C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City budget outlay hiked by Rs 25 crore
Ajay Banerjee & Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/ New Delhi, February 28
The Union Finance Ministry has increased the plan outlay of Chandigarh by 25 crore and pegged it at 1185.96 crore, up from Rs 1160 crore. Out of this increase, Rs 8 crore is for development (under plan head), while the rest is for meeting the expenses of running the government.

Chandigarh was allocated a total outlay Rs 1185.96 crore in the Central Budget today. The outlay will include Rs 197.96 crore planned Budget and Rs 988 crore non-planned Budget. 

For the current financial year, Rs 186.36 crore had been allocated for plan while Rs 974.16 crore allocated for non-plan, that is for running the expenses of the government. For the year 2005-06, the Administration had sought Rs 202, crore which has not been accepted.

The major spending of Chandigarh will be on power, health services, education, transport, water supply, housing and urban development.

The capital outlay for the power sector has been increased to Rs 345.77 crore for 2005-06 as against Rs 330.03 crore as per the revised Budget for the previous year. For medical and health services, Rs 88.54 crore has been earmarked during 2005-06 as against Rs 81.76 crore during 2004-05. It will include Rs 32.80 crore planned expenditure and Rs 55.74 crore as non-planned expenditure.

The government will spend Rs 117.70 crore in the education sector in 2005-06 as against Rs 113.52 crore in 2004-05. It will include Rs 53.98 crore for elementary education and literacy programmes, Rs 98.12 crore for the secondary education and Rs 19.58 crore for technical education.

Transport sector will get Rs 82.84 crore in 2005-06 as against Rs 83.86 crore during previous year. For tourism development, the Central Budget allocations have been increased to Rs 3.06 crore as against Rs 2.02 core allocated during the previous year.

The allocations for the urban development and housing has been raised to Rs 230.16 crore as against Rs 212.41 crore allocated during 2004-05. It will include Rs 139.44 crore for urban development, Rs 51.86 crore for public works, Rs 18.44 crore for water supply and sanitation and Rs 8.69 crore for housing sectors.

For the social security and welfare sector, the Budget allocations have been increased to Rs 3.99 crore from Rs 3.55 crore allocated in the previous Budget.

The government has also earmarked Rs 73.85 crore for the police for 2005-06 as against Rs 70. 72 crore in 2004-05.



Industry terms Budget as healthy, growth-oriented
Poonam Batth & Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

N.S. Aulakh, Amarjit Goyal, R.S. Sachdeva, Rakesh Rattan Aggarwal and Ashok Khanna
From left to right: N.S. Aulakh, Amarjit Goyal, R.S. Sachdeva, Rakesh Rattan Aggarwal and Ashok Khanna
Yoginder Diwan, Keshav Sachdev, Arvind K. Mehan, Manish Bagrodia and Satish Bagrodia
From left to right: Yoginder Diwan, Keshav Sachdev, Arvind K. Mehan, Manish Bagrodia and Satish Bagrodia

Chandigarh, February 28
Enhancing the exemption limit on income tax upto to Rs 1 lakh; special focus on giving a fillip to infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas; rationalisation of tax structure, streamlining of excise duty and reduction in the customs duty and corporate tax has made the corporate sector term the Union Budget- 2005 presented today by the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, as a “growth-oriented budget.”

A cross-section of industrialists Chandigarh Tribune spoke to had a general consensus that the sops announced by the Finance Minister bring out the UPA government’s commitment to “development with a human face’’ with special focus on infrastructure and rural development. They were unanimous on the opinion that the Budget was “healthy, growth-oriented” and came in for appreciation from most industrialists gathered at the CII and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry for a special Budget-viewing session.

However, some averred that the focus of the Budget was not clear on certain aspects like tax and FDI issues and finer details were awaited. Even the Budget proposal to levy Rs 10 on withdrawal of Rs 10,000 on a single day was not received well by the industry.

Dissatisfied with the proposals for the food-processing industry, Mr Yoginder Diwan, MD of Himalayan Vegefruits, said,”The reduction in import duty on refrigerated vans is welcome but it forms a very miniscule part of the industry. The Finance Minister should have been told that it would have been greater benefit to industrialists had the duty on importing packaging been waived off or reduced. There are a lot of hidden concessions to fruit processing industry in tropical countries like Brazil. On the whole, it is a good Budget for the common man.”

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Keshav Sachdev, President and CEO, DCM Limited, and Chairman, Economic Affairs and Taxation sub-committee of the CII, said unlike claims of the Budget being insipid and lacking excitement, he opined that the Finance Minister had tried to strike a balance in all sectors.

“Though there is nothing dynamic about the Budget yet it targets growth in a very subtle manner. The tax of Rs 10 on withdrawal of Rs 10,000 and above, however, seems a misfit in the entire Budget scheme,” he added.

The President of the Industries Association, Mr Arvind K. Mehan, said continuation of reforms was a welcome step. “The draft bill on the SME development programme is good news to the small and medium industry. I appreciate the tax on withdrawals and see it as a step forward in the right direction to curb flow of unaccounted money. The fluctuating duty on iron and steel, increased from 12 to 16 per cent in this Budget, hinders the industry from making any long-term plans. They should make a firm policy and stick rather than increasing it in one Budget and decreasing it in the other,” he stated.

While appreciating the concessions given to the textile industry by way of reduction in duty on machinery and equipment, Mr Manish Bagrodia, MD, Winsome Yarns Limited and Chairman, CII (Punjab), maintained that there was need to focus on employment generation rather than employment preservation.

“Modifying the labour laws is of paramount interest to the industry. The pro-masses approach of the Budget, the incentives to the rural sector and the weaker sections of society are going to benefit society. For the textile industry, the concessions would not only give a boost to the sector but encourage investment as well. However, the reduction in import duty announced on the yarns and garments will have a negative impact on the domestic market given the competition we are facing from China,” he explained.

“Describing the Budget as “futuristic and forward looking”, Mr Satish Bagrodia, Chairman of the Winsome Textiles Industries Limited, said” the minister has laid special focus on creating more investment opportunities, thereby leading to more job avenues.’’ The additional focus on the textile industry with duty reduction is a step in the right direction as it would help the sector become globally competitive, besides generating more jobs. The Centre’s renewed thrust on all round development of infrastructure, stress on skill development programmes and crop diversification in rural areas are some other welcome initiatives.

He welcomed the duty cuts in IT, agriculture, textile and withdrawal of cess in tea and said this would go a longway in developing the competitivness of the industry.

Mr N.S. Aulakh, a member of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry committee and an exporter of this region, said the Budget had provided massive allocation to vital sectors in the rural economy, including roads, electrification, telephony and sanitation to provide necessary momentum to the growth process. It has also reduced customs duty on several products which will reduce the cost of production and benefit consumers, he added. These measures would also help the exporters gain markets through competitive pricing.

Mr Amarjit Goyal, Chairman of Modern Steels Limited and Chairman of the Punjab unit of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Budget addressed every stake holder in the economy, including women, infrastructure, SSI, IT and biotechnology sectors. “Woman and senior citizens would be benefited as tax exemption to them has been raised to Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh, respectively. He also welcomed the 10 per cent subsidy in the textile sector, which would attract investment.

However, the construction and manufacturing industry will suffer with the excise duty on excise once again going up to 16 per cent from the existing 12 per cent as this would mean a 4 per cent increase in the prices of steel, which is the basic raw material for industries and construction projects, he added. He lamented that no special incentives were yet again given by the Centre to even the border districts of Punjab on the lines of territorial concessions offered to the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir.

“It recognises the importance of financial sector as the key engine for growth and has also laid emphasis on the small scale sector for the first time, ‘’ said noted industrialist, Mr R.S. Sachdeva. Tax exemption is always welcome as it would help flow in more money into the market and boost industry.

Although the threshold limit has not been raised much, there were indications in the Budget that the long-awaited SME bill would be brought in Parliament very soon which was good for the sector. Also the reduction of customs duty on key items is in line with the duty structure of the neighbouring countries. However, the reduction of corporate tax to 30 per cent should be taken on the face value as 10 per cent surcharge levied on it would bring down the exemption benefits to some extent, he added.

Mr Rakesh Rattan Aggarwal, general secretary of the Dera Bassi Industries Association, said the Finance Minister has done a tough balancing act and shown financial prudence by rationalising the tax structure and making it more wide net.

“The Budget is largely in tune with the expectations of the people . It has taken care of the common man and will fulfill the promises made to him in the National Common Minimum Programme,’’ said Mr Ashok Khanna, Past President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It had rightly focused on agriculture, rural and social sectors. With the simplifications of tax exemptions, things would become easy for the common man, he added.

Chief Executive Officer of Spice Telecom, Navin Kaul has termed the Union Budget to be progressive and growth-oriented for the telecommunication industry. Taking note of the low rural tele-density in the country, Mr Kaul said “There is huge untapped potential in the rural market, which needs to be fully exploited for the growth of telecom services in the country and to bring it on a par with other developed nations.

A boost for the mobile user’s in this years Budget has been the removal of cellular subscribers from one-of-the-six criteria for filing of income tax returns. With this, subscribers to a cellular phone no longer need to file their return if their income is below the maximum amount not chargeable to tax. This will make more people opt for mobile phone.

He has also welcomed the initiatives with regard to depreciation on plants and machinery, which has been reduced from 25 per cent to 15 per cent and customs duty on capital equipment from 20 to 15 per cent as they are a step in the right direction.

The president of the Industries Association, Mr Arvind K Mehan, said that the continuation of reforms was a welcome step. “The draft bill on the SME development programme is good news to the small and medium industry. I appreciate the tax on withdrawals and see it as a step forward in the right direction to curb the flow of unaccounted money. The fluctuating duty on iron and steel, increased from 12 to 16 per cent in this Budget, hinders the industry from making any long-term plans. They should make a firm policy and stick rather than increasing it in one Budget and decreasing it in the other,” he stated.

While appreciating the concessions given to the textile industry by way of reduction in duty on machinery and equipment, Mr Manish Bagrodia, MD, Winsome Yarns Limited and Chairman, CII (Punjab), maintained that there was need to focus on employment generation rather than employement preservation.

Modifying the labour laws is of paramount interest to the industry. The pro-masses approach of the Budget, the incentives to the rural sector and weaker sections of society are going to benefit society. For the textile industry, the concessions would not only give a boost to the sector but encourage investment as well. However, the reduction in import duty announced on the yarns and garments will have a negative impact on the domestic market given the competition we are facing from China,” he explained.

The president of the Tourism Promotion Society of Chandigarh and hotelier, Mr Manmohan Singh Kohli, is not too happy with the Budget and views it as a jugglery where the government is giving “small change and asking for big notes.’’ in the name of sops. He is critical of service tax being extended to certain other basic functions such as cleaning and maintenance. “Service providers are only a collection agency of tax. Ultimately, the burden is borne by the common man, the users who are actually taxed.

The vital sector of tourism and hospitality has been completely ignored in the Budget, he said.

“The government initiative to go further with reforms in the banking sector will make the industry go global, said Neena Singh, vice-president, HDFC Bank. Various provisions, including the provision for adopting the gold-traded mutual funds would bring in a lot of flexibility in the market. The announcement with regard to the revamp of the cooperative banks would be a welcome step, as a report to this effect has already been submitted.”


Members of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) here have welcomed the proposals of the Union Budget. Terming it as a “growth-oriented Budget”, Mr Gurmeet Singh, President of the association, said the Budget was good for the manufacturing sector as the excise duty and custom duty had been reduced. “This is conducive to the post-WTO regime. Corporate tax and individual income tax levels have been slashed to the required levels.

We also welcome the concessions given to women and senior citizens by enhancing the income tax exemption limit,” he said adding that widening of the service tax base by including more services under the tax net was also a positive step. “For Punjab, the special corpus fund of Rs 150 crore for research and development in biotechnology and Rs 50 crore in agriculture research for crop diversification is good news,” he said.

“The reintroduction of MAT credit is welcome and so is the importance given to the textile sector which is expected to take care of unemployment,” he said.


Common man elated at Budget
Tribune News Service

Sanjeev Mehan, Rupinder Toor, Indu Laroiya and Kapil Khanna
From left to right: Sanjeev Mehan, Rupinder Toor, Indu Laroiya and Kapil Khanna

Chandigarh, February 28
With the common man as its focus, this year’s Union Budget has given people a reason to smile. Altering of income tax brackets as part of the major overhaul of direct taxes, extending sanitation campaign to all districts, launching of various schemes, no increase in prices of petrol and petroleum products have all
contributed to “lifting their spirits”.

Speaking to a cross-section of people, Chandigarh Tribune found that the proposals of the Union Finance Minister seemed to have found favour with the public at large. Says entrepreneur Indu Laroiya,”Fixing of the threswold exemption level for women for income tax at Rs 1.25 lakh is a commendable step. Also, an attempt has been made to simplify and rationalise exemptions. It is a budget that will help the housewife and the working women.”

Rupinder Toor, a doctor, maintained that the Finance Minister had recognised the necessity to encourage savings. “He has offered tax relief as an inducement to save by proposing to allow the tax payer greater flexibility in making savings and investment. While offering a number of sops to the industry by way of reduction in excise and custom duty and announcing schemes for weaker sections, the Finance Minister has taken care to please all sections of society. He has taken a brave step by simplifying filing of taxes,” she held.

A chartered accountant, Mr Sanjeev Mehan, maintains that the salaried class has benefited the most by the change in tax rates. “Anybody earning between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh will have to pay only 20 per cent tax. No Finance Minister has ever provided so much relief to the salaried class. Small entrepreneurs, too, will benefit from the Budget. It is good news that the minister has taxed tobacco and related products,” he said.

“It’s a good Budget for the salaried class and tax payer, including people in the middle-income bracket, said Mr Kapil Khanna, a leading tax consultant in Chandigarh. Deduction of Rs 1 lakh from the total income in savings is a good step for it would help in reducing the taxes.

The Finance Minister has done well by reducing the peak custom duties and also increasing the SSI limit for excise duty from Rs 3 crore to Rs 4 crore as it would benefit the small manufacturers.

Small entrepreneurs have been saved from the clutches of service tax as he has exempted those whose total receipts from the supply of services does not exceed Rs 4 lakh.Back


Outlay for defence inadequate: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Though the allocation for defence in the budget has been hiked to Rs 83,000 crore, an increase of about 8 per cent over the last year, it has been termed as inadequate and unrealistic by defence experts.

The allocation, according to experts, would not meet the armed forces requirements. Further, the monetary provisions are made for the defence sector without perspective planning on account of those concerned.

“Considering the requirement of the armed forces, the outlay is very little,” Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi, former Vice-Chief of the Army Staff said. “We need much more because not only are the revenue costs very high for our large forces, but also because the air force and navy are capital intensive forces,” he added.

Stating that the hike does not cover even the national inflation, he remarked that inflation in the military market is much higher. “The Armed Forces also have a number of contractual obligations of the previous years to cater to,” he said. “Payments are made over a period of time for acquisitions like the advanced jet trainer or aircraft carrier Admiral Gorkhskov. After making such payments, very little is left for modernisation,” he added.

General Oberoi was of the view that despite the ongoing peace process with Pakistan and talks with China, the military has to remain prepared for any eventuality, for which continuous modernisation is essential. “While the figure may look big, the point is that modernisation may not take place,” he remarked.

Calling for a thorough change in the budgeting process for the armed forces, Air Marshal Randhir Singh, former AOC-in-C, South Western Air Command, said that the allocation for defence is unrealistic and unplanned.

“The figures contained in the Budget are political fodder. The actual fact to consider is how much the armed forces get around to spend,” he said. Stating that the budgetary allocation would not really meet the requirement, he said that allocations should be pre-planned to meet certain requirements defined by the services.

He said that the biggest flaw in the Budget is that it is not realistic to the requirements of the spenders. 



Employees plan protest against Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The All-India State Employees Coordination Committee said it would launch an agitation against the Union Government for an “anti-employee” Budget. Mr Ranbir Singh Dhillon, secretary of the committee, said the Budget was pro-corporate houses and against the common man, especially those in fixed income groups like the employees.

He said the Finance Minister was silent in his Budget speech on issues such as increase in the interest on provident fund, small savings revision of pay scales and allowances.

Standard deductions, which were available to employees under Section 80-L, had been withdrawn. Employees would have to pay income tax now.

The committee had decided to observe a protest week from March 6 in the country. Protest marches and rallies would be held during the week.

After that employees would organise a march to Parliament in Delhi.



25 shops gutted in Sector 18 rehri market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
At least 25 shops were gutted in a fire that broke out in the Sector 18 rehri market here this evening. Shops of clothes were reduced to ashes. A number of shops selling the food products like spices faced water canons finishing all value
of the commodity.

The fire broke at about 8 p.m. on a day which happens to be the only closed day for the market in a month. There were only a few shopkeepers in their stalls when the fire broke out.

Mr Parveen Kumar, an electronics shop owner, said, “I saw fire erupting from a shop a few metres away from where I sat. The winds probably aided the flames as the fire spread within seconds. I had no other option but to run away.”

Mr Gurbachan Singh, president of the market association, said, “The administration had built ‘pucca’ booths at a little distance from the present one. However, they had not been allotted yet.

Mr Vipin Kumar, an affected shopkeeper, said, “ I have lost all my belongings in two shops. The fire has also swallowed the papers of my property and some other important documents.”

Mr Madan lal, owner of a karyana shop, was not even wearing a pair of shoes while helping the Fire Department people to handle the water pipes to stub the flames.

At least nine fire tenders of the Fire Department rushed to the spot.

The shops in the front row (facing Sector 19) were unaffected. “This came as a saving grace not just for my shop but also for those engaged in the activity of the saving their belongings”, a shopkeeper said.



Admn restrained from felling trees
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 28
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by the Acting Chief Justice, Mr H.S. Bedi, today restrained the UT Administration from felling trees at Kishangarh village where the Chandigarh Technology Park is coming up.

The Bench has fixed March 22 as the next date for hearing Amit Bakshi vs UT Administration case. The petition was mainly filed to challenge land acquisition notices issued under Section 4 and 6.In his petition, Mr Bakshi had stated that the Sukhna Lake was a protected area and the administration had not obtained the clearance from the Union Environment Ministry, to set up the park. He also alleged that to top it all, the administration had felled about 5,000 trees in the area thus creating a serious environmental hazard.

The court also took on record several news reports that had highlighted how the administration had allegedly cut the trees without taking prior permission from the department concerned.



Depressed over grandson’s death, ASI shoots self
Tribune News Service

Grieving members of the family of ASI Kali Ram who shot himself dead in the Police Lines, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on Monday
Grieving members of the family of ASI Kali Ram who shot himself dead in the Police Lines, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph 

Chandigarh, February 28
Unable to bear the death of his five-year-old grandson in an accident two months ago, 58-year-old Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Kali Ram today shot himself dead with his service revolver in the Police Lines, Sector 26, here today.

Kali Ram, who was to retire after seven months, is suspected to have put his revolver in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The bullet pierced through his head. But it seems the ASI struggled before dying as his feet were in sand.

The body of the ASI was noticed by recruits of the Recruit Training Course (RTC) at around 6 am.

Kali Ram’s son Surjan Singh, a constable, whose son’s death depressed the ASI, also arrived at the track after his body was noticed.

According to Surjan, his father had been missing his son Sahib (5) for the past two months after his death in an accident in Madanpur village, near Shahbad. Surjan said his father would play with Sahib whenever he spent time at home.

Surjan said Kali Ram used to go for morning walks after being advised to do so by doctors to control his sugar level. His father left for a walk early in the morning, Surjan added.

The driver of a government vehicle who came to the ASI’s house to pick him up for the DC’s escort duty was so shaken at the news of the death that he could not drive the vehicle and took leave.

Kali Ram had two sons and a daughter each having two children. Kali Ram was most attached to Sahib. According to Surjan, the family had gone to attend a wedding of a relative at Madanpur two months ago. One of the children of their relatives tried to start a tractor while Sahib and another child Saurabh (7) were standing in front of the vehicle close to a wall.

The tractor suddenly started and hit Sahib and Saurabh. They died on the spot. Surjan’s elder brother Arjun is with the Water Supply Department. 



Complimentary passes: notice to PCA
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A Kharar court today issued notice to the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) for March 2 regarding the issuing of complimentary passes for the March 8 India-Pakistan Test match at Mohali.

The Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Ms Poonam Ratti, asked the PCA to file a reply in the case, filed by Mr Arvind Thakur, president of the Federation of Lawyers against Corruption.

In his application, Mr Thakur urged the court to restrain the PCA from issuing complimentary passes for the forthcoming cricket match as it amounted to corruption.

A large number of complimentary passes amounting to thouands of rupees each were being distributed among the bureaucrats, politicians and other influential persons , which inconvenienced the ticket buyers.

Terming the distribution of passes as a corrupt practice under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the application alleged that taking anything beyond legal remuneration by officials and politicians amounted to illegal gratification. The PCA, in turn, expected pecuniary benefits from the beneficiaries of the complimentary passes, it alleged.

The application regretted that though a legal notice was served on the PCA yet no reply was received.



PCA move to check black marketing of tickets
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
To prevent black marketing of tickets for the forthcoming Cricket test match between India and Pakistan, the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has decided not to release tickets in one go, while the ICICI Bank — which is selling the tickets — has decided that not more than two tickets will be given to a person.

Also from tomorrow the tickets will only be sold at the Mohali branch of the ICICI and PCA. The sale of tickets for the Mohali Test match, which is scheduled to commence on March 8, resumed today after a day’s break on Sunday. Around 4,000 tickets issued by the PCA to the bank were sold by the noon today. People were seen roaming in the bank’s branches and at the PCA to buy tickets. Asked about the practise of issuing only limited tickets everyday, Mr G.S. Walia, treasurer of the PCA, revealed that this step had been taken to check black marketing and dumping of tickets.

Since this morning people were seen standing in long queues for tickets before the sale counters. All five branches of the ICICI Bank, including three in Chandigarh and one each in Panchkula and Mohali, besides a counter set up at the PCA stadium, made separate provisions to sell the tickets for the convenience of cricket fans and also to avoid hampering their routine functioning.

However, the ICICI Bank is also taking some measures to prevent black marketing on its own by ensuring that no single person gets more than two tickets of any block, particularly general one. And for students it is issuing a single ticket to one student only on the production of the identity card. Many people were denied tickets when they tried to buy more than two tickets by applying smart tactics.



Alternative route to Shimla planned
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Travellers from Northern Punjab, including Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Jalandhar, besides Jammu and Kashmir, will not have to pass through Chandigarh for reaching Shimla once the proposed road from Siswan to Baddi comes into being.

In fact, the commuters will manage to avoid traffic jams on the stretch between Kharar, Mohali, Chandigarh, Mani Majra and Panchkula after the work of constructing the bypass is completed. As a result, they will travel less and save more on precious fuel.

Giving details, the sources in the Punjab Government claim that the distance will be reduced by 25 km following the development of "alternative route to Shimla".

This is not all. The commuters will gain more in terms of travelling time as they will altogether avoid heavy traffic trudging ahead on the congested stretch between Kharar and Panchkula. An estimated one-and-a-half hour will be saved in the process.

The sources assert that the route will not only ease pressure on the stretch, but will also reduce the number of mishaps. They add that the portion between Kharar and Mohali is often referred to as "killer highway" due to large number of accidents.

They further add that the route takes off from Kurali in Ropar district. From there, the proposed road will wind its way to Siswan and Baddi before hitting Pinjore en route to Shimla.

"The commuters will even be able to avoid traffic jams due to bottlenecks in Pinjore as the route will touch the township towards the end of the bazaar," the sources add.

Chandigarh residents too will benefit from the alternative route. They will have to travel 8 km for reaching Majra before taking a right turn to Siswan for arriving a spot just 2 km short of Baddi. From there they will turn towards Pinjore for reaching Shimla. As far as Baddi is concerned, the residents will save upto 20 km.

Besides the industry in Baddi, the local units too will get a boost with the development of the route. It will also link National Highway 21 (Chandigarh and Ropar) with National Highway 21-A (Nalagarh and Pinjore).

Going into the background of the matter, the sources say that approval for Rs 8 crore project has been accorded by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under the Economic Importance and Inter-State Connectivity Scheme.

The nod follows efforts by Punjab's Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development and Tourism Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang. The minister had written a number of letters to officials concerned and Union Ministers for getting the approval, the sources add.

The sources claim that the project, approved and financed by the Government of India, will take about nine months to one year for completion after the commencement of work. As of now, the estimates are being forwarded to the authorities concerned in Delhi, the sources conclude. 



Passing Thru
What is the agenda for the next World Punjabi Congress?

Fakhar Zaman
Mr Fakhar Zaman, Chairman of the World Punjabi Congress and Punjabi writer from Pakistan

We will host the 12th World Punjabi Conference in Lahore from April 16. Around 400 delegates from 50 countries will take part in it. It will focus on peace measures in the region. Chief ministers of Punjab, Delhi and a number of Indian ministers and Bollywood stars are likely to take part in the conference.

What changes you foresee in Indo-Pak ties?

There should be no visa system, especially the city-specific visa system should be abolished. Let there be a single SAARC visa for the South Asian region. There is a need for holding exchange programmes for the youth, journalists and academicians of universities.

How cricket matches have bridged the gap between the two countries?

Cricket matches have brought about the most visible transformation in the ties. When the Indian cricket team came to Pakistan, viewers there did not lag behind in applauding Indian players. You could spot them waving Indian and Pakistani flags together.

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here to attend a seminar on “Creative forms of Punjabi culture” being organised at Panjab University.

— Swarleen Kaur




Many are the adjectives that have been used to describe the city, ranging from the appreciative to the offensive, as it has journeyed across half a century. The reason for this is that this modern city was made with a western plan. One post-modernist view of our good old Chandigarh is that it is too realistic and inflexible. 

However, this view is that of an outsider. There are two generations who own it as their birthplace. It is a city like any other with its particular share of ups and downs as well as rituals and celebrations. 

Roses are forever

The Rose Garden with its great variety of blooms and brilliant colours has had its impact on the personal gardens in homes spread over half an acre or more and even in those that can boast only of a balcony with a few flower pots in it. The flower lovers make it a point to have a bush or two and sometimes many more in their gardens. And this season when its time of glory for the rose bushes, every other home has its own little festival of flowers. There are some who think that diamonds are forever but others feel that roses are forever. In fact it was the Rose Festival that got renamed later as the Festival of Gardens so that other flowers should not get eclipsed. So our photographer went and captured these delightful dahlias. The aim is to celebrate all the flowers that fill prosaic lives with vivid hues. 

One of the most celebrated rituals is the Festival of Gardens, that just concluded. Here the city folk get so excited about celebrating the flora and fauna of the gardens that they end up damaging the gardens a bit. But nature has a way of recouping many onslaughts and getting ready to give beautiful blossoms once again.

Going upmarket

While the city boasts of many glittering shops and stores in the elite areas, yet there are poorly kept markets dotting the city too. With a view to sprucing them up a bit, the Municipal Corporation has announced a cash prize of Rs 5000 for the Residents' Welfare Association and the Market Association that stands first in upkeep of their area in terms of sanitation. Prizes will be given separately to the RWAs and the market associations. The team that stands second will be given Rs 3000 and the third team will be given Rs 2000. To inculcate competition among the MC employees, outstanding supervisors, sanitary inspectors and safai karamcharis will also be honoured with monetary benefits. The first prize in this category will be Rs 1000 and the second prizes of Rs 800 and Rs 500 each.

Kanpuri chaat

There are many chatpati chaatwalas in the city and people have their own special favourites. Some swear by the old chaatwalas of Sector 23 and will not eat it elsewhere. Others prefer the chaat rehrhi parked close to the gurdwara in Sector 19. But over the past few years, office-goers in Sector 17 have developed a taste for Ram Narain Dev's Kanpuri chaat. Ram Narain stands with his rehrhi by the CMC and is an old man of 72. Spices are in his blood for he comes from a family of chaatwalas. Of late people have been getting him to serve this Kanpuri fare at weddings and other parties.

French film fare

The week-long French Film Festival that opened in the Government Polytechnic for Women auditorium in Sector 10 has an interesting focus. Organised by the Chandigarh Film Society, the festival that is on till March 6 will screen films made during the German occupation of France. The films show how the filmmakers reacted to the dismal scenario of the most humiliating part of the history of their country. The films included are ''Le Marriage de Chiffon'' by Claude Autent-Lara, ''The Corbeau'' by Henri-Georges Clouzot and ''Goupi Main Rouges'' by Jacques Becker.

Language barrier

It was a happy occasion that a group of 21 writers and intellectuals were here to attend the opening day of a two-day seminar on Punjabi culture, which opened at Panjab University on Monday. However, problems arose when some of the Pakistani delegates could not understand the Sanskritised literary terms. The easy way out then was to use an equivalent word in English. However, they felt that once they would meet more often and participate together in Punjabi conferences, the gaps that have come in the language after the Partition would be bridged

Child stars

With many films being shot in an around Chandigarh, children are getting a chance to do bit roles in the movies. This brings to the mind an old song that went thus_ ''They 're gonna put me in the movies, They 're gonna make a big man out of me…'' But it's a little city girl called Pragati Trikha, a class IV student of DAV School, Sector 15, who seems to be the one going to be a big woman. After a wee role in ''Veer-Zaara'' in aged Pretty Zeinta's school, she has now played out a role in a Hindi film called ''Shortcut''. She was part of a nikah scene shot in the Ramgarh Fort Hotel.

A fast buck

It is all very well for children to get their few seconds of fame but ambitious parents should be warned that some deals come with a catch in them. It so happened that a mother of a pretty seven-year school girl decided to make her a child model. So following advertisements in a newspaper, she went to some agencies in Delhi. All of them wanted a tidy registration sum. One agency, however, kept the pictures and said that they would get back the next day. And the very next day they called the jubilant mother that her child had been selected for a chocolate advertisement. They then took Rs 10,000 as processing fee and shooting a portfolio. They were to get in touch a week later but by then they had would up shop and vanished.

All the best

As students get ready to take their board examinations in the not-so-merry month of March, a young friend sends them a mood booster while wishing them best of luck. The mantra according to our friend, is to think positive and the results too will be positive. So believe in yourself, take a deep breath and write out your mind on the answer-sheets. You are bound to do well.

Hug bug

The city has its lion's share of stress living as we do in stressful times. There are many ways to relieve stress. Here is one that Sentinel received on the SMS: "It relieves tension and invigorates the spirit, combats depressions and has no side effects. May I prescribe the perfect drug…The hug!"

— Sentinel



‘Aapki Soniya’ to be staged in region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
‘Tumhari Amrita’ starring Farooque Shaikh and Shabana Azmi had a record innings in the theatre world with unprecedented audience response, multiple showings and nearly two decades of housefuls across the world.

A probable first in Hindustani theatre, ‘Aapki Soniya’ comes as a sequel to the legendary ‘Tumhari Amrita’, courtesy the Durga Das Foundation, The Tribune group of publications and Spice Telecom. Directed by Javed Siddiqui, it stands on its own as it tells the story of a later generation.

Farooque Shaikh essays the character of Zulfiqar Haidar, a former Governor and an important political leader. Sonali Bendre is a young girl from France. In search of her roots, she touches base with Shaikh and as the play unfolds you see an exchange of hate mail between the two, with the former’s letters spewing venom and accusations. However, through the tumultuous ups and downs, the interaction via the medium of letters, leads to the evolving of a relationship, which is in its own way unique. The play explores a range of emotions, which both protagonists go through as they come to terms with the realities of their lives and the commonality of their own existence.

Scheduled for March 4, 5 and 6 at Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar, respectively, entry is by invitation only.



Sites for police posts turn into waste dumps
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 28
Sites allotted for the setting up police posts and offices here over 15 years ago have turned into garbage dumping points even as the Police Department wastes funds on paying rent for accommodation to house its offices.

The offices of the SP and the DSP are functioning from a rented houses in Phase IV while the SP is putting up in the Commando Complex in Phase XI. The police post in Phase XI, too, functioned from rented accommodation for years. Later, the building owner asked the staff to vacate the premises. The personnel spent a few days without shelter and later managed to make a temporary three-roomed police post on the allotted site with the help of the public.

The police authorities concerned have been writing to the Home Department over the past few years to provide funds for the construction of buildings on the sites but to no avail. Some funds were reportedly made available for the purpose about six years ago. However, these lapsed as the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) pointed out certain shortcomings in the building plans which the Police Department could not remove within the time fixed for the lapse of unutilised funds.

The police was allotted three sites in Phases IV, VII and VII in 1989. Only one site falling in Phase VIII has been utilised. The building of a police station and 120 family quarters have come up on the site. According to plans, the offices of the SP and the DSP and the SP’s residence were among the structures to be built at the Phase IV site. In Phase VII, there was a plan to have a police post which was reportedly changed and it was decided to have NGO quarters instead. Later, there was another proposal to construct a GO Mess at the site.

Another site measuring one acre was allotted for a police post in Phase XI which also is lying vacant. The temporary three-roomed accommodation which came up at the site when Mr Satnam Singh, then an ASI, was the in charge of the police post, was objected to by PUDA on the grounds that is was not part of any building plan. The officials concerned also opposed the illegal power, water and sewerage links provided to the police post.

When contacted the IG (Provisions), Mr S.M. Sharma, told Chandigarh Tribune that several letters had been written over the years to the authorities concerned for the release of funds for the buildings. A proposal had also been made to make the building projects a part of the state planning or make a provision through PUDA for the construction of the buildings as part of the town’s planning.



Western Command adopts network-centric warfare concepts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
While the Western Command will lay more emphasis on field exercises, it will also be testing the Army's revolutionary command and control systems later this year. The introduction of these systems are part of the emerging "Network-centric warfare" concepts being adopted by the services, which give commanders up the chain of command a real-time picture of the battlefield and hastens decision- making and command execution process.

"The Western Command is leading the way in adopting network-centric warfare concepts and we are looking forward to try out, what are being referred to as the Command Information and Decision Support System this year," General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, told The Tribune. "It will inter-link formations right from battalions up to corps headquarters. All commanders in the chain of command will be looking at a situation simultaneously," he added.

"In war, any side which has greater awareness of the situation will gain," the Army Commander said. Stating that the Army's emphasis is shifting from being platform (tank or formation) centric to becoming task specific, he said the best systems would be inducted to do a job in the least possible time. "Informed decision-making by commanders having a larger picture would matter rather than the reaction of local chaps in the field," General Pattabhiraman remarked.

Prior to assuming charge of the Western Command, he was serving as the Director-General, Information Systems at Army Headquarters, where he was instrumental in developing and validating the concepts of network-centric warfare.

The link, through landlines as well as radio and satellite, will enable transfer of voice, data and video. Several secure and robust broadband communication networks are being established by the Army.

The Army Wide Area Network, expected to be operationalised this year will revolutionise the Army's messaging system while the Army Static Switched Communication Network, which provides nationwide connectivity, is being upgraded and expanded. Besides the Army Radio Engineered Network, a mobile cellular network, is also being established for field formations.

"Each network compliments the other. What can be used in rear or static areas cannot be used in the field and vice-versa. As we go forward, communication requirement become more specialised," he said, while delving upon the rationale of having multiple communication networks.

Stating that operational consolidation will be his priority as the Western Army Commander, General Pattabhiraman said greater emphasis would be laid on collective training exercises. Collective training involved several formations.



Readers’ selections challenged
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 28
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion on a petition seeking quashing of the selections of Readers made by the Punjab and Haryana High Court sometime back.

Among those who have been named as respondents in the case are Guwahati High Court Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, who was till recently Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In their petition, Mr Baljinder Singh and another have challenged the selections on the ground that the procedure adopted for making the selections was highly irregular and against the rules.

The petitioners have stated that the High Court on July 22, 2002, advertised posts of Readers to Judges, following which they also applied. Of the 70 candidates, 23 cleared the written examination.

On March 20, 2004, the High Court Chief Justice Roy constituted sub-committee comprising Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar to hold oral test.

The petitioners and other candidates appeared for oral test before the sub-committee.

After completion of the process, the sub-committee prepared the merit list and sent the same to the Chief Justice.

However, the petitioners and other candidates were told to appear in a fresh oral test. The memo asking them to appear before the sub-committee also referred to change in criterion for selection.

On May 31, 2004, the then Chief Justice amended Rule 9(3) of the High Court Establishments (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1973.

Saying that the amendment is not free from bias and mala fide, the petitioners have alleged that Chief Justice Roy brought about the amendment only to accommodate his favourites.

They have also alleged that some candidates selected following the amendment are not well versed with Hindi and Punjabi. 



Fauji Beat
Defence promotions must be aboveboard

Of the two Air Vice Marshals (AVMs) who had challenged the selection board’s decision in the Delhi High Court to supersede them, one is being promoted. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has told the Supreme Court that AVM Harish Masand who retired on January 31, 2004, would be recalled and promoted to the rank of Air Marshal.

This is not the first case where promotion has been granted on the intervention of the apex court. There are several serving and retired senior officers who got their promotions only when they took their cases to a high court or the Supreme Court. About two decades ago, a Brigadier from the Command Hospital (Western Command), who had been retired, was recalled from retirement and promoted to the rank of Maj-Gen. A few years back, another Brigadier from this hospital, who had been approved for promotion, was being retired. But he had to be promoted on the last day of his service on the orders of the MoD.

Such cases cast an adverse shadow on the fairness of the top brass in the defence forces. There are many cases where the MoD had also played its part in promoting its own favourites.

Sadly, favours and disfavours have come to play an important part in the Army promotions/supersessions. Undoubtedly, it impinges on the morale of the armed forces and affects their fighting potential.

Father of Indian Army

It is the prerogative of every service chief to make changes in his office and official residence on taking over. But for some reason and perhaps as a mark of respect for Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, who was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, his office table continued to be used by all the successive chiefs. However, the former Army chief, General N.C. Vij, replaced it with another table. And the historic table found its place in his Military Assistant’s office. But the present chief, General J.J. Singh, has got the table back to his office to keep the tradition intact.

The late Field Marshal Cariappa was also known as father of the Indian Army. On commissioning into the Rajput Regiment, he was posted to 1 Rajput. When Brigade of the Guards was formed in 1950, 1 Rajput was converted and re-designated as 4 Guards (1 Rajput). This battalion has preserved the Officers’ Mess Visitors’ Book in which the Field Marshal had signed as 2nd Lieutenant K.M. Cariappa, on his posting to the unit. Not only that, his chair also occupies a prestigious place in the Officers’ Mess of 4 Guards (1 Rajput).

Refund of ECHS contribution

Many ex-servicemen who became members of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) after April 1, 2004, are in doubt about claiming the refund of the contribution paid by them in excess.

The affected members are advised to go to the Station Headquarters, Chandimandir, with the ECHS card/receipt, pension paying order and bank certificate specifying pension, including 50 per cent DA. In addition, a copy of the Military Receivable Order showing the amount deposited in the State Bank Treasury Branch should also be carried. A clerk is specially earmarked for this purpose at the Station Headquarters, Chandimandir, who will prepare a contingent bill for the refund.

Para-jump creates history

Lieut-Gen Tej Pathak and his son Lieutenant Varun Pathak have created history by taking a para-jump together. The occasion was the “Para Wing Earning Ceremony” of the latter. Both the father and son, with an age difference of 36 years, are from 9 Para Commando. They took a successful para-jump from AN-32 aircraft over Agra, which is the home of paratroopers.

The thrill and spirit of soldiering for the country was writ large on their faces before going in for the jump. It is only in the armed forces that one finds such examples.

— Pritam Bhullar



Kerala Express — city’s first daily train to South India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Chandigarh will at last have a daily train to South India. Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav’s announcement of extending the Kerala Express, running between Trivandrum and New Delhi, to Chandigarh comes 10 years after the demand was first made during the tenure of late Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.

Railway sources said the Kerala Express was chosen ahead of the Mangla Express running between Nizamuddin (Delhi) and Kochi.

The Kerala Express was preferred, as this will service a larger area of Kerala, while the Mangla Express terminates at Kochi, which is about 200 km short of Trivandrum. However, the Mangla Express would have provided a link with Goa, as it travels on that route.

The Kerala Express will link the city with Agra, Gwalior, Bhopal, Nagpur, Vijaywada, Salem, Coimbatore, Kochi.

At present, the train travels between Delhi and Trivandrum, a distance of 3062 km in 53 hours. It stops at 35 stations and 12 of these are in Kerala.

Railway officials today said the train should not take more than 3 hours and 40 minutes to run between Chandigarh and New Delhi and will at best have one or two stops in between.

The train is expected to start in July as the washing line, mandatory for a long-distance train, is being extended to handle a train having 24 coaches.

Interestingly, this is the first-ever long distance train to be ever announced for Chandigarh since its inception.

The Kalka-Howrah mail has been running since the 1890s and is one of the oldest trains of the country. Chandigarh was not even on the map when then train started. Another long-distance train is between Chandigarh and Chennai but it is only once a week.

The Kalka-Bandra train is not a full-fledged train. Only six bogies run between Ambala and Chandigarh, which are then attached to the Paschim Express running between Amritsar and Bandra.



PSEB staff hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 28
Members of the Technical Services Union, Punjab State Electricity Board, today staged a dharna outside the office of the Superintending Engineer, Mohali circle. The employees were protesting against the contracting out the running of four micro hydel projects in the state run by private contractors.

The employees also objected to the visit of Mr Bill Grieefs alleging that he was availing various facilities of the board in the state with a view to privatise the set up. Addressing the workers the president of the union, Mr Lakha Singh, said a statewide rally to protest against the move to privatise the board would be held on March 15 in Chandigarh. The union members also burnt an effigy of the board Chairman.

When contacted, Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, pointed out that the four micro hydel projects were being run by the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) and the electricity board had no role in their functioning. Regarding the visit of Mr Bill Grieefs, Mr Ratra said that Mr Grieefs was visiting the state as part of a Ministry of Power, Government of India initiative, through the World Bank. He was here to study how power losses can be reduced during transmission and distribution.



‘Maintenance campaign’ in city from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Municipal Corporation will launch a month-long sanitation campaign in the city from tomorrow. Dubbed as the ‘maintenance campaign’, the project intends to cover the entire city. The area of operation includes the slums within the MC limits also.

An official press release said that the corporation was “deliberately” starting the campaign from the southern sectors. The southern sectors are usually called as the poor cousins of the northern sectors. The drive starts from Sector 47. Various wings of the corporation will be involved in the campaign. These include public health, horticulture, sanitation, buildings and roads wings.

Various sector welfare associations have also been included in the implementation part of the project. 



Three Tribune employees retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Mr Samual Banjamin, Senior Foreman, retired here today after putting in more than 38 years of service in The Tribune. He was given a warm farewell by his colleagues at a farewell party arranged in his honour at the office premises.

Mr Amba Prasad, Senior Operator, retired here today after putting in more than 36 years of service in The Tribune.

Mr Amba Prasad joined as typist clerk at Ambala in 1969.

Mr Surinder Chopra, Fitter, retired here today after putting in more than 13 years of service in The Tribune.

Among others who lauded their services were Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager and Mr Vishwanath, Assistant General Manager.



Documentary on senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Doordarshan, Chandigarh, will telecast the exclusive Chandigarh-made five episode documentary series on “Ek din mere saath”, every Tuesday at 6.30 pm.

It is based on destitute senior citizens and persons above the age of 80 years will narrate their woes of lives. It is directed by Sunil Babbar and is produced by N S Manhas. — TNS



Woman commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 28
Strained relations with her in-laws forced Ms Nidhi (21), a third year student of Dental College, Kot Billa, to allegedly commit suicide. Nidhi’s body was found hanging in a room of her rented accommodation in Sector 12-A, this afternoon.

Police sources said Nidhi’s mother Mrs Asha Arora, who had come from Panipat to see her daughter this morning, found the room of the house locked from inside. Mrs Arora got suspicious when she failed to get any response after repeatedly knocking at the door. She informed her son-in law, Mr Ravinder Singh, and subsequently the door of the house was broken.

They noticed Nidhi’s body hanging with the ceiling fan in the bedroom. She had used a “dupatta” to hang herself from the ceiling fan, the police said. A suicide note was also found from the house. In it she had stated that her relationship with her in-laws was strained.

Mrs Arora told Chandigarh Tribune that Nidhi’s relationship with her in-laws was not good so she along with her husband was putting up in a rented accommodation in Panchkula.

She also disclosed that Nidhi got married to Mr Ravinder, a lecturer in the same college, on April 4, last year. Mr Ravinder resides in Phase-VII, Mohali. The sources revealed that the couple was staying in Panchkula after the marriage. Mr Ravinder had gone to his parent’s house in Mohali last night following an altercation with his wife.

The police has sent Nidhi’s body to the General Hospital, Sector 6, for a post- mortem examination and is investigating the case. No case was registered till the filing of this report. 



Cyclist injured as cars collide
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 28
One person was injured when two cars collided at the Puncom chowk here today. It is learnt that a person going on a bicycle got injured when one of the cars hit him. He was taken to a private hospital.

The accident took place when a Ceilo car coming from the direction of the Phase VII industrial area and a Palio car coming from the Phase VIII industrial area side collided. It is reported that the Palio car was being driven by a woman who fled after the mishap.



Report confirms rape of girl in abduction case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
A medical examination of five accused and a minor girl involved in an abduction case has confirmed that the girl was raped by them. Police sources said reports of a few other tests were yet to come.

During the investigation, it was emerged that the girl was sold in Delhi also but again brought back to the city to be sold to Dara at a high price. Dara allegedly sent the girl to three customers. The girl told the police that she could identify them but did not know the place where she had been taken.

The girl was brought back to the city by Pooja and Kajal and sold to Dara and Arti for Rs 50,000. Dara and Arti are still at large. According to the police, the arrest of Dara will reveal if this gang had been involved in abduction and sale of other girls from the city.

According to the police, Bhupinder and Madhu who planned the abduction of the girl few days ago had met the girl and her brother at a marriage of the girl’s cousin in Raipur Khurd. Bhupinder was the photographer in the wedding.

Bhupinder befriended the brother of the girl and started visiting the family of the girl. The girl also knew Bhupinder as a friend of her brother. Bhupinder came to the house of the girl on February 7 when she was alone washing clothes.

He told the girl that her mother was calling her in Raipur Khurd at the house of her aunt. An unsuspecting girl followed Bhupinder and Madhu who allegedly abducted her on the way. Eight accused, including three women, were today remanded in judicial custody. 



Robbery bid thwarted

Mohali, February 28
Ajay who tried to decamp with property from a house in Phase III B 1 here was beaten up and handed over to the police today. It is learnt that the suspect, Ajay, who hails from UP and lives in Sector 56, entered Mr Kamaljeet Singh’s house, where his wife worked as a domestic help.

He picked up a camera and took out a wallet from a pocket of a pair of trousers. When he was removing ornaments from a cupboard, Mr Kamaljeet Singh’s wife, who was asleep at home, woke up.

She raised the alarm after which the thief tried to escape. OC



Migrant labourer commits suicide

Lalru, February 28
A 33-year-old unidentified migrant labourer reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself with the ceiling of a cowshed in Lalru village, late last night.

Owner of the cowshed Ram Kishan found the body hanging inside the cowshed bolted from inside. The police removed the body and sent it to Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for postmortem. OC


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