C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gang running ‘discount’ shop flees
Dupes customers of lakhs; mob loots goods
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
Eight persons, who had set up a shop in Haripur village here to sell cars, mobikes, electronic and household goods at 50 per cent discount, have fled after duping hundreds of gullible customers of lakhs of rupees.

The fact dawned on the customers this morning when they reached the shop to collect their goods. A number of people had also deposited their hard-earned money in a “double-your-money” scheme offered by the shop owner — S. Ganesan. He fled with the cash deposited in the scheme as well.

These customers were being given a daily installment (at the rate of Rs 500 for every Rs 10,000 deposited) along with the total money deposited on the 18th day.

Yesterday being Monday, the Haripur village market remained closed. Today, when some customers reached the shop to collect their goods/daily installment, they received a shock of their life when they realised that the shop owner had fled.

An angry mob then broke open the locks of four shops, where Ganesan had stored the goods, and took away anything they could lay their hands on. Some labourers working nearby also joined the free-for-all.

By the time the police reached the spot, three shops had been looted. Policemen stood guard outside the fourth shop, as the word of the shop having closed down spread and hundreds of people gathered at the spot.

Mr Inderjeet Sharma, a resident of Haripur, who had deposited Rs 750 for a sofa set, said Sri Ganesh Home Appliances had been selling household items on a 50 per cent discount for the past two months.

“The shop was offering washing machines of a reputed multinational company for Rs 4,000, while a Nokia 6600 mobile handset was available for Rs 6,800. A glass top table was being provided at Rs 850, and an air conditioner at Rs 8,500. Gullible visitors were asked to deposit money as booking amount and were assured of delivery of items after 18 days. Since the shop owner had delivered a few goods, people thought that the scheme was genuine,” he said.

A few days back, the shop owner had offered a Maruti car for Rs 80,000 and a motor cycle for Rs 15,000.

A woman from Baltana, who did not wish to be named, said she had deposited Rs 1.5 lakh to buy electronic and household items for her daughter’s wedding, scheduled to be held in March.

Mr J.R. Sharma said he had deposited Rs 12,000 on February 1 for some furniture, a washing machine and a cordless phone. Even two policemen posted at Sector 4 police post said they had deposited Rs 6,800 each for a mobile phone.

There were others like Mr Deepak Sehgal of Sector 4, who had deposited Rs 10,000 in the “double-your-money” scheme. The shop owner was to give Rs 500 as daily installment for nine days and then return Rs 10,000 in the end of 10 days.

A resident of Pinjore claimed that he had deposited Rs 1 lakh under the scheme.

Inquiries made by TNS at Ganesan’s residence in Sector 4 revealed that eight men, all from Tamil Nadu, left their rented accommodation quietly yesterday.

When contacted, Superintendent of Police S.P. Ranga said a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC has been registered. He said they had photographed the men and had their addresses as they feared a fraud by the gang.

“We had been flashing warning messages on the local cable network for public since yesterday,” he added.



Flat owners booked for maid’s murder
Domestic help block road
Our Correspondent

Office-goers were stranded after domestic servants working in various societies of the Mansa Devi Complex blocked the road in Sector 5 of Panchkula
Office-goers were stranded after domestic servants working in various societies of the Mansa Devi Complex blocked the road in Sector 5 of Panchkula on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, February 15
Kaushal Varmani and her son, Saurabh Varmani, residents of the Haryana Environmental and Public Health Officer's Co-operative Group Housing Society, Sector 5, were arrested by the police for their alleged involvement in the Rani murder case, here today.

The police has not received the post-mortem examination report till late in the evening that will reveal the actual cause of Rani’s death.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents from 38 housing societies located in Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, were put hardship this morning following the blocking of the main road leading to the area, including all exit and entry points to the societies, by an irate mob of domestic servants. They were protesting against the alleged police inaction in the case.

Rani, a resident of Surajpur locality who was serving as a part-time maid at three flats in the society, had allegedly jumped to death from a balcony of the flat on the third floor of a block on the society complex, on Monday afternoon.

Despite of heavy rain, a number of residents from Surajpur locality and domestic servants from Rajiv Colony in Panchkula and Indira Colony in Chandigarh assembled at the main road leading to the area and kept the entry and exit points blocked for over four hours.

The protesters, including women, children and men, raised slogans against the police for not arresting and registering a case of murder against the owners of the flat from where Rani had allegedly jumped to death.

The protesters were demanding that photographs of the flat owners be published in different newspapers.

Officer-goers, students and general public had to face hardship due to the blocking of the road. The irate mob also manhandled a scooterist who tried to break the ‘human chain’ following some arguments with women protesters.

Mr Vijinder Singh, DSP, along with the area SHO, Mr Ashok Bakshi, and municipal councilor of the area, Ms Renuka Rai Walia, reached the spot and pacified the mob. They assured the protesters that the flat owner, Kaushal Varmani, and her son, Saurabh Varmani, had already been arrested.

The police also told them that a case of murder under Section 302 of the IPC had been registered against them at the Sector 5 police station.

A group of maids, along with Rani’s husband, Rajan, and brother, Harbansh Lal, were later taken the police station to satisfy them that the flat owners had been booked. The road was opened for vehicular traffic in the afternoon. The body was handed over to the family members this afternoon.

Mr S.P. Ranga, SP, said the protest was politicised by some self-styled leaders. He said the flat owners had already been arrested.

Meanwhile, domestic servants today suspended work in the locality in protest against the mysterious death of Rani.



Rain lashes city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The city and its surrounding areas witnessed one of the wettest days this winter, throwing life out of gear.

It poured throughout the day barring brief periods of respite.

The Meteorological Department recorded 14 mm of rainfall till 5.30 pm. It was still raining when the report was filed late in the evening.

The heaviest rainfall of the season, 17.2 mm, was recorded on January 23.

The city had witnessed 1.2 mm of rainfall on January 10, 1.4 mm on January 11 and 1.6 mm on January 13. There were “traces” of rainfall on the other two days also.

The mercury also dropped compared to yesterday and the evening was cooler. Maximum temperature of 14.8 °C was recorded today against 20 °C yesterday.

Minimum temperature went down to 10 °C today against yesterday’s 12.8 °C.

The meteorological office has predicted a generally cloudy sky for tomorrow. There is possibility of rain or thundershowers in the coming 24 hours.

The transport system in the city too was severely affected. Traffic slowdown led to virtual jams at certain roundabouts, particularly during the morning and evening rush hour.

Telephone repair work had to be suspended at several places, including Sector 45.



Tribune Impact
Mining stopped at eight quarries
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
The Department of Mines and Geology has stopped mining at eight quarries on the upstream of the Ghaggar for allegedly violating contract.

Officials in the department said mining had been stopped in the quarries because the river bed had been dug up to 20 to 30 feet deep.

At none of the quarries had the contractors created benches (steps) at a height of 10 feet each while mining the river bed material (RBM), thus jeopardising the lives of labourers employed at the quarries. Straight digging of deep trenches often leads to cave in.

As many as three persons have died due to caving in at the quarries over the past one month.

The issue of deep and straight digging of trenches in the river bed was highlighted by Chandigarh Tribune in its January 21 issue, following which an inquiry was ordered by Deputy Commissioner Neelam P. Kasni.

Subsequently, the Mining Department carried a detailed survey of the quarries falling in the district and ordered the closure of these quarries.

There are 55 stone quarries in the district and mining contract is given for a period of three years. The contract for 11 quarries falling in the Barwala and Raipur Rani area expired on March 31, 2004.

Subsequently, a new contract was awarded for Rs 1.70 crore annually (or a total of Rs 5.10 crore in three years).

However, the contractors failed to make the monthly payment of contract money to the department and the contract was cancelled on October 25, 2004.

Since then, the department has made at least three bids to auction the quarries but to no avail.

The mining in these quarries is being done on permits and a permit for a maximum of 30 days is issued to various contractors for these quarries.

Officials reason that the auctions have been unsuccessful as the contract money was raised from Rs 1.20 crore in the last auction to Rs 1.70 crore now.

However, sources say the contractors have been unwilling to invest money fearing loss of contract and earnest money if political leadership changes in the state.

Meanwhile, mining is taking place unchecked near bridges and culverts over the Ghaggar in violation of norms. Mining is being done under the bridge across the Ghaggar near Burj Kotian Crusher zone.

Under the rules, mining of the RBM is allowed at upstream distance of 250 metres and downstream distance of 125 metres from a small bridge/culvert and at 1 km upstream distance and half a kilometer downstream distance from a big bridge.

Also, mining contractors are not adhering to the rule regarding the area of quarry.

In case the width of the river is 400 feet, mining can be carried out in the middle of the riverbed, after leaving 100 feet area on both sides.

Mining activity is also taking place along embankments at most of the quarries especially on the Burj Kotian-Mandana road.



Internet security big challenge for PC users
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 15
Anti-virus software developers might never be able to catch up with hackers. You have secured your computer from information theft and criminal hacking but in the end it just might be your mobile phone that lets you down.

A new breed of criminal hackers called the "war drivers" is becoming a serious threat to wireless network users.

"Anyone with a notebook computer, an inexpensive wireless network card, freely downloaded software and an antenna made from something as simple as a can of packed food can hack into wireless networks in homes and companies from hundreds of feet away," warned Mr Ravinder Singh Zandu, a senior scientist with the Centre for the Development of Avanced computing (CDAC), Mohali today.

War driving is more than just a prank that makes your private conversation public. "Some intruders seek to access files and damage systems. Most wireless networks are completely unsecured. The easiest way to avoid mobile telephone hacking is encryption but manufacturers of wireless devices leave encryption turned off by default and give no information to the users about wireless encryption or any other added security measures. This makes it an easy task for anyone with a wireless setup to find and exploit the connection,"he said.

Talking to a set of IT professionals who had gathered from all over the country to participate in the skill and technology upgradation seminar held at CDAC today, Dr Zandu said that for PC users, however, ensuring internet security remained the biggest challenge.

"Most of the hacking server attacks are from dedicated amateur attackers known as script kiddies, who, without much knowledge, use tools that are freely available on the internet to probe networks for weaknesses. These tools scan the internet randomly looking for vulnerable systems, then exploit any weaknesses they find. With such tools available, a small anonymous company is potentially as much at risk as a well-known multinational corporation. Taking sensible precautions in general, and using up-to-date software in particular, would have easily prevented the attack," he told The Tribune.



My assignment in city most satisfying: Chaturvedi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
“I have always cherished my contact with the common man,” says Mr T.N. Chaturvedi, Governor of Karnataka, maintaining that all those holding “constitutional posts should exercise self-restraint to uphold the dignity and sanctity of their offices.”

Mr Chaturvedi was here on a brief visit to attend the annual convocation of Panjab University where D.Litt (Honoris Causa) was conferred upon him in recognition of his contribution to public service.

A multifaceted personality, Mr Chaturvedi, who belonged to the 1950 batch of the IAS from Rajasthan cadre, had not only risen to be the Union Home Secretary and Comptroller and Auditor-General of India but also remained a Member of Parliament before becoming a Governor.

“People have high expectations from the office of Governor. A large number of petitions, representations and grievances are addressed to him as the constitutional head of state. Certain issues, like environmental and pollution control violations, are invariably brought to his notice. Many of the letters come from highly educated people,” says Mr Chaturvedi, revealing that in his capacity as the constitutional head, he at times recommends to the elected government steps for redressal of public grievances and suggests action on others.

“Our Constitution strongly and clearly defines duties and responsibilities of all those holding constitutional positions. Our system has its own checks and balances,” holds Mr Chaturvedi. He, however, refused to comment on the recent developments in Goa saying it would be “improper for me to make any observations about the developments there.”

Even in Karnataka, he says: “I have been trying to keep my contact with people at large. I love to visit villages. Sometimes, the staff tries to dissuade me from going to certain areas citing inade quate communication network — roads, lack of proper board and lodging arrangements and poor civic amenities — as reason but I insist on going there even for a short visit.

“In fact, my most satisfying assignments had been when I was Secretary to Chief Minister of Rajasthan, District Magistrate of Ajmer and Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh. I had good experience as Union Education and Cultural Secretary before Mrs Indira Gandhi picked me as Home Secretary.

“I had the distinction of becoming Secretary to Chief Minister Mohan Lal Sukhadia from a Subdivisional Magistrate after four years in civil service. I continued for five years in that challenging position before I had to go to the USA on a World Bank fellowship. This was a great experience as I used to come in contact with a large number of people from different walks of life.

“Even in Chandigarh, I used to enjoy my interaction with people from different walks of life. I always have sweet memories of my stay here. Love and affection of people of Ajmer and Chandigarh were reflected in the emotional farewell they gave me on my completion of tenures in their cities.

“My interests in my service career had been on schools and education, cooperatives and panchayats. I always remembered words of Jawahar Lal Nehru that these three wings of Indian rural society need to be revitalised for the country to grow,” Mr Chaturvedi added.

He said that the decision of Panjab University to honour him with D.Litt (Honris Causa) came as a “pleasant surprise” as Panjab University has been one of the oldest and esteemed universities which came just before Allahabad in the second phase after the British had established varsities in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai in the first phase.

“It has been always a homecoming for me. And I am happy at the way the city has grown and has its own character. Now the planning has to be on regional basis in consultation with the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana Governments. Chandigarh has to be an ideal centre for pollution-free Information technology and biotechnology industry. Besides, it has to be a role model for other cities in the north on the lines of Bangalore and Hyderabad in the south,” suggests Mr Chaturvedi, recommending that Chandigarh must have an international airport to accelerate its growth.

“I am going to pen down some of my memoirs. Sooner or later I will get them printed,” says Mr T.N. Chaturvedi, revealing that he has already started scanning his old diaries and notebooks.



Passing Thru

Dr P. Balaram
Dr P. Balaram, a molecular biophysicist and Chairman, Biological Sciences Division, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore

What is the role of molecular biology in pharmaceutical advancements?

I am working in the field of natural products chemistry, a discipline that is being revived after almost 50 years. The advantages we had in this field thousands of years ago have been lost but now there is a definite comeback specifically when it comes to chemical ecology.

What is chemical ecology?

It is a new discipline that studies the chemical communication between living organisms and their environment. We believe that signals, chemical in nature are used between, lets say a prey to identify a predator or for bacteria to find its most suited breeding grounds. We try to identify these chemicals used for such communications.

Can these chemicals be harnessed for pharmaceutical use?

Yes. But identification and harnessing of these chemicals has been made possible only recently. These chemicals are available in organisms in very small quantities. Now we have mega spectrometers and other instruments that help us in identifying these but not many pharmaceutical companies show interest in this kind of research.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Official apathy forces closure of child adoption centre
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
Three years ago, Bal Niketan — a home for destitute and abandoned children — was conferred the National Award for Child Welfare. Today, because of alleged bureaucratic indifference, it has decided to close down its adoption centre.

A meeting of the management board of the niketan was held on February 13 and it was decided therein to close down the adoption centre as it had not been getting abandoned children from any of the 19 district child welfare committees in the state.

The authorities at Bal Niketan said most of the abandoned children were being sent to Bal Bhavan, Panchkula which was an international adoption agency.

They added that ideally the authorities should have sent half the number of abandoned children to them but that was not being done.

During the past one year, the centre had received just one child for its Shishu Greha while nine children were adopted from here during the year 2003-04.

The centre was recognised as an adoption centre in the year 2001 and till date about 40 children had been given for adoption.

The honorary general secretary of Bal Niketan, Dr Madhu Sharma, today wrote to the Director, Social Justice and Empowerment, Haryana and Joint Director,Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), saying they did not wish to continue as an adoption agency.

She has stated that despite there being a large number of illegal adoptions and equally large number of children being abandoned, the only recognised adoption agency by CARA was not being sent any children.

She alleged that because the Panchkula Child Welfare Officer refused to conduct a checking of records in October 2004, they were unable to get the monetary grant from CARA (Rs 1500 per child and salary of six employees) till January.

"The authorities have not been cooperating so we have decided to close the Shishu Greha. But we will continue to work as a children's home," she said.



Tapestries beckon French saviours
2-member curator team to visit city
Tribune News Service

What is a tapestry?

It is a fabric formed of threads, inserted by hand, passing alternately in and out on the parallel strings of a warp stretched upon a frame or loom.

The thread is used to cover short spaces with various colours and tints as required by the design. Historians say in Europe, Corbusier's home continent, there was hardly a castle or church in the late medieval and renaissance era which tapestries did not adorn at any given time.

Chandigarh, February 15
Moved by the pitiable condition of priceless tapestries hanging in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and also the Vidhan Sabha, a two-member team from France is coming to the city in early March to hold a seminar on tapestry conservation and maintenance.

These tapestries were designed by the city's planner and architect, Le Corbusier and are considered as part of the city's heritage.

In fact, the tapestries were done by selected artisans who worked under Corbusier's supervision to complete them.

The tapestries in the High Court were taken off in June last year leading to a huge outcry.

The Office of the President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam intervened to get the tapestries back on the walls after proper cleaning.

The two-member French team will have Mrs Giffault, Chief Curator of the museum on tapestries in Aubusson, France, and Mrs Susanne Bouret who is the Chief Restorer.

The team will hold a seminar on how the tapestries should be preserved.

The idea is backed by the French Government so as to spread awareness about these tapestries, informed the Director of the Alliance Francaise, Mr Bruno Plasse.

The team is expected to be here in the first week of March.

When the tapestries were taken off in June, a team of preservation experts had also been requisitioned from the National Museum, New Delhi, to clean the tapestry and remove dust that had accumulated on it.

It may be recollected that the Tribune broke the story when the Tapestries were taken off which prodded the Chandigarh Administration to start some preservation work on the tapestries. Before that, the tapestries had been stashed away, wrapped in polythene bags.

Old timers recollect that nearly six years back, a French agency had offered to remove the tapestries from the courtrooms and take them to France for cleaning.

The High Court had refused to allow them to be removed on the plea that they were part of the City's heritage and could not be taken out of the country.

The tapestries had been hung in nine 'original' courtrooms in the High Court on March 19, 1955, when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the High Court.



MC allocates pittance to ‘forgotten’ villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
It appears that the four villages under the Municipal Corporation are no one's baby.

In the budgetary allocation for the villages — Attawa, Badheri, Burail and Buterla — in the annual plan 2005-2006, the corporation has proposed Rs 20 lakh under the Plan head which meant a meager sum of Rs 5 lakh for each village.

The villages support a population of around 80,000, the highest being over 50,000 in Burail alone.

Mr Subash Chawla, a member of the Finance and Contract Committee, said more allocation for the villages would be demanded.

The annual plan would be tabled at the Finance and Contract Committee meeting before being tabled before the General House.

Demanding that Rs one crore should be allocated to each of the village, Mr Vijay Singh Rana, who represents Burail, said a lot needed to be done to bring the villages on par with the planned sectors in the city.

He asserted that the funds sanctioned out of the MP fund and the ward fund were also not adequate to upgrade the amenities.

He added that before bringing other villages under the MC fold, the administration should instead focus attention on developing the aforesaid villages as model villages.

A separate agency to monitor the development in the villages was required, said Mr Pradeep Chabra, a former Senior Deputy Mayor.

Included in the corporation in 1996, the services in the villages were yet to be fully integrated with the main system.

Mr Chabra said due to influx of outsiders, the basic amenities had been chocked. As different agencies were involved in providing and maintaining different services the basic amenities had suffered, he added.

There was no street lighting and the state of sanitation was deplorable. The corporation had not planned adequate parking areas on the outskirts of Burial village as the narrow bylanes did not allow the vehicles to reach the interior residential areas.

The Councillor from Attawa, Buterla and Kajehri, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said more funds were required to make the model villages.

Though strom water drainage and sewerage had been laid in Attawa, Buterla and Kajehri villages, the open drains had not been closed.



Roads, water MC’s top budgetary priority
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Municipal Corporation has outlined the improvement of city roads as its priority in the Budget estimates. The matter will come up for detailed discussion at the meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee tomorrow.

The corporation plans special attention to the improvement of street lights, water supply and landscaping. The Budget estimate of 2005-2006 is pegged at Rs 217.87 crores (Rs 58.32 crores under Plan head and Rs 159.55 crores under Non-Plan head).

A grant of Rs 122.09 crores is expected from the UT Administration and Rs 95.78 crores is to be provided by the corporation from its own resources.



MC to set up bird slaughterhouse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Municipal Corporation here has decided to set up a bird slaughterhouse.

It has been pointed out in the corporation Budget draft that “there are a lot of complaints from residents regarding birds being slaughtered in almost all meat shops.” Due care was not taken to maintain the standards expected at the outlets and it created “unhygienic conditions”.

The corporation has prepared a project report which will first be taken up by the Finance and Contract Committee. The total cost of the slaughterhouse has been worked out as Rs 3.50 crore. A share of the expenditure will be borne by the Central Government.

As the corporation does not have the necessary technical expertise, a consultant will be appointed to work out the specifications and the tender document. The consultant is also expected to supervise the execution of the project.



MC plans sterilisation of stray dogs
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 15
The Municipal Council proposes to carry out sterilisation operations on stray dogs in the town keeping in view their growing number. The issue will be discussed at the General House meeting of the council scheduled to be held on February 17.

Strict directions have been given by authorities concerned to check the growing number of stray dogs. The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, had asked the civic body in a letter on December 23 to give a report in this regard. The council then contacted the Assistant Director, Department of Animal Husbandry, and a meeting of veterinary doctors was held at the council office on January 28.

At the meeting, it was decided to depute a surgeon to carry out the operations on a weekly basis and the estimated cost on operating each dog was worked out to Rs 789. The council proposes to spend Rs 1 lakh on carrying out the operations.

The council also proposes to get an Internet connection for the office. Directions in this regard were given by the Deputy Director at a meeting held on January 27.

The House will also discuss a proposal on widening of the shopping street by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) from the traffic lights of Phase VII to the PUDA Bhavan in Phase VIII. PUDA officials had asked the civic body to hand over 20 streetlight poles on that stretch of the road so that these could be dismantled before the work began.

The council demanded that the streetlights be given back to the civic body in a functional state after the work was finished.



Tributes paid at 94th anniversary of Corps of Signals
Tribune News Service

To counter exploitation of information technology by terrorist outfits, the Corps of Signals has developed a pocket-size battlefield management system, called Sathi. The system networks personnel involved in counter-terrorism operations and forms a counter-terrorist or counter-infiltration grid to neutralise cross-border networks like internet, satellite telephones and cellular phones or local radio nets being used by terrorists. Besides India, only the United States and Israel have such a system.

Another new development is the mobile Network Operating Centre, a vehicle-mounted system featuring a range of modern communication equipment for secure transmission of voice, video and data to troops in a tactical battle zone. It can also serve as an ad hoc operations room for battlefield commanders.

Chandigarh, February 15
A solemn wreath-laying ceremony and a social get-together marked the 94th anniversary of the Corps of Signals at Headquarters Western Command in Chandimandir today.

As a mark of respect to those who had laid down their lives on the call of duty, floral tributes were paid at the Veer Smriti war memorial on behalf of all ranks by the Chief Signal Officer, Western Command, Major-Gen A S Bakshi.

In the evening, a Signals Nite was hosted by regimental officers for their retired comrades and other senior officers stationed in Chandimandir. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S Pattabhiraman and his wife, Mrs Lakshmi Raman were among those who graced the occasion.

From the days of pigeons, flags, helio and semaphore, the Corps of Signals has come a long way, with state-of-the-art digital exchanges, satellite communications and modern convergence technologies defining its present-day role.

With information being the new currency of warfare, an Army Cyber Security Establishment has been set up at Army Headquarters and cyber security sells are being established at all field headquarters. The Army Wide Area Network, which will be the prime service provider for secure messaging and data transfer, is expected to be operationalised this year. A secure mobile cellular network for field forces is also being established.



Dharna by pundits enters second day
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 15
The dharna by members of the Devalaya Pujak Parishad against the alleged misbehaviour of secretary of Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 27, Sanjeev Sharma and senior Congress leader Devinder Babla entered its second day today.

President of the parishad Uma Shanker Pandey alleged that Sharma assaulted a physically-challenged sewadar, Sadanand Ojha. When two priests — Asa Ram and Sunil — tried to stop Sanjeev they were also allegedly abused. Matter reached flashpoint when the three were sacked.

Later, they were allegedly assaulted by Babla, husband of area councillor Harpreet Kaur.

Initially, the police did not register a case but a DDR was registered when SSP Gaurav Yadav intervened, he said.

The parishad has demanded an apology by the secretary and Babla and re-employment of the three.

However, Babla has denied the allegations. Sanjeev on the other hand claimed that the sewadar was sacked by the management following several complaints against him.



Rainwater drainage being laid
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 15
An additional strom sewer is being laid by the water supply and sanitation wing of the Public Health Department to drainout rainwater from Sector 59 (Phase V). The sewer will start from Sector 59 and pass through industrial sectors 58 and 73.

The department concerned has requested various agencies like BSNL, Airtel, Spice, Reliance, PSEB and others, who had laid cables, pipes, etc in the area where the work had to be undertaken, to protect their service lines before the start of the work.

The department would not be responsible in any way at a later stage. If any agency was interested in seeing the route of the storm sewer, the drawings would be available in the office on any working day.



Sanitation in Sec 17 to be privatised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Sanitation in Sector 17 will be privatised, Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, said a meeting organised by the Business Promotional Council here today.

The Mayor said 25 per cent of the income out of the paid parking in the sector would be spent on development works. Tiles in the market were planned to be changed at an expenditure of Rs 45 lakh.

Shopkeepers pointed out problems like insufficient lighting, poor sanitation and encroachments.

Meanwhile, a working group of the municipal corporation today recommended that markets in Sectors 22, 34 and 35 should be converted into sites for paid parking. Members of the working group included the Mayor, the Commissioner, Mr Pardeep Chhabra and Brig Sant Singh.



Dropsy cases: Admin alerts field staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
In wake of dropsy incidents in other states, the Chandigarh Administration has alerted its field staff to be extra vigilant. The Director, Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, today convened a meeting of all manufacturers and oil packers of Chandigarh at General Hospital, Sector 16.

The authorities have stressed upon the manufacturers and the oil packers to ensure that oil being received by them was free from argemone mexicana. which was main cause of dropsy.

The oil manufacturers have been asked to set up laboratories to test the presence of this dangerous substance. The packaging and sale of oil has to be done as per the requirement of the PFA Act.



Aggarwal Sabha sammelan on February 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A two-day executive meeting of the All-India Aggarwal Sabha will be held at the Aggarsen Bhavan, here from February 19, Mr Prem Chand Gupta and Mr Gian Chand Gupta, president and secretary, respectively, of the Aggarwal Sabha, said here today.

Addressing a press conference, they said prominent leaders of the community, would take part in the sammelan.

Discussion on various issues, including social ills, and charitable projects of the sabha would be the main agenda.



Former Chief Secy Ojha bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February15
Mr Sumesh Ojha, a practising advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and son of former Punjab Chief Secretary R.P. Ojha, died here today following a brief illness. He was 48. Mr Ojha was the son- in-law of Mr M N Sharma, former Chief Architect.

Mr Ojha is survived by his wife. The cremation will take place tomorrow at 12 noon.



One injured

Mohali, February 15
One person was injured in a collision between a mini truck and a scooter near Kumbra village here yesterday. It is learnt that the injured person was taken to a hospital in Chandigarh. OC



Cops beat up businessman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A young businessman was allegedly detained illegally and beaten up by an ASI and a constable posted at the Sector 17 police post yesterday.

In a complaint to the SSP, Mr Praveen Pandey has accused ASI Amanjot Singh and Constable Om Prakash of illegally detaining him and beating him up. The complainant was summoned to the police post when he was inspecting a signage put up by a cellular company in Sector 17, the complaint said.

As soon as he entered the police post, the constable allegedly caught hold of him ad started abusing him.

When Mr Pandey requested the constable to allow him to make a phone call from his mobile to his mother so that she could pick his niece from her school, the ASI allegedly pulled him into the cabin and started beating him.

He also allegedly abused the complainant. In his complaint, Pandey has named several eyewitnesses to the incident.

However, when contacted, a police officer said the SSP was still to take action on the complaint.



Ailing woman sets herself afire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Depressed over a chronic illness, Sur Bala, a resident of Dadu Majra, today committed suicide after setting herself afire police sources said.

The sources said Sur Bala, an anganwadi worker, poured kerosene on her body and set herself on fire. Following efforts by passers-by, the fire was doused and she was rushed to the PGI where she was declared brought dead.

She is survived by her husband, a canteen contractor at Government High School, Sector 39, and two children.



LPG delivery man nabbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A delivery man of a local LPG agency was caught today while allegedly tampering with the seal of a cylinder and connecting an empty cylinder to it with an instrument in order to reportedly transfer the gas.

Quamudeen of Shivalik Gas Agency, Sector 26, was handed over to the police.

After receiving specific information, officials of the Food and Supplies Department, Chandigarh, rushed to the spot and impounded a three-wheeler with 29 LPG cylinders, out of which 9 were filled and 18 empty.

The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Director, Food and Supplies, Mr Arun Kumar, said he had warned that if any LPG dealer was found indulging in malpratice, action shall be taken.

Anybody having a complaint with regard to underweight LPG, can send a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Sector 17 or phone at 2709000.



Using e-business for empowerment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
“Information technology plays an important role in the transformation of unresponsive systems. The government is keen to extend help if the industry can come up with defined analytical systems which help in the implementation and monitoring of government’s initiatives,” Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Punjab Governor, said while delivering the inaugural address at the conference on “e-Business: Empower Your Business”, organised by the CII here today.

He said there was need to strengthen the systems to cater to the masses and emphasised on using information and communication technology to improve delivery systems to reorganise problematic areas.

He also spoke about the top concerns for CEOs in today’s business environment. These included the threat posed by competitors, controlling costs, finding new opportunities, improving responsiveness and better customer focus and service.

Mr Satish Kaushal, Country Manager of IBM India Ltd, said: “To achieve success in its e-business projects, the government needs to focus on delivering all services to people through the public-private partnership.” The key challenges for leaders were to meet financial challenges, enable government employees and transform government services.

Mr Manish Bagrodia, Chairman, CII Punjab State Council, said: “Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy in this region and the CII has taken initiatives to enhance their competitiveness.”

Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, said e-business was an enabler and not the means.

The speakers included Mr Deepak Nanda, Managing Director, SME Business Services Ltd, Mr Sandeep Bangia, General Manager - Sales Consulting, Oracle India Pvt Ltd, Mr Naveen Chopra, Industry Marketing Manager, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd, Mr Rajesh Talwar, senior consultant-manufacturing practice, Tata Consultancy Services, Mr Uday Sodhi, Vice-President — Subscription, rediff.com, and Mr Sandeep Malik, senior consultant, Wipro Consulting.



Banking programme commences
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
The 10-day long Green Channel Programme for excellence in agricultural banking commenced today at Staff Training Centre, State Bank of India, Panchkula. It was inaugurated by Mr Hemant G. Contractor, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, Chandigarh Circle.

Addressing the participants, Mr Contractor called upon them to excel in other areas of banking as well. He also stressed the importance of agriculture in the present scenario and government’s focus to increase flow to this sector.

The bank officers who have shown outstanding performance in agricultural banking are attending this training-cum-felicitation programme. As many as 38 officers from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa are among the participants in the programme being organised by the State Bank Institute of Rural Development ( SBIRD), Hyderabad, at bank’s five premier training institutes, including the centre at Panchkula.

The participants will be taken on a educational-cum-excursion tour to places like Kufri, Shimla, Parwanoo, Pinjore, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Amritsar, Bhakra/Nangal dam, Chintapurni and Jawalaji, said Mr S.N. Chandarana, Principal, SBIRD, while giving an overview of the programme in his key note address.



Maruti holds Valentine bash
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 15
“Pyar To Hona Hi Tha”, a Valentine bash organised by Maruti Suzuki, was held at the CII in Chandigarh.

Rhythms, a dance troupe from Delhi, performed to electrifying and romantic numbers. Compere Monty Singh from Delhi regaled everyone with his wit and humour.

Many contests like best couple dance, best dressed couple and best matched couple were held, apart from Esteem Valentine King and Esteem Valentine Queen.



Biz Clips

LAUNCHED: Mitsubhishi Electric launched two GSM mobile models at Hotel Shivalikview on Saturday. Ajay Mehta, Exectuive Director, MCC Imaging Private Limited said, “We have launched M750 and M350 mobile phones now. The best thing about these phones are that the screen of the phones is 1.9 inches which is the largest one in the market. Secondly, the phones have 2,60,000 colour resolution”. OC

OPENED: The Executive Ship Management (ESM) Singapore, has opened its new liaison office in Sector 35 to reach out to deserving Indian seafarers and provide them the best of infrastructure and facilities. The General Manager, ESM, Mr S.M. Iyer said, “Mumbai is the head of our manning operation while our liaison offices are spread out in Chennai, Cochin and Delhi, besides Chandigarh”. TNS


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