C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn sets up two teams to check safety in industrial units
Tribune News Service

Industries under scanner

Primarily dealing in the manufacturing of alloy steel, steel brass, steel rolling, rail track, rail sheet, cement pipe, cement tiles, casting of brass and iron, ink plating, printing material, pharmaceuticals, electroplating and casting of LPG regulators. There are about 50 industries in Chandigarh that fall under the hazardous category.

Chandigarh, January 10
Almost one week after the death of a worker in the Bhushan steel factory, the Chandigarh Administration has formed two teams to carry out physical verification of safety measures in the 50-odd units in the city which are classified as hazardous industry.

The teams will check the safety requirements which need to be in place as per the stipulation under the Factories Act, the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Inspector of Factories, Mr Arun Kumar, said here today.

These verifications will be completed within one month and the industries will be asked to provide safety measures immediately, in case these were found to be lacking. Any factory not complying with the said orders, will be punished under the Factories Act. The Deputy Commissioner also said the prosecution case against Bhushan Industries had already been filed in the court. About a week ago a worker in that factory had died following a blast.

The action of the Administration comes about after the incident in the Bhushan Industries. The nature of hazardous industry is classified under the Factories Act and a list of such units has been made, said officials.

In Chandigarh, there are about 50 major industrial hazardous units operating in the Industrial Area Phase-I and Phase-II. These primarily deal in the manufacturing of alloy steel, steel brass, steel rolling, rail track, rail sheet, cement pipe, cement tiles, casting of brass and iron, ink plating, printing material, pharmaceuticals, electroplating, casting of LPG regulators, lifting of rubber blankets by using benzene. All these units will be checked.

Chandigarh has already laid down rules to deal with pollution which is being spread due to affluent discharge from the industries. This is in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board.

A large number of industrial units falling under the hazard category also fall under the ‘’red’’ category of polluting industry dealing largely in chemical processes, petroleum products and tanneries, among other activities. Hospitals also fall in the same category. This covers 71 types of industry.



Punjab Infotech offers land for IT units
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 10
Punjab Infotech Limited has offered pieces of land in Mohali at subsidised rates for setting up information technology units, IT enabled services and business processing outsourcing units. The company owns over 15 acres in Sector 67 where Mahindra Knowledge Park was to be set up, but the project never took off. Mr N.S. Kalsi, MD of the company, said today that the scheme was ready and its various terms and conditions for prospective buyers had been approved by the government.

Pointing out that the interested party would have to buy at least one acre and provide employment to at least 300 persons, Mr Kalsi added that the actual cost of the land per acre was Rs 93.17 lakh plus interest since 1999.

“However this can be subsidised to Rs 50 lakh per acre in case of those wanting to establish the permissible industry and Rs 100 lakh per acre for those developing infrastructure for the permissible industry,” he said.

The largest piece of land that can be bought is 5 acres and the department would offer a floor area ratio of two with the permissible covered area per acre going up to 87,120 sqft. The unit can be set up on the 70 per cent of the piece of land. The allottee is allowed to have common services, a guest house, transit residence, security activity in 20 per cent of the land and commercial and entertainment activities in 10 per cent of the land, he added.

Mr Kalsi said the policy would boost IT-related industries, tele-communication services, electronics industry, call centres, computer hardware, IT research and development institutes etc. “This should lead to the formation of a single large area where IT industries are clubbed together,” he said.

“We will also ensure that these plots be not allotted to speculators. It is laid down that 50,000 sq of area per acre is to be constructed. The buyer would be investing at least Rs 6 crore in a single one-acre unit, even if one goes by the cost of construction.

“This would have to do within the first 18 months. Smaller entrepreneurs can get together and form consortiums to buy common land but should jointly fulfil the eligibility criteria,” he said.

In case the number of applicants is more than the number of plots, a selection process would be followed based on a point system of evaluation. Applicants would be ranked on the basis of their turnover during the last two years, their job-creation capacity per acre and investments proposed within 18 months.



Child’s death fails to move HUDA
Open junction boxes in gardens
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 10
The electrocution of nine-year-old Inderjit Singh at the Shankhla Park in Sector 2 on Friday was a tragedy waiting to happen. The child accidentally came in contact with live wires of an open junction box.

The death of the child, it seems, has failed to make an impact on the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), which maintains all gardens in the town. Instead of covering open junction boxes of lights and fountain in the park where the tragedy occurred, the authority today put up a board at the entrance, specifying that the park is not a thoroughfare.

The child had been electrocuted when he stopped to play here while crossing the park with his mother.

Most of the lights along the path in the park are broken and live wires dangle out of holders and junction boxes. The incident has once again brought into focus the threat posed by open junction boxes of lights in parks, gardens and streetlights.

Streetlights are looked after by the Municipal Council.

A visit to Vatika, Topiary and Yavanika and various other gardens here revealed that lids of the junction boxes of a majority of lights were missing. It is learnt that these have never been repaired since their installation.

At many places, the lids were open, exposing the live wires. At Vatika, most of the lampposts in the middle of the garden have electric cables laid under grass.

HUDA Administrator T.K. Sharma said he had asked the electrical wing to prepare a report of the uncovered junction boxes in the gardens, so that these could be repaired at the earliest.

If the open junction boxes in the gardens are a threat to human life, the open junction boxes of streetlights in almost all sectors have often resulted in electrocution of stray animals. In markets, including Sector 7 market, the uncovered junction boxes pose a threat to human life.

Though the council has reportedly allocated funds for the replacement of damaged junction boxes of streetlights, the work has not yet been undertaken.



Chemist immolates himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
A 45-year-old philanthropist and chemist of Sector 18-D, Deepak Sharma, allegedly immolated himself yesterday. He is survived by his mother, two teenaged children and wife.

His father died of cancer on the same day and the same time four years ago. He was reportedly suffering from depression following the death of his father.

After returning from his shop, Deepak Medicos in Sector 18-D, last night, he watched a serial with his family and had dinner. He allegedly wrote a suicide note saying that he had been in mental agony since his father died.

He also said he was allegedly ending his life on his own and that nobody was responsible for this.

Deepak Sharma was financially well as he distributed medicines among the poor and needy free of cost. He never asked anybody for money and usually told the people to return the money in his next birth, a maid, Sushila, told the Chandigarh Tribune.

Former Tribune Senior Special Correspondent P.D. Mohindra said Deepak had probably helped hundreds of poor. He said it was a great loss to the people who looked upon him as a great source of strength and emulated him in helping others.

Family sources said he went to his room and set himself afire after putting kerosene on him. His family members saw to their horror that Deepak was coming out of his room burning. His wife Kusum tried to cover him in a blanket. He was taken to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.

Such was Deepak goodwill that when the news of his death spread, shopkeepers of the Sector 18-D market put up their shutters and hundreds of people gathered at house number 139, Sector 18-A.

His son Anurag is studying in VII Standard and daughter Pooja in the BA first year.

Mr Mohindra and Sushila said Deepak even went to the houses of patients to help them and did not charge money.

Sushila said once she went to buy medicines from his shop but she found that she was not having sufficient money. She tried to return leaving the medicines but Deepak told her to take the medicines and pay the money in the next birth.

Sushila was not alone. He distributed medicines to lot of such people, including washermen and other poor persons of the area. His family was not prepared to give his photographs to the media.



Gupta accepts PEC directorship
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The newly appointed Director of Punjab Engineering College, Prof Vijay Gupta, has formally informed the Board of Governors of PEC about his acceptance of the post. He will get a basic salary of Rs 25,000 and all other emoluments will be on a par with the Director of any Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Prof Gupta has sought one month’s time to join duty as he has to wind up his work in IIT Kanpur, where he is working presently. In the last week of December Prof Gupta was offered the job following the recommendation of search committee. Prof Gupta is in the Aerospace Engineering wing of the IIT Kanpur.

PEC had been recently upgraded as deemed university and a search committee was formed to look for a suitable Director. The search committee was headed by the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Governors of PEC. PEC is now run by board and is not under the direct control of the Administration.

Three names had been shortlisted by the search committee. Apart from Prof Gupta two more contenders — Prof Madan Gopal and Prof R.K. Mittal — both from IIT, Delhi, were in the race.



Father, son held for recycling stolen goods
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 10
In a major breakthrough, the Panchkula police has arrested a father-son duo from Industrial Area here who were allegedly recycling stolen metal goods by converting them into scrap. The accused were also booked by the police in 2003 for buying live mortar shells from jawans posted in Chandi Mandir. Stolen goods, including telephone and electricity wires, worth at least Rs 10 lakh have been recovered from the two.

The accused, Ram Kumar Mahajan and his son Pankaj Mahajan, who ran the Shivi Trading Company in the Industrial Area here have been arrested under Section 411 of the IPC.

According to the SHO Varinder Kumar of Sector 20 police station, the two used to purchase stolen metal articles from thieves and convert these into scrap which they sold later.



Human trials for AIDS vaccine soon
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
Hopeful of finding a breakthrough in developing an AIDS vaccine, the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune, is going to begin the country's first human trials of the AIDS vaccine soon.

Disclosing the move, Dr R. Paranajpe of the NARI, the only centre in the country to have initiated the research on the AIDS vaccine, said the first of its kind trials would involve 30 healthy volunteers in the country who are not infected with the virus at all.

‘This is the first phase of the trials which would involve a group of healthy persons, both adult males and females who have volunteered for the research but are otherwise not infected. If we achieve success in the Phase I , then in the Phase II trials we are planning to rope in 200 persons. The actual determination of the efficacy of the vaccine would be the Phase III of the trials and would depend largely on the results of the Phase I and Phase II,'' said Dr Paranajpe, while talking to The Tribune today.

He had come to the city to deliver a special talk at the Indo-US Symposium on recent advances in HIV\AIDS research at the PGI.

The animal trials have already been successfully completed where the vaccine was tried on monkeys and mice. The vaccine is aimed at preventing the HIV from infecting the human beings and also curtailing the intensity of the virus when it enters the human body.

“It is an adeno-associated virus- based vaccine, which has three HIV genes. It is a non-replicating vector, which means that this virus will not grow any further once it is induced in a human being,'' explained the doctor. This also ensures the safety of the volunteers and better gauging of the response to HIV generation.

The vaccine trials are being initiated under the joint memorandum signed by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“The clearance of all the regulations have already been obtained and the final clearance of the ICMR is just awaited. Once it is through, we will begin the screening of volunteers for trials,'' added Dr Paranajpe.

The Indian scientists are, however, undeterred by the failure of the earlier big vaccine trials conducted in the USA and Thailand where more than 4000 persons were involved in the research. However, the Indian scientists forward a sound reason for their optimism in the new trials as Dr Paranajpe explained, `` The earlier trials were based on the knowledge levels which were available 15 years ago when not much was fathomed about the HIV. Today we know a lot more about the virus and the disease. So we are more hopeful of achieving the results,'' he said.



Give industry a push for overall growth, says Krishnamurthy
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The contribution of the manufacturing industry to the GDP continues to remain at 17 per cent, despite liberalisation initiated in 1991. Even though other smaller countries like Malaysia and Taiwan have crossed the 30 per cent mark and China is pegged at 35 per cent, a desirable figure, India is lagging behind even though there has been great emphasis on self-reliance.

Dr. V. Krishnamurthy, Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council and Member, National Advisory Council, who was in the city today shared some of his thought on the state of Indian economy in an interview. Dr. Krishnamurthy said that India will not be able to sustain a rounded growth, nor would there be enough employment opportunities unless an impetus was provided to boost the manufacturing sector by providing skilled labour and improving quality control.

Around 65 to 70 per cent of unemployed were dependent upon the agricultural sector for want of jobs in the industrial sector. However, the slow growth of the manufacturing industry, failing to keep pace with the growth in demand for jobs, has had a negative impact on employment.

Reacting to the recent thaw in the Indo-Pak relations Dr. Krishnamurthy said that most political problems between India and Pakistan could be resolved if precedence was given to trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. We can give them coal or wheat and get electricity and other material form them, this will make the resolution of political conflict easier. It was the people of the two countries who were suffering for want of an economic tie between the two nations. "Imagine how much India would gain if the gas pipeline could come here through Pakistan".

He further said that economic opportunities between Punjabs in India and Pakistan were tremendous; the same was the case between East Bengal and Bangladesh. Punjab, which has been long dependent on agriculture, must work to exploit resources in other areas of trade and commerce. Enterprise is a strong point in normalisation of relations. In the absence of the advantage of having a coastline, Punjab must compensate by having good relations with its neighbours.

In case of Punjab, he said, the state could go in for agro-based industry by effecting a change in the cropping pattern, as this will lead to more effective use of the raw material and also generate more ancillary jobs. At the national level only 2 per cent of the food is processed and about 35 to 40 per cent is wasted for want of processing. In Punjab, the story would be the same.

His message to the industry is that they should not depend too much on government subsidies. If the industry in the state waits for help from the government the gap between the developed and non-developed states will gradually widen to an extent that the state will not be able to balance it.

Dr. Krishnamurthy who was in town to present a keynote address at the North West Qual Tech Convention said, "One of the ways to boost the manufacturing industry was to provide technically qualified personnel. At present not even 50 per cent of the persons seeking jobs can get employment because they are not suitably qualified for the job".

He said that Institutions like Punjab Technical University (PTU) were now offering vocational course for producing skilled people. "There is an urgent need to look at the courses in Industrial Training Institutes and Engineering colleges to make them industry specific.

All the World Bank and reports on projection of Indian economy have a big "if" hidden. We can only achieve those targets if we put our acts together. Quoting an example he said "Global trade in leather is put at 60 billion US dollars with China having a share of around 20 per cent despite having lesser resources than India. India has about 10 per cent of World's Hide and Skin resources, but has a 2 per cent contribution to World trade in leather. There is an urgent need to exploit out resources. At present all our resources and potentials are not being exploited, we need to take a series of executive actions to make the India economy boom", said Dr. Krishnamurthy, who is also a member of the PM's Council on Trade and Industry.



Have theatres raised rates without giving facilities?
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
Cinema halls in Chandigarh have exorbitantly enhanced maintenance charges meant for providing facilities without offering amenities — at least this is what a Jalandhar-based film distributor is claiming.

In an application submitted before Chandigarh's District Magistrate, Northern India Motion Pictures Association has claimed that several cinema halls in the city enhanced the maintenance charges to Rs 7.61 per seat against the approved rate of Rs 1.67 per seat. A cinema hall went up to the extent of enhancing the rate to Rs 27.30 per seat. Worse, a committee--directed to be formed for managing the maintenance funds-- never came into being.

Going into the background of the matter, the distributor has claimed that Chandigarh's District Magistrate vide a circular had earlier stated that revised admission rates had come into effect from June,1997. Along with new rates, a fund was also being created for providing the amenities. Money was to be collected at the rate of Rs 1.67 per balcony seat, Rs 1 per upper stall seat and 67 paise per lower stall seat.

The money so collected was to be deposited in a separate account by each cinema owner. The fund was to be used for providing bacteria-free filtered potable water, besides maintaining clean toilets.

A committee was also directed to be constituted under the Sub Divisional Magistrate's chairmanship. The other members were to include the Medical Officer of Health, besides the owners or managers of cinema halls in the city. The money was to be spent only after the committee's prior approval.

Arguing on their behalf, Mr Mohan Jain has asserted that the committee was never formed, the separate account was never opened and the facilities were never provided, forcing the cine buffs to buy even bottles of mineral water.

The script did not end here. The cinema halls increased the maintenance charges without any authority of law. In fact, they were charging money under the category of "funds for additional amenities".

Mr Jain has added that the order directing the creation of a separate fund for providing the basic amenities by collecting maintenance charges with effect from 1997 was cancelled through another order issued in 2000. But the cinema owners continued to charge "as per their own decision without interference from the administration". He has added that "an amount of over Rs 50 crore has been illegally collected by the cinema owners". The District Magistrate's intervention has also been sought in the matter.



Project to issue smart cards to defence pensioners
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
To streamline the process of pension disbursement and maintain a comprehensive, readily accessible data bank, the Ministry of Defence has initiated a project to issue smart cards to armed forces pensioners.

"The project is in its initial phase of execution and the ground work and user requirement survey is under way," Joint Controller of Defence Accounts, Mr S K Choudhary, told The Tribune here today.

The smart cards will contain the complete profile of the pensioner as well as details of his pension and other pensionary benefits he is entitled to. The project is expected to take about a year to crystallise and the requisite infrastructure to be put in place.

Pensioners would not be required to apply for the smart cards. Based upon existing data, these would be issued automatically to them through pension disbursing offices of the banks in which they are holding pension accounts.

The project to issue smart cards to pensioners comes on the heels of the similar cards being issued to serving and retired armed forces personnel for availing canteen facilities and medical benefits under the recently introduced ex-servicemen's contributory health scheme (ECHS).

However, given the delay in preparation and issue of smart cards for ECHS, issue of smart cards for pensioners could turn out to be a long drawn affair.

Presently, there are over 21 lakh defence pensioners in the country, with 95,000 being added every to their ranks every year. The Defence Ministry spends a colossal amount of Rs 11,000 crore on pensions every year.

Another welcome change in policy concerning defence pensioners is that they are no longer required to appear before the defence pension disbursing officer every year for the purpose of identification and verification.

Mr Choudhary said that the identification process could now be done by the local bank branch from which he drew his pension. This did away with the need of the pensioners, specially aged or those residing in far off areas, to travel all the way to the DPDO's office. The policy was introduced last month.



Chandigarh Calling

The lovely, small Chinese oranges have become a centre of attraction for visitors to House No. 3099, Sector 47-D, Chandigarh. This two-foot high tree is loaded with 80 full-grown fruits. The owner, Ms Niraj Bajaj said, “I had purchased the sapling from a shop in Sector 26 two years back. Ever since I have been looking after it like my own children.”

Poll fever

Even though campaigning is yet to pick up in Haryana for the forthcoming Assembly election. Panjab University seem to be in the grip of election fever with a number of students hailing from the state and the two split up groups of the Haryana Students Association supporting two rival parties, the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal. The leader of one faction of HSA led by Vikas Rathee even has a jazzy camera mobile phone which has a picture of a beaming Mr Om Prakash Chautala on the screen, indicating that he and his supporters would back the Chief Minister. The other faction, however, is stauchly behind Congress candidate from Narwana, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, who takes on the CM in this constituency.

Tsunami factor

Tsunami might have proved to be a tragedy beyond anyone’s imagination but it does seem to have given many parents-to-be a choice of a name for their unborn child. And as more news come in that there are couples among the victims who have named their post-tsunami children after the name of these rare tidal waves, the resolve of many parents-to-be gets stronger.

Rani’s short temper

When Rani Mukherjee came to Zirakpur recently for the promotion of her forthcoming movie ‘Black’ many people got passes to catch a glimpse of her. As soon as she entered the venue all eyes were focused on her. But the meeting with Rani was not without hiccups. The screen operator showing the promos aroused her ire. Not too happy with the quality of picture she shouted at him saying’ “you don’t how to operate the computer”. In between the screening too, she became a bit impatient. ‘Please be silent; it will give respect to my movie, she said. She also asked the names of the computer operator and told him that she would never forget his name. Her arrogant remarks for him left a bad impression on many.

Cops of all hues

A temple is a place of devotion even if it has been defiled by certain unscrupulous elements. But, one wonders if it could be so in case of a police station. A few police women, it seems, hold some reverence for a police station as many have for a temple. This was recently witnessed at a police station in Chandigarh where a woman police constable was seen touching its stairs with her forehead apparently unmindful of the fact that one of her senior colleagues had been arrested minutes before by the CBI for accepting bribe in the police station. The woman constable came for duty at a time when her colleague was being quizzed by the anti-corruption team of the CBI for accepting a bribe in a molestation case.

Green thumb

A barely one-foot high banyan tree (35-years), a full-grown peepul tree (36 years), a rare male and female variety of pilkan and a row of other fruit-bearing trees rising not more than one and a half feet, precariously perched in cane baskets and earthen pots. Sounds apocryphal? But, true. Dr V.P. Sud, a medic-cum-plant designer has a rare bonsai plantation that he has assiduously arranged in the well-groomed foregarden of his house in Panchkula, Sector-8, which offers a peep into the passion he had nurtured since the days of innocent. A cluster of trees of mango, chikoo, orange, guava and a range of pygmy fruit bearing trees, inculding the Chinese orange plant bearing more than 500 full-grown fruits, have become the cynosure of all inquisitive eyes. Besides fruit-bearing trees, Dr Sud has grown peepul, banyan, ficus, pilkan and the legendary Ashoka tree in pots and pans. Dr Sud, whose name has already figured in Guinness Book of World Records in 1994 for the rare potted variety of stick cactus rising as high as 36 feet, has 27 prizes and trophies in his kitty. He has received these prizes at the annual HUDA-hosted Spring-Fest. The dream garden that he has created was adjudged the Best in the below 14-marla house category.


With every New Year a number of resolutions are made only to be broken. But only if the resolutions were honoured, it would make life so much more comfortable. Resolutions are none other than oneself, if we cannot honour a promise made to ourselves, what would one do with promises made to others? Keeping a New Year promises surely depicts a person’s strength of character and anyone who has the courage to stick by his resolution is a honourable man. So next time someone boasts of having kept his resolution, do not take the persons to be an ordinary mortal. He is surely someone special. “Work hard to achieve your ambitions. Spare some time for yourself. Come close to your family and spend quality time with them. Help your friends, do not ignore your needs” are some common New Year resolution. If you stick to your resolutions, one person whom you’ll find to be the happiest will be you.

— Sentinel



Admn plans Badheri facelift
To invite pvt builders for project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
Badheri village located in Sector 41 is to undergo re-development in order to bring it on a par with other areas of the city. The village, which is a part of the Municipal Corporation, is today more like an urban sprawl and no more like the traditional villages.

The Chandigarh Administration plans to invite private builders to upgrade the infrastructure of the village while integrating some parts of the village.

The Administration may even allow some relaxations in covered area and use of space like allowing hotels and marriage palaces, sources said while detailing the plan. The plan is to have an ethnic food court to boost the economy of the village.

This ethnic food court will serve traditional cuisine of the region and other traditional Punjabi food. The plan also envisages to have small kiosks for selling traditional village crafts such as bangles, kites, phulkari work and silver jewellery. The plan is to have landscaped courts for holding traditional village amusements. A small open-air theatre for holding street theatre, performing arts and other community interactions, also needs to be built.

The idea to upgrade the village has come about as most of the villages in the Union Territory have become merely upgraded “low quality” built forms within the planned city, providing lower end accommodation for the low income group families as well as shopping areas for cheap shopping with lesser overhead costs.

A report prepared by the Administration remarks that most houses in the village have become idea options for those who are not in a position to own and rent residences in the planned sectors but wish to enjoy basic amenities of water, electricity and sewerage.

The Administration is dubbing it as a pilot project and if it is successful, similar projects will be taken up in other villages.



Need to know candidate’s past, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
Stating that the public had the right to know the past of tainted ministers, Prof Virendra Kumar, UGC Emeritus Fellow, said the Supreme Court had been enlarging the scope of the existing law through various judgments to enable the voter to know the past of every candidate contesting the elections.

He was speaking at a special lecture on “People’s right to know the antecedents of their election candidates: a critique of constitutional strategies” organised at ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre, Panjab University, here today.

Professor Kumar quoted two landmark judgments in the case of Association for Democratic Reforms (2002) and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (2003) which clearly laid down the provisions wherein it becomes necessary for the candidate to disclose information about five aspects.

These include conviction, acquittal, discharge of a candidate in any criminal case in the past; information about whether a candidate is accused in any pending case six months prior to the filing of nomination papers, assets of self and spouse, liability towards banks, financial institutions, if any, and educational background.

The Supreme Court by enunciating these five provisions has empowered the elector to make an informed choice of his candidate.

Professor Kumar said the basic design of the Constitution was still sound and by linking the Right to Vote under Article 326 with the Fundamental Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, a new protective dimension has been given to the right to vote.

Justice H.S. Brar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and President, Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, in his presidential address observed that the right to know is a fundamental right of the people and without this right the democratic system of the country will be incomplete.

He however, lamented the falling moral standards in the society and said the elected representatives were a reflection of our society as a whole.

Prof J.K. Gupta, Dean, University Instruction, in his inaugural address, raised the issue about the right of the people to know the antecedents of the various candidates contesting an election as concerned citizen of the country.

Mr P.K. Saini, Director, ICSSR, presented the welcome address while Mr Jagat Jit Singh proposed the vote of thanks.



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in shop fire
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, January 10
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire that broke out at a general store at Dhakauli village on the Kalka-Ambala highway, near here, today.

Eyewitnesses said they noticed flames and smoke billowing out of the shop at about 5 am. A fire engine doused the fire in about 30 minutes.

Personnel the Punjab and Haryana police, who were deployed at the Panchkula barrier, and shop owners of the area assisted the firemen in extinguishing the fire.

Mr Harnek Singh, a dhaba owner, said the fire brigade had to break the shutters of the shop as the shop-owner, Mr Narinder Kumar, was at his home in Trivedi Camp village, near Mubarikpur.

Mr Narinder Kumar said he had left the shop late last night after storing a stock of groundnut, rewaris and gachak. A phone, colour television set and some electronic goods were destroyed besides the stored material in the fire, he said.

He suspects short-circuit to be the cause of the fire.



Businessmen donate Rs 4.25 lakh for tsunami victims
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 10
Extending their help to the tsumani victims, land developers, property dealers from Zirakpur besides the Stone Crushers Owners Association, Mubarikpur, and some individuals donated a sum of Rs 4.25 lakh to the District Red Cross Society, Patiala, today.

They handed over the money in form of demand drafts and cheques to Mr Narinder Shanga, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Dera Bassi, today.

Mr Vikas Singal, Managing Director of the Raglan Constructions, Zirakpur, a group of construction companies, donated Rs 2 lakh while Mr Prem Bansal, Managing Director of the Prem Bansal Real Estate, Zirakpur, contributed Rs 1 lakh. The Managing Director of Motia Constructions, Zirakpur, Mr Pawan Bansal donated Rs 73,000 while the Stone Crushers Owner’s Association, Mubarikpur, contributed Rs 31,000.

Apart from this, a state awaradee for social services, Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, who is also a chairman of Rotary International, District 3090, voluntarily donated Rs 21,000. Mr Narinder Sangha appreciated the donors for coming forward for this noble cause.



MC donates Rs 6 lakh for tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 10
The SDM, Mohali, will hold a meeting with the various Municipal Councillors of the township tomorrow to request them to collect cash and material for the tsunami victims.

The SDM, Mr M. L. Sharma, said he would be making a personal request to the councillors to mobilise resources from among the residents in their wards to donate liberally to help those affected by the tsunami tragedy.

The Executive Officer, MC, Mr Harbhagwan Garg, today said the council had handed over Rs 6 lakh to the Directorate of Local Bodies, Punjab, as part of their contribution to the tsunami victims relief fund.

“We have given Rs 5 lakh from the council’s side while Rs 1.25 lakh has been collected from the employees who gave their one day’s salary for the cause. Other than these, Rs 30,000 was collected by some councillors for the victims,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Prem Singh Gill, former Additional Director, Agriculture, Punjab, and President of the Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association here has appealed to the Punjab Government pensioners to contribute generously to the Prime Ministers National Relief Fund.



Fauji Beat
Arjan Singh sets noble example

A Major-General, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of a division in Western Command, has allegedly been found to have indulged in corruption. This, it is alleged, he did in land deals while he was a Sub Area Commander (as a Brigadier) in Central Command. The officer has been attached to Headquarters, Delhi Area, for recording of summary of evidence.

Some military officers react to such cases by saying, “See what is happening in the civil”. Is the Army going the civil way? The answer, perhaps, is yes. We also find a few senior officers facing trial in connection with the Tehelka episode.

These cases also bring to one’s mind the noble example of Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. He has donated Rs 2 crore, as benevolent endowment, to the ex-servicemen of the Air Force and thier families by opening a trust under Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis (retd). Whom would you like to make your role model?

Rodrigues shifted Command Hospital

Little did General (then Lieutenant-General) S.F. Rodrigues know when he was GOC-in-C, Western Command, more than a decade ago, that one day he would be reviewing a guard of honour at the same station (Chandi Mandir) as the Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh. Punjab Raj Bhavan, Chandigarh, has had four of its occupants from the Army. Of these Generals, three have been from the Artillery, commonly called gunners.

Most of the present residents of the Chandi Mandir military station may not know that the Command Hospital (Wester Command) was shifted from Chandigarh to its present complex in Chandi Mandir when General Rodrigues was the Western Army Commander.

On return to India from Congo in 1963, 152 General Hospital occupied the buildings of the erstwhile Punjab Secretariat in Sector 12, Chandigarh, and was upgraded to Base Hospital. Then in 1967 it was further upgraded to Command Hospital. Although many additions and alterations were made to the old barracks, these did not meet the requirements of a command hospital. No doubt a modern complex for the hospital in Chandi Mandir was coming up, but in the normal course it would not have been ready before mid-1991.

Besides ordering the speeding up of the construction of the new hospital complex, the then Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Rodrigues, gave instructions to his Deputy Director, Medical Services, to expedite the shifting of the hospital to Chandi Mandir. Thus, the Command Hospital (Western Command) moved to its present modern complex in July, 1990. For, General Rodrigues knew that after it shifted, the complex would be ready much earlier.

Ex-servicemen’s welfare

The much-talked-about Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare has been finally set up under the Ministry of Defence. It is headed by an Additional Secretary, who will work under the overall supervision of the Defence Secretary.

The department will deal with all aspects of pensionary benefits, resettlement and welfare of ex-servicemen and their dependents. In addition, it will also deal with the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).

There are a number of genuine problems of ex-servicemen which have been hanging fire for years on end. A few pressing ones are not granting 50 per cent of the pay as pension to a majority of them, their resettlement and the demand of one rank, one pension. Unless, therefore, this department is well represented by ex-servicemen to guide bureaucrats on their problems, it will hardly serve any useful purpose.

Purchasing vehicles from CSD

Some cases have come to light where dealers have demanded extra money on motor cycles purchased through the Canteen Stores Department (CSD). The CSD price is deposited by the buyers through a demand draft. Dealers cannot charge any money beyond the CSD price.

— Pritam Bhullar



Seminar on judicial activism held
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 10
A seminar on “judicial activism” was organised at the Ambedkar Institute of Careers and Courses, Phase 3B2 here today. According to a press note issued by Ms Rajwinder Kaur Minhas, Principal of the institute, the main speaker was Dr Cheena Gambhir, Lecturer, Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh. She expressed her views about the role of judiciary and its judicial activism. She pointed out that the origin of judicial activism took place in the USA in 1804. She emphasised the role of public interest litigation in the judicial system. She pointed out the role of legislative and judicial partnership in the law making process.

Concluding her lecture she said judicial activism characterised by moderation and self-restraint was bound to restore the faith of the people and would activate the executive and the legislature to function effectively under the vigilant eye of the judiciary as ordained by the Constitution.



Doc found absent from duty
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 10
In yet another early morning “attendance check” by the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, in his constituency a doctor employed at the government dispensary Phase IX here was found absent from duty.

According to the MLA, the doctor had signed the movement register stating that he would be visiting the Phase IX government schoolchildren. “But inquiries revealed that he never went to the school. I contacted him on his mobile phone and asked about his whereabouts, he told me that he was in the Phase VI Civil Hospital. I asked him to give the telephone to the SMO of the hospital following which he started giving lame excuses. I realised that he was bluffing. I reached the Phase IX school and he was not there either. He rushed there later full of explanations,” said Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

“What irks is the fact that doctors are one of the highest paid government employees and still they prefer to earn money by practicing sitting at home. They are doing a grave injustice to not just the state but also to their patients who wait for hours at these dispensaries,” he said adding that the absent doctor apologised for lying and being absent. “I wanted to write to the health department to suspend him but since he admitted that he was wrong, he has been given another chance,” said the MLA.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh had, earlier in the day, checked the government dispensaries in Phase VII and Phase 3B1 to check the staff attendance.



Sukhna parking lot auctioned for Rs 20 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The parking area at the Sukhna Lake fetched Rs 20 lakh against a reserve price of Rs 14.85 lakh at an auction held at the office of the Municipal Corporation here today. Three parking lots were auctioned 10 months after the expiry of the last contract.

The parking lot of Neelam cinema went under the hammer for Rs 1.8 lakh against a reserve price of Rs 90, 000 while the parking lot behind Gurdev Studio, with a reserve price of Rs 22.5 lakh, was auctioned for Rs 22.76 lakh.

It may be recalled that the auction of the three parking lots had been postponed earlier in view of the poor response these had elicited. Following the expiry of the last contract on March 31, the parking areas were being managed by the MC employees as a stop-gap arrangement.



R-Day function to have motor cycle show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The Republic Day function will be celebrated as usual at Parade Ground, Sector 17, and Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, will hoist the national flag, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, said.

The Administration has decided to bring about some changes in the entertainment programme which is held after the formal ceremony. It has been decided to include a motor cycle show featuring daring skills of the riders in the programme. An equestrian show jumping will also be held besides a few cultural items.

The shows will be organised in collaboration with the Army, Chandigarh police and the local Horse Riding Society.



3 shells recovered from Bhud Mandlai
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 10
The Raipurani police today recovered three live mortar shells from a field at Bhud Mandlai village near here.

The shells were found during a search operation in the area following the recovery of seven mortar shells yesterday.

The police also handed over the shells recovered yesterday to the Army.

The latter had destroyed those and asked the police to search the area properly.

The army has its firing range near the village and many a time misfired and unexploded shells are found scattered in the area.



Poetry award for banker
Tribune News Service

Vilas Malhotra
Vilas Malhotra

Chandigarh, January 10
Mr Vilas Malhotra of the Central Bank of India, Sector 17, stood first in the All-India poetry recitation contest held at Mumbai recently.

Mr Malhotra also won the first prize in a debate organised by NABARD under the Chandigarh Language Implementation Committee held last week.

Mr Malhotra has won 22 first prizes in debates, declamations, symposia and poetry recitation contests in all, organised by the Chandigarh Language Implementation Committee, Government of India.



Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
Mr Kuldeep Raj Sharma, father of Mr Rajesh Kumar Sharma, Sectional Head, The Tribune, died here yesterday after a brief illness. He was 70.

He leaves behind his wife and four sons.

His funeral at their native village, Panjlasa, under Naraingarh tehsil, today, was largely attended.



Didar is Chairman of Panchayat Samiti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
Mr Didar Singh was unanimously elected Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti today. He replaces Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, who was removed following a no-confidence motion about a fortnight ago.

A total of 13 members of the samiti turned up to vote. Mr Didar Singh hails from Hallomajra.



Administrator’s council meeting on Jan 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The first meeting of the newly constituted Administrator’s Advisory Council is scheduled to be held on January 31, a spokesperson for the Chandigarh Administration said today.

The Council will meet on a quarterly basis. In the first meeting the concept paper prepared by the Adviser to the UT Administrator will be tabled for discussion.



Bag containing 8.5 kg charas found
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 10
The police has found a bag containing 8.5 kg of charas worth lakhs of rupees in the international market. The bag was found abandoned along the Dera Bassi-Mubarikpur road adjacent to the railway overbridge, late last night. The contraband was wrapped in a polythene bag.

According to the police some unidentified person escaped from the spot leaving behind the drug after he noticed a police party on night patrol.

The police party, led by SI Subhash Gaur, recovered the bag from the spot and found the narcotic inside. The police has registered a case under the NDPS Act against an unidentified person at Dera Bassi police station.

The police had also found some bags containing 100 kgs of charas along the Kalka-Ambala highway near Lalru in December 2003.

Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said the police had started investigating the matter with the assistance of police departments of the neighbouring states.



Scooterists hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 10
A 22-year-old scooterist, Gaurav Gupta, was injured when he lost balance trying to avoid hitting a stray dog on the road dividing Sectors 8 and 9. He received serious head injuries and was rushed to the General Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

In another incident, a 40-year-old resident of Morni, Bhupinder Singh, was injured after his scooter was hit by a Canter near Morni. He was rushed to General Hospital, from where he was referred to the PGI.

In third incident, a middle aged woman, Nadira, who had sustained 70 per cent burn injuries on Friday succumbed to her injuries today. She had sustained injuries while cooking on a stove at her residence in Pinjore.



2 MC employees held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
The CBI today arrested Inspector Partap Singh and Roshan Lal of the cattle pound today for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1,500 from a cow owner.

Partap Singh allegedly demanded the bribe for releasing a cow and a calf of Naseeb Singh of Faidan Village near Sector 48.

The CBI will produce the Municipal Corporation employees before a court tomorrow.



Secure Meters wins Vardhman quality trophy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 10
Secure Meters Ltd, Solan, bagged the Vardhman Quality Navigator Trophy while the Sandhar Industries, Gurgaon, won the Winsome Quality Pathfinder Trophy at the fourth North West Qualtech convention organised by PTU’s Gian Jyoti School of TQM and Entrepreneurship here this evening.

The first runner up for the Vardhman Quality Navigator Trophy, which was for companies having a turnover above Rs 50 crore, was Bharti Cellular Ltd, Chandigarh, while the second runner up was DCM Engineering Products, Ropar.

Winsome Quality Pathfinder Award was for companies whose turnover was below Rs 50 crore. The first runner up in this category was Kamla Dials and Devices Ltd, Parwanoo, while the second runner up was Twenty First Century Batteries Ltd, Mohali.

In the North-West Qualtech Standards category, Kamla Dials and Devices Ltd, Parwanoo, won the QMPRO rolling gold trophy. The first runner up in this category was ABC Papers Ltd, Chandigarh, while Kamla Dials and Devices Ltd, Derabassi, was declared the second runner up.

As many as 32 companies participated in the competition, out of which 26 were in the above Rs 50 crore category. The awards were adjudged by a jury comprising of professionals which was headed by Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune group of papers.

The awards were given away by Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said there was a need to encourage entrepreneurs who could take risks for generating wealth for the country.

Real entrepreneurs need not be taught, successfull entrepreneurs have never attended any schools of management.

He suggested that the government should scrap laws that curbed competition.

In Punjab, the total economy was in private hands except the Punjab State Electricity Board and partially transporataion. While the private sector was booming, the two government set ups were always running in losses. Stress had to be laid on optimum use of resources and reducing wastage to the minimum.

Dr V. Krishnamurthy, Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, said during the 50s, Jawaharlal Nehru did a lot to develop human resources in the country. He had set up a large number of training institutes. There was a wide spectrum of industrial phase. But later the progress of the manufacturing sector stagnated and its contribution to the country’s GDP was only 17 per cent at present whereas China and Taiwan contributed by over 30 per cent.

Giving an example that a ceiling fan in India was much more costlier than a fan manufactured in China, Dr Krishnamurthy said manufacturers should produce goods at competitive rates and generate employment for the younger generation. “We have to increase the size of our operations and the competitiveness of the Indian industry”, he added. He suggested that employees should be involved in maintaining quality of products.

He said we had the knowledge, the capacity and the technological skills to progress. For achieving prosperity we would have to channelise our energy and lay greater emphasis on productivity, quality and entrepreneurship.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |