C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No skipping school for tuitions
CBSE to ensure 75 pc attendance
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Educational institutions in the city will no more be able to circumvent the affiliation norms in allowing their students to attend coaching classes for competitive exams during school hours.

Reacting to a series of complaints against some local schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to carry out surprise checking on a regular basis to ensure that the 75 per cent attendance norm was being met. The surprise checks are expected to begin soon.

The focus of the checking will be the students of Classes XI and XII. It has been observed that most of the toppers in the IIT-JEE examinations and other engineering and medical entrance tests take admission in certain schools which allow them to skip regular schooling for the sake of coaching classes.

Sources in the board confirmed that instructions in this regard had been conveyed by the board headquarter to its regional office here. The checks would be continued till one month before the commencing of the annual examinations of the board.

The regional office, which covers schools in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, is learnt to have worked out a strategy to conduct surprise checkings. Some schools in Panchkula and Mohali are also on the watch list of the board. The sources said around 10 schools in the city were indulging in this illegal activity.

The Regional Officer of the board, Mr P.I. Sabu, refused to divulge details. He said the information about the checking schedule could not be made public but added that checking would be conducted by teams of officials from the board and Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs).

Inquiries reveal that to take credit for the top rankers to add to the prestige of a school, the institutions ensured that the attendance of such students did not fall short as per the requirement of the board.

Since the arrangement of coaching classes during the school timings suited the school, students and their parents, the beneficiaries, did not come forward to complain about the illegal practice.

This year, some of the toppers in Class X have sought admission in the institutions known for such a practice. When the results of the annual examinations 2004 were declared, some of the toppers had admitted to taking benefit of the practice. The students preparing for competitive exams start taking coaching classes from Class XI. 

2 institutions in dock
Already two institutions, DAV College, Sector 10, and the SGGS Collegiate Public School, Sector 26, which run senior secondary classes, are facing action after complaints of students being exempted during school hours had surfaced. The board has directed the DAV College authorities not to admit students in Class XI from the next academic session after it withdrew affiliation to the college.

The inquiry against SGGS Collegiate Public School, Sector 26, has been completed and final action from the board is awaited.



Harassed by cops, couple attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 8
A young couple attempted suicide by consuming poison at Mansa Devi Complex Police Post after they were allegedly harassed by the police for the past nine days.

The couple — 25-year-old Hira Lal and 22-year-old Chayya, consumed rat poison and a mosquito repellant within the premises of the police post at around 11.30 am today. The couple say that they took the step after they were harassed by the police on suspicion that Hira Lal was involved in a burglary at the flat of a journalist, Arzoo Chauhan, in HEWO Society in Sector 5 of Mansa Devi Complex. Hira Lal is the tubewell operator in the group housing society.

After the couple consumed poison, Chayya reportedly called up the President of HEWO Society, Mr Naresh Mittal, and told him that Hira Lal was let off by the cops in the morning, but the journalist had again threatened them, and in frustration they had consumed poison. Mr Mittal then rushed to the police post and asked the cops about the couple. We later found them lying unconscious on one side of the police post informed Mr Mittal.

Mr Mittal alleges that though he asked the police to rush them to hospital, the police simply hired an auto-rickshaw and asked the driver to take them to hospital. “I then approached the Superintendent of Police, who asked the DSP Headquarters, Mr Desh Bandhu, to probe the incident,” he says.

Speaking to TNS, Hira Lal said he had a quarter opposite that of the flat of Ms Chauhan. “On September 27, when Ms Chauhan returned after a trip, she found that the locks of her house were broken. She called the police and said that she suspected me, because I stayed nearby. Though the office bearers of the society came to my defence, she used her influence and asked the police to question me. After this, I was called to the police post every day, and questioned by the cops for hours.”

He said yesterday he was called by the police at around 5 pm and it told my wife that it would put me under arrest. “She pleaded with them, and we were let off at about 1 am on the condition that we will not go home and report back early in the morning. We spent the entire night on the road, and again went to the police at 4 am. Ms Chauhan again came to the police post at around 9 am and asked the police to “extract the truth from us by whatever means possible”. After she left, we decided to end our lives. Chayya went and bought the poison and we consumed it within the premises of the police post,” he added.

Meanwhile, the police recorded the statement of the couple and a probe has been initiated to assess the role of the cops and the woman.

The couple has been booked under Section 309 of the IPC for attempting suicide



‘Cops consume food meant for players’
Haryana State Games
Tribune News service

Panchkula, October 8
Over 200 participants in the Haryana State Games tonight protested against poor food and lodging arrangements made by the organisers.

They raised slogans against the organisers and alleged that the nutritious food prepared for players was being consumed by the cops on duty and they were left to fend for themselves. Players from the districts of Hisar, Fatehabad, Sirsa and Jind got together outside the Community Centre and Doon Public School in Sector 21 at 8.30 pm, and began raising slogans and beating empty “thaalis”, when they failed to get dinner.

Speaking to the TNS, Sandeep Kumar from Jind, who won a gold medal in fencing, alleged that they were supposed to get their dinner at 7 pm but no food was laid out tonight. “We had arrived here on October 6, and did not get any dinner that day. Yesterday, we did not get lunch, and today there is no dinner. Even in the morning, we did not get milk with breakfast, which is very essential for sports persons,” he alleged.

Mr Bhim Jandu, in charge of the Sirsa team, alleged that each District Olympic Association had paid for the diet of its team members. “However, the sportspersons are not getting milk. At lunch and dinner, the nutritious food items like paneer and sweet is consumed by the cops on duty, and most of the players have to go out to hotels and dhabas for food. How can we play if we do not get the required diet?,” he asked.

The Deputy commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, Municipal Council President, Ms Seema Chaudhary, Additional Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh, and other district officials reached Sector 21, as soon as they learnt about the agitation. Ms Kasni assured the players that she would ensure that they get food on time, and asked the players to maintain discipline. 



Two-day conference on Panchayati Raj ends
Tribune News Service

The Governor of Punjab and Haryana, Dr A.R. Kidwai, and the Union Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer at the conclusion of conference on 'Panchayati Raj in Union Territories,' in Chandigarh on Friday.
The Governor of Punjab and Haryana, Dr A.R. Kidwai (left), and the Union Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer at the conclusion of conference on “Panchayati Raj in Union Territories,” in Chandigarh on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 8
The two-day round table conference on “Panchayati Raj in union territories and Panchayati Raj jurispudence” concluded today, with the aim to make every effort towards evolving the local self-government institutions in the union territories as a model for the whole country to follow.

Earlier, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Panchayati Raj, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, said they decided about the detailed activity mapping for the effective devolution of functions, functionaries and finances to panchayats.

The participants recommended that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs might consider the establishment of an appropriate mechanism to supplement the elected institutions of local self-government.

The Union government might consider an institutional framework, within which periodic consultations would be held in New Delhi as well as in the union territories, Mr Aiyar said, concluding the conference.

Mr Aiyar said the issue of panchayati raj Jurispudence was thoroughly discussed and it was agreed that there was a large amount of litigation decided by the courts.

The participants noted that nearly 90 per cent of these cases related to individual election disputes. Mr Aiyar also provided details about similar programmes being organised by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in the near future and sought cooperation of the elected representatives in the country to finalise the desired action plan for strengthening the panchayati raj system.

Earlier, speaking at the valedictory function, the Punjab and Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai expressed hope that the implementation of the Panchayati Raj Act in the country in the true spirit would benefit the people. He said the participation of women at different tiers of administration, governance and financial management had been efficient and result-oriented.



Power to elude city areas on Sunday, Monday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Large parts of the city will go without power on Sunday and Monday as the Engineering Wing of the UT Electricity Department has to re-align the main 66 KV power feeder in Industrial area Phase I to allow the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway line to pass underneath.

The following is the schedule of the disruption.

October 10 and 11 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Industrial Area Phase II, Air Force Station, Base Repair Depot, N-Area, K-Area, Sector 31, 47, Hallo Majra and Behlana and Ram Darbar.

October 10: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m: Sectors 46, 29, 27, 19, 33, 45, 34, 32, 48 and parts of Sector 20.

Sources in the department said the high tension 66 KV feeder line was coming in the way of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway line.



GCM: witness declines to answer questions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Prosecution witness P. Shashi today declined to answer questions put to him by the General Court Martial (GCM) trying Col Anil Sahgal for professional impropriety in the tehelka case.

Questions were put to him after relevant portions of the video footage of Shashi and Colonel Sahgal were screened before the court.

The footage was shot secretly by journalists from tehelka.com and allegedly showed them interacting with arms dealers. The court denied him protection and immunity from prosecution, sought by him under provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, if his answers were self-incriminating and did not compell him to answer them.

The footage allegedly showed Shashi and Colonel Sahgal talking about the status of hand-held thermal imagers, separate instances of Shashi delivering documents to operatives of tehelka.com and accepting money from them, Colonel Sahgal accepting money from tehelka people in the presence of Shashi and Colonel Sahgal and Shashi enjoying the hospitality of tehelka people in Hotel Park in the company of women.

The court's questions pertained to the aforementioned footage. The prosecution as well as defence declined the opportunity to put questions to the witness through the court.

The court has fixed October 16 as the next date of hearing. Prosecution counsel, Arvind Moudgil said tehelka.com journalist Samuel Mathews, who carried out the sting operation, was expected to depose before the court next.

Later, talking to reporters, Shashi said the so-called investigation into defence deals conducted by news portal tehelka.com was flimsy in parts.

Shashi said it appeared that tehelka.com had prepared a pre-meditated story about the scam and was looking for people with contacts and access to officials of the Defence Ministry.

Shashi, who too is being investigated for his role in the affair, said that Colonel Sahgal, under whom he was serving at that time, was not guilty of the charges of receiving money from operatives of tehelka.com. 



Bhai Mardana’s descendant strikes
Guru Nanak’s melodies
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Rababi Ghulam Mohammad Chand’s story is virtually stapled to Sikh history. And no matter how hard the obligations of Sikh maryada push him, he vows to return to Amritsar so long as his deathwish remains unfulfilled. On the first-ever visit to his birthplace after Partition, the descendant of Bhai Mardana was refused permission to offer Gurbani at Darbar Sahib.

But Bhai Chand has swallowed the bitter pill in the hope that one day he will be allowed to sing from the seat once occupied by his uncle Bhai Gyan Chand. In Chandigarh to offer prayers at the Sector 34 gurdwara today, he struck devotional melodies true to the rababi tradition. Interactive, direct and elevating, even his plain talk seemed like a musical composition seeking to underline universal truths.

“It has taken us long to travel from Lahore to India. Sardar Harpal Singh Bhullar of Ferozepore had promised to invite us for the death anniversary of Bhai Mardana he observes every year. That was three years ago. We were ready with documents, but the plan never materialised. Now that we are here, we wish we never have to return,” said the vocalist who has maintained the purity of ragas as enshrined in Gurbani.

“Bhai Mardana knew all the 48 ragas raginis contained in Gurbani. We have been fortunate to inherit his legacy. The only regret is that we have no rabab to pose with,” says Bhai Chand, ruing over the decline of the rababi tradition which attached as much significance to the use of rabab as to the structure of raga.

“We have a friend back home in Lahore whom we have requested for a rabab. If I get one, I will get a photograph clicked with it. I can also play the rabab. As far as singing is concerned, I only render Gurbani,” he says.

A regular Gurbani singer at Nankana Sahib and Dehra Sahib in Pakistan, Bhai Chand is revered for his “Parwani” kirtan which values illustrations of the philosophical point. Distinct from “Narol” kirtan which ragis invariably offer, those practicing “Parwani” kirtan adorn musical pieces by citing interpretations of Kabir, Baba Farid and other Sufi saints whose verses form part of Gurbani. In his musical journey, Bhai Chand is accompanied by nephews Mohammed Afzal and Amjad Hussain. Another family member Riyaz plays tabla.

Coming back to the association between Gurus and rababis, Bhai Chand said Guru Nanak decorated Mardana with the title of Bhai as a mark of respect towards him. “Bhai Mardana was somewhat elder to Guru Nanak. Till the time of Guru Teg Bahadur, the legendary association between the Gurus and the rababis continued. Such was their bond that at one point rababi Bhai Babak was sent to rescue Bibi Veero who was trapped in Guru ke Mahal.

It is only now that the rababis have to seek permission before offering prayers at gurdwaras.

There was a time when Gurbani kirtan was their sole prerogative.”

Bhai Chand, however, believes in the power of Gurbani to change mindsets. As he makes this point, he sings Guru Nanak’s verse on the significance of sangat, “Mil bai ki mahima varnan na sako, Nanak pare pareela…” Bhai Chand who’s in India on an invitation from an organisation United Colours of Punjab, will also offer kirtan at Patiala, Batala, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.



Cong demands removal of Administrator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Members of the local unit of the Congress today urged the Union Minister and All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer, to remove the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, and also the chief of the local Congress, Mr B.B. Bahl.

General secretary of the Congress and former Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, confirmed the demand for removal of Mr Bahl but said we have sought a reshuffle at the top of the Chandigarh Administration. He refrained from specifically naming Justice O.P. Verma.

Sources in the Congress said the delegation comprising leaders like Mr Chawla, Mr Pradeep Chabbra, Mr Ram Pal Sharma, Mr Davinder Singh Babla, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri and Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky, among others, told Mr Aiyer that the Administrator treated them like the opposition despite the change at the Centre. They alleged that he was following the policies of the BJP and even named a former Union Minister of the BJP of having been related to Justice Verma.

About Mr Bahl, the Congressmen told Mr Aiyer said it was a unique case that the president of the party in Chandigarh was working against the local MP. The president had not even convened one meeting since the elections were won.



Former PGI engineer frustrated, leaves country
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
“After you have established your merit, the country throws you out,” said a dejected Dr J.C. Mehta today, before sitting in his car with the load of baggage, ready to migrate to Australia — something he said he had never thought of doing.

But for this former Superintending Hospital Engineer at the PGI, the parting isn’t ordinary. Despite frustrating endless wait at the hands of the Ministry of Health and the PGI, where the appointment letter for the advisory post offered to him in 2000 is still eluding and his battle for getting his retirement benefits already on, the 66-years-old Dr Mehta has something to offer.

“I am ready to donate Rs 10 lakh to the PGI for setting up a Centre for Research in Medical Architecture, which should be the first of its kind in the South East Asia,’’ he said, informing that the letters to the Ministry of health and the directors of the PGI, including the present incumbent Prof K.K. Talwar to initiate the Centre have bore no fruits as yet. “I had promised in my letters that the Centre would churn out consultancy worth Rs 50 lakh each year, but I am yet to get a favourable response from the ministry and the PGI,’’ he lamented.

Dr Mehta faced five CBI inquiries during his tenure as since 1969. Instrumental in setting up the Hospital and Planning department in the PGI— first of its kind in the country, Dr Mehta was suspended in 1977 and in 1982 for facing the “petty internal audits.” The charges were never substantiated and he was exonerated in 2000.

What acted as a Trigger to his problems was the book —”Habitat,” which had a forward written by Jai Prakash Narayan. This, said Dr Mehta, led to his victimisation at the hands of the then Union Health Minister Shankaranand, resulting in number of inquiries instituted against him.

In 2000, said Dr Mehta, the then Union Health Minister Dr C.P. Thakur approved him as the honourary adviser to the PGI and member of estate committee, Dr Mehta is still to get his appointment letter.

“The charges weren’t of corruption but merely of deviation from the rules. I was exonerated of all the charges in 2000 but even after 43 reminders sent to the ministry the formal vigilance clearance is still eluding me, ‘’ rued Dr Mehta. To add to his grievances, the retirement benefits are still not given to him (despite retiring from PGI since 1996) and he has now written to the Public grievance committee to get his due.

Now convinced that his wait for his dues could remain endless, Dr Mehta signed off saying, “I am leaving with a heavy heart.”



Drive to register left-out voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
A special drive has been launched by the Election Department, Chandigarh, to register the left-out eligible voters on October 9 and 10.

The Deputy Commissioner-cum-returning officer, Mr Arun Kumar, said forms for this purpose had been made available at all 406 polling booths, 57 post offices and 
offices of all 11 Assistant Electoral Registration Officers and the returning officer.

The left-out voters could submit their claims and forms for getting themselves registered as voters. Similarly, the eligible voters who would attain the age of 18 
years on January 1, 2005, could also register 
themselves as voters, he added.

He urged members of political parties, residents welfare societies, gram panchayats, councillors and NGOs to encourage the eligible voters, especially women, to get themselves registered as voters. He directed the AEROs to undertake physical verification of old persons so that a special list of persons above 80 years of age could be made.

He said from October 16 to 31, the designated AEROs would verify the claims and forms, followed by final publication of electoral rolls on January 3, 2005.



Pulse-polio awareness rally held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Nearly 200 students of the Government Model High School, Sector 42, participated in the pulse-polio awareness rally organised in collaboration with the UT Health Department and Welfare Society today. The rally was flagged off by Dr Nutan Bhatia and Dr Sonia Arora from the Civil Dispensary, Sector 42 and Mr Shiv Kumar, president of the Residents Welfare Society, Sector 42.

The students carried placards and banners to spread the message on the eradication of polio.

A similar rally was also taken out by the Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 38 in which the students raised slogans for pulse-polio campaign. Principal Karam Chand flagged off the rally. In another rally, as many as 250 students of Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanas took out a rally to make the residents aware of the pulse-polio campaign. Sarpanch Surinder Kaur and Medical Officer in charge, Dr Vandana Janmeja, flagged off the rally.

Government Senior Secondary School, Ramdarbar, Chandigarh, also organised a rally in connection with the Pulse Polio campaign on Friday. As many as 250 students, along with teachers and Dr Rajender Samhotra, Dr Naresh Singla and Dr Neena Choudhary, participated in the rally. The Principal of the school, Mr D.P. Singh, flagged off the rally.



Drug abuse among Mohali youth up
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 8
The problem of abuse of drugs by the youth here was discussed at length at a meeting of SP (Headquarters) Jagdish Singh Kahlon with residents of the town in Phase II here today.

Residents alleged that chemists continued to sell medicines without a prescription slip. Residents urged the police to take strict measures in this regard as the problem was getting out of control.

To tackle the problem of eve-teasing near educational institutions and the problem of chain snatching, the SP directed the SHO of the Phase I police station, Mr Jagjit Singh, to depute women police personnel in civil clothes near educational institutions at the opening and closing timings.

Residents also brought to the notice of the police that the number of theft cases in the town was on the rise. The SHO claimed that only 31theft cases were registered in the past many months out of which 23 were traced.

Mr Rajinder Sharma, a municipal councillor of Phase VI, said the main road from the Civil Hospital towards the Phase I barrier got blocked on the day when apni mandi was held in the area. People parked their vehicles on the road side leaving a little space for the traffic.

The residents demanded that during peak hours traffic police personnel should be deputed at all traffic lights.

Mr Kahlon said the town faced a shortage of traffic police personnel. He said efforts would be made to get more staff for the town.



Streetlights non-functional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Residents of Sector 44-C (LIG Houses) here are sore about the callous attitude of the Chandigarh Administration on non functional of streetlights in the area.

Mr Harpal Singh, President, Citizens Welfare Association lamented that our several requests to the authorities concerned here yielded no result yet. The area plunges into darkness in evening due to non-functional of lights from poles No.373 to 394.

The association appealed to the Administration for the redressal of its grievance and get the streetlights functional.



A thief with streak of honesty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Communication gadgets could be useful despite having lost them. Neelam Rathi, a lecturer in the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, lost her purse in a classroom on September 5.

Messaging on a mobile phone, which she lost along with her purse, got her back vital documents from an unidentified thief.

The purse contained Rs 3,500, a mobile phone, driving licence, registration certificate, three ATM cards and a credit card, among other things.

Thinking that a mere report to the police may not get her anything, she sent an SMS on her stolen mobile phone begging the anonymous thief to keep the money and the mobile, but return the documents.

Ms Rathi’s effort paid dividend when the thief sent her a message from the stolen mobile phone saying that she could pick up her purse from the toilet of the college along with the documents.

To Ms Rathi’s surprise, she found her purse and documents back minus the money.



Villagers complain of water scarcity
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 8
Water was being supplied to residents of Gidarpura village for 16 hours each day. But unfortunately this existed only in official records as the ground reality was it otherwise.

The matter was exposed by Kharar MLA, Bir Devinder Singh, who visited the village along with a number of officials today. Villagers told him that adequate water was not being supplied to residents. Moreover, only a few houses had been given water connections.

According to official records, pipe measuring 624 metres had been laid down in the village for providing water to the area from the Chandialan Sudan water works. But it came to the notice of the MLA that only 198 metres of the pipe had been laid down and the rest of it existed only on paper.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, expected that more irregularities in this regard would come to light if a proper scrutiny of the records was carried out. As such he has asked the local SDM, M.L. Sharma, to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

The MLA had got an anonymous letter from the residents of the village in which they had made a complaint regarding the water problem. It was in this context that the MLA visited the village today along with Mr Sharma and Kharar SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill. Residents complained that they had to use water from handpumps which was not fit for drinking.



5 hurt in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 8
At least five persons were injured in separate road accidents in different parts of the district during the past 24 hours.

Vishal Mehta, a youth from Sector 15, was hit by an unknown vehicle near Chandi Mandir today morning. He was on a motor cycle and was brought to the hospital by some passer-by.

In another incident, a scooter-borne youth, Neelam Sharma, was hit by a roadways bus near Sector 21 this afternoon. He was rushed to General Hospital, and is stated to be serious.

Three scooter-borne persons were injured near Kalka when they were first hit by a bus (HP-12A-5048), and while trying to balance the scooter, were hit by another bus (CH-01G- 5734), coming from the opposite direction. Sohan Lal, Kishan and Surjeet , were rushed to Kalka Civil Hospital, from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. 



Furniture dealer’s premises searched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Sales tax wing of the Excise and Taxation Department today searched premises of a leading furniture dealer in Industrial Area Phase I here.

The search party took into possession the accounts books and checked a number of items in the premises. The books of accounts will be tallied with the payment of Sales Tax and if any evasion was detected, he will be asked to deposit the same. Sale of furniture carries 8.8. per cent tax. 



Halwarvi’s death anniversary

Chandigarh, October 8
The India-China Friendship Association will observe the First Death Anniversary of H.S. Halwarvi a former editor of Punjabi Tribune on October 9 at the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University.

Dr Manmohan Singh, Punjabi Scholar, will deliver Halwarvi Memorial Lecture on “Panchsheel and the Scriptures of the World”. Mr Yang Linhai, Cultural Councillor, will also represent the China’s Embassy Dr J.S. Puar, Editor, Desh Sewak, will preside over the function. TNS



They stole bicycles to repay debts
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Santosh Kumar and Chander Shekhar, who have been booked for stealing bicycles, took to the crime after being uprooted from machhli market of Attawa village.

Failing to sustain their families of four and eight members, respectively, Santosh Kumar and Chander Shekhar stole a bicycle from the Sector 44 market six months ago and kept on the theft spree on a daily basis, sometimes even two bicycles in a day.

The police has recovered 32 bicycles from them. They told the police that they stole around 150 bicycles from southern sectors and Sector 15. They had borrowed money from certain persons and had to make payments with interest.

Chander Shekhar was a fish seller in the market. He became jobless when the market was demolished more than a year ago. Santosh Kumar used to pull a rickshaw. They lived in Colony Number 5 and hailed from nearby villages in Unnao District of Uttar Pradesh.

The police said the recovery of the rest of the bicycles would be difficult as those were sold off to migrant labourers.

Santosh Kumar had opened a bicycle sale counter in Barr Majra in Kharar division. Both of them had been working as a gang and would steal bicycles without a rare fail every day.

The police said that Santosh used to sell a bicycle worth Rs 3,000 for Rs 400 or 500 to migrant labourers. The minimum rate of the stolen bicycle was Rs 200.

Chander Shekhar used to tell the buyers that he had bought the bicycles from those persons who had migrated from the place.

Santosh Kumar had reportedly bought a jhuggi in Colony Number 5 from the money collected by selling stolen bicycles.

The Crime Branch has got details from the police records that 63 bicycles had been stolen till recently. A large number of persons had gathered at the Crime Branch office to identify their stolen bicycles.

The police said the bicycles could be returned after the registration of cases. Bicycle owners will have to produce either receipt of the purchase of the bicycle or some other proof.

The thieves used to open locks of the cycles with screwdrivers.



Two booked for acquiring booths fraudulently
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
A CPWD employee, who remained attached to the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and another of the Military Engineering Service (3 BRD) have been booked for allegedly procuring booths in the Sector 22-D Fruit and Vegetable Market by concealing in their affidavits that they were government employees.

Ram Sarowar of the 3 BRD, and Ram Naresh of the CPWD had stated in their affidavits that they were not employed with the government. The cases were registered after a CBI inquiry established their alleged falsehood.

Ram Sarowar was allotted booth number 150 and Ram Naresh booth number 67 in 1998 and 1996 respectively.

They had sworn in their affidavits that they were not employed anywhere in government, a semi-government organisation or in a bank.

Ram Sarowar had been working with the MES 3 BRD for the past 27 years. Now he is working as a pump house operator in the Executive Engineer, 3 BRD. Ram Naresh has been working with the CPWD since 1971 and has remained attached to the Intelligence Bureau office under the Electricity Department since 1985.

He is working as Assistant Wireman (Maintenance) in the Intelligence Bureau under the Electricity Department, CPWD, Subdivision Number 2.

The complaints were forwarded by the Assistant Estate Officer to the Sector 17 police station where both of them have been separately booked under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC.



Police suspects claim on theft
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 8
Doubts have arisen in connection with the theft that took place at a sanitary store in Sector 70 here on the night of October 3. The owner of the shop had claimed that goods worth more than Rs 4.5 lakh had been stolen from his shop.

The police has started suspecting about the incident though investigations in this regard were going on. It is alleged that after visiting the site, the police suspected that it was not the handiwork of thieves. Only costly items had been lifted selectively from the shop which is normally not done by thieves. The police is of the view that thieves generally decamped with whatever things that came their way.

Moreover, this was the second incident in about three months time. It is also reported that the shopkeeper had mortgaged the goods to a bank from where he had taken loans.

However, the shopkeeper had said that the chowkidar of the area was missing ever since the theft took place. The police had taken no action regarding the theft. Even fingerprints had not been lifted.



Bungling in funds of health centre detected
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 8
A case of bungling in funds at the Community Health Centre in Raipur Rani has come to light.

Senior officials in the Health Department said a scrutiny of the repair work done at the centre during the past one year had been initiated. It was alleged that approximately Rs 1.20 lakh was released as part of the Sector Investment Programme of the Europeam Commission last year. This money was meant to be utilised for the repair of the health centre building and improving infrastructural facilities.

However, the Director- General, Health, Haryana, reportedly received a complaint that the repair work done at the centre was sub-standard, and a major chunk of the money was siphoned off. He had then deputed a Deputy Director of the department to conduct an inquiry. An inquiry report was submitted to the Director-General earlier this month.

Following this, the Civil Surgeon, Panchkula, was asked to conduct an inquiry into the alleged bungling. A four-member team of doctors was constituted by the Civil Surgeon to look into the matter and submit a report. 



Chain snatcher arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 8
A chain snatcher Harpreet Singh of Sector 22-C was arrested from near Kiran cinema today. He had snatched a gold chain and ear ring of a Sector 22 woman, last night, the police said. Archana, a resident of Sector 22, reported last night that an unidentified youth snatched her gold chain and gold ear ring from near Government Senior School, Sector 22. A case has been registered.

Couple admitted

A couple from Sector 39 was taken ill after consuming some substance.

Gagandeep (25) and his wife Iqbal Kaur (23) of Sector 39 were admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The police is waiting for a medical report to establish what they ate.

The police is examining if they had eaten some pills in an attempt to commit suicide. They were sent to the medical ward after being declared out of danger.

The police said they were brought to the hospital by the brother of Gagandeep, Gurcharan Singh.

The couple lives alone in their home. Their parents say that there was no dispute between the couple.



Seminar on alternative financing in SMEs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Delivery mechanisms for financing SMEs need to be strengthened to facilitate the productivity of this vital component of the economy, said Mr D.P.S. Rathore, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, here today.

Addressing a CII Seminar on “Alternative financing and cost management for SMEs”, with special focus on Himachal Pradesh, Mr Rathore urged banks, financial institutions and industry organisations to examine where the gaps needed to be plugged in terms of generating awareness, resolving procedural bottlenecks and settling issues of implementation.

The RBI had a committed responsibility to this sector, he said, listing the various committees/ working groups constituted from time to time to address problems related to credit flow to SMEs. Recently, the Ganguly Committee has sought to define SSIs on the basis of turnover rather than original investment, the present criterion. Bringing foreign banks too into the ambit of priority sector lending limit, offering loans to SMEs under “cluster approach” and dedicating additional financing agencies in the form of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to such SME clusters are other recommendations. He invited entrepreneurs to raise concerns directly with the bank for their speedy solution.

The RBI has also been emphasising on the flow of bank credit to micro enterprises in rural and semi-urban areas set up by vulnerable sections of society, including women, with maximum support to self help groups, he said.

He observed that two clusters identified by the Union government in HP are light engineering in Parwanoo, and food processing in Kulu and Sirmour.

Commending the performance of the SME sector in the terms of employment generation, and exports, he noted that the value of output from such enterprises had grown by 12.6 per cent in the past year, a rate far higher than the overall industrial growth rate. SSIs contributed 34 per cent of the country’s exports during 1999-2003; creating additional employment of over one million persons every year during this period. However, with WTO norms

imminent, which would open SMEs to the world, the external environment had to be kept in mind while formulating schemes and policies. The SMEs also face disadvantages vis-à-vis big corporates in terms of both accessing financial resources at competitive cost, and professional management, which can help them cutting cost on all accounts, he felt.

“The basic issue is fusion of entrepreneurship and finance”, said Mr Anil Khachi, Secretary - Finance and Managing Director, HPSIDC, HP, in his special address. He stressed that the financial requirements of SMEs vary over the lifecycle of the enterprise.

He suggested three policy interventions to reduce the financing gaps: ensure the operation of efficient financing markets so that deserving innovative SMEs have access to reasonably priced credit; reduce uncertainty and risks associated with financing SMEs, and, third, reduce of information asymmetries between SMEs and potential investors through the development of an expert intermediary sector.

Mr Sunil Taneja, Chairman, CII HP State Council, suggested that more branches of banks be opened specially for SSIs with specially trained staff who understand the dynamics of the functioning of small units. Implementation of the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust Scheme, procedural simplifications and rehabilitation packages for sick units were other initiatives that would benefit SMEs, he said.


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