C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 killed, 14 injured as bus rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 26
Two persons were killed and 14 injured, three of them seriously, when a Chandigarh-bound Haryana Roadways bus rammed into a tree at Bhankharpur village, near here, early this morning.

The bus driver, Madan Lal (35), died on the spot while Chandra Kanta (52), a resident of Sector 43, Chandigarh, succumbed to her injuries on way to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32, Chandigarh. Bus conductor Mohinder Singh (40), a resident of Krishan Nagar in Rewari, was also injured.

The critically injured, Surinder Singh (45) of Phase VII, Mohali, Ankur Sharma (20), a resident of Sector 36, Chandigarh, and Manjula (30) of Sector 17, Panchkula, were rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh. Those admitted to the GMCH were identified as Rajiv Kumar (25) from Uttar Pradesh, Tarun Kumar Sharma (35), a resident of Sector 27, Chandigarh, Radhey Sham (35), his cousin Sanjay Kumar Sharma and Vijay Kumar from Bishoa in Rewari, Godhra (25) from Sai Road in Solan, Anil Kumar (38), husband of Manjula, and his son Ankit, Kesar Singh (30) from Baronjia in Ropar, Santosh (55) from Sector 43 in Chandigarh, Radhey Sham from Saharanpur and Sanjiv Kumar from Rewari.

According to eyewitnesses, the bus (HR-47-9056) was carrying about 40 passengers when the driver lost control over the vehicle, which rammed into a eucalyptus tree along the highway.

Hearing a loud thud, residents of nearby houses woke up and rushed the spot.

An announcement regarding the bus accident was made from the village gurdwara, following which villagers began a rescue operation.

Passersby stopped their vehicles and helped the accident victims who escaped unhurt in reaching their destinations.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Radhey Sham and Sanjay Kumar Sharma, said most of the passengers were asleep when the mishap took place. They added that they signalled a Tata Sumo to stop, following which the owner of the vehicle helped three of the injured in reaching the GMCH.

The mutilated body of the driver was extricated from the mangled remains of the bus with the help of an earth-moving machine. The bodies were sent to the Civil Hospital at Rajpura for postmortem examination and a case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code was registered at the Dera Bassi police station. The body of Chandra Kanta was handed over to members of her family this evening.


Flesh trade racket busted, 10 arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
A flesh trade racket reportedly engaging girls from abroad was busted here today with the arrest of three commercial sex workers, five customers and two pimps from two city-based hotels.

Pardeep Kumar, kingpin of the racket and part of a nationwide network of pimps, was operating from Sector 21 in Panchkula. The operation cell of the Chandigarh police, led by DSP B. D. Bector and Inspector Vijay Kumar, sent decoy customers to strike a deal.

The girls — one from Mumbai and two from Delhi — were arrested along with four customers from Barnala and one from Khanna from Piccadily, Sector 35, and Motel Grand View, Sector 22-D. Pardeep Kumar and Sandeep were also arrested.

The police ruled out the involvement of the management of the hotels in the racket. The pimp used to ask the customers to book the hotel rooms themselves.

The police had gone into the prospect of hotel workers being involved before ruling it out.

Yogesh and Sandeep, the latter doubling as customer and pimp, were arrested from the Sector 22 hotel along with a 21-year-old girl from Delhi. Four boys from Barnala — Devinder, Rakesh, Naresh and Dinesh — were arrested from the Sector 35 hotel along with a girl from Mumbai and another from Delhi.

The commercial sex workers reportedly told the police that they had been in the trade for two years and had been on a contract with Pardeep Kumar. The alleged pimp is believed to have engaged between 30 and 40 girls from different states for the trade.

The preliminary interrogation of the accused revealed that Pardeep Kumar had been engaging customers through the word of mouth.

He reportedly had made a wide customer base to run the trade.

The police said Sandeep from Khanna was an agent of Pardeep Kumar. The girls reportedly revealed to the police that Pardeep Kumar had been offering them a monthly contract amount of between Rs 70,000 and Rs 80,000 in case the girls were much in demand. The lowest contract amount for a month was Rs 10,000.

The police said when the decoy customer was sent, he was told that the girls were booked. The girls reportedly told the police that they had been getting an average of four bookings per day since their contract with Pardeep Kumar. The charges per person ranged between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000, according to the police.

Pardeep Kumar was sent in police remand till April 29. The other accused were sent in judicial custody in Burail jail. According to the police, before his contract with the girl from Mumbai, Pardeep Kumar had engaged a girl from Gujarat and another from West Bengal.

Pardeep Kumar had been engaging girls from different states through agents. The agents were paid commission.

The operation cell put the girls through a rigorous medical test to establish that the girls were engaged in flesh trade for a long time.

The police was investigating whether the nationwide network of agents was providing commercial sex workers to customers in Chandigarh from abroad, including Russia.


Judgement reserved in Forest Hill case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 26
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its judgement in the case relating to alleged irregularities and violation of laws in the construction of the Forest Hill Golf Club and Resort at Karoran village in Ropar.

The High Court had taken suo motu notice of reports in the media about the allegation that the club management had violated forest laws and other byelaws while constructing the resort. One main allegation against the club management is that the club is built on forest land.

Today, the Bench comprising Mr Chief Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant heard the arguments and finally reserved the judgement.

It was brought to the notice of the Bench that former Punjab Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra, who is now Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), has claimed that the ex-officio membership granted to him was not on his request. Counsel for the Punjab Government informed the Bench that Mr Ratra never applied for any membership. He also did not know how membership was given to him without his having applied for the same.

The court was also informed that the PSEB has ordered an inquiry into the grant of power connection to the resort in 1997. The inquiry will also look into the role for the officers who sanctioned the connection.

Earlier, counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) requested the court if the court ordered a CBI investigation into the matter, it should be left to the CBI Director to get the same done on his own. “He (Director) should be allowed to get the investigation done in whatever manner he deems fit,” the counsel argued.

The amicus curiae appointed by the court to assist it reiterated his request that the investigation into the matter should be got done through a special investigative team (SIT) of the CBI only. He argued since almost the entire top brass of the police and bureaucracy in Punjab had taken free membership from the club, it would be wrong to assume that an investigation by a state agency would uncover the truth.

“If the CBI refuses to constitute a SIT in the case, I withdraw my request for the investigation by the CBI. With a SIT it would be useless,” he asserted.

Incidentally, the stand of the amicus curiae that he does not have faith in the CBI also was strongly challenged by counsel for the CBI. “The amicus curiae will have to trust somebody. The CBI is a premier organisation that has time and again proved its credibility,” he said.

In his arguments, the amicus curiae said that the landmark judgement in the famous Hawala scam had said that holder of public offices should be fair, work in public interest, be honest and accountable to the public and provide good leadership. “The question that this Bench should see is whether the public servants in Punjab are following these guidelines,” the amicus curiae said.

Counsel for Punjab also presented record pertaining to the sanction of power connection to the resort. She said that perusal of the records showed that the management of the club used different names to procure the power connections. “While the first connection was sought for a 10+2 school to be managed by the Dashmesh Education Society headed by Col BS Sandhu (retd), owner of the resort, the application for increase of load was made in the name of the club.

The team that went to the spot found 90 halogen lamps and no school building,” she added.

It was also brought to the notice of the Bench that membership drive of the club was started for three clubs: the Forest Hill Golf and Country Club, the Forest Hill Golf Range and the Resort and Forest Hill Country Club.


17 to fight it out for city seat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The stage is set for a fierce contest for the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency on May 10.

Although there are 17 candidates for the predominantly urban constituency, which is also one of the most compact in the country, the electoral battle will virtually be confined to Mr Pawan Bansal (Congress), Mr Satya Pal Jain, (BJP) and Mr Harmohan Dhawan (INLD).

On the last day of withdrawal of nominations today, an Independent candidate, Mr Ramesh Chopra, withdrew his name from the contest. As a result, now these remain 17 candidates in the fray, according to the Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar.

The candidates of recognised national political parties, the registered political parties, other than the recognised national and state political parties, and the Independent candidates had been allotted election symbols, he said.

In the presence of the representatives of various political parties, the election observers for the Chandigarh constituency, Mr M.K. Srivastava and Mr S.K. Rehman, called upon them to seek permission of the Returning Officer for using vehicles for election campaign.


Jain promises to solve flat-dwellers’ problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The BJP candidate for the Chandigarh seat, Mr Satya Pal Jain, today said if he is elected, he will “immediately” solve the problems being faced by people living in flats and houses of the Chandigarh Housing Board in the context of the need-based changes carried out in their houses. He will also look into the problems of the allottees of the dwelling units who have been served notices for doing additional construction.

He said the need-based changes as well as additional construction made by people in their houses would be got regularised for which necessary amendments in the bylaws of the Chandigarh Housing Board would be incorporated and not even a single dwelling unit would be allowed to be demolished.

Today, the BJP’s Mahila Morcha campaigned in favour of Mr Satya Pal Jain in a programme organised at Press Chowk, Sectors 17-18, where the women workers distributed the “prachar” material of the party among people as well as passersby at the light point of Sectors 17-18.

BJP claim on Cong activists

The BJP today claimed that hundreds of youth activists of the Congress had joined the BJP. These included Mr Sanjiv Sharma, Mr Rajiv Sharma (Labour Cell), Mr Harish Kumar, Mr Alakh Raj and Mr Avinash Kumar, among others. Besides, the chairman of the Mazdoor Kalyan Sabha Sector 25, Mr Meher Kalyan, along with his supporters visited the BJP office and assured full support to Mr Satya Pal Jain. About 55 ex-servicemen, including retired Army officers, took membership of the BJP in the party office.

Sarpanches of eight villages of Chandigarh namely, Mr Mam Chand Rana, Sarpanch Maloya, Mr Tarsem Pal Rana, Daddu Majra, Ms Surinder Kaur, Dhanas, Mr Harmesh Kumar, Kaimbwala, Mr Om Prakash, Mauli Jagran, Ms Jai Kaur, Raipur Kalan, Ms Mahender Kaur, Behlana and Mr Sukhjit Singh, Hallo Majra have welcomed the statement of Mr Rajnath Singh, Union Agriculture Minister, in which he stated that the lal dora of villages would be converted into green line and not even single house/dwelling unit would be allowed to be demolished.


Bansal pulls out good from ‘feel good factor’
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, April 26
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress nominee for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat, today criticised the BJP’s propaganda about the so-called “feel good factor” prevailing in the country.

In a statement, he observed that this “feel good factor” was applicable to only two per cent of Indians (rich and upper middle classes) only. He said the past five years of the BJP rule had brought misery to farmers, salaried class, and retired and ordinary residents.

Farmers were committing suicide falling interest rates had affected the common man, he added. Unemployment had increased while and small-scale industries had been hit hard by the BJP’s faulty economic policies, he said, adding that the BJP was a party of liars. Why BJP leaders were talking about the extension of ‘lal dora’ in UT villages now when they had five years to act, he asked.

Later, Mr Bansal addressed a large gathering of youth activists at Bapu Dham Colony. Mr H.S. Lucky, president, Chandigarh Youth Congress, said instead of creating one crore jobs per year as promised by the BJP, more than 1.2 crore unemployed youths were being added each year.

Mr Bansal impressed upon the youth to work for society and the country and not get distracted by the current environment of uncertainty and depression created by the BJP. He promised the local residents that roads and lanes of all colonies in Chandigarh would be carpeted and the colonies would be developed on a par with sectors.

On the occasion a youth leader, Mr Kuldip Singh, joined the Congress along with his 500 supporters.

Mr Bansal also addressed a large gathering at Palsora village. He ridiculed the recent statement of Mr Murli Manohar Joshi for wooing Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, BJP’s arch rival in UP. It showed how desperate the BJP had become as it knew that the NDA would not be able to get even 200 seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Later, at a press conference at the Congress Bhavan, Mr Rajinder Makwana, an aspirant of BSP ticket for Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, joined the Congress along with his supporters.


BJP leader lashes out at Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The President of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, accused Congress nominee Pawan Kumar Bansal of indulging in double talk. He alleged that when the welcome gate of Digamber Jain Temple in Sector 27 was demolished four days ago, Mr Bansal shed crocodile tears and blamed the BJP for this.

Mr Mahajan said all demolitions were being carried out on the directions of Mr Bansal. Flags of the BJP were being removed by the municipal corporation as per the directions of Mr Bansal.

Mr Mahajan said Mr Bansal had got demolished the welcome gate set up in front of the BJP office. Mr Mahajan said when he approached the officers of the Municipal Corporation today for permission in this regard, he was told to deposit Rs 7000 for 14 days. Immediately after that, we sought permission from the corporation by sending them a letter through fax.


Rehearsal of polling staff conducted
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 26
A rehearsal of the polling staff for the Kharar 69 area was carried out under the supervision of the Assistant Returning Officer-cum-SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, here today.

About 98 per cent of the staff members put on poll duty attended the rehearsal. They were told about the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and how to conduct elections.

Mr Sharma said there were 182 polling booths and none of them was considered to be sensitive. He said elections at each polling booth would be conducted by a four-member team, comprising a presiding officer, assistant presiding officer and two polling officers. He said apart from this staff, 30 poll supervisers would be assisting him in the work.

He said certain polling booths were facing problems. Two booths, one each in Phases V and XI here, did not have power arrangements. Power supply to these buildings had been disconnected for non-payment of dues. Two booths that had been set up in a veterinary hospital and a civil dispensary did not have furniture which could be used during elections. However, ad hoc arrangements in this regard would have to be made, he added.

This election observer for the Ropar constituency, Mr R.Reddy, met poll supervisers in the SDM’s office.

Mr Reddy told poll supervisers that pollling booths in certain areas might be facing problems like non-availablity of power, water or furniture, for which the necessary arrangements would have to be made. He directed all poll supervisers to visit the polling booths falling in the Kharar 69 area and give a report about the shortcomings within two days. He even directed them to carry extra poll material to the booths on the day of the elections. Suprevisers were also asked to read a book, which would be provided by authorities concerned, that would provide information as to how elections could be conducted through EVMs.


First vote
Your vote matters

I am so excited about exercising my franchise that I just cannot find words to explain my feelings. I am eagerly waiting for May 10 — the day I will press the keys of the electronic voting machine to elect my leader.

All these years, I was of the opinion that my vote would not make much of a difference. But now I have realised that the nation would be hijacked by illiterates and ruffians if everyone thought in the same manner and stayed away from the polling on the election day.

I am so glad that I have realised my responsibility towards the nation. Today, I also want to be a part of the process of electing the leaders of the nation. And I know for sure that my vote would also make a difference.

I hope everyone else also realises his/her responsibility and leaves behind the cool comforts of his house on hot summer day to cast his vote.



IT is no more a pleasurable experience to travel by the once prestigious Shatabdi Express between Chandigarh and Delhi. The jittery coaches of the train need replacement. The sanitation in the coaches need to be spruced up. The pantry section, adjoining each coach, is often not clean and at times cockroaches have been sighted.

The railway authorities need to pay special attention to the toilets. Passengers told sentinel that the toilet taps go dry even before the train reaches the Delhi station. Often the liquid soap, a mandatory item, is missing.

Road accidents

More needs to be done to check accidents on roads in the city. The move by the Chandigarh Traffic police to restrict the entry of buses on the non notified routes has come in for appreciation, but the cycle tracks laid by the engineering department are seldom being used by the slow moving traffic.

The presence of a home guard only ensures that cycle tracks were used by the slow moving traffic. A local resident called up sentinel seeking that traffic cops should be regularly posted along slow carriageways to ensure that fast-moving and slow-moving traffic remains segregated.

Prof Jitendra Mohan

Prof Jitendra Mohan, ICSSR, National Fellow, Department of Psychology, Panjab University, has been elected President of Indian Academy of Applied Psychology (IAAP). According to Professor B. Mukhopadhyay, Honorary Secretary of the IAAP, the Search Committee instituted by the general Body of IAAP had ratified Professor Mohan’s name. He will formally take over as president of the organization at its conference to be held in Rohtak in July this year.

Professor Mohan is known for his research work in Psychology applied to Personality Development, Drug Abuse, Sports, Health and Executive Effectiveness. The Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, established in 1962, is highly active and professional body of Indian psychologists, based in Chennai and internationally accredited. Its activities include publication of journals, organisation of conferences and training programme and honouring young and senior psychologists of India and abroad.

Extend train service

A body of city residents hailing from eastern Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Maurya Samaj , has demanded that the Sadbhavana Express presently running between Chandigarh and Lucknow should be extended up to Varanasi. If the extension was allowed it would benefit people headed for places like Allahabad, Gauriganj, Amethi, Rae Baraeli and Pratapgarh. From Chandigarh a train connection is available for Kanpur as the Kalka-Howrah mail passes through. Major cities like Allahabad and Varanasi are left out.

Expensive fruits

Summer has set in and several of the annual arrivals have started coming. This includes rehris of mangoes. The fruit is yet to acquire the sweetness. The price is still out of reach It is Rs 35 per kg. This is expected to come down in the next week or so.

Roadside stalls of watermelons and melons have people flocking them. This year the fruit is priced higher. A stall owner says, “saheb, kharcha bhad gaya” ( Sir, the overheads have gone up). Last year, watermelon was being sold at Rs 5 to Rs 6 a kg. This time it is Rs 10 per kg. The rate of melons is also Rs 20 per kg and this is double of the rate late year.

Car lost or stolen?

A person reported the theft of his car from Shivalikview Hotel, but the police found the vehicle from the same place 10 days later.

The sector police station found the car locked. Belongings were in place in the car and it had gathered dust.

The police called the complainant to ask him if he was sure that the car had been stolen and that he had not forgotten it. The complainant on questioning revealed that he had gulped extra drinks that day and went home in somebody else’s vehicle.

When investigation virtually established that the car had been abandoned, the complainant conceded that he had forgotten the vehicle at the spot. The insurance company had approved his compensation but the complainant then informed the company that the car had been found.

The firm withdrew its compensation.

Paper leakage

With paper-leaks becoming routine business in all examinations right from the prestigious CAT examination for admissions to the IIMs or the CBSE-conducted pre-medical test, there are strong rumours of the paper being out before every exam.

The under-graduate and postgraduate examinations of Panjab University were also given similar treatment though there was no truth found in the matter much to the relief of university officials.

So jittery was the university about paper leakage that the sneaking out of a paper in the Arts Block, Panjab University, saw the entire top brass of the university arrive to look into the matter, suspecting leakage. In the end, it turned out to be an unfair means case much to their “delight”.


HPCL outlet found selling water-mixed petrol
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

The State-Level Coordinator (Oil Industry), Punjab, in an inquiry conducted recently has found that an HPCL outlet at Daun village in Ropar district was selling petrol adulterated with water. The inquiry was conducted on the instructions of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

According to a senior official in the ministry, “The ministry had received a complaint against M/s Petrol and Agroways, an HPCL outlet at Daun village, about 5 km from Kharar in Ropar district of Punjab, regarding adulteration of fuel.

Consequently, an investigation was ordered and that has now indicted the petrol dealer for mixing water in petrol.”

The ministry had ordered an inquiry after receiving a complaint in October last year. Mr Vijay Thakur, Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) in the Public Works Department (PWD) at Palampur (HP), had complained about the adulteration of petrol at the petrol station.

He had complained that after filling 47 litre petrol at the filling station, his car did not start.

He had alleged when petrol was pumped out of the fuel tank of his new Octra LT Chevrolet car, it showed water like substance in the petrol.

On his complaint, samples were taken by company officials, who had ruled out adulteration of the ethanol-mixed petrol at that time.

However, in his report submitted to the ministry, Mr M.S. Jaiswal, DGM, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, and the State-Level Coordinator (Oil Industry), Punjab, has now admitted, "On the complaint of Mr Thakur it was found that there was water inside the tank of the car."

The inquiry report stated that after taking samples of the ‘Power’ oil from the petrol station, the team of officers found that the product contained water to the tune of 268 litre out of the total stock of 3,775 litre of petrol at the filling station.

A senior official in the ministry said the inquiry revealed that the pipeline connecting the tank had developed a leakage and water had seeped in from there.

Warning other petrol dealers of strict action in case of any complaint, the official said the dealer had been issued a strict warning in this regard and advised to be cautious in future so as to avoid similar complaints.


Chandigarh Club poll
Club meeting was a ‘complete chaos’, says observer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Ms Richa Kukreja, an observer appointed by the Principal Bench of the Company Law Board (CLB), New Delhi, to attend the annual general body meeting of the Chandigarh Club held here on April 3, has stated that ‘complete chaos’ marked the proceedings of the meeting which was followed by polling for the election of office-bearers of the club.

In a report submitted to the Bench, she said she went to the club on April 4 at 10 am and found that thousands of members were present at the meeting. “All executive members and the general manager were seated on the dais. No attendance register was being maintained. I specifically asked for a copy of the attendance register from the president and the GM, but it was not provided,” she said.

The president read out the CLB order and civil court Sub Judge’s order. The court’s order stated that voting by 5,000 members and the remaining 2,000 members should be held separately and the counting of votes of only 5,000 members should be done.

There was a complete chaos there. The members were standing in front of the dais shouting at each other. They were raising various objections. The CLB order was not being followed properly.

Their main objections were that the membership numbers allotted to persons after 1998 were haphazard and that old membership numbers had been allotted to new members. Thus making it difficult to distinguish between the two. One such list was handed over by a member showing the membership numbers of new members who had been given numbers below 5000.

Another objection was that the accounts for the year 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 were not audited. Even the unaudited balance sheets were not provided to the members. A lot of non-members were present at the meeting, thus violating the CLB order.

“I asked the general manager for the membership register, but he said it was very difficult to provide the same during the meeting,” the observer has said in the report.

“The president tried to get certain resolutions passed by the show of hands. A few members raised their hands in support, while others shouted in opposition. The president did not count the hands raised and did not take into consideration the number of members against the resolutions. There was so much shouting from both sides that the president, general manager and some executive members left the dais without concluding the meeting. The remaining executive members continued with the meeting, but no resolution could be passed,” she said.

The polling was started without concluding of the annual general body meeting.


City Director among authorised Canadian immigration consultants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
In a significant development, the Government of Canada has made it compulsory for all professional immigration consultants to get themselves registered by the newly set up governing body, Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC). This amounts to the setting up of a formal qualification and complaint redressal mechanism for all Canadian immigration consultants, worldwide.

Mr Anuraj Singh Sandhu, senior vice-president, Canam Consultants Limited, Chandigarh , is among the first few Canadian immigration consultants , all over the world, that have been authorised as per the laws of the Government of Canada to file immigration cases.

On April 8, 2004 , the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigartion, Canada , announced that the Government of Canada was amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations of Canada to require that paid representatives should be authorised in order to conduct business on behalf of clients when dealing with the Government of Canada in immigration and refugee matters.

“Unless a consultant is a member of the CSIC, effective from April 13 , he or she CANNOT file a new application on behalf of a client and will not be recognised as an authorised representative by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)”, says Mr Anuraj Sandhu.

The conditions of qualification as an authorised Canadian immigration consultant by the CSIC are very stringent. All members of the society must pass the society’s ethics and knowledge tests; pay an $ 1,800 annual membership fee; be Canadian citizens or permanent residents; have one year of full-time experience representing clients in immigration and refugee pre-screening, selection or final decision on applications, claims or appeals in the past five years; have 10 cases filed before Immigration Canada and/or the refugee board since June 28, 2002, or have graduated from the Immigration Practitioner Certificate programme at Seneca College or the University of British Columbia after 2002; pass police background checks from every country where the person has resided for six months or more in the past 10 years; carry a minimum of $ 1 million in insurance for professional errors and omissions.


Check black sheep in Police Dept, Justice Verma tells IGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Strengthen the counter-intelligence network within the police to keep an eye on the black sheep among the police force, who are tarnishing the image of the entire force by conniving and entering into various criminal activities. This was told by the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), to the Inspector-General of Police at a meeting today.

Taking up the issue of the arrest of three constables of the Chandigarh Police in a case of cheating, Justice Verma said the police force should have an organised system of counter-intelligence network to keep an eye on such people and to preempt their nefarious activities.

Justice Verma said the acts of indiscipline and crime on part of policemen reduce the faith of people in the capability of the police force and the Administration must take all measures to ensure that few black sheep in the police force are not able to tarnish the image of the entire Police Department.

Justice Verma said that besides keeping a check of them, the Inspector General should also explore the possibility of psychological handling of the situation by going deep in to the root cause of this problem. The IG should also get a study done on needs, wants and requirements of the police force and their fulfilment level so that a proper balance could be struck.


Villagers protest against land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
Thousands of residents from over 40 villages of the Mohali sub-division today protested against the acquisition of their land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). These protesters, including hundreds of women, gathered at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Sohana, this morning and later marched to the PUDA Bhavan in Phase VIII, here.

The protesters were demanding that PUDA should stop acquisition of land without the consent of land owner. They also demanded the cancellation of January 19 notification regarding the acquisition of approximately 690 acres of land in five villages.

According to the PUDA notification, over 170 acres of land will be acquired at Sohana village, another 209 acres at Lakhnaur village, 21 acres at Landran, 124 acres at Bermpur and 162 acres at Manak Majra.

The protesters, who were led by members of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee, were addressed by village elders, sarpanches and landlords. Some local Akali and Congress leaders also addressed the swelling crowds promising them the support of their party in their struggle.

The president of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee, Mr Tejinder Singh Jakhar, and its convener, Mr D.P. Singh, presented a memorandum to a PUDA official listing their demands. The memorandum stated that the landowners should be given a share in the profits that PUDA earned after developing the acquired land. “We condemn the fact that PUDA pays peanuts to the landowner and after spending a little amount on developing the land, it sells it at exorbitant rates,”said Mr D.P. Singh.

The memorandum also pointed to the special permission granted to Janta Promoters by PUDA regarding development of a part of land that fell within the Mohali master plan. “We should be given similar permissions to develop our land and sell it,” said Mr Jakhar. The villagers also demanded the regularisation of structures outside the village phirnis.

Mr D.P. Singh said a memorandum against the acquisition of land was forwarded to the Punjab Government on March 19, but no action had been taken on it. “It seems that none of the political parties is interested in the issue. We will support only that party which helps us in our struggle for justice,” he said. Today’s protest march should be taken as a warning by PUDA, he added. “If our demands are not met, the government should remain prepared to face protests, he said.

Among those who spoke on the occasion included Mr Balwinder Singh Baidwan, general secretary of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee, Mr Sushil Kumar Attri, legal adviser, Mr Harcharan Singh, sarpanch of Landran, Mr Balwir Singh from Lakhnaur, Mr Gulzar Singh from Landran, Mr Kulwant Singh from Bhagomajra, Mr Jagdev Singh from Durali, Mr Mahinder Singh from Durali, Mr Kuldip Singh, sarpanch of Dairi, Mr Gurdev Singh, lambardar of Jagatpura, Mr Balbir Singh from Berampur, Subedar Seva Singh from Mouli Baidwan, Bhagat Singh from Mouli Baidwan, Mr Amarjit Singh from Chilla, Mr Ajaib Singh from Papri, Mr Jagir Singh from Kambala, Mr Baljit Singh from Kumbra, Mr Jasmer Singh from Kambali, Mr Ranjodh Singh from Bakarpur, Mr Ujagar Singh from Kurri, Mr Karam Singh from Manakpur, Mr Gopal Singh from Manakmajra and Mr Amar Singh from Manoli. 


Protest over removing chapter on Shaheed Bhagat Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
Members of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front today held a demonstration in front of the office of the Punjab School Education Board here to protest against the removal of a chapter on the life and works of Shaheed Bhagat Singh from the class III books. The protest, however, ended with the board Chairman agreeing to add the chapter in the class IV syllabus.

The chapter “Bandookan Beejan Wala” was removed from the Punjabi book of class III, following a revision of the syllabus.

However, the same chapter would now be added to the class IV Punjabi textbooks, said the board Chairman, Dr Kehar Singh.

The demonstration was jointly held by the Chandigarh, Ropar and Ambala units of the front led by Mr Rajesh Sharma, president, Chandigarh, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhullar, president, Ropar district and Mr R. K. Bindra, president, Haryana state.

Mr Balwinder Singh Kaka, president of the Punjab unit, was also present at the demonstration.

Mr Rajesh Sharma said, “There is always a need to learn the ideology of great leaders,”he said, adding that lives of freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chander Shekhar Azad, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Udham Singh, Mahatma Gandhi, Mangal Pandey, Subhas Chandra Bose must be added in textbooks.

Mr Bhullar said the front would not tolerate any insult to the martyrs. Mr Kaka demanded that those responsible for this act should be identified and action taken immediately.


‘Main Hoon Na’ contest winners to dine with Shah Rukh Khan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Consolidating its association with the world of movies, soft drinks giant Pepsi has launched an exciting consumer initiative, leading up to the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s much-awaited film “Main Hoon Na”.

Winners of Pepsi’s “Love Mein Fail Ya Pyaas” contest will get exciting prizes, including an opportunity to dine with none other than reigning Bollywood star and Pepsi endorser Shah Rukh Khan. The theme of the contests is based on the film’s storyline, and consumers are required to give tips to Shah Rukh on how to woo his chemistry teacher. Each tip should not exceed 15 words, and consumers can send in their entries through SMS to 8243 or log onto Pepsi zone on the Yahoo! Website.

Five top winners will get a lifetime opportunity to have dinner with Shah Rukh Khan, while four winners will get to keep actual costumes from the film. Those who miss out on these opportunities need not lose heart. Consumers can still win 200 autographed music CDs and cassettes of “Main Hoon Na”.

Consumers are only required to order a Pepsi, fill up a contest form in 15 words, and drop it in specially designated drop-boxes. Fourteen top winners of this contest will get to meet Shah Rukh Khan.

Pepsi has also launched another consumer contest at Fun Republic, Chandigarh, in which the consumers can write suggestions on a Pepsi Board advising Shah Rukh on how to woo his chemistry teacher. The winners of this contest are declared every hour and also receive attractive prizes. The initiatives are being communicated to consumers through specially made TV commercials, truck-backs, point-of-sale materials and danglers etc.

According to Mr Shashi Kalathil, Executive Director (Marketing), Pepsi Foods Pvt Ltd. “Pepsi is delighted to be associated with yet another Shah Rukh Khan blockbuster. Through our consumer initiatives, we take the magic of movies through to our consumers in a real yet imaginative manner.” Noted Bollywood choreographer Farah Khan directs “Main Hoon Na”.


Fauji Beat
Probationary nurses’ defiance stems from conspiracy

The probationary nurses who were to be commissioned into the Military Nursing Service (MNS) in the rank of Lieutenant on April 15 at Delhi, Lucknow and Chandigarh, refused to wear new beige-colour uniform for the commissioning ceremony. As a result of this untoward happening, the ceremony was cancelled. At Kolkata, however, the nurses were commissioned on April 15, without any hitch.

The act of wilful defiance of orders on the part of the nurses at three centres cannot be tolerated. For, any Army in which indiscipline is tolerated ceases to remain an Army. No doubt, an inquiry has been ordered into the act of indiscipline. But what needs to be said is that if the authorities take a lenient view of this collective insubordination, it will cut a the very roots of the MNS.

After having implemented their immature decision a few years ago, the higher authorities realised that by changing the nursing officers dress from white to olive green, they had put the Army Medical Corps (AMC) and MNS officers in the same dress. And when they tried to retrace their step, it met with lot of resentment from the MNS officers. Some of them went to the civil courts. Rather than acting firmly at that time, the authorities soft peddled the issue. Undoubtedly, the new entrants into the MNS have become the target of a well-planned conspiracy in the MNS against the change of dress.

Martyr’s father appeals

Maj Navneet Vats was killed in an encounter with militants at Srinagar in November, 2003. His father, Mr Niraj Vats, who has retired as a bank officer, says: “Of my two children (sons), Naveent scarified his life for the nation. The younger son, Nimish, is of 19 years of age. He suffers from a mental disorder from his birth and is not capable of looking after himself.

“Financially I am well off and my wife and I can take care of him so long as we are alive. No doubt, I will leave enough money for him to meet all his requirements. But some organisation has to handle his funds and take care of him after our death.”

Mr Niraj Vats feels that if his soldier son was alive, he would have taken care of his brother. But now since no other family member is there, he has to bank upon some social organisation. “I would feel much happier if some Army organisation can help me to solve this problem considering that my elder son gave his life to save the honour of the country”, says Mr Niraj Vats.

Correspondence courses for Army

Majority of the Army personnel retire at an early age. They have, therefore, to go in for a second career. Today, for any good job, one has to be well qualified. With this in view, the Army had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, in 1999, for 16 correspondence courses, including the management courses.

Headquarters Western Command had also launched the IGNOU Army Educational Project (IAEP) for these courses in 2000. Until now, 1069 Army personnel have taken up the correspondence courses to benefit themselves in their post-retirement life. The Command Headquarters renders all help to the candidates in distribution of IGNOU prospectus, in processing their admission forms, in arranging counselling at various study centres, in evaluation of their assignments, etc.

To make all soldiers aware of this project, an IAEP mobile cell has recently been established at the Army IGNOU Regional Centre at Chandi Mandir. A team from this mobile cell has visited all units in the station to spread awareness about these courses.

The GOC-in-C Western Command, Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh, has made this project a “key result area” so that the serving officers, JCOs and other ranks take full advantage of these courses. Teams from the Western Command IAEP’s study centres located at Ambala, Jalandhar and Bathinda are visiting all units in the command.



Special section for autistic children
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 26
A special section with children with Autism has been set up Umeed — a joint venture of parents, Society for the Welfare of Mentally Retarded Children and Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children.

According to a press statement, Ms Shagun Sharma, who took training at “Action for Autism” in New Delhi — has been deputed to look after the children at the Sector 32 Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children. The parents of children with autism can contact her at the institute or at Phone No. 0172-2647760.


Smoking banned in public places

Chandigarh, April 26
Keeping in view the directions of the Supreme Court, the District Magistrate, UT, Chandigarh, Mr Arun Kumar, today banned smoking in public places — auditoria, hospital buildings, health and educational institutions, libraries, court buildings, public offices and public conveyances, including railways, in Chandigarh.

The order shall come into force with effect from April 27 to June 25, according to an official announcement here. TNS


250 get notice for water misuse

Chandigarh, April 26
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has served notices to 250 local residents for using potable water on lawns in the morning, washing of cars, overflowing overhead tanks and leaking taps. This is aimed at curbing misuse or wastage of water in the summers.

The MC had started the drive against wastage of water on April 1. Sources in the MC said most of these notices had been on washing cars. The MC would also look into cases where motors have been connected directly on the water supply line. TNS


Amarjit is chemists’ assn chief again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Mr Amarjit Singh has been re-elected president of the Chandigarh Chemists’ Association.

According to an official announcement here today, Mr Ashok Kumar Aggawal, Mr Vijay Anand, Mr Vijay Jain and Mr Rajinder Kumar have also been re-elected vice-resident, general secretary, finance secretary, and joint secretary, respectively.


Auction of 3 shops today

Panchkula, April 26
The District Red Cross Society will auction three shops - a medical shop, canteen and PCO - within the dispensary premises run by the society in Sector 19 tomorrow.

The shops would be auctioned in presence of the DC in Mini-Secretariat at 10 am. Bidders have been told to deposit Rs 2000 as security with the society before the bid. OC


Impersonator held for issuing fake bail orders
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 26
The Chandigarh Police today arrested a self-claimed advocate Dhani Ram from Delhi who allegedly got a minimum of 200 criminals released from different jails in Haryana on forged bail orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The police suspects that Dhani Ram could even be involved in more such cases.

According to the police station (North), Dhani Ram got gangsters Rajesh and Sonu released on forged bail documents. Rajesh and Sonu are facing 50 murder and robbery cases each in Haryana. Dhani Ram also got Banti Fauji released on forged documents. Banti was later killed in an encounter. Dhani Ram is facing 17 cases of forgery and cheating in several states, including Haryana and Delhi.

The jails from which persons were got released on forged bail documents include Bhiwani, Rohtak, Karnal and Gurgaon.

According to the police, Dhani Ram, who was running an office from Jehangirpuri in Delhi, had been in touch with gangsters of the region for arranging the forged bail documents.

Dhani, a hand-writing expert, was able to fake signatures of most of the judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to prepare the documents.

He reportedly told the police that he used to advise his clients to appear in court in one of the two initial appearances after getting the bail on forged documents. He used to ask his clients to jump the third appearance to face arrest warrants. Within an hour of the warrants being issued, the accused used to be produced in the court with a plea that he got delayed for the appearance. In this case, the accused could get proper bail by a lower court, the police said.

The Chandigarh Police arrested him when he stole a car of advocate Ashok Kumar from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Market Pulse
Hitachi introduces LCD, Plasma TVs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Hitachi launched its new range of premium Plasma and LCD televisions in India today. The range will include the 55” and 37” Plasma TVs and 28” LCD TV. India is the first country in Asia to have Hitachi’s new range of LCD and Plasma TVs. The new range incorporates state-of-the-art Hitachi technology and come in unique sizes to cater to varied and specific consumer needs.

After the successful performance of the 32” and 42” Plasma TV, Hitachi is expanding the range by introducing two new unique sizes in 37” and 55”, with the 55” size being the first in the industry. The Plasma TV range comes with a new breakthrough technology called ALIS that enhances the life of a Plasma TV from 30,000 hours to 60,000 hours.

Hitachi 28” AS IPS LCD TV comes with a wide-viewing angle with higher contrast, a feature that makes images true-to-life even in dark ambience. The Hitachi AS-IPS also incorporates a DCC Drive that improves the reaction speed of high-speed moving visuals like F1 and Derby. The new Hitachi model comes with a wide-viewing angle of 170 degrees without any shift of colours. The Dynamic Contrast feature automatically adds contrast strength to any weak digital wave thereby enhancing picture clarity. This feature is especially effective for watching movies with special effects.

According to Mr T. Komoto, Managing Director, Hitachi Home Electronics Asia (S) Pte Ltd, “There is a demand for high-end audio-visual products in the Indian market. Hitachi has the product portfolio to cater to this demand of the market and carve a distinct niche for itself. The company is optimistic about the acceptability of product range in the Indian market. As a conscious policy, India is a priority market for Hitachi.”

Studies conducted by a global research organisation forecast that the Indian Plasma TV market is set to grow at 150 per cent from the current 3500 units in 2003 to reach 8000 units by 2004. The Asian Plasma TV market is poised to grow from 4.90 lakh units in 2003 to 8 lakh units in 2004. Hitachi is confident of acquiring 20 per cent share of the premium Plasma TV market in India by 2005.

“Cutting edge Hitachi technology will give the Indian consumer premium home entertainment experience, reiterating its leadership position in the premium Plasma and LCD TV segment,” Mr Komoto added.

The product range is being initially launched in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Pune, Nasik and Trivandrum. The products will be distributed through 16 specialist home theatre showrooms in these cities, which will offer dedicated demo rooms for customers to experience the products in a real home environment. The company will also target airports, railways, hotels, banks and large corporates as potential markets. The company has put in place a dedicated network of after sales serviced centres across all target markets. The prices of the products ranges between Rs 2.5 lakh for the 28” LCD TV and Rs 6.95 lakh for the 55” Plasma TV.

Ray-Ban collection

Adding to its sunglass and ophthalmic range in India, Ray-Ban Sun Optics India Ltd today announced the launch of its new 2004 Collection. Spanning across five international brands — Ray-Ban, Vogue, Killer Loop, Luxottica and Sferoflex — the 2004 Collection has over 140 new models.

While Ray-Ban, Killer Loop and Vogue will offer sunglass designs in the latest global trends, Luxottica, Sferoflex and Vogue offer a stunning new range of premium spectacle frames.

The collection includes new designs under Ray-Ban’s Sidestreet, Highstreet, Predator and Undercurrent range (Rs 3,390 = Rs 4,990), Killer Loop’s sporty designs — The Snoop, Sky Label, Synapsy, Icon, and Nemy, (Rs 2,490 = Rs 3,490), stylish designs from Vogue (Rs 4,200 = Rs 4,400 for sunglass collection and Rs 3,850 = Rs 3,950 for spectacle frames), Luxottica (Rs 3,600 = Rs 4,600) and Sferoflex (Rs 3,600 = Rs 4,600).

“The 2004 Collection brings to India a selection of the latest international styles in technologically advanced materials of construction in frames and lenses,” Mr Harsh Chopra, Managing Director, Ray-Ban Sun Optics India Ltd, said while announcing the launch of the collection.


No more customer-friendly!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
It appears customer-friendly private banks are now a thing of the past. If a circular issued by the ICICI Bank on April 22 is implemented then the going will not be easy for those saving bank account holders who have a deposit of less than Rs 5,000 in their accounts on any single day of a year.

According to the new rules, which came into effect from April 1, if a depositor fails to have a minimum bank balance of Rs 5,000 in his account during any quarter, he would be required to pay a penalty of Rs 750. Interestingly, those who have a deposit of less than Rs 5,000 will be allowed to enter the bank without paying a fee only thrice in a year. On other occasions he will be required to pay Rs 50 every time for carrying out monetary transactions. The same is true for the ATMs, which can be used at no extra cost six times in a year, after which you are required to pay Rs 25 each time you use it.

The bank has not even spared those who have a balance of more than Rs 5,000 in their saving bank accounts. All ICICI account holders will have to pay Rs 99 for using ATM cards. This, however, will be implemented from July. “Now the only way you could withdraw your money is to pay and withdraw,”pointed out a customer, adding that these ATMs were actually started for their convenience.

As per the circular, for every cheque you will have to pay Rs. 2. So if you are using 50-cheque booklet you will have to pay a fee of Rs 100. The ICICI account holders are sore over these new rules. Voicing their resentment, Mr G.S Chahal of Mohali,along with Mr Raj Malik and Mr Subhash Kapoor said, “ It is ironic that while these banks claim to be big banks in the private sector they have imposed fee for entering their premises.”

Mr Dharmvir Puri, Regional Head ( Sales) of the bank, said the new rules would be valid only on those customers who do not keep a minimum balance of Rs 5,000.

It is pertinent to note that even if 1 lakh account holders fail to keep a balance of Rs 5,000 in their accounts during the year and then do not keep any transactions with the bank, they will be paying the bank a penalty of Rs 8.25 crore and if they keep up the transactions these figures would cross the Rs 10 crore.

The ICCI officials clarified that all private banks have their administrative expenses and these banks on their own can implement rules to meet these expenses. The RBI could not intervene in any way.

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