C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Dearth of fresh air
Dry leaves being burnt with impunity
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Indiscriminate burning of dry leaves in the city has been resulting in increased levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. With dry leaves being burnt at some locations almost everyday, even the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) levels in the air are rising, not only damaging the air quality but also posing major health hazards.

While particulates reduce visibility and can even get lodged in the lung tissues and respiratory tract damaging the respiratory system, CO molecules can enter the bloodstream. There they prevent the delivery of oxygen in the body. High CO concentrations can even be fatal.

Meanwhile, CO2, also emitted during the course of burning dry leaves, is an asphyxiating gas which, if inhaled, can be toxic in high concentrations, causing an increase in the breathing rate, unconsciousness, and even death.

Hazardous effects of leaf burning notwithstanding, the practice is only intensifying by the day. Over the past week, dry leaves and litter from the trees are being burnt almost daily along the Sector 18-19 dividing road. On many other roads, including the Sector 20 and 21 dividing road, dry leaves are burnt away. This despite the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which has imposed a ban on the practice throughout Chandigarh.

Even the Municipal Corporation Solid Waste Management Rules 2000 the MC is also required to frame bylaws to check the hazardous practice. It is another matter that no bylaws in this regard have yet been framed in Chandigarh.

On the contrary, MC’s own staff is violating the law in nine out of 10 cases. Last year Medical Officer Health, MC, had suspended four employees for burning of dry leaves. Even this year Dr G.C. Bansal, MOH, has called the explanation of three people for the burning leaves on the Sector 20-21 dividing road.

Though the punitive measures are taken, the burning of leaves can hardly be prevented till the time a proper alternative is worked out. Dr Bansal admitted to The Tribune that rules needed to be framed at the earliest if the practice of burning leaves was to be stopped. He added that until now Chandigarh had no alternative proposal in place to systematically dispose of dry leaves.

He said, “Dry leaves are like gold. If treated properly they can yield tremendous benefits. Earlier we had a proposal of converting them into brickets which could then be used in brick kilns. However, it could not mature due to some practical problems. Another alternative is to convert dry leaves into manure by way of composting. We are working out a plan to use dry leaves for producing organic fertilizers.”

Till the plans take shape, the quality of air will continue to go from bad to worse. At least that is what sources in the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board (CPCB) feel. Data available with the CPCB shows that the levels of SPM in the residential-cum-commercial areas the city are generally more than the permissible limits throughout the year. They also indicate that the concentration of SPM is higher during dry summer months when the pollution load is also high due to dry and dusty conditions. Burning of dry leaves is another significant factor, adding to poor air quality in Chandigarh.


Suicide or murder ?
Woman found hanging in in-laws’ house
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 7
A 32-year-old married woman was found hanging from a ceiling hook at her in-laws’ residence in Phase I here this morning.

The in-laws told the police that Nisha, who worked as a school teacher in Phase 3B2, did her household chores at 6.30 a.m. Then she locked herself in her bed room on the first floor. Her mother-in-law’s sister Santosh found here hanging from a rope tied to a spare hook on the ceiling. A plastic stool was lying nearby. Nisha, was dressed up, as if just about to leave for her job. The clothes she had ironed for her husband were also lying on the bed.

Her husband Manoj Chawla was away to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh to attend on his ailing father. He fainted the moment he entered the house. Nisha’s body was brought down. Her parents living in Phase II were informed. Nisha’s father Bhisham Das, then called the police.

Nisha, a graduate, was married in 1995 to Manoj for nine years. She was under stress for not bearing a child, claimed her in-laws.

The family was also facing economic problems after Manoj lost his job at Punwire and started another job at the Chandigarh-based State AIDS Control Society office, said neighbours.

Nisha’s younger sister Monica told the police that the in-laws had stopped her from meeting the parents for the past one year. She had lot of problems with her in-laws four year ago. It seemed to us that everything had settled down,” said Nisha father.

Nisha’s mother Prakash kept on repeating that. “They (in-laws) did not let me see my daughter for one year. Now at least let me have a last look at her,” she begged the police.

Nisha, according to the neighbours was a quiet person and did not socialise much. “But she was nice if one visited their house.

No suicide note was found by the police. The police will wait for the post- mortem report before registering a case.


Teenager held for molesting 3-year-old
Tribune News Service

Tips for parents

  • Don’t let children of this age go out of sight.
  • Be extra cautious about vendors whose items attract children.
  • Insist on police verification of such vendors to allow them movement in a particular area.
  • Children of this age are susceptible to allurments.
  • Don’t send children to markets alone.
  • Children have to be constantly reminded not to go with an unknown person or accept their offer or allurement.
  • Criminals pose as vendors to survey an area for planning a crime.

Chandigarh, April 7
An 18-year-old balloon vendor allegedly sexually abused a three-year-old girl in a public park in Sector 33-D.

Brij Pal was caught by residents of the area and handed over to Sector 34 police station. He was formally arrested on the complaint of the mother of the girl.

The police is inquiring if he was a paedophile involved in other similar incidents. An eyewitness told Chandigarh Tribune that yesterday also Brij Pal was with the child while she was enjoying swings alone in the park. He allegedly indulged in the perverse act with the child. He tried to run away when the child started crying.

Residents also handed over to the police the torn clothes of the child. The eyewitness said Brij Pal had torn her cloths yesterday.

The police is confirming if Brij Pal was staying in Panchkula as stated by him. Brij Pal told the police that he belonged to Lucknow.

The accused today again returned to the area and sought to lure the child by offering a balloon. She started crying as soon as she saw Brij Pal.

When the mother of the girl saw her child crying and the same person, she raised the alarm. People of the area immediately gathered and caught hold of Brij Pal. They reportedly beat him up.

The police has booked him under Section 354 of the Indian Penal code (IPC). He will be produced in a local court tomorrow.

The incident has come barely few months after a beggar from Meerut was arrested for trying to kidnap two children from Mani Majra. He was trying to lure two children with an offer to take them on a train journey.


24 hurt in bus mishap
Our Correspondent

Banur, April 7
Over 24 passengers were injured, eight of them seriously, when a Chandigarh bound bus collided head-on with a canter on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Patiala highway in Rampur village this afternoon.

Seriously injured, including the bus driver, were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 Chandigarh.

Those who have been admitted to the hospital have been identified Harjit Singh, Gurbakshish Singh, Jeet Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Anjali, Rekha, Mandeep and Sukhwinder Singh, the bus driver. Apart from this two other unidentified passengers have also been admitted to the hospital.

According to injured passengers, Sukhwinder Singh, driver of the bus (PB-11E-9636), lost control over the Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation bus when he noticed the canter (PB-11D-2892) approaching in a zigzag manner.

The bus was on its route from Fazilka to Chandigarh and was carrying more than 50 passengers. The front portions of both the vehicles were damaged. After the collision the bus fell into a ditch along the road.

The driver of the canter fled from the scene.

A case has been registered with Banur police station.


VHP seeks support for ‘Hindu agenda’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Vishva Hindu Parishad has launched a countrywide campaign to enlist the support of candidates fielded by various political parties in the forthcoming Parliamentary poll for its 11-point “Hindu agenda”.

“We have told them that if they support our 11-point agenda, the support of the VHP workers will be available to them,” said Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Senior Vice-President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, in a talk with TNS here today. The agenda was being sent to all candidates seeking election to the Lok Sabha. Some of the main points of the agenda included pledge to liberate Ram Janmabhoomi at Ayodhya, abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, enforcement of a common civil code and cow protection.

Acharya Kishore claimed that the drive to enlist the support of the parliamentary candidates was getting a good response. He pointed out that in the last parliamentary elections, 155 MPs had supported the Hindu agenda. Although no “target” had been set, he expected a larger response this time. He pointed out that the NDA had now indicated that it would include Ram Janmabhoomi issue in its own agenda.

The VHP leader expressed the hope that the Ram Janmabhoomi issue would be settled within the next two years. He claimed that mediation on this issue by the Dalai Lama had begun to pave the way for an eventual settlement of the issue. He pointed out that the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, too had been speaking in terms of a settlement of the issue after the parliamentary elections....” and I have no reason to disbelieve him”.

Turning to the Congress leadership, he said the country would have to decide if a person of foreign origin was qualified to lead it. “What will happen if India found itself in a conflict situation with the country of Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s birth at a future date? Citizens of this country must ponder over all eventualities.”

He said Mrs Sonia Gandhi might be an Indian citizen now, but she was certainly not a “natural citizen of India”. She belonged to a family which had served the Italian dictator, Mussolini during World War II. He also said that the VHP wanted to “Hinduise” the Indian politics. It regarded Jains, Sikhs and others as part of the Hindu society whose members worshipped God in different ways. As regards the Muslims, most of them had Hindu ancestors. They had just changed their religion. If they accepted their forefathers and heritage, they would have no difficulty in becoming a part of the Hindu mainstream.

The VHP leader also expressed concern over the way India was being westernised. He lamented that modernisation was being confused with westernisation which must be stopped.


Tehelka exposé: court martial begins
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Three years after a sting operation carried out by a website exposed several Army officers indulging in malpractices while dealing with fictitious arms dealers, the first of the courts martial being convened to try the accused officers began at Chandimandir Military Station yesterday.

Well placed sources reveal that the General Court Martial (GCM) of Col Anil Sehgal finally started yesterday. The GCM, being held at the location of an Air Defence Brigade, is being presided over by the Station Commander, Chandimandir, Brig Kuldip Singh. Besides the Brigadier, the court includes four officers of the rank of Colonel.

The officer is being tried under various sections of the Army Act dealing with corruption and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline. He was among other senior officers reportedly caught on tape while demanding bribes from the arms dealers. He had allegedly asked for Rs 2 lakh, claiming that the money went all the way to the top. He was then posted as Director, Ordnance Services at Army Headquarters.

Colonel Sehgal had earlier moved the Delhi High Court, seeking a stay on his GCM, but the high court had declined. Notices, however, were issued to the Army authorities concerned by the high court a few days ago.

It may be recalled that in March, 2001, journalists from the website tehelka.com had posed as arms dealers and had used hidden cameras to film several politicians, Army officers and civilian officers from the defence ministry allegedly demanding and accepting bribes.

The expose, which had rocked the nation, resulted in the BJP president Bangaru Laxman and Defence Minister George Fernandes resigning from their posts. Six Army officers, including Maj-Gen P.S.K. Choudhary, Maj-Gen M.S. Ahluwalia, Maj-Gen Satnam Singh, Brig Iqbal Singh and Lieut-Col B.B. Sharma along with three defence ministry officials were suspended.

A court of inquiry instituted into the scam had reportedly found the six officers prima facie guilty of misconduct. The findings of the court of inquiry were forwarded to Headquarters Western Command for further action. While at least three officers are facing trial by court martial, the Army had also recommended administration action against them.

Sources reveal that the GCM of Maj-Gen Choudhary is expected to convene shortly. The Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover is reported to be the presiding officer, though the court’s final composition is yet to be finalised. Maj-Gen Choudhary, who was then the Additional Director General (Weapons and Procurement) at Army Headquarters, had allegedly demanded Rs 1 lakh and a gold chain. According to reports, he later, also publically admitted having demanded and accepted the cash and chain. The court martial of an officer of the rank of a major general is a rare instance.

Sources add that the summary of evidence (SOE) is being recorded in the case of a third officer, Brig Iqbal Singh.

He was then the Prospective Procurement Officer at Army HQs and had allegedly accepted Rs 50,000. It is only after the SOE is complete that a decision to convene a court martial will be taken.

With the Phukan Commission, inquiring into the scam, submitting its report to the Prime Minister earlier this year, the Army is now apparently in a hurry to commence the trials before the offences become time-barred.


40 fridges destroyed as truck catches fire
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 7
More than 40 refrigerators were destroyed in a fire that broke out in a multi-axle truck parked outsides a company godown along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Bhabhat village this evening.

Loaded with 140 refrigerators, the multi-axle vehicle (HR-38C-9133) caught fire at 7.10 pm. Noticing smoke and flames billowing out of the covered carriers of the vehicle, company employees and drivers of other vehicles rushed to extinguish the blaze, eyewitnesses said.

To extinguish the flames, the doors of the covered portion of the vehicle were broken and subsequently a fire engine from Dera Bassi Fire Station was called for help. The passers-by and other workers of godowns joined in put out the fire. The truck on fire was driven off to Panchkula T-point.

A team of firemen led by fire officer Kuldeep Singh extinguished the flames in less than 15 minutes.

Mr Sant Lal, a driver of another multi-axle vehicle, said that the vehicle was transporting refrigerators from Ahemdabad to Zirakpur and was parked unloaded outside the godown since April 2. The driver had left.


BJP complains to EC about Punjab, Haryana CMs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The local unit of the BJP today urged the Election Commission of India not to deploy either Punjab Police and commandoes or Haryana Police in U.T. Chandigarh during the coming Lok Sabha elections.

A delegation of the party led by its President, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, and consisting of Mr Satya Pal Jain, party’s candidate from Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency, Mr Bal Krishan Kapoor and Mr Purshotam Mahajan, today met the Election Commission of India in Punjab Bhawan.

The BJP said that both the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana were taking undue interest in the elections in Chandigarh.

Several Punjab Ministers were moving in their official cars canvassing for the local Congress candidate. In such a situation, both state governments could misuse the police force to their advantage.

The BJP also complained that the local Congress Mayor and certain other Congress councillors were also moving in their official cars, with red light on the top while canvassing for Congress candidate.

They demanded action against the Congress for this. The party also complained that the local Congress candidate and his supporters were pressurising certain BJP workers and were trying to bribe them even with money for supporting Congress candidate.

The party also urged the Election Commission to expedite the enquiry against the local Congress (I) candidate for violation of code of conduct in which he had announced the reduction of electricity rates in Mauli Jagran Colony along with the Government contractor Mr Mohd Sadiq Sheikh, who himself was a Congress worker. It said that Mr Sadiq had been charging heavy amount from the residents of Mauli Jagran Colony for supplying electricity and he announced the reduction in rates in the presence of the Congress candidate, was gross violation of the code of conduct. The party demanded that strict action be taken against the Congress candidate and the contractor. They also demanded the cancellation of the contract of the contractor.


BJP’s allegation baseless: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Mr Pawan Bansal, UT Congress leader who is seeking re-election from this parliamentary constituency, today denied the allegations of bribery levelled against him by the BJP leader, Mr Satya Pal Jain.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Bansal said the charge that he had been trying to buy the support of BJP workers was “totally baseless and figment of the imagination of Mr Jain”. The Congress leader said his track record as an upright parliamentarian was well-known and he was seeking votes from Chandigarhians on the basis of his performance. “I am sorry that I am having to answer such allegations...”, he said.

Meanwhile, the local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party announced that it would be working for the success of Mr Bansal in the parliamentary poll. In a joint statment issued here, Principal Gurbachan Singh, Mr Sham Lal Kanoujia and Mr G.C.Dhadwal said they had held a meeting with Mr Bansal to finalise the programme for alliance with the Congress. A procession would be taken out on Friday (April 9) from NCP office in Sector 45 to the Congress Bhavan in Sector 35.


Cong ex-Mayor joins BJP

Chandigarh, April 7
The local unit of the Congress suffered a major jolt when Mr Gurcharan Singh Kala, a former Congres Mayor of Chandigarh, today joined the BJP at a poll rally addressed by a former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, at Mani Majra.

Earlier, Mr Kala, accompanied by a large number of supporters, arrived at the venue of the rally in a procession. He was welcomed by Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat, and other BJP leaders. TNS


INLD plea to EC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) today urged the Election Commission to direct the UT Administration not to stop ongoing development works in city in view of the Lok Sabha poll.

Mr Sandeep Singh, a leader of the local unit of the INLD, at a meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr S. Krishnamurty, said such projects were for the overall good of the people and could not influence them in one or the other way at the time of the elections. In this connection, he pointed out that the party candidate, Mr Harmohan Dhawan was emphatic that top priority should be accorded to proper supply of potable water and electricity to all sections of society.

He also said electoral rolls be finalised immediately and lists given to all political parties.


NCC involves IAF in flying activities
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
To improve its training and streamline operating procedures, the National Cadet Corps (NCC) has initiated steps to involve Air Force stations in flying activities being undertaken by its squadrons.

The decision to involve the AIr Force in regular activities was undertaken at the NCC Director General’s conference at Delhi recently, which was attended by senior officers from all NCC directorates.

Officers from the Air Force station nearest to the NCC unit will help in designing the cadet’s training syllabus, inspecting procedures, maintaining flight logs and examining aircraft.

More importantly, Air Force personnel will be taking up flight safety aspects with NCC cadets.

Confirming the move, NCC Deputy Director General, Brig D.S. Dhillon said that so far there was no involvement of the IAF in the NCC’s flying activities. “Air Force establishments are getting instructions at their own channels to provide assistance to the NCC,” he added.

The Punjab, Haryana Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate is also getting four additional microlite aircraft, which would give a further impetus to flying activities. Presently, this directorate has four microlites, with two being based at Ludhiana and one each at Patiala and Chandigarh.

The new aircraft will be based at Jalandhar, Amritsar, Karnal and Kulu, where a hangar for housing the aircraft has already been constructed.

A Bangalore-based firm will be supplying the aircraft. The directorate is also getting two gliders from the National Defence Academy at Kharakvasla.

The move to increase the scope of flying activities in the NCC comes in the wake of directives issued by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy. According to sources, the Air Chief had asked the best cadet at a camp about his flying experience.

On being told by the cadet that he had never flown, the Air Chief was reportedly of the opinion that all cadets competing for best cadet award at national level camps must have flying experience. Consequently, the NCC has decided that all cadets competing for best cadet awards at the Vayu Sanik Camp should have a minimum of 10 hours flying experience.


Pak delegates favour better relations
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The legal eagles from Pakistan, who were given a warm welcome by lawyers’ community of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday, left a message for their Indian counterparts: let’s ignore the politicians and reach out to each other on our own.

Speaker after speaker from Pakistan, who addressed a houseful of Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges and lawyers, talked of the need for improving the person-to-person contact between peoples of the two countries.

“Let’s not wait for the governments to reach some agreement. We should take it on ourselves to clear the misunderstanding between the two neighbours. Look at the gains that the two countries can achieve if they work together and not at corss-purposes,” pointed out Mr Arif Choudhary, leader of the 85-member strong delegation that is on a five-day visit to the state.

In his address, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association president Anmol Rattan Sidhu observed that the recent peace moves would yield dividends only if the ordinary citizens of the two countries felt that they would profit from peace between the two countries.

Welcoming the delegates, Mr Sidhu hoped that more such bilateral visits would be possible in the near future. Incidentally, most of the male lawyers had brought their spouses along for the trip.

Other speakers talked of how similar India and Pakistan, especially the Punjabs on either side of the border, were. “When we walked on the roads here, we didn’t notice any change. Everything is the same: the people, the living styles, the eating habits. So why must we keep fighting?” wondered a lawyer from Pakistan.

Among others who addressed the gathering were Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice B.K. Roy, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association secretary S.S. Swaich, Mr Navid Anwar Naveed, member of the Bar Council, Gujranwala, former Judge of the Punjab (Lahore) High Court Zahid Hussain Bukhari, Nahida Mehboob Ilahi, Member of the Bar Council of Punjab, Lahore, and Malik Mohd. Nawaz Khan, president of the Rawalpindi High Court Bar Association.


Farmers told of radiation rewards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Exposing foods to radiation for giving them a longer shelf life and adopting scientifically developed seeds, which are disease and pest resistant, were among the tips farmers of the region got from scientists of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai.

At an interaction between farmers and scientists on the second day of the seminar on “Atom for Peace” organised by the National Centre for Human Genome Studies and Research, PU, at Golden Jubilee Hall, Panjab University, here today, farmers were told about the benefits of use of technology to increase their yield.

The scientists explained to the farmers that use of “controlled radiation” did not cause harm to the crop or the humans. While the radiation did not change the smell or taste of foods, it helped in increasing the shelf life of the crop.

They were later shown a documentary on use of radiation to sterilise crops and devices used to carry out the same. The documentary also stressed on the need for setting up modified bio-gas plants within small communities for creating manure using kitchen waste.

The farmers from Haryana and Punjab were also given contact numbers for guidance on procuring high-yielding varieties of seeds.

Earlier, students of M.Sc (Human Genomics) were given an introduction about the topic. In the first session of the programme, the scientists met students of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36-D, and demonstrated the use of radioactivity and its safety.

In the afternoon session, Mr Amit Khanna and Ms Poonam Preet Kaur welcomed the farmers from different regions around Chandigarh and Haryana. Along with the farmers, Mr H.S. Lohan, Additional Director (Agriculture), Haryana, Dr (Mrs) Kanchan Monga, Co-ordinator of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Panchkula and Mr R.C. Gupta, Chief Hydrologist, Ground Water Cell, Panchkula, were present during the deliberations. Dr R.N. Pandey (Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology Division), BARC, and Mr R.K. Sharma, Head (Media relations and public awareness), BARC, delivered a lecture on Radioisotopes in Healthcare and Industry: Spin-off technologies of BARC to the scientists and farmers.


Mobiles ahead of fixed-line phones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The number of fixed-line telephone connections in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula has started falling.

More and more subscribers are surrendering their fixed-line BSNL phones and switching over to mobile phones which they find much more convenient and cost effective.

According to official figures, as many 20, 778 persons surrendered their fixed line BSNL phones in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali during the financial year 2003-04. The number of new phone connections released during the same period was 11, 813. Thus, the total number of fixed line phone connections operating in the area fell by 8, 965. The total number of fixed line BSNL phone connections in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali now stands at 1.92 lakh.

However, during the same period, internet connections offered by the BSNL increased from 1715 to 18, 319. Fault rate went down from 13.34% to 9.9% per month.


Labourer killed while digging trench
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 7
Two persons were killed and others sustained injuries in separate incidents in last 24 hours in the district.

Balwinder Singh (23), a resident of Nangal Sodian village in Pinjore, died soon after a poisonous insect entered his nostril and stung him. Balwinder Singh was carrying fodder to his cattle when the tragedy occurred this morning.

After registering a case, the police has sent the body to General Hospital in Sector 6, here for post-mortem examinations.

In another incident, a labourer died and his three fellow labourers had a narrow escape when they were buried under loose soil in a trench they were digging near Ramgarh near here today.

According to the police, they were digging a trench for sewerage system in Ramgarh village when all of them were buried.

The three were rescued by their other colleagues while Prashadi Lal, (26) died, due to suffocation. Hailing from Badapur in Uttar Pradesh, they were staying in a rented accommodation in Mahesh Nagar in Panchkula.

The body was handed over to his family members after post-mortem examinations at General Hospital in Sector 6, this evening.


Missing kids traced, restored to parents
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 7
Two children, who went missing from Bal Niketan in Sector 2 since Tuesday, were today handed over to their parents after being recovered from Naraingarh and Chandigarh.

Absconding Kuljit Singh (10) and Lakhwinder Singh (15) were inmates of Bal Niketan since their childhood. Unaware of his home address, Kuljit Singh boarded a bus to Naraingarh and was detained by the bus conductor. He was later handed over to cops at Naraingarh police station.

The other escaped child Lakhwinder Singh, was recovered from his grandparents house in Sector 44, Chandigarh.

According to Mr Madhu Sharma, secretary of Bal Niketan, this was the second time when Lakhwinder escaped. She claimed that the boys were hostlers and were not willing to study. To avoid studies they escaped from the hostel of Bal Niketan.

She said that the boys were handed over to their parents for violating the organisation rules.


Luther’s book on Raja Deen Dayal released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Narendra Luther’s book titled “Raja Deen Dayal-Prince of Photographers”, a tribute to one of the greatest Indian photographers, was released by the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, at a function organised at Panjab University, here today.

Not a mere collection of various genres of photography comprising portraits, landscapes, people, events and monuments shot by Raja Deen Dayal who earned a Royal warrant of Appointment from Queen Victoria, it is more than the conventional coffee-table book.

By giving a history of photography, its arrival in India, first British photographers in India, the emergence of Deen Dayal, the book provides a proper historical context to the subject. The book puts together 150 rare photographs, most of them outside India, clicked by Deen Dayal.

Written and compiled together by Luther, a former Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and an alumni of Panjab University, the book throws new light on the personal life of Deen Dayal, pointing out that the year of death of this ace photographer was 1905 and not 1910.

Speaking at the function, Justice Verma, said that it was sheer coincidence that Deen Dayal belonged to the undivided district of Meerut to which the Governor himself belonged.

He said that Deen Dayal rose from a humble background to a level where top English officers looked up to him for inspiration and motivation. Justice Verma added that the work of Luther for gazetting the works of Raja Deen Dayal would be prove to be a great learning experience for the younger generation. It would also clear myths about the life of Raja Deen Dayal, he concluded.


Watering of lawns, booster pumps banned
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 7
The Mohali Public Health Department has banned watering of lawns and washing of vehicles between 5 am and 9 am. The use of booster pumps fitted with the water supply pipeline has also been banned. The ban will remain in force during the entire summer season.

As per a press release of the department issued here today, the staff of the Public Health Engineering Department would be supervising the supply of drinking water in the town. Water connection of those found flouting the ban would be disconnected.


Home pumps launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Sarvottam Pumps Limited today launched a homepressure system using “German technology”. The horizontal and vertical system can be installed through pipes with the main tank. As you open the tap, the motor starts automatically and is switched off when the tap is closed. The pump works on power, but electricity is consumed only when the tap is on so there is hardly any wastage.

It is available in six models with price ranging between Rs10,000 and Rs 22,000”.


One held for robbery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
One of the three youths, who had robbed a liquor kiosk employee of Rs 3000 and a cell phone near the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Sector 36 on March 28, was arrested today.

The youths had escaped from the city on the night of March 28 after the incident but had kept on using the cell phone for days so as to fall in the police dragnet.

The liquor kiosk employee Daljeet Singh who was hit by a helmet on the night of March 28 fell unconscious and was hospitalised. The police had registered a case of robbery after Daljit Singh narrated the incident.

Daljeet Singh was going to his residence in Sector 24 when the incident happened. His ahata is in the Industrial Area, Phase II.

While one of the accused Yadvinder Singh alias Yabi from Nabha, was arrested today, two others are still at large.

Yadvinder was arrested after he made a call from the cell phone which was traced by the police to Nabha. The police contacted the person who received the call that night and found out that Yadvinder had made this call on that night.


Two held on charges of forgery
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 7
The police arrested two persons on charges of forgery and impersonation here today.

According to the police, three persons had come to the court to bail out a person on basis of fake documents. He was in the lock-up on theft charges.

On getting secret information Sub-Inspector Bhagwant Singh, in charge of the city police station, went to the court and nabbed two of the three suspects.

Mr Bhagwant Singh said that the three persons had got fake documents prepared to bail out Sanjay Srivastav, a resident of Dehra Dun, who had been arrested by the Mohali police on a charge of theft.

He said that the arrested persons were Karamjit Singh and Gurnam Singh, residents of Dallah and Khokhran villages under Chamkaur Sahib police station. However, Madho Singh, a resident of Badali village, had absconded.

The police has registered a case under Sections 419, 465, 467, 468, 471, and 120 B of the IPC in this regard.


Man beaten up by his former in-laws
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 7
Rajinder Singh, a resident of Sector 19, Panchkula, was thrashed by his former in-laws when his vehicle developed a fault near their house in Lohgarh village near here last evening.

According to the police, Rajinder Singh, an autorickshaw driver, had gone to drop a passenger to the village and his vehicle developed a fault. Suspecting that Rajinder had come to the village with a mala fide intension Sita Singh, his wife Pal Kaur and their daughter Raj Rani pounced upon him and broke his right arm. He was later taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32.

Rajinder was married to Davinder Kaur, daughter of Sita Singh and had taken divorce two years ago. The police has registered a DDR with Lohgarh police post in this regard.


Verka, Amul drinks push out colas
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Even as weather experts predict rather hot summers, people still fighting shy of sipping the much-maligned cola-based drinks have found alternative in the good old naturals like lemonade, lassi, sweetened milk and tetrapacks of fruit juices to quench their thirst.

Following the reports of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) indicating the presence of pesticides in 12 brands of cold drinks under the banner of Coke and Pepsi companies in August last year, the sales had taken a dip. Seven months after, the focus of the customers seems to be shifting to good old favourites that had otherwise been facing the onslaught of colas for some years now. This is despite the cola companies making lucrative offers and slashing down the prices to woo its consumers!

A quick survey of the market reveals that sale of milk and fruit-based beverages such as Verka, Amul, Gagan, Leh Berry etc have shot up.This gives the manufacturers of these brands to further improve their marketing strategies to boost their sales in the prime of summer months. As a step in this direction, Milkfed, Punjab, has only a week back changed the shape of its standard sweetened flavoured milk bottle to that of a carry-away bottle under the brandname `pio’ mentioning the flavour and size also. The managing Director of Milkfed, Mr Vikas Pratap Singh, said as part of the strategy they have a target of selling 10 lakh bottles of milk, their most preferred product during the next three months (April-June) in North India. The sales of the milk based drinks have registered a 30 per cent increase in March this year as compared to corresponding month last year. The sales of the two newly launched peach and mango and mixed fruit flavours will also register better sale figures this season and we plan to publicise them on a war footing following their proper launch later this month. The other products like lassi and ‘raseela’ are already well placed, he said.

The fall in grace for colas has also made branded fruit juices carve a niche for themselves in the market. For instance, Leh Berry, a comparitively new entrant in the market, has only a month back launched two new flavours - App-Peach and Mixed fruit. Mr Ajay Kumar, General Manager, sales and Marketing Ladakh Foods Limited, said that even as the price of their 250 ml tetrapack was anything between Rs 12-15, they have within an year captured 5 per cent of the market of cold drinks. And this will further go up following the launch of these two new products, he added. The other two branded juices ‘Real’ and ‘Tropicana’ have also picked up during the past few months. Real, being manufactured by Dabur, according to its local sales representative has already met 40 per cent of its sales figures in February-March and is likely to exceed the target in the next three months.

Besides this, fresh fruit juice vendors in the city have a set clientele of their own, health conscious youngsters, who find the sugar content in the branded juices on the higher side.

This is also boom time for those selling these thirst quenchers from their booths, shops or cycle-carts and claim they sell anything between 150-250 juice glasses per day.

Parties in the city also seem to be merrily doing with less of cola bubble and evening cocktails are also turning less fizzy with top blenders like Pepsi, Coke, Sprite et al taking a back seat. The sales of city restaurants and clubs also indicate that besides juices and shakes, lemonade has emerged as an overwhelming favourite. Even as cold drinks are well stocked for parties, but only a small percentage of the same is being used, says an official of the Chandigarh Club.


Need to spend on R&D of drugs
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 7
A two-day workshop on “Indian pharmaceutical industry: post 2005 scenario” was inaugurated a NIPER by Mr Pratyush Sinha, Secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, New Delhi, here today.

In his inaugural address, Mr Sinha talked about the rapidly changing scenario of the India pharmaceutical industry. He said at present the industry produced bulk drugs worth about Rs 5,000 crore and formulations worth of Rs 20,000 crore. Total export of drugs and pharmaceuticals stood at about Rs 12,000 crore.

However, India lagged behind in terms of global standards, with the estimated value of bulk drugs and formulations business at $ 6 billion. India was only 1.5 per cent of the global market in terms of value. In terms of R&D spending, Indian companies spent only 2 per cent, except for a few major companies that spent 4.5 per cent of the sales as against the global expenditure of up to 15 per cent of the sales, he said.

He said patents regime, liberalisation of price control structural changes, privatisation of insurance industry and information technology boom would effect the change in the scenario. For the country to become a global player in the pharmaceutical sector, there was a need for highly educated scientific workforce, world class universities to impart education in the field of chemical, biological and pharmaceutical sciences and cost-effective development.

Dr C.L. Kaul, Director of the institute, said due to traditional strengths based on multitude of educational, social and economic factors, the Indian pharmaceutical industry was becoming self-sufficient in all aspects. However, there was a long way to go before the global presence was felt.

He said in the post-2005 era, a complete realignment of business strategies would be required. To meet this challenge, innovation and technology was going to be the driving feature of all activities. This transition would depend on how quickly and effectively these were used for betterment of product portfolios.

The workshop is being attended by over 30 participants from various pharmaceutical units.


BSNL to launch Tarang on April 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The BSNL will launch its WiLL-based mobile cellphone service, Tarang, from April 12.

This was announced by Mr Satya Pal, Principal General Manager, Telephones, Chandigarh, here today. He said Tarang would also be available as an alterative tariff option to all existing and new subscribers of WiLL services. The new option included monthly rental, monthly free calls and unit call charges on a par with basic services tariff applicable to urban subscribers.

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