C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


International airport for city in offing
Information technology exports to touch Rs 250 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The concept of converting Chandigarh airport into an international airport is under active consideration at the Central Government level. The Chandigarh Administration is also examining the feasibility of setting up a self-contained township to support the IT bank, this was announced by the UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), at the information technology awards ceremony today.

Growth in IT sector is set to trigger the economic growth of Chandigarh and its surrounding towns like Mohali, as IT exports are soaring and are expected to touch Rs 250 crore for the year ending March, 2005.

Addressing IT professionals at the CII in Sector 31 on the annual IT awards presentation ceremony, General Rodrigues said the Chandigarh Administration had ambitious plans for the promotion of IT and it was planning to adopt a multi-pronged strategy and broad-base the IT policy.

Sincere efforts are being made for expediting the launch of Chandigarh Technology Park (CTP). He said internationally reputed company like Infosys had already come forward to set up its campus in Chandigarh and other leading companies too had shown their keenness to be associated with the CTP project. The software export from the region will certainly get a fillip with more and more companies coming to IT sites in Chandigarh and Mohali.

Chandigarh Administration is also examining the feasibility of setting up a self-contained township to support the IT park.

He called upon the IT giants to make full use of the potential in terms of manpower and expertise of professionals to excel in this field and to bridge the gap between the developed and the developing worlds.

The Administrator said the future belongs to IT and e-governance and its application needs to be utilised for improving the quality of services to the society in all sectors of development like healthcare and public distribution system. He said the IT-enabled environment needed to be upgraded in educational institutions to make youth aware of the ongoing developments in the world in this sector.

General Rodrigues presented awards to the leading software exporters: IDS Infotech Ltd., Excel Callnet Pvt. Ltd., Ethree R. Info Sys. Pvt. Ltd., Universal Cyber Inf. Ltd and Net Solutions.

The Secretary IT, Mr S.K. Sandhu, said the Administration aimed to provide even more services to the people through the sampark centres. A new facility of collection of passport forms has also been started at sampark centres in Sectors 43 and 18.

Meanwhile, Dr Sanjay Tyagi, Director of the Software Technology Parks of India, Mohali, while talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, said software exports were Rs 180 crore in the last financial year and were set to cross Rs 250 crore, for this year says Dr Tyagi .

The Union Ministry of Information Technology has set a target of Rs 2,500 crore by the year 2010 for the Mohali centre of the STPI that handles work of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. “In the next three years we will achieve the target of Rs 1,000 crore,” claimed Dr Tyagi.

NASSCOM-KPMG in their survey, have ranked Chandigarh-Mohali as one of the eight clusters in India with the potential for maximum growth in this field in the next three years.



Audit establishes lapses in land for Law Institute
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 11
Apart from pointing out that the UT Administration suffered a whopping loss of Rs 139.33 crore due to “irregular allotment of land to ineligible company”, the office of the Accountant-General (Audit), UT Chandigarh, has also pointed out a number of serious lapses in the entire process of allotment of land to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited.

A perusal of the correspondence between the auditors and UT Finance Department clearly shows that despite repeated memos and reminders, the powers-that-be in the UT Administration refused to make amends and, instead, tried to browbeat the auditors into dropping the objections raised by them with regard to allotment of 5.86 acres of prime land in Sector 38A.

The company was set up by prominent persons, including Dr V.K. Bansal, former Chairman of the Department of Laws of Panjab University, high court lawyer Shailendra Jain, who is Central Government standing counsel for the UT and two sons of a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

While The Tribune had already highlighted way back on May 25 how in their haste to clear the way for the construction of the law institute by the company, UT officials even went to the extent of changing the zoning plan of the sector, successive memos now also show that even the ground coverage for the institute was increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.

The Tribune managed to obtain copies of successive memos and correspondence between the auditors and the UT.

The first known memo addressed to the UT Senior Town Planner was issued on July 21, 2004, which asked for records relating to the allotment.

In Memo Number 17 dated August 5, the auditors noted that while a portion of the same land was offered for allotment to Punjab Tractors Limited on commercial rates, it was later given to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited on highly concessional rates.

Some questions that the auditors wanted answered were: Was Chandigarh Law Institute registered under the Societies Act in UT Chandigarh? How old a registered society was eligible for applying for land? What did the land cost UT and at what rate was it given to the company? What was the experience of the company in running such institutes and was there a public demand for such an institute? Also, what were the special credentials of the institute that made UT “allot a prime piece of commercial land at throwaway prices?”

The auditors also wanted to know what were the compelling circumstances for giving special treatment to the institute by allotting the land “very promptly”. Audit Memo Number 49 dated October 11 says it all.

It says that as per the existing policy, only societies/trusts registered in Chandigarh for the past over five years were eligible to apply for land for religious/cultural/educational purpose. Such trusts/societies should also have at least 25 per cent of the cost of land and building in their accounts.

Records showed that Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited was incorporated as private company on September 26, 2003, and was registered with the registrar of companies, Jalandhar. Therefore, when it applied for land, it was not five years old. On September 30, 2003, just four days after being registered, it applied for allotment of seven acres of land!

The UT Estate Office, which received the application, did not find the company eligible for allotment. However, the objection was overlooked and the file was sent to the UT Finance Secretary for placing it at the screening committee meeting on November 19, 2003.

The Estate Office offered Blocks 1 and 2 on Dakshin Marg, Sector 38-A, to the company for allotment of 5.75 acres at Rs 900 per sq yard. The total cost was over Rs 2.50 crore. However, on January 27, 2004, a total of 5.86 acres were allotted to the company for over Rs 2.55 crore.

The zoning plan for the institute was sent for approval to the Finance Secretary on February 11, 2004. In what could be a record of sorts, the Administration approved the changed plan on the same day! It chose to ignore the rule that zoning plan should have been changed before the allotment was made.

Memo 49 says: “The change of land use of Block 1 and 2 arbitrarily from commercial to institutional in favour of a private limited company, supposedly established for profit making, which was not eligible and was not covered under the policy of the Chandigarh Administration, has resulted in minimum revenue loss to the Government to the tune of Rs 139.33 crore.”

However, all that the UT Joint Secretary (Finance) clarified to the Accountant-General’s office on January 8 was that the jurisdiction of the Registrar of Companies, Jalandhar, extended to Chandigarh also.

As for the rest of the objections, he says: “The other points raised in the audit memo are the same as raised in the case titled ‘Neeraj Sharma vs UOI CWP No. 6916 or 2004 (PIL)’ pending in the hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana.”

The Joint Secretary (Finance) then offers a copy of the written statements/affidavits filed by the Administration in the said petition for perusal.

And lastly, he demands: “In view of the above, the audit memo referred to above (49) may be dropped.



Medicines destroyed in shop fire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 11
Medicines and grocery goods were destroyed in a fire that broke out in a shop in Mullanpur this evening. A major tragedy was averted as the nearby Air Force Station sent fire brigade within minutes. The cause of fire was yet to be ascertained, however, no loss of life was reported.

The owner of Happy Medical Store, Mr Happy told the Chandigarh Tribune that he went home after closing down the shop at around 8 pm. He said the account books were also burnt in the fire. His neighbour noticed smoke billowing out of the shop and informed him about the fire. Local residents had tried to douse the fire before the fire brigade reached.

Wing Commander Ashawani Kumar and the SHO of Mullanpur police station supervised the fire-control operation that lasted for more than two hours.

Eyewitnesses to the incident said the timely action saved a number of shops.

It was also learnt that the Chandigarh fire officials first refused to send the fire engine to the spot saying that the area does not fall under their jurisdiction. The loss in the fire was estimated to be around Rs 4 lakh, according to the shop-owner.



Notices to 20 allottees of school sites
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The Estate Officer today issued notices to the allottees of 20 school sites for failing to construct school buildings.

The officer said of the total 34 sites allotted to schools being run in residential areas in 2002-2003, school buildings at only 14 sites had been constructed. Specific notices had been issued to those schools to windup their operations failing which their residential sites would be resumed at the end of this session.

The allottees lament administrative delay on part of various wings of the Chandigarh Administration. “Even as the Estate Office has given the March 31 deadline to shut down the schools in residential areas, officials in other departments like architecture and town planning are not bothered to speed up the clearance of their files pertaining to the construction of school buildings”, said a members of the Private Schools Association.

The allottees demand that various departments of the Administration should work in coordination to clear their files so that studies of the students do not suffer.

The managements of certain private schools have expressed their inability to run the schools at allotted sites by March 31.

“The deadline is in contravention of the terms and conditions of allotment which specify that the new construction has to be raised within three years of allotment”, said Ms Uma Wadhera, president of the Association of Private Educational Institutions.

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

Mr P.B.Singh, who has been allotted a site in Sector 24, is yet to get the zoning plan. “Can the schools discontinue their classes from March 31 till new school building is not ready”, he said. 



Tehelka: Col gets 4-year RI
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Prime accused in the Tehelka case Col Anil Sahgal was today cashiered from service and sentenced to four years of rigorous imprisonment by a General Court Martial (GCM) trying him at Chandi Mandir for professional impropriety.

This is the first conviction in the Tehelka scam, which had rocked the nation almost four years ago and resulted in the then Defence Minister George Fernandes and BJP President Bangaroo Laxman resigning from their posts after a sting operation carried out by news portal tehelka.com had caught some top politicians, Army officers and Defence Ministry functionaries on video tapes allegedly demanding and accepting bribes from fictitious arms dealers.

The GCM, presided over by Brig Kuldip Singh, found Colonel Sahgal guilty on four of the fives charges of corruption, moral turpitude and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline levelled against him under Sections 45, 63 and 69 of the Army Act. The verdict of the court is subject to confirmation by the Chief of the Army Staff.

The court held him guilty of accepting Rs 20,000 from the Tehelka team on two occasions in September, 2000. The court observed that the accused was aware that he was dealing with arms dealers when he had accepted the money from them.

It observed that the accused's contention that the money was taken as advance rent for his flat was untenable as there was a difference of 28 months between his accepting the money and his flat being constructed. Further, the accused had guided the arms dealers on matters relating to the procurement of defence equipment.

On the charge of his accepting hospitality of wine and women from the Tehelka team, the court observed that the accused had himself admitted the same in the court.

The action on tape showed that he was in his full senses while in the company of a call girl, which was contrary to his claim that he was intoxicated at that time and his drinks were spiked. The court also observed that the accused did not get himself medically examined and lodge any complaint with the police or any other authority over the matter.

The court held him guilty for failing to obtain clearance from the Military Intelligence Directorate before meeting the arms dealers as was required under the provisions of Army regulations pertaining to contact with foreign nationals.

The court observed that the brochure of equipment provided by the Tehelka team mentioned that they were representatives of a London-based firm. Further, there was no record of his interactions with the arms dealers as was mandated.

The sting operation carried out by tehelka.com was aired by Zee News in March, 2001, following which the Army ordered a court of inquiry (COI) into the matter.

The COI submitted its findings to the GOC-in-C, Western Command, in June. Based on the findings of the COI, court martial proceedings were ordered against Major-Gen P. S. K. Choudhary, Brig Iqbal Singh and Colonel Sahgal.

Administrative action was initiated against two other officers, Major-Gen M. S. Ahluwalia, who was awarded severe reprimand, and Lieut-Col B. B. Sharma, whose services were terminated.

Colonel Sahgal’s court martial began in April, 2004. The other members of the court were Col B.P. Manik, Col Subodh Kumar, Col A.K. Sinha and Col S. Sodhi, while Col P.S. Rathore was the Judge Advocate. The other two GCMs are in progress.

Terming the court’s decision as a “landmark decision”, prosecution counsel Arvind Moudgil said the verdict had shown the Army’s judicial system to be fair, transparent and speedy. He added that it had reaffirmed faith in the Army’s system and ability to deal judiciously with corrupt elements.

Reacting to the court’s verdict, defence counsel Major K. Ramesh (retd) said the crux of the entire case against the accused was that the company West End Limited as mentioned in the charge sheet did not exist and the accused was unaware that he was dealing with the representatives of a foreign firm. “This aspect has not been dwelt upon by the court,” he remarked.



Cycle rally in aid of tsunami victims
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 11
Students and teachers of Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, today held a cycle rally in the city to generate funds for tsunami victims.

Carrying placards, around 150 students from Class VIII to X took part in the rally that passed through southern sectors. The students assembled at Sector 17-A where a street play, ‘Shart Ke Beeda’, a satire against the evils prevalent in society, was staged.

The rally was flagged off by Mayor Anu Chatrath. The purpose of the rally was also to motivate people to contribute to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, said Principal of the school Charles Samuel.

The rally and the street play were prelude to a carnival “MCC 2005” to be organised by the school from January 13 to 15. The proceeds from the carnival would go to the relief fund.

Sukhmani institutes donate 1 lakh

The management and staff of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi International Polytechnic for Women, Sri Sukhmani International Public School and Central Institute of Engineering and Vocational Studies today presented a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to The Tribune for onward transmission to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The cheque was presented by Mr Avtar Singh, Chairman of Sri Sukhmani Institutes.

Meanwhile, Mr Yash Paul Gupta, Principal of the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, also contributed an additional cheque for Rs 5,000 for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Actors collect Rs 32,000

Using street theatre as their medium, a group of 10 local theatre artistes has managed to collect Rs 32, 661 for contribution to the tsunami relief fund. For about 10 days now, the actors of Theatre Arts have been staging “Mitti Ka Aadmi”, a Hindi adaptation of Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi play “Gadhe ki Baraat” to motivate people and mobilise them into voluntary donation.

About eight shows of the play have already been held at various locations across the city. Among those involved in the process of collection are Suvinder Pal (script writer), Yogesh Arora, Bhavna, Yogesh Tungal, Rocky Bhardwaj, Ashwani Sawan, Hatinder Kumar, Gurjit Kang, Rohin Choudhary and Rajiv Mehta.

The maximum collection of Rs 14,410 from the street theatre show has been from the Sector 46 market. The Sukhna Lake show fetched the organisers Rs 1,675.

Meanwhile, many art bodies in the city are also planning to host special exhibitions to raise funds for tsunami victims. The first in this series will be an exhibition of works by 13 women artistes who have come together under the banner of We. The exhibition will be inaugurated at IndusInd Gallery, Sector 8, tomorrow at 4 pm. From January 15, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi will also host a show to raised relief money for tsunami victims.

Admn to deduct day’s salary

Even as the Chandigarh Administration has announced to deduct one-day salary of its employees in the aid of tsunami victims, the fate of funds collected by the UT Education Department after the Gujarat earthquake is not known, claims the Government Teachers Union.

At the time of Gujarat quake, funds and clothes were collected from different schools. The union while demanding a probe said funds were collected but put to some other use.

The clothes collected in the name of quake victims had to be sent to different local institutes after the department failed to dispose them off.

The association members said the funds were used for purchasing sports equipment and for some other purposes. The union claims that the Audit Department had also objected to the misutilisation of Rs 5 lakh.

The association’s general secretary, Mr Vinod Sharma, demanded a CBI probe into the entire matter and added that the amount should be recovered from the officials responsible for the lapse.

Councillors to collect aid

Mohali: Local municipal councillors would collect 1 quintal food grain each for tsunami victims. This was decided at a meeting of councillors held here today under the chairmanship of the SDM, Mohali, Mr M.L. Sharma.

Requesting councillors to collect clothes and grains from their wards, the SDM said the relief collected from the township would be flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain on January 16.

The SDM office has also requested residents to donate liberally for the victims. Mr Sharma said residents of various sectors and phases could get together and collect grain and clothes and deposit them at Pracheen Mandir opposite SDM’s office in Phase 1. He added that residents were requested to make collective donations.

Day’s salary donated

Fatehgarh Sahib: Revenue officials of the tehsil, led by Mr Jatinder Singh, Tehsildar, today handed over a draft for Rs 51,000 towards the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to the Deputy Commissioner in his office. The revenue staff have donated their one day’s salary and have collected the rest of the amount from the public.

The Deputy Commissioner appreciated the efforts of the revenue officials and said that social, religious, political and traders’ organisations were also coming forward to help in the cause. A sum of Rs 35 lakh from the district would be handed over to the Chief Minister for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Similarly, prominent residents of Khamano, led by Mr Ravinder Kumar, SDM, and Mr Gurminder Singh Grewal of Punjab Today, handed over a draft for Rs 21,000 to the Deputy Commissioner for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.



Pak journalists given warm send off
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, January 11
The delegation of Pakistani journalists that had been in the city for the past few days was given a formal send off today. The 56- member delegation led by Mr Arshad Ansari, President, Lahore Press Club, left for Amritsar from where they would cross over to Pakistan tomorrow afternoon. Before leaving for Lahore, the delegation would be visiting Golden Temple.

The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, hosted a brunch for the delegation at her residence here today. Addressing members of the delegation Ms Bhattal said “pen was always mightier than sword and the writing of pen could make tremendous changes in the society”.

The Deputy Chief Minister said pen had played a significant role during freedom struggle, now it should remove the misunderstanding between people of both countries. “Now the time has come when the guns should be replaced by pens to usher in an era of amity, love, prosperity and mutual trust. The recent World Punjabi conference held in Patiala had promoted the concept of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat. The people to people interaction between the two nations further perpetuated frequent visit of delegation of journalist, academicians, jurists and cultural troupes. Mediapersons should give adequate coverage to such visits so that the awakening could be generated among the people of both countries,” she added.

Mr Arshad Ansari, President, Lahore Press Club, thanked the people of Punjab and its government for extending excellent hospitality, love and respect. Ms Bhattal presented a memento to Mr Arshad Ansari.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Transport Minister, Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science& Technology, Ms Razia Sultana, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr H.S. Hanspal, President Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Ramesh Chaudhary, President, Chandigarh Press Club, Mr Sarbjit Pandher, former President and Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, former Secretary-General of the Chandigarh Press Club.



Another invitation to Lahore scribes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) has invited the Punjab Union of Journalists, Lahore, to send a delegation of newsmen to India with a view to building pressure on the governments in the two countries to improve their relations.

The letter of invitation was handed over to Mr Majid Hussain, a representative of the Lahore-based union, here today by the CPUJ President, Mr Vinod Kohli.

Mr Hussain was in the city as part of the Lahore Press Club delegation, which had come to India on an invitation from the Chandigarh Press Club. His union has also invited a delegation of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists to Pakistan.

A senior Lahore-based journalist who has worked for various English-language newspapers like The Frontier Post, The Nation and The Daily Sun, Mr Hussain was of the view that media people should continue to visit the two sides of the border to mould public opinion to enlarge the peace zone. The media can play a significant role in creating an environment conducive for developing friendly relations.

He felt that India-Pakistan amity would also help in the growth of journalism, particularly language journalism. There was virtually no Punjabi journalism in Pakistan, but the situation might change with greater interaction between the media people in the two countries, he added.



A ‘billionaire’ whom taxmen can’t touch
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
A DSP in the Chandigarh Police could well be considered a 'billionaire' if the value of his wealth in foreign currency (around 2 billion) is anything to go by. He has the money in billions but he has to support his family with his salary as the currency he possesses has lost value.

Taxmen dare not touch him despite DSP Devinder Singh Thakur having a single currency note of a denomination of a hundred crore. This is not the only prized possession he has: Mr Thakur has a currency note of 50 crore denomination apart from those of 10 crore, 5 crore, 10 lakh and 1 lakh.

The DSP seems to be out of the radar of the Income Tax Department as his possessions are just worth the value of the paper they are printed on. What probably seems to be keeping the prying eyes of taxmen away is the fact that the currency notes are in former Yugoslavian Dinars, which went out of circulation post December, 1995, accord between the feuding states of former Yugoslavian states and the United Nations.

Mr Thakur collected these notes during his posting as a DSP with the United Nations in a troubled Yugoslavia (1996-1997). Mr Thakur said he picked up the habit of collecting currency notes when he found out that notes of such big denomination were used by former Yugoslavia while the country was disintegrating into several countries. The economy was in doldrums and the people refused to accept the currency.

This was the scenario during the Second World War when famous persons used to get palmful of material in lieu of a bagful of currency notes. Mr Thakur said he along with Inspectors B. S. Chadha and Om Prakash were the first officers from the Chandigarh Police to have gone for a United Nations posting. Now, the Chandigarh Police has been sending its officers every year to Kosovo, the latest trouble spot in the Balkans.

Mr Thakur, who has travelled almost the entire Europe, said he saw the currency losing value in the former Yugoslavia as during a day a cup of tea was available for 2 Dinars in the morning, 10 in the afternoon and 100 in the evening. He said the officers on the U. N. mission had to keep three currencies in their pockets - currencies of Bosnia-Herzegobina, Croatia and Serbia as there were three currencies in the three states carved out of a united Yugoslavia. One of the currencies used was Deutche Mark apart from Dinars

Mr Thakur said that once he saw a startling fact that money could devalue so fast, he collected these notes from the friends in former Yugoslavia.

There were a few Yugoslavians who were keen to exchange these notes with the Indian rupee.



Kohli allowed to attend bhog
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Maninderpal Singh Kohli, the alleged rapist and killer of British girl Hannah Foster, has been given permission to attend the antim ardas (last rites as per Sikh religion) of his mother.

Kohli's mother passed away on January 6 and was cremated the same day. She had been in coma for the past over two years. In fact, Kohli's lawyers have also told the extradition court in New Delhi that he had come to India with the sole purpose of taking care of his mother.

In his application moved before Mr Ravinder Dudeja, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, Kohli had prayed for permission to go to Patiala to participate in the last rites of his mother.

His lawyer, advocate Charanjit Singh Bakhshi, told the court that his client was very close to his mother and even his mother had expressed the desire that her last rites be performed by Kohli.

Incidentally, Kohli's lawyer also informed the court that his passport had been renewed by the Indian High Commission in the UK after receiving a certificate from a Chandigarh hospital that his mother's condition was serious and she needed him by her side.

Today, advocate Bakhshi sought directions to the Superintendent of Capital's Tihar Jail to take his client to Patiala for attending the bhog ceremony of Sri Akhand Path Sahib and kirtan as also the antim ardas at Patiala.

When asked, the prosecution did not resist the application and said that it had no objection if Kohli was taken to Patiala.

In his order, Mr Dudeja directed the Tihar Jail authorities to make arrangements for taking Kohli to Patiala on January 16. He also ordered that the journey be planned in such a manner that Kohli reached Patiala in time for all ceremonies.



6-month-old baby abandoned at Bal Niketan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
A six-month-old baby boy was today abandoned at Bal Niketan, Sector 2 — a home for destitute children. The Bal Niketan authorities found the child lying in the crib near the gate, and immediately took the baby to General Hospital for check-up. After informing the Sector 2 police station they took the possession of the child.

Meeting called: The SP on Tuesday called a meeting of police officers of the district to make arrangements for the forthcoming elections. The meeting was attended by the DSP, Kalka, Mr Uday Shankar, the DSP (Headquarters), Mr Desh Bandhu, all six SHOs and police post in-charges. The SP directed them to ensure law and order, check the sale of illicit liquor and drugs, catch bail jumpers and proclaimed offenders.

Lohri celebration: The Inner-Wheel Club of Panchkula celebrated Lohri with children of Saket Hospital, Chandi Mandir, today. The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni was the chief guest. About 53 children participated in the function. Ms Veena Monga, former Chairman of the Club, said children were given a transistor and sweets each. The Inner Wheel Club of Chandigarh donated Rs 7,500.



Markfed employees stage protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
Markfed employees today staged a protest against the government, demanding payment of ex gratia payment for 2003-2004 on the pattern of PUDA staff.

Addressing the rally, various leaders of the Markfed Employees Joint action committee pointed towards the negligence of the Markfed management and the reduction of profits from being in crores to a meagre Rs 15 lakh.

The employees criticised the government for showing apathy towards the interests of the employees.

The employees decided to take out a procession outside the office of the Registrar, Cooperative Society, Punjab, on January 24.

They warned that in case the management did not meet their demands, the employees would take out a rally by going on mass casual leave.



Allottees protest delay in possession
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
A delegation of the Allotment Sangharsh Committee today met the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, to protest against the delay in allotment of their plots in Sectors 76 to 80 in Mohali.

The committee had been formed from the 3,900 allottees who had been given letters of intent by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for allotment of plots in these sectors in 2000 but have not been given the possession of plots.

According to a note issued by the press secretary of the Committee, Mr Bhupinder Singh Somal, the minister assured the delegation that PUDA was seriously considering partial allotment of some plots of various sizes in Sectors 77 and 78 where most of the development work had been done.

He also assured them that all the allottees would be given plots and PUDA would stand by its commitment to them.

Members of the committee would now meet on January 16 at the Phase 3B1 Rose Garden at 2 pm.



PSEB workers stage protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
Members of the Punjab State Electricity Board Employees’ Joint Front staged a protest today against the Punjab Government’s decision to privatise bill distribution and meter reading work in the Mohali circle.

Hundreds of workers of the board today collected outside the Mohali circle office in industrial area here, and raised slogans against the Superintending Engineer. The protest headed by the technical services union leaders started in the morning and went on till afternoon. The Mohali office employees were joined by employees from Lalru and Zirakpur.

The board had decided to give bill distribution and meter reading on contract. The contractor was to begin work on September 1, 2004. The board would pay Rs 10 per connection per month to a private contractor for the two jobs.

Protesting against this move, members of the employees union had, in a memorandum given to the Board Chairman Mr Y.S. Ratra, pointed out that the board would lose over Rs 85,000 per month under this new arrangement.

Stating that there were a total of 23,842 connections in the township, the employee’s leader Mr Jaikishan said; “The total domestic connections in the township are 22,945, small connections are 818, street light connections number 79. This make a total of 23,842 connections. At the rate of Rs 10 per connection, the Board would be paying the private contractor more than Rs 2.38 lakh every month.”

Comparing these figures to the total of the salaries of those employed by the board to do the job, Mr Jaikishan said the board had nine meter readers who cost the Board Rs 90,273 per month. There were seven bill distributors who cost the board Rs 60,010. The total salary for these employees was Rs 1,50,283 per month. Since this amount was less than what the board would pay the contractor, this would lead to a loss of Rs 88,137 per month to the board.

The board had gone ahead with the move despite widespread protest and the contractor had started his work in the villages that fell within the Mohali circle.



Quoting PAN must for IT payments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The Income Tax Department today announced that quoting of the Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) to ensure prompt credit of IT payments is a must.

Also, banks will accept payments of income tax only when PAN is mentioned on Challan 280 and TAN is mentioned on Challan 281 as per instructions passed by the IT Department on January 1 this year.

The Assistant Commissioner of Income tax, Ms Tamanna S. Singh, said here today that the mention of the PAN had become more important.

Stating that the average time for allotment of PAN had come down to 15 working days, she added that 3.6 crore persons had been allotted PAN so far. The Income Tax Department has also introduced ‘tatkal service’ for allotment of PAN under which the applications can be filled on the internet and service charges can be paid through credit card.

Particulars in this regard are available on the website of the IT department at incometaxindia.gov.in and at http://tin.tin.nsdl.com. pan.

A facility to download the challan forms No 280 and 281 with pre-printed PAN/TAN and name of taxpayer/deductor is available at www.incometaxindia.gov.in

‘Know Your PAN’ and ‘Know Your TAN’ facility and various other PAN/TAN services are available at the website of the IT Department or in Aaykar Sampark Kendra (ASK) at 0124-2438000.



Police spends thousands on treatment of accused
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
After days of spending thousands of rupees on the treatment of accused Rajwinder Singh, the Mohali police has finally breathed a sigh of relief. Rajwinder’s father arrived today from Doraha to take care of his son admitted to the PGI with a gunshot wound.

Rajwinder was arrested by the Mohali police on December 31 when he tried to rob a trunk containing cash from outside a bank in the industrial area here. He was grievously injured when he was shot at by bank’s guard. Undergoing treatment for a broken jaw at the PGI, Chandigarh, none of Rajwinder’s relatives had contacted him initially or offered help. For the cash-starved Mohali police, the robbery bid proved to be a costly affair.

Rajwinder’s lower jaw was fractured when the bullet hit him but he is said to be in a stable condition and will be undergoing a series of jaw restructuring surgeries at the PGI. “He will have to remain here for at least a month for these surgeries,” said Dr R.K. Sharma, head of the department, Plastic Surgery, PGI.

For the Mohali police, however, finances for the complicated surgeries had become a problem. “Rajwinder is in our custody and we were paying for his treatment. Besides money, we have deputed six persons on shift duties at the hospital with him. Now we have asked for six more policemen from Ropar for these duties,” said the SP Mohali, Mr Rakesh Agarwal.

Mr Agarwal said an aunt of the accused read in the papers about his condition. “She apparently convinced Rajwinder’s father to go to the PGI and take care of him. When we had contacted his parents in Doraha, they had shown no interest in his condition,” said Mr Agarwal.

He added that Rajwinder was notorious for unlawful activities and had embroiled his parents in many problems earlier. “He was an employee of the PTL but was removed from the company and had been involved in various criminal activities since then. Many cases of looting, etc are registered against him at Doraha. He was also allegedly involved in a murder case here but the matter had ended in a compromise,” said Mr Agarwal



City police to set up self-help groups
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The Chandigarh Police has decided to step up community policing by setting up self-help groups. The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, said today that the department would start micro-finance scheme for supporting youth and women economically. For making this a success 11 youth clubs would be set up in 11 police stations.

The SSP said each youth club would be set up as a separate registered society to undertake activities like drug de-addiction, dowry, female feticide, crime against women, AIDs, illiteracy of girl child apart from sports activities. Youth clubs would manage all such activities and funds.

The police would arrange funds for these clubs through different financial institutions, the SSP added.

A concrete step in this direction was taken today when the National Social Service (NSS) wing of Punjab Engineering College was roped in for the purpose. The NSS wing has 25 years experience of running awareness campaigns. Recently it started a micro-financing project by forming a self-help group in Janata Kumhar Colony.



Road repaired
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
The entire stretch of road from Marauli Kalan village to Kajauli on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road has been repaired. This road was full of pot holes.

The recarpeting of this 5.2 km road from one end of the byepass to the other end has been done with financial assistance of the Ministry of Surface Transport, New Delhi.

The President, Morinda Municipal Council, Mr Hari Pal, the General Secretary of the District Congress Committee, Mr Kailash Kaushal, the Vice-Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Maj Harbans Singh Bains, the President of the Block Congress Committee, Morinda, Mr Kultar Singh, the member of the District Planning Board, Mr Bant Singh Kalaran, and the President of the Block Youth Congress, Mr Harminder Singh Lucky, were part of the deputation which met the area MLA, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang.



Lohri celebrations to cost more
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 11
City residents have been earnestly waiting for the Lohri festival to break the winter chill. But confusion prevailed over the exact date of Lohri. Some will celebrate it on January 12 while others will celebrate it on January 13.

Many people bought groundnuts, rewaris and sweets made of jaggery today. However, because of the hiked price of sugar, Lohri this year will be costly for the city residents. Local shops are already decked up for the occasion but the shopkeepers have received lukewarm response this time.

The reason is that the price of rewari has gone up to Rs 60-65 per kg from Rs 35-40, that of gachak to Rs 120 per kg from Rs 60 and til bhugga, to Rs 100 per kg from Rs 80. The price of groundnuts is Rs 30-40 per kg. Sanjay, a Sector 19 shokeeper, said, “People used to shop a lot for Lohri but this time we are getting fewer less customers as compared to last year”.

“We have not as yet bought anything for Lohri as we do not know the exact date of the festival. I heard that prices have gone up this time, so our guest list will be short this time but still we will celebrate it wholeheartedly”, Mr Rajeev Kapur, a resident of Sector 22, said.

Enthusiasts, however, have already arranged dry logs of wood to make bonfires and are all for the function which attaches a lot of importance to community participation.



Police, NSS wing launch awareness project
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 11
The Chandigarh police today launched a project, Sankalp, in collaboration with the National Social Service (NSS) wing of the Punjab Engineering College to promote social awareness and fight evils, including AIDS.

The NSS held a street play in Dhanas village and urged the people to fight AIDS, drug abuse, female foeticide, girl child illiteracy, economic dependence, dowry and superstition.

The play, discussing safe sex, was watched by a large number of women, youth and children, few of them were with their parents.

DSP (Central) S.C. Sagar told the Chandigarh Tribune that the police gave the students some ideas for the theme of the play. Jaspreet Singh, a member of the NSS wing, said the play was a result of teamwork. He said they had adopted the village to promote self-employment and spread awareness among the youth to utilise their energy in a constructive manner.

The volunteers would extend a scheme of the Commonwealth to the village as part of the project under which small and easy loans will be provided to people to start small ventures.

A Youth Club was formed in the village. The IG, Chandigarh police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, inaugurated the club in the presence of a Professor of Punjab Engineering College and head of the wing, Mr M.L. Gupta, SPP Gaurav Yadav, councilor Shyama Negi and Ms Surinder Kaur.

Mr Rajesh Kumar presented players of the club with a volleyball kit and net.



Passing Thru

Asha Lila Dass
Asha Lila Dass
Country Manager, Australia-India Council 

What are Australia-India Council’s commitments in the realm of art?

We are very keen on collaborating with India. We have instituted a cultural award scheme under which art administrators from India are encouraged to visit Australia and build partnerships.

Which among the Indian art shows attract maximum participation from Australian artists?

Since 1968, the Triennale India show has been one of the world’s most significant art events. Participation in the Triennale is hence one of our main commitments in India. This year we have selected Callum Morton’s work in digital prints out of several hundred entries.

What was the purpose behind hosting a parallel show of Callum Morton’s art work in Chandigarh?

Morton’s work is a part of Triennale India show opening in Delhi on January 14, but since it is all about Chandigarh and the city’s iconic architecture, we felt it important to fund a parallel show here as well.

Which major art projects has the Council undertaken in India?

Recently, we organised the visit of Editorial Cartoonist of Sydney Morning Herald Alan Moir to Delhi. He held a workshop and later displayed his works. Together with India, we are now thinking of developing an art and craft forum.

— Aditi Tandon



MC employees observe ‘black day’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Employees of various departments of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation portested against the indifferent attitude of the authorities towards their long-pending demands, including regularisation of daily wagers by wearing black badges. A rally was also organised at the Matka Chowk.

The call for strike was given by the coordination committee of government and corporation employees. The committee had been on relay hunger strike from December 13 onwards to highlight the demands of employees, including regularisation of daily wagers, grant of bonus and appointment of people on compassionate ground.

Mr Raghunath Singh, General Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Punjab and Chandigarh, while addressing the gathering, said the previous Central Government led by the BJP had betrayed the cause of employees of the UT Administration.



Barbers attend awareness camp
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 11
The Citizens Awareness Group in collaboration with the State AIDS Control Society, Sector 8, organised an AIDS awareness generation camp for road side barbers today. It was held at Female Literacy House, Sector 42. More than 100 persons attended the camp.

Mr Surinder Sharma, Chairman, Citizens Awareness Group, said: “The aim of the camp was to create awareness among the barbers and beauticians.”



Woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 11
A woman was killed and two persons were injured in two accidents on the Kalka-Ambala highway here today.

According to the police, a vendor Shanti Devi (45) was crushed to death by a car this afternoon. Shanti Devi was selling goods along the highway when the car (HR-15E-0082) that was heading towards Chandigarh run over her. She died on the spot.

The body was sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for postmortem. The police has impounded the vehicle and a case has been registered against car driver Rajwinder Singh, a resident of Ambala Cantonment.

In another accident, two persons were injured when their scooter rammed into a Ford Ikon car at Lalru this afternoon.

The injured were rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, where their condition is said to be stable.

PANCHKULA: Five persons, including four members of a family from Badthal Bhandara village in Paonta Sahib, were injured when their Maruti van had a head-on collision with a truck.

The victims — Sukhdev, his wife Kaushalya Devi, brother Bal Krishan and daughter Saroj and car driver Shambhu Dutt — were on way to Chandigarh, for the treatment of Saroj at Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh.

The accident took place around 10 am on the Panchkula-Naraingarh highway when the truck (HR-37A-0350) ran into the van (HR-01K-7573). The truck driver reportedly ran away after the accident.

Since the accident took place near the ITBP campus at Bhanu, a number of ITBP jawans rushed to the spot and took out all injured from the van.

They rushed the injured to the ITBP base hospital and after administering first aid, they rushed them to General Hospital, Panchkula. All victims were immediately referred to the PGI, where the condition of driver Shambhu Dutt and Saroj is stated to be serious. The other victims, says the police, are in a stable condition. 



Three hurt in road accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 11
A resident of Phase V here has complained to the police that two persons allegedly snatched her mobile phone while she was walking near her house in the evening. According to the police the incident took place on January 9 when Dr Renu Verma, the complainant, was walking in the Phase V market.

The two scooter-borne youths came near her and snatched her mobile phone and fled away. Dr Renu could not note down the number of the scooter, the police said.

A case has been registered.

In another incident three persons sustained injuries in an accident that took place near the octroi barrier, Furniture Market Road, here today.

According to the police, driver of the car lost control of the vehicle and hit a cart which in turn hit a scooter.

The drivers of all three vehicles were injured in the accident. While the cart rider, Heera Lal, was seriously injured, the car driver K.B. Singh and scooterist Gurdial Singh were discharged from the hospital after first aid.



Six arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
The police has arrested six persons — Kaka, Mangat Ram, Shiv, Mangal Mohan, Sushil and Ashwani Kumar — from various places in Kalka on charges of speculation and recovered Rs 1,140 from them. They have been booked under various Sections of the Gambling Act.

There will be no supply of water in the afternoon to parts of Mohali on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, the general supply during the day is also expected to be low.



Body of newborn found in abandoned house
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 11
The body of a newborn male infant was found in an abandoned house in Sector 19, today.

According to the police, the body was spotted by a neighbour. The house had been abandoned for the past four-five years. A case under Section 318 of the IPC has been registered.

Held under Arms Act

The police arrested two persons for being in possession of knives from near a wine shop in Indira Colony, Mani Majra, on Monday. The police booked Satbir Singh, alias Ganju and Gian Singh, both residents of the same colony, under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

The police also registered another case under Section 160 of the IPC against Satbir Singh for creating nuisance at a public place.

DVD player stolen

Mr Gurpinder Singh of Garshi Radio, Sector 17, complained to the police that a DVD player and some car speakers were stolen from his shop on Monday. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Car theft

Mr Gopal Krishan Gupta of Sector 38 (West) reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-03-L-4981) was stolen from market in Sector 36, on Monday. A case of theft has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

Cellphone snatched

Mr Deepika of Sector 36-C reported to the police that an unidentified person snatched her mobile phone in Sector 35-D on Monday. A case under Sections 379 and 356 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized

The local police arrested Heera Mani of Hallo Majra village with 35 nips of the Hulchal whisky from near the small roundabout on Monday. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.


The police arrested Jagdish, Sudarshan Kumar, both residents of Milk Colony, Dhanas, Bhupinder Singh of Phase II, Mohali, and Ravinder Kumar of Kangra, for gambling in a car in Sector 22-B on Monday. A sum of Rs 2,600 was seized. A case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered.



City company makes 3-D designs for international firms 
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Designs of automobile and aircraft for a leading global-level automobile maker and an aircraft company are now being converted into 3-dimensional (3-D) format in the offices of a local Information Technology company.

City-based IDS Infotech, run by Mr Partap K. Aggarwal, takes pride in handling 3-D design work for some of the leading companies of the world. “We have a no-disclosure agreement thus I cannot tell you the names of these global companies,” says Mr Aggarwal, adding that the four companies getting 3-D designs prepared by his company are having a collective net worth of nearly $ 18 billion.

The 3-D format gives a closer to real picture of the product thus it is in demand. Earlier, drawings of designs used to be on a paper format, now the conversion to 3-D format means details of each component is separately available at the respective manufacturing plant in a digital format.

Also it allows for number coding thus is accessible only to those who are authorised to use it.

Earlier each design of each component used to be made separately on paper to give a 3-D effect now the same is done on computers here, says Mr Aggarwal.

Among the companies for which we prepare the format are an automobile maker, an aerospace company and a general engineering company, says Mr Aggarwal, who is the Managing Director of IDS infotech.

The designs of mechanical and structural components are made on 3-D formats here, not that of engines, he clarifies.

Mr Aggarwal says he came back to Chandigarh in 1989 leaving a cushy job in the USA. A pass-out of Punjab Engineering College, Mr Aggrawal did not join his traditional family business on his return but opted to open the company which is doing business worth Rs 35 crore.

Not only this, another wing of the company handles clinical research for pharmaceutical companies.

On the growth of the IT sector, he said we had vast talent, but the problem would be shortage in human resources. Talented persons can be attracted by companies which pay much more, he rues. 


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