C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Nod to direct road link between city, Baddi
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Giving impetus to the economic and industrial development in the region, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approved a direct road link between Chandigarh and Baddi, an industrial township in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.

The proposed inter-state road will reduce the distance between the two places to just 26 km, compared to 56 km if one travels from Chandigarh to Baddi, via Pinjore.

Officials in the ministry said since Baddi town was a favourite destination with multinationals, the road link could also boost the economic development of the neighbouring areas in Haryana and Punjab. Once the road became functional, an industrial estate on the pattern of Chanalon (Kurali) could be planned along the linking roads, said officials in the Punjab Urban Planning Department.

Inquiries reveal that a number of ancillary units in adjoining districts of Punjab were feeding the bigger units at Baddi. The industrial hub of Punjab, Mandi Gobindgarh, will also get a direct link with Baddi and beyond, via Kurali.

As per the proposed alignment, the road would touch the PGI, Mullanpur and turn right from Majri and then join the Nalagarh-Pinjore road. A 16-km stretch of road linking Majri with the Chandigarh-Ropar highway at Kurali already existed, said a senior official of the Punjab PWD.

The new route would also provide direct link between the Ambala-Kalka highway and the Ropar-Chandigarh highway. It would also join the Ludhiana-Morinda road section at Kurali.

Approving the project under the Economic Importance and Inter-State Connectivity Scheme, the ministry has sanctioned around Rs 8 crore to the Punjab Government. The Punjab PWD Department has to lay around 5-km stretch of road between Sultanpur and Siswan. In Haryana, three km was metalled, but it was not wide enough to take heavy traffic.

The amount sanctioned under the project to the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh PWD Departments could not be ascertained. Mr S.K. Marwah, Superintending Engineer, Road Transport and Highways, said the ministry had agreed in principal to the proposal submitted by the Punjab PWD. The total funding of the project was being done by the ministry.



UT unclear over stray dog control plan
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The Union Territory is unclear about its animal control programme, particularly in reference to stray dogs. There is no government clinic to undertake processes like sterilisation and vaccination. The NGOs engaged in the vaccination activity do not get regular supply of dogs.

Official sources say they have their hands tied in “clearing” dogs from the streets. The NGOs, on the other hand, say that ‘clearing the dogs’ was not the role of the administration, nor was a solution to the problem of rising dog population in the city. “We only want support of the Administration in terms of finances and supply of animals for vaccination and sterilisation”.

Dogs cannot be removed from any locality because their place will be soon occupied by fresh entries from adjoining areas.

Ms Payal Sodhi from the People For Animals (PFA) said there had been numerous discussions with UT officials, however, no concrete action plan had been implemented so far. “The city needs to be divided into wards with specific officials on duty. At the moment, the whole work looks haphazard. Most of the dogs are brought to us following calls from the people. The clinics remain vacant for long periods. The support system needs to be mapped out by taking NGOs into confidence”, she added.

Mr Hiranmay Karlekar, a senior functionary with the Journalists For Animals, said one needed to be very clear that removing dogs from a locality was not a solution to the problem of stray dogs. “These are territorial animals. Remove one set and soon dogs from the neighbourhood will take over. Dogs in a locality, in fact, are very good watchdogs from any intrusions”, he said.

Voluntary organisations were doing a pioneering job in managing stray dogs in certain big cities in India, particularly New Delhi, he added. One common misnomer among common people was that stray dogs were carriers of rabies infection. This was a very rare disease and most of the dogs did not spread this infection.

A senior official of the Municipal Corporation said there were certain contradictions in legal provisions and ground realities. Under the Animal Birth Control, Canine (ABC) Act, 2000, all stray dogs needed to be sterilised. “Surgical operations are said to be the safest mode of operation. It involves hospitalisation for at least a week”, he added.

“Since no government hospital has the provision for sterilisation we have to depend on the efforts by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals, the PFA and NGOs engaged in the care of animals. However, individually each of these could handle only five cases at a time. The dog population, on the other hand, had grown at a rapid pace”, the official said.

“The problem of finding a place for stray dogs has not been adequately handled. We do not have a ward to house this population. Under the ABC rules, when a dog is vaccinated or sterilised, it has to be released at the same place. The issue needs to be worked out from the perspective of handling the increasing numbers in the same area”, the official said.

The Act provides that very sick dogs can be killed. Even this is not easy. A formal decision has to be taken by involving NGOs, residents welfare associations and veterinary doctors.



A ‘model’ school where students pay
for Class IV staff

Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 19
It was with a lot of fanfare that the Education Department, Haryana, had set up the first Saarthak Government Model Integrated Senior Secondary School in the state in Sector 12-A here.

But two years down the line, complaints about 'malfunctioning' of the school have started pouring in. As things stand, the state Finance Department has not sanctioned the posts of Class IV employees for the school.

Since the school cannot be properly maintained without Class IV employees, each student is being forced to shell out Rs 50 every three months to pay for Class IV employees hired on contract basis.

Now, parents of the students are complaining that they are being forced to pay extra even as the government has failed to make provisions for ensuring that the school remains a 'model' school.

Officials of the Education Department inform that they have left no stone unturned to ensure that the best teachers from other schools in the district are accommodated in this model school.

"Though we have sought sanction for the five posts of Class IV employees — two peons, and one post each of gardener, watchman and sweeper — the Finance Department did not sanction these," says a senior official of the deptt.

"Last year, we were paying the salaries of the staff but this year we requested the parents if the fee can be increased by Rs 50 on a quarterly basis. After they agreed, we began charging the money so as to pay for the Class IV employees and other maintenance jobs," he adds.

The officer also says that though they have made numerous representations to the Finance Department to sanction these posts, the latter has raised certain objections.

Parents have made a written representation to the school authorities, alleging that the school Principal is charging Rs 50 extra as the tuition fee and Rs 10 extra as the examination fee.

They have also alleged that a sum of Rs 150 is charged extra from old students and Rs 250 extra from students admitted in the academic session 2004-05.

"We are paying extra money for Class IV staff, school maintenance and even for the power tariff bills. But quality of education in this school is nothing as compared to the model schools of Chandigarh," rues a parent.

The District Education Officer, Ms Phool Khatri, said there was no question of the embezzlement of funds.

"The extra charges are for proper maintenance of the school. We have again sent a representation for sanctioning of posts of Class IV employees, " she said. 



Chill returns to city
Tribune News Service

A student cycles with a hand in his pocket to ward off the chill as cold conditions return to the city
A student cycles with a hand in his pocket to ward off the chill as cold conditions return to the city on Saturday. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, February 19
Inclement weather continued to dominate the environs of the city throwing normal life out of gear. The city recorded the maximum temperature of 15°C, which was 9°C below normal.

It remained cloudy throughout the day with brief spells of drizzle. Snow in the adjoining areas has brought in another spell of cold wave, forcing citizens to pull out woollens they had dumped in the stores thinking the season was bidding adieu. Brief spells of drizzle affected the traffic and the rush in the city markets today.

The city recorded a rainfall of 0.4 mm at 8.30 am. The minimum temperature recorded was 11°C. The city is likely to witness spells of rain or thundershowers in the coming 24 hours, sources in the Meteorological Department said.

Mr Resham Singh, a city resident, said, “It did not rain much, but there was a strong gust of cold wave. I had a plan of going to Shimla, but I had to postpone the tour”.

Ms Nidhi Sharma, a housewife, said, “I did not send my son to school today because of the heavy sky. It was also a very cold day”.



Link labs to markets, says Sibal
Naveen S.Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
"'Science for science sake' is no longer the mantra of the 21s century; labs have to be linked with the markets and at the same time they have to be cut-off from government control. Only then, India will be able to match up with globalisation. There is immediate need to link commerce with what happens in research institutions, it will take some effort, but the government is gearing up for this".

Elaborating plans of the Union Government to meet the challenges and threats from globalisation, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Ocean Studies, Mr. Kapil Sibal said, "to meet international standards in the field of science and technology there is an immediate need to de-bureaucratise scientific institutions in the country. Cut them off completely from government control and allow them to flourish as autonomous bodies. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is fully aware of the need for this and has decided to set up 10 centres of excellence in science across the country, out of which one, Centre for excellence in Nano Technology, will be established at the Panjab University here"

Talking to The Tribune, Mr. Sibal said that India had a great potential in fields such as the Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biotechnology and other sciences. "If Indian scientists are provided the required infrastructure minus the drawbacks of controls, India is headed in the right direction on a very fast pace".

Mr. Sibal who was in the city to inaugurate the University Institute of Engineering Technology and to deliver the keynote address at the Indo-US Cytometry Workshop at the Panjab University Campus said "Western countries have provided complete autonomy to scientific institutions. That is the way the world is going and we will have to go that way too. The onus to make the Indian scientific community succeed is on the government, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh realises this and I realise it too, further I can assure you that the government would do everything possible to respond to the needs of the 21st century that will make India succeed in the era of liberalisation".

Mr. Sibal said that it was imperative to involve the medium and large industrial establishments in scientific research. "I hope we can generate more money for research and development (R&D). At present only 1.1 per cent of the GDP is being spent on R&D. Out of this 0.9 per cent come from public funding and the remaining from private funds. The government is encouraging private enterprises to spend more on R&D".

The future of humanity has two main concerns - these being threats from hunger and to health. Per acre productivity is decreasing globally and human body is becoming resistant to disease, he said. There is an immediate need to discover new drugs and molecules to deal with disease. Third world countries have certain diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, etc. for which the third world will have to find its own solutions. Multinationals will not do research on developing vaccines for diseases here. "Since, only 1.1 per cent of the total revenue spent on R&D is spent on developing vaccines for diseases that confront us, the government is hoping that the G8 nations now commit themselves to invest in vaccination development", he said.

He hoped that the Indian scientists would soon be successful in the field of biotechnology as there was urgent need for developing strains and seeds to counter the growing threats of hunger and disease.



Drugs against AIDS, cancer need of the hour: Sibal
Tribune News Service

The new block

Prof Pathak informed that the full-fledged Academic Institute Block will have a covered area of 1,14,000 sq feet at a cost of Rs 6.39 crore besides the workshop in a covered area of 16,000 sq feet at an additional cost of Rs 71 lakh. In the second phase, the block will have a covered area of 30,000 sq feet. The building will have classrooms, seminar rooms, laboratories, libraries, workshop, auditoria, etc.

Chandigarh, February 19
Discovery of new drugs for incurable diseases like HIV AIDS and cancer is the need of the hour for developing countries like India. This was stated by Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ocean Development Kapil Sibal while delivering the valedictory address at the 5th Indo-US workshop on Flow Cytometry organised by the Department of Biotechnology at Panjab University today.

Mr Sibal said the answers lay in advancement of research in the field which would help in identifying genes and molecules responsible for such diseases.

“Since per hectare productivity of the land is declining, we need various transgenic agricultural products. For this, the investment in biotechnology needs to be enhanced to develop pest resistance and highly nutritious seeds,’’ said the minister.

He also honoured three pioneer scientists in the field of flow cytometry — Prof S. Cram from the USA, Prof F. Mandy from Canada and Prof Jeff Harvey from the UK.

Earlier in the day, Mr Sibal laid the foundation stone of Academic Block of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) in Sector 25 and expressed confidence that the courses run by the institute would become a hub of excellence.

Recalling former Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech when he had visited the city in 1963 to inaugurate the Indo-Swiss Training Centre, Mr Sibal said he had a vision for having skilled manpower for industrialisation.

“It is an extension of his vision that time has come to take a quantum jump from industrial economy to knowledge economy. In the era of globalisation, emphasis has to be on knowledge economy and extraordinary skilled manpower,’’ he said.

Expressing concern that only one-third of engineering graduates passing out from 1,200 engineering institutes all over the country were getting absorbed in the areas of their specialisation, the minister emphasised the need for maintaining quality education which should be commensurate with global requirements.

The minister said India was a young nation with 547 million persons below 25 years of age and there was a need to nurture the young and develop centres of excellence.

Welcoming Mr Sibal, PU Vice-Chancellor K.N. Pathak forwarded the suggestion for establishing an institute of science in the city. He also drew minister’s attention to establishing an institute of scientific and technological significance in the city. He sought the support of the minister in setting up an accelerator based institute on PU campus for which the university would provide the requisite land.

Assuring help, Mr Sibal said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had recently announced that India needed a dozen institutes of science and steps would be taken soon in this regard.



JobsFest offers gamut of jobs to right candidates
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Landing with suitable job is no more about excelling in academics alone. A pleasing personality, good communication skills and being street smart makes an "ideal employee" the entire service sector, right from telecom to hospitality to aviation, is in search of.

Service with a smile is today's job mantra. And, at JobsFest 2005, organised by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends at Hotel Mountview here today, that's what companies came scouting for.

There seemed absolutely no dearth of candidates who fit the bill to perfection, queues continued to grow longer and the venue hummed and buzzed with activity. Just-out-of-college-graduates were as much in demand as those with a few years of experience in the service industry.

While there was no limit on number of vacancies available, each company sought to rope in the best of candidates after rounds of interviews of boys, most of them attired in formal suits, and the girls, dressed in business suits or sarees.

Offering a gamut of jobs from customer service to sales, Mr Achalesh Sharma, Regional Manager, ITC group, says,"We want energetic individuals, willing learners with fluency in English. Most groups like us have moved on from looking for brilliance in academics alone. We are targeting candidates with a service flair who can grow as managers in retail."

From the Taj Group of Hotels and Resorts, Sales Manager Aditya Shamsher Malla, during interviewing the candidates lined up for a job in the group's city venture opening shortly, states,"A right mix of attitude, confidence, communication skills and personality hold the key to finding a job in the market today. While academics is critical in certain departments, being enterprising counts a great deal. We are gradually getting more and more candidates like these and the city seems to abound in availability of qualified youth."

The aviation industry, too, came looking for talent, offering jobs as cabin crew and for ground duty. The MD of Air Deccan, Capt GR Gopinath, maintained that the search of the aviation industry certainly wasn't for pretty faces only. "We want employees who can serve the public without grumbling about their assignments. In today's world, there is hardly any difference if a student scores 70 or 90 per cent. What clinches a job is the extra edge that comes from being an all-rounder," he opines.

Representing the Media and entertainment industry, the fastest growing industry of modern times, was BAG Films Limited, producers of Kumkum, Red Alert and a host of other programmes on various channels.

The director, Mr Nalin Satyakam Kohli, said that though lots of jobs were available in this industry, professional talent had a marked advantage. "We can groom new entrants to suit our needs. However, during interviews, we are trying to sift the talented candidates of substance who will be able to deliver from those who are in awe of the glamour it brings alongside. This talent and interest becomes evident once we get down to interviewing," he maintains.

The JobsFest will continue tomorrow as well though no fresh registrations would be made. Interviews with applicants who registered today will carry on tomorrow.



Cop held stealing car
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, February 19
The UT police today arrested a Punjab police constable when he was trying to steal a Honda City car from a parking lot in Sector 9, Madhya Marg this afternoon. According to the police, Gurpreet Singh, posted at the Punjab Police Headquarters in Sector 9, was nabbed by the UT police when he was trying to steal the car (CH-01V-4383) parked outside a restaurant.

The car belongs to Mr Ajit Singh Pannu, a resident of Sector 15. The police has registered a case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.



Passing Thru

Dr V.P. Kamboj
Dr V.P. Kamboj Former Director, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow and former Chairman, BIBCOL, Bulandshahr

What is your present area of research work?

My research ranges from holistic medicine to molecular medicine. It is an indepth study of disease at the molecular level. Through this therapy, a doctor can easily detect the rootcause of the disease early and can start treatment at the early stage of the disease.

Has the Ayurveda industry of India the potential to generate more revenue as compared to allopathy?

There is a strong likelihood of Ayurvedic products generating big profits. But, firstly, we have to focus on maintaining international standards of the drugs. At present, India’s pharmaceutical firms are producing allopathic medicines at the lowest cost in the global market. Currently, the fastest growing market in pharmacy is of herbal products. This is because an increasing number of people are preferring these products.

What is the latest breakthrough on the drug front?

Recently, a drug called E- MAL has been introduced for treating malaria and its most important aspect is that it is the single plantbased drug. Right now, its basic part, Artemisia, is imported from abroad.

— Swarleen Kaur



Bomb found in Sarangpur disposed of
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Experts from an Army bomb disposal unit today disposed of the bomb that was found a few days ago by a farmer while working in his fields in Sarangpur village near here.

The Army team, based at Chandi Mandir, was requisitioned after the Chandigarh police’s bomb disposal squad had expressed its inability to deal with the bomb. Though the bomb did not have a fuse, its warhead carried a substantial amount of TNT explosive. It was about two-foot long.

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune at the upcoming Punjab Armed Police Complex near Dhanas, where the bomb was disposed of this morning, BDU Commander, Hav Balwinder Singh said the Army had received a request from the local police on February 18. He inspected the rocket on the same day.

The bomb, covered with sandbags, was transported in a Shaktiman truck from the Dhanas police station to the PAP complex, which has several acres of open land. It was placed in a three-foot-deep pit and covered with sandbags before being blown up. A charge using 200 gm of plastic explosive was used, which resulted in a huge explosion. The area was cordoned off by the police and all due precautions were taken. No local person was allowed inside the complex.

He said the bomb was very old and could not be identified. It was of the air-to-surface free-fall type used on aircraft and also had a small velocity retarding parachute. A farmer had brought it to the police station on February 16.



Nod to building plan of 21 guest houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
Getting in line with the rules for the regularisation of guest houses, 21 of them have got their building plans approved and paid the conversion charges, composition fee and completed the formalities of the Estate Office.

The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, Chandigarh, Mr Arun Kumar, today said seven guest houses were closed and there was a stay order from court for eight other guest houses. Another five guest houses had been sealed while seven guest houses were not in use.

The cases of remaining eight guest houses are under process. Out of these, these which have not completed the formalities are being given a week’s time, failing which they will be sealed. The Estate Officer said the team led by Mr S.K. Setia, Land Acquisition Officer, had checked eight hotels listed in the complaint of the guest house owners, and was likely to complete the checking of all remaining hotels within next week.



MC employees submit memo to Speaker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
A delegation of the Coordination Committee of Government and MC Employees and Workers submitted a memorandum of demands to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, in New Delhi yesterday.

The memorandum demanded that the employees transferred by the Chandigarh Administration to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) should be treated on deputation.The other demands of the employees included the regularisation of the services of daily-wage employees, an inquiry into the purchase of the low-floor buses by the CTU and the removal of 5 per cent ceiling on the compassionate appointments.



Villagers object to railway plan, block traffic
Our correspondent

Mohali, February 19
Residents of Kambala and nearby villages disrupted traffic today in protest against the decision of the Railways to block a road connecting the area to Mohali.

The Railways, the protesters said, had dumped earth on the road last night. When the villagers came to know of this they gathered and stopped further activity.

The protesters raised slogans and threatened to launch an agitation if the Railways made attempts to block the direct route to Mohali.

They said the road was around 100 years old and the Minister for Public Works, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, had given an assurance that its width would be increased to 18 feets.

They said the alternative route planned by the Railways was 5 km longer than the present one. This would create problems for those who had to come to Mohali every day.



First-aid training programme

Chandigarh, February 19
In view of lack of proper first-aid training among city residents, the UT Red Cross Society in association with the Civil Defence Department, has decided to launch a programme to impart training in first-aid to them.

Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar has decided to conduct a two-week programme involving theoratical and practical sessions and importing of information on principles of first-aid, diagnosis, treatment, disposal, transport.

The training of the first batch will start in the first week of April and each person will be charged Rs 400 as fee. People desirous of availing of this facility can contact the Joint Secretary, Red Cross Society, at Karuna Sadan Building, Sector-11, or on telephone No. 2744188 or 2742000. TNS



Travel agent dupes ten of lakhs
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 19
A city-based travel agent allegedly duped 10 persons from the region of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad. The matter came to light when the local police registered a cheating case under Section 420 of the IPC against the agent at Sector 3 police station, on Friday.

According to the police, a complaint was filed by Mr Dharam Dev Gautam of Yamuna Nagar in Haryana on January 17 this year alleging that Pawan Raj Bhalla, Director of Canada Wide Immigration Consultant (CWIC) in Sector 8, had taken Rs 80,000 from him to send him to USA as a mathematics teacher in September 2003. The accused neither send him abroad and nor returned his money.

The sources in the police said a case was filed on Friday after taking opinion from the senior officers. The sources further revealed that the police had received complaints from nine other persons from the region, who were duped of lakh of rupees by the accused.

The accused had allegedly taken Rs 40,000 from Jagadari-based Rajiv Sharma, 45,000 from Mohali-based Gurpreet Singh, Rs 50,000 from Harsimran Singh of Sector 40, Rs 50,000 from Kamalpreet Kaur of Hoshiarpur and Rs 50,000 from Ritesh Kumar.

He also allegedly fleeced Rs 1.25 lakh from Dilawar Singh of Panchkula, Rs 20,000 from Nirmal Singh of Nawa Shahr, Rs 49,000 from Naresh Sharma of Jalandhar and Rs 80,000 from Sardev Singh of Ferozepur.

The SHO of Sector 3 police station, Mr Kulawant Singh Pannu, said the accused was presently lodged in Tihar Jail in connection with some other case. He further said they would move an application in a local court to procure production warrants to arrest him.



Rs 1.2 lakh stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 19
At least Rs 1.20 lakh in cash was reportedly stolen from the glove box of a scooter while a house was burgled in the city, as per the information released by the local police here today.

Mr Pawan Kumar of Burail village filed a complaint to the police that Rs 1.20 lakh were stolen from the glove box of his scooter parked near his residence on February 16. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC in the Sector 34 police station.

In another incident, Mr Mahabir Singh of Sector 42-C reported to the police that one silver ring, a silver anklet and some other articles were stolen from his residence yesterday. A case has been registered.

Truck stolen

Mr Krishan Chand of Daria village reported to the police that his truck (HR-37-A-8861) was stolen near Hotel Shivam in the same locality on the night of February 15. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Industrial Area police station.


A scooterist, Mr Parminder Singh of Sector 35-D, suffered injuries when a PRTC bus hit his scooter near Sector 22-23 light point, yesterday. The police arrested the bus driver, Nasib Singh of Buga village in Ropar district, and later released him on bail. A case of negligent driving under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

In another incident, a scooterist, Mr Girdhari Lal of Sector 20-A, was hit by a motor cycle (HR-03-F-2725) near Sector 19-20 chowk, yesterday. The motor cyclist sped away after the accident. The injured was admitted to the GMCH-32. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 19 police station.


The local police has arrested Nachhatar Singh, driver of a CTU bus and resident of Fadan village, near Hallo Majra village, and seized 2 kg poppy husk from his possession. A case has been registered.



Newly wed couple missing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 19
A newly-wed couple of Kumbra village here has been missing under mysterious circumstances since Thursday. Their car was found abandoned near the Sirhind canal yesterday.

Kuldeep Singh and Ranjeet Kaur were married on February 13. On the morning of February 17 they had left in their car for Faidan village, near Sector 47 in Chandigarh, where Ranjeet’s parents live.

They had jewellery, cash and some clothes in their Maruti car.

When the couple did not reach the village even after an hour of their departure, the girl’s parents contacted the boy’s family in Kumbra village. The two families tried to get in touch with the couple but their mobile was found switched off.

Yesterday, the Fatehgarh Sahib district police informed the girl’s parents that their car was found abandoned near the canal at Sirhind. On getting the information members of the family rushed to Sirhind.

Mr Karamjit Singh, brother-in-law of Kuldeep Singh, told Chandigarh Tribune that the newly-weds had more than Rs 50,000 cash and three gold sets among the items in the car when they left for Faidan.

He said the police found Rs 16,715, a gold chain with a pendant and some clothes among the items in the abandoned car.

An entry in the DDR has been made at the Sirhind police station.



Cash, goods stolen from showrooms
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 19
Burglars broke into two showrooms in Swastik Vihar market and decamped with goods worth lakhs of rupees last night.

According to the police, the burglars entered provisional store nos. 68 and 72 after breaking the locks of their main gates.

According to Mr Raj Kumar, owner of show room number 68, the burglars took away a sum of Rs 30,000 in cash along with some other goods. Similarly, the miscreants also took away Rs 10,000 in cash and goods from show room no 72.



4 buffaloes stolen
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 19
Rustlers struck at a cattle shed and took away four buffaloes from Nada village late last night. The miscreants fed some sedative to a pet dog of the cattle owner before committing the crime.

The cattle owner, Mr Nakshatra Singh, told Chandigarh Tribune that he found the buffaloes missing and the dog lying unconscious adjacent to the shed this morning. Finding the cattle missing, villagers informed the police.

Mr Nakshatra Singh claimed the rustlers apparently transported the buffaloes in a truck.

The police has registered a case of theft.



Half-day bandh on Feb 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
To protest against the “anti-trader” policies of the Central Government and the Chandigarh Administration, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today gave a call for half-day bandh on February 21.

To be observed on the call of the All-India Beopar Mandal against the imposition of the value added tax (VAT) from April 1, the city traders will observe bandh for the first half of the day, Mr Jagdish Arora, CBM president, said at a press conference here today.

The CBM spokesman, Mr Jagdish Kalra, alleged that with the implementation of VAT, the Inspector Raj would be strengthened resulting in the harassment of the common traders.

Saying that the traders were not against the imposition of VAT, Mr Arora said a uniform simplified tax, replacing the existing taxes, should be levied all over the country. Under the current VAT system, 550 items were covered and 46 items exempted which left scope of its misuse by the respective state governments.

It was unfortunate that the Chandigarh Administration had not held any meeting with the CBM on the VAT issue so far and the administration seemed to be in the dark about certain aspects of the tax, Mr Kalra added.



Kiryana merchants oppose bandh call
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 19
The Kiryana Merchants Association here today opposed the call for a bandh for February 21 in connection with VAT.

Mr Sham Bansal, president of the association, who was talking to newspersons, said the bandh would put people to inconvenience and hit government revenue. He said members of his organisation and other traders’ bodies would not observe a bandh but only wear black badges on that day to register their protest. Representatives of the Mohali Chemists Association and the Chakki Owners Association were among those present.

Mr Bansal said he was in favour of simplification of VAT and demanded that before it was implemented, proper guidance must be given to traders in this regard. He said Excise and Taxation officials had failed to satisfy them on matters relating to VAT.


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