited examples where some of the predecessors of Professor Sharma, despite being found guilty of much more serious acts, were not punished in the larger interest of the institute. It has even accused a former Director of being responsible for the death of patients at the PGI, as due to his adamant attitude there were a record number of 22 strikes by employees.

“Instead of asking Professor Sharma to proceed on leave, when he has only six months’ tenure left, it would have been better if a show-cause notice had been issued to him,” the employees union has said. To substantiate its demand, the union has pointed out that even government employees who are chargesheeted for major penalties are allowed to continue on their post.

In the letter addressed to the Health Minister, the union went to the extent of requesting her to let Professor Sharma continue as this would create a healthy and congenial atmosphere and not hamper the ongoing development works being undertaken in the institute.



PU plans changes in conduct of exams
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
In a step towards improving the examination system, Panjab university plans to introduce changes in the process of conduct of exams for saving volume of work for the concerned branch.

Each year hundreds of undeclared results lie pending in the category of “Result Late( fees)”. There are no claimants for a majority of results in this category because ‘defaulters’ through, their personal contacts, verified their results and knew they had failed. They did not pay the remaining amounts. The university has not destroyed even old records. So the volume of unclaimed papers had continued to increase year after year.

With a view to plugging the existing loopholes in the system where the result gazette is full of hundreds of undeclared results each year, the university has worked out a draft paper. Dr Sodhi Ram, the Controller of Examination, confirmed the university move. The proposal, however, needs a clearance from the university Senate before implementation.

The university plans changes in the submission of examination forms. This will apply only to students who appear as private candidates. This category includes girl students, reserved categories and those who had failed in the last class. The number involves more than 20,000 students each year, sources in the examination branch said.

Giving details of the intended changes, sources in the examination branch said the fees for examination will be accepted along with the examination forms. The forms will now be numbered and also have a hologram or a special watermark as identification to prevent submission of spurious forms.

In the existing system, a number of students submitted their forms without paying the desired amount as fee. The university sent them their roll numbers because they did not want to compromise with education for students. However, when results were declared certain students got their results confirmed from their “sources” and if they had failed they never paid the full fee. This led to the university maintaining their records.

It may be remembered that the university had earlier also planned to fix a time limit for students to clear their dues and get their results. The university had intended to cancel the results for those who did not pay the amounts within time limits.

It was pointed out that one category of students whose result was not declared was one that did not pay full fee amounts. When the university wrote them back, the students sent the amount without sending their roll numbers, class and other details.

Certain results were late because of delay in details from the finance branch, Dr Sodhi Ram said. The university in the short run plans to issue roll numbers right at the time of filling examination forms, details of which were being worked out, Dr Sodhi Ram said.

It was pointed out that the university will make a provision of deducting 10 per cent of the fee and refunding the rest of the amount in case any form had mistakes and could not be received for processing by the university.



Selection of judges being questioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Claiming that the mode of appointing judges in India and Pakistan was “increasingly under criticism”, Pakistani Punjab's Advocate-General Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi today asserted that “dissatisfaction was being expressed by jurists, Bar Association members and even Senior Judiciary members in Pakistan about the mode of selection”.

Addressing a gathering during the international legal conference organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association at Panjab University, Mr Rizvi asserted, “The dissatisfaction was being expressed because it was strongly believed that defective selection was resulting in the weakening of superior judiciary”.

Quoting an example, he said, “Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer demanded that the selection of judges should be made on the basis of integrity, instead of income. And on the basis of capability, and not clout and relationship with the judges and politicians”.

Giving details, he revealed, “Some were critical about the procedure provided in the Constitution. Others were skeptical about the integrity of those who apply the procedure”.

In Pakistan, Mr Rizvi said, “another view was also being advanced. For ensuring transparency, vacant seats in the superior judiciary should be filled by inviting applications to be processed and finalised on the basis of qualifications provided in the Constitution by the NJC. This way, transparency would be ensured”.

Visit to parental house

Pakistani Punjab's Advocate-General Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi will visit Samana, his ancestral town, for paying tribute to his forefathers. He will also visit his parental house, which he along with his family, left at the time of Partition.

According to a press note issued here today, Mr Rizvi would be honoured by Samana’s Municipal Council, besides the Bar Association and the residents. He would be accompanied by the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board Sant Ram Singla.

Speedy justice ‘a must’

Stressing upon the need to developing an alternate disputes resolution system, Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan of the Supreme Court of India today urged Bar Association members to extend necessary cooperation. The members, meanwhile, resolved to contest at least 10 per cent of the cases free of costs for the poor and the downtrodden.

Mr Justice Balakrishnan was addressing a gathering at the valedictory function of the International Legal Conference organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

Mr Justice Askok Bhan, also of the Supreme Court, added that the access to information and knowledge through the Internet had not exactly made the job easy.

He asserted that the Internet enabled people to acquire requisite information with the click of mouse, but had its own problems. “We have too much of material, the problem is how to analyse it,” Mr Justice Bhan asserted. Giving details, the Judge asserted that the task had become more complex as all the material had to be considered.

Mr Justice S.B. Sinha of the Supreme Court asserted that stress management was necessary.

The Minister of Law and Justice, Mr P.C. Thomas, asserted that full justice to all had not so far been ensured. He said the failure of the justice delivery system created pressure which was reflected sometimes even in terrorism.



Fast-track court for UT soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Accused groping in the dark in the corridors of the Districts Courts Complex may find justice sooner than they expect, for Chandigarh is shortly going to get a fast-track court.

Addressing a gathering at the international legal conference organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, the Minister of State for Law and Justice, Mr P.C. Thomas, revealed that a fast-track court was indeed being established in Chandigarh.

Giving details, he added that Rs 6.1 crore had been allotted for the setting up of fast-track courts in Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Talking to The Tribune just before the commencement of the valedictory function this evening, Mr Thomas disclosed that as of now they had fast-track courts in some of the states in the country. “But there were no such courts in the union territories,” he said.

The modalities, he asserted, were being worked out for the setting up of the court in the city. The intention, he disclosed, was to provide speedy justice to the masses without forcing them to go through the routine grind of attending court proceedings and submitting lengthy contentions. The courts would also save precious judicial time.

The decision to have a fast-track court in Chandigarh is significant as, according to legal luminaries, it would lead to quick disposal of cases.

Sources said that the process of setting fast-track courts had been initiated in Punjab and Haryana. In some of the cities, such courts were already functioning.



Lily Garden to be take-off point
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Lily Garden in Sector 9, a symbol of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru’s association with the City Beautiful, will be the take-off point for the year-long celebrations to mark the golden jubilee of the city. The inaugural function to mark the celebrations will be held on October 7.

A pedestal in the middle of the park from which Nehru had inspected the layout plan of the city is being spruced for the occasion. A meeting of a specially constituted Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee, held yesterday, took some decisions to draw plans for the celebrations. A special session of the General House of the Municipal Corporation will be held on October 7, said the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla.

The committee has forwarded a proposal to the UT Chief Architect to rename the Lily Park as Jawahar Park. A sum of Rs 10 lakh has been earmarked by the corporation for organising various events. To make the celebrations a big affair, the corporation is thinking about involving market welfare associations to sponsor the events being held to mark the golden jubilee.

The mega events being held in Sectors 17 and 22 markets could also see some type of involvement by the corporation. By providing certain facilities, the shopkeepers would be asked to sponsor the events, said an officer of the corporation.

It has been decided that the first resident and the oldest resident of the city will be honoured on the occasion. The first architect and the first Chief Engineer who planned the city, the oldest artisans and the oldest labourer would be invited at the celebrations, said an official of the corporation.

Corporation officials have tracked down an aged woman of Mani Majra, who was a 12-year-old student of Vaidic School in the township, when she sung the National Anthem during a visit by the then President, Dr Rajinder Prasad, to the city.

The widow of Dr M.S. Randhawa, the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, Mr M.M. Sharma, a Chief Architect, and Mr Nek Chand, curator of Rock Garden, would be the special invitees at the celebrations. The committee has decided to print 700 coloured invitation cards, undertake a sapling plantation drive, display broach bins with logo of the golden jubilee celebrations, repair concrete foot paths in Lily Garden and recarpet roads around the park.

A working group, comprising of Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Mrs Harpreet Kaur Babla, Mr Amar Kulwant Singh, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, all councillors, Mr S.K. Chandha, Executive Engineer (Roads), and Mr Raghubir Singh, Executive Engineer (Horticulture), would look into the day-to-day purchases for the functions.



Ranbaxy issue postponed again in MC meeting
Tribune News Service

Impostors caught

The otherwise staid meeting of the municipal council turned into a scene of hectic detective work when one of the municipal councillors ‘caught’ two impostors attending the meeting. When questioned, the two men first claimed that they were from a Hindi newspaper but later said that they were from the CID. The police was called and out came the truth....The two, later identified as Bhupinder Singh and Dinesh Kumar, had allegedly been sent by the Ranbaxy with voice recorders to record the proceedings of the meeting regarding the Ranbaxy issue. The two boys were let off by the police later in the evening.

SAS Nagar, September 30
Even as the issue pertaining to the proposed shifting of the Ranbaxy unit from its current location was postponed at the municipal council monthly meeting held here today, the House witnessed heated exchanges on the issue of regularising 13 contractual firemen and renewal of the sanitation contract. The rest of the agenda, which included development works costing and certain employee issues, was passed.

The MC president, Mr Kulwant Singh, on the plea that he had to go out, left the meeting early requesting that the Ranbaxy issue be postponed as he wanted to be personally present during the discussions considering the seriousness of the issue.

Following the June 11 Ranbaxy blast and fire, which had killed six persons, a six-member committee had been formed by the council to consider the appropriateness of the location of the factory, near high density residential areas in the township. The report, recommending the shifting of the factory from its current location, had been submitted a month back. However, the matter has been pending since then and is postponed in almost every meeting of the council.

Airing his views later with mediapersons, the leader of the Opposition in the council, Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, said the question of shifting of the factory was not within the jurisdiction of the municipal council and even if it was, he would oppose the proposed shifting as Ranbaxy was contributing a major share to the economy of the township.

The House witnessed heated exchanges pertaining to the demand of 13 firemen to be regularised. These firemen have been working for years at a fire station here, but are ‘removed’ from service every year as per the contract and their contract renewed. These firemen demanded to be regularised and had even approached the court. It was decided that since regularising of employees was not within the powers of the council, only their contract should be renewed forthwith.

Opposition members were also up in arms against the quality of work of the sanitation contractor in the township. While the Opposition members alleged that the sanitation contract had been granted unfairly, the MC chief said he too had received complaints about the unsatisfactory work of the sanitation contractor. He assured that he would call a meeting of councillors and the contractor, when a decision to either renew his contract or cancel it would be taken. Sources, however, said the contract would be cancelled.

The contractor who had undertaken the construction of a tubewell for the council in Industrial Area Phase IX, here, was given another 15 days to make the tubewell functional. According to MC officials, the tubewell, after construction, had failed to function.



International Day of Older Persons observed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
Members of the Senior Citizens Council, here observed International Day of Older Persons on the premises of Sri Guru Harkrishan Model High School, Sector 38, here today.

As many as 170 senior citizens participated in the function. Presiding over the function, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, who was the chief guest on this occasion, made an announcement for providing Rs 7 lakh for the development of a in green belt in Sector 38.

Mr S.D. Kalia, general secretary of the council, submitted a memorandum to Mr Bansal, highlighting various problems being faced by residents. Their demands included recarpeting of internal roads, approach road to mini market and opening of a post office in the Sector.

Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor, Municipal Council Chandigarh, who was the guest of honour, assured the gathering that he would give top priority to the development of the Sector. Addressing senior citizens, Ms Satinder Dhillon, Principal, Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, stressed the need for youth to take care of elders.

The celebrations concluded with the staging of a play, “Life of Aged Person”, by a group of students of the Dev Samaj Collge of Education, Sector 36. They also presented old melodies and folk items as a part of the variety programme.



Building ‘symbols of evil’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
If you happen to park your car in front of Panjab University’s Music Department, you will see some impressive bamboo structures wrapped up in newspapers. Yes, you have guessed it right. With Dasehra just round the corner, hectic preparations are on for erecting effigies not just on the Panjab University campus, but everywhere else in the city.

Driving down to Sectors 15, 22, 29, 30 and even 39, one can notice dexterous hands working from morning till evening building the symbols of evils. The artistes come all the way from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh to erect the effigies.

“We usually reach the city a month before Ravana, Kumbhkarana and Meghnath are to be set on fire,” said 40-year-old Desh Raj. “And we stay there till the event is over”.

Desh Raj, along with his father, has been coming to the city for over three decades now. “I was just a kid when my father brought me along with him to the city for erecting the effigies. I have never looked back since then”.

He and his relatives cater to the need of organisers not only in Chandigarh, but also in Panchkula and SAS Nagar. “We do everything. Right from putting the bamboos together to stuffing them with fireworks and painting the effigies, everything is done by us”, he claims. Dasehra he said, was being celebrated in at least 18 different places in the city.

President of the Kendriya Ramlila Mahasabha Subhash Kataria said each group of organiser had to spend something like Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 for the event”.



Outgoing Chief Engineer chargesheeted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The outgoing Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Administration, Mr Puranjit Singh, was today chargesheeted following the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.

Mr Puranjit Singh who retired today has been asked to give a reply to the chargesheet. The quantum of penalty, if any, will be decided by the Chandigarh Administration following an inquiry.

Three days ago the CBI had recommended major penalty against the UT Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh. The CBI had sent the report to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and has sent a copy to the Administration.

Mr Puranjit Singh name has been recommended for action for a case during his tenure as Chief Engineer in the municipal corporation. He had joined the Administration in April 2001 after being selected to the post following a interview conducted by the UPSC. The CBI has said Mr Puranjit Singh’s fault was “total lack of supervision” over an employee who was ultimately terminated from service. The concerned employee, Mrs Usha Rani, was terminated from service for allegedly amassing a few lakh of rupees.



Cong hold rally against NDA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Undue interference by the BJP leaders at the Centre in the affairs of Chandigarh, demolition of jhuggis without the knowledge of the sitting MP, withdrawal of the Rent Act notification and demands of UT employee dominated the rally held by the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee here today.

But the dissidence within the party was quite visible as a number of office-bearers of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee were conspicuous by their absence. The Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, Mrs Krishna Tirath, was also present on the occasion.

After addressing a gathering of party workers in Sector 19, a delegation of Congress leaders submitted a memorandum against the NDA government to the UT Administrator and Punjab Governor.

Addressing party workers who had gathered at Sector 19, the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, said the rally had been taken out to protest against the anti-people policies of the BJP-led government. Mr B.B. Behl, President of the city unit, who along with other party leaders submitted the memorandum to the UT Administrator, said the peaceful agitation was against the failure of the NDA on all front. The issues touched in the memorandum had been highlighted by the party President in the Parliament.

The rally and procession was taken out amidst a heavy police security. Only 10 leaders of the Chandigarh unit of the party were allowed to go to the Raj Bhavan to submit their memorandum.


Members of the district Congress Committee today held a rally in protest against the alleged anti-people policies of the NDA government. The rally began from Majri chowk and culminated at the Mini Secretariat, where the Congress leaders submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, to be forwarded to the President.

Members of the Youth Congress and block committees of Pinjore, Morni, Kalka and Barwala participated in the rally. which was led by Mr Vijay Bansal, vice-president of the legal cell of the Congress . Local Congress Councillors led by Mr R.K. Kakkar and Kalka Congress workers led by Mr S.S. Nanda participated in the rally.

The Congress workers protested against the education policy, various scams including the Tehelka scandal in defence deals, atrocities on Scheduled Castes and other backward classes.



Readers Write
Government apathetic towards teachers

APROPOS of Mr Avanindra Chopra’s write-up “Government fails to keep word with college teachers” that appeared in these columns on September 9, 2003, I agree with his views that the teachers working in private colleges are not being given fair treatment. Though they give quality education to students, they get poor treatment at the hands of the government. Their long-pending demands like arrears, (owing to pay revision), pension, gratuity etc. have not been acceded to till date, forcing them to go on strikes.

This attitude not only mars the smooth working of the colleges, but also creates indiscipline among students. Besides, the sentiments of parents get hurt when their wards are not attended to by the teachers on strike.

Since 1992, the successive governments have been acceding to the demands of the teachers only in papers, without bothering to implement these. Even the assurances given by successive education ministers have been thrown out of the window, leaving the whole teaching lot in a state of utter frustration. Pension, gratuity etc., even the 10 per cent cut in the current 95 per cent, has not been restored, let alone the aforesaid arrears, leaving the managements in a state of chaos.

In addition, many teachers in private colleges have retired with meagre benefits, as the requisite amount of gratuity has not been paid to them at the time of their retirement.

The amount of PF (CPF), which is paid to the retired teachers, is less than half of their lawful entitlement. It is because the funding governments have not allowed the deduction of subscription of their CPF according to law. For instance, in the colleges affiliated with PU, CPF is calculated at the rate of 10 per cent of the basic pay alone, whereas for its employees PU (PU gets grants from both Punjab Government and Chandigarh Administration) follows the university calendar, which clearly states that the rate of subscription shall be 10 per cent of the basic pay plus allowances, excluding HRA.

It also needs to be noted that the Central Government had enhanced the rate of subscription (CPF) from 10 per cent to 12 per cent on May 1, 1997. But no such enhancement has been made effective to the employees of privately-managed colleges.

Besides, the government takes fee of all enrolled students but does not pay anything for the extra teachers employed, owing to the increase in the strength of students or the introduction of new courses on the campus.

All categories of employees have received their pending arrears but the teachers have been devoid of their justifiable due. They (employees) had to move court to press their demands, whereas the government should have offered the arrears voluntarily.

It is, therefore, required that immediate steps be taken by the government to save the higher education, which is, at present, in doldrums.

B.K. Sharma, Dasuya (Hoshiarpur)

Vanamahotsava or ‘funotsava’

This year the zeal for planting saplings among the people of North India has been, and is, as bountiful as the monsoon. But for the unusually prolonged rains, the usual period of monsoon should have been long over. And without any thought for possible dry spell ahead, certain bigwigs are going ahead with self-publicity in the name of vanamahotsava. The sapling plantation function of “Career Academy” at Bhadson Road, as reported in Chandigarh Tribune on September 11, is a point in this direction.

Even an illiterate (bur prudent) farmer knows that any belated farm operation is of no consequence. The right season for planting saplings in the region is generally from mid June to mid July. Remember the monsoon of 1968? These were normal during June-July, but incessant during the following four weeks. The showers had ceased completely on August 15. Thereafter, the entire North India faced its worst draught during subsequent nine months.

Now suppose, if the rain god decides to repeat his “1968 whim” during the coming few months, who will water the poor Bhadson saplings? The nursery stock, raised at considerable cost by the state forest department(s) in government-aided nurseries and provided almost free to the vanamahotsava enthusiasts, will go wasted.

It will, therefore, be prudent only to halt plantation of saplings. The valuable stock of saplings left at the nursery can be utilised at appropriate time during next planting season.

Vanamahotsava can thus be saved from becoming a “funotsava”.

K.L. Noatay, Shimla

The threesome

Apropos of an article in Chandigarh Tribune, “The first trade directory of Chandigarh”, I must congratulate you for highlighting the persons and their establishments that were the first ones to settle in City Beautiful in early 50s. Under “who is who” I noticed the names of three eminent and respected persons of the city, who are now in the social service circle. Mr J.R. Grover, a former MD, Modella, is still very active in Rotary Club, Chandigarh, and the Blood Bank Society. He has donated blood more than 100 times and lives in Sector 9.

Mr Satya Pal has been working as a photo artiste and photo journalist in the city since early 50s. He has won many awards in the region, with recognitions from the UNO, WHO, UNESCO, Commonwealth, etc. He retired from his profession on health grounds and is now actively involved in Rotary Club activities. He wishes to display his old photo collection in public during the golden jubilee of the city and of his photography this year. I remember as a student his solo exhibition of pictures of Khajuraho Temples at Government Museum and Art Gallery in early 70s, which was sponsored by Dr M.S. Randhawa.

Mr R.K. Saboo, a former MD of Groz Backert Saboo, is now the chairman, Kamla Dials and Devices, and is the second Indian to become the president of the Rotary International and the chairman of the Rotary Foundation Trustees. He lives in Sector 5 and has fond memories of the early life in Chandigarh.

It is a chance that all three eminent persons are rotarians. My special thanks to Chitleen K. Sethi who has found this treasure.

Rajesh Kumar, Baddi (HP)



Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, September 30
A 50-year-old resident of Phase VII, here, allegedly committed suicide following depression related to payment of pending loans. Following the recovery of a suicide note, the police today registered a case against six residents of the township on charges of abetment to suicide.

The deceased, Kamaljit Singh, allegedly consumed some poisonous substance yesterday evening at his house and was hospitalised in a serious condition. He died at the hospital in the wee hours of the morning today.

Kamaljit, who did small catering jobs, was running a small shop in the township and lived with his family. He had allegedly taken loans from some people to start a new business. But since it did not pick up he was unable to return the loans. Sources said the six money lenders had visited him on Sunday and given him a deadline of Wednesday. ‘‘He wrote in his suicide note that Major Singh, Ranbir Singh, Kashmira Singh, Punia, Kuldip Singh and MP Singh, all residing in the township, were harassing him for returning the loan and had even threatened him to sell his house to them,’’ said a policeman.

The police has registered a case under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC against them.


Road accident
A cyclist was crushed to death by a speeding truck on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway near Sector 20 this morning. The victim, Tarun Pal, an employee of Marketing Board was driving to work when he met with the accident. The truck driver fled away from the spot. The victim was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

Body found
The maggot-infested body of a taxi driver from Kalka, who had been missing since September 24, was discovered by some foresters near the Dangri river in Raipur Rani this evening.

The victim, Pawan, had been missing for the past week after two youths had hired his Qualis taxi from the Kalka taxi stand for Panchkula on September 24. After two days , when he failed to come back home, his family members had got a case of abduction registered against the unknown youths at Kalka police station.

Police sources inform that some foresters were doing a survey of the area near Dangri river, when the foul smell emanating from the body caught their attention.

Police officials said the body had decayed to such an extent that it was difficult to find out the real cause of death, which would be ascertained only during a post mortem examination.

In another incident, a middle-aged resident of Morni, Devi Lal, committed suicide by consuming poison at the Raipur Rani residence of his sister. He was visiting his sister , where he took this extreme step. The police has initiated inquest proceedings in this case.



CII Chandigarh fair from October 2
Tribune News Service


The CII Chandigarh Fair 2003 serves as an umbrella for six focused concurrent expositions:

  • Infocom 2003 (An exposition dedicated to IT and communications)

  • Finmart 2003 (Banking, finance and investments)

  • The North India Auto Show-2003

  • Good Health 2003

  • Consumer Fair 2003

  • Decor 2003

Chandigarh, September 30
Over 200 companies are participating in CII's Chandigarh Fair, which makes its eighth annual appearance in the City Beautiful in a bigger and brighter avatar this year. Perfectly timed to cater to consumer's in the festive season, the prestigious fair is being held at the Circus Grounds from October 2 to 5. Over 250,000 persons are expected to visit the fair which will sprawl over 12,000 sq metres of gross space at the new venue.

A number of participating companies will launch their products at the fair. These include a new range of two-wheelers from Kinetic, new offerings from Honda Scooters, special insurance plans for children from HDFC Standard Life Insurance and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and exciting packages from BSNL, states the release.

Besides business, the fair has a strong socio-cultural element too. A vintage and classic car rally on October 2, the opening day of the fair, will see well-preserved beauties of yesteryear cruise majestically through the city. The cars, 25 in all, will then be on display at the fair grounds. On October 3, a painting competition rounds off CII's Green School initiative in the city, which involved over 55 schools. Live performance by a versatile rock band, Taantrikz, from Delhi, will provide a musical sidelight to the fair on October 4 and 5.

The salient market trends displayed in this year's fair are the increased presence of major corporates with a strong focus on regional markets and a clear upward trend in the two-wheeler auto segment. The Finance Exposition has also received exceptional interest from sectors like banking, finance and investments.

The galaxy of companies participating in the CII Chandigarh Fair this year reads like a who's who of the corporate world. Organisations like the BSNL, SBI, HDFC Standard Life Insurance, Honda Eterno, Indian Oil Corporation, JK Tyres, The Tribune Group of Publications, Mantra Productions, Pepsi, Modern Dairies Ltd and Airtel are sponsoring different aspects of the mega event. Other participating companies include Maruti, Kinetic, Platinum Honda, LG,Samsung, Onkyo, Sony India Limited Philips India Limited, Intel, Motorola, Spice Whirlpool of India Limited IFB, Carrier, Morepen Laboratories Limited, Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Limited, Style Spa- Gautier, Sunova, The Oriental Insurance Co., Punjab National Bank, Citibank, ICICI Bank, IDBI, Standard Chartered Bank, Birla Home Finance, Bajaj Capital, IndusInd Bank, Gilco, Grabner, Tanshi Furniture, Eagle Flasks, Sunflame, Maharaja Appliances and Eureka Forbes,. The eighth CII Chandigarh Fair is on from 10.30 am to 8.00 pm daily.



Heavy rush at Income Tax counters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
As the deadline to file income tax returns for the salaried class and businessmen having income up to Rs 40 lakh ended today, a heavy rush of income tax payers was witnessed at three counters opened by the Income Tax Department in the city.

Compared to last year, officers of the Income Tax Department had deputed sufficient staff to accept maximum number of returns. Seeing the rush of assesses, the three counters for ranges I to VI remained open till late in the evening. A facility to answer query regarding Permanent Account Number (PAN) had been set up at the counters.

The maximum rush was witnessed at the counters of the range-IV, V, VI, which has the maximum number of tax payers around 1.50 lakh, excluding the new assesses. Comparatively, the number of tax payers in range I, II and III, were around 70,000. An officer said the department expects an 25 per cent rise in the number of tax payers each year.

It may be mentioned that due to delay in receiving of PAN by the new assesses, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had extended the date till September 30 last year.

Mr Chamal lal, an income tax lawyer, said though elaborate arrangements had been made, the Income Tax Department should have set up a centralised collection centre as done in the past. There was confusion among tax payers regarding the location of the collection centre covering their respective wards.



Designer clothes shop to open in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
The fashion-conscious crowd of City Beautiful have a treat in store. Ebony in Sector 9 is going to present a designer shop, Designer Studio, which will be inaugurated by a leading fashion designer of the country, Malini Ramani, on October 3.

A dream project of Ms Anju Tibrewal, the shop will offer creations of leading designers like Rohit Bal, Malini Ramani, Anshu Arora Sen, Sabyasachi Mookherjee, Anuradha Vakil, Shantanu and Nikhil and Poonam Bhagat.

"The collection at Designer Studio bears the signature style of each designer. All clothes have distinctive cuts and styles, typical of that particular designer," says Ms Tibrewal.

The shop will have a wide range of ethnic Indian suits, Indo-Western combinations, kurtis, shirts, trousers, camis in formal as well as casual style.



Nightwear for fashion-conscious girls
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
For fashion-conscious girls, especially the brides-to-be, going in for high-fashion lingerie and nightwear, the opening of a new store, Attractions, couldn't have come at a better time, with the marriage season round the concern. A wide collection of lingerie in vibrant colours is being presented, right from copy of international brands like Marks and Spencer and Victoria Lauet to local brands.

Their collection includes corsets, strapless bras to go with your off-shoulder dresses and slips.

Fascination for fine silk and net lingerie seems to be growing among the youngsters and so is the preference for vibrant colours. "Gone are the days when a bride or a simple college girl would come to buy a few pairs in the basic colours.

Now the fashion is for rich colours like red, orange and magenta as everybody wants to own at least one set in every colour to match their dresses," says Ms Dolly Singh, owner of Attractions.

Even the nightwear scene has never been so colourful. It includes short and strappy Doll's nightie, three-piece wrap-around skirts and three to seven-piece honeymoon sets.

If you want to do bridal shopping, there is a place where you get everything under the same roof — lehengas, shararas, suits and saris.

Its newly renovated Kala Emporium has added two sections — one for saris and another for lehengas just for brides.

"The latest fashion scene in bridal wear is dominated by antique-look lehengas and saris in bright colours like red, orange and magenta and that is what we are trying to offer the Chandigarh brides," says the fashion gurus of the store.


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