C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Agro-Tech concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Agro-Tech — 2004 closed on a successful note here today. The four-day mega event, which evoked a lot of interest among the farming community of the region, recorded over two lakh visitors. According to the organisers of this trade fair, direct business of over $ 150 million was generated and nearly four times more business is expected to materialise in the follow-up drive.

Nearly every hotel in the city had 100 per cent occupancy and the visitors to Agro-Tech included small farmers, progressive farmers, horticulturists, keen gardeners and many people with farming backgrounds employed in Chandigarh looking for technology that could help their agricultural productivity. Organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), this biennial agro-technology fair showcased the latest in agricultural technology, products and allied services.

Agro-Tech has generated a direct business worth $ 158 million and business enquiries worth $ 564 million, according to Mr Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman, Agro-Tech — 2004, and Vice-President, CII.

Till Monday afternoon, 212,000 visited the fair. A large number of farmers participated in informal technical workshops or Kisan Ghostis at Agri Services Showcase. The unique Kisan Ghostis saw farmers articulate their concerns and queries to a panel of experts. Six concurrent expos and nine international conferences, covering different sectors of agriculture and related economy, were held.

According to the Chairman, CII (Northern Region), Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, the four days of hectic activity were rich in productive dialogues and discussions. He disclosed that a good feedback for the fair had been received from the farming community as well as the industry.

Mr Salil Singhal, Chairman, Food and Agriculture, Sub-Committee, CII (Northern Region), concluded that a phenomenal Agro-Tech — 2004 had been held and one of the major contributors to this success was the “buzz” created by the media. “On December 1, 2006, we will come out with a bigger and better show,” he said.

Rajasthan won the best display state award, while West Bengal bagged the second prize. The best display for agri-service showcase award went to Multi-Exchange Commodity of India Ltd while PI Industries was adjudged second. ITC Ltd got the first prize for the best display Agro-Tech award, while Mahindra & Mahindra and Blue Star Ltd got the second and third prizes.



Impressed, Elahi promises to return
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, December 6.
Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister of Punjab (Pakistan), left the city this morning with an impregnable impression of the City Beautiful and plans to incorporate some ideas he picked up here into the architectural framework in his home state across the border. What really impressed Pakistani politicians about the city was the manner in which a young city had imbibed cultural and traditional values in its modern spirit.

Chaudhary Elahi reportedly told a group of legislators at the Punjab Legislative Assembly that he was touched by the warmth and hospitality of Punjabis in the city. “Let us give the confidence-building process a fair chance; the beginning has been great and the final results would be even better”, he is believed to have told the Speaker of the Assembly.

He was so impressed by the Legislative Assembly building that he proposes to adopt some concepts from here into the Lahore Assembly building. He has, in turn, promised to share with the Punjab Government here some old records available with the Lahore Assembly.

Punjab Raj Bhavan was another place that Chaudhary Elahi admired during his conversation with the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, who had hosted a lunch for him.

During his four-day visit to Punjab, Chaudhary Elahi visited Chandigarh three times. The first visit was on December 3, when he accompanied Capt Amarinder Singh to Agro-Tech. Here Chaudhary Elahi had a feel of the agricultural scene in the state. His second visit to Chandigarh was on December 5, when he visited Punjab Raj Bhavan and the Punjab Legislative Assembly. Although every visit of Chaudhary Elahi was unique in itself, his third visit to the city was historic. The city witnessed the first-ever joint press conference by the Chief Ministers of the two Punjabs. The media they addressed, too, was from both pre-Partition east and west Punjab, now called the Indian and Pakistani Punjab.

As Chaudhary Elahi was busy in his diplomatic conclaves, his family was shopping around in the city. Al-Qaida threats, paucity of time and “taking it easy after a heart bypass” is what kept Chaudhary Elahi away from public gaze. However, he promised his hosts that he would return to have a better feel of the city.

Interestingly, the five Pakistani journalists accompanying Chaudhary Elahi disclosed that the visit of the Pakistani journalists was being watched more closely in Pakistan than in India. “People in Pakistan want restoration of ties between the two countries on a permanent basis”, they said, adding that there was so much similarity among people on both sides of the border. Three of the five journalists have surnames that are common in Indian Punjab too. The media accompanying Chaudhary Elahi included Mohsin Goraya, Ali Ahmed Dhillon, Fayaz Ahmed Waraich, Parvez Ahmed and Muzamal Suherwardy.

One thing that appalled the Pakistanis was plying of rickshaws, and they minced no words in condemning it. They even appealed to Capt Amarinder Singh to ban “pulling of humans by humans” at a press conference today.



Now, instant chapatis, noodles
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Agro-Tech — 2004 has proved well beyond doubt that nothing is so distant in this age of mechanisation. On the one hand where the fair has been lauded for “healthy” launches like diet rice, on the other it has evoked visitors’ interest for hi-tech machines that produce instant food. Also on display is the first of its kind instant noodles mini-processing line that promises Maggi producers some competition.

While the fair concluded today, people could not help talking about its major attraction – the readymade chapati-making machine developed in our own region. Many Army camps across India have placed orders for this machine, which produces 1000 to 2000 readymade chapatis per hour. Not only are these readymade chapatis being exported to Dubai, they have also been recently introduced in the Mumbai market in India.

Says Mr Manjit Singh Arora, the firm owner, “We have introduced readymade chapatis only in Mumbai so far. Business talks are on with a bread manufacturing firm in Delhi. Gradually Chandigarh will also see this fine readymade food product, which is most suitable for working women. The chapatis will be available in the packing of five for Rs 10.”

At the corporate level, the firm just supplied 25 machines to Army camps in Jammu. This order has been worth Rs 2 crore. There are also large-scale demands of the machine from community kitchens in gurdwaras and college messes. Very recently, two machines have been procured by Gurdwara Patna Sahib and Bellary Educational Institute.

Especially designed and developed to meet the requirements of Army camps across India, college messes, gurdwara langars, banquet halls, community kitchens and large industrial organisation canteens, the chapati-making machine can be installed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. One such machine has a huge potential of producing around 2000 pieces per hour. Hygiene is another advantage as the production process involves no manual work.

Given the benefits of the machine, representatives of many organisations visiting the Parade Ground placed orders with the firm, which also attracted attention with its instant noodle-making machine. This one can be installed for Rs 35 lakh as against one Maggi noodles plant, which reportedly costs Rs 1 crore. The first of its kind in India, this machine promises good quality noodles whose sale price is Rs 6 per pack as against that of Rs 10 per pack available in the market right now.

The manufacturers of the machine claim that their noodles taste the same as Maggi. They have recently supplied the new machine to plants in Parwanoo, Mumbai and Coimbatore.



Experts for biotechnology in agriculture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
India has a tremendous potential for using biotechnology in agriculture as it offers some significant competitive advantages, said Mr Hemendra Mathur, Senior Manager, Strategic Advisory, Food and Agribusiness, Rabo India, while speaking at a conference on “Biotechnology in agriculture: facts unleashed”, organised by the CII here today.

“Low-cost technology in clinical trial, research and development are the most prominent ones. Having a vast pool of English speaking qualified manpower as also an abundant and diverse availability of biological materials, the country needs to invest more on this technology and focus on contract farming of high-value crops. It also needs to accept the benefits of improved quality seeds,” he said.

Citing reasons for the untapped potential of biotechnology in India, Mr Ashutosh Jagga, Director, Phulwari Bio-Tech, said, “Unlike IT, biotechnology does not have certain benefits. In IT, you hit the right button and you make millions but in biotechnology there is no such thing. You have to have a lot of patience and lots of money to invest. Since it is research intensive, cost intensive, time consuming and with low visibility of returns, not many people get attracted to it.”

Highlighting the scope for biotechnology, Mr Clive J. Pegg, Managing Director, Proagro Group, said, “Biotechnology is revolutionising agriculture globally as it offers major benefits to the producer, consumers and the environment. It is yielding new growth opportunities to all stakeholders in agriculture. But this revolution requires effective science-based regulatory system, public acceptance, strong political commitment, resources and IPR protection.”

Talking about the doubts and misgivings on biotechnology, Mr Bhagirath Choudhary, National Coordinator, ISAAA, South Asia Office, said, “Biotechnology is a process, not a product. If we differentiate the end product, it will not take us anywhere. There is confusion among people, media and even regulators. Every crop goes through rigorous test before hitting the market. We should not question the validity and authority of these procedures”.

Citing various findings by various international research organisations to support his claim, he said, “Biotechnology has been identified by many governments as a leading-edge technology for helping to achieve economic development. There are many Bt cotton products expected to hit the Indian market in the next couple of years, which will reduce prices significantly,” he added.

Dr S.L. Goswami, Principal Scientist, Biotechnology, National Dairy Research Institute, said one of the most significant constraints of India’s dairy industry was the difficulty in reaching out to the millions of small farmers who were part of the dairy system. Plans to bring about a perceptible change in the production systems, therefore, presented a formidable and socially difficult task.

Livestock was riddled with problems such as large population, low productivity, poor availability of nutritious feed resources and poor health surveillance. Biotechnology was poised to meet these challenges, he added.



Stress on govt role in contract farming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Experts attending a session on ‘Emerging Opportunities in Contract Farming’ today advised the participants to consider caution, legal framework and arbitration mechanism to ensure a balanced growth of contract farming.

Addressing participants at the conference, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as part of the Agro-Tech 2004, experts also suggested that the government must play the role of an arbitrator and facilitator to promote contract farming.

Mr S.K. Sharma, CEO, Global Agri-systems, said the key pre-condition for contract farming was that the venture be profitable. “One success factor for contract farming is eliminating unnecessary intermediaries in the chain,” he said.

However, a progressive farmer, Mr M.S. Grewal, said market price differentiation was a big hurdle for farmers and that continues to be a major reason why they are reluctant to adopt new systems.

Giving an overview on contract farming, Mr Gokul Patnaik, Chairman, Conferences, Agro-Tech 2004, remarked that in the past two years over one lakh farmers have benefited from contract farming by growing market-oriented crops that get them higher returns.

Referring to the need for empowerment of farmers, Mr S. Sivakumar, CEO, ITC-Agri business, observed that Indian conditions were very appropriate for contract farming and the experience of the seed and poultry industry as well as large corporates are examples of successful contract farming.

“However, to avoid the blame-game between farmers and corporates in case of crop failures, the government needs to play a multi-faceted role and act as a facilitator by spreading awareness, a regulator by screening companies and as a market player by being party to contracts and act as an arbitrator,” he suggested.

Mr Himmat Singh, Managing Director, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, remarked that return to a balanced agricultural portfolio was the need of the hour.

“For contract farming to grow at an explosive pace, certain things are needed, which include farmer funding, and training, development of new machinery, upgrading of existing machinery and buy-back support for farmers,” he said.



Show of J&K products planned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
To provide an opportunity to small and medium entrepreneurs of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre for International Trade and Industry has volunteered to provide them with a platform to explore the international market.

This was stated by Mr Mohan Singh, a former agribusiness adviser to the J and K Government and Director-General, CITI, after a discussion with representatives of the J and K Government at Agro-Tech 2004, here today.

Mr Mohan Singh said that to create a place for J and K-made products in the Gulf, CITI, with the support of the J and K Government, would also organise a “made in Jammu and Kashmir show” and in the UAE in November, 2005. He added that a detailed proposal for the show was being forwarded to the J and K Government for approval.



Govt firm on farm reforms: Expert
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Indian Government is committed to a two-pronged agenda on agriculture - pushing through specific reforms in agriculture and working with state governments to convince them to implement these reforms at the earliest. These reforms will facilitate large-scale private investment in every step of the value chain, Mrs. Radha Singh, Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, announced here today.

She was speaking at the valedictory session of the Agro-Tech 2004 that concluded this evening.

Calling for reforms to be built into agriculture she listed several proposed initiatives, including liberalisation of the Essential Commodities Act, framing of integrated food law in order to bring convergence of several laws, including the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, enactment of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, facilitating full negotiability of warehouse receipts, promotion of commodity exchanges and amendments to the Model APMC Act.

Expressing confidence that these reforms would create enough space for the private sector to move in, in a big way, she urged industry to provide extension services to farmers to develop business models which would not only support marketing of their produce but also assure quality products to the consumer.

Mrs Singh called for the use of technology to make agricultural operations more productive and conserving for small and marginal farmers. Alongside, it was critical to adopt value addition to reduce the high percentage of wastage of fruits and vegetables in the country.

“WTO has opened new horizons of opportunity but our agriculture needed to become more competitive and market driven to establish itself in the global arena”, she said.

With global pressure on all countries to reduce tariffs and remove import duties, protection cannot be sustained, she observed.

The Haryana Governor, Dr. A.R Kidwai, who was the chief guest on the occasion observed that the Agro Tech 2004 had exhibited major aspects of the agriculture industry with a very active participation of the industry, states and farmers. Dr. Kidwai said he was particularly impressed with the E-chaupal. The Governor also stressed that agriculture should be a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

“The farmer should get the right price for his produce and the industry should process and market the products profitably.”


Best display state awards:

Ist prize: Rajasthan

2nd prize: West Bengal.

Best display for Agriservice showcase award:

1st prize: Multi-Exchange Commodity of India Limited.

2nd prize: PI Industries

Best display for Agro Tech award:

1st prize: ITC Limited

2nd prize: Mahindra & Mahindra

3rd prize: Blue Star Limited.



Inside Babudom
Most top brass of Chandigarh new
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
In an unprecedented occurrence, almost the entire top brass of the Chandigarh Administration, which is governed directly by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has been changed within a short period of one month.

The 114 sq km Union Territory, which also serves as the capital of Punjab and Haryana, has a new Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, who joined just 20 days ago, replacing Justice O.P. Verma (retd).

The new Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, a 1987 batch Punjab cadre IAS official, replaced Mr Karan Avtar Singh, a month ago. The new Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, a 1977 batch IAS official of the Haryana cadre, today replaced Mr Raminder Singh Gujral while the Municipal Commissioner Mr P.S. Aujla, a 1990 batch IAS official of the Punjab cadre, today replaced Mr M.P. Singh.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) which runs leading hotels in the city, Mr S.P. Singh, a 1988 batch IAS official of the Punjab cadre, was relieved of his duties last week. The work has been handed over temporarily to Mr S.C. Poddar, Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), a new incumbent is to be appointed. Three Punjab cadre IAS officers are in the race.

All the outgoing officials are secretary level or additional secretary level, thus the only senior officer continuing now is Mr Lalit Sharma, the Adviser to the Administrator. The Adviser in Chandigarh is equal to the Chief Secretary of a state. Chandigarh being the joint capital draws officials from Punjab and Haryana, besides some UT cadre officials are also posted.

It just happened that the tenure of these outgoing officials had ended and new appointments were expected. The new appointments just came in one go and it was sheer chance that it happened within one month. Normally, senior officials are not changed in one go, said an official while admitting that it might take at least a couple of weeks to settle down for the new officials.

Also in line for change are at least five middle-level HCS officers. Orders expected to replace two of these officials, are expected anytime in the next two weeks. There appointments are done at the level of the UT Administrator.

On the police front the Administration has sought an extension for the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, which is under consideration of the MHA. Once the MHA had rejected the extension but it is now reconsidering. Mr Yadav has completed two years in Chandigarh.



Leopard cub makes zoo its home
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir, December 6
Bright-eyed and sprightly, Deeya has become a blue-eyed baby of the employees of Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, located about 20 km from Chandigarh. They dote on her, can’t help being helplessly in love with her. Abandoned by her mother just after birth, Deeya, a female leopard cub, all of two-and-a-half months old, is happy at her new home.

Playing, adoring parents, the zoo employees are rearing her with love and affection. She nibbles at the chunks of goat-meat and liver pieces while they watch on. She frisks around in an isolated room, tailor-made to suit her needs. The floor of the room has been covered with a jute carpet and a blanket to beat the chill in a room with an electric bulb on, round the clock.

The zoo authorities have deputed two keepers who take her out in the courtyard of the zoo hospital twice a day as part of her routine exercise. In 20 days of her arrival at the zoo, Deeya has grown stronger and gained weight. Currently, her daily diet includes 200 gm soft goat meat, 150 gm liver and an egg daily apart from tea spoonful of abdec drops and multi vitamins enriched tonics, claimed Mr Nirmaljit Singh, a veterinary doctor of the zoo.

The cub was found abandoned in the forest area of Dehra Dun two months ago. Unable to walk properly, the cub was rescued by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun. Dr Jala, a veterinary scientist at the wildlife institute, made efforts to save the orphan cub and hand-reared it for a month.

The abandoned cub was rescued just a few days before the Divali festival, so Dr Jala and other scientists of the institute named her as Deeya.

Since the cub belongs to Schedule-1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the Central Zoo Authorities (CZA) asked the Chhat Bir Zoo authorities to take Deeya from Dehra Dun to rehabilitate her.

While talking to the Tribune, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Director of the zoo, said the CZA contacted him and asked him to hand rear Deeya so that the cat could be saved. He added that the cub was being reared by the veterinary staff of the zoo.

“If she does fine on the health front, she would be shifted to a cage after she attains an age of four months. Later, when she adjusts to her habitat, Deeya would be released in one of the enclosures for display,” he added.



Man found dead on rail track
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A 25-year-old man was found dead this evening on track No. 1 here.
The Government Railway Police (GRM) said the man had been identified as Onkar of Amethi by documents recovered from his pocket.

The police is not yet sure whether it was suicide or an accident. The man bore injuries on the head.

The GRP got information at around 8.20 p.m. The police recovered a money order receipt from his pocket, which indicated that the person was living in house no. 198 Indira Colony, Manimajra.

The police also found a visiting card of Ganapati Indoors from his pocket along with a telephone number of Amethi. The police has contacted the Owners of Ganpati Indoors in Panchkula.



Chandigarh Calling

Telecom companies have really got their customers hooked up to the convenience of “anywhere communication”. But after getting addicted, the customers are realising that the telecom companies are not living up to their promises of providing a clear and hassle-free service. It is, therefore, not uncommon to see very unusual sites like the one where customers have to do antics like climb and electric pole, stand on one leg or even risk their lives on the edge of a cliff or a building top to get in line with the signal. The realisation that people were better off without it is beginning to dawn, but now it is too late.

Introspection time

With the byelection in ward No. 11 of the municipal corporation over, the post-election focus of the two major political parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janta Party, is now on introspection.

While the Congress won the election, strengthening its already strong position in the 31-member House, the party has prepared a list of all Congressmen who indulged in anti-party activity.

This list has been forwarded to the high command but is not likely to elicit a response as has been the experience in the Lok Sabha elections when one faction within the party sent a similar complaint to the party high command.

For the BJP, which got a drubbing in the election despite its claims of having bounced back due to the condemnable policies of the Congress, it is introspection time. They have formed a committee, which will look into the causes behind the BJP candidate’s defeat.

Bank awarded

The Oriental Bank of Commerce has added another feather to its cap. It has been commended for its performance in the implementation of the official language policy in the “B Region” recently by the Department of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs.

The award was received by a distinguished banker and the DGM of the bank, Mr V.K. Kashyap, at a function in Chandigarh from the Minister of State for Home, Mr Manik Rao Gavit.

Well, it is heartening to note that good official work is still done in Hindi.

Toothless EC

The State Election Commission for Delhi and Chandigarh seems to be a toothless body. This is particularly true in the wake of the “inaction” of the commission regarding property tax notification by the Chandigarh Administration allegedly in violation of the model code of conduct during the recent elections to the ward No 11 of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

Even as the Congress cried foul, the commission was a silent spectator to the issuance of the notification. However, mercifully for the commission, the Congress candidate won. Had the Congress lost the election, the commission would have been at the receiving end of the party, given its government at the Centre.

Perhaps, the commission, headed by a retired bureaucrat, who also served in Chandigarh, needs more powers to deal with the serving “babus”.

Nice being drunk!

The best way for a drunkard to reach home without any expenses is to be floored on the road.

The fact came to light when a police officer posted at a hospital complained that he had a rush of drunkard people being brought for medical care by police control room vehicles.

He says they are brought in the night dead drunk and in the morning they just vanish from the hospital bed. The policemen posted at the hospital has to make entry in a register when the person is admitted, but the parting entry is “absconding” as the person admitted does not inform either the police or the hospital authorities before leaving.

NRI versus cop

A policeman could never have thought of getting matrimonial offers for his son from the rich and powerful of Punjab.

One fine morning, a host of phone calls came to his residence with matrimonial offers. The constable was surprised as to why so many rich and influential people got interested in him overnight. For a moment, the constable was happy to have received so many offers. But he suddenly realised that he was only getting around Rs 5,000 salary and offers could not have been according to his financial status. He asked one of the callers as to from where he came to know about him, The caller told him that the person on this phone number and address had been mentioned as an NRI.

Then the constable came to know that the advertisement was for a Canada-based engineer but the address and phone numbers had been wrongly mentioned in a newspaper. The constable reached the newspaper office and pointed out the mistake but again he had to suffer for a week as the newspaper could not carry out the correction.

Integrated education

Selling the idea of integrated education for the physically challenged children, where they sit along with children of other schools, has always been an uphill task for those working for the uplift of the disabled. The acceptability and the sensitivity of residents towards integrating the physically and visually disabled children in schools is still a far cry even for a high literate city like Chandigarh. Yet the National Association of Blind (NAB), working for the visually impaired, is trying to make a change.

Says the president of the Chandigarh chapter of NAB, Mr Vinod Chadha, “We have already contacted some 10 private schools in the city whom we found were open to the idea of integrated education, where disabled children would study with other children. Introducing the concept of integrated education would be our goal.” The NAB draws its inspiration from countries like Sweden, where there is not even a single special school for special children.

Laughter therapy

A cold Wednesday evening became memorable when Dr Madan Kataria, president of the International Laughter Club, came all the way from Mumbai on a flying visit to the City Beautiful. Dr Kataria told a gathering of 80 enthusiasts at the Sector 36 Fragrance Garden the value of laughter therapy. Everybody looked in high spirits as they enjoyed every bit of his witty style. He laid stress on “humming laughter” and “silent laughter”. He also gave a set of new exercises.

— Sentinel



Commuters put to inconvenience
Repair work on Ghaggar
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, December 6
The woes of the commuters on the Kalka-Ambala highway continue to remain unaddressed. As if the difficulties arising out the closure of the highway for the past one week were not enough, the passengers of the Haryana Roadways are being forced to pay an amount of Rs 3 more.

The passengers travelling on two alternate routes — the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Banur-Rajpura-Ambala and the Chandigarh-Panchkula-Barwala-Dera Bassi-Ambala — of the highway are being charged Rs 3 extra. Other state roadways, however, have not hiked the fares.

Mr Rajan Gupta, Haryana Transport Commissioner, claimed that the passengers were being charged as per the state government’s policy of charging fare on per kilometre basis.

The passengers travelling by long route buses are doubly affected. Besides, the long durations, they are forced to pay more.

Mr Manjit Singh, a commuter, who boarded a bus of Jhajjar depot from Ambala to Chandigarh via Banur, was charged Rs 3 extra by the conductor. Hundreds of passengers travelling in the buses have been forced to pay extra for no fault of theirs.

Meanwhile, the commuters will have to wait for some days more for the opening of the Kalka-Ambala highway as the Building and Roads wing of the Punjab Public Works Department authorities has not yet fix a particular date for it.

Mr Ashok Sood, Chief Engineer of the department, while talking to the Chandigarh Tribune claimed that vehicular traffic on the highway would be restored completely in a couple of days.

He added that the department would fix a 9-metre- long laminated fibresheet to the damaged beam of the fifth span of the Ghaggar bridge to strengthen it.

Since the sheet was not available in the local market, the department had to procure it from a Goa-based company which delayed the repair work.

“We do not want to take any risk by doing repair work in haste. The bridge is being repaired in such a way that it could bear the heavy volume of traffic for some more years,” claimed Mr Sood. 



Police avoided slapping non-bailable sections on Magistrate
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Chandigarh police conveniently forgot the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC in the city in the case of Tehsildar and Executive Magistrate of Jalandhar, J.S. Sadhrao, who was arrested under Section 336 of the IPC for a negligent act posing danger to the lives of other people. As the offence listed under Section 336 of the IPC is bailable, Sadhrao was granted bail in the Sector 19 police station itself.

Had he been arrested under Section 144 of the CrPC he would not have been able to get bail easily as the offence listed under that section was non-bailable. Moreover, the accused had also attracted Section 188 of the CrPC for carrying a weapon in Chandigarh, but the police did not slap that section. Even the Section 27 of the Arms Act (misusing a weapon) was not imposed on him.

Invoking of all these provisions would have made it necessary to produce him before a judge for getting bail.

The police claimed that Section 188 of the CrPC could not be invoked as the Executive Magistrate had an all-India permit for his weapon.

However, sources in the UT District Magistrate’s office said despite a person having an all-India permit, he would have to take permission from the DM office for carrying a weapon in Chandigarh as Section 144 of the CrPC is in force in the city.

Sources said the Tehsildar had also allegedly fired a shot in the air in Gobindgarh where he had gone to attend a wedding, but his act attracted no penal provision as Section 144 of the CrPC was not in force there.

Mr Sadhrao was not available for comments at his Chandigarh residence for confirmation as to if he had a permission from the District Magistrate office of Chandigarh for carrying a licensed weapon in the city.

Sources in the police said Sadhrao had come from Gobindgarh with his wife. He dropped his wife at his residence in Sector 18 and told her that he was going to market and would return soon. Later, this incident took place.

The police claimed that the weapon went off accidentally. However, the police was not able to explain as to why he had to take out the weapon at all. The police maintained the revolver did not have a safety lock and it was possible that it went off accidentally.



36 institutions owe Rs 34 cr to PUDA
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 6
At least 36 institutions here owe a whopping Rs 34 crore to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here. According to PUDA officials, as many as 36 defaulting institutions have been issued notices to pay up the pending amounts failing which legal action would be initiated against them.

According to a review list of defaulting institutions, more that Rs 2.1 crore has to be paid by the Police Department, Punjab. While Rs 1 crore is pending towards the payment of land on which the Commando Complex has been built in Phase 11, another Rs 7 Lakh is pending in the name of police stations Sector 62 and Sector 57. A sum of Rs 1.3 crore is yet to be paid by PUDA on account of the land given to the Police Department for the construction of multistory flats in Sector 66.

A sum of Rs 3.6 crore has to be paid by the Department of Rural Development and Panchyats towards the cost of land bought by the department for the construction of the Rural Development and Panchayat Bhavan in Phase VIII.

Some of the other major defaulters include the Radha Swami Satsang Beas authorities who owe Rs 4 crore to PUDA towards the payment of external development charges of over 200 acres of land reallotted to them. While the Mohali Club, Phase 11, owed Rs 1.8 crore, the Department of Soil Conservation owed Rs 1.4 crore to PUDA.

A number of educational societies owe PUDA large amounts of money. The Multani Mal Modi College, Phase 11 had to pay PUDA Rs 1.7 crore.

While the Gem Educational Society, Sector 60, owes over Rs 1.4 crore to PUDA the Trinity Educational Society, Sector 69, and Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, owes over Rs 1 crore each. The International Christian Society in Sector 71 owes more than Rs 86 lakh and the Sherwood Convent Educational Society, Sector 59. owes over Rs 31 lakh.

A sum of Rs 81 lakh is to be paid by the Sanjay Educational Society, Sector 70, Rs 29 lakh by the Star Public School, Sector 69, Rs 32 lakh is to be paid by the Sher-e-Punjab Educational Society and Rs 18 lakh by the Green Field Educational Society, Sector 59. The Sir Macauliff School, Phase 11 Society owes Rs 59 lakh to PUDA while the Shaheed Udham Singh Educational Trust, Sector 53, owes Rs 31 lakh.

Some other educational institutions like the Aanchal Educational Society, Phase VI, Love Walk Educational Trust, Sector 70, Rattan Professional Educational Trust Sohana, owes less than Rs 10 lakh each to PUDA.

The Cooperative Housing Societies that owe large amounts to PUDA include the Defence Service Welfare Trust, Sector 70 (over Rs 1 crore), the Mohali Employees Society (Rs 26 lakh), Mundi Cooperative Society, Sector 70 (Rs 4.8 lakh), the United Cooperative Society, Sector 68 (Rs 3.8 crore) and the Danga Pirat Cooperative Society, Sector 67 (Rs 2.1 (crore)

When contacted, the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr Yashvir Mahajan, stated that these institutions had been issued fresh notices for payment. “Some of these institutions have not paid for many years now. In case we are not able to recover these amounts from these institutions this time, we would have to take recourse to legal options,” he said.



City gets new Home Secy, MC Commissioner
Tribune News Service

The work of the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) has been temporarily handed over to the Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, and not to the new Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan. The Chandigarh Administration had sent a request to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to allow Mr Sandhu to be the CVO till Mr Mohan joined. The orders to this effect were issued by the CVC and were not linked to the orders of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, sources said.

Chandigarh, December 6
The city today got a new Home Secretary and a new Municipal Commissioner.
Mr Krishna Mohan, a 1977 batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, joined duties as the Home Secretary replacing Mr Raminder Singh Gujral, also from Haryana.

Meanwhile, Mr P.S. Aujla, a 1990 batch Punjab cadre official, replaced Mr M.P. Singh of Punjab as the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation. Mr M.P. Singh remained Commissioner for around six years.

This is the second posting in Chandigarh for Mr Mohan, who served as the Deputy Commissioner for five years between 1986 and 1991. He was the Commissioner and the Secretary, Health and Medical Education, in Haryana. He also worked as the Director, Public Relations, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, the Administrator, HUDA, Gurgaon, and the Managing Director, HAFED.

Meanwhile Mr P.S. Aujla, the new MC Commissioner, has also served in Chandigarh on two separate tenures. He was a PCS official and was later elevated as an IAS official. He remained the SDM, Chandigarh, in 1985-86, when Punjab was going through turmoil and Mr S.S. Ray was the Governor of the state.

He also remained Chandigarh’s Assistant Estate Officer from 1990 to 91.

In Punjab, he served as the Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, the Director, Public Relations, the Director, Food and Civil Supplies, the Director, Technical Education, the Managing Director, PSIEC, the Secretary , Mandi Board, and the Director, Punjab Energy Development Agency.

Meanwhile, officials of the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Police hosted a farewell party for Mr R.S. Gujral, Mr M.P. Singh and Mr S.P. Singh this evening. Wives of all officials also joined in and so did the Governor Rodrigues and his wife, Ms Jean Rodrigues. Mr Krishna Mohan and Mr Aujla also attended the farewell party for the out going officials. The party was hosted at the Lake Club.



Cong criticised for parallel arrangements
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 6
Members of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mohali Circle, today criticised the parallel arrangements being made by the Congress to commemorate the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh at Chamkaur Sahib. Mr Harsukhinder Singh Bubby Badal, President of the SAD local unit, said if the government was serious about it, it should help the SGPC in organising programmes and not vitiate the somber atmosphere of the function.

SAD members today met at Phase 11 Gurdwara to finalise the various programmes being organised by SAD for the occasion. The meeting attended by over 200 members was organised by Mr Badal and was presided over by special committee members Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, General Secretary, SAD, Mr Sewa Singh Shekwan, PAC member, and Pritam Singh Salomajra, District President, Ropar and other leaders also attended the meeting.

The parallel conferences being organised by the Congress came in for sharp criticism from various speakers.

Mr Sewa Singh Shekwan said Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar should be made a district on the pattern of Panchkula.



BJP to expose Cong men’s misdeeds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is preparing a comprehensive report to expose and compile corruption cases rampant among Congressmen of the city. This was stated by the party spokesman, Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, in a statement issued here today.

Mr Koundel said the report of the misdeeds of Congress leaders would be handed over to the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, after which the BJP would press for the registration of corruption cases against them.

Charging the Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, of misusing her office for personal gains, he added that the BJP would demand an inquiry against her.



Coffee favourite among people in North India
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
An invigorating fact about coffee consumption in India: The beverage's domestic intake has increased by approximately 20,000 tonnes in the past two decades. As of now 70,000 tonnes of coffee are annually being consumed throughout the country. In North India also, the drink is hot favourite among so many people.

Though figures are not readily available, Coffee Board of India members insist that coffee's consumption has increased considerably in this part of the region over the past few years.

"The Government of India's policy to encourage more and more private players to enter the field has resulted in coffee consumption's increase not only in the North, but the entire country," they add.

In Chandigarh for attending Agro-Tech 2004, the members say that "more and more North Indians are discovering the splendid taste of coffee. That is the reason why coffee bars and parlours are doing so well in the region".

Encouraged by the increasing response to the beverage, the board members are even willing to offer short-term courses to the residents. No, not only in Bangalore where they have a training centre. But after coming to Punjab.

"In case 20 to 25 people approach us in a group for training purposes, we are willing to instruct them about the art of preparing liquid coffee. The right way, that is," reveals Mr Ganpathy, Officer in charge of Coffee Board's stall in Sector 17 Parade Ground.

Giving details of the course being offered by the board, Mr Ganpathy says that the candidates will have to pull out Rs 5,000 for the complete exercise without moving out of the region.

Training, he adds, is imparted on a regular basis in Bangalore.

"The trainees are not only taught how to prepare liquid coffee, but also how to grow the beans.

In fact, they are taken to the coffee fields. The course fee is the same. But board and lodging arrangements have to be made by the candidates themselves," he asserts. In about a week's time the trainees are in a position to earn substantial amount of money by opening their own bars and parlours."

The business, he adds, is lucrative. "There are outlets even in Chandigarh that are minting money by selling coffee cups for not less than Rs 25 each after purchasing the raw material from the board. In fact, such outlets are creating demand by offering different varieties of coffee." 



Indian Constitution best, says Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Indian Constitution is the best in the world as it is liberal and provides equal rights to the men and women. Dr A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, stated this at a function organised by Dr Ambedkar Study Circle, Chandigarh, to commemorate the death anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

The Governor said that the people belonging to the SC/ST should be given the opportunity to rise. He said many persons from the poor families had succeeded in getting jobs in the cadre of IAS, IPS and IFS by hard work.

Dr Kidwai appreciated the efforts made by Dr Ambedkar Study Circle to establish a library. He was optimistic that the country was poised to become the third economic power by 2050. The country stood a strong chance to emerge as the hub of economic and industrial activity.

The function was organised to commemorate the 48 th death anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. 



Clinics not treating waste, says board
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
Certain nursing homes in the town are allegedly throwing bio-medical waste in the open without treating. The issue was discussed in the first-ever meeting of the regional environment grievance committee meeting of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) held recently.

Sources in the HSPCB inform that the issue of these clinics throwing the bio-medical waste in open was taken up by Mr Satish Gupta, President of the Panchkula Chamber of Commerce. He pointed out that the two clinics — one in Sector 7 and second Sector 9, are not complying with the bio-medical waste (management and handling) rules, 1998.

Dr D.S. Verma, a former President of the local chapter of the Indian Medical Association, was also present at the meeting. He assured that he would take up the matter with the doctors running these clinics, and ensure that they comply with the set rules.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Mr R.K. Sharma, Environmental Engineer, several environment related issues were discussed .

The committee members were of the view that only those brick-kilns who are located within the 50 km radius of a thermal power plant, should be asked to use fly ash for making bricks. “If all brick-kiln owners are asked to mix fly ash, then the cost of transportation of fly ash to the kilns will increase and thus there will be a spiralling affect on the price of the bricks,” they said. 



Fauji Beat
NCC training must for the youth: Kalam

Addressing NCC cadets and officers in New Delhi, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said: “In my view, two years' NCC training must be made compulsory for all eligible students, boys and girls, at the school or college level.” This, he added, would help eliminate corruption from the society, promote discipline and help protect the environment,

“I realise the NCC budget needed for this will increase substantially. However, the output in terms of societal development and peace will adequately compensate through the availability of young disciplined human resource,” Dr Kalam said.

Coming from the President who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, the politicians should take it seriously, at least this time. Several times in the past, politicians have spurned this proposal.

Sadly, today we are almost on top in corruption in the world. We have gone too far on the path of evil. So much so that an honest and disciplined man cannot exist in any organisation. The only way to extricate the nation from this stinking morass is to start compulsory military training for the youth.

Health scheme takes off

There will be no room charges in panelled hospitals. But the diet charges will have to be paid, except for those members whose pension is up to Rs 2,500. This monetary limit is Rs 3,000 for the mental and TB patients. The diet charges for the indoor patients in Fortis, Mohali, are Rs 140 per day for all ranks.

The polyclinic at 681, Sector 11, Chandigarh, is not type 'D' as some ex-servicemen think, but it is type 'C'. Since the last column on November 30, a medical specialist has joined the polyclinic. Though the polyclinic was opened about four months ago, it still does not have an ambulance. The equipment is also taking too long to come. Because of a large number of clientele of this polyclinic, it should be made fully functional without any further delay.

Apart from the government supply, the local purchase of medicines for the polyclinic is done by the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir. The officer-in-charge of the polyclinic can purchase medicines only up to financial limit of Rs 30,000 per month, that too in an emergency. Surprisingly, the government has authorised only 429 drugs for Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members. This is an outright discrimination. However, Command Hospital is supplying all drugs to the polyclinic at present.

Defence civilian pensioners' plea: In 1986, the government had permitted the defence civilian employees to make purchases, excluding liquor from Canteen Stores Department (CSD) canteens. This facility is withdrawn after their retirement. For the past 15 years, the Defence Civilian Pensioners Welfare Association has been making representations to the government to extend these facilities to them after retirement.

In August, 1998, Mr George Fernandes, former Defence Minister, had written to the association that the CSDs were primarily meant to provide canteen facilities to the troops of the three services. He further said because of the limited infrastructure, these facilities couldn't be extended to the retired civilian defence pensioners. Despite having taken up their case with various Central Ministers, the association had not succeeded so far.

Their main plea is that having served with the defence forces at all places, including high altitude areas, they have developed an affiliation with them. And in their retirement too, they feel that they are a part of the defence forces.

They say during the Kargil war, they had presented a cheque for Rs 51,000 to the Headquarters, Western Command, for the Army Central Fund. Besides, a cheque for Rs 21,000, they further say, was also presented to the Air Force Central Welfare Fund.

Air Force School gets trophy

The Air Force Station (High Grounds) School, Chandigarh, has been adjudged the second best school in the Western Air Command for the second consecutive year. The award was received by Mrs Maneesha Khandekar, President, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA), Chandigarh, from Mrs Harveen Krishanaswamy, President, AFWWA (Central), during the recent Commanders' Conference held at New Delhi. The trophy was presented to Mrs Y. Sujata Rao, Principal, Air Force School, by Mrs Khandekar on November 29.

— Pritam Bhullar



French course at Chandi Mandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A basic French course has been started at Chandimandir for dependants of service personnel. The course is aimed at making youngsters conversant with a foreign language, which may be beneficial in their academic or professional careers at a later stage.

The three-and-a-half- month course, being run in association with Alliance Francaise, was inaugurated by Mrs Anupama Singh, president of the Western Command chapter of the Army Wives Welfare Association.

In her inaugural address, she said technology had turned the whole world into a global village with interdependence among different countries and communities increasing day by day. Versatility in foreign languages, therefore, was required for effective communication, she added. 



Kesar Singh Kesar cremated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 6
Renowned Punjabi intellectual and former Syndicate member of Panjab University, Kesar Singh Kesar was cremated today at the Sector 25 cremation ground. He died at the PGI last night.

Punjabi writers, teachers, journalists and students attended the funeral. Mr Santokh Singh Dhir, Mr Gurcharan Rampuri, Mr Mohan Bhandari, Jasbir Bhullar, president of PUTA, Mr Raunki Ram, Chairman Mr Jasbir Singh of Agro Industries, Dr Naresh, Dr O.P. Vashist, Dr Darshan Singh and Dr Sarup Singh from Panjab University, Dr Jaswinder Singh, Dr Baldev Singh Dhaliwal, Dr Bhupinder Singh and short story writer Narpinder Singh Ratan, Mr Gurbachan, Dr Prem Singh, CPI leader, were also present.

Tributes were paid to Dr Kesar Singh Kesar by the Punjabi Department of Panjab University.

The Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Chandigarh, expressed grief over the departure of Dr Kesar.

Dr Kesar is survived by his wife Jasbir Kesar, daughter Navreet and son Akarshan.

Dr Kesar was born on October 19, 1940, at Kaleran in Fatehgarh Sahib district. He was educated at Nogawan village and did his Bachelor of Arts from Government College, Ropar. He joined Mata Gujri College in 1967 as a lecturer. In 1973 he joined Panjab University. He retired from the university in 2002. 



PSHRC summons report in workers’ harassment case
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Acting on a complaint of police highhandedness by Mr Vinod Chugh, a union leader of Anand Nishikawa Company Limited at Lalru in Patiala district, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission(PSHRC) today summoned a report from the Punjab Government by January 24 next year.

Adjourning the case till January 31, the commission, in its order, ordered that the complainant should not be "harassed unnecessarily" by the police.

In his complaint, Mr Chugh, vice-president of the Anand Nishikawa Company Limited Workers' Union, alleged that workers were "falsely implicated" by the Lalru police at the behest of the company management when they were sitting in a dharna outside the factory premises on November 5.

Demanding a high-level probe by the Punjab police, Mr Chugh had demanded security for him and his family as they had been facing threat from the Lalru police.

It may be recalled that the police had arrested seven workers of the unit for allegedly assaulting a driver of a bus carrying some employees.

In his complaint to the police, Mr Vikramjit Singh, the driver, alleged that some factory workers who were protesting outside the main gate of the industrial unit assaulted him. He alleged that the protesters stopped the bus and assaulted him.

The police had arrested seven persons — Vinod Chugh, Vishwas, Kuldeep Singh, Davinder Singh, Jasbir Singh, Pawan Singh and Ramnarayan. A case under Sections 379, 341, 506, 427 and 149 of the IPC had been registered against them at Lalru police station.



1,105 children given BCG shots
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
As many as 1,105 children were given BCG shots, 937 children were given measles shots, and 949 children were administered DPT injections, during a special immunisation drive launched by the Health Department last month.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, today said the local health authorities had also given first dosage of Vitamin A and 627 children were given the second dosage. As many as 1109 pregnant mothers were given tetnus shots and 770 children were given DT Booster dosage.

Best chairman: Mr K.B. Sharma, Chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of Indian Institute of Materials Management has been awarded the Best Chairman Award (non metro) for the year 2004. The award was presented to him at a ceremony in New Delhi on December 4 by the National President, Mr M.K. Bhardwaj.

Pension disbursed: The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, today said that Rs 60. 13 lakh had been disbursed as pension among 20,261 beneficiaries during November. She said Rs 44. 77 lakh had been disbursed as old age pension among 14,926 persons which include 2,383 new beneficiaries. A sum of Rs 13.03 lakh has been disbursed as widow pension to 4,267 persons, which includes 56 new beneficiaries.

Death mourned: The Shri Brahman Sabha held a special meeting on Sunday to mourn the sudden death of its general secretary, Mr I.S. Sharma. Mr Sharma was the founder general secretary of the sabha and was committed to the upliftment of the society, informed Mr K.D. Prabhakar, president of the sabha.

New school wing:
The junior wing of Eicher School here was inaugurated by parent representatives here yesterday. The new wing has been created to support and celebrate the cooperative and creative potential of the children, said the Principal, Ms Shalini Kashyap.



YSS website launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Local office of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) has disclosed that the official website of the YSS is now functional and can be accessed at www.yssofindia.org. The website was inaugurated by the Governor of West Bengal, Sri Viren Shah, recently and aims at disseminating the spiritual teachings of the great master Paramahansa Yogananda who founded YSS in 1917 and the Self-Realisation Fellowship (SRF) in Los Angeles, California in 1925.

The local spokesperson of YSS said in today's materialistic world there was no better message than the life and work of Paramahansa Yogananda. He said Paramahansaji had shown the definite way to contact the divine. The website, he said, would help guide people and make them better members of society.

Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings, based on the ancient yogic science of kriya yoga, is a special dispensation to help people to fully realise the divinity latent in every person. Direct personal experience of God is the central plank of the master's teachings.



Daily-wage workers hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Daily wage workers of the Mani Majra sub-office of the Municipal Corporation held a rally outside their office to press for the regularisation of their posts today. An indefinite fast by an employee, Mr Devinder Prakash, entered its second day. BJP leaders also visited the fasting employee and expressed solidarity with their cause.

The protesting workers condemned the authorities for issuing the transfer order of Mr Prakash, spearheading the agitation, from the corporation to the Chandigarh Administration. They alleged that Mr Prakash had been transferred with a view to harassing him and sending a signal to the others to fall in line.

Addressing a gate rally of all daily wage workers, speakers from various unions condemned the corporation and the Administration for being indifferent to their demands. The president of the part-time employees’ association, Mr Sarmukh Singh, said they would intensify their stir if their services were not regularised and the transfer order of Mr Prakash not withdrawn.

Meanwhile, coming out in favour of regularising the services of the daily wage workers, the president of the local unit of the BJP, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, said that the demand was reasonable.



L.M. Goyal CAT Vice-Chairman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A former Chief Secretary to the Haryana Government, Mr L.M. Goyal, today took over as the Vice-Chairman of the Chandigarh Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

According to information, Mr Goyal, who was working as the Vice-Chairman of the Patna Bench of CAT, has been shifted here by the Union Government.He succeeds Justice O.P. Garg, who retired a few months back.

An IAS officer of the 1966 batch, Mr Goyal was the Haryana Chief Secretary for over a year from 2001. He has also served as Secretary in the Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for over 11 months from August 2003, according to a press note.

Earlier also, Mr Goyal had a stint with the Central Government as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas from 1983 to 1986.



Khalsa march to arrive on Dec 18
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 6
The Khalsa Chetna March, organised in connection with 300 years of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, will arrive here from Paonta Sahib on December 18. March participants will be received in Phase VIII here. This was stated by Mr Hardeep Singh, SGPC member, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said the march would leave for Chamkaur Sahib after passing through Phases VII, III, V and PTL chowk here. He said a number of programmes had been chalked out in connection with the occasion. Pilgrims will leave for Fatehgarh Sahib on December 19 from the Phase I Gurdwara.

The SGPC member said gurmat samagams had been organised in gurdwaras in Phase X, II, III-B I and IV on December 20, 21, 23 and 24, respectively. On December 22, a ‘Sikhi gaurav march’ would be organised by school-going children. The main function will be held on December 25 and 26 in Phase VIII.



Rajesh Kumari Thakur is NITTTR chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, headed by Mr Arjun Singh, has appointed Mrs Rajesh Kumari Thakur as the Chairman of the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (Chandigarh) society for three years.

She will replace Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP.

The Chandigarh Chapter of the society trains technical teachers of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chandigarh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir. Its other Chapters are based in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Kolkata (West Bengal).

Mrs Thakur, who is a teacher by profession, belongs to a family of freedom fighters of Karnal. Her father-in-law Randhir Singh was an MLA from Gharaunda in Karnal district. Her husband Bijander Thakur is the Chairman of the Vichar Vibhag cell of the Haryana Congress.



Recasting of HPSC flayed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 6
Criticising the recent recasting of the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) by the state government at the time when Assembly elections are round the corner, Mr Deepak Rai Walia, spokesperson for the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, said this was inappropriate.

He alleged that the reason for the removal of the Chairman and his replacement by his own spouse was bound to reflect poorly. This was certainly a hidden agenda, behind this he said. The recast has been done in a way to circumvent the selection process of unemployed youth away from merit-based selection.

He said the Congress had understood the whole game plan and as soon as the Congress government was installed, all appointments made by public/ staff selection shall be reviewed by a commission of Inquiry, he said.



Governor’s appeal on fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has appealed to the people to contribute liberally to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund, which is utilised for providing financial assistance to the families of martyrs and ex-servicemen in need.

In a message on the eve of the Armed Forces Flag Day, General Rodrigues said this day reminded us to honour our valiant martyrs, salute veterans and to renew solidarity with the armed forces and recognise their services.



2 vehicle thefts reported
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 6
Mr Gurmit Singh of Sector 4, Panchkula, has reported to the police that his motor cycle was stolen from the Dhillon cinema parking lot in Mani Majra on December 3. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered’

In another incident, Mr Piare Lal of Sector 14-A, has reported to the police that his scooter (CH-01-K-7418) was stolen from near Hind Motors, Sector 35, on November 9. A case of theft has been registered.

Theft case: Ms Manisha Sharma of Phase III B-1 has filed a complaint with the police that her purse containing her identity card, a driving licence and Rs 900 was stolen from Shashtri Market in Sector 22, on Sunday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered. Mr Surinder Mehta of Sector 13, Neel Kanth Apartments, Rohini, New Delhi, has reported to the police that three bags of clothes some bank documents and other articles were stolen from his Scorpio jeep (DL-2-FCE-0060), which was parked near hotel Sunview, Sector 35, on December 4 night. A case of theft has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

Assaulted: Mr Daljit Singh of Jattanwala Mohalla, Mani Majra, has complained to the police that Manjit Singh, Happy Singh, Gurmail Singh and Balwant Singh, all residents of Gobindpura Mohalla, Mani Majra, attacked him with swords and batons at his residence on Sunday. He was injured in the attack and was admitted to the PGI with head injuries.

A case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC has been registered. Meanwhile, Daljit Singh was discharged from the hospital today.

Illegal liquor: The local police today arrested a resident of Burail village for selling liquor illegally in the locality. Lakhmir Singh, alias Lakhi, was arrested and 10 cartons of whisky were seized from his residence. The SHO of Sector 34 police station, Mr Ajaib Singh Somal, conducted the raid. He told Chandigarh Tribune that the police found the cartons lying in an Esteem car (CH-01-Z-0721), in which he used to transport the liquor.

He also runs a provisional store at Burail village. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against him.

Fake currency: A case pertaining to use of fake currency notes was registered at the Sector 34 police station today after the RBI confirmed that the notes used to buy six tyres on December 3 at Burail village were fake. The police has sent the Rs 50 denomination notes to the Currency Press, Nasik, to ascertain facts.

The case has been registered against four unidentified persons who handed over a wad of 100 notes of Rs 50 denomination to a tyre-seller in Burail.

The complainant had told the police that two of the youths were clean-shaven.

The case has been registered under Sections 420 (cheating) and 489-B (using fake currency knowingly) of the Indian Penal Code.



‘Preffered’ card launched
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 6
An exclusive lifestyle card, ‘Preffered’, was launched here today by Preffered Card Marketing Private Limited. Annual membership of the card is Rs 2,975.
The Director, Preffered Card Marketing Private Limited, Mr Sudhir Gupta said, “A member will also get a complimentary night stay at the Apple Country Resort, Manali, and can get rental benefits throughout India. We have set up a call centre in the city to telemarket the card, which will be operational from December 15”.

“The card will be marketed across Punjab and there are plans to add more “partners”, including shopping, to enhance the quality of service to our members”, he added.



Biz Clip

Altos, a research and advisory services group, will be opening its office in the city next week to offer its services to farmers, investors and traders in and around Chandigarh. Addressing mediapersons at Agro-Tech, 2004, chief operating officer of Altos S. J. Suresh Kumar said to check high incidence of suicides by farmers, they had come out with ‘Risk hedge matrix’ for agro lenders to offset the risk. `` Almost Zero per cent NPA on agricultural lending is possible if the agro lenders adopted this model,’’ he said. Altos also plans to leverage its ``Click and Mortar’’ model to enable its customers to use its website, offices and franchises across India. TNS


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