C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bapu Dham resident murdered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
Daya Ram Yadav, alias Dajo, a porter in his late thirties, was found brutally murdered on a pathway between Sukhna Lake and Golf Club early today. From a look at the body with blood oozing out of it, the police believes that the murder may have been committed after midnight. Daya Ram worked as a porter in Ludhiana and hailed originally from Sihma village in Samastipur district in Bihar.

There was a pool of blood beneath his head as it was bludgeoned with a brick and a muffler was found tied tightly around his neck, indicating that he may have been strangled. His face was badly mutilated and broken teeth were also lying in the pool of blood. There were some injury marks on the private parts of the victim. The police, however, said the marks appeared to be old.

The police recovered a blood stained brick from near his left foot. His cap was found entangled in the nearby shrubs and a match box was also found near the body. He was wearing blue trousers and a white, striped shirt.

Police officers investigating the case said the blood marks were found between 50 and 150 feet away from the place the body was found. The police suspects that the victim may have been killed somewhere else before his body was disposed of in the secluded area. However, it does not also rule out that he may have been murdered at the spot where the body was found.

The scene of the crime indicates that his head was smashed at the spot where the body was found, said the police.

The police kept the body at the scene of the crime for some time and directed the labourers coming from Kishangarh village to see the body for identification. However, it could not be identified there. After that, the police took the body to the labour colonies and to Kishangarh village before it was identified in Bapu Dham Colony by Gandev Yadav, 20-year-old son of the deceased, in the Transport Area in Sector 26. The SHO of the Sector 3 police station, Mr Biswa Lal, said Gandev started crying after seeing his father’s body. He told the police that his father had left home at around 5 pm last evening saying that he was going for a walk. He said his father worked in Ludhiana and came to meet him in the city on Sunday. Daya Ram wanted to work in the city and had also told his son about it. His son, however, told him that there was no job for him in the city, so he should continue living in Ludhiana, the police said.

The police received information at around 7.15 am. A Central Forensic Science Laboratory team and a dog squad were pressed into service to pick up vital clues from the scene of the crime.

The police found a diary from a pocket of the deceased. There were a few Delhi phone numbers in the diary. The police made calls to Delhi but those called did not confirm that they knew with authority the man who was killed. One of Daya Ram’s sons is working in Gurgaon as a porter. But there was no authoritative information on the identity of the person. The police took the body to the nearest place, Bapu Dham Colony where the body was soon identified. The locality has a large number of the people from Samastipur district of Bihar. The son of the man had last night talked to neighbours expressing his worry about the disappearance of his father. But he was consoled by them that Daya Ram knew a large number of the people he had befriended during his previous visit to the city six months ago.

A case of murder under Section 302, IPC, has been registered at the Sector 3 police station. The body was kept at the mortuary in the General Hospital and a post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow morning, the police said.



Tribune Impact
Use of red light atop vehicle: probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, January 5
Taking a serious note of news-item “EO violates HC order on red light”, published in Chandigarh Tribune on January 4, Mr S.K. Sharma, Inspector-General (IG) of Police, Jalandhar range, who is also in charge of issuing permission for the use of red light in the Punjab Police, has marked an inquiry to the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Punjab Police (Traffic).

Talking to this correspondent, Mr Sharma said he had asked the DIG, (Traffic) at Chandigarh to inquire if Executive Officer of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat had been permitted to use red light blinker atop his vehicle and a black film on the window panes of his official vehicle.

It may be recalled that Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the violation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions by Mr Girish Verma, Executive Officer of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. The EO has been violating the court orders by using black films on the window panes of his official vehicle and a red light atop it without permission.

The Punjab Police in September 2004 had directed all government officials-except Additional Secretaries and Principal Secretaries-to remove red lights from their vehicles. The permission to use the lights earlier granted to them was, subsequently, cancelled.

Efforts to contact Mr G. Vajralingam, Director of the Department of Local Government of Punjab, proved futile till the filing of this report.



March 31 deadline tough to meet for pvt schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Owing to delay on part of the Chandigarh Administration to clear the architectural plans of schools which had been allotted sites in January last year, the managements  of the private schools have expressed their inability to run the schools from the new sites by March 31.

It may be mentioned that March 31, 2005, was the deadline for the schools in residential areas to shut their operations.

Of the 11 sites allotted last year, many schools are running from residential areas in different parts of the city. “ The March 31 deadline was in contravention of the terms and conditions of the allotment which specify that the new construction has to be raised within three years of the allotment, “ said Ms Uma Wadhera, president of the Association of Private Educational Institutions.

Ms Wadhera, who runs Rosevilla Model School, has been allotted site in Sector 19. The managements of the school, who are also members of the association, said it was practically impossible to raise construction in the short period and shift students to the new premises.

“Can the schools discontinue their classes from March 31 till the time the new school building was ready? Asked Mr Anil Thakur, manager of a school. The administration should give some more period to those who have been allotted sites”, he said.

The schools were either allotted the sites in October 2003 and January 2004. “The administration took seven to eight months to clear the zoning plan of the sites”.

Ms Wadhera said the association had urged the Administration to also give another one-year extension to other schools running from residential areas. “ If the administration cannot give relaxation to the schools in the urban areas, it should withdraw the amendments made for other trades”.

She said with yesterday’s order of relaxation to crèches and schools in Mani Majra, illegal colonies and periphery, around 59 schools would be benefited. At least 87 schools in the urban areas were still left out, she added. 



New timings for city schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The UT Education Department has changed the school timings from tomorrow. The changed timings, which have been delayed by half-an-hour, would remain effective till January 15. After that the school timing would revert to the earlier schedule, said an official of the department.

According to the information, the timings of the single shift school would be now 8.30 am to 2pm and for the double shift schools, it would 8 am to 1.30 pm and 11 am to 5 pm. Till January 17, there would be no morning assembly.

It may be mentioned that while in Punjab the school timings had been changed last month, the UT Education Department delayed the announcement.



Major-general in the dock over corruption charges
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A major-general posted in the western sector is in the dock for alleged acts of corruption and misappropriation committed by him in the past.
The Army has reportedly ordered disciplinary proceedings to be initiated against him.

Sources said that the officer was presently holding the appointment of General Officer Commanding (GOC) of an infantry division under Headquarters, Western Command.

It is learnt that the Army had received an anonymous complaint against the officer, alleging certain lapses and misappropriations committed by him while he was serving as a sub-area commander in the rank of a brigadier in Uttar Pradesh.

Based on the complaint, Headquarters, Central Command, Lucknow, ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the contents of the complaint and fix responsibility for lapses if any. The court of inquiry found the officer prima facie blameworthy for certain acts of commission and omission in land dealings, sources said.

It is significant to note that the complaint was sent after the officer had been promoted as major general and assigned the command of an important formation. According to instructions issued by the Adjutant General's Branch at Army Headquarters, all complaints, even anonymous ones, are to be investigated and action to be initiated if they contain any substance.

The general is to be removed from the command and is to be attached to Headquarters, Delhi Area.

Orders to this extent have been issued. Hearing of charge, where the charges framed against him will be read out to him, will be done by the GOC, Delhi Area.

Attachment implies that summary of evidence is to be recorded in this case, which would determine whether the general would be tried by a court martial.



BSF, Pakistan Rangers hold meeting on narcotic smuggling
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Indian anti-narcotic enforcement agencies which have been accusing unchecked smuggling of contraband from Pakistan were recently at the receiving end with their counterparts saying that there were no major seizures reported from India to support the Indian claim.

The issue came up for discussion during a quarterly meeting of the BSF, Pakistan Rangers and Indian and Pakistani anti-narcotics enforcement agencies. The meeting was held on December 29 at the Wagha Border in India. The next meeting is scheduled in Lahore, the informed sources told The Tribune here today.

The Pakistani officials had apparently planned to put the Indian counterparts on back foot to preclude complaints about "laxity" on the part of Pakistanis in checking smuggling of narcotics from Pakistan to India.

The Indian officials clarified that narcotics smuggled from Pakistan had been seized at several places but in Punjab region it was not much. The Indian officials said that the contraband coming from Pakistan was identifiable as there were distinguishable sealing marks on the packets.

The Indian authorities told the Pakistanis that it did not accept an intruder in India who was killed in an encounter and 9 kg of heroine was recovered from him in May this year. The Indian authorities said that the area from the Indian side had been sealed before the smuggler was killed and the only possibility was an entry from the Pakistan side. Those involved in this operation also said one of accomplices of the killed person crawled back to the Pakistani side when the Border Security Force (BSF) had rained bullets on the two smugglers.

The suspected Pakistani smuggler first shot at the anti-narcotics enforcers inviting a bloody reply from the Indian side. The body of the killed person was shown to the Pakistani Rangers but they "disowned" the person.

The Pakistani delegation told the Indian side that they have separate police stations to deal with narcotics and their seizures were heavy. The Indian anti-narcotics body is civil and there are no police stations for the purpose. The Pakistani side also said there was death penalty for smuggling narcotics in the country. The Indian side asked if Pakistan could inform how many narco-smugglers had been sent to gallows. The Pakistani side could not cite a single example.

The Pakistan side said that India had only been raising a bogey of supplies from Pakistan while seizures last year along the border in Punjab had not been beyond 13 kg.

Ultimately, ice was broken between the two teams when they decided to first implement decisions taken earlier before moving forward with a new agenda.

A major decision was taken by the border forces of the two countries with both agreeing that any inadvertent intruder across the border should be handled by the border forces of the two countries for 24 hours and immediately returned to the respective country.

If there is any suspicion on the person and evidence of spying, intruders could be handed over to the police of the respective country. 



BJP protest over harassment of Dalits
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A panch of a village in Fazilka district — fighting for the cause of the Dalits forced to drink urine from the slippers of upper caste members — was allegedly picked up by the police this afternoon, along with two others.

BJP leader-cum-national executive of the party's youth wing Vineet Joshi claimed that the detainees were being forced to sign on stamped blank papers. He, along with other senior BJP leaders, were also "supporting the cause of the Dalits and were instrumental in highlighting their plight".

Mr Joshi added that the other two, picked up by the police, were former panch Malkiat Singh and Dila Singh. The latter was maternal grandfather of Class V student Nanak Singh. His quarrel with classmate Amarjit Singh during a cricket match had led to the alleged controversy.

Mr Joshi added that they would hold demonstration outside Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence for action against the erring cops and registration of a case against the accused.

A senior officer in the Punjab Police Headquatrers here denied the allegations. But he added that he would look into the matter and take necessary action if there was any substance in the allegations.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has already ordered a probe into the incident. Commission Chairman Justice N.C. Jain, on Tuesday, directed Additional Director-General of Police (Crime) to look into the incident and submit his report. Justice Jain had also directed the ADGP to "ensure through a responsible officer that no harassment was caused to the complainants".

Giving details of the incident, the three victims — Bittu Singh, Gurbaksh Singh and Piara Singh — had claimed that the "aggressors" were nursing a grudge against them. The reason, they added, was that their relative Jangir Singh's son Nanak Singh had quarreled with classmate Amarjit Singh, belonging to the upper caste members. The fight had taken place during a cricket match on November 22.

A few days after the quarrel, a mob belonging to the upper caste had surrounded them, along with another relative Balwinder Singh, while they were going to the local bus stand in Patrawala village in Fazilka district.

Balwinder Singh had managed to escape, but the three were taken to the residence of the sarpanch belonging to the same caste. After liquor was forced down their throat, the three were forced to drink urine. As if that was not enough, the police was called in. The cops took them to the chowki after thrashing.



Govt comes under fire for promoting Chief Engineer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
If allegations levelled by the Majha Ex-servicemen Human Rights Front are to be believed, Superintending Engineer (SE) Jarnail Singh was promoted as the Chief Engineer (Drainage) even though "charge sheets were pending against him".

The Front Chairman Col G.S. Sandhu asserted that an inquiry into the collapse of the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) had indicted him.

Describing the canal as "one of the best", he added that the same was possibly damaged beyond repair when Jarnail Singh was the SE.

Mr Jarnail Singh could not be contacted. However, denying the allegations sources in his office claimed that Mr Jarnail Singh was not involved in any scam whatsoever. They added that his promotion as the Chief Engineer was based purely on merit.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference this afternoon, Col Sandhu added that the "allegations were serious enough and warranted his dismissal".

Even though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had upheld his seniority, the officer should not have been promoted, Col Sandhu said. The decision, he demanded, should be reversed immediately.

Elaborating upon the effects of the alleged scam, Col Sandhu added that "corrupt practices had resulted in shortage of water.... Over 20 villages in the Patti sub-division situated in the tail of the irrigation channels were not getting a drop of water for irrigation for over three years".

The Chairman added that in Gurdaspur district, "first information report had been registered against corrupt officials. The amount embezzled was nearly Rs 50 crore". 



Encroachers make hay in Sector 34
Ramanajit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, January 5
Chandigarh is fast becoming encroachers’ paradise. Irrespective of tall claims by the Municipal Corporation and Chandigarh Administration, encroachments by residents, shopkeepers and vendors in the city are on the rise.

Corridors in markets meant for people going out to shop have been encroached in places like the Sector 34 market. Here tables and chairs of make-shift eating joints have come out onto the parking area, making parking very difficult.

To make things worse, the traffic cops at times hand over challans to motorists for parking on the road. During evening hours, the situation becomes difficult as tables and chairs of the fast food joints swell onto the parking area.

Shopkeepers have put racks in corridors, blocking the way of passersby. Not only this, fast-food joint owners have put up gas stoves in the corridors, posing an obvious danger to the shoppers.

Residents of Sector 34 rued at the attitude of the authorities against encroachments in the Sector 35 market.

Former Mayor and present SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur said she had made numerous complaints to the authorities concerned in this regard but to no effect. Sources say that some officials are taking money from shopkeepers to carry on with the encroachments. 



Road safety workshops for autorickshaw drivers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
The Chandigarh traffic police organised three separate workshops for autorickshaw drivers at the PGI, ISBT in Sector 17 and the railway station, as part of the 16th National Road Safety Week, here today. About 625 auto-rickshaw drivers participated in the workshops.

A statement released here by the city police said the purpose of the workshops was to impart education to the autorickshaw drivers regarding the advantages of safe driving and also the traffic rules and regulations. The autorickshaw drivers were explained about various precautions to be observed, especially during the foggy weather.

The police officers also urged the drivers to adopt polite behaviour towards passengers. The officers advised the drivers to inculcate the habit of safe and sane driving.

The police officers said the vehicles, which were 15-years-old, were not to be allowed to ply on the roads. The officers said for those vehicles, which were altered from petrol engines to diesel engines, the administration had adopted the sticker system.

Under this sticker system, the police will give stickers to the autorickshaws, which have completed documents to avoid day-to-day hassles of showing documents to the police officers. Inspector Gulshan Kumar at the PGI, Inspector Prem Lal Chauhan at the ISBT, Sector 17, and Inspector Parmod Kumar at the railway station addressed the gatherings.



Mayor collects funds for tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) activists, led by the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, and the CTYC president, Mr H.S. Lucky, collected funds for victims of the tsunami tragedy in the Sector 20 market here today.

The Mayor went from shop to shop asking for donations and urged businessmen to donate generously towards the cause. Mr Lucky also appealed to residents of the city and Congress workers to come forward for donations in cash and kind.

Meanwhile, he also said that the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, along with CTYC workers would visit the fruit and grain market in Sector 26 on January 8.

The World Sikh Intellectual Council (WSIC) has appealed to all government and non-government employees to donate one day’s salary for the families affected by the tsunami tragedy. Tributes were paid to those families who lost their lives in the calamity. The WSIC also urged the NGOs to contribute liberally.

While the WSIC appreciated the decision of US-based Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal to donate Rs 5 crore to the victims, a sum of Rs 1.06 lakh given by Dr O.P.S. Kande, president of the Patiala unit of the WSIC, was also applauded.

The Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (SNEA) decided to contribute one day’s salary towards the PM’s Relief Fund for tsunami victims. The decision was taken at a meeting of the association chaired by Mr S.C. Kapoor who took over charge as district secretary of the SNEA.

A resident of Sector 5, Mr Vijay Passi, donated Rs 1 lakh towards the PM’s Relief Fund for tsunami victims. A cheque to this effect was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner of the city. 



Little crusader for tsunami victims
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
It’s a lesson many of us have to learn from nine-year-old Swikrit Malik. The class IV student went from house to house in his neighbourhood, travelled to Mohali and Ropar for a cause he thought was more important than playing with friends during his holidays.

Swikrit has collected Rs 1,459 all by himself for tsunami victims. The collection also includes his weekly pocket money of Rs 20 and that of his cousins, whom he persuaded to give up their pocket money so that “tsunami-hit children who have lost their toys and homes could buy candy and toys”.

It took five days for Swikrit to go around in severe cold, undeterred by neighbours who asked him to come later, to collect money in a box that he got his father Mr Rajnish Kumar to make for him. “I saw news in The Tribune and asked my father why so many people had died. After I came to know that many children lost their parents and homes, I thought I should try and help”, he told The Tribune, where he had come to hand over the collected money for the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Swikrit was so charged with the zeal to help out that he even persuaded his cousins in Mohali and Ropar to donate their pocket money for this noble cause.

He started his collection drive on January 2 after his holidays started. First, he went around in the neighbourhood in Sector 46-C and then when his parents went to Ropar to drop his aunt at the Thermal Colony, he went along with his box. Even then when he found that the box was not full till the top, he went to his cousins in Mohali and got some more donations.

It was not easy for him to convince everyone to donate money for tsunami victims. “What is it”, “go run away”, “come later”, “we don’t have change” were some of the answers he got from neighbours and others he asked for donation. He praised his cousins — Sailesh, Sukrit Khosla, Parushi and Suniksh Puri — all less than 10 years for being magnanimous in putting their pocket money into the box.

It was when he felt the box had filled that he came to The Tribune to hand over the collection. He is happy that he has been able to do something for children and their families, who he says “became victims of nature’s fury”.

Swikrit says he also felt inspired when he saw his maternal grandfather and father mail cheques to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.



Donate to credible bodies: DC 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, today warned that anybody trying to collect money fraudulently for tsunami relief will be punished.
In an order passed today, he said he has personally seen people carrying boxes in their hands and accepting donations at various traffic light points in the city.

Such collections are not likely to reach the needy and may be misused. In view of this, the Deputy Commissioner ordered that no permission be granted by the DC office or the SDM office for collection of funds.

The Deputy Commissioner also appealed to the residents that they should donate liberally to credible organisations so that the money and goods reach at the right place. 



Road or death trap?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Barely a month after patches were repaired on the road linking The Tribune Chowk to Phase XI, Mohali, via Sector 48, big potholes have appeared on the road making it a death trap for thousands of motorists who commute on this road daily.

The road caters to all those coming from Panchkula and Ambala side, headed towards Mohali and Kharar bypassing the congested areas of Chandigarh. Similarly, a large number of people going to Ambala and Panchkula side from Mohali also use this road.

It is less than a month that around Rs 5 lakh were spent on the repair of the road, but within three days of the carpeting, pot holes developed on the road, said Mr Mohinder Nath, a Sector 48-C resident, who commutes on this road daily.

According to him several residents living in Sector 48-C confronted the Eexcutive Engineer and the SDO concerned and were promised that the payments of the contractor would be withheld till he does a satisfactory job. “The officials kept the equipment of the contractor as surety, but a few days ago we found that the same has been taken away without the road having been repaired”, he said.

Senior officials in the Administration said the contractor who carpeted the road used inferior material and the matter would be taken up shortly. It is learnt that some senior officials are trying to shield the contractor and put the blame on heavy vehicular traffic for the poor state of the road. 



Residents protest against road closure
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 5
Residents of Kambala village staged a protest here today against the Railways authorities for closing a road which linked the village and other areas with the town.
Traffic on the road was blocked as a mark of protest and slogans were raised against the Railway authorities. When the villagers protested, the SDO concerned stopped the work of digging the road.

The protesters said the road, which linked Kambala and other villages to the town, was being blocked for laying a railway line. If this was done, people would have to cover an additional distance of about 5 km to reach Mohali.

The villagers had asked the Punjab Government and the Railway authorities to construct a bridge in the area for the convenience of the villagers but no action was being taken in this regard.



Warm welcome to Pak journalists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
A 57-member delegation of Pakistani journalists was accorded a warm welcome when it arrived here this evening. The Pakistani journalists are here to participate in the first-ever “Panj Darya Media Conference’’ being organised by the Chandigarh Press Club.

The conference is a collaborative effort of the Chandigarh Press Club and the Lahore Press Club and is the first such effort to bring journalists and editors of both India and Pakistan on a common platform.

The Haryana Governor, Mr A.R. Kidwai, and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate the two-day conference here tomorrow. The team from Pakistan is led by the President of the Lahore Press Club, Mr Arshad Ansari of the Daily Jung. “The purpose of the visit is to enhance friendship between the people of the two countries’’, Ansari said on his arrival today.

He said the Lahore Press Club and the Chandigarh Press Club had reached an understanding of being sister organisations, and this conference was a step towards realising this dream. The Lahore Press Club is located at Simla Hills, and this is the only hill in the entire city, he said.

The programme coordinator, Zaheer Ahmed Babar of daily Nawai-Waqt said the two press clubs were thinking of ways of enhancing interaction between the media fraternity of the two Punjabs. Prominent mediapersons who are a part of the delegation include Abdul Gaffar, member of the governing body of the Lahore Press Club, Awais Ibrahim, Chief News Editor of The Nation, Tariq Mumtaz Malik, editor (investigation) of daily Din, Tahir Javed Malik, editor (assignment) of TV Channel “Jeo”, Aslam Dogar, producer of TV Channel “Aaj”, and Pervez Bashir, editor (reporting) of daily Jung.

The lone woman in the delegation is Farah Waraich, News Editor of Jung. The President of the Chandigarh Press Club, Ramesh Chaudhary of The Tribune said a luncheon meeting with editors and senior journalists was being organised at the Chandigarh Press Club tomorrow. The session will be presided over by veteran journalist Gobind Thukral.

The Secretary-General of the Chandigarh Press Club, Ramesh Vinayak of the India Today group, said the two-day session at Chandigarh will be followed by visits to Ludhiana and Shimla. At Ludhiana, the delegates shall visit Punjab Agricultural University. The two clubs are likely to sign a memorandum of understanding on media exchange programmes between journalists of the two countries.



Rani finds ‘Black’ a learning experience
Swarleen Kaur

Her eyes are dreamy. But as soon as you begin talking to Rani Mukherjee, you discover that beneath her ever-smiling face, exuding softness, is a determined go-getter. In Zirakpur in connection with the promotion of her forthcoming movie “Black”, she was enthusiastic about showing the movie promos to the audience. The actress, who won accolades for “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,” “Hum Tum” and “Veer-Zaara”, is not the one to rest on her laurels. She knows she has miles to go before she sleeps. She is pinning great hopes on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Black”.

She is playing a deaf, dumb and blind girl in this movie. “It is a very challenging role”, she says. She had to learn the sign language for this.

She met these physically challenged people and observed them closely. This was a learning experience for Rani. For the first time she realised how lucky the normal persons are. We never thank God for giving us the numerous gifts of life”.

When asked why she chose to work in this movie, she said any blind person could understand why I chose this movie. Basically it was the concept of the director.

“I was scared when I heard the script. I wondered how I will play this character. I came to know that it was inspired by Helen Keller who, with all her disabilities, achieved whatever she wanted”.

When asked about her frequent visits to the northern region, she said she liked Punjabis. Narrating a humorous incident, she said, “When I was born, I somehow got ‘exchanged’ with some other baby in the hospital. I was later ‘retrieved’ from a Sardarji’s room. In a lighter vein, she said, “I may even get married to a Punjabi.”

Rani also expressed her grief over the tsunami tragedy.

She said she would do whatever she could do for the victims, adding that everyone should come forward to help in the rehabilitation of the tsunami victims.

Pragati Trikha, Class IV student of DAV school, Sector 15, Chandigarh, welcomed Rani with balloons and a bouquet at Zirakpur. Pragati had done a small role with the actress in “Veer Zaara”. Rani gave her hug and her best wishes to her.



Self-assessment scheme features for tax discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The salient features of the “Self-assessment scheme” for the imposition of property tax on commercial properties in the city were discussed at the Municipal Corporation here yesterday.

Attended by representatives of various traders unions of Sector 17 and hotel owners in Sector 35, the conference was chaired by Mr O.P. Popli, Additional Commissioner, and Mr K.K.Monga, Law Officer, who explained the benefits to be gained by the tax payers through adoption of the self-assessment scheme.

The officials explained that SAS had been implemented in the city from November 22 last year and the tax payers for the first time have to pay tax on commercial , industrial and institutional properties.

They said depositing tax under SAS would be entitled to a rebate of 3 per cent on the amount of tax so calculated, if paid between January 10 and February 10.

The officials also explained that anybody could assess his tax and pay according to the self-assessment scheme without any difficulty and inconvenience. They further explained that all the commercial properties in the city had been divided into five groups.

“A person adopting SAS has to first identify which group his building falls in. Thereafter, he is to see, in which zone, his building is situated. Then, the tax-payer has to take up the rates given for the said zone of the group and apply the rates to built-up area of the basement to arrive at the monthly rateable value. Further, this total has to be multiplied by 12 to arrive at annual rateable value to calculate the property tax payable, “ they were told.

The audience was informed that for the next financial year 2005-06, the tax payer who pays the tax under-self assessment scheme between April 1 and April 30 can earn a rebate of 10 per cent on the tax so assessed. At the close of the conference, most of the traders were satisfied with the implementation of self-assessment scheme in the city and showed their willingness to deposit the tax under SAS.

A similar conference was held in the sub-office of the MC at Mani Majra in the afternoon. This was attended by over 40 representatives of various traders union. 



Awareness camps for transport agents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Central Excise Department is organising interaction-cum-awareness camps at Chandigarh, Patiala, Dera Bassi, Mandi Gobindgarh and Shimla on January 6 and 7 to educate goods transport agents about service tax.

The Commissioner, Central Excise, Mr F.M. Jaswal, has advised all persons, liable to pay service tax on goods transport, to take registration before January 30, failing which they will be liable for penalty.

Mr Jaswal said service tax on goods transport had been levied from January 1. However, the government had provided exemption on the transportation of milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables. Exemption had been granted in case the gross amount charged on the consignments did not exceed Rs 1,500.



Vermiculture project being expanded
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 5
The vermiculture project of the local Municipal Council is being expanded after the trial project has proved to be successful.

The civic body started the project with five beds in the Phase X Silvi Park on a trial basis. The project is now being expanded. A proposal to set up another 25 beds in the green belt falling in the Phase V industrial area has been prepared by the council. The expansion project is going to cost more than Rs 1 lakh.

The project was started by the council in alliance with the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Sector 26, Chandigarh, which provided worms to the civic body. Now the council will manage to expand the project at its own level as the worms had multiplied in number. The manure prepared under the vermiculture project is being used by the civic body for potted plants.

The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, had directed the Executive Officer (EO) of the council at a meeting held on December 28 to look for more land for expanding the project.

The Deputy Director also asked the EO to start a campaign to recover pending dues regarding water supply and sewerage and tehbazari. Directions were also given to prepare a proposal to use rain water under the rain harvesting programme and to prepare estimates for development works in accordance with the PWD specifications.



Radiographers’ conference on Jan 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Society of Indian Radiographers is holding a two-day XI National Conference at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, which will begin on Saturday.

More than 600 delegates will attend the conference from all over the country and eminent radiologists, medical physicists and scientists would attend and deliver lectures. The theme of the conference will be radiation protection and radiation safety.



Infant unhurt after fall from rooftop
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
An 18-month -old infant escaped unhurt while his uncle is battling for life in the PGI after falling from the second floor of their house in Pipliwala town. The two were playing on the second floor when both of them accidentally fell from the rooftop.

The child fell on the first floor while his uncle Balwant fell on the ground floor. The parents of the child, Mangal and Sunita, told the police that it was an accident. Mangal and Balwant work in a Panchkula hotel.



Motor cycle, scooter stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 5
A scooter, a motor cycle and two mobile phones were reportedly stolen from the city during the past 24 hours, the police said here today.

Mr Vipin Bakshi of Sector 48-A reported that his black Hero Honda motor cycle (CH-03-J-4395) was stolen from outside Hotel Himani in Sector 35. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 36 police station.

Ms Akansha Tripathi of Sector 15-D filed a complaint to the police that her Kinetic Honda (CH-01-V-1905) was stolen from the Panjab University market. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 11 police station.

Mobile phone stolen: Mr Ashok Kumar of Sector 47 reported to the police that his mobile phone was stolen from a shop in Sadar Bazaar in Sector 19. A case has been registered in the Sector 19 police station.

In another incident, Mr D.D. Grewal of Sector 31-C reported that his mobile phone was stolen from the ISBT-43 on December 26. A case was registered in the Sector 36 police station.

Injured: Two persons were injured when a mini-truck (CH-03-H-1462) hit the scooter they were riding near the Sector 18-19-20 and 21 chowk yesterday. The driver of the scooter, Mr Deepak Kumar, and the pillion rider Jai Shri were injured and admitted to the General Hospital. The police has arrested the truck driver Chotte Lal of Sector 8-C and registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC in the Sector 19 police station.

Liquor seized: Deepak Kumar of Badheri village was arrested with three bottles of Rocket whisky and two bottles of Officer’s Choice whisky from Sector 41-C and Mohinder Pal of Daddu Majra Colony was arrested with five bottles of Rocket whisky from the same colony yesterday.

Two separate cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act have been registered against them in the Sector 39 police station.



2 held for theft

Mohali, January 5
The police has rounded up two persons on charges of theft and recovered stolen vehicles from them.
The arrested persons are Manpreet Singh, a resident of Dungri village under Morinda police station, and Munna Kumar, who hails from Uttar Pradesh. The police has recovered one bicycle and three scooters from the arrested persons. A case under had been registered. OC


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