C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn announces policy on special economic zone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The Chandigarh Administration today took a leaf out of fast developing states and announced a policy to have a special economic zone (SEZ), which will provide for exemption from sales tax, purchase tax, property tax and stamp duty for industries.

A host of industries have been listed for benefits but the Chandigarh Administration is first applying for the SEZ status for the information technology park. The application has been made to the Union Commerce Ministry.

IT companies coming up at the IT park here will be exempted from local taxes like sales tax, purchase tax, property tax, stamp duty and electricity duty if the IT park was approved by the Centre as the SEZ, Chandigarh Finance Secretary S.K. Sandhu said at a press conference here today. He said the Administration would develop a few more SEZs, which would be industry-specific. To take in the additional load of people, the Administration plans to develop infrastructure.

Mr Sandhu said employment generation up to 15,000 had been projected once the IT Park was fully functional. The Centre’s nod was required for its recognition under the SEZ.

The SEZ status is required to promote export promotion zones where economic growth and development would take place at a rapid rate and employment generation in large numbers would occur, said Mr Sandhu.

The Chandigarh Administration will create an SEZ authority, which will provide following facilities to units located in the SEZs.

There can be private developers also and the developer of the SEZ will be permitted to establish independent power plants (IPPs). The developer will collaborate with the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration and other agencies like the Power Grid and the BBMB for this purpose.

The SEZ authority shall ensure the provision of adequate water supply within the SEZ. A single window will be set up for NOCs, clearances required from the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board for units and activities within the SEZs would be granted by the single window committee (SWC). The Chandigarh Administration would set up a single window committee (SWC) for each SEZ in order to facilitate permissions/processing of applications in respect of any department of the Administration.

The powers of the Labour Commissioner will be delegated to the designated Development Commissioner or other authority in respect of area within the SEZ.

The Administration shall constitute a committee under the chairmanship of the Adviser to the Administrator, Chandigarh Administration, to facilitate the setting up of SEZs and to review the progress regarding the SEZs from time to time. The Finance Secretary, DC, Chief Architect, Chief Engineer, MD CITCO, Commissioner MC, Secretary Industries, Director Industries and Director, Information Technology, will be members of the committee.



240 houses unallotted for 12 years
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Red-tapism has kept the allotment of 240 fully constructed houses in Labour Colony IV pending for more than 12 years. It appears strange in a fully developed city where hundreds are clamouring for an inch of space. Decay has set in the complex adjacent to the Industrial Area.

The unoccupied houses are a centre for the disposal of filth from the people in the Labour Colony. Doors have been installed at the entry points of each house but the vacant area in the corridors is full of grunge. Residents of the colony said big portions in buildings of the complex had decayed.

The housing scheme was originally planned for the workers of the industrial area. With the passage of time the benefit was extended to other labourers also. A senior officer of the Union Territory said “there were problems regarding the pricing of the housing units. Allottees have always argued that prices were very high”.

He said, “there was also some trouble regarding the land where the housing scheme has come up. At one point of time the Forests Department had raised an objection saying that the settlement was illegal. The mater dragged for a very long time”.

“When it was decided that the houses be allotted to the genuine applicants the office of the Deputy Commissioner has forwarded the list to the Chandigarh Housing Board. It is now for the CHB to identify and issue allotment letters to eligible applicants”.

Mr Sripal Verma, Congress, said that “the houses are in a shambles. While the original houses have not been allotted , repair work had to be carried out on certain portions which had crumpled. There is some progress on this issue in the administration, we are told. A formal announcement of the allottees is still awaited”.

Mr Verma said “allottees will face problem of making payments. Each dwelling unit has been priced at more than Rs 1.50 lakh. This would mean an installment of approximately Rs 1500 or more per month. How can you expect this payment from daily wage workers? The administration will definitely have to make certain concessions”.

The senior officer said, “there was a possibility of engaging certain banks in financing the housing scheme for the allottee. The possibility of allowing payments at easy rates of interest will be in favour of the beneficiaries as well as the administration”.

Mr Suresh Kumar, a resident of colony IV, said “the administration should initiate more housing schemes for residents of labour colonies. Workers in the industry can be given houses on easy instalments. This will save the city from more encroachments”.



No-trust notice against MC chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
The confrontation between the president of the Municipal Council, Ms Seema Chaudhary, owing allegiance to the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and the Congress councillors reached a flashpoint here today, with the latter serving a no-confidence notice against Ms Chaudhary on the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijinder Singh.

Acting on the representation, Mr Balwinder Singh appointed the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mr Varinder Dahiya, as the presiding officer, who would now finalise the date of the next meeting of the Municipal Council shortly.

Earlier, seeking her immediate suspension and convening of a meeting of the House at the earliest, the delegation, which included Mr V.K. Kapoor, Mr S.S. Goyal, Ms Anjali Kataria, Mr R.K. Kakkar, Mr Naresh Rawal among others, also demanded that the Deputy Commissioner should postpone the budget meeting slated for March 17 since she had lost the confidence of the House.

While 18 councillors had signed the representation, 12 could make it to the Deputy Commissioner office. They claimed that they were particularly perturbed by one of the items on the agenda of the March 17 meeting wherein the president wanted sanction of funds for works which had not been done in the city.

“There is embezzlement to the tune of crores of rupees in the Council. However, we want to save whatever we can, while we can. This prompted us to move the no confidence motion against the president,” said Mr Goyal.

The members of the delegation also complained that in violation of the Act which specifies holding of monthly meetings of the House, Ms Chaudhary, and vice-president of the MC, Mr Kuldeep Waraich, had called only two meetings last year. “The meetings are few and far between and very irregular. This makes the council practically non-functional and hardly any problems of the common man ever get addressed,” they maintained.

Meanwhile, Mr Brijinder Singh, who took over as the Deputy Commissioner last evening, said that some steps would be initiated after consulting the Local Bodies Act to avoid constitutional complications.

“We will look into the representation and deal with it in accordance with law. The date of the meeting of the House will be fixed by the presiding officer in not less than 15 days as the rules state,” he stated.

Ms Seema Chaudhary, refused to comment on the matter. “I will give my reply tomorrow. I have no hidden agenda as is being made out by the Congress councillors,” she held.



Migrant woman honoured for foiling theft
Our Correspondent

Kamlavati knows no fear. Kamlavati was aware of the consequences. But she did not lose heart and caught hold of the thief while he was trying to jump the boundary wall of the unit.

Kamlavati said, “I heard noise outside and saw a youth carrying some steel plates. He had placed some plates on the wall and was trying to climb the wall with the help of a water-tap there”. She added that noticing a thief she ran towards him. He could not jump over the boundary wall as his clothes got entangled in the barbed wire. “I was more concerned about the duty of my husband than my own life,” she claimed.

Panchkula, March 15
Her courage and loyalty towards her employer bore fruits today, after the Panchkula police and industrialists of the Industrial Area, Panchkula, honoured her.

Mrs Kamlavati, wife of a migrant labourer, who had caught a thief while he was trying to steal some steel plates from Green Force, an industrial unit located in the industrial Area Phase-II, was honoured by the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI), Panchkula, and her employer with a cheque for Rs 5,100 and a bouquet.

For her courage Mr S.P. Ranga, SP, Panchkula, also gave her a cash reward of Rs 200.

According to Mr Lalit Behl, Managing Director of the unit, Kamlavati heard some commotion outside her room, in the backyard of the industrial unit, on March 9 midnight. She noticed a stranger carrying some steel plates and other goods from the factory.

As Mrs Kamlavati raised the alarm the stranger climbed the boundary wall of the unit. While he was trying to jump over the barbed wire, she caught his legs. Being trapped the intruder threw a piece of steel weighing about 20 kg on her. Mrs Kamladevi was quick enough to duck the steel piece and escaped unhurt.

In the mean time, her husband, Subhash, who was asleep inside, the security guard of the unit and employees residing in the surrounding industrial units, who had assembled there, nabbed the thief. However, his other accomplice, who waiting outside the premises of the unit, managed to ascape.

The security guard subsequently informed Mr Behl and the nabbed youth was handed over to the police. He was later identified as Raju Bhadur, a Nepalese, who lives in Abheypur village in Panchkula.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Behl alleged that the police had let off the thief. This fact came to light after they visited the police station the next day and did not find him there.

A delegation of industrialists, led by Mr Vishnu Goyal, general secretary of the HCCI, Panchkula, today met the SP, Panchkula, Mr S.P. Ranga, and gave a representation to him demanding additional night patrolling in the area.

The members of the delegation alleged that the police personnel often turned down their complaints instead of registering FIRs. They also alleged that thieves had struck at four industrial units that particular night in the area but no case was registered. Mr Ranga assured them that additional forces would be deployed for night patrolling in the area soon. He, however, appealed to them to employ more security guards at their units.



Dhir re-writes his controversial novel
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Santokh Singh Dhir
Santokh Singh Dhir

Chandigarh, March 15
After a long gap of more than three decades eminent Punjabi writer, Santokh Singh Dhir, has resurrected his controversial novel, 'Oh Din' (Those days). He had disowned it after it had been severely criticised by literary circles for obscenity.

The novel was first published in 1973. It was termed obscene due to the explicitness of the intimate moments of the protagonist (a married man) with a woman with whom he had developed illicit relations. The woman herself was married to a man much older than her. But, this was only a part of the story. The novel is a vivid record of the heart-rendering atrocities committed upon hapless people during Partition. But all these qualities, which made it a unique creation in Punjabi literature, were eclipsed by its so-called obscenity.

In the words of Dhir, "Initially, I considered myself a bold writer. I was of the view that the level of readers was not mature enough to understand the spirit of the novel. The criticism refused to die down. It kept on smouldering. I had to undergo revilement and suffered a loss of face."

"Realising the sincerity of my friends and respecting the injured feelings of my well-wishers, I disowned my creation and also stopped mentioning it among my writings. The publisher was asked to stop the sale of the book. The disownment was not the remedy as other good aspects of the novel was also lost with it." He added.

But, after a gap of 23 years in 1997, the writer gave another thought and re-wrote the novel. He has deleted certain portions running into more than 50 pages, considered vulgar by critics and readers, to highlight the trauma of Partition. The novel has now been published in its new form by Arsee Publishers, New Delhi.

Dhir maintains, "In true art and literature nothing is prohibited." However, he also confesses bravely, "I failed in terms of artistics. It was the lack of aesthetics, which showed the whole theme, in fact, the whole novel, in a bad light. Moreover, our readers are not as mature as those living in Europe and other countries. Had the novel been written in Europe, a different treatment would have been meted out to it."

Dhir, a die-hard Marxist, believes that the writer is always ahead of the time in which he lives. However, he should not be so ahead that he becomes distant from his own people. "We should move forward, but with the masses. To move alone in such situations would be as meaningless as in the case of an engine which gets detached from the train.

Dhir believes that it is not easy to define obscenity. "There are societies in which if an unmarried woman becomes pregnant she is looked down upon. But, in certain African tribes it is a totem for them. It is the test of the reproductive powers of a woman."



Passing Thru

Mr Mohan Das Pai
Mr Mohan Das Pai, Chief Financial Officer, Infosys.

What is the future of Chandigarh in the IT sector?

The year 2006 will be Chandigarh’s year as during this period it will flower as an IT destination. There is a buzz in the IT industry about Chandigarh. The city has also ingredients for the IT to flourish.

What is the investment of Infosys in Chandigarh?

The company has spent about Rs 100 crore on setting up a campus in the IT Park here and it plans to pump in Rs 1,000 crore in all for the project. There is no ceiling on growth in Chandigarh. We are committed to the project.

Is there a time frame for starting Infosys in Chandigarh?

The Chandigarh Administration is tying up various things to have a special economic zone. This will take about two months and then we will start operations.

Do you see any shortcoming in the city’s infrastructure?

The city badly needs to improve on housing as there is no scope to take in another 10,000 IT professionals in the existing infrastructure of housing.

— Ajay Banerjee



Celebration time at Bishnoi’s residence
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
The Bishnoi household today reverberated with excitement and broke into a celebration on the elevation of Mr Chander Mohan, four-time MLA from Kalka, as Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana. A formal announcement to this effect was made this afternoon though the news of his taking over as Deputy CM had been doing the rounds for a couple of days now.

All roads leading to his house in Sector 8 were choked with supporters and vehicles. Bursting crackers, distributing sweets and dancing to the beats of the drum, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president, Bhajan Lal’s house was bursting at its seams with jubilant supporters.

Amidst them Mr Chander Mohan accepted the congratulatory messages which poured in, took telephone calls and gave sound bites to waiting TV crew. He joined the supporters in their celebration as did his mother, Ms Jasma Devi, who couldn’t help joining the supporters and broke into a dance to express her happiness. “I am elated at his taking over as Deputy CM. I danced a lot, distributed a lot of sweets. It is one of the most memorable days of my lifetime,” she remarked.

Charged with the confidence the Congress high command had reposed in the Bhajan Lal family, supporters, who not-so-long-ago had expressed resentment over the latter not getting chief ministership, could not thank the Congress president enough for this “gift” of the Deputy CM’s chair.

However, while celebration time continued unabated at the residence of the new CM, Mr Chander Mohan, speaking to The Tribune, said: “It is a moment of great joy for me. I have been though a lot of ups and downs in politics but hard work ultimately pays. My unblemished political career, my experience as four-time MLA and the huge victory margins together contributed to my selection as Deputy CM.”

On being asked about his priorities after his taking over as Deputy CM, Mr Chander Mohan, the elder son of Mr Bhajan Lal, added: “My mission has always been the satisfaction of the public. I have been among them always, ready to help in more ways than one. They, too, have always been behind me. Now it is pay-back time since we have our government in the state. The public and its work would be my emphasis throughout my term.”

However, he refused to make any comments on the lobbying in Delhi against his elevation as Deputy Chief Minister.



Dharna against PSEB privatisation
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 15
On a call given by 12 different organisations, including bodies of the electricity board employees, peasants, farm labourers, industrial and FCI workers, organised a protest at Circus Ground, Sector 17, here today. The protest was held to oppose the privatisation move of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Mr Gurdial Singh Bhangal and Mr Dev Raj, conveners of United Struggle Co-ordination Committee of the PSEB employees while addressing the gathering said: “Privatisation of the PSEB is an anti- people policy of the government. We will intensify our agitation if our demands are not met. Now peasants and workers and other section of society have joined hands with us. This will help us to mount pressure on the government.

Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president and Sukhdev Singh, general secretary of Bharitya Kisan Union (Ekta) and Rachhpal Singh president and Lehmber Singh Tagger, general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha extended their support to the agitation. They said they had come here to tell the Punjab Government that the electricity employees were not alone in their struggle. The issue of privatisation of the PSEB has put the interest of every section of society at stake.

Mr Lakshman Singh Sevawala, general secretary the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, alleged that the imperialistic policies of the government would spell disaster for unemployed farm labourers.

Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) general secretary, Ms Asha Nand and Elementary Teacher Training (ETT) Unemployed Teacher Union president, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, DIET Students Welfare Association president, Jasvir Singh Sahota and teacher union president Jaswinder Singh Bhullarheri also addressed the gathering.

Mr Karam Singh Deol and Mr Ram Singh, leaders of palledar workers of Punjab said that privatisation of the PSEB being done under the instructions of the WTO and the World Bank.

Later on the procession marched towards Punjab Secretariat.



PSEB staff hold protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 15
Various employees organisations of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) staged a protest against the privatisation of the work of meter reading and bill distribution here today. An effigy of the Superintendent Engineer was burnt as a mark of protest. Employees demanded that the work order given to a private party should be cancelled.

Mr Raj Kumar, president of the Mohali division of the Technical Services Union, said about three months ago the board authorities had hired a private agency for distributing power bills and for meter reading. He said private employees were not able to do the work properly and had returned about 50 bills to the board saying that they could distribute them. Moreover, the cost factor also increased by hiring a private agency.



Reinstatement of suspended vet sought
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 15
The Punjab State Veterinary Officers’ Association today appealed to the Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, to reinstate three Veterinary Officers who were suspended in connection with the death of buffaloes due to a mysterious disease in Swara village.

Extending support to the suspended veterinarians, Dr Ashok Sharma, president of the association, said in a press note that a serious view in this regard had been taken by their organisation at a meeting held here. He said the suspended officials — Dr K.K. Sharma, Senior Veterinary Officer, Kharar, Dr Pawanpreet Kaur and Dr Parminder Jeet Singh — Veterinary Officers had been made scapegoats.

Dr Sharma said one sided decision of the department had affected the morale of the entire cadre giving rise to a feeling of resentment. He said the department was facing a shortage of veterinary doctors. Out of 1,362 post of Veterinary Officers, only about 600 were occupied. As such Veterinary Officers faced problems in providing good services. There was a shortage of paramedical staff as well.



CAT stays process to fill vacant post

Chandigarh, March 15
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today stayed the process to fill a vacant post of charge man (sanitary) in the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration.

Issuing a notice to the Chandigarh Administration for April 11, the tribunal comprising Mr L.M. Goyal, Vice-Chairman, and Mr Jasbir S. Dhaliwal, Judicial Member, respectively, directed the Administration not to fill the promotion post till the case was decided.

The applicant, Ram Krishan, working as a workman mistry in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, in his plea before the Tribunal stated that his services were being ignored to fill the promotion post, stating that he was not eligible.

He stated that while two posts of charge man (sanitary) had been filled in 2002, the third post had not been filled. The applicant, who had been working with the administration since 1979, said in 1994 the administration had tried to fill three posts of charge man (sanitary) from amongst the plumbers. It was, however, stayed by the Tribunal in 1995.

In 1996, the applicant was transferred to the municipal corporation. Then two employees were considered eligible for the vacant posts, but the name of the applicant was not considered.



Verka supplies under-weight milk packets
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 15
Supply of under-weight milk packets by Verka led to high drama, here today. Residents who had bought one-litre milk packets from shops and vendors early in the morning, came charging back with the under-weight packets, demanding, replacement.

As more and more complaints poured in, shopkeepers informed Verka officials about the under-weight packets and the demand of residents for replacing these with those conforming to the weight mentioned on them.

A two-member team of Verka officials comprising Mr Udham Singh, Production Manager, and Manjit Singh Bhalla, Manager Accounts and Customer Service, reached the Sector 8 market and visited the Sector 6 market from where the maximum complaints had come in.

They admitted that under-weight packets, at least three crates in all, had made it to the market due to a human error. Short by about 100 to 250 ml, the under-weight packets were replaced by fresh stock.



Proper place for postal bags soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The Postal Department will solve the problem faced by its staff about the non-availability of a proper place for parking of its mail truck at the Chandigarh Railway Station soon, said Director, Postal Services (Headquarters), Punjab and Chandigarh, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur.

Providing a path at the platform to the back roadside area would facilitate easy loading and unloading of mail bags. she added.

She said there was no need to construct an independent room at the platform as no bags were left after the departure of trains.

The Railways had allotted a passage adjacent to RPF room connecting platform no.1 and roadside area.

She said there has never been a single case when mail bags have remained undespatched on the platform.

During the winter season, mail motors were sent to Ambala RMS to collect mail bags to avoid any delay.



Postal staff defer strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
The nation-wide call for an indefinite strike given by central employees’ bodies of the Postal Department has been postponed till further notice. The information about the postponement of the strike, which was to begin today, came late last evening.

The employees of the Punjab Postal circle, which comprises Chandigarh and Punjab, had also announced its support to the call given by the National Federation of Postal Employees and the Federation of National Postal Organisation.

Talking to the Tribune, the Chief Post Master General, Punjab Circle, Mr L. K. Puri, said all necessary preventive measures had been taken and control rooms had been set up at the respective district level.

The employees are demanding the scrapping of the proposed amendment to the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, hike in their pay scales, fulfilment of the issues agreed to in the agreement of December 18, 1998, putting contractual employees on the rolls, merger of 50 per cent DA with the basic pay of the Extra Department Employees (EDE) in the rural areas.

The employees had gone on a 14-day strike in 2000. 



Riding a bicycle without touching pedals
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Maninder Singh Thind demonstrates his skill in riding a bicycle without touching the pedals
Maninder Singh Thind demonstrates his skill in riding a bicycle without touching the pedals.

Chandigarh, March 15
Tired of pedalling a bicycle to and fro?

Don’t you sometimes wish you could cruise down the road, the cycle moving along without having to make the wheels turn, the wind in your hair and a song on your lips?

Twenty-year-old Maninder Singh Thind can teach you how to ride a bicycle without touching the pedals and, yes, it is possible.

The demonstration of this ‘art form’ makes for curious viewing. The toes are tucked above the pedals, the handlebar twisted from side to side in swift movements and the bicycle actually glides right past you!

The foot is used to apply brake by placing it on the ground just as it is used to turn a difficult corner, the motions akin to that of a skateboard.

Cycle to his village Ghutind, near Fatehgarh, from Khanna, Maninder decided he had had enough. He was tired and wanted a break and so he experimented with his distinctive riding form. He claims that he rode almost 4 km of the 9-km stretch this way till he realised his ‘feat’.

This final year student at DAV College, Chandigarh, has won several bronze medals for participating in inter-college cycling championships.

Maninder gets fussy on being asked to display his riding skills once too often. He has to leave for his English tuitions; he dreams of going abroad to study and wants to be prepared for it.

Maninder cycles to his home every weekend, an 80-km ride which takes him three to four hours. Remember, this does not work uphill because there you need to pedal and hard.



No headway in murder of vendor
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 15
The police has failed to make a headway in the murder of an incense stick vendor even after two days of the finding of his body in a house in Mubarikpur Camp village, about 2 km from here.

The police today registered a case of murder against unidentified person who had allegedly strangled the vendor, Jagdish, about six days ago. The post-mortem examination of the body was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Patiala, after the authorities of the Rajpura Civil Hospital had refused to conduct the post-mortem of the decomposed body yesterday.

Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, Station House Officer, Dera Bassi, claimed that sketch of the suspected murderer would be prepared in a day or two. He said the Punjab Police had sought help from the Chandigarh police in making the sketch of the man with whom Jagdish consumed liquor before he was murdered.

The body of Jagdish was found in a room of a house belonging to Mr Ajay in the village on Sunday. The room had been hired by a stranger for the last a couple of months.



Thieves decamp with cash, jewellery
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 15
Thieves decamped with cash, gold ornaments and clothes in broad day light from a house in Phase X here today. Both floors of a double-storeyed house were ransacked.

According to the police, Mr Gurinder Mohan Singh, owner of the house, lived on the ground floor while the first floor of the house had been rented out to Mr Gurmeet Singh Walia. The owner, along with members of his family, had gone out for lunch to someone’s place around 1 pm.

When he came back at 3 pm he saw that the locks had been broken and things were lying scattered in the house. Mr Gurinder Mohan Singh told the police that about five tolas or seven tolas of gold and Rs 30,000 in cash had been stolen though the exact loss would be ascertained only after checking the items.

Mr Gurmeet Singh had gone to Amritsar along with his family. When he returned in the afternoon he found that his house had also been broken into. He said about five tolas of gold, silver, clothes and Rs 57,000 were stolen.

Councillor booked

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against a Municipal Councillor, Manjit Singh, here on Tuesday. According to the police, 29 bottles of liquor were seized from the car of the councillor when the police was carrying out a search for a revolver from his house. His wife had alleged that he used the weapon to threaten her.

Manjit Singh, who is the former vice-president of the Municipal Council, was arrested by the police on Sunday on the charge of demanding dowry from his in-laws. He was produced in a Kharar court yesterday and remanded in police custody for one day.

Car stolen

A resident of Phase VII complained to the police that her Maruti car was stolen from the parking lot near the PCA stadium on March 11. She had gone there to watch the Indo-Pak Test. A case has been registered.



Jewellery, cash stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 15
Jewellery and Rs 39,000 were stolen from a house in Mani Majra while a motorcycle and two scooters were reportedly stolen from the city, the local police said here today.

Mr Sahib Singh of the NAC, Mani Majra, reported to the police that four gold rings, one gold chain, one DVDE player and Rs 39,000 were stolen from his residence 2 to 3 days ago. The complainant said he was away from his house when the theft was committed. A case has been registered.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Bharat Singh of Sector 51 reported to the police that his Hero Honda Splendor motorcycle (HR-26-S-2061) was stolen from the Sector 15-24 dividing road yesterday. A case of theft has been registered.

In another incident, Mr Dilbag Singh of Sector 28-B filed a complaint that his LML Vespa scooter (CHI-3744) was stolen from his residence yesterday. In a similar incident, Mr Ashok Kumar of Sector 43-A reported to the police that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-X-5806) was stolen from his residence during the night of March 13. Two separate cases of theft were registered.

Held for gambling

The local police has arrested Adarsh Yadav of Sector 45, Satnam Singh of Daddu Majra Colony, Jaideep Singh of Sector 30 and Surjit Singh of Sector 22 for gambling at a public place from near Government High School, Sector 22, yesterday. The police recovered Rs 1,000 from their possession and booked them under the Gambling Act.


Ms Brahma Devi of Kesri village in Hisar district of Haryana filed a complaint that a scooterist, Manish Bhatnagar of Phase VII, Mohali, hit her sister, Reshma Devi, when she was walking near the Bridge in Nehru Colony yesterday. Reshma Devi was admitted to the PGI with injuries. The accused was arrested and was later bailed out.



Mauli Jagran resident held in kidnapping case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 15
The police today arrested Ram Kishan (22), a resident of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, who had allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl from Bapu Dham Colony on March 12. The police set up a trap following information provided by the family members of the girl, arrested Ram Kishan from Transport Light Point, Sector 26, and recovered the girl.

According to the SHO of Sector 26 police station, Mr Jarnail Singh, the father of the girl reported to the police that Ram Kishan had kidnapped his daughter when she was going with her friend on March 12. The accused during the interrogation revealed that he took the girl to Manali and then to Shimla before coming to the city today. The family members of the girl informed the police that the accused was coming to the city on his motor cycle with the girl. Subsequently, the police set up a picket and arrested the accused this afternoon. The police has also reportedly impounded the motor cycle. The girl was sent for medical examination.

The police said Ram Kishan was a hawker and used to sell cloth in the city on his motor cycle. The girl is studying in Class VIII in Government High School, Sector 27.

A case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC was registered in the Sector 26 police station. The accused would be presented before a local court, tomorrow.



‘Developed countries seeking investments from India’
Tribune News Service

Indian cuisine on a roll

Spicy Indian ready-meals are going global. Holding that the English were tired of tasteless boiled vegetables, Mr Edge remarked that they were game for trying new, novel, spicy Indian food. “At least 30 per cent of the English eat Indian food once a week,” he commented.

While ready-meals found favour with nearly 65 per cent people, the market for snacks like pakoras, presently at 20 per cent, was also growing at a fast rate.

Commenting on the future trends, he added that the future would belong to fusion foods like chicken tikka in tortilla wraps and cheddar cheese with onion naans, value added sauces among others.

Chandigarh, March 15
“In a globalised economy, trade and investment isn’t a one-way street. Two way trade and investment in both the directions between our countries growing strongly and including services, has now broken the $10 billion a year mark.”

This was stated by Mr Stephen Lillie, Director of Trade and Investment, UK Trade and Investment Wing, at a seminar on “Investment opportunities in UK” organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry jointly with the UK Trade and Investment Centre, at Hotel Shivalikview, here today.

“UK also leads Europe for investments in automotives, computers, electronics, financial services and telecommunications and still a ideal destination for investment in the food and agriculture sector,” added Mr Stephen.

The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, said it was a positive indication that developed countries were coming to seek investments from India though he advocated that investment should be initiated for the mutual benefit of both the countries.

Mr Robert Edge of Invest East of England, while explaining the highlights of agrifood business in the UK, said the sector accounts for 13 per cent of region’s manufacturing employment.

Addressing the participants, Mr Satish Bagrodia, Chairman, Agribusiness Committee, PHDCCI, said the cooperation between India and Britain has been growing over the years and the Indo-British trade in goods and services is expected to touch the $10 billion mark.

In terms of FDI approvals in India, since 1991, the UK is ranked third among all countries. In 2002-03, the UK invested US $ 224 million in India and the total bilateral trade between India and UK crossed US $ 5 billion.

He stated that agro and food processing, health services, biotechnology, construction, telecommunication, power, infrastructure, consumer goods, tourism, aerospace, oil and gas, financial services, environment and pollution controls were some of the prominent sectors for the Indo-UK trade.

Analysing why one should invest in England, Mr Shantanu Parvati, UK Trade and Investment, New Delhi, explained that England was the fourth largest economy, fifth largest trading nation and had one of the highest GDP growth rates among G8 countries. He claimed that UK was known as a major trading center with an enterprising environment.



Look for hallmark while buying gold: BIS
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 15
There is a need to create awareness among consumers about their rights so that they are not exploited while making purchases or availing various services.

These views were expressed by various speakers at a function organised in connection with the World Consumer Right’s Day by the Consumer’s Protection Forum in Phase II here today.

Mr Rahul Kumar, Director, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Chandigarh, who was the chief guest, warned women to be more careful while purchasing gold and stressed that only with hallmark jewellery should be purchased. He alleged that at present 12 carat gold was being sold as 22 carat by some shopkeepers.

Mr R.S. Bhatia, Director, BIS, Chandigarh, said that the BIS was created for the welfare of consumers and it had formulated 17,900 national standards for various products. But later it was found that the BIS remained limited to research and development and other industrial units and did not benefit consumers as such. The ISI mark was then created for the help of consumers. The hallmark scheme for gold jewellery was created when during a survey it was found that not a single jeweller was selling ornaments made from 22 carat or 24 carat gold.

He said that many manufacturers used fake ISI marks on their products. An enforcement wing of the department had conducted raids and seized goods bearing fake ISI marks. Consumers should make complaints when they had any doubt regarding the ISI mark so that action could be taken in this regard.

Mr S.K. Behal, General Manager, Liaison & Administration, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, who was a guest of honour at the function, said that every year a theme was given on this day on which work was done later. He said this year the theme in connection with the World Consumer Right’s Day was “crusade against adulteration, counterfeiting and spurious products”.

He said that consumer have not only to look for ISI marked products they should also see whether the claims of the manufacturer regarding the purity, quantity of products were true. In case the product was found lacking in some aspects, consumer courts should be approached. There was a need for the consumer to realise his power in the consumer-driven times at present.

Earlier, Mr B.S. Tej, patron of the forum, said that people were used to getting exploited. They don’t want to raise their voice against such exploitation but were becoming a party to the menace.

Mr Sham Bansal, a Municipal Council, said that people were reluctant to go to courts because of lengthy process followed there.



Consumer mela a damp squib
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
Chandigarh may be one of the most-modern cities in the country, but consumer awareness is yet to catch the fancy of the residents here. A case in point was the four-day Consumer Awareness Mela at the Parade Ground in Sector 17, which concluded today.

Blame it on the lack of foresight or the change of venue from the Sector 22 ground to the Parade Ground, the mela proved to be a flop show, much to the chagrin of the Consumer Forum, the organisers, and the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC), which collaborated in the event.

While very few visitors frequented the handful of stalls at the mela, named as “National Consumer Expo”, the otherwise popular contests at the mela also drew few contestants. The Healthy baby competition, which was otherwise a hit affair anywhere in the city, had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour yesterday due to lesser number of participants.

The mela coordinator, Mr R.K. Kaplash, conceded that the change of venue from Sector 22 to the Parade Ground took its toll as the new venue failed to attract visitors. The apathetic attitude of the general public towards the consumer issues ensured that it was not much successful, he lamented.

Moreover, the event coordinator, the Innovative Group, failed to aggressively market the mela. Out of a total of 70 stalls initially planned, only about 25 stalls could finally be set up and most of the stalls wore a deserted look, Mr Kaplash regretted. And from the next year, the forum planned to shift the venue to the Sector 22 Ground.

Meanwhile, the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, who presided over the concluding function today, appreciated the efforts of the forum in spreading the message of consumer awareness.

The forum chairman, Lieut-Col Sarwan Singh (Retd), highlighted the activities of the forum since its inception in 1979.


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