C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

Veg prices go up by 10 pc
Apples cheaper, tomatoes dearer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The impact of strike by truckers was felt today as the retail price of many perishable vegetables like tomatoes, lady’s finger, brinjal among others rose more than 10 per cent in one day. Opportunistic traders, sensing that the strike may last longer than anticipated, even raised the rates of onions which otherwise, are not a perishable item.

On the other hand, it was the right time to buy apples as a large numbers of apple-laden trucks had arrived in the mandi just a day before the strike started on Saturday. But there were no trucks available for their further transportation.

Today there was almost no retail trading in the main vegetable and fruit market in Sector 26. Vegetables like bottle gourd, grown in surrounding areas of Chandigarh and also some part of produce from nearby Himachal Pradesh, was being ferried in three wheelers to Chandigarh.

The impact of the strike was also being felt by the restaurant owners of the city. Mr Ashok Bansal, Secretary of the Hotel Association of Chandigarh said, “We will be have to consider a price hike if the strike continues.” The dhaba owners were even worst placed. These people were retail buyers and tomatoes were selling at anything between Rs 28 and Rs 30 per kg. The price of ginger, garlic and onions, which are key ingredients in dishes in any Indian dhaba has risen. A dhaba owner in Sector 28 said so far they had not passed on the price hike to the customer but they would not bear it for long.

Meanwhile, a trader selling dry rations in Sector 46 said that ready-to-eat packaged meals were selling more as several people had purchased these meals in the past two days. State owned Markfed manufactures its own packaged items.

Traditionally the price of potato during this season was anything between Rs 6 to Rs 8. After the strike, the price was now between Rs 12 to 14 per kilo. The same was true for onions.

In the past three days the price of peas and tomatoes have shown maximum increase. Peas have jumped from Rs 30-35 earlier, to Rs 40 to Rs 45 a kg, and tomatoes from Rs 20 a kg to Rs 28 to Rs 30 a kg now.

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Negligible effect of truckers’ strike so far in region
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The three-day-old truckers’ strike has started pinching the common man as the prices of vegetables, fruits and other perishable goods show an upward trend. Vegetable and fruit growers, on the other hand, are getting desperate as they find it difficult to transport their goods to the markets in big towns. The problem is acute in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, where the fruit growers face an economic ruin if the strike prolongs.

The truck operators of the two hill states have not joined the strike on the call given by the All-India Transport Congress (AIMTC) in protest against the imposition of service tax. But a majority of them is not willing to take the risk of sending their vehicles to farflung places outside their states. As a result, the growers are finding it increasingly difficult to export their goods to big markets like Delhi, which consumes bulk of apple and off-season vegetables.

The strike has, however, so far not affected the industry much, which has an inventory of raw material for a few days. But as the senior vice-president of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr N.C. Jain, says if the strike prolongs, small units having limited raw material would be badly affected as the production would be hampered. The strike will also hold up consignments. Exporters will be doubly affected because foreign buyers expect them to meet their commitment on the delivery schedule. They do not take into account considerations like the strike by truck operators.

Interestingly, governments in all the states of the region claim that the strike has not made any serious impact. The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, reviewed the situation today at a meeting with senior officers of the state. It was felt that the situation in Haryana was normal and there was no shortage of essential commodities in any part of the state as vegetables, fruits and other commodities of daily use were readily available.

A Punjab Government spokesman said the strike had evoked a limited response in the state. He said there was nominal affect of the strike in the districts of Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar, Nawanshahar, Patiala, Sangrur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib. In Amritsar, he said, the affect of the strike was 35 per cent, while that in Moga was 70 per cent. He said a control room had been set up in the Transport Department to monitor the situation.

However, the Punjab Truck Operators Association spokesman, Mr Bhupinder Singh Pandher, claimed the strike to be complete with “not a single truck plying in the state.” The president of the Chandigarh Transport Welfare Association, Mr Subhash Chawla, said about 3,500 trucks were off road and no goods were being transported.

Truck operators seem to be divided in their perception about the impact of service tax on them. Mr Dev Raj Nambardar, a transporter of Bathinda, says that so far service tax had not been notified. He also says that since it would be recoverable from customers, the truck operators would not be affected.

On the other hand, Mr Harish Gulati, a truck operator of Ambala, says even if the tax is recoverable from the customers, ultimately the operators would be affected as the customers would tend to pay them less freight charges.

In Jalandhar, members of the Punjab State Good Transport Association burnt the effigy of the Union Finance Minister at Patel Chowk. They said service tax was not justified when they paid token tax, toll tax and other taxes. They also protested against the imposition of fines to the tune of Rs 15,000 by the transport authorities in the state. They were also opposed to the proposal of scrapping 15-year-old vehicles.

In Rohtak no trucks are operating on long inter-state routes. Local truck union officials said no truck had reached there or left for Bombay, Calcutta and Bangalore after the strike began. The apple prices have gone up by 20 per cent. Vegetable prices have also seen an increase of about 15 per cent.

In Bahadurgarh, the main industrial town of Jhajjar district, local truck and tempo unions have not joined the strike, but they are losing Rs 5 lakh daily due to the strike. Of about 700 trucks registered with the Bahadurgarh Truck Union, 450 are parked in the town while the others have been held up in various towns. Similarly the Swaraj Mazda Tempo Union reports that 150 vehicles out of 200 registered with it are parked here, while the others have been trapped at places where the unions have joined the strike.

The I.G., Traffic, Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Ram Lubhaya, says the impact of the strike in the state has been negligible. The number of trucks entering and moving out of the state has been between 700 and 800 daily till last evening. There were over 400 trucks and tankers carrying essential commodities waiting at Sonmarg for going to Ladhak yesterday. He said this showed that there was no impact of the strike.

The general secretary of the Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association, Mr G.M. Bhatt, said there was no impact of the strike because the local truck operators had not joined the strike.

However, in Jammu the strike has started having an impact on trade. A trader in the wholesale market said not a single tin of edible oil had been received by him for the past two days. The trucks carrying the supplies were stranded somewhere in Punjab. Not a single truck from outside the state had reached Lakhanpur, the entry point of Jammu and Kashmir. Another trader said Jammu being a consuming area, the people would suffer in case the strike prolonged.

In Himachal Pradesh apple movement has been badly affected. Against 4.14 lakh boxes of apple exported out of the state on August 20, only 2.60 boxes were transported on August 21. While 961 trucks carried apples out of Himachal on August 20, only 597 left the following day and a meagre 302 trucks yesterday.

The growers have stopped plucking apples. They could suffer losses if the strike prolongs. Same is the fate of potato growers.

Big industrial units are able to send their consignments either through rail or by hiring full trucks. However, small units who book their goods with transport companies are finding their consignments held up.

Inputs from S.P. Sharma, Rakesh Lohumi, Raman Mohan, Ehsan Fazili, Chander Prakash, Rahul Dass, Saurabh Malik and Deepkamal Kaur.

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PUDA to videograph construction activity
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) will videograph all construction activity on Chandigarh’s periphery every month.

According to a press note issued by the PUDA Chief Administrator, Mr A.S. Chattwal, in view of the reported violations on the periphery as well as attempts to encroach upon PUDA land, it has been decided that regular videographing will be undertaken to maintain a record of these violations.

According to the PUDA authorities, this will not only help in checking such violations but also help in fixing responsibility on the officers concerned during whose tenure such violations and encroachments take place. In a directive issued to all Additional Chief Administrators, Mr Chattwal has asked them to undertake this exercise every month and keep the recorded cassettes in safe custody.

Sources said as part of the initial inquiry that was undertaken by the Punjab police against illegal colonisers, a videotape recording of the illegal colonies and constructions in Kansal was done by the police. This included shots of the land owned by various VIPs in the area. The film had footage of pieces of lands which were without construction and those that had irregular construction going on.

Meanwhile, investigations into the illegal colonisers’ case being conducted by the Ropar district police seems to have come to a grinding halt. No fresh arrests have been made.

After the initial arrest of four colonisers and PUDA GM Hardev Singh, based on the information collected by the Punjab police’s Economic Offence Wing (EOW), the police here had not taken any action on other similarly placed colonisers. The sources said other than these three colonisers that had been shortlisted by the Ropar police for the EOW, names of five colonies had been given to the SP, Mohali, by the DIG, EOW, Mr Rohit Chaudhry. The sources added that active construction was on in these five colonies, but no action was taken by the police against any of these colonisers.

Mr Harpreet Singh, DSP, Mohali, said some relatives of Hardev Singh were interrogated today.

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Property worth lakhs damaged in fire at PunCom
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 23
Property worth lakhs of rupees was damaged in a major fire which broke out at Punjab Communications (PunCom) here today. No loss of life was, however, reported.

Though the management and fire brigade officials were unable to give an estimate of the losses immediately, it is learnt, according to sources, that the damage caused by the fire is between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh.

The fire, which started around 11 a.m. in equipment testing laboratory on the second floor of the building, was still smoldering even after 2 pm. According to the fire brigade officials computers and panels of telephone exchanges had got burnt.

A number of fire tenders from the local fire brigade station, nearby Semi-conductors Limited (SCL), and a Chandigarh fire brigade station were pressed into service to bring the fire under control. Employees of PunCom initially made efforts to control the flames with extinguishers installed in the building but it is reported that some of them did not work.

While the PunCom management claimed that fire took place due to a short circuit in the laboratory, but certain employees said the fire had resulted due to a spark from the welding that was being carried out in the area. Two LPG cylinders, probably used for the welding, were found lying in the compound of the factory, which were perhaps thrown out of the building.

Billows of smoke could be seen coming out of the laboratory, the walls of which had foam sheets on them. The smoke had engulfed the entire second floor of the building on which the R&D wing, a library, a computer-repair section were housed. Windowpanes on the second floor of the building had to be broken to let out the smoke which had caused a lot of suffocation.

Smoke had also entered the first floor building which housed the production unit. The factory did not have any smoke alarm. There were more than 350 employees working in the factory out of which more than 100 worked on the second floor of the building.

Employees rushed out of the building after the news of the fire spread around.

It is reported that the floor of the room in which the fire had broken had caved in due to the excess heat. Cracks in the walls in one part of the building can also be seen.

A hole in the wall of the laboratory was made for water pipes to be pushed in. According to fire brigade officials five fire tenders were used to bring the fire under control at about 3.30 p.m. The second floor of the building got flooded with water. Water could also be seen leaking through the ceiling on the first floor building. More than 20 computers that had come to the workshop for repairs were damaged.

The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, and the DSP, Mr Harpreet Singh, visited the factory and took stock of the situation.

Teams from SCL and Ranbaxy reached PunCom for providing whatever assistance they could. Two Ranbaxy officials, Capt Naresh K. Kakkar, Senior Manager, Human Resources, and Capt Ian L Kerr, Manager, Security, said they brought dry chemical powder cylinders, liquid foam compound, breathing apparatus and fire suits. Two cylinders and one set of the breathing apparatus were used at PunCom.

Mr J.S. Ghuman, Head of Marketing and Human Resources, PunCom, said the fire was caused probably due to a short circuit. The foam sheets in the laboratory caught fire. However, it remained confined only to one room. He said the loss could not be ascertained immediately, though everything was insured. He said computers and capital equipment were saved. The area had now been cordoned off. Mr Ghuman said insurance officials who visited the factory took photographs and a list of the damaged items. He said supply of power to the building had been switched off and would be restored only after checking all power connections as a lot of water had flown in the building.

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Mohali ex-SP’s nod to discharge of Kohli
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
Recording his statement in a Kharar court today, Mohali’s former Superintendent of Police, Mr Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, agreed with the Punjab’s police request to discharge Maninder Pal Singh Kohli from a fake passport case registered in Mohali.

The police officer is one of the complainants in a case of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and harbouring registered against Kohli’s family members, among others, on March 25, 2004 when Mr K.V.P. Singh was Mohali SP. The case was registered following reports that Kohli, after fleeing Britain, had taken shelter at Mohali and was trying to procure an Indian passport on forged documents.

Kohli, suspect in the rape-murder of British school girl Hannah Foster in UK in March, last year was at present in the CBI custody awaiting extradition proceedings. He was present in the court of Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate Poonam Ratti when Mr KVP Singh recorded his statement. Kohli was brought from Chandigarh’s Burail jail on production warrant.

Former Mohali SP appeared in the court in compliance of its August 14 notice to him. The notice was issued when police sought Kohli’s discharge in the case, saying they had no evidence to proceed against him. Mr K.V.P. Singh, in his recorded statement, also pointed out that since he was not the current investigating officer in the case he could not comment on the present state of investigations against Kohli.

SDJM Poonam Ratti asked the Kohli’s counsel, Mr Charanjit Singh Bakshi, if Kohli was an accused in the FIR registered at Mohali. Mr Bakshi told her that Kohli was not an accused in the case. Following which she asked for the case file and issued notice to the case investigating officer for August 31 and directed Kohli to be present in the Court that day also.

Later talking to mediapersons outside the court, Mr K.V.P. Singh said that the FIR he had lodged, was based on certain facts, most of which were found correct during Kohli’s investigation. “We had stated that Kohli had faked his identity and had been provided shelter by his relatives. Both these things have been found correct. Besides this if a passport has been recovered or not, I don’t know,” he said.

Mr Charanjit Singh Bakshi, who had sought permission from the court to talk to Kohli said that Kohli was suffering from gall stones and some skin disease also. Kohli had asked his counsel to move an application to the jail authorities to provide him with the medicines prescribed by a doctor who had visited Kohli,’’said Mr Bakshi. Meanwhile, Kohli’s brother Amritpal Singh, who had been discharged from the case on July 31, met Kohli today.

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Pak provides better health care at rural level, says Indian expert
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Prof S. M. Bose
Prof S. M. Bose

Chandigarh, August 23
If Prof S. M. Bose, a former head of Surgery at the PGI and the sole Indian representative at the International conference of community oriented medical education at Karachi, Pakistan, is to be believed then India must learn a few lessons from the neighbours in providing health care at the rural level.

``I must say Pakistan is slightly ahead of us as they are evolving a system of providing not only the primary health facilities in the rural areas but linking it with the education of children and overall poverty alleviation, which is missing in our country,'' says Prof Bose who visited health centres in the rural Karachi and delivered guest lectures at the medical colleges in Pakistan during the eight-day conference which concluded on August 20.

``What is interesting to see is that the non- government organisations (NGOs) are developing this concept there and trying to rope in the Pakistani Government in augmenting the programme,'' adds Prof Bose.

Comparing it with the Indian rural set of providing health care facilities, the Professor says that here the concept of primary health care centres is only centred around basic healthcare and the primary education and the women uplift are segregated.

``What is needed here is the involvement of the entire community at these centres. In rural area around Karachi, I observed that the fully equipped health centres, which are frequently visited by the medical specialists, were also imparting training to the women in some job skill and providing education to poor children. With 40 per cent of their population living below poverty line (earning less than $1 a day), they seem to have realised that an uneducated country will remain poor and thus will not be able to spend adequately on health,'' says the Professor who has already delivered several lectures in Pakistan, During the recent visit he participated in evolving the postgraduate medical education course content for rural Pakistan.

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Full Bench: After 2 Judges, CJ also withdraws from case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
In yet another twist to the ongoing controversy in a case of review application filed against the order of a Division Bench, Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today became the third Judge to withdraw from a Full Bench constituted by him to hear the case.

In his detailed order, dictated in an open court, Mr Justice Roy, while recusing himself from the Bench, also referred to interactions between Judges of the High Court, including the Chief Justice, on the issue.

It may be recalled that two other Judges - Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh - had on August 12 withdrawn from a Full Bench headed by the Chief Justice. The Judges had questioned the authority of the Chief Justice to constitute such a Bench to hear the review application.

The case pertains to the May 13 order of Mr Justices Bedi and Nirmal Singh, by which they had dismissed a writ filed by Punjab Police constable Ramesh Singh challenging his transfer from Rajpura to Faridkot. They had also put an end to all inquiry proceedings against Judicial Officer Jatinder Walia, initiated on the complaints of the constable.

Saying that in the first week of June, when he called the two Judges to his residence to discuss the matter, his questions received angry responses from the Judges. The duo also asked him how he could question the propriety of a judicial order passed by them.

Interestingly, the Chief Justice has also said that two other Judges, Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice J.S. Khehar, also agreed that the order passed by the Bench of Mr Justice Bedi and Mr Justice NIrmal Singh was "erroneous and illegal". It was Mr Justice Bali, the order of the Chief Justice says, who suggested that a review petition be filed against the judgement of the Division Bench.

While withdrawing from the Full Bench, the Chief Justice has also expressed regret on the disclosure of private conversations in the August 17 order of the two Judges as also the "breach of judicial collegiality".

With the withdrawal of the Chief Justice from the Full Bench, the Bench will now be reconstituted.

Meanwhile, Mr Justice N.K. Sud and Mr Justice Surya Kant replaced the two Judges who withdrew from the Bench earlier.

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Sub-committee to submit report
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
Following a resolution passed by the general house of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association on July 29, the President of the association has constituted a sub-committee.

The sub-committee will pursue the issue of transfer of local Judges, particularly those whose kin are practising in the High Court. The sub-committee will submit its report to the general house of the association within three months.

The members of the sub-committee are advocates H.S. Gill, convener, Mr Antar S. Gill and Mr Darshan Bishnoi, both members. The President and Honarary Secretary of the association will be ex-officio members.

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Chandigarh Calling

THE Punjab Governor Justice O.P Verma’s passion for greening the city was much evident in his Independence Day address, Verma since joining last year, has been asking the UT Administration to work out an ambitious plan to provide verdant green cover on road berms and rotaries.

Justice Verma is of a view that if we maintain and green vacant land, there are lesser chances of that place getting encroached upon and people would also tend to keep it clean.

The administration could not realise his dream partially due to the absence of tertiary water pipeline on all road berms. Now realising that the administration may not be able to make his dreams come true, Justice Verma has now turned to the city residents. While appealing them to maintain road berms outside their houses without any obstruction of hedges, railings etc, Justice Verma also announced to award NGOs, residents welfare associations and residents who individually or collectively would maintain road berms.

City residents are always known for their love for greenery. They had been maintaining road berms opposite their houses but with hedges and railings. Residents say that they have to put hedges and railings to protect their well-maintained greenery from stray cattle. With the municipal corporation having failing to tackle the problem of stray cattle since the past one and a half years and no permanent solution in sight, residents are now thinking about how would they compete to win Guv’s prize without providing protection to their green berms.

Poll scene at PU

The election scene at Panjab University has gained momentum with the Senate election scheduled this week and information that students’ election would be pre-poned doing the rounds. With canvassing for the Senate elections in full swing, contestants have been on their toes, running around for votes.

From sms to e-mail to post and personal contacts, they are leaving no stone unturned to extract votes. Pamphlets with their photographs are being distributed liberally and out-station visits to tap voters in other cities has also begun.

In contrast, student organisations have gone into election mode by announcing dharnas and are holding late night meetings in their hostel rooms to plan strategies and be one up on their rivals. They are all set to paint the campus red, literally, once the dates are announced. This time, policemen are already present in a large numbers on the campus.

Disability census

There are 15, 538 disabled persons in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, according to an official census on disability conducted by the Directorate of Census Operations, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

The census figures released on Monday at Chandigarh reveal that there are 9,538 male and 6,000 female disabled persons in Chandigarh. Chandigarh city has 13,882 disabled person and villages of Chandigarh have 1,656. The data shows that 1.7 per cent of the total population of Chandigarh is disabled as compared to 2.1 per cent at the all-India level. Out of the total disabled population, disability in seeing accounts for 54.2 per cent, in movement 24.6 per cent, in mental 11.6 per cent and in speech 5.7 per cent.

Out of the total disabled, 61.7 per cent are males and 38.6 per cent are females. Of the total disabled, 66. 4 per cent are literate and 33.6 per cent are illiterate. Further, 66 per cent of the disabled are non-workers and 34 per cent are workers.

Human rights

Mr Pramod Sharma, coordinator, Yuvsatta, a Chandigarh-based NGO, has been invited by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Geneva, to attend an international conference on “counter terrorism and human rights” at Berlin, Germany, from August 27 to 29.

Around 30 jurists and many human rights lawyers and activists from 20 countries in all the regions of the world are expected to attend the conference.

Green School Project

Over 200 children took part in a poster-making competition on ecology and environment organised by the Chandigarh Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry last week. The competition was the first in the series of inter-school competitions, to be followed by an environment quiz and children’s cycle rally.

All these competitions are part of Green School Project, a sustainable initiative to sensitise the youth in the areas of environment. Mr Ishwar Singh, Director, Environment, Chandigarh Administration who inaugurated the event, was of the view that painting competitions on ecology and environment were an excellent way to build awareness in the younger generation.

There was a large and enthusiastic turnout of students of Classes VII to XII from different schools of Chandigarh. The students were asked to create a poster based on any of the three themes: Wealth from Waste, Save Water for Life, and Global Warming-Global Warning.

The members of the jury were Mr Ishwar Singh, Mr Viren Tanwar and Mr Ranbir Dev Lohtia. A common award ceremony for winners of all the three competitions would be held on October 31.

Boasting of success

Cashing in on the dreams of the parents who want to see their children top in competitive engineering and medical entrance examinations, coaching academies are going all out to boast of their success.

From this year, a number of coaching centres are holding facilitation ceremonies to honour the toppers who were coached by them. The owner of one of the coaching centre told the sentinel that it was a big business involving high stakes. To ensure that the claim of success was not taken by a competitor, holding public functions to honour the toppers served the right purpose. Different PR agencies are being hired by the coaching centres to project their image as the market leaders.

Govt to be blamed

For the illegal constructions in the periphery, it is the Punjab Government, which is to be blamed. After setting a wrong example before the common man, who does not have resources to buy an expensive plot in Chandigarh, Mohali or Panchkula, the lawmakers have cracked down on the self-acclaimed colonisers.

An example is the houses constructed by politicians and bureaucrats on the periphery. During the previous Badal-led Akali government, a group of MLAs had a vast chunk of land purchased in Kansal village. An affected person called up the sentinel seeking that a survey be undertaken to ascertain the total number of violators.

Fair sex terrorists!

The city’s beauty conscious women are seen as potential terrorists. This came to light in a meeting between residents welfare associations and IG Rajesh Kumar.

A resident welfare association representative told the IGP that there must be a check on the women two-wheeler riders covering their faces with scarves. The representative’s argument was that the covered face hide the identity of the person and militants could use the same garb to strike in the city.

The representative’s argument was based on numerous incidents of the burqa-clad Kashmiri militants carrying out shootout in the past.

The representative said a militant could come to the city in the garb of a woman with his face covered to carry out the same operation in the city.

The police officers saw a reason in the argument but found their hands tied by human rights. They found inability to follow the suggestion forwarded by the representative.

— Sentinel

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Submit plan on dumping ground, Verma asks MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, today asked the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, to submit a plan for the proper maintenance and greening of a dumping ground near Dadu Majra, west of Sector 38.

The Commissioner informed the Administrator that the dumping ground was spread over 47 acres. During the past 30 years, 25 acres were already filled and now the Municipal Corporation was taking steps to cap the land with soil and provide air ducts on it. He said as per the Pollution Control Board requirement, the entire land would be protected by a boundary wall and work had already started on it. He said an earlier proposal of allotting 25 acres of this land to nurseries was discussed with nursery owners, but they did not evince any interest.

The Commissioner informed the Administrator that as far as the problem of the remaining 22 acres, which were being used as a dumping ground, was concerned, a temporary drain had been dug. Moreover, expression of interest had also been invited for setting up a waste processing unit and a committee of councillors was considering various proposals after which it would be submitted to the House. He said once the waste processing unit was set up, the volume of waste being dumped in the dumping ground would reduce to a large extent.

It was informed that land had been allotted to the Social Welfare Department for the construction of a juvenile home in Sector 25 at the cost of Rs 93 lakh. The Revenue Department was re-demarcating the land to ensure that there was no forest land involved in this project. The Governor asked the Deputy Commissioner to accelerate the demarcating exercise so that work on the project could be expedited. The proposed juvenile home will have a capacity for 40 children in the first phase. At present over 12 juveniles are being put up on the first floor of Old-Age Home.

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Illegal exchange case: police may approach Interpol
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The Crime branch of the Chandigarh police is preparing a ground to rope in the Interpol in the USA and Canada in the illegal exchange case after detecting suspected remittances from the two countries in an account of one of the accused arrested.

The Crime branch has detected around Rs 14 lakh in the account of the accused operated from a Zirakpur branch of a private bank.

The police has asked the bank to get the details of the money transacted in their accounts from abroad. Once senders of the money are clear, the Crime branch will approach the Interpol in the USA and Canada through the External Affairs Ministry to seek clarifications from those who sent the money to the accused.

The branch has also written to international call service providers to find out from where the in-coming calls are coming to them and which outgoing calls are made by these exchanges.

The police is also trying to find out bank accounts of three other accused arrested in connection with the detection of two exchanges in Sector 34. The police has also written to BSNL to give the police an estimate as to how much loss the illegal exchanges might have caused to the company on whose lines the traffic from abroad was landing.

Sources in BSNL said there was a loss of around Rs 4 per minute on each call landing on its bandwidth as its share on a local call is around only Rs 50 paise instead of Rs 4.5 per minute on a call from abroad.

The police has also written to the internet service providers to inform it as to which sites the illegal telephone exchanges had accessed and what kind of facility was used. The police wants to know if the illegal exchanges used voice mail or data.

The police will come to know which sites are used by these accused and who are their collaborators from abroad. This exercise will also arm the police with the site hacking and re-routing method to bypass the Indian security monitoring, which is even a more serious matter.

The police feels if voicemail providers are known, the police will be able to get details of private telecommunication card providers and will then match remittances to the accused with this service providers.

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CBI raids State Transport office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation here today carried out six-hour-long searches in the State Transport Authority (STA office) in Sector 18.

The team, led by DSP Karnail Singh, entered the UT STA office in the afternoon and remained busy in examining documents till late evening, sources said.

An eyewitness said the CBI team sealed one of the STA rooms.

The CBI team is likely to continue the searches tomorrow.

The sources said the search was carried on a complaint that there were irregularities in tax collection.

The CBI, however, has not yet confirmed anything except that a team visited the STA.

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Estate Office gives old couple a harrowing time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
An old couple who moved to the city about five months ago from Dehra Dun are allegedly facing the “wrath” of the Estate Office and its demolition squad.

On August 20, a team of the Estate Office demolished a grill and a portion of the balcony of their house, saying that it was illegal. The couple alleged that they had been locked inside the house by the Estate Office staff. A pleas to give them time and a proper notice, besides an explanation, yielded nothing.

The Estate Office had issued a no-objection certificate on March 8 in the name of Mr Bhushan Dev who was the original owner of the house. The old couple, Mr Amir Chand Gupta and his wife Janak purchased the house from Mr Bhushan Dev in April after seeing the NOC. Mr Gupta, (76), a retired Senior Research Officer of the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, said he had shifted to be close to his relatives.

The couple has lodged a complaint with the Land Acquisition Officer, Mr S.K. Setia, asking why the NOC was issued in March and the demolition had been carried out even as no subsequent addition was made to the building. Also, no other violation in the area had been touched by the team. Demanding action against the officials for by-passing procedures and not giving them time to rectify the violation, if any, he said: “We have been singled out for this grave act without even considering our age and health status.”

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Fauji Beat
Are politicians out to politicise the Army?

When asked in “Hard Talk India” the other day whether there was any political compulsion behind the promotion of an officer to a Lieut-General’s rank, the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukerjee, said: “We go by the recommendations of the selection board”. He further said: “But the ultimate choice lies with the civilian authority”. He also accepted the fact that the Army Promotion Board had rejected the officer for promotion twice earlier.

When an officer is rejected twice by the selection board, he exhausts all his chances for promotion as per the rules. The selection board for promotion from Maj-Gen to Lieut-Gen is composed of officers not below the rank of Army Commanders. Besides, the selecting officers give their individual verdict on the basis of an officer’s dossier. Where then is the scope for the “ultimate choice” that a politician has to exercise. Whenever a political authority exercises such a choice, it is nothing else but favouritism. In this particular case, the General is said to be a senior Congress leader’s brother.

What does a political authority know about the professional competence of an officer? Don’t we know what fate the Army met in the 1962 Chinese debacle when political favouritism had come into play in the higher-level promotions?

This is the best way to create dissention in the Army and achieve the aim of politicising it. What the politicians must realise is that politicising the Army will neither augur well for the stability of the country nor for the Army.

Historic Standards

These two Standards, dating back to 1788, were presented to 16th Cavalry. But in 1869, they were abolished. In 1920, the Government of India gave sanction to replace them. Accordingly, the Prince of Wales presented new Standards to this regiment at Rawalpindi, on March 11, 1922.

Sixteenth Light Cavalry is the only armoured regiment that carries two Standards on parade.

MBT’s fate

Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun rolled out of the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadhi a few days ago with much fanfare. The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukerjee, handed over the keys of five tanks to the Army Chief, Gen N.C. Vij. The Army chief expressed a hope that 124 tanks ordered by the Army would be ready by mid-2007. The five tanks, General Vij said, would be put to accelerated trials to check Arjun’s battle worthiness. What gives one a rude shock is that even after 30 years of the project having been sanctioned, we are still not sure of the MBT’s fate.

The rolling out of Arjun has been made a mockery, for this is not the first time that it has been done. The MBT was formally declared inducted into the Army in June 1993. At that time the then Army Chief, Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhary, had said: “The project still needs enhancing and fine tuning”. Again on January 9, 1996, the then Prime Minister, Mr Narasimha Rao, had unveiled Arjun. Who is deceiving whom?

Ex-servicemen’s week

The Indian X-Services League (IESL), New Delhi, has said the ex-servicmen’s week would be celebrated in September. A request has been made to all state units of the league to highlight the problems of the ex-servicemen and widows by holding district and state-level meetings in this week. These problems, it is said, should be given wide publicity by inviting mediapersons to these meetings.

It has also been suggested that the widows should be asked to address these meetings to bring out their difficulties.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Society’s transformation: some issues

Speaking of three influences of great significance in his life, President A P.J. Abdul Kalam referred the other day to the secularism reflected in Thirukkural, a famed poetic presentation of the ethics of life, the non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi and the leadership and scientific temper of the late Vikram Sarabhai, famed space scientist.

He was delivering the annual Vikram Sarabhai memorial lecture recently at Vigyan Bhavan on the “Dynamics of social transformation.’’ His special interest in the country’s development being well known, his pronouncements carried much weight. It was right on his part to have stressed on the importance of knowledge centers, for “knowledge is power.’’

A good part of the lecture consisted of reference to rocket and space research and his association with the late scientist. It would seem from his speech that technology and development would be the prime movers of social transformation.

One would have liked to hear from the President as to what he meant by social transformation. Eradication of poverty, inequality and diseases? Ensuring health for all? Any government worth its salt must be attempting to do the same.

Societal transformation definitely has great significance for us because five decades after Independence we seem to be facing harsh realities of a society that has failed to keep abreast of the times.

Any talk of transformation that does not take into account the prevailing caste structure and its baleful influence in politics, economics and other areas of human endeavour is incomplete. While the President’s emphasis on secularism is welcome, the real issue is how to realise the dream of a casteless society.

The President may not be unaware of the growing communalism which amply manifested itself numerous times as in Gujarat and in the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque. He may not be unaware of the threat to harmony posed by the demagogues of cultural nationalism trying to link religion and patriotism thereby trying to sow seeds of conflict and divisiveness.

Now the country has enough knowledge, enough of technology and enough of Gandhism to develop on peaceful lines. What we need is a leadership that is willing to govern and establish the rule of law that will deal sternly with law-breakers whether for political, or social reasons or for communal advantages. The people at large must know that the bigger criminals won’t escape the arms of law on the basis of their popular following. Those who spread poison in the public mind like the Togadias, the Thakres or those indulge in big corruption would be dealt with under the law.

The five decades of Independence has seen enough platitudes concerning governance and development. The East and the West had followed a path of progress that was self-destructive and vain. A famed journalist and observer of man’s progress for more than four decades in the immediate past, Malcolm Muggeridge, had recorded his views that discards illusions common to mankind.

Mr Kalam did not explain what he meant by societal transformation. To create plenty of goods and services for mass consumption? The “explosion” of vehicle population does show that we have made much material progress to a level that hurts well-being!

Societal transformation to ordinary mortals should mean enough food, shelter and clothes besides peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society like ours. In such a society barbaric mobs will not move about threatening the existence of others who are not like them or do not share their ideology or creed. It should mean the rule of law wherein all law breakers, big or small, popular or otherwise are taken to task and treated equally. It also means a leveling down of inequalities so that women and children need not go to sleep on hungry stomachs week after week, month after month and year after year.

Mr Kalam will not miss the reference to the `mushroom cloud’ which is part of all human schemes of defense against the enemy. It is this concept which had led to the cataclysmal situation today. Everyone is caught in a vicious circle since the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, the invasion of Iraq and the threat of terrorists to civilian population everywhere. Where shall be go from here? Back to star wars research?

Does the language of a Kalam speaking both of missile development and the non-violence of Gandhiji fit the bill? Muggeridge found it to be a sham. The mushroom cloud is a threat to the whole of human race. Peace must be built in the hearts of men and women. Transformation should take place at the individual level removing the basic hatred and suspicion rooted in these hearts because of the history of conflicts and prejudices.

— M.P.K. Kutty

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Readers write
Baddi — a tale of broken promises

Baddi, a satellite township of Chandigarh, is in a state of gross neglect and official apathy by the HP Government. Baddi could have been developed on the lines of industrial areas like Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat, Ambala, etc which would have provided excellent employment opportunities to the local population. The HP Government has to provide the basic infrastructure of good roads, electricity and educational and medical institutes and a few recreational facilities at Baddi. There is at present no government school or college which affords good education up to Class X and beyond, forcing local people to hire residential accommodation in Panchkula or Chandigarh.

Despite being an industrial hub, there is no major government hospital. Patients who are in a critical condition have to be rushed to either Panchkula or Chandigarh. A good government hospital with at least 50 beds will not be a tall order for the HP Government.

Ironically, at the time of inviting applications for housing colonies at Baddi, it was stated that a 25km-long road linking Chandigarh to Baddi was likely to be constructed. There is no sign of this road coming up in the near future whereas the other route to Chandigarh via Pinjore and Panchkula is nearly 48 km, almost double the route which was promised in the brochure.

Entertainment facilities like cinema houses, officers’ institutes and clubs are yet to come up at Baddi despite a quantum leap in its population.

If Baddi it to prosper as an industrial township, the HP Government has to give due attention to this area located at the focal point of Punjab, Haryana and UT border (Chandigarh).

J. C Sharma
Baddi

Illegal colonies

As mentioned in The Tribune dated August 19, there are 882 illegal colonies in Punjab. It seems the authorities woke up only when the number of such colonies reached that big figure. Where were they when the number was just one or 100? In fact, the electricity board and the Telephone Department made matters worse by providing services in these colonies without checking their legality.

People have built their houses in such colonies, often spending their entire life savings on the construction. The state should not demolish these houses. However, stringent action should be taken against the colonisers who sold the plots to them after misleading them.

Ratinder Kaur
Patiala

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Brahma Kumaris’ Raksha Bandhan programme
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
About 30 programmes have been planned by the local centre of the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya in connection with the raksha bandhan celebrations.

According to B.K. Prem, centre in charge, the festival would be celebrated in Morinda, Kurali, Ropar and Mohali. The celebrations started yesterday with a programme held at Kharar. Stress would be laid on the spiritual significance of the  festival.

The final function would be held at Sukh Shanti Bhavan in Phase VII here on August 30.

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Freedom fighter dies at 88
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
A veteran freedom fighter and journalist, Mr Harivansh Sharma, 88, died today. The funeral procession will start from house number 1927, Sector 22, at 3 p.m tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), expressed shock over the demise of Harivansh Sharma in his condolence message. Justice Verma said the country had lost a renowned freedom fighter and respected journalist, who gave the prime of his life for the freedom of the country. He expressed heart-felt sympathies with the bereaved family.

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2 held for stealing rickshaws
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
The local police has registered three cases of theft and arrested two persons for stealing rickshaws from different parts of the city according to a pressnote issued here today.

Om Parkash, a resident of Sector 19-D, filed a complaint against Ravi Raj of Sector 30-C that the accused had stolen his rickshaw from his residence during the intervening night of August 21-22. The police has arrested the accused in the morning of August 22, from Gurdwara Chowk, Sector 20, and recovered the stolen property from his possession. A case under Sections 379,411 of the IPC has been registered against him in the Sector 19 police station.

In a similar incident, the police has arrested Sarwan Pandit of Rangra village, Bhagalpur district, Bihar, on a complaint filed by Mr Varinder Pal, a resident of Mohali, that the accused had stolen his rickshaw from the Sector 34 complex yesterday.

The police arrested the accused on the same day from Sector 34 and recovered the stolen property from him. A case of theft has been registered against the accused under Sections 379, 411 of the IPC, in the Sector 34 police station.

Stolen

In another incident of theft, Jatinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 7-B, reported that three gold earrings, two double bed sheets, two sarees, two lady suits and cash Rs 9,500 were stolen from his residence on August 20, during day time. The police has registered a case under Sections 454, 380 of the IPC, in the Sector 26 police station.

12 bottles of whiskey seized

The local police has arrested Jaspal Singh, a resident of Maloya village, from Madrasi chowk, Maloya, on yesterday, and seized 12 bottles of Rocket whisky from him. The police has registered a case under Sections 61, 1, 14 of the Excise Act in the Sector 39 police station.

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Three Amartex employees held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 23
The police has arrested three employees of Amartex Industries- Mr Anil Bhardwaj, Mr Sushil Gulati and Mr N P Singh. The trio, along with 20 other people were booked by the police on charges of rioting, assault and trespassing in the premises of Gawritex.

The trio were produced before the Judicial Magistrate today and have been sent to police custody for two days.

Poisoning:- An eight-year-old girl, Kuresha, fell unconscious when she consumed a poisonous medicine lying in her house in Azad Colony here. The girl consumed the medicine by mistake, and was rushed to General Hospital, from where she was refered to PGI, Chandigarh. Her condition is stated to be stable.

Injured:- One person was injured, while five other passengers in an auto rickshaw managed to escape unhurt in a road accident near Barwala today. Naseeb Singh was brought to the hospital with serious injuries after the over loaded auto he was travelling in from Panchkula to Barwala collided with a tempo.

Assault:- Sanjiv Singh of Azad Colony was injured after he was attacked by two persons from the same colony this evening. The police say that an old enmity between the victim and his assailants was the reason behind the attack.

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CRPF jawan killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
One man lost his life and another injured in two separate accidents in the city, yesterday, according to a press note released by the police today.

Ram Singh a constable in CRPF was killed in an accident last night, he was hit by a Maruti car head on. He was driving without helmet at the time of accident.

Ram Singh (35), a resident of Juneli village in Panchkula district, Haryana, was on his way back to home after night shift, at Mohali. He was riding a motorcycle, when a Maruti car, coming from opposite direction hit him at 11:25 pm. The accident occurred on the Sector 51-52 road, near Matour village. He was injured in the accident.

A woman, who was passing by, raised the alarm and there was a traffic jam at the spot. He was then taken to Indu Hospital in Phase 3B-2, Mohali, where he died.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 304-A of the Indian Penal Code, in Sector 36, Police Station. The body was handed over to the relatives of the deceased, after the post mortem.

In another accident, scooterist, Sanjeev Shrama, of Sector 41, was injured near the Aroma light point, when a CTU Bus (CH-01-G-8109), hit his scooter. He was taken to General Hospital, Sector 16, where his condition is stated to be out of danger. The Police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 of the IPC in Sector 17, Police Station. Bus driver Nirmal Singh was arrested and later released on bail.

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Simran murder case: maid given polygraph test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
The police today put a maid servant through a polygraph test in the Simran murder case which has seen at least 100 people being examined without a clue since the girl was killed on July 17 last year. The maid servant of the victim’s family Kamlesh today appeared before the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL).

The police had to put her through the polygraph test as she had not been able to explain her disappearance for two days after the murder of Simran in Sector 22 A. Kamlesh told the police that she did not come to the house of Simran as her child had fallen ill. However, she has not been able to produce any proof of consulting any doctor for her child’s illness.

The police had earlier put two persons through a lie detector test but nothing concrete came out.

The police also plan to put Jaswinder of Mundi Kharar through the test along with a person of the same name from Kansla village.

The police said the identity of Jaswinder of Mundi Kharar was disclosed by a call girl who gave the police number of his motor-cycle. The call girl had said that this person was suspected to know about the murder or was involved in this. The other Jaswinder was a contemporary student of the murder victim Simran.

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50 mobile phones stolen from Sector 8 showroom
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 23
Over 50 mobile phones, valued at over Rs 3 lakh, were allegedly stolen from a showroom in Sector 8 here last night. The burglars had broken open the locks of a shutter on the staircase, forced their entry to the showroom on the first floor and fled with 50 handsets of Nokia, Panasonic and Motorola.

The burglary was detected by the owner of Dayal Telecom, Mr Ashwani Dayal, in the morning after he reached the shop. He found the lock of the main shutter on the ground floor missing. Suspicious, he opened the shutter and climbed up the first floor, where he found that the lock on the iron grill door had also been broken open.

As he reached inside, Mr Dayal saw that the glass windows of his shop had been broken and shards of glass were spread all over. He found that the entire shop had been ransacked and boxes of mobile phones, with the chargers and the literature were lying all over the floor. He also found the glass window of the adjacent doctor’s clinic broken. Mr Dayal said that locks of two empty showrooms on the ground floor had also been broken.

The police was called in, and they found blood stains on a wall along the stair case and also on the glass counters. An iron rod, which could have been used for breaking the glass, was also found lying in the shop. The police also found blood stains on the floor of the empty showroom on ground floor.

Finger print experts and crime team were called and they lifted the finger prints, and also other vital clues. The police has registered a case of burglary and begun its investigation.

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1 arrested for intimidating NRI
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 23
One person was arrested and two others booked for intimidating a Holland-based NRI under various Sections of the IPC and the Arms Act, the Kharar police said yesterday.

On a complaint of Dharminder Singh of Chandigarh, a case on charges of wrongful restraint, assault, criminal intimidation, rioting, unlawful assembly and offences punishable under the Arms Act has been registered against Avtar Singh, Harminder Singh, alias Lucky, and Devinder Singh, all residents of Morinda, at the Kharar police station.

Avtar has been arrested.

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Taxi driver found dead
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
A youth Gopal, was found dead at taxi stand, in front of The Tribune, today.

According to the police Gopal was found dead by taxi driver in the morning. They informed the police about the incident. He was working as driver with Khurian Brothers, Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh.

He hailed from Chaklawa, Kala Dhoky subdivision, Nanital. The police is trying to contact his relatives.

It is learnt that he came to the Taxi stand around 9.30 pm, last night, to sleep. Gopal was suffering from tuberculosis. The police believes that he probably had a heart attack.

The body has been sent to General Hospital, Sector 16. The police is waiting for his relatives to proceed further in this case.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC, in the Industrial Area, police station.

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Woman succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 23
Ms Veer Piari, a resident of Nangal Amba village, Jalandhar district, succumbed to her injuries in the PGI, here today afternoon.

She and another woman Usha Devi were hit by a car near Kajheri Chowk, on August 16. They were admitted to the hospital after the accident. Veer Piari’s condition was critical as she had received head injuries due to which she died today in the PGI.

The victim Usha Devi was discharged on August 17.

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Tourism, health, IT new growth areas, says CII
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 23
Tourism, retail, healthcare IT and IT enabled services (ITes) are the potential growth areas for Chandigarh, according to a presentation made by the Confederation of Indian Industry ( CII) to the UT Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma, and senior members of the administration on “Chandigarh; Opportunities for growth’’ here today.

Describing industry and services as the engines of future growth, the presentation, after a detailed analysis, lays out an action plan for each of these sectors, and offers recommendations to revive existing industry in the Union Territory. The presentation is supported with inputs from the Chandigarh Chamber of Industries and other associations on how to make the industry more competitive by focusing on the growth areas.

Opportunities for Chandigarh lie in making the existing manufacturing industries, mostly the small scale ones ( SSIs), more competitive, through the formation of clusters for industrial fasteners and automobile parts. These can collectively address issues relating to technology upgradation, adequate and timely finance, marketing, policies and procedures, higher-value addition and skilled labour.

The chairman of the Chandigarh Council, Mr Krishan Goyal, said at present Chandigarh was not included in the list of cities which were availing benefits of a Government of India scheme to this cluster approach.

He claimed that the Adviser promised all-possible assistance from the Administration once the feasibility of such clusters was worked out and potential returns quantified. He, however, gave an assurance with regard to the transfer of industrial plots by the Estate Office within 15-20 days and at competitive prices. They have also sought issuance of lease deeds to built-up industrial sheds.

With the services sector growing rapidly,there was immense potential for investments in IT/ITes, tourism-medical and business, retail, biotech and small-scale services, points out the analysis.

To cater to Chandigarh’s potential for business tourism, UT needs a state-of-the-art business and convention centre, incorporating product-show windows, conference facilities, cultural centre, food courts/restaurants, office space for select institutions and stay facilities. Medical, religious, leisure and film tourism also have potential for development.

While the action plan for IT calls for promoting IT education, developing IT infrastructure and expeditiously allotting space to local IT companies, in healthcare, a focus is recommended on tertiary care and nursing centres.

Retailing would get the needed fillip through streamlined policies procedures, simplified legislation and taxes, flexible labour laws and specialised courses in educational institutions.

The strengths of Chandigarh, according to the analysis, are, economy growing faster than national average; highest per capita income (Rs 48, 974); highest human development index 0.674; highest capital efficiency than national average; highest rank among UTs based on 13 different categories; country leader in e-readiness; highest spending on high-end consumer durables; strong and varied educational base.

These are offset by weaknesses of limited land, demand supply gap in key civic services such as water and power, inadequate connectivity.

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