C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Real estate prices double in a year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Today's auction of commercial property in the city turned the dynamics of the trade on its head. The rise in prices reached unprecedented levels as certain properties sold at close to double the reserve price as also the prices at the previous action held in January this year.

The Chandigarh Administration netted Rs 41.09 crore by auctioning 46 commercial sites, including booths and shop-cum-offices.

The jump in today's auction was a whopping 125 per cent above the reserve price, exceeding all expectations. Old-timers in the business of property said they could not recollect when such a massive jump in prices was registered. Not even in the early 1990's, did we see a 125 per cent hike. It used to be at best 25 or 40 per cent.

Now, is the hike for real or is it just property dealers jacking up the prices to make a fast buck by selling off other properties? The Estate Officer, Mr Arun Kumar, says the hike is due to a general boom in the economy.

Today’s collection was about 125 per cent over the reserve price of these plots fixed at Rs 18.05 crore for 46 commercial sites. The Estate Office withheld seven sites. Of these, five were held back due to lack of good bids and the auction of two sites was stayed by an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The average price in today's auction worked out to Rs 85,991 per square yard. In January this year the average price was Rs 55,432.

Land auctioned under various plot sizes, from booth to SCO and godown, have been taken into account while calculating this average rate, explained officials of the Estate Office. The Assistant Estate Officer, Mr N.S. Brar, said there had been an increase in demand this year.

One of the highest bids was in the category of SCOs. A three-bay SCO in Sector 36 was auctioned for Rs 6.70 crore. This site measured 561 sq yard and its average price worked out to an astonishing Rs 1.22 lakh per sq yard. Also put under the hammer was a godown site in Sector 26, which sold for Rs 1.23 crore. The auction of the remaining commercial and residential sites would be held on December 9 and 10.

Commenting on the hike , Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, a real-estate agent, said he could never expected such a hike. He said the economy was on the upswing and the sensex was rising and so were the gold prices.



No decision on Punwire building
Owner awaits rent since 1999
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

The locked building in Industrial Area, Mohali, which housed Punwire
The locked building in Industrial Area, Mohali, which housed Punwire.

Mohali, December 8
It might be the last thing on the minds of those involved in the sinking of Punwire, but the owner of the building, where the company was housed in Industrial Area here, is still a waiting for the rent to be paid, due for more than four years now.

According to Mr H.S.Bassi, who had rented out his building in Industrial Area to Punwire when the company started its first office in Mohali decades ago, an amount over Rs 48 lakh is pending as rent towards the company since its liquidation following the unearthing of a multicrore scam in 1999.

But the liquidator of the company has neither paid any money to him nor made any arrangements for handing over the building back, alleged Mr Bassi.

The building spread over 45,000 sq feet of prime industrial space is locked and lying in a dilapidated condition. No work has been done on its premises except for the regular visits of the CBI officials who go into the building to look for documents that were left by the company officials when it was sealed in 1999.

The building along with the other assets of the company were handed over to a liquidator for making the due payments to those who had genuine claims towards the company.

“I have been asking for the rent of the building but there is no one to pay. The building too is with the liquidator but he has not done any work. It was his duty to liquidate the company and pay those whom the company owned so much money,” Mr Bassi alleged.

Sources said other than Mr Bassi, there were more than 100 other persons whom the company owes money. ‘Punwire had rented or leased premises in almost every major city in India and were selling various defence and communication equipment from these places but not a single one of them has been paid since the company went in losses. What is worse that many of these people are demanding that at least their premises should be given back to them but that too is not allowed”, said a former employee of the company.

Sources also pointed that the liquidator has not been able to pay many of those whom it owes money as they have not been able to sell most of the assets handed over to him.



UT in a fix over holidays
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The controversy over which calendar — Nanakshahi or Vikrami Samvat — will determine holidays, is likely to have a bearing on Chandigarh too. This issue of adopting Nanakshahi calendar in Punjab is presently keeping the Chandigarh Administration waiting to announce its list of holidays.

The Chandigarh Administration is bound by the Government of India directive on holidays and so far all holidays are declared as per the Vikrami calendar. But the Administration also takes into account local festivals of Punjab and Haryana to form its own list of holidays. Punjab is yet to announce its list of holidays. The confusion stems from the fact that for the first time Punjab followed Nanakshahi calendar when it changed the closed day on account of martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur in the last week of November this year.

Sources in the Administration said a final decision on the list of holidays would be taken after Punjab would come out with its list. The centre and Haryana Governments have already declared their respective list of holidays. A decision on following the Nanakshahi calendar in Chandigarh for observance of birthday and martyrdom days of Sikh gurus will be taken once the Punjab list is out.

But being a Union Territory, Administration may have to seek clearance from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) if Punjab followed Nanakshahi calendar.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, led by its former chief Jathedar Dr Kirpal Singh Badungar, had met Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and gave him a list of holidays as per the Nanakshahi schedule. The MHA is yet to notify its acceptance of the SGPC proposal.



Parking lots land MC in losses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The paid parking facility at Fun Republic, a multiplex in Mani Majra, is proving to be a “liability” for the municipal corporation. The staff manning the parking has reported losses, a heavy rush of visitors at the multiplex notwithstanding.

By rough estimates, the number of vehicles in the paid parking touches the 250 mark during evening hours, pointing to a possibility of pilferage in the revenue collection.

The corporation had recently spent Rs 6 lakh on recarpeting the area covered under the paid parking. A staff of around 10 employees, most of them on contract and headed by a Supervisory Officer, was deputed in shifts to manage the parking. The monthly expenditure incurred in paying salaries to the staff is more than the revenue being earned from the parking.

Sources said around 100 four-wheelers could be accommodated at a time in two parking lots. During weekends, the parking lots are packed to capacity, forcing visitors to park their vehicles on roadsides and in the NAC parking across the Shimla — Chandigarh highway.

Inquiries reveal that during evening shows, the strength of four-wheelers in the paid parking varies between 200 and 250. Before the multiplex structure was raised, paid parking was managed by private contractors. The corporation took over the paid parking after there were no takers for it.

The sources said the owners of the multiplex had offered to manage the parking after paying a certain amount to the corporation. However, the corporation is learnt to have decided to move an agenda in the Finance and Contract Committee meeting on December 10 to auction the paid parking. Before the multiplex came up, the paid parking had attracted a bid of around Rs 3 lakh. Seeing the heavy rush of visitors at the multiplex, officers in the corporation were hopeful of attracting a high bid for the paid parking. Paid parking at all cinemas in the city are being run by private contractors.

The paid parking in front of the District Courts in Sector 17, being managed by the staff of the corporation, is also reported to be running in losses. The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, said the paid parking at Fun Republic would be auctioned.



384 liquor bottles in ‘govt’ vehicle
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The local police today arrested one person from Bijnaur, Uttar Pradesh, smuggling 384 bottles of rum and whisky out of the city in a Gypsy bearing a plate saying “Vidhan Sabha Prabhari, Uttaranchal.”
The liquor seized is estimated to be worth more than Rs 20,000.

While Ajay Kumar, one occupant of the vehicle, was nabbed, the driver gave the police the slip.

Police Control Room head constable Dharamvir Singh and constable Karnail had signalled the vehicle to stop at Singla Chowk in the Industrial Area as it did not bear any registration number at the rear and had black films, but it sped away.

The two policemen on a motorcycle gave a chase and succeeded in overtaking the Gypsy near Poultry Chowk. When they saw boxes of liquor stacked in the vehicle, driver Ashoki ran away, while Ajay was nabbed.

As many as 20 boxes of rum and 12 of whisky were seized.

This is the second time liquor has been seized from a vehicle bearing an official Uttaranchal plate. Last month, a car was seized under similar circumstances by the Crime Branch. The police has booked the suspects in today’s case under the Excise Act.



Principal regrets slapping girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Accused of slapping a Class X student of his school, Principal Subhash Aggarwal of Government Model High School, Sector 28, said today that he would apologise for the incident and expressed regret for hitting the girl for no fault of hers.

Claiming that the father of the student, Parul Sharma, had abused him and misbehaved with him during the assembly, and that he was drunk on the morning of December 6 when he came to school to explain his ward’s absence, he said, “I was so upset with his behaviour that I slapped the girl though she was not at fault. I am sorry for having done that, but it cannot be reversed.”

The father of the victim, Mr Satya Prakash Sharma, contended that he was neither drunk and nor did he misbehave with the Principal. “If such allegations are being levelled, I will move the court and file a defamation case”, he asserted.

Meanwhile, the District Education Officer, Ms Rajesh Chaudhary, visited the school today and conducted an inquiry. “I spoke to the Principal, staff and students of the school. The Principal admitted that he did slap the girl in a fit of anger. I tried to get in touch with the girl’s father, but he was out of station. The girl did not come to school today. I will submit a report tomorrow,” she said.

The Parent-Teacher Association came out in defence of the Principal. In a press note issued in Mr Aggarwal’s support, the PTA said he had brought improvement in the school and always took decisions in the interests of the students.

The association said the father of the student was in the wrong for threatening and abusing the Principal instead of pulling up his child.



Court martial of Colonel this month
Charges include extortion, corruption
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
With the court martial of a Colonel charged with corruption in defence deals scheduled to commence later this month, the Tehelka scam, which had rocked the nation almost three years ago and haunted the defence establishment since then, has resurfaced.

Highly-placed sources told The Tribune that the general court martial (GCM) of Col Anil Sehgal will be convened at Bathinda Military Station shortly, following orders of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command. The GCM, to be presided over by an officer of the rank of Brigadier, is the first court martial to be convened in the case, which involves five other officers, including three Majors-General.

Charges against the officer include those concerned with extortion and corruption under Section 53 of the Army Act and violation of goods orders and military discipline under Section 64. These charges carry a sentence of rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years and seven years, respectively, besides dismissal from service.

Even as the government-appointed commission continues its probe into the scam, with tapes showing senior Army officers demanding and accepting bribes from persons purporting to be arms dealers being reportedly sent for forensic analysis to establish authenticity of the tapes, the Army had initiated its own course of action against officers shown on the tapes.

After tehelka.com, a now defunct website had carried out a sting operation in March, 2001, to expose corruption in defence deals, Army Headquarters had ordered a court of inquiry (COI) into the matter. The website had used hidden cameras to record officers demanding and accepting bribes. Among those caught on camera were the then BJP President Bangaru Laxman and three officers from the Ministry of Defence. The expose had created a ruckus in political and military establishments with the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, being asked to resign from his post, though he was reinstated six months later. The opposition continues to boycott him in Parliament on this issue.

The COI headed by Lieut-Gen S.K. Jain had reportedly found prima facie evidence of misconduct by five officers during their interaction with “arms dealers”. The findings and recommendations of the COI were sent to the GOC-in-C, Western Command, for further action.

Following the recording of summary of evidence and the recommendations that the officer, who was then posted as Director Ordnance Services at Army Headquarters, be tried by a GCM, sources said that certain legal and technical issues cropped up which delayed the decision on convening the court martial.

The Chief Vigilance Officer in the Ministry of Defence had also reportedly found prima facie evidence of misconduct in the case by three civilian officers, Mr H.C. Pant, staff officer in the Ordnance Factory Board, Mr Narendra Singh, assistance financial officer, and Mr P. Sasi, who was attached to Army Headquarters.

Among the Army officers caught on tape, were Major-Gen P.S.K. Chaudhary, then posted as Additional Director-General (Weapons and Equipment) at Army Headquarters, Major-Gen Satnam Singh, Major-Gen Manjit Singh Ahluwalia, Brig Iqbal Singh and Lieut-Col B.B. Sharma.

Though the COI had recommended disciplinary action against the officers, implying that they be tried by a court martial, it is learnt that the Army is contemplating administrative action against some of them. A decision in this regard, apparently based on the grounds of the degree of involvement of the officers in the case and the evidence brought forward during recording of the summary of evidence, is yet to be taken.



Cong suspends Katarias for  six years
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 8
Six days after they were welcomed into the fold of the local unit of the party, councillor Anjala Kataria and her husband, Tilak Raj, Kataria, have been placed under suspension. An official communique from the district unit of the Congress said the Katarias have been expelled for six years for their alleged anti -party activities. Their expulsion notice was issued by party district president, R.S. Chauhan.

The Katarias, though originally belonging to the Congress, had joined the ruling Indian National Lok Dal after Ms Anjala Kataria won the MC elections from ward No 18. However, last week they were upset with the MC president, Ms Seema Chaudhary, over her refusal to initiate a probe against the contractor for doing the road repair in village Kundi village, which falls under their ward.

It was on December 3 that they had again joined the Congress and Mr Tilak Raj Kataria was appointed the district general secretary of the Congress. However, the Katarias reportedly met the MC president again yesterday, and assured their support to her. As a disciplinary action, they have been expelled from the Congress, informed Mr Ravinder Rawal, media in charge of the Congress.



Kinnow: fruit for you, bread and butter for them 
Bipin Bhardwaj

Passing sleepless nights, huddled and shivering, in straw hutments in chilly December along highways, a large number of unemployed youths from several villages of this region are virtually living on the road. The highway, which for most people is a convenience to reach places, provides the basic bread and butter to scores of these youths, who earn their livelihood by selling seasonal fruits and fruit juices.

Youths, as well as elderly villagers, are seen making their small earnings by selling seasonal fruits to commuters along busy highways Chandigarh-Ambala, Chandigarh-Ropar, Chandigarh-Ludhiana, Panchkula-Kalka and - certain other roads carrying heavy traffic.

With the worsening unemployment situation in the region in the past couple of years, youths' lives have undergone a drastic change. While young people from well-to-do families have been migrating abroad or opting for businesses like property dealing or running public schools, those from the middle and lower classes are going in for small enterprises like beauty parlours, floriculture, bee keeping, etc.

However, those belonging to financially weaker sections, who are also illiterate, have been left with no option but to eke out a living from selling fruits and juices along the highways and other roads. More than 250 unemployed youth from this area have been earning their daily meal by selling kinnows and other seasonal fruits like guava and chikoo besides seasonal vegetables.

In winters, starting from October-end till March, they will sell kinnow, orange and juices along the highways after buying them from trucks loaded with fruit coming in from Abohar, Fazilka, Ganganagar, and other areas of Rajasthan bordering Punjab. Not having the capacity to make investments, these youths in groups of five or six pool their money and purchase a truckload of kinnow and sell the lot after distributing it among themselves.

When summer comes, the fragrance of muskmelon and watermelon will fill the air along these highways. From April to June, it would be time to sell these summer fruits. The gleaming lanterns put up by these vendors at night attract passers-by.

Guarding their investment is another struggle for these people. They organise night vigils in groups of two or three-to fight off the sleep playing cards come handy. Given the heavy traffic on the highways, the threat to their lives is quite real.

The huge piles of bright kinnows don't fail to attract those whizzing by in their big cars. Regional travellers and tourists alike can be seen purchasing the nourishing fruit from the early hours till late evening. The rates offered are fairly competitive, ensuring volume sales too. Besides, they provide fresh juice too.

These stalls of kinnow can be seen on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Singhpura village, near Zirakpur, and Jawaharpur and Devi Nagar villages, near Dera Bassi. They have become virtual juice corners for tourists from Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, who constitute major part of their clientele.

"A glass of fresh kinnow juice makes one relaxed after a long journey," said Sandeep Singh, who was on his way to Manali from Agra.

Earlier, these small-time entrepreneurs used to do this business in Chandigarh, Panchkula and nearby vegetable markets. However, because of the interference from estate offices and other authorities, they had to shift to roadsides. But they have not found peace here either-they are allegedly harassed by the local police or Public Works Department men.



Beautification of parks: contract goes for Rs 68 lakh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 8.
The municipal council today allotted the tender for the repair and beautification of 16 parks in various parts of the township for Rs 68 lakh.
The orders were given today for two parks each in Sectors 2, 4, 11, 12, 12-A, 15, 19 and Industrial Area Phase I. Other than this, order for developing green belts between two plots in the above mentioned sectors as walking paths, were also given today.

The contractor will have to install swings, lights, benches and create walking tracks in these parks. MC president, Seema Chaudhary said these parks would be developed in a phased manner, and tenders for parks in the remaining sectors would be floated by the end of the month.

She further said that once the parks were developed, these would be maintained by public participation. All councillors have been asked to form committees to look into the maintenance of parks and the MC will give money at the rate of Rs 1 per square metre to these committees which will be used for their cleanliness, landscaping, planting ornamental plants etc.

She said as of now, committees from eight wards had already registered themselves with the MC for the maintenance of these parks. Mrs Chaudhary said the MC would begin issuing cheques to these committees from January onwards. 



Need to popularise malba  collection concept stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC) has urged the municipal corporation to appoint a nodal officer to popularise the concept of malba collection on payment basis.

The issue was raised at a function organised by the FOSWAC at the Sector 35 Community Centre here yesterday. The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Air Marshal Randhir Singh ( retd), chairman of the federation, in a memorandum handed over to the Mayor said the timing of the community centres needed to be changed for the convenience of the senior citizens. He drew the attention of the Mayor towards the road cuts left behind by the telecom companies laying underground cables. He said the corporation should fix responsibility on the companies.

To tackle the problem of increasing traffic, the federation has suggested that speed breakers and caution lights be installed at the accident prone spots. A permanent enforcement policy to check encroachments of road berms has also been demanded by the federation.

The mayor assured the federation that due care would be taken on various issues raised by the federation.



Army corps celebrates 243rd anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Several functions, including a memorial service, a “bara khana” and a social get-together for senior serving and retired officers, were held to mark the 243rd anniversary of the Army Service Corps (ASC), the oldest logistic component of the Army, at the Western Command Headquarters in Chandi-Mandir Cantonment today.

According to a statement issued here, the head of the ASC Branch in Western Command, Maj-Gen. S.N. Rajan, laid a wreath of behalf of all ranks of the Corps at the Command War Memorial, Veer Smiriti.

In his congratulatory message, the Western Army Commander, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, greeted all ranks, civilians, their families and ex-servicemen and lauded the role of the Corps in providing excellent supply and transport cover.

The ASC has provided invaluable logistic support to the Army right from its inception in 1760 despite various constraints. The Corps operates in all types of terrain, extending from deserts to high altitude areas, including remote jungles and riverine areas.

The challenge to maintain the troops at 22,000 feet, with mercury dipping to minus 50°C has been meet head on by the Corps. In its endeavour to maintain troops in the Kashmir valley, under the prevailing insurgency environment, the Army Service Corps units have come out with flying colours.

The ASC also excels in sports and adventure activities and has done the Army proud in hockey, basketball, equestrian and micro-light flying.

In keeping with its motto of ‘’Seva Asmakam Dharma’’, the ASC has ensured that whatever be the odds, the goods have been delivered in time.

This has been its rich heritage for more than two centuries in the service of the Army and the nation.



Fauji Beat
Pitfalls of exposing senior commanders to CI operations

If you as a commander “lead from the front”, who will command your unit? It is an established rule that a commander, should commit himself in battle when half or more of his command is launched in it. Exceptions to this rule can be made, but only in special operations. The counter-insurgency operations in J&K are mostly at section and platoon levels.

Take the recent example of the BSNL complex near the corps headquarters in Srinagar where holed-up militants took a heavy toll on the command set-up of 22 Rashtriya Rifles by killing the Company Commander, Major Naveet Vats and seriously injuring the Commanding Officer, Col P.C. Roy, his second-in-command, Lieut-Col Raghu Nair and another officer, Major J.P. Singh.

After this action, Maj-General told the mediapersons “As our commanders practice leading from the front, it has led to heavier casualties”. If two holed-up militants can knock out the command set-up of battalion especially, when we know that they are there, there is definitively something wrong with our teaching and training.

It is sheer foolhardiness to make out company commanders command infantry sections or act as scouts. This shows utter lack of confidence in our junior commanders as well as in ourselves. This “practice” has already done enough damage to our junior leadership. For, they have become timid and expect their senior commanders to come forward and lead their sub-units.

Alas! we have forgotten the basic section and platoon battle-craft. It this had not happened, there would have been no Kargil operation. How could the enemy come and occupy the posts in our territory if we had patrolled our area of responsibility.

Army Institute of Law: During his visit to the Army Institute of Law (AIL) at Mohali, to formally inaugurate it, on December 1, the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, was happy to know that out of 318 students in the institute, 134 were girls. Considering this as a healthy trend, he said: “I have always maintained that girls’ education is one factor that leads to women’s empowerment and consequently to the integrated development and progress of the society”.

Besides being sizeable in number, the girl students have also made their mark in the academics as well as in the extra-curricular activities at the institute. Their performance in the studies can be gauged from the fact that they generally bag over 90 per cent prizes in academics at the annual functions of the AIL. Even at the stage shows, they perform better than the boys.

The AIL, which was established at its interim location at Patiala in July 1999, moved to its newly constructed complex at Mohali, a few months ago. What impresses one most in the institute is the neat turn out and discipline of the students, majority of whom are wards of Army officers.

After having passed plus II examination and having cleared the entrance test, a candidate below 21 years can join this institute for a five-year BA. LL.B course. No doubt, the legal field in the country can absorb a large number of lawyers. But the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG’s) Department of the Army should encourage the law graduates from the two Army Institutes of Law in the country of join the department.

Training in military medicine: Taking a cue from the western countries, the Armed Force Medical College (AFMC), Pune, had included training in military medicine in its syllabus from this academic session.

This training was recommended by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in December last year. The AFMC, Pune, is the first medical college in the country to have started training in military medicine. This would include training in war surgery, high altitude and snow-bound disorders, psychiatric and psychosomatic illnesses as well as naval and aviation medicines.

Accommodation for patients: Accommodation for the stay of JCOs and other ranks who come from outstation for admission or consultation to the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, has now been earmarked in the Chandi Mandir cantonment. This accommodation can be allotted for a period not exceeding seven days to the needy JCOs and other ranks by the Director, Western Command Helpline, Col Subhash Chander (retd), Tele 2589624 & 2867624.



Mohali Diary
Hindi play staged at annual function
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 8
The 17th annual function of Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, Mohali was held at Tagore Theatre Chandigarh, this week. The chief guest of the function, Mr Narender Sharma, IG, Lokpal inaugurated the function with the lighting of the lamp followed by the presentation of a shabad gayan by students. Tiny tots presented lively dances. A Hindi play “Prakriti bolti hai”, was staged by young artistes followed by another short play on the life of Mirabai.

The school Principal read out the annual report of the school and prizes were given away by the chief guest to the winning students.

The main attraction of the day was bhangra presented at the end of the function. The chief guest appreciated the efforts of the teachers and students for putting up a show that brought out the creativity of the students. The school Principal, Mrs Gurjeet Bawa, proposed a vote of thanks.

200 examined at camp: The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Polyclinic Trust organised a free eye camp at Perch village, Ropar. Dr Gagandeep Singh, Dr Tia, Dr Pranab and technicians of PGI examined more than 200 patients, including 50 schoolchildren. The patients were also provided free medicines. At least 37 patients were identified for operations and advised a visit to the PGI Eye Departments. These patients will be operated free of charge, including provision of free medicines by the department.

Office-bearers: Mr N.S. Gill has been elected the President of the Consumers Protection Grievance Redressal Forum, Mohali. The other office-bearers are: Senior vice president — Mr J.S. DhiIllon , vice-presidents — Col S.K. Sandhu, Mr Rajwant Singh and Mr S.S. Guraya; general secretary — Mr Hakim Singh; joint secretary — Mr Hargobind Singh and; treasurer — Mrs Heminder Kaur.



Journalists’ meeting from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Over 250 journalists from all over the country are expected to participate in a two-day national executive meeting of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ), beginning here from December 9. The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, will inaugurate the event at Forest Hill Resort in Naya Gaon, located behind the Punjab Engineering College.

The organising body, an affiliated body of the Indian Journalists Union, would also be hosting its second annual state conference on the concluding day of the event. On the occasion, a unique group insurance scheme would be formally launched. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would be launching the insurance scheme for the scribes.

Mr Vinod Kohli, President of the CPUJ, said during the two-day meeting, issues like implementing the wage board recommendations, equal facilities to desk and reporting staff and demand for a new wage board would be discussed.

Mr Sabina Inderjit, a member of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Journalists, Mr Girdhar Pathak, a member of the Press Council of India and Mr Suresh Akhouri, are expected to participate in the deliberations, said Mr Kohli.



Couple levels allegation against police
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 8
A Kalka-based couple has accused the Deputy Superintendent of Police Kalka, Mr Rajesh Duggal, and Station House Officer, Mr Harbans Lal, besides six others of falsely implicating them in a case.

In a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Mr Manohar Lal Arora, his wife, residents of Seuri Bitna and property dealers have alleged that the police officers were in cahoots with Pawan Kumar, Sham Lal, Babu Ram, Sucha Ram, Hem Chand and Madan Lal. They alleged that on the night of December 6, while they were returning home from Chandigarh, they saw some labourers constructing a boundary wall on their land. They immediately went to the Kalka police station for help, but they saw the six sitting with ASI Krishan Chander.

The police sought the help of the police to restrain the labourers but the police allegedly refused to comply. After they left the police station, the men followed them in another car. and assaulted them, the complainants alleged.



Drafts for Rs 2.5 cr missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Two demand drafts for more than Rs 2.5 crore, made last year, have gone missing from the Coordination Branch of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The disappearance has been reported to Sector 3 police station by the Joint Registrar (Judicial), Mr G. K. Khanna.

The drafts were got made by the Haryana Urban Development Authority, Faridabad, and were to be deposited in the high court branch of the State Bank of Patiala.

One draft (023574) was for Rs 1,64,59,434 while the other (023573) for Rs 87,30,229.

The complaint says the drafts were with a clerk, Ms Kamlesh, and she could not find them when she looked for them.

This incident comes in the wake of disappearance of weapons and their parts from the Malkhana earlier. The drafts were received by one Mr Bharat Singh when he was posted in the Coordination Branch last year.



Probe against ex-MLA begins
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 8
The police has begun investigations against the Rohtak DEO, Sneh Lata, and her husband, Dr Virender Pal Singh, a former MLA, against whom non-bailable warrants were issued by a local court yesterday.

The above mentioned, including five others, were among the seven persons booked by the Chandimandir police in a dowry case. The complainant, a daughter of a Deputy Commander of paramilitary forces posted at Ramgarh, had accused the couple, along with her husband, Sandeep Gulia, mother-in-law Nirmala Devi, sister in law Amita, brother in law Anil and Om Prakash Dahiya, of harassing her for getting more dowry.

The non-bailable warrants were issued against them by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mr PK Yadav, after the Chandimandir police requested for the same on the grounds that the accused were influential people and could evade arrest.



Inner Wheel project for ‘special kids’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 8
The Inner Wheel Club of Chandigarh of District 308 has, this year, launched a masala project to rehabilitate special children in Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children.

The Inner Wheel Club has installed machines having production capacity of 10 kg per hour along with electronic weighing machine and sealing machine at the institute. The raw material is also provided at the institute.

Under the supervision and guidance of Inner Wheel members, children clean, grind and pack the masalas in pack of 100 gms each. Further, to promote the sales, stalls are being put up at different places like schools on parent-teacher association days, gurdwaras, fetes, kitty parties. The masalas are also available at kiosks.

The Inner Wheel has started supplying masalas at DSOI and very soon will be supplying spices to Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation. The Inner Wheel President, Mr Sarabjit Sekhon, stated that they had been able to provide employment to families and rehabilitate mentally challenged children with selling these masalas.



Workshop for DDOs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 8
Officials of the Accountant General Office, Haryana, today held a workshop of drawing and disbursing officers (DDO), wherein they were informed about the Interactive voice response system (IVRS) and a dedicated website for getting details of the general provident fund (GPF) of all government employees.

The employees were informed that on the IVRS, a GPF subscriber could get the status of his closing balance of previous year, current GPF balance, missing credits for the year, GPF advances taken and the final payment cases sent to AG office on the telephone. A call on a dedicated telephone number ( 0172- 2615555) would connect the caller to IVRS automatically and instructions, in either English or Hindi, would guide them to the desired information.

Similarly, on the official website (www.aghry.nic.in), a GPF subscriber, who will be given a pin code for confidentiality, can access the status of his GPF account. Besides, pensioners can also access the status of their pension payment orders like PPO, GPO and CPO. The status of recoveries against long-term advances is also proposed to be put on the website.

The DDOs were told that grievances could also be registered online and they could see the status of their complaints on the website, besides accessing the status of missing schedules, missing vouchers, missing debits etc.



Ranbaxy award for NIPER scientist
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 8
Dr Ramesh Panchgnula, Professor and Head, Department of Pharmaceuticals at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here has been awarded with the Ranbaxy Research Award for 2002 for his contributions in the area of drug delivery systems, bio pharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics and evaluation of anti-TB drugs, an official press note said today.

Dr Ramesh has played a significant role in the setting up of the institution especially the Department of Pharmaceuticals. At NIPER he developed a strong research programme based on extra mural funding to understand the molecular basis of drug delivery and develop techniques for delivery of various classes of drugs.

Dr Ramesh has also working closely with various international organisations through collaborative research and exchanges in connection with quality, assurance and assessment bioavailability aspects of anti-TB drugs, he also played a major role in the creation of an International standard bioavailability centre at NIPER which is one of the two laboratories in the world approved by the WHO for conducting bioequivalence studies for FDCs.



Straight contest for Golf  Club elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
With the date of withdrawals over, the stage is set for the elections to the Chandigarh Golf Club. And going by the contestants it will be a straight fight between the teams of Col A.P. Singh and Mr Rajeev Atmaram, Senior Advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Earlier there were indications that the elections would be fought between three candidates for the post of president. But with Col A.P, Singh and; Mr Gurinderjeet Singh Sandhu reaching an agreement to merge their candidates into one team the elections have turned out to be a straight fight between the Senior Advocate and the retired Colonel.

Col A.P. Singh has fielded the following candidates for the executive committee: Col B.S. Kahlon (Balli), G.S. Lehal (Lally), Dr G.S. Kochhar, Capt G.S. Guman, Dr H.S. Aneja, Col Iqbal Singh, Col J.S. Panag, Col J.S. Deo, S.R. Sharma, S.M.S. Sandhu and S.P.S. Matharoo.

The following is the team fielded by Mr Rajeev Atmaram: P.P.S. Sawhney, Capt P.S. Chimney, Jasbir Singh, G.S. Attariwala, Mrs Saroj Jyoti, Alamgir Grewal, Rohit Dager, S.S. Bala, H.S. Sethi and Sandeep Chadha. The elections will be held on December 21. 



Narrow escape for Cong man, family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) General Secretary, Sunil Parti, and his family members had a providential escape coming out unscathed from a burning car in Sector 44 last night.

Mr Parti, his wife and children, apart from a friend, were in the car when it caught fire and was minutes completely burnt down, Mr Parti confirmed when contacted.

They had gone to visit a friend in Sector 44 when the car caught fire.



Man injured in road mishap
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 8
A person driving a scooter was injured seriously when he was hit by a Maruti van, ferrying school students to the venue of a function in Government High School, Phase IX, here today.

The van apparently hit the victim, Sukhdeep, head on. However, the students in the car had a miraculous escape. Sukhdeep was later admitted to the Government Medical College, 32, in Chandigarh with serious head injuries.



Vijay Bhushan takes charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Mr Vijay Bhushan, a former Principal Chief Postmaster General, Punjab and Chandigarh, has taken over as Secretary, Director General (Posts) and Chairman, Postal Services Board. Mr Bhushan, an MSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, was deputed to Bhutan as United Nations consultant on philately. He has worked as Principal, Postal Training Centre, Saharanpur, and Member (Operations), Postal Services Board.



Man electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 8
Mohinder Singh, a resident of the Bazigar colony in Singhpura Bhudda village, was electrocuted while erecting a tent in Ram Mandir here last night.

According to eyewitnesses, Mohinder Singh received an electric shock as the pole he was erecting touched a power cable. The body has been handed over to family members.No case has been registered by the police.



Truck driver killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Lalru, December 8
One person died on the spot while another sustained injuries in a head-on collision between two trucks on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Jharmari village here this morning.

According to the police, Harvel Singh, driver of the truck (HR-37A-0115) heading towards Chandigarh, died on the spot after his vehicle collided with another truck (CH-01Q-7797) approaching from the Ambala side. Harvel Singh was a resident of the Buria area in Yamunanagar.

The Driver of the other truck, who sustained serious injuries, was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Ambala.

The body Harvel Singh was handed over his family members after a post-mortem examination at the Civil Hospital, Rajpura.

The police has impounded both the vehicles and a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the truck number CH-01Q-7797 at the Lalru police station.



Fake printer heads seized

Chandigarh, December 8
The Sector 17 police today raided a shop in Sector 22 and seized 10 duplicate Wipro printer heads. A Sector 38 resident Amit Jain has been arrested in this connection. According to sources, the heads were seized from Locasa Info System. OC



Yamunanagar man wins WagonR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Mr Pawandeep, a resident of Yamunanagar, today won Maruti’s WagonR under “Chabi lagao WagonR pao” scheme. The Maruti Udyog Ltd had launched a sales promotion scheme from November 13 to November 26, in collaboration with its dealers, to promote the sales of WagonR in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

About 10,000 persons from different towns participated in the scheme. The final draw was held at the Lake Club, where Mr Pawandeep was declared the winner. 


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