C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Minister ‘changes’ Master Plan to dispense favour
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

The order also rejected the land use pattern laid down for Sector 91 in the Master Plan. In the master plan a part of the sector had been retained as a green belt dividing the residential area from the industrial area. However, the minister’s order justified changing the use of land specifically earmarked for ‘major public parks and play grounds’ to ‘residential’ by stating “as experience has shown elsewhere, it is very difficult to enforce in actual practice, land use regulations to maintain open spaces and public parks in respect of private property, through statutory regulation especially when the land in the vicinity of being put to other economically viable uses.”

Mohali, January 12
Nothing is sacred anymore. Not even documents like a city’s Master Plan prepared over a number of years and finalised in detail within the highest echelons of power.

All it took the Minister for Housing and Urban Planning Punjab, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, 18 pages of “well-drafted justifications” to change the Master Plan of SAS Nagar, 1996-2016. The new changes allowed change in land use pattern in the grid plane of Mohali allegedly “as an act of favour” to the township’s Municipal Council President, Mr Kulwant Singh.

Sources claimed that Mr Kulwant Singh, who is a private coloniser, had been recently given permission by the minister, to use, for colonisation, 120 acre of the land that had already been notified under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, as the Local Planning Area, (LPA), SAS Nagar, meant for the expansion of Mohali. The land also fell within the periphery controlled area of Punjab notified area under the periphery control Act.

Sources also stated that the minister allowed the changes despite being advised against it by both the then Secretary of his department, Mr G.S.Sandhu, and the then Chief Administrator (CA), PUDA, Mr Suresh Kumar.

As far as they were themselves concerned, both had made it amply clear, in writing, that the change of land use should not be permitted.

Faced with a rebellion within his own department, the minister took upon himself the powers vested in a full-fledged committee headed by the Chief Administrator (to change land use). The minister choose to overlook the recommendations of this committee and came up with a 8000 words’ order running into18 pages, all in the name of doling out natural justice to Mr Kulwant Singh’s company- Janta Land Promoters Limited (JLPL).

The order, a copy of which was with The Tribune, had been legally fortified substantiating the fact that such an order was unprecedented.

According to the orders passed by the Minister, the Chief Administrator’s committee, that considered various applications of change in land use, had indefinitely postponed a decision on the JLPL’s application, following which the company’s MD, Mr Kulwant Singh, had appealed to the minister.

Sources, however, pointed out that an appeal was only made in reaction to a substantive order passed and in this case no orders regarding the rejection of Mr Kulwant Singh’s application had been passed by the committee.

It was also interpreted by the minister that indefinite postponement of a decision could be taken as ‘declining of the request of the applicant’ hence the option of re-sending it to the committee for re-consideration had also been closed.

The orders further stated that since the Secretary had already expressed his opinion on the matter, he was not in a position to reconsider the case. However, the order was silent on why the appeal was not sent to the next higher authority, the Principal Secretary, an hierarchy which was traditionally followed in appeal cases.

The order also mentioned the colonising company,JLPL, as a successful executer of works and a PUDA license holder.

However, it failed to mention that when the order was passed JLPL’s sister concern Janta Estate and Housing Development owed about Rs 1crore to PUDA and was on the defaulters’ list of the authority. The piece of land fell in Sector 90 and 91, right next to Sectors 88 and 89. 


Harmilap land dispute: no headway in talks
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 12
The stand-off between Punjab and Haryana over the ownership of prime land, four acres in Harmilap Nagar, continues with another round of talks between revenue officials of the two states failing to make any headway today.

With the meeting remaining inconclusive, it was decided to form a 10-member joint team comprising five revenue officials each from both the states, to demarcate the boundary.

The team, which will begin its work on January 27, would submit its the report on February 9, sources said.

Like the previous meetings, today’s meeting was no different. After detailed discussions, efforts to demarcate the boundaries of the two states, according to the old maps, failed. Now the joint team would first demarcate the boundary of the Punjab followed by that of Haryana.

While the HUDA Estate Officer, Mr Ashwani Sharma, led the Haryana team, the Dera Bassi Tehsildar, Mr Sanjeev Garg, headed the Punjab team.

The District Revenue Officer, Mr H.S, the District Town Planner (Enforcement), Mr Anirudh Sharma, the Tehsildar, Mr Tejinder Punia, and the Naib Tehsildar, Mr Ashwani Gambhir, assisted the Haryana team.

However, the sources said the formation of the joint team seemed to be an exercise in futility. Since the middle-rung officials like these had already failed to work out a solution to the problem during the past over two months, only a meeting between the top functionaries of the two states could lead to some breakthrough, they added.

The sources were of the opinion that ultimately both the states would have to go for the ‘aerial demarcation’ by the Survey of India as this was most reliable method to demarcate the boundary in such circumstances. Even the officials were veering round to the view that ‘aerial survey’ was a better option than routine meetings.

A tug of war between the authorities of the two states had started in October last year when HUDA, claiming the disputed land in Harmilap Nagar in the Industrial Area II, as its own, had served notices on nine residents. The residents had already constructed the houses on the land sold to them by the private colonisers and got the water and electricity connections from the Punjab authorities.


Repoll of PU Syndicate seats by Jan 24 likely
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Hanging fire for over a fortnight, the repoll of the Panjab University Syndicate's Law Faculty seats is likely to be held before the newly elected Syndicate meets for the first time on January 24.

With two senators, Mr Pawan Valecha and Mr G.K.Chatrath, polling 15 votes each, the result to both seats of the faculty was withheld and a repoll announced subsequently in the elections held in December last year.

The Returning Officer for the poll, Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, said he would consult the university authorities in the matter and notify the repoll shortly.

"As the Returning Officer, I have sought a clarification from the university on whether the repoll has to be for both seats of the faculty or the seat which has a tie. The university was supposed to seek legal opinion in the matter and there has been no communication from it so far," he informed.

Mr Sidhu added that they wanted the elections to be over before the Syndicate met for the first time on January 24 to enable representation to the Law Faculty. "Before we can hold a repoll, a notice of a week is essential which means we have to hasten the process and take a decision soon," Mr Sidhu added.

Last December, elections were held to choose the new Syndicate for 2004. Though 13 results were declared at the meeting of the various faculties, the result of the Law Faculty, allotted two seats in the Syndicate, was withheld following a tie between two of the three candidates who contested elections.

While Principal R.P.Asija polled 16 votes, there was a tie between Mr Valecha and Mr Chatrath, each of them polling 15 votes. This was referred to the faculty which said the entire result be withheld and legal opinion be taken to decide whether elections should be held to only one seat or both the seats of the Law Faculty.

According to the university calendar, in case of a tie, a repoll is held to decide the winning candidate. In case the repoll, too, results in a tie, the Presiding Officer will caste his vote to decide the fate of the candidates.


PEC to get IAF copter on January 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Students of the aeronautical department at Punjab Engineering College will soon get a hands-on experience about the structure and functioning of helicopters. As part of the department’s upgradation, it will be getting a de-commissioned helicopter, courtesy the Air Force.

Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Base Repair Depot, Air Cmde S.P.S. Virk told The Tribune that the depot would be handing over the helicopter to the college at a function on January 23.

Though the helicopter would not be in a flying condition, Air Commodore Virk said that the airframe would be complete in all respects, including the rotors. Besides certain parts such as the control sticks, gear box and other components would be kept in working condition so that students can practically understand how they function.

This is perhaps for the first time that the Air Force has presented a helicopter to an educational institute. The college would be paying a token amount of Rs 15,000 for the aircraft.

The IAF is also giving two TV-2 engines, which power the Mi-8 along with the aircraft. While one engine would be installed in the helicopter, the other would be kept on a rig in the laboratory.

The project has its genesis in the space shuttle tragedy, which claimed the lives of Indian-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla and six others in February 2003. The department came into limelight as Kalpana had been a student here. Subsequently, the then Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (Retd) desired that the department be upgraded.

Air Commodore Virk said that the department had sought several aviation components from the Air Force so that they could create an aircraft mock-up. “Instead, Air Headquarters decided to give them a complete aircraft,” he said.

The aircraft would be towed to the college from the depot a day before the handing over ceremony. IAF officers estimate that it would take about two hours to cover the distance. A special place has been earmarked for the helicopter to be placed within the college campus. A platform is being constructed for the purpose and the area around it is expected to be landscaped.

The helicopter has been patched up and given a fresh coat of paint. Special plaques depicting the helicopter’s technical specifications as well as the history of the Mi-8 in IAF service are also being prepared by 3 BRD, which will be installed alongside the helicopter.


Tribune journalists discharged in contempt case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
A three-Judge Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today discharged The Tribune’s Senior Associate Editor A.J. Philip and Staff Correspondent Rajmeet Singh in a contempt of court case. The Central Bureau of Investigation was also discharged with a “word of caution”. The judgement’s copy was not yet available.

Accepting unconditional apology furnished by The Tribune, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr N.K. Sud, ruled in an open court that Mr Philip and Mr Rajmeet Singh were being discharged subject to filing of affidavits in the matter. On oral request made by the newspaper’s counsel, the Bench granted two days time for filing affidavits.

The Court, it may be recalled, had initially taken suo motu notice of a report published in the newspaper. Arguing before the court, counsel had submitted that guidelines had been framed by the organisation to ensure against mistakes. Counsel for the CBI had, on the other hand, added that the investigating agency could not be held responsible as the information had not been provided by it to the newspaper organisation. The CBI had no role to play, its counsel had asserted.

Referring to a letter written by a High Court Judge to Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, the CBI’s counsel had submitted that the communication was regarding media’s role and not about the CBI. Denying the allegations of harassing the Judge or his family, the counsel had added that they had acted in accordance with law.


Ex-YC gen secy alleges death threat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
A former Youth Congress general secretary of Punjab, Mr Gurinder Singh Jakhar, has alleged the son of a Congress leader from Ferozpore has threatened to kill him for showing “disrespect” to his father.

Mr Jakhar said three persons, including the son of the Congress leader took him to Nayagaon at 3 am on Sunday. They took out a Mouser and a double, barrel gun and threatened to kill him, he added.

Mr Jakhar lodged a complaint with the Sector 11 police station which referred the case to the Sector 39 police station. The police is confirming the statement of Mr Jakhar and has not registered a case.

Mr Pawanpreet Singh, a nephew of the Congress leader whose son allegedly threatened to kill Mr Jakhar, refuted the charges, saying it was a baseless allegation and it might have been a heated exchange between two known persons. The Congress leader and his son were not available for comment.

Mr Jakhar alleged that one of the friends of his cousin Pavit Singh called him up at 2.30 am, informing him he had a tiff with an unidentified person who had been claiming that he knew Mr Jakhar.

He said the friend of his cousin asked Mr Jakhar to intervene and get the matter sorted out. Mr Jakhar said he asked them to come in the morning, but they reached his home in Sector 38 around 3 am. The friend of his cousin and two others brought a car and persuaded him to come along with them.

Mr Jakhar said he asked them why they were taking him to Nayagaon when the incident had occurred in North Park in Panchkula. The accused explained that the other party was coming to Nayagaon for a compromise.

Mr Jakhar said the accused then took their vehicle to a desolate place where they started consuming liquor. He said the accused had called their other friends, who came in an Esteem car.

Mr Jakhar said the accused then loaded their weapons and told him that they had called him on the sly and wanted to kill him because he had shown ‘disrespect’ to the father of the accused. The accused also told him that he had not followed his father in the last parliamentary elections.

Mr Jakhar said then the three asked each other as to who of them would kill him. Mr Jakhar is said to be close to Beant Singh’s family and the other party is told to be close to Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

The victim said he wriggled out of their clutches in the morning when they were coming towards the PGI. Mr Jakhar said he saw vehicle lights and told his abductors that a police Gypsy had come.

As the car of the accused slowed down, Mr Jakhar pulled the handbrake and jumped out of the car, following which the accused fled. 


Industrial discharge pollutes Ghaggar
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi (Patiala) January 12
Fish has disappeared from the Ghaggar and its tributaries. Shepherds avoid grazing their herd on its banks. In 1986, 12 buffaloes died after drinking water from a rivulet near Lalru. Even vultures don’t visit the area.

A decade ago various water-borne diseases had spread in Rajasthan. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had asked the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal to ban the discharge of pollutants into the river. The CPCB has also issued notices in this regard to the states.

At Industrial Area (Phase I), Chandigarh, the waste of industrial units and Colony Number-4 is discharged into the Sukhna Cho. A nullah from Panchkula also joins Sukhna at Gazipur village near Zirakpur.

A number of industrial units located at Lalru discharge effluents into the Jharmal. Besides this, slaughterhouses along the rivulets in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru, Chandigarh, Mani Majra, and Chandimandir also add effluents to the Ghaggar.

The toxic flows are polluting the subsoil water, which is being pumped out for drinking in the area.

Besides industrial units located along the rivulets and tributaries, untreated sewer and solid waste of Chandigarh and Panchkula flows into seasonal rivulets which carries the sullage into the river.

Mr Malwinder Singh, Member Secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Patiala, claims that untreated sewer from Chandigarh, Mohali, Rajpura, and Patiala adds to the pollution of the river in the Punjab area.

He, however, denied discharging of effluents by any of the industrial units located along the banks of the Ghaggar and its tributaries.

“The froth which accumulates on the river banks is due to the sullage (containing soap and detergents) discharged by the civic drains,” claims Mr Malwinder Singh.

According Mr Nirmail Singh Malikpur, president, Anti-Pollution Society, Dera Bassi, the Sukhna and Jharmal carry sullage and merge into the Ghaggar at the Bhankharpur and Lalru intersections respectively. Solid waste and fly ash heaps on the banks of seasonal rivulets are washed into the river during rains, he claims.


Jobs on compassionate ground sought
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
Widows and wards of UT employees, who had died while in service in the last four years, today demonstrated at the UT Secretariat against the failure of the administration to appoint next of the kin on compassionate ground. More than 300 employees have died in the past four years.

The demonstration was carried out under the banner of the Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation. Mr Ramesh Kumar Chandolia and Mr Sant Saini, president and general secretary, respectively, of the federation, while addressing the demonstrators alleged that instead of giving employment on compassionate ground, the administration got the houses allotted to the employees vacated.

Various leaders who spoke on the occasion demanded that one member from each family of employees of UT Administration and Municipal Corporation who died while in service be given appointments as done by the Punjab Government in December, 2003.

The federation has threatened to stage a dharna along with the widows and kin of the dead employees in front of the Punjab Governor’s official residence to press the administration to accept the demand. 


Brig Satjit Singh continues as vice-chairman of DSOI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Brig Satjit Singh (retd) has been re-elected as the vice-chairman of the management committee of the Defence Services Officers Institute (DSOI), Sector 36, the elections for which were held here yesterday.

Three candidates were in the fray for the post. Brigadier Singh polled 269 votes, while the other two candidates, Lieut-Col J.S. Sandhu (retd) and Capt S.P. Singh (retd) got 197 ad 191 votes, respectively.

Though the DSOI has about 2,600 members, only about 650 cast their votes. This is the third election since the institute's management passed on to the service community from bureaucratic control. Election for the institute's appointments and steering committee were also held, in which Major S.S. Johal defeated his only rival, Capt Harbhajan Singh (retd). Members of other sub-committees have already been elected unopposed.

The institute's annual general body meeting was also held yesterday where accounts and other issues were discussed. It was interesting to note that a majority of the newly elected members are either gunners or short service officers.

Speaking to The Tribune, Brig Satjit said that the institute focus is on expanding its facilities. He said that under the first phase, about 6,000 square feet of accommodation will be constructed for offices and stores. There was also a proposal to have a boardroom, a swimming pool, a closed badminton court and a squash court, but issues like finances, UT by-laws and available space would have to be considered. He added that though some grants are given by various service headquarters, the institute is largely self-supportive. Last year, Army Headquarters gave DSOI a grant of Rs 15 lakh, while Headquarters Western Command gave it Rs 10 lakh. Air Force Headquarters and Naval Headquarters gave it Rs 5 lakh each. The Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieu-Gen P.K. Grover, who is the ex-officio President of the DSOI's governing body and the Major-General Artillery, Western Command, Major-Gen B.S. Pawar, who is the ex-officio Chairman of the institute's management committee, were also present on the occasion.

The new members of various subcommittees are Capt B. S. Garcha (retd), Lieut-Col I.S. Khara (retd) and Wg Cdr D.S. Bajwa (retd), all three for the management subcommittee, Major R.K. Passi (retd) for sports and entertainment, Capt B.S. Jaswal (retd) for house and area development, Capt Hoshiar Singh (retd) for finance and Capt G.S. Sidhu (retd) for catering and bar subcommittee.


Fauji Beat
Will killings in Kashmir ever stop?

“I am proud of my grandson whose chest was pierced with bullets of terrorists. But please tell me how many Mriduls will have to die to maintain peace in Kashmir?” asked Mr Bhagwan Dass, 75, the grandfather of Capt Mridul Sharma, at the cremation of his grandson near Hamirpur on January 2. Capt Sharma was killed while fighting the militants near Rajouri on the night of December 31.

That none of our top politicians can answer Mr Bhagwan Dass’ question proves that even our leaders are groping in the dark. Several governments have come and gone since 1947. Every regime at the Centre has promised to settle the Kashmir issue which, if anything, has become more complicated in the last few years.

The current wave of militancy, which started in the shape of proxy war by Pakistan in 1989, has taken a heavy toll on our soldiers and civilians. Yet we continue to stick to our rigid stand without accepting the ground reality. The result is that the body bags continue to come from Jammu and Kashmir with an unhalting regularity. Their loss brings everlasting grief to their parents, widows and orphaned children. Sadly, this loss fails to have any affect on the politicians.

There is no problem without a solution, provided there is a will to find one. If our politicians are sincere to find a solution to the Kashmir problem, then they have to rise above party politics and find a meeting ground with Pakistan, especially now, when both India and Pakistan are in conciliatory mood.

War memorial

The Anglo-Sikh War Memorial, constructed by the Punjab Government at Ferozeshah, near Ferozepore in February, 1975, reminds one of the sacrifices made by the brave Punjabis in the Anglo-Sikh wars at Mudki, Ferozeshah, Sabraon and Chellianwala between 1845 and 1849. These wars against the British proved beyond doubt that Punjabi soldiers were among the best in the world.

The three-storeyed building, raised over a platform near the banks of the Rajasthan and the Sirhind Feeder canals on the Ferozepore-Ludhiana road, was designed by Mr M.S. Chopra, Senior Architect, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, under the guidance of Dr M.S. Randhawa. The weapons relating to the Anglo-Sikh wars are displayed in the hall on the ground floor. Four paintings by a renowned painter, Kirpal Singh, depicting the battles of Mudki, Ferozeshah, Sabraon and Chellianwala, are also displayed in the hall.

Fund management

To utilise the funds to the best advantage of the Army and to avoid under-utilisation, resulting in the surrender of unspent allocations, a course in Defence Financial Management was run at the Regional Training Centre of the Controller of Defence Accounts (Officers) in Pune recently. The course was attended by nearly 25 officers from the Southern Command.

While inaugurating the three-day interactive course, Lieut-Gen Satish Satpute, Chief of Staff, Sothern Command, said at this time, when there was a desired flow of funds for operational requirements, the fund managers of the Army should equip themselves for better financial management. He said for defence officers, it was essential to know the financial regulations and procedures so that they could manage the funds better.

Soldiers’ sacrifices

It is often said that “a nation that does not remember those who laid down their lives for it cannot always remain a nation worth dying for.” Not that our politicians do not remember soldiers’ sacrifices but they do so only during the war to get some political mileage.The moment the war is over, the soldiers are forgotten and all promises made to them are thrown to the winds.

How the other nations respect their soldiers’ sacrifices has been seen by us from the example set by the US at the cremation of Sgt Uday Singh in Chandigarh.

Col Pritam Bhullar (retd)


Lohri — time to celebrate
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
If you have been celebrating Lohri just because you love munching popcorns after sitting around the blaze without knowing the significance of the occasion, it is time you enrich your knowledge.

The festival is based on the solar year. Generally, it is an accepted fact that the festival is held to worship fire. Geographically speaking, the earth starts its journey towards sun along its elliptical orbit, heralding the onset of spring. This transition is celebrated as Lohri in Northern India, Makara Sankranti in the central part of the country and as Pongal-Sankranti in South India.

In this part of the region, functions are organised as Lohri is considered a happy occasion for couples celebrating the festival for the first time together after marriage. First Lohri of a son born in a family is also considered an occasion to celebrate.

The festival is spread over three days in South India and signifies the beginning of harvesting. A rath yatra is taken out from the Kandaswamy temple in Chennai on Pongal.

The day is celebrated as Ganga-Sagara in West Bengal. According to a belief, Hindus purify their sins by taking bath in the Ganga. An impressive fair is also held on Sagara Island, 64 km from Diamond harbour, where the Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal.

Call it Lohri, Pongal or Sankranti, the festival conveys the same message — time to celebrate.

You have heard children sing songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti on Lohri, but little is known about him. Dulha Bhatti is a Punjabi version of Robin Hood. He too robbed the rich to help the poor.


Slum school kids celebrate Lohri
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
Students of Khushee School in Sector 25 celebrated Lohri. The school authorities had lit a huge bonfire. The students danced around the fire singing traditional songs.

The programme was organised by the Indian Council of Social Welfare’s Chandigarh Chapter at Government High School in Sector 25.

The organisers gave away gachak, rewari and groundnuts, besides woolen caps and books to the students.

The Chairperson of Indian Council of Social Welfare, Ms Rani Sharma, also joined in celebrations. Addressing the gathering, council’s honorary general secretary, Ms Shareshtha Mehta, gave details of the activities undertaken by the organisation for the welfare of the poor and the needy.

Tiny tots celebrate Lohri

Tiny tots of Sanjivni Preparatory School participated in Lohri celebrations held in Sector 11. The little ones of Sanjivni school danced around a bonfire lit on the occasion.

Talking to the students, school Principal Indu Luthra explained the significance of the festival. Sweets were also distributed to the children. 


Lohri celebrated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 12
Lohri was celebrated with great enthusiasm by residents of seven-and-a-half marla houses in Phase IIIB1.

Various contests for boys and girls marked the occasion. While children below five years participated in 50-metre race, children in the age group of six to 10 years took part in the 30-metre three-legged race. Solo song and fancy dress competitions were also held.

Students of the area who had got more than 65 per cent marks in Classes VIII, X and XII were give prizes. The bonfire was lit by Mr N.K. Marwaha, municipal councillor, who was the chief guest.


MC scheme for removing malba
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The Municipal Corporation today said that its scheme, launched to clear malba from outside people’s homes and construction sites, will carry on.

City residents can call up at number 3274154 on any working day. The Municipal Corporation trucks will reach within a day and malba will be removed after issuing of proper receipt by the official of the corporation.

The scheme had been originally launched on November 14 last year and more than 150 request from residents had been met till now.

The prompt service of the corporation had not only given relief to the public in general but had also ensured that the removed malba was dumped at authorised malba dumping sites.

If any malba was stacked in front of houses/shops the individuals were liable to be challenged or the vehicle dumping malba at unauthorised places was liable to be confiscated.

The Municipal Corporation would remove malba on a payment of Rs 2 per cubic foot at a minimum of Rs 50.


City BJP appoints spokesmen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The president of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, today appointed 3 spokesmen — Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, Mr Raghuvir Lal Arora and Mr Kewal Krishan Adiwal. These 3 spokesmen will brief all mediapersons from time to time about party activities, programmes and policies of Chandigarh BJP.

Mr Mahajan also appointed Mr Ravi Parkash Kansal as a prabhari of the trader cell of Chandigarh BJP. He appointed Mr Des Raj Tandon, an old party leader, as publication in charge of party literature, programmes and policies of Chandigarh BJP. He was also deputed to activate old party workers who will work to strengthen the party.

Mr Mahajan also appointed Mrs Nancy Ganju, ex-president mahila morcha, as prabhari of Kashmiri people in the city.


Plea to DC on cable fee hike
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 12
The Consumer Protection Forum has demanded that cable services be placed in essential services category to stop cable operators from fleecing residents by hiking cable fee drastically.

In a letter to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mr P.S. Virdi, president of the forum, said there was great resentment among residents of the town as cable operators were hiking service charges without taking residents into confidence.

He said as cable connections had become essential, cable operators were exploiting residents. The monthly charges were being increased from Rs 150 to Rs 250, which was unfair as no one viewed all channels that were telecast.

Moreover, during telecasts, 80 per cent of the time was devoted to commercial breaks, through which companies earned lakhs, he added, urging the Deputy Commissioner to intervene.


Blankets distributed among the poor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
About 100 blankets were distributed among poor, disabled and widows, besides the aged, by the Society for Social Health at a function held in Colony No 4 and Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26.

UT Land Acquisition Officer S.K. Setia and Additional Director with the Ministry of Environment Dr P.B. Rastogi were present at the function. Mr Setia appreciated the efforts of the society for organising such programmes for the welfare of the poor and the needy living in slums and colonies.


Workshop inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
As many as 29 participants from 14 non-government organisations (NGO), Punjab State AIDS Control Society, UT Education Department and Punjab Red Cross, are participating in a three-day workshop at Punjab Red Cross Regional Training Centre here today.

Inaugurating the workshop, the executive director of Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses, Dr Rajesh Kumar, said there was need to hold workshops so that the task of drug abuse prevention was carried out successfully and collectively.

The Secretary of Punjab Red Cross, Captain R S Jaiya, said the such workshops should also be held to benefit patients suffering from tuberculosis. The director of the workshop, Mr M L Bindal, said the present workshop would bring NGOs working in the field on one platform for the betterment of the society.


New premises for passport office soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The Regional Passport Office in Sector 34 here, is all set to move into a new and more spacious premises in the same sector. The shift will take place ‘‘very soon’’. The office here caters to large parts of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

This would meet a long pending demand of the people of this area to have a modern, larger and peoplefriendly passport office building, Mr Arvind Kumar, Regional Passport Officer said here today.


Jailed IT director on production remand
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Incarcerated Onlinejobworks.com director Jasdeep Singh Bains was today taken on production remand by the Chandigarh Police for his alleged involvement in another multi-level marketing (MLM) company, Artexe.com, also known as Tvisha Diamonds.

Artexe.com has recently come under the police scanner for allegedly using fraudulent methods to rope in members in an MLM venture. The company had reportedly collected Rs 3 crore from 6,000 members from across the country. The police is already looking for Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu in connection with Artexe.com.

An MBA, Bains, a son of a former IAS officer, had resigned from Artexe.com in November last year, the Economic Offence Wing of the Chandigarh Police claimed.

Artexe.com directors, including the UK-returned 31-year-old Bains, had bought two Mitsubishi Lancer cars, two showrooms and a restaurant in Patiala. The rest of the money, according to the accused, was used in returning commission to members and running the establishment.

Bains allegedly went to the United Kingdom in 1999 and set up a software company, but closed it after the company failed to survive during the IT slump in year 2000.

Bains then shifted to Chandigarh and joined Skynetmart in Sector 34, another multi-level marketing company.

Bains then allegedly thought of setting up an MLM company and discussed it with his brother-in-law Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu. Sandhu reportedly told Bains that a special software was required for setting up such a company and it was available with one Akashdeep of Sector 21.

The police said Bains and Sandhu then procured the special software from Akashdeep for Rs 1.5 lakh. The police alleged that a large number of MLM companies manipulated the software to channel back the money of the members to the company giving points to fictitious members fed in the software.

The police said that was how Artexe.com was born in Patiala in March 2000. The company started giving franchises across the country. One Anil Kumar having office in SCO 91 in Sector 17 was given such a venture in Chandigarh. However, Bains allegedly took it back in March 2002 from Anil Kumar to have a complete control over the venture.

Acting on a complaint by Mr Jasmer Singh, a Patiala resident, the Chandigarh Police had raided office of Tvisha Diamonds allegedly for cheating more than 7,000 persons across the region of over Rs 8 crore on December 20. The police had also seized more than 20 computers and certain records from the Sector 34 office of the company.


Rs 1.40 lakh stolen from two houses
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 12
In two separate broad daylight burglaries reported from southern sectors here, thieves decamped with cash and jewellery worth more than Rs 1.40 lakh today. In both the cases the houses were unoccupied and the thieves broke the locks on the outer doors using rods.

Thieves broke into the second-floor residence of Mr Narinder Kumar Pandey in Sector 44-D this afternoon and decamped with cash and jewellery worth about Rs 80,000. There were people in the street at the reported time of the burglary, police sources said.

Mr Pandey's wife, Neema, had left the house at around 3.10 pm to drop her son for tuition in a neighbouring house and returned after about 45 minutes to find the lock on the outer door broken. The family has told the police that Rs 22,500 and gold jewellery, including rings, ear-rings and a locket, are missing.

Mr Pandey, who is Press Secretary of the Sarvhitkari Educational Society, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune informed the cash and jewellery which had been stolen were lying in an almirah. ‘‘The locks in the almirah were not broken as the thieves found the keys lying in the house,’’ said Mr Pandey. He is also an LIC agent and the cash was to be deposited with the LIC.

In the second incident, thieves entered house No 809\1, Sector 40-A, some time between 10.30 am and 1.15 pm today and took away cash and jewellery worth about Rs 60,000. Mr S.P. Mehta, an employee of Bata India Limited, informed that his wife, son and daughter left the house at around 10.30 am and it was unoccupied. ‘‘When my daughter returned home at 1.15 pm, she found the lock broken. The jewellery, kept in the cupboard of a dressing table, belonged to my daughter-in-law", said Mr Mehta. Besides, Rs 5,000, gold and silver jewellery, the thieves also took away a camera and some other goods.

Two cases under relevant sections of the IPC have been registered.


Bus coach launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The JCBL, based near Lalru, today announced the launch of JCBL Integral Coach 6113 to cater to the needs of the high-end luxury segment. Mr Rishi Pal, Director, JCBL Ltd, said,” With the introduction of this model, the JCBL will have a complete range of products for its customers, ranging from economy buses to the super-luxury integral coaches. The Indian market today is mature enough to accept this super luxury coach because of infrastructure development like the Golden Quadrilateral and the North-South and East-West Corridors under construction.”

He said the company was holding a market share of 40 per cent in the organised sector and efforts would be made to increase its share to 50 per cent in the organised market. The philosophy of the company was to provide mobility solutions of standards, keeping in line the stringent quality standards in the international market. He added that the JCBL had a strong customer base comprising leading auto players and prime fleet operators in the country.

Scrub soap

Nomarks has launched a scrub soap, which they claim, will add a glow back to the skin. The soap offers the twin benefits of a gentle scrub, apart from a regular body cleanser. With a 75 g cake priced at Rs 26, the soap will help in removing dead cells and is effective for deep cleansing.

Wrist watches

Casino Quartz Watches landed in the City Beautiful yesterday, when MP Pawan Bansal launched the wrist watches at Hotel Park Inn. Available for Rs 999 for a pair (sales tax extra), the watches, being marketed by Hindustan Electronics and Watch Industries, these will be available at Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Patiala and Amritsar.


Cadila may reduce price of Amoxycillin
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 12
Pharmaceutical giant Cadila today expressed its desire to reduce the price of its branded product, Genmox-250 (Amoxycillin 250 mg) following the slapping of a case against it by the Health Department.

The desire was expressed by the company's representatives following a meeting with the Civil Surgeon, Dr Satvir Chaudhary, and the Drugs Inspector, Mr Kamaldeep Dhawan. Earlier, on September 15 last year, with a view to providing medicines at cheaper rates, the Drugs Inspector had instituted criminal proceedings and the CJM had summoned the directors of the company.

However, instead of appearing before the CJM, the company preferred a revision petition before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhangoo, arguing that the company had not committed any offence.

In his statement in reply to the revision petition, the Drugs Inspector had contended that criminal proceedings against the company were in accordance with the drug laws since the company had overpriced the medicine.

The revision petition was fixed for today and the company's counsel asked for adjournment. The case was adjourned for final hearing on February 4.

In another development, three senior functionaries of Ranbaxy met the Civil Surgeon in connection with the modifications to be made with regard to its product, Revital. The Drugs Inspector had issued notices to Ranbaxy for selling dietary supplement containing ginseng. Ginseng had recently been reported to be toxic by the WHO. The company had contended that the Drugs Controller of India (DCI) had permitted Ranbaxy to manufacture it under the article of food. However, the Drugs Inspector had directed Ranbaxy that the DCI letter had already become null and void as ginseng had already been classified as a drug in the British Pharmacopoeia of 2003 and the same is applicable to India.

The Drugs Inspector said criminal proceedings may be initiated against the company in the larger public interests, according to a press note.


JCT to start production soon
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 12
JCT Electronics Ltd, which had stopped its production activity about two years ago, will become functional in the near future.

This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, while talking to mediapersons after the curtain-raising ceremony of a murti of Shani Devta at the Pracheen Satya Narain Mandir in Mataur village here today.

He said that he had taken personal interest in the matter and held talks with the JCT management in this regard. He said that employees who were working in the factory earlier would be given preference at the time of making recruitments.

The Deputy Speaker said that efforts were being made to revive Punwire as well. The ground work in this regard had been completed. Even the Chief Minister had made an announcement in the town a few days ago that Punwire would be made functional.

He said a separate sector would be set up in the town to run dairy farming. Unemployed youths would be given opportunities in setting up dairy farms in this sector.

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