C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


VAT put on hold in city
President’s assent awaited on Punjab Bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Traders in the city can take a breather as the imposition of VAT has been delayed for a few days. Since Chandigarh will be adopting the Punjab VAT Bill 2005 which awaits Presidential assent, VAT cannot be implemented from the proposed date of April 1.

It cannot be said when the President will give his nod and till then the existing system of sales tax collection shall continue in Chandigarh, the Administration decided today. The Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, refused to give a time frame on the introduction of VAT, saying that it depended on when the Bill would be passed. Only then would the UT adopt it. “The delay is not on our side. We were ready with traders registrations and the computerised software but these things are now not in our control,” he added.

Senior officials clarified that the delay in imposing the VAT regime was not the outcome of any strike but the technicality that Chandigarh had to adopt the Punjab Bill only after it became an Act.

Sources said Chandigarh was not covered under yesterday’s development when the Union Cabinet extended VAT to union territories. The Central Government was empowered to extend any legislation of states to UTs through a notification.

Normally, Chandigarh adopts all relevant laws and Acts of Punjab. If the relevant Act is not in Punjab, then the UT has to look outside.

Meanwhile, The day two of protests over VAT evoked a mixed response from city traders here today. While markets in many sectors remained closed following a bandh call by the Beopar Mandal, the bandh call by the Vyapaar Sadan fizzled out completely with the entire Sector 22 market deciding to remain open.

Business went on as usual in the Sector 22-D market which had remained closed yesterday. Under pressure from other traders who had opened their shops on the first day of protests as well, the trading community of Sector 22 also decided to open their shops. Markets in Sectors 7, 32 and 40, parts of Sector 22 and Sector 17 remained closed.

An effigy of VAT was burnt in the Sector 32 market. The mandal members appealed to the traders to close their establishments tomorrow also.

Adding political colour to the incident, the traders cell of the BJP organised a rally in protest against the enforcement of VAT. The rally was flagged off from the BJP office in Sector 33 by Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, state president of the party. It culminated at the Sector 26 grain market. An effigy of the Congress-led government at the Centre was also burnt.

Differences among the traders came to the fore when the Sector 18 Market Dealers Association, in a letter to the president of the Beopar Mandal, said the main reason for the failure of the bandh in the city was due to the non-cooperative stance of the Beopar Mandal.

It said VAT would affect the trading community and the mandal should have taken market presidents’ into confidence before deciding that they would hold peaceful protests rather than closing the shops.



Banks wide awake at midnight
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Bank Square in Sector 17, which extended normally wears a deserted look after 5 pm, was today brimming with hectic activity well past midnight. People in large numbers queued up outside banks till midnight to deposit the service tax and excise duty.

The cashiers also got no respite as they kept counting cash and operating the cash-counting machines.

The branches which were functioning in the Bank Square were the Central Bank of India; the SBI treasury branch, main branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC). Haryana Government employees were busy withdrawing cash at the SBI treasury branch.

Sources in the banking sector maintained that more than Rs 500 crore was deposited today in the revenue account of the government by various departments.

Even as people carrying huge sums could be seen standing outside the branches, there was hardly any security cover by the Chandigarh Police.

However, security guards of the respective banks were relaxing inside their branches. Senior police officials, on their part, maintained that banks did not ask for any special security forces for supervising their midnight operations.

Meanwhile, few people complained that the PNB was not receiving the service tax in cheques at its main branch.

But the same was denied by the AGM of the bank, Mr U.K. Sharma. He said even though the clearance of these cheques would now take place on April 3, they were accepting the deposits, both in cash and cheques.



Housing dept errs on planning charges
Could have realised Rs 86.9 cr from PUDA: CAG
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Due to the delay in the framing of relevant rules, the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Department has failed to realise planning charges to the tune of crores of rupees from PUDA.

The non-realisation of the planning charges, which the PUDA had to pay as expenses for planning the area of SAS Nagar township to the Town and Country Planning Department, has been pointed out by the CAG in its annual audit (civil) report.

Records inspected by the CAG revealed that the state government had designated the Town and Country Planning Department, Punjab, as the planning agency in respect of the Local Planning Area, SAS Nagar. Though an area of 869.54 lakh sq metre was planned by the District Town Planner (DTP), SAS Nagar, between 1995 and 2003, no planning charges were determined and recovered from PUDA.

The CAG has said on the pattern of the Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana, which charges Rs 10 per sq metre from HUDA, the Punjab Government could have realised Rs 86.95 crore for planning the area by the DTP, SAS Nagar.

As per the provisions in Section 60 of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, the Punjab Town and Country Planning Board may determine, in the prescribed manner, the amount which a local authority, state government or any other authority functioning in the planning area shall pay to the designated planning agency. In reply to the objection, the government in August, 2004, intimated that the rules for the recovery of the planning charges were being framed.

The CAG in its report for the financial year ending March, 2004, has also pointed out several instances in which the Housing and Urban Development Department had incurred unproductive expenditure to the tune of crores due to wrong planning. The department incurred an expenditure of Rs 37.54 lakh on stone-cladding work as the department had failed to explore the option of cheaper items.

A decision of PUDA to acquire land at Sultanpur Lodhi, Kapurthala, without conducting a demand survey and subsequently dropping the scheme without assigning any specific reason resulted in an expenditure of Rs 4.36 crore. Another Rs 1.57 crore was spent on raising a rehabilitation housing scheme without assessing the viability of the scheme. A sum of Rs 59.51 lakh was wasted due to the non-sale of flats in Patiala.



It rained liquor today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
It seemed that all roads today led to liquor vends today as bottles of liquor were being offered, at throwaway prices.

A survey of liquor vends in the city revealed that a large number of the people had queued up to make most of the opportunity. People could be seen buying cartons and later dividing the bottles among them.

Some of the buyers were seen carrying as much as three cartons with them in their cars.

Though the bulk purchase of the liquor is illegal yet the police chose not to play a spoilsport.

It is reported that brands like Royal Stag ran out of stock in the city because of the heavy purchase. The lowly priced brands like Red Knight, Diplomat and Old Monk were selling like hot cakes.

A buyer told the Chandigarh Tribune that all middle brands of whisky, rum and vodkas ran out of stock at the liquor vends in Sector 18, 22, 20 and 21 by 7:30 pm. Beer too ran out of stock at almost all liquor vends by evening. Royal Stag, Red-Knight, etc were selling from Rs 130 to 150, where as normally their retail prices were ranged anything between Rs 225 to 240. Other brands of whisky like Royal Challenge, Blenders Pride and Peter Scot, which normally sells at Rs 325 to 375, were being sold between Rs 225 to 300. Light beers like Fosters was selling at a much lower price of Rs 35 while its normal price was Rs 50.

The premium brands of Scotch whisky also witnessed a slash in prices as brands like Teachers and Black Dog were selling between Rs 1,000 to 1,100. Normally these brands are available between Rs 1,400 and 1,500.



Accident victim’s woes fail to move Dhuri police
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Jagdev Sharma
Jagdev Sharma

Chandigarh, March 31
It has indeed been tough times for Mr Jagdev Sharma, resident of Dhuri, who was incapacitated in a road accident nine months ago.

All his efforts to get those responsible for his plight arrested have yielded no results, courtesy callous Dhuri police.

He now realises that chances of getting justice and sympathy are remote instead he fears harassment at the hands of an influential liquor contractor whose jeep banged him off the motorcycle he was pillion riding.

The bitter fact is that despite getting the jeep’s registration number from Mr Sharma, the police is still not arresting the accused contractor.

The police indifference assumes greater significance given the fact that Mr Jagdev Sharma was rendered severely handicapped after his leg was fractured in the accident.

He has met the DGP of Punjab, Mr S.S. Virk, with a complaint a few days ago and the DGP has marked an inquiry to the SP(Detective), Jagraon. The SP (Detective) has called him tomorrow to record his statement.

Mr Sharma, in his complaint to the DGP, has stated that during the night of June 25 he was coming from Katron village to Dhuri with one Amrik Singh on a motorcycle.

They had just reached near Kehru village when a jeep (PB-11-W-2273) collided with their motorcycle head-on.

Mr Sharma was riding pillion and the collision was strong enough to knock them off the motorcycle. He suffered head injuries and a fractured leg.

Mr Sharma said he lodged a complaint with the Dhuri police station and further alleged that though he had given the registration number of the jeep and the name of the driver, the police made no efforts to arrest the accused. However, a case was registered under Sections 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC in the concerned police station.

Mr Sharma told the Chandigarh Tribune today that he was subjected to harassment by the police which was not taking any action against the guilty and on the contrary the accused was threatening him of dire consequences.

He also stated in his complaint that he had lost faith in the Dhuri police and wanted the case to be investigated by other police officers.

Mr Sharma, while narrating his tale of woes, told the Chandigarh Tribune that he had spent thousands of rupees on his treatment and suffered a lot due to the indifferent attitude of the Dhuri police.



‘Surinder was always there to help others’
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Employees of the Haryana Secretariat in a pensive mood after hearing the helicopter crash news in which Mr O.P. Jindal and Mr Surinder Singh were killed in Chandigarh
Employees of the Haryana Secretariat in a pensive mood after hearing the helicopter crash news in which Mr O.P. Jindal and Mr Surinder Singh were killed in Chandigarh on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 31
“One outstanding quality that separated Mr Surinder Singh from other students was the vigour with which he helped others. He made all efforts, even if he had to go out of his way, to help the needy.” This was stated by Prof V.K. Bansal, Department of Law, Panjab University, remembering the time spent with the leader who lost his life in a tragic helicopter crash, while talking to the Tribune correspondent here today.

“I had just joined the university in 1968 when he was a student. I vividly remember my job as the Deputy Superintendent on examination duty while he was appearing in the examination. We stayed in touch even after he left the university,” he said.

Professor Bansal said, “I have also taught Ms Kiran Chaudhary and Ms Saroj Siwach, wife and sister of the minister, respectively. The entire family has been in touch with me over all the years so the loss is very personal to me”.

He said, “Mr Surinder Singh visited the department sometimes. He used to talk about the new projects he had in mind for public interest. He had a very good sense of humour. He could argue his serious political differences with rivals using imagery of comic anecdotes”.

The old teacher said “I vividly remember his personality during his days on the campus. He carried himself with certain dignity which separated him from fellow students. His words were very studied”.

Professor Bansal expressed condolences to the family members of the Congress leader.



CII mourns death of Haryana ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The CII (Northern Region) expressed deep shock and regret at the unfortunate and untimely demise of Haryana Agriculture Minister Surender Singh and Haryana Power Minister O.P. Jindal, who were killed in a helicopter crash at Gangoh near Saharanpur today.

Offering condolences to the families, Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman, CII (Northern Region), remarked that the region, as a whole, and the state of Haryana, had been keenly looking forward to a new era of reforms in the two critical areas of agriculture and power under their able leadership. He observed that the state would be the poorer with their passing away.

Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, President, CII, has also expressed shock and anguish at the demise of noted industrialist O.P. Jindal. The CII President said he was a man of great acumen and by his demise, the country had lost a great industrialist, who had built a reputation for ingenuity of products and product integrity.

He said Jindal was one of those first generation entrepreneurs, who had the vision and steely determination to take India on the global roadmap. Mr Munjal also mourned the death of Surender Singh.

Mr Jayant Davar, Chairman, CII, Haryana State Council, has expressed shock not only personally but also on behalf of the whole industry of the state. He mentioned that it was sad news for the industry and the political circle.



Local leaders condole deaths
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Gloom descended on the Congress camp here today over the “untimely death of Mr Surinder Singh and Mr O.P.Jindal, Haryana Cabinet Ministers, in a helicopter crash in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh earlier in the day.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee at an emergency meeting condoled the deaths. Mr B.B.Bahl, president of the local unit, recalled his relations with the families of both ministers.

A two-minute silence was observed on the occasion. Prominent local leaders present on the occasion included Sunil Parti, Surinder Bhatia, Mohammad Khalid, Prem Chand Premi and Dharam Vir Manchanda.

The All-India Mahila Congress at a condolence meeting expressed shock over the deaths.

Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, also condoled the deaths.

The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana expressed grief over the death of the two Haryana leaders. Mr Surinder Singh was the chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana twice in 1976 and in 1978. A function of the Bar council scheduled for April 2 at the Law Bhavan of the council has been postponed.

Mr Om Prakash Chautala, national president of the Indian National Lok Dal, in a press note termed the accident as tragic. He expressed sympathy to the bereaved families. 



Missing Punjab Mandi Board supervisor found dead
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 31
Mr Naiz Hussian, resident of Chhat village, who was missing since March 26, was found dead along the Panchkula-Morni road in Palsora village, last evening.

The badly decomposed body of Mr Hussian (50), a supervisor with the Punjab Mandi Board at Chandigarh, was noticed by some villagers in a gorge and subsequently the police was informed. The police later sent the body to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula.

According to family members of the deceased, Mr Hussian had been missing since March 26 noon.

In a complaint to the Lohgarh police post, Mr Gulam Ali, son of Mr Hussian, had complained that two motorcyclists came to their house on Holi and took his father along. Before leaving home, Mr Hussian also told them that he would be back by evening.

The family got suspicious when Mr Hussian did not return in the evening. The family lodged a complaint with the police regarding disappearance of Mr Hussian.

The incident came to light after the Panchkula police recovered the decomposed body in Plosara village near Morni Hills. The police flashed a message to the police of neighbouring states asking them to identify the body as per complaints of missing men lodged with them.

Following this, the Lohgarh police informed the family who later identified the body as of Mr Niaz Hussian’s.

The Panchkula police handed over the body to the family members after post-mortem examinations at General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, this evening. The Panchkula police has registered a case in this regard.



Pasco may quit Maruti dealership
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Pasco, the oldest dealer of Maruti Udyog Limited in the city, has decided to end its 20-year-old tie-up with the company by quitting its dealership in Chandigarh. According to sources, Pasco Motors, which was at one point selling the maximum number of cars for Maruti, has decided to move away because the company had, against its wishes, appointed two new dealers and is in the process of appointing two more in the city.

The Managing Director of Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), Mr Jagdish Khattar, who was in the city today said this was an internal matter of the company and would not have a bearing on buyers. The regional Manager of MUL, Mr Hardeep Brar, said Pasco had decided to move out of Chandigarh and set up a base at its Gurgaon branch.

However, the General Manager of Pasco, Col Kumar (retd), denied that they were quitting the dealership but added that he would not like to comment on the issue.

Sources said Pasco had already taken the agency of TATA motors for selling Tata Indicom and Tata Indigo cars from its premises in the Industrial Area, Phase-I. The company, which was instrumental in giving an annual business of Rs 600 crore to the company, had also helped the Chandigarh Administration in beautifying roundabouts.



22 SAD (Amritsar) activists detained

Chandigarh, March 31
As many as 22 activists of the youth wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) were detained by the local police when they were on their way to submit a memorandum to CPI leadership at Kisan Bhavan here today.

According to the police, the activists, who were led by Mr Brinder Singh Mann, youth wing chief, were detained on the apprehension of the breach of peace. TNS



Passing Thru

Kulmani Parida
Kulmani Parida
India's leading off spinner in first class cricket and a member of the Railways’ Ranji cricket team which is pitted against Punjab in the Ranji final at PCA stadium, Mohali

Can you list some of your achievements in first class cricket?

I have taken 265 wickets in first class cricket with my best performance being a haul of 8 wickets for just 65 runs against Madhya Pradesh. I have achieved the feat of bagging 10 wickets in a match at least four times. I have also hauled five wickets in an innings during 13 different matches. I am looking for a bright future ahead as I have taken 170 wickets in the past four seasons.

Which is your favourite stadium in India and why?

My favourite sports ground is Usha Raje Scindia stadium, Madhya Pradesh. I like it the most because whenever I have played there I have given a tremendous performance. I took seven wickets in the Ranji semifinal match against Punjab in 2000-01 in the stadium.

Have you innovated any mysterious delivery like 'Doosra'?

No, I have not innovated any such delivery. However, I support Harbhajan Singh on his controversial action while throwing 'Doosra'.

— Akash Ghai 



Beware of tricky weather
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
It is that time of the year again when after a long cold spell of winter, there is a promise of summer in the air.

There are some days that are unbearably hot and then there are days when a sudden spell of rain brings the soaring mercury down.

This sudden change in weather is a cause enough for us to get lax and avoid basic precautions that could lead to illnesses.

In its mission to ensure a happier, healthier life for all, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, today issued tips and precautions on how to avoid getting caught in this hide and seek of the weather.

According to Dr Vikas Bhutani, consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, there are a number of precautions that one must take with the changing weather.

These include: * Avoid exposure to sudden changes in temperature. Don’t be hasty in throwing off those blankets and switching on the fans. If coming from outside, don’t immediately switch on the fan and guzzle on a long drink of cold water or chilled soft drinks. Also, avoid car AC’s for now. If you are using AC’s, switch off the AC a few minutes before going out of the room or car so that you get acclimatised to the normal temperature before coming out.

* Don’t be too hasty in changing over to cool summer clothes, half sleeves and sleeveless shirts. Keep yourself properly covered, especially early in the mornings and late evenings to avoid exposure to the mild persisting chill.

* Young children and old persons should be extra careful in avoiding temperature change as they are more prone to allergies and viral illnesses. Persons prone to allergies can have symptoms in the changing weather, especially cases of allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, skin allergies, etc. Prevention lies in avoidance of known allergens like cold items and sudden temperature change, dust, pollen, grass, etc.

* Allow your body to adapt to the weather change slowly and gradually. Persons already suffering from chronic allergic problems should take antihistamines regularly during this season and visit their family doctors so as to avoid wrong diagnosis of the disease. Asthmatics-don’t forget to take your inhalers during this period as this season is well known for acute attacks of asthma.

* Apart from allergies, viral illnesses, especially in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, viral fevers, etc, are also on the rise in this season. Care must be taken to keep your body toned up to fight against these viral illnesses by having a nutritious diet and adequate amount of water.



Bal Niketan likely to take in Amar Singh’s children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Amar Singh’s children are finding their feet and while their loss will always be felt, the kindness is going a long way in bringing back smiles on their faces.

The children lost both parents in a bizarre tale of poverty and despondency. Their mother died three years ago and their father, a ragpicker in Maloya Colony, died on Holi, leaving his four children bewildered.

Today, Harvinder Kaur, Ravneet Kaur, Navjot and Navdeep were picked up from their surrogate home in Maloya Colony and taken to the Punjab Book Centre to buy whatever caught their fancy.

Ms Sanyogita Nayyar and Ms Manjit Kaur, from the Department of Social Welfare, treated them to some unexpected pleasures at the behest of the Director of the department.

Ms Nayyar said the children were beaming after their purchases, which consisted of eight books for Harvinder and drawing books with colour pencils for her siblings. Sketchpads, carrom board, bat and balls added to the treasures of the day.

Each child was bought two sets of clothes and the jaunt was rounded off by a visit to an ice-cream booth.

The department had been scouting for a suitable place to accommodate the children. Today, Bal Niketan (Sector 2) in Panchkula responded favourably to the request. According to Ms Madhvi Kataria, Director of the Department, “a meeting has been fixed for April 2 with Ms Madhu Sharma, in charge of Bal Niketan, and a decision will be taken in consultation with Ms Jean Rodriques, wife of the Punjab Governor, who is taking a keen interest in the children.” 



Mahamoorakh sammelan on April 13
S.D. Sharma

“Fools rush in where angles fear to tread” On April 13 the seventh ‘rashtriya mahamoorakh sammelan’ will transform the quaint Kalagram complex into a glittering "fools’ paradise”. The prestigious annual presentation of the Haryana Institute of Fine Arts (HIFA) and Liberty in association with the NZCC will been stage at the Kalagram after six consecutive shows at Karnal. To keep pace with the technological advancement, HIFA has planned to present the mega event electronically, making it a unique and memorable experience for the viewers. Titled ‘E- mushiara,’ the essence of the poets’ couplets will simultaneously find visual illustration on the mega screens installed on the stage.

A team of highly accomplished artistes is already on the job to give final touches to the project being displayed for the first time in India. This was disclosed by eminent scientist and former university Vice Chancellor, ML Madan and Dr RC Mishra, SSP, Panchkula, patrons.

Humour king Ashok Chakradhar will lead the funny side of his team of acclaimed satirists, including Anjum Rehvar, Pardeep Chaubey and Guru Saxena. Partap Singh Faujdar and Ashok Puranik will regale the audience, displaying their wit power, said HIFA secretary Piyush Kumar.

Credited with their contributions to preserve and promote art forms, HIFA has planned to make it big, adding new projects such as baithaks, hansdhwani, ru- ba -ru,art exhibitions, food festivals, kala sangthnam and parichay. 



Penguin book fair at The Browser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
With exams out of the way and the days turning warm and lazy, pick into a bowl of grapes, sit in the cool shade of a verdant garden and devour books! For the reading fiesta - The Penguin Children Book Fair - for young ones opens on Friday April 1 and will continue till April 4 (including Sunday).

The Browser, India's first library bookshop, brings Penguin Publishers and their associates' entire range of children's books to the city in an endeavour to inculcate a passion for reading in children.

The unique feature of the fair is that over 3,000 titles from world leaders in children's book publishing, forming part of the Penguin Group in India, are being thrown open to the library members who can borrow any of these books under their membership schemes.

Mr Pankaj P. Singh, CEO of The Browser, says in addition to the library's 3000 plus members, almost 170 schools from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir have been invited to the fair to stock up their libraries. "Promoting reading and making good books accessible to all" is what Mr Singh's motto is.

An import account with one of the largest wholesalers for books in the USA -Ingram International - the bookshop is making sure that no book is more than "seven days away" from one's grasp.

"We are hoping to create a leverage in multiple trends, something like Amazon.com as we have access to trends, and reading habits dabbling in books by way of selling them or lending them out. In a sense, we are encouraging the reader to choose what he would like to buy or borrow or come to us when he or she wants a book irrespective of whether they buy it or not, " explains Mr Singh.

The enthusiasm is evident even in Pooja Verma, team leader of the Sector 8 branch of the shop, who lists out her recommendations for children.

"The variety is tremendous and there is something for everyone. Girls love to read on a range of subjects while boys have their interests firmly in focus when they come to here."

The titles on offer will tempt even a casual "browser". A set of 10 Roald Dahl books for Rs 900, the entire range of Ladybird classics and a wide range of Ruskin Bonds are just the tip of the iceberg. So, leaf through this marvellous wonderland of books. 

Six 'recommended' readings

1. Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling

2. Roald Dahl

3. Ladybird classics for all ages

4. Ruskin Bond

5. Satyajit Ray

6. R K Narayan



Gen Rodrigues surprises Burail jail authorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today paid a surprise visit to Burail jail.

General Rodrigues called upon the jail authorities to institutionalise a more humane, responsive and caring system to deal with the inmates within the framework of the jail manual guidelines and security constraints. The emphasis must be on reformative and corrective measures to ensure their transformation to useful citizens of society.

Accompanied by his wife, Mrs Jean Rodrigues, he inspected the living conditions, quality of food being served to the inmates and the medical and other facilities available to them.

He directed the DIG, Prisons, Capt P.S. Shergill (retd), and other officials to create a congenial environment which could help the inmates lead a purposeful and productive life after their release. He said their aim must be to ensure proper rehabilitation of the inmates by equipping them with various vocational skills. 



Rs 1.5 cr cleared for bus purchase
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
On the last day of the financial year the Chandigarh Administration cleared Rs 1.50 crore for the purchase of 19 buses for the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking and nearly Rs 1 crore for major equipment for the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

Officials said 100 per cent of the budget had been utilised and adjusted. Chandigarh had been allocated Rs 201 crore under the plan head and all of it had been passed onto the departments concerned. The Treasury was not the lively place as it is on the closing of the financial year, The Finance Department of the Administration had ensured the spending of money was uniform and all bills of various departments had been done, officials at the Treasury said this evening. The major expenses cleared today were the CTU bus purchase and also the GMCH equipment purchase.

If any department is not able to spend the money it would return the money in the next week or so.



Brahma Kumaris ignite spiritual passion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A four-day personality development camp for children was held at the zonal headquarters of Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya, Rajyoga Bhavan, Sector 33, from March 27 to 30.

More than 100 students from various schools between the 10 to 15 age group participated.

Lectures and workshops relating to memory techniques, time management, positive mental attitude, national integration and other such disciplines were conducted by the Brahma Kumari sisters.

Different activities aimed at bringing out the creativity of children like essay writing, poem recitation and rajyoga meditation classes were held and this was greatly appreciated by the parents.

Brahma Kumar Arun Bhai, regional coordinator of youth services wing of Brahma Kumaris, said the spiritual knowledge and practice of rajyoga meditation techniques helped in developing the positive thinking thereby reducing wasteful thoughts which in turn helped increasing memory and concentration.

A cultural programme by the participants will be held on April 3 at 11:00 am at Rajyoga Bhavan, Sector 33 A.



JCT Electronics staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
A rally was organised by employees of the JCT Electronics Ltd here today in protest against the failure of the authorities to re-start the factory.

Employees raised slogans against the management and demanded that the factory should be started again at the earliest.

There was resentment among the employees as they alleged that the management, which had promised to revive the unit, had failed to come out with any plan for its revival and they felt cheated by the indifferent approach of the authorities concerned. Employees said they had great hopes that the unit would be revived after it was opened a few months ago.

Different welfare bodies of employees alleged that the Industrial Tribunal, Punjab, and Assistant Labour Commissioner were playing in the hands of the management.

Employees told mediapersons that there was a lockout in the facory on March 3, 2002, which was declared illegal by the Labour Commissioner and the management then went to court against this order. The writ petition was dismissed by the court and the Industrial Tribunal was asked to get the facory re-opened within six months.

Mr Gurmukh Singh Sohal said only 150 employees had been taken back by the factory so far while nearly 1200 were waiting for their turn to re-join the unit. He said when the factory was opened some time ago employees were told that production would start in January but “we have learnt that the unit would take another year to start production”. There is even a possibility that it might be closed.



Man found dead near city hotel
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
An unidentified Sikh man, aged about 50 years, was found dead in a lawn near hotel Sunbeam in Sector 22, here, today.

The police said they received information in the afternoon about the man. He was rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 16 where doctors declared him brought dead.

The police confirmed it as a natural death as there were no apparent injury marks on the body.

The man was wearing green shirt and trousers. The body was kept in the mortuary of the General Hospital.



Two burglaries committed in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
Two burglaries were committed in the city while two motorcycles and a scooter were stolen in the past 48 hours, the local police released this information here today.

Ms Kulwinder Kaur of Shashtri Nagar, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police that some jewellery, one mobile phone and Rs 1,000 were stolen from her residence yesterday.

In another incident Mr Davinder Kumar Rattan of Sector 36-B reported to the police that some unstitched clothes and some other articles were stolen from his residence yesterday. Two separate cases have been registered in this regard.

Two-wheelers stolen

Mr Ashok Bajaj of Sector 40-C reported to the police that his Yamaha motor cycle (HR-05-D-7391) was stolen from his residence on Wednesday.

In another incident Mr Mohar Singh of Naya Gaon filed a complaint with the police that his motorcycle (PB-27-B-5484) was stolen from Hotel Shivalikview parking lot on March 29. Mr Inderjit Singh of Sector 20-D reported that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (PAB-9793) was stolen from the Grain Market, Sector 26, on March 29.

Three cases have been registered at various police stations of the city in this regard.


Mr Ramesh Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony lodged a complaint with the police that Jonny, Sahni, Munish and Ram Karan, all residents of the same locality, assaulted and threatened him at his residence late on Wednesday.

A case under Sections 323, 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.



Man tries to snatch cellphone, nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
A man who allegedly attempted to snatch a mobile phone from a girl was nabbed soon after the crime here today.

It is reported that the girl was using the cellphone while standing outside her house in Phase 3B1 when the man tried to snatch it. The victim raised the alarm and the thief was nabbed by people in the area, though the police claimed he was arrested by one of its patrol parties.



LIC employees strike work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
All Class III and IV LIC employees of the Divisional Headquarters, Chandigarh, joined the strike today to press for their demand of wage revision due since August 1, 2002. The call for the nationwide strike had been given by the All- India Insurance Employees Association.

Work was paralysed as the employees struck work at the divisional headquarters and 20 other branches. A rally held at Sector 17 divisional office was addressed by leaders of North Zone Insurance Employees Association and representatives of other fraternal trade unions.

Addressing the rally, Mr B.P. Manchanda, former president, All-India Insurance Employees Association said during the winter session of Parliament, Mr P. Chidambaram had categorically stated that the UPA government would not interfere in the administrative jobs of LIC management. Contrary to it, the Finance Minister is creating hindrances in the settlement of wage revision of all classes of employees. He further said the LIC management and the government should also concede the demand of LIC pensioners.

The divisional secretary, Mr Rajeev Sehgal, said the payscales offered by the LIC management on March 22 were below par and disappointing.

The LIC employees have also demanded need-based recruitment in Class III cadre.

Mr Ashwani Sharma, president, said though the employees have shown a record growth in the insurance business of the corporation, the management seems reluctant to meet the requirements of the employees, including recruitment of new staff to reduce the workload of existing employees, which are short of 14,000 employees.

The employees have resolved to intensify, the struggle if the management and the government did not concede demands.

Meanwhile, the General Insurance Employees held a solidarity demonstration in support of the strike. Mr Sudarshan Sharma, leader of the General Insurance Employees, said they would support the struggle.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |