C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Entrance tests at model schools to cope with rush
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The government schools of the city have never had it so good. It has been pouring students for most of the model schools since admissions started. Given the growing popularity of these schools and the unprecedented rush for the limited seats available, most of the schools for the first time conducted admission and screening tests to choose the best of the lot.

At Government Model Senior Secondary School-16 there were nearly 1,500 applicants for 185 seats. At a lesser-known government school in Mani Majra, there were 500 applicants for four vacant seats while the Model School in Sector 36 had over 150 applicants for its 50 seats. In other schools, too, the offices were flooded with applications.

The principals attributed the growing demand for government schools to the marked improvement in their performance over the past four years, the emphasis on discipline as well as the decision of the UT Administration to close down schools operating in residential areas.

Says Principal Ram Kumar Sharma, “We get the best students because we are known for serious studies and discipline. Since this is minus the fringes offered in private schools, the cost of education is low. Besides, government schools have shown very good results in the past few years. Usually, we get students from government as well as private schools looking for a change of institution.”

Principal Rita Johar adds that the UT Administration’s order on the closure of schools in residential areas, too, had a bearing on the admissions. “Since the closure of such schools is imminent, parents pulled out their wards as soon as the last session ended. We got most of these students,” she maintains.

In Mani Majra, the response to the four vacant seats in higher classes was tremendous and the credit goes to the municipal corporation, which has failed to auction any other school site in the area. Given its proximity to Panchkula, coupled with the non-availability of any other “good” school in the area, a large number of students descended on the campus for the admission test.

Sources in the Education Department say that keeping in view the rush in government schools, they would need to increase the intake of students and raise the number of seats in various classes.

“Once the schools in residential areas actually close down, the number of students applying for any vacant seat in government schools is bound to increase. But we may not be able to ‘accommodate’ this entire crowd. Some alternative arrangement in the form of allotting more land to private schools would have to be made,” an official said.

Meanwhile, even as model schools try to handle the pile of applications for the handful of seats, the pressure on Hindi-medium ordinary schools is also on the rise, though the stage of conducting admission tests has not yet arrived.


Creditors prevent MD from entering sick unit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 5
A former Managing Director (MD) of a closed unit here was today prevented from entering his unit’s premises by the representatives of a financial institution, whom the MD allegedly owed a large sum of money. The representatives tried to stop the MD from taking out some goods from the unit that was to be sold to pay back the creditors.

The unit, Century Sheet Metal India, a public limited company owned and managed by Mr Pradeep Bhardwaj, son of Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, Deputy Chairman, Punjab Planning Board, was declared sick by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) some years ago. According to sources, Mr Puneet Bhardwaj today took out some goods from the premises since the unit was expected to go into liquidation. Once under liquidation, the unit will be locked and everything inside will be sold to pay the creditors.

However, the visit was objected to by the representatives of the IDBI, who tried to stop Mr Bhardwaj insisting that they had charge of all the assets of the unit and Mr Bhardwaj could not take away anything of value from the unit. But, according to sources, Mr Bhardwaj who had come with some gunmen, had his way. The sources added that ugly scenes were witnessed outside the unit’s gate in C-127, Phase VIII, Industrial Area, with Mr Bhardwaj arguing with the IDBI representatives.

While Mr Puneet Bhardwaj could not be contacted, Mr R.R. Bhardwaj stated that he had no idea if his son had gone to the unit today or not. “But even if he did, there is nothing illegal about it. He is the company’s MD and can visit it anytime he likes. Moreover the unit is still not under liquidation. I agree that loans have to be returned to certain banks but that does not give them the right to stop anyone from visiting one’s own company? Legally they have no valid reason to stop my son from entering the company gates,” he said.

On the other hand, highly placed sources stated that the IDBI was the main creditor of the unit and since the declaration of the unit as a sick unit by the BIFR, the IDBI was the caretaker of all its assets till the process of liquidation began. In such a scenario, the MD could not take away anything that formed a part of the unit’s total cost.

However, Mr R.R. Bhardwaj insisted, “If banks have to retrieve a loan, there is a proper procedure that they have to follow. This is not one of them. A reference has been made in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to start the process of liquidation of the company and once the process starts, the appointed liquidator will lock the place and sell whatever there is to pay the creditors. But that process is yet to begin.”

The sources stated that the IDBI representatives also contacted the Mohali police for lodging an FIR in the case.


Deserted by lover, woman sells ova to raise her child
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
A Mumbai girl ditched by her lover from Panchkula after she became pregnant is raising her daughter selling her ova (eggs) at a fertility clinic in Mumbai.

Her lover refused to marry her after allegedly having a live-in relationship in Pune. The boy, Nishant Gupta, doing his MBA in Pune, allegedly promised the girl in October 2001 that he would marry her, but never fulfilled it.

Preeti R. Mishra, who was working as a sales executive in Pune when the two met, is now doing odd jobs as she has to go to courts regularly to prove that the person who deserted her is the father of her daughter. Her resolve to fight this battle was firmed up after she was called names by members of the boy’s family when she came to Chandigarh to ask for her right.

Preeti, who was in the city to inform the Press about her plight, said the family of the boy had heaped insults on her when she came last to the city. But now, she claimed, a DNA test had confirmed that Nishant was the biological father of her daughter. Showing the test reports, she said: “I feel like ending my life; but for the child and honour of a woman and her emotions I would not do that.” She added: “I want to make the boy pay for the trauma I have gone through during this period.”

After the affair, which she claimed was with the promise of marriage, Preeti had severed contact with her single mother for fear of hurting her. She now lives in Mumbai while her mother is in Jabalpur.

The elder brother of Nishant’s father, Mr Surinder Gupta, says the girl could not be accepted into the family as she was already married to a man called John in 1999. Mr Gupta says the family was ready to pay maintenance to the girl, but not for marriage.

The girl accepted she had been married to one John, but had divorced him a year before she got involved with Nishant. She showed an affidavit that conveyed that Preeti and Nishant were married and documents of hospitals to prove they lived like husband and wife.

Preeti said Nishant had applied “sindur” on her forehead in a temple, but asked her to wait till the formalisation of the marriage. She claimed they had also gone to get married at an Arya Samaj temple, but the marriage could not take place because they could not find witnesses for the purpose.

She said her fight now was not to get married to Nishant, but to expose him for the emotional cheating, which she termed as “mental rape.” With tears rolling down her face, she said her daughter, Ida, deserved a family life and the love of a father. Preeti said she would go to the highest courts to seek a ruling against those men who emotionally cheated women.

Preeti was worried if her trauma would affect the life of her daughter and had been resisting suggestions to give up her child in adoption.

She said she was being persuaded by her sympathisers, including women from abroad who had become pregnant through her donated ova, not to give away her daughter.

Preeti said each time she donated her ova, it brought her around Rs 20,000.

She said she had to sleep at a railway station for three days after being deserted by Nishant because of her pregnancy, and a social organisation had taken the responsibility of helping her through till the birth of the child.


BSNL cell cards to be sold at petrol stations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Prepaid recharging cards of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s mobile service, Cellone, will now be sold at select petrol outlets in the city.

Also to be sold at petrol stations will be prepaid telephone cards, Sancharnet cards (used for Internet services) and webphone cards (for voice over Internet). The BSNL and Indian Oil Corporation today entered into an agreement in this regard, a spokesman for the BSNL said.

The Chief General Manager, Punjab Telecom Circle, Mr G.S. Bhatia, launched the facility this afternoon at Pathania Service Station in Sector 34. Mr Bhatia said that would improve customer satisfaction.

Mr V.J. Chibber, General Manager, IOC, Punjab, said the sale of telecom cards would start in Punjab soon, the BSNL spokesman added.

To begin with, the cards will be available at Pathania Service Station, Sector 34, Kapur Service Station, Sector 21-D, Sidhu Service Station, Sector 7, Chandigarh Automobiles, Sector 27, Sukhna Auto, Sector 28, City Service Station, Sector 37, Mann Filling Service Station, Sector 49, Pirzada Service Station, Sector 55, IOC outlet, Sector 56 and Kaytee Service Station, Sector 17.


6-day week for PU from May 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Panjab University will be open for six days a week with effect from May 17. The new timings of the offices and departments, including the administrative offices, the construction office, the Directorate of Sports and the teaching departments, will be from 8 am to 2 pm without any lunch break.

The arrangement will continue till June 30, though the chairpersons of the teaching departments and heads of the library and the XEN office would be allowed to make some adjustments in the timings with prior approval of the competent authority. From July 1, the university will revert to the five-day week as usual.


Real Issues
Lal dora issue may tip the scales
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
‘Lal dora’ is a burning issue in the UT villages particularly in 18 villages which have not been included in the Municipal Corporation limits. Certain villagers have constructed houses outside the ‘lal dora’ (village habitation limits) going by the change in habitation needs. The administration, however, continues to follow the Periphery Act of 1886.

Demolition of houses constructed outside the “lal doras” continues unabated. More than 5,000 existing dwellings are under constant threat of an action by the Administration. All political parties have been making promises of extending ‘lal doras’ for the past several decades.

There has, however, been no action in this regard. The Welfare Society of Authorised Originals of 50(UT) villages of Capital Project Chandigarh is demanding dwellings in the city for the oustees of local villages.

“People were assured a dwelling unit in the city after their land was acquired. A large number of people are still homeless and even landless,” Mr H.S. Billing, general secretary of the society, said.

Come election and the prominent political parties make a beeline for the UT villages to woo voters. With over 60,000 voters these villages are an important vote bank.

The villages have largely been a vote bank of the Congress in the past. In a visible difference, the BJP this time is concentrating a little more on the village vote bank than on earlier occasions. The Indian National Lok Dal says both the parties had failed to redress the problems of the villagers for the past 13 years. All candidates promise immediate action in favour of villagers in case voted to power.

Mr Satya Pal Jain (BJP)

“We have already announced our plans of converting ‘lal dora’ into ‘green dora’. There is no question of the existing structures being demolished. In fact, all houses will be given regular electricity and water connections.

There are about 5,000 residential units in this category. Those who abandoned the houses before 1991 were given alternate arrangement. However, during 1991- 1996 when Mr Pawan Bansal (Congress) was in the Parliament the administration had abandoned the scheme. I was re-elected in 1996 and I got a scheme approved for the oustees.

In case the Administration cannot give them land for houses, arrangement should be made at least in the housing societies. A scheme of the Centre is under process.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress)

In case, Mr Jain is alleging that I was in power when the government discontinued the scheme of alternate housing scheme for oustees then what has the BJP done during the past five years when the party wars in power. It is immature to convert all issues into a blame game. Let us accept the needs of the hour and draft our action plans accordingly.

The ‘lal dora’ cannot be abolished. It only needs to be extended. The owners who were displaced during coming up of the city need to be duly compensated. The cash they received as compensation amount was peanuts as compared to the actual price. They should also be given the choice for alternate residential quarters. In fact the entire scheme needs a holistic study rather than giving popular slogans.

The existing houses should not be demolished at all. The future growth needs to be planned according to existing structures.

Mr Harmohan Dhawan (INLD)

The current demarcation of village boundaries has lost its utility. Forced by the burden of the rising population people have been forced to construct their houses outside the village limits. They are being called as illegal dwellings. Surprisingly, does the government and the administration not see the changed scenario.

In the local context both the Congress and the BJP MPs have failed to redress the issue in the real sense. People should see their non-performance in the past 13 years and show them the door. I personally got the demolitions halted in Mani Majra and Darua and maybe forced to repeat the action again if required.


BJP has failed miserably, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Bharatiya Janata Party is keeping the country in the dark about economic realities and deliberately hyping up the “feel good” factor only to the garner votes, said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress nominee in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, while addressing a gathering in Colony No. IV here today.

Mr B.B. Behl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, Maj (Ms) Krishan Mohini, vice-president of the All-India Mahila Congress, Mr Rampal Sharma, president of the INTUC, Mr Subhash Chawla, general secretary of the CTCC, and Ms Kamlesh, Mayor, were present on the occasion.

Mr Bansal said the price of essential commodities like kerosene and cooking gas, which were the backbone of a common household, had more than doubled in the past five years. Unemployment was on the rise, thousands of industrial workers had been laid off and small-scale industries had been wiped out during the BJP’s regime, he said. “What was there to feel good?” he said

He said the Health Ministry under Ms Sushma Swaraj had failed miserably to address key issues of women and children. He said more than 60 per cent of the women were anaemic and millions of newborns were malnourished. The BJP treated woman as second-class citizen and had done nothing for the empowerment of woman in health, political and vocational fields.

He said instead of increasing the expenditure on healthcare of poor women and children, the BJP government had earned the dubious distinction of reducing it to 0.9 per cent from 1.3 per cent of GDP as compared to 5 per cent recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Mr Bansal also addressed a gathering at Mauli Jagran Complex, which was organised by Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, a former mayor. He said the unsolved problems of UT villages were high on his agenda and he would give top priority to solving them once the Congress was voted to power. He criticised local BJP leaders for having double standard when it came to problems of residents of UT villages. BJP leaders, he said, spoke of creating colonies in the heart of city to rehabilitate poor people while speaking in colonies.

Mr Bansal, accompanied by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, the Punjab Cabinet Minister, also addressed a gathering in Sector 18.

Ms Madhu Bansal, wife of the Congress candidate, also addressed a gathering of women and children in Sector 25 and said the BJP government had treated women shabbily and done nothing for empowerment of women.


Dhawan dismisses Jain, Bansal as leaders of small stature
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Mr Satya Pal Jain and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, respectively, are back-benchers in their parties, said Mr Harmohan Dhawan, nominee of the Indian National Lok Dal, while addressing an election rally here today.

“They have never been considered for minister’s appointment in their governments. In fact, the BJP did not even consider Mr Jain worth fielding in the 1999 General Election,” he said. Mr Bansal had been Member of Parliament twice when the Congress was in power at the Centre; he was still not given any portfolio, he added.

He claimed people of the city realised that Chandigarh had got major projects when he was the MP, like the Kajauli waterworks, a housing scheme and Government Medical College, Sector 32.

The candidate of the INLD was given Rs 2.31 lakh by traders in Sector 22, where Mr Dhawan said he got the “day booth” scheme implemented in the city, due to which hundreds of people were earning.

Mr Dhawan also addressed a rally of bank employees in the Bank Square, Sector 17. Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, president of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, addressing the rally, said: “Mr Jain cheated employees. He had promised to raise the limit of income tax waiver to Rs 1,00,000 but made no effort.” Mr B.S.Gill, Mr Kuldip Singh and certain other leaders of bank employee unions also spoke on the occasion. Mr Dhawan promised to work for housing societies for bank employees and greater rate of interest on the Provident Fund. He was weighed against coins in Sector 44-C. He also addressed a rally in Maloya Colony, where he was welcomed by Mr Leela Ram, president of the resident’s body.

Members of the Gobindpura Market Welfare Association, Mani Majra, met the INLD candidate and assured support.


Exit polls a blessing in disguise for BJP, says Sushma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and official spokesperson for the BJP, Ms Sushma Swaraj, today said the exit polls conducted by various TV news channels, which predicted a rather below-the-expectation performance by the NDA in the first two phases of the elections to Parliament, had proven to be a “blessing in disguise”.

“It has galvanised the party’s rank and file as well as voters into launching a more intensified election campaign. The earlier, rather complacent, attitude that the party was well on its way to victory had been replaced by a more businesslike approach,” she said at an interaction with the media at the Chandigarh Press Club. She had no doubt in her mind that the NDA would get a clear majority in Parliament and form the government without any difficulty.

She said it was difficult to believe the results of the so-called exit polls because each television channel had predicted a different outcome. Some channels predicted a majority for the NDA, others did not. And the difference between the number of seats predicted by each channel was so wide that it confused people, she said.

Ms Swaraj said she had travelled to all four corners of the country, covering 16 states. There was no doubt that there was a pro-Vajpayee wave sweeping the country. “Similar waves were witnessed in 1977 and in 1984. But those were negative waves. This is for the first time that the country is witnessing a positive wave”.

Replying to a question, she said there was no confusion as far as the Akali Dal’s support to the BJP’s candidate for the Chandigarh parliamentary poll, Mr Satya Pal Jain, was concerned. “The SAD is an ally of the BJP and a partner in the National Democratic Alliance. As such, both were supporting each other’s candidates in the elections.

“I have myself spoken to Mr Parkash Singh Badal and other Akali leaders and they have all assured me of SAD support to the BJP nominee, Mr Satya Pal Jain.” In this connection, she pointed out that Akali leaders like Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who was also the general secretary of SAD, were campaigning for Mr Jain and had addressed joint rallies with BJP leaders.

Ms Swaraj also said Mr Badal might be obliged to the Haryana Chief Minister and the INLD chief, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, but the BJP too had stood by the Akali leader in his hour of trial. “I had myself gone to Patiala jail to see Mr Badal when he was lodged there. The BJP has never let him down”.

Ms Swaraj said if any local Akali leader claimed that the party was supporting the INLD candidate, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, he was doing so in his individual capacity only. She said she was confident that the Sikh intelligentsia of the city would never do anything which might benefit the Congress. Moreover, not many Sikhs took misleading statements by SAD leaders like Mr Riar seriously.


INLD ‘banks on’ development
Our Correspondent

Balwant  Singh
Mr Balwant Singh

Panchkula, May 5
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is banking on various development works taken up in the state by the Chautala government. If the party loses any seat, it would be a clear indication that the government could not live up to the public’s expectations.

This statement was made by Mr Balwant Singh, INLD candidate from the Ambala parliamentary constituency, while addressing a press conference here today.

He denied the misuse of government machinery by political leaders in the election campaign.

On the occasion, Mr Amardeep Singh Chaudhary, secretary of the INLD, claimed that the party would make a clean sweep in the state. He was hopeful that the voters would recognise the development works taken up in the past three years.


Independent candidate visits Mini Secretariat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Mr Dharam Paul Sharma, an Independent candidate in fray for the coming parliamentary elections, today took out his campaign rallies on foot.

He visited Sectors 37 and 38 and Mini Secretariat.

Mr Sharma highlighted the non-maintenance of various public service utilities in the city.


Political parties urged to consider employees’ demands
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 5
The Sarv Karamchari Sangh, Haryana, in a representation to different political parties has appealed to them to consider their demands in their agendas.

In a press note Mr Lal Chand Karama said members of the sangh had demanded political rights for the employees. The employees should be given constitutional right to protest against their victimisation and the suspended employees, should be reinstated.

The representation was given to the political parties and other district level committees after passing a resolution by the members and officer-bearers of various unions of different government departments of Haryana.


Rehabilitation of ‘jhuggi’ dwellers assured

Chandigarh, May 5
Mr Hem Raj Kashyap, candidate of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the coming elections, today assured the rehabilitation of the “jhuggi” dwellers while addressing corner meetings in different parts of the city. He also promised work for the unemployed.

Mr Kashyap visited Colony No. 5, Vikas Nagar Colony, Sectors 52 and 61 and Kajheri, Raipur Khurd and Mauli Jagran villages. — TNS


Candidates will have to seek MC nod for booths
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Municipal Corporation (MC) in a press note here today announced that permissions for setting up election booths on municipal land would have to be formally sought by all candidates.

The MC will charge Rs 100 per day for a booth of 15x15feet. Those wishing to put up banners will have to make an additional payment of Rs 3 per square ft each day.

The land is being allotted under instructions of the Election Commission.


First Vote
Youngsters should join politics

“Voting is my right and I am going to exercise it on May 10. Like me, all eligible voters should come out of their houses and vote for the candidate of their choice.

I will vote as we live in a democracy and the future of the country hinges on it. One must vote, otherwise, he or she has no right to criticise ministers or government.

For me the candidate is more important than the party he represents. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an able and good leader but the same is not true for the entire BJP. In my opinion, Mr Vajpayee has turned out be a good Prime Minister but we need an even stronger Prime Minister and only a younger person can fit in the role.

I do not see any rhyme and reason in the foreign origin issue of Ms Sonia Gandhi being raised by the BJP.

I hope in coming days more and more youngsters would join politics. Younger generation should take the reins of the country.”


Probe ordered into issuance of Morinda MC transit passes by Mohali staff
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 5
The Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, has ordered an inquiry into the case of Mohali Municipal Council octroi employees issuing transit passes of the Morinda Municipal Council. It is learnt that Mr A.K. Kansal, the Chief Vigilance Officer, Local Bodies, Punjab, has been asked to deploy an inquiry officer to report on the matter.

Sources added that the inquiry officer, Mr Rajinder Rai, has already started collecting information and data from the offices of the two MCs and is expected to file a report within two days to the Local Bodies Directorate.

The MC employees manning the octroi posts in Mohali were found to be issuing transit passes of the Morinda Municipal Council. These passes were being given to those who paid the transit fee for entry into Mohali, but since these carried the Morinda Municipal Council’s stamp, the bearers used it for entry into Morinda too. The matter came to light on May 3, when octroi contractors of Morinda raided an octroi post in Mohali and discovered that the post employees were using the Morinda transit pass books instead of their own.

The Executive Officer, MC, Mohali Mr Harbhagwan Garg, confirmed that an inquiry had been ordered into the matter. ‘‘But we are not at fault. We had borrowed the pass books from Morinda since we had exhausted our lot. These were properly issued by the Morinda MC and received by us. But we had failed to stamp every individual pass which we have done now,’’ he said.


Noisy scenes, walkout at Kharar Municipal Council meeting
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 5
Noisy scenes and a walkout marked a meeting of the local municipal council here today which resolved to approach the authorities concerned to immediately transfer the ownership of the civil panchayat land to the civic body.

It was unanimously decided to write a letter to the SDM for taking necessary action to get the entire civil panchayat land of Fatehullapur village transferred to the council. It was decided to bring to the notice of the Ropar Deputy Commissioner the actual position in this regard and a request be made to her to question officials concerned as to why the ownership of the land was not transferred to the council during the past five years, despite several requests. The civic body had become the owner of the land in 1999.

The House decided to take immediate possession of the land after taking help from the administration. The councillors said pillars should be put up around the civic panchayat land and a board showing the council as the land owner should also be installed. An advertisement would also be given stating that legal action would be taken against persons who tried to sell the land in question.

Some councillors of the opposition group, including a former president of the civic body, Mr Ranbir Singh, had alleged that the land belonging to the civic body was being sold illegally by some persons and the council president who was aware of this development was taking no action in this regard.

The council president, Mr Charanjit Singh, said he was in no way linked with the sale of land. In fact, when he got to know of such a development he had asked the Executive Officer, Mr Jagjit Singh Sahi, to write to the Tehsildar not to allow the sale of land in question. He, however, asked Mr Ranbir Singh who remained president of the civic body for five years, why the land had not been transferred to the council during his tenure.

Four opposition councillors walked out of the meeting when the next item on the agenda came up for discussion. They were Mr Om Parkash, Mr Roshan Lal, Mr Ranbir Singh and Mr Gurnam Singh. They said since nine councillors had requested the council president to call a special meeting to discuss the case of Fatehullapur land, no other item should be discussed in the special meeting.

However, Mr Charanjit Singh said the meeting had been called under Section 25 (2) of the Punjab Municipal Act which empowered the president to add items to the agenda, along with the item for which a request had been put up by councillors.

After the walkout, the remaining 11 councillors discussed the second requisition item on the agenda. It was decided to write to the SDM that panchayat land falling in Khanpur, Mundi Kharar and Desumajra should be transferred to the council so that illegal encroachments could be removed from there and council could take care of the land.

The council president alleged that 166 kanal, 17 marla jumla malkan land of Kharar was in the possession of Mr Ranbir Singh and his relatives. As the issue was to be discussed in the meeting, four councillors walked out to avoid discussion.

It was decided to discuss all other items on the agenda in the next meeting.


Injured cyclist dies at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Ropar resident, J.P Singh, 42, who was seriously injured in a road accident last night, succumbed to his injuries at the PGI here this afternoon. The bicycle he was riding was hit by a Tata Qualis near the Sector 20 gurdwara and he was rushed to the PGI.

The car driver, Raj Kumar, who was arrested from Panchkula was not released on bail today as no one came forward to furnish his bail bond. He was send to the judicial remand today.

The car driver in his effort to flee had also hit a scooter and a motor cycle on the Dakshin Marg (near Sector 32) and injured three more persons — Lovnish and Vikrant (both residents of Panchkula) and Rajiv Kumar. All of them had sustained minor injuries and were taken to a hospital.


Centre for international trade launched
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 5
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Justice O.P. Verma (retd.), today underlined the need to strengthen marketing infrastructure for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them face challenges of globalisation and stiff competition in the post WTO scenario.

Speaking after launching the Centre for International Trade and Industry (Citi), an organisation promoted by a leading group of industrialists and professionals to felicitate small and medium enterprises, Justice Verma said small and medium industries lacked knowledge of marketing channels and failed to establish marketing networks. Consequently, many SMEs are unable to sell their produce effectively. Thus, it is imperative to provide assistance to SMEs to acquire technical expertise and facilitate them to enter global market, he added.

Justice Verma said recognising the export growth potential of SMEs, most governments in developing countries were supporting SMEs through incentives. Since SMEs are dependent on outside trade service providers, the impact of easily accessible and efficient service at affordable cost is greater for them. He said there was an urgent need for a forum to provide complete know how to the SMEs that have little or no experience in export business and want to start exports successfully or increase their share in global market and hoped that this centre would perform this task.

Speaking about the ‘image problem’ of Indian products, Justice Verma said we must launch a concerted campaign to improve the image and quality of Indian products.

Speaking on the occasion, the Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, Mr Subodh C. Aggarwal, said he had a lot of faith in Punjabi spirit of entreprenuership that had always shone through all odds. ‘‘The small scale industry normally is dependent on subsidies. But since the Punjab Government was not able to give these, the spirit of enterprise in these industrialists took over and has shown results. They have taken the first few most difficult steps towards success without any outside help,’’he said adding that this exercise had taught them important factors like cost cutting and waste reduction during production.

Mr Aggarwal added that the SMEs in Punjab accounted for providing 10 per cent employment and over 50 per cent of the total industrial produce in Punjab. ‘‘And over half of our total exports. But still this sector of the industry was yet to realise its full potential,’’he said.

Earlier, Mr P.J. Singh, the General Secretary, Citi, gave a presentation on the facilities that Citi will provide its members. ‘‘Citi has been established to provide information about business opportunities in international market and to prepare SMEs to enable them to improve India’s share in the international trade,’’ he said. Citi will also establish display centres for showcasing Indian products and organise business promotion missions, buyer-seller meets and virtual markets.

A former agri-business adviser to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Mohan Singh, has resigned from CII to head Citi as its Director-General. Gurmeet Singh, President, Mohali Industries Association and Citi, earlier welcomed the chief guest.

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