C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Enough of political interference!
Piqued Rodrigues briefs PM on Mani Majra land case
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Pawan Bansal
Pawan Bansal

S.F. Rodrigues
Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd)

Chandigarh, February 23
After local Congressmen protested against the UT Administrator and the Deputy Commissioner before the Prime Minister on his recent visit, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) is learnt to have briefed the Prime Minister as well as Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil about the state of affairs, especially removal of encroachment from prime land valued at crores of rupees.

The Administrator has expressed his displeasure at the way hurdles were being created in the way of governance. Sources said the General had made clear references to political meddling at every level.

The sources said the Government of India had been informed how political interference was coming in the way of removing encroachments.

The case of Mani Majra has been specially referred to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The administration wants the prime land acquired by it to be available for planned development in the form of various projects.

Congress leaders want that no structure (houses) be demolished from the land.

The administration in its case put up before the MHA says that already about 5 acres of land, which covers the Darshani Bagh area in Mani Majra, has been exempt from acquisition.

The matter pertaining to 78 houses, spread across an area called pocket number 8 as per revenue records, has been decided at the level of the Supreme Court in the favour of the administration, says the report.

In the past, the Congress as well as the BJP has been protesting against demolition in the area despite the land being owned by the administration.

Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor and close confidante of local MP Pawan Bansal, almost corroborates the “political interference” view of the administration saying: “We are against the policies of the Administrator. We want no demolition in Mani Majra as people have spent lakhs of rupees building their houses.”

Mr Chawla adds: “We are not gunning for the transfer of the DC, as is being projected in the media.” He, however, adds that the DC acted in a partisan manner, unbecoming of an officer when he manipulated the ouster of Bhupinder Singh Badheri, another Pawan Bansal loyalist, from the chairmanship of the Zila Parishad.

Officials add that the MHA is not expected to send its opinion on Mani Majra in writing. In the past the MHA has not taken a clear stance. Just two years ago when Administrator Justice O.P. Verma (retd) got more than 10,000 jhuggis removed from a government land, the then Union Minister for State, I.D. Swami, rushed in from Delhi and asked the administration to halt the drive.

It may be recollected that the Administrator had written to the Haryana Government that the Chandigarh Administration wanted DC Arun Kumar to continue in office for one more year.

The Congress-ruled Haryana had wanted the DC back leading to a fight in the open with the Congress alleging that the Administrator was shielding the DC.



Water samples from govt schools fail test
Dust, waste, algae found in open tanks
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
Providing safe drinking water to students in government schools is certainly not high on the priority list of the Education Department here.

Uncovered water tanks, allowing all kinds of waste; algae covered tank bottoms showing that these tanks have not been cleaned for a long time and at some places, twigs being inserted in water tanks to plug in the holes — are some of the glaring examples of how schools are maintaining the sources of drinking water for thousands of students.

During a visit to various schools, The Tribune team saw that in most of the government — run schools in rural areas, the cemented water tanks had been replaced with the plastic tanks.

However, the lids of these tanks were missing. At Government Primary School, Rampur Seori, which is located adjacent to a stone crusher, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) from the crusher was falling into the water tank, as it did not have a lid. Students of the school said that the water tank had been uncovered for a long time and the waste had collected near the tap, making it difficult to let the water flow from the tap. “We have to put the jug from the top and take out water,” informed a young girl.

At Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, wild growth was visible all along the base and on top of the cemented water tank. Since the taps in the tank were broken, twigs had been used to plug the tap pipes and prevent leakage.

A teacher in this school said that the tank had not been cleaned for months, and algae had not been removed. “But since the dust and leaves falling have settled down, so the water in the tank is clean,” she clarifies. Incidentally, the office of the District Education Officer is located just a few steps away.

The DEO, Mrs Phool Khatri, when contacted, said that she had often instructed the school principals and headmasters to ensure that water tanks were clean and clean water was provided to the students. “I will again take up the matter at the monthly meeting of the principals,” she assures.

The unhygienic water supply in government schools was a far contrast from the private schools here, which have installed filtration plants at schools and discouraged, children from carrying water bottles.

Meanwhile, the district health authorities had recently collected water samples from 13 schools and the Government College here recently.

The bacteriological tests for samples collected from Government College, Sector 1, DC Model School, Sector 7, and Government Adarsh School, Mansa Devi Complex failed.

The Public Health Department officials, however, said that they were regularly chlorinating their water sources, and said that the water samples having high bacterial count could be a result of the unsterilized bottles being used for collecting samples. 



How ‘mathi’ project turned sour
Admn blacklists contractor, forfeits security
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The UT Administration has just about managed to put the ambitious “mathi” project allotted to the Social Welfare Department back on rails. If official enquiries are anything to go by, the project conceived to empower city’s destitute women actually ended up disempowering them.

The reason: gross discrepancies in the allotment of contract for “mathi” preparation by former Director, Social Welfare (also MD, Women and Child Development Corporation), Gurdip Singh who allegedly bent rules to the detriment of workers and to the benefit of the contractor — Gopal Sweets, Sector 27. The administration is also looking into objections raised by the Auditor-General regarding excess/unexplainable use of “ghee” for “mathi” preparation under the tenure of the official.

Meanwhile, pointing out serious lapses in the functioning of the contractor who was bound by no rules, the administration has dispensed off with his services, blacklisted him and forfeited his security. UT Home Secretary-cum-Chairman of the Corporation Krishna Mohan has also ordered fixing of responsibility in the matter. The inquiry has further held that the contractor was using the resources of the corporation meant for the “mathi” project under DPI (Schools) Mid-Day Meal Project.

To begin with, he started preparing “mathis” verbally without any formal letter of allotment in hand. He did not comply with a single term of contract for outsourcing like payment of minimum wages and EPF, etc. to workers. Instead, he brought down their numbers and increased their working hours. The project conceived to gainfully employ women from colonies and nari niketan started harming their interests and went haywire.

The contractor began preparation of “mathis” on February 1 this year and caused a loss of Rs 22,000 a month to the corporation. Strangely, the former Director and his staff chose to stay quiet on the issue.

On his part, the contractor fulfilled no terms of the contract. The tender form did not bind him to pay minimum wages or EPF, which are essential conditions in any contract for outsourcing. Women working for over 10 hours were called part-time workers as Gurdip Singh misled the then Chairman by getting rates for the women workers approved by presenting them as part-time workers. Finally, workers got Rs 1,500 for four hours, while they worked much longer than that.

Interestingly, the then MD Corporation had sought permission to outsource “mathi” preparation saying that the corporation required a technical person for the job. He added that this would help avoid violations of Acts like the EPF Act and the ESI Act. However, this was an excuse for his actions.

An official confirms: “The final contract made no mention of the EPF code number, a basic requirement. The Tender Evaluation Committee interpreted the terms in favour of Gopal Sweets, Sector 27. The Chairman’s approval was not obtained for constituting this committee, headed by the then MD.”

Another lacuna was the advertisement which asked for a “manpower provider”. Its eligibility conditions were so stringent that only three firms applied. Finally, the tender document made no mention of the manpower required. It deviated from the original purpose — seeking a trained person. On top of that, the contractor produced no document to show that he had experience as a “manpower provider”.



Car theft accused escapes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 19
One of the three car thieves, Suraj, who was arrested by the police, yesterday, gave the slip to the cops in Mauli Jagran, today, here. The cops were taking the accused to identify a spot, when the accused ran away from custody.

According to the police, Suraj was taken to the spot along with his other accomplices. The cops took one of the accused out of the police vehicle, while the other two were in the vehicle. Suraj finding an opportunity ran away. Two ASI’s and three constables, were guarding the accused.

The SHO of the Mani Majra police station without naming the guilty cops said he would recommend a departmental inquiry into the matter.

Meanwhile the other two accused Mitlesh and Sonu were produced before a court, which remanded them in Police custody till April 21. 



Punjab, Haryana wheat likely to enter Pak market 
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The recent visit of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf to India had opened a new market for wheat grown in Punjab and Haryana. Facing a shortfall of wheat the Pakistan Government has allowed Indian wheat to be supplied there as this will be the cheapest possible option to import using the railway network in Indian Punjab.

In Pakistan a quintal of wheat costs between Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,600 while in India this varies between Rs 680 and Rs 900, depending upon the quality. The sale will bring in crores of rupees to Indian farmers who collectively grow a surplus stock of wheat each year.

Already the Pakistan Roller Flour Mills Association has asked for 2 million tonnes of wheat from Markfed. In February the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had taken up the matter with the Government of India as Markfed made a fresh bid to export Indian wheat to Pakistan. Last year Pakistan's request for 1 lakh metric tonnes of wheat could not be met due to lack of clearance and it was forced to buy 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of wheat from Russia.

Sources in the agriculture sector said as per international procedures Pakistan would be floating global tenders for wheat supply and these would include the cost of transportation till Wagah or at one of the sea ports. It would also specify the quality and the exact quantity it wanted.

Pakistan wants the wheat via rail through the existing Attari-Wagah rail link. The Punjab Government here is also keen on the same. The options of sending by road or the route sea are considered uneconomical as the carrying cost would be much higher, explained the Managing Director of Markfed, Mr S.S. Channy.

It may be recalled that in January this year Pakistan's newspaper The Nation had quoted the Pakistan Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL), saying that it had strongly recommended the import of wheat from India after being told by the private sector that it would be impossible to import the commodity from any other country because of the inflated international pricing factor.

Wheat importers In Pakistan had been putting pressure on the government to allow wheat imports from India as it was available cheaper in comparison to other countries.

Other factors brought into consideration were the viable means of transportation i.e. by train through the Wagah border and the quick delivery time, The Nation went on to say.

The Pakistan President on his recent visit wanted more exports from Pakistan to India in cotton yarn, fabrics, towels, leather products, surgical goods, sports goods, fruits, vegetables and pulses.



Ravi Shankar calls for change in
mindset of politicians

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Terming wrong ideology, identity crisis and poverty as the three major factors for rise of terrorism, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, said terrorists could be constructive and productive if they were shown the right direction.

Speaking at an interactive session on "Peace versus Terrorism and the Role of Spirituality in Changing Mindsets of the Youth to Live with Honour and Dignity," organised by the Center for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here today, Sri Ravi Shankar said religion by itself was not bad, but it was the element of fanaticism that was extremely harmful.

Stating that we need to honour religion, he added that religion and spirituality was a driving force and it needed to be given a constructive direction. He said though religion had also divided people and brought conflicts, it had also saved people. Pointing out that major incidents of violence in history have not been related to religion, Sri Ravi Shankar added that it was for the politicians and leaders on how they used religion for the good of society.

He also called for a change in the mindset and attitude of the politicians and bureaucrats if things were to change for the better.

Earlier, in his inaugural address, Governor of Punjab, Gen S F Rodrigues (retd), said inadequacies in our education system and erosion of our self esteem are major problems being faced by society. He added that we were reaching a stage where religious teachers were becoming increasingly relevant.

The Governor said it had become next to impossible to get to know the problems of our people and the nation as we had not been able to develop a holistic view of the prevailing situation. Pointing out that we are a target of a sustained campaign of disinformation, the general added that money was flowing in to condition our attitudes and erode our decision and commitment to succeed.

The Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Mr V S Kokje, was the guest of honour during an interactive session at which Sri Ravi Shankar addressed queries from the audience.



Ms India to grace NIFD function
Tribune News Service

Amrita Thapar
Amrita Thapar

Chandigarh, April 19
Femina Miss India Universe 2005, Amrita Thapar, and Vice-Chancellor Annamalai University, Dr L.B. Venkatrangan, will be here on April 21 to launch admissions to BSc and diploma programs in fashion design, textile design and interior design being jointly offered by Annamalai University and the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD). Both will be present for the event being organised to commemorate the first year of the tie- up between NIFD and Annamalai University.

Born into a Punjabi Sikh family, recently crowned Femina Miss India Universe 2005, Amrita Thapar is on her maiden visit to Chandigarh, prior to participating in the Miss Universe contest where she would be representing India in her attempt to create history which Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta created.



R.C. Sharma joins UT Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Haryana Civil Services (HCS) official R.C. Sharma joined the Chandigarh Administration today. He is yet to be given a posting. He is 1983 batch officer of the HCS making him the seniormost HCS officer to be posted here.

Mr Sharma was posted as Deputy Secretary Health in Haryana. He has also worked in Chandigarh as Land Acquisition officer and also tehsildar.

Meanwhile a decision as to who will be repatriated is yet to be taken. The names of Mr S.P. Arora, DPR, Mr Naresh Narwal, Secretary STA and Mr Kulwant Kalson, Joint Commissioner MC are being mentioned. All three are HCS officers. Mr Narwal may be the first to be repatriated to his parent cadre.



Passing Thru

JP Singh
Mr JP Singh, Managing Director, Bausch and Lomb

What is new in the market on contact lenses?

We are promoting soft lens comfort, disposable after 30 days of use. This pair of lenses costs only Rs 250. Another product, Pure Vision, which is still to come to the city, can be worn while sleeping as well and is priced at Rs 800 a pair a month.

What is your mission statement?

It is to help people see better, look better and feel better. We are changing the concept of marketing contact lenses and promoting them as product enhancers which not only to help an individual to get rid of glasses but infuse confidence in a person.

What has been the response to coloured lenses?

The younger generation is into wearing coloured contact lenses which are not numbered. Four per cent of our entire sale comes from the sale of these lenses and more and more people are taking to lenses. The parents have become more aware of the use of lenses.

What is the annual turnover of B & L?

We have a turnover of Rs 100 crore and hold 70 per cent of the market share. There are six other competitors and the rest of the market share is divided among them.

Geetanjali Gayatri



MC sanitation drive ends, garbage remains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A special sanitation drive launched by the municipal corporation in March concluded here today. The month-long programme was delayed by 18 days.
Addressing the concluding ceremony in Sector 15, Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, said the sanitation drive took a little longer than expected because of huge malba depositions in various parts of the city. The corporation cleared 2,500 truckloads of waste construction material.

Mr Aujla said as many as 1,100 workers from various wings of the corporation, including Roads, Sanitation and Horticulture, were involved in the drive. He claimed that patch work on a majority of the roads had been completed.

Mr Aujla said road recarpeting, tile work, park beautification and repair of street lights were some of the assignments undertaken during the operation. Repairs on V4, V5 and V6 roads were undertaken on a priority basis. All roads recarpeted before 1999 would be done up this year. He said similar sanitation drives would be carried out in the future, particularly during months when the corporation had lesser work.

Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, said in the second phase of the drive, the corporation would take up the slum areas for sanitation. The main areas of concern in these slums were drinking water, roads and mobile toilets. She said the corporation would not indulge in any pick-and-choose policy in the anti-encroachment drive.

Meanwhile, there are complaints about poor sanitary conditions from various parts of the city. Residents in southern sectors complain that the garbage collection centres are not cleaned for long. There are also murmurs of discontent from councillors.

Mrs Kamla Sharma, a BJP councillor, has expressed dissatisfaction with the sanitation drive. She said the general corporation work had suffered on this account. “ All officials are busy at a common point in a day and other works are suffering. Not just the cleanliness, all corporation works appear to have gone haywire,” she added.

Mr Subhash Chawla, a former mayor, has submitted questions to the mayor for inclusion in the corporation meeting agenda. The first question is “What is the total amount spent on the whole drive, give details ward wise from the plan and non-plan heads, whether any private agency or contractor was involved in the drive, if so, what expenses were incurred?”

Another question is “Whether any material has been purchased for this drive and what are the expenses of the total purchase give, details of the total expenditure involved and material purchased wing wise?”

A senior officer of the MC said ‘garbage collection in different sectors had suffered in the immediate past because seven of the past 10 days were holidays. He also agreed that sanitation work, particularly in southern sectors, had suffered because the arrangements currently were ad hoc. Three contracts were cancelled by the corporation for poor services. 



CAT stays filling of vacant posts in Railways
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Before filling vacancies by promotion, the Railway Board will have to implement its restructuring scheme as per the guidelines of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

Handing down the order, the tribunal comprising Mr L.M. Goyal and Mr Jasbir. S. Dhaliwal, Vice Chairman and Member (Judicial), respectively, has directed the board not to make promotions against the vacancies which had fallen vacant following certain promotions on the basis of reservation under the restructuring scheme.

The order was passed after Mr Brij Pal Singh, a Junior Engineer in the Diesel Loco-modernisation Works, Patiala, moved the tribunal praying that without implementing the directions of the tribunal on restructuring scheme, the Railways had taken steps to fill lower vacancies which had fallen vacant after the incumbents were promoted on the basis of reservation for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.

He further stated that the result of the test held for the promotion to the post of Section Engineer from Junior Engineer Grade-I was likely to be declared soon.

The tribunal in an earlier order on November 24, 2004, had observed that the policy of reservation in favour of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes was not applicable to the restructuring scheme of the Indian Railways.

The tribunal after hearing a bunch of applications filed by certain Railway employees had directed the Railways to consider the applicants and other eligible persons for placing them in appropriate pay scales under the restructuring scheme with all consequential benefits.

“The reservation for the SCs and STs will not be applicable when making promotions to the posts upgraded on account of restructuring of cadres,” the Bench said quoting a judgment of the Supreme Court.

“Where the total number of posts remained unaltered, though in different scales of pay as a result of regrouping, it would be a case of upgradation of posts. It would not be a case of additional vacancy or post being created to which the reservation principle would apply. If the case is restricted to all existing employees, who were redistributed into different scales of pay as a result of upgradation, there cannot be any reservation,” the order said.

The railways were asked to implement the guidelines in three months from the date of the receipt. The order of the tribunal was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in an order dated March 3, 2005.

While the railways as per the orders of the tribunal had to revert the persons who had been promoted on the basis of reservation while implementing the restructuring scheme, it began the process to fill the resultant lower vacancies.



Tehelka case: tapes shown to witness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Prosecution witness Lieut-Col V.P. Syal (retd) today stated before the General Court Martial (GCM) trying Brig Iqbal Singh for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case that there had been a talk about cultivating high officials, bureaucrats and politicians with regard to procurement of Hand Held Thermal Imagers by the Army when the accused was present in Hotel Park on November 5, 2000.

Prosecution counsel Mr Arvind Moudgil said the witness was earlier shown the relevant video tapes, containing footage about the aforesaid incident, to refresh his memory. Colonel Syal had retired from service when the sting operation was carried out by tehelka.com.

The witness told the court that money was handed over by Tehelka operative Mathews Samuel to Brigadier Iqbal, who in turn, handed it over to him. He added that Brigadier Iqbal told Mathews at the hotel that he would tell him about the commission to be paid after finalising the matter with his people.

He said liquor was also served to them and a girl was also present in the room.

Earlier, the defence counsel, Maj R.S. Randhawa (retd), had strongly objected to the witness being shown the video tapes to refresh his memory on the contention that it was not permissible under the Indian Evidence Act.

After listening to arguments on both sides, the court disallowed the objection.

Colonel’s Syal’s deposition will continue tomorrow.



Cashiered Major regrets ‘links’ with Sobhraj
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Court-martialed Major Gurinder Singh Bhuller, who has been arrested for allegedly carrying contraband, rues his “proximity” with international criminal Charles Sobhraj who floated stories about Bhuller’s daughter being involved with the criminal.

Bhuller (62), who lives in Sector 20 here, said his eldest daughter came to meet him in Tihar Jail in 1996 and chanced to see Sobhraj who was being taken to a Delhi court for an appearance. Bhuller’s family had come to see him when Charles was being taken out of the prison. Manveena, then a journalist, asked her father if he was the same international criminal about whom she had read in a book. Bhuller revealed this story when Narcotics Control Bureau officials asked him if he had any connection with Sobhraj as had been reported in the media almost a decade ago. Sobhraj is now in jail in Nepal.

Bhuller said Sobhraj sullied the reputation of him and his daughter after Bhuller got Sobhraj beaten up in the prison after the international criminal refused to pay back Bhuller’s money that he had lent to Sobhraj. Bhuller, denying that he had any criminal connection with Sobhraj during his days in Tihar Jail, said Sobhraj got a couple of letters written by somebody in the name of his daughter and posted them.

The letters apparently were screened by jail authorities who were asked by Sobhraj to leak them to the media in Delhi. The tactful international criminal also got certain photographs released to the media. The photos were taken when his daughter met Sobhraj while he was being taken to a court under police custody.

Bhuller said Sobhraj was always upto dirty tricks against whom he wanted to exploit through his guile.

The sources said the “love story” was lapped up by media in Delhi and abroad leaving him fuming in jail as he could not offer any clarification about the reported relationship.

Sobhraj himself started spreading the rumour, saying that he had an affair with the daughter of “Major General Bhuller”. The drug peddler said Sobhraj referred to him as “Major General” despite the fact he was a Major when he was court-martialed in 1988.

Bhuller, however, admitted that he had interaction with Sobhraj in the jail as the international criminal was keen to talk to those who were rich and could speak English.

Sobhraj, according to Bhuller, had a knack of taking people into confidence before cheating them. That is how the drug peddler ended up regularly giving money to Sobhraj. But when Sobhraj started playing dirty tricks with Bhuller, the latter got him thrashed in the jail.

Recollecting the introduction of his daughter with Sobhraj, he said when his daughter showed eagerness to meet Sobhraj, he arranged it in the court premises where they talked for half an hour.

Media reports, however, in 1996 and 1997 had quoted the girl as saying she had written few letters to Sobhraj who proposed to marry her. The girl was quoted as declining the offer of marriage of the international criminal. The girl is now settled abroad.



Two-day strike by PSEB employees
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 19
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) struck down work in all offices of the board here on the first day of the two-day strike in protest against the privatisation of the board. The employees did not mark their attendance and organised gate rallies.

While addressing the employees, circle president of the Technical Services Union, Mr Lakha Singh, said the government should not privatise the board and the Electricity Bill-2003 should be cancelled. He said employees should not forcibly be made to retire at the age of 50 and 55 years.

The protesters said the employees would go on indefinite strike if their demands were not met.

Members of the PSEB Employees Joint Forum said the privatisation of electricity boards in other states had proved to be a failure. They alleged the government had come under the influence of world trade organisations and even the management of the board was giving the work of hydel projects and construction of grids to private contractors. The work of meter reading and bill distribution for the Ludhiana and Mohali circles had already been privatised, they rued.

Meanwhile, the PSEB has appealed to the residents to make payments of electricity bills at their respective post offices where cash payment of less than Rs 5,000 is accepted in view of the ongoing strike. Residents of Phases VII to XI can also make payments at the State Bank of Patiala, Phase VII, where cheques can also be presented. Payments will be accepted at board counters on the immediate next working day without fines.



Labourer falls to death
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 19
Labourer Zuber Alam (23), died after he fell from third floor of underconstruction Advance Cardiac Centre of the PGI in the Sector 11, here today.
According to the Police, the incident took place at 9:30 am when the deceased was working on the scaffolding at the construction site. He was reportedly pulling a wire, when he lost balance and slipped off the ladder and fell. He received fractured foot and had internal injuries.

The labourers working at the site took him to a private doctor, who referred him to the general hospital, Sector 16. The doctors at the general hospital referred him to the PGI, where he succumbed to his injuries at 1 pm.

The deceased, who hailed from West Bengal had come to his cousin in Chandigarh, looking for job a month ago, said the police.

The body is lying in the mortuary of the PGI and a post mortem examination would be performed tomorrow.

The police has started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in the Sector 11 police station. 



VAT confusion to continue for time being 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The confusion over the value added tax(VAT) in the city is likely to continue for the time being with both the Chandigarh Administration and the traders in dark about the exact date of its implementation.

In fact, the Chandigarh Administration had been waiting for a go-ahead from the Central Government to implement VAT, aimed at establishing a uniform tax regime in the country. Chandigarh was to follow the Punjab pattern in the implementation of the new tax regime.

While Punjab had introduced VAT through an ordinance, the city, being a union territory could not do the same. The new Act was to replace the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1952. Since the new Act was yet to be effective, the city had no option but wait for the new Act. Only after the old Act was replaced by the new one, the Administration would be in position to issue a notification, sources said.

Moreover, the confusion had been compounded by the ignorance of officials and traders about the new tax regime. Already, the traders were alleging that the requisite information had not been forthcoming from the administration about complex laws governing VAT.

And in this shifting of responsibilities, the common consumer was the worst sufferer. Till today, it seemed, the Chandigarh Administration had not done enough to educate the common man about its implication. Moreover, the consumers were at their wits’ end about the pricing of the various items after VAT came into effect here.

“The implementation of VAT was a complex process beyond the comprehension of the common traders and the administration had not made the job of the traders’ easy any way,” alleged Mr J.P.S. Kalra, spokesman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM), an apex body of the city traders, which spearheaded the agitation against the implementation of the new tax.

“The CBM was not against VAT but the Administration should make its implementation uniform and hassle-free. Besides the BJP-ruled states, several other states, including UP, seem to have developed cold feet on its implementation,” he claimed.

To avoid this situation, the administration should evolve a consensus among various affected parties in the interests of the common man, Mr Kalra said adding that the CBM was not against the new tax.



Residents resent faulty power supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Residents of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, lamented that for the past one week the power situation had deteriorated as the private contractor who supplies electricity to the consumers had not upgraded the distribution system.

They lamented that though they paid Rs 3.02 paise per unit compared to other city residents who were paying Rs 2.80 paise per unit, the power supply was erratic. About 140 consumers were being supplied electricity under the bulk supply scheme by the contractor.

The residents lament that the transformer installed by the contractor had not been upgraded as the existing load and the power went off in the evening.

Mr B.S. Rawat, general secretary of the Deep Complex Welfare Association, said the problem of mosquitoes due to insanitary conditions worsened the problem further when there was no power.



Traders meet Singla on VAT
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
A 300-strong deputation of traders’ associations in Punjab, headed by Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab, met Mr Surinder Singla, state Finance Minister.
They brought to the notice of the Finance Minister various difficulties which might crop up in the implementation of Vat and the loss of revenue to the Punjab Government as a result of higher rate of tax on items than neighbouring states.

The Finance Minister promised to bring uniformity in the matter of taxation in order to remove difficulties in the implementation of Vat. He said a meeting was being held in Delhi on April 25 to minutely weigh the pros and cons of Vat. He promised relief to the traders of Punjab, saying that after the meeting tax would be reduced on a number of items and the same would be kept on a par with that of Delhi.



Remedies to save your woollens in summers
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Packing away woollens for the summer is a responsibility that requires much skill and knowhow, a protocol of a precise nature if the sweaters and shawls are to last through the unbearable summer months.

The ‘system’ involves various generations in the family holding domestic conferences on what the best and most innovative methods of washing, packing and preserving the woollies are, from one year to the next. Here is a lowdown on some home remedies devised by the best and brightest in the business, the ubiquitous Indian housewife.


The best homely method is to soak a handful of ritha in a quarter bucket of water overnight. Mash the ritha the next morning, strain the water to remove the pulp and soak your winter clothes into the strained water, gently scrubbing the dirt and grime away and dipping the sweaters in clean water thereafter. Dry on a flat surface keeping the shape of the sweater intact.

A trouble-free wash method is to use any gentle soap in the market like ‘Genteel’ that is tough on dirt and easy on your precious warm clothes. Or, if the hassle-free mode is for you, send your warm clothes to the dry-cleaner for a professional spruce-up.

If your sweaters or shawls or jackets or coats do not require a wash, simply hang them out in the sun for a few hours before packing them in. There is no freshener in the world that does half the job that sunshine does!

Preserving and packing:

The universal neem leaves with its multifarious uses is the best warm clothes preservative of all time! Pick a big bunch of these bitters, dry them in the sun to remove any little insects that may have clung along, liberally layer them through your warm clothes, sprinkling them freely even in suitcases and cupboards where you intend to pack your woollens for the summer and rest easy. Neither a silverfish nor a moth family or any multi-legged creature will dare tread into the ‘Neem Zone’.

Spices are other efficacious repellents/deterrents. Peppercorns and kalonji are said to be effective tools to help the woollies bear the sleepy summers. Throw a fistful of either into the clothes being packed and your clothes are safe for the next six months!

Another remedy tried in Europe for white woollens and blankets is dipping them in a solution of alum and water after they have been washed.

Of course using mothballs wrapped in pieces of cloth or muslin or Odonil bars lining the cupboards and suitcases is the ever-popular method, though they leave a strong smell and the clothes have to be aired in the sun before they can be worn.

Remember, our furry and fleet-footed insect residents do not like strong odours and that is the best defence against the attack of the wilful ‘bug’. 



Rath yatra sankirtan held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 19
A Ratha-Yatra sankirtan procession organised by Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Matha, sector-20 was taken out today. This was part of the 35th annual festival and Ram Navami celebrations. Under the leadership of the president -acharya of Swami Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, the atmosphere was suffered with devotion.

Hundreds of devotees from all over India participated in the function. Everyone wanted to get the opportunity to pull the chariot of Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Lord Chaitanya. They were dancing and singing in front of the Ratha with Hare Krishna Mantra, Hare Rama Hare Rama.

The chariot, which proceeded from the sector-20 Math, went through the main through parts of the city before culminating at the math in the evening. The main attraction for the whole programme was the charted aircraft, which came to drop flowers on the chariot. In the math, arrangements were made for prasad for devotees.



Readers Write
Reverse decision on use of open space by eateries

Apropos of the news item ‘Eateries allowed to use open space at night’ in the March 31 edition of this newspaper, I want to say that the markets have just started giving a cleaner look after the anti-encroachment drive, but allowing eateries to use verandahs will again bring the situation back to square one, as it may not be possible to strictly adhere to the timing of 8.15 pm. Shopkeepers may manipulate to use the space half an hour before or so, thereby causing inconvenience to other shoppers in the market.

Moreover, the Municipal Corporation has decided to charge rent for the use of verandahs giving a legal right to the shopkeepers to use the space. In that case, the Municipal Corporation should share the rent with the owners of the shops as it is they who have built these verandahs at their expense.

Interestingly, there are numerous cases where the shops have been rented out and landlords are getting only meager amount as rent for the full shop. How can the corporation justify charging rent of Rs 1000-2000 from tenant shopkeepers, while landlord is getting fraction of the amount as rent?

Arun Malhotra, Chandigarh

Well done, Mr IG

This is with reference to the news item that appeared on April 3, 2005, in the Chandigarh Tribune regarding the directions given by the Inspector-General (IG), Patiala, to exercise restraint while proceeding against members of families charged with various dowry crimes. This action will help innocent senior citizens and other relatives who are harassed unnecessarily. I request the IG to intervene so that the directions are implemented. Strong action should also be taken against false complainants because the background in most of these cases is of other nature and not dowry.

Sat Pal, Chandigarh

Hospital road needs treatment

Not that all roads in Panchkula are good, but the one leading to the General Hospital, from Sector 6 market to Sector 7 in front of residences, is probably one of the worst, although this should be the best, as it is the approach road to the hospital and faces maximum traffic.

The condition of the road is such that the conditions of patients going to the hospital get worse by the time they reach the hospital. Not a single metre of the of the road is in good condition. Even a normal person is likely to dislocate a bone or two at times. Despite ‘proper’ repair of the road soon, as the rainy season is approaching, it is likely to be in same shape.

It is suggested that after repairing the road at least three speed-break-ers, one at the Sector 6 market junction, one at the Sector 6 entrance and one at a place where the road is joined by the road coming from hospital side, should be built.

Dr Harish Khanna, Panchkula

Spoilsport on festivals

Reports like ‘Three lose lives and 40 injured in Holi revelry’ are the most disturbing. Similar reports follow Divali when many get injured due to fireworks.

Is there a need to give new meaning to festival celebrations. Yes, certainly. No one wants to celebrate a festival in a way that endangers human lives. The spirit of festivity vanishes as soon as any such incident takes place.

Hooliganism prevails on the day of Holi despite heavy security. There is need to educate people, particularly the youth, who spoil the spirit of festivity. Festivals should be celebrated in graceful manner so that no loss of life occurs and no one is injured.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh



Unidentified accident victim in PGI
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 19
An unidentified accident victim is lying unconscious in the PGI. He was admitted there on April 15 following accident between two Himachal Roadways buses at the Transport and Light Point, Sector 26.

The man is in the emergency male surgical ward of the hospital. Anybody knowing the victim can contact Himachal Roadways Enquiry Counter, ISBT, Sector 17 or telephone numbers: 0172-2704015 or 2722625.





Mishap victim dies in hospital
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 19
Mr Govind Singh (63) who was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, in a serious condition yesterday, succumbed to injuries today.
A resident of Sector 10, Mr Govind Singh was seriously injured when the scooter he was riding rammed into stray cattle near Saket Hospital, last evening. His body was handed over to the family after a postmortem examination this evening. 



PFC directors elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Mr M.K Chopra has been re-elected director and Miss Shikha Chopra Director on the Board of the Punjab Financial Corporation, (PFC) according to the Chairman of the PFC, Mr G.P.S Sahi.
Ms Shikha Chopra is a financial analyst with GE Capital. She is the first woman to have been elected on the board of any state financial  corporation.



Drug addict held for mobile theft
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 19
The local police today arrested a drug addict accused of stealing a mobile phone while in another incident a man was caught with 1.5 gm of smack.
The police arrested Kamaljit Singh of Sector 24 and recovered a mobile he had stolen two months ago.

A complaint was filed by Pritim Singh of Sector 23-D against the accused. He identified the accused before the police. A case has been registered under Section 380 of the IPC in the Sector 17 police station. The police said Kamljit was a drug addict.

Smack seized: The local police today arrested Nirmal Singh of Sector 22 with 1.5 gm of smack from near a bridge in Sector 22-D. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him.

Purse snatched: Ms Babita of Dhanas village reported to the police that two motor cycle-borne unidentified persons snatched her purse containing a mangal sutra and Rs 500 from near the Sectors 15, 16, 23 and 24 roundabout yesterday. A case has been registered at the Sector 11 police station.

Arrested: The local police arrested Avtar Singh of Manupur village in Ropar district with 1 gm of heroine from the Sector 24 market yesterday. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered in this regard.

Motor cycle stolen: Mr Sarabjit Singh of Sector 29 filed a complaint with the police that his Bajaj Kawasaki motor cycle (MP 04 Y 2525) was stolen from his residence yesterday. A case of theft has been registered at the Industrial Area police station.

Liquor seized: The police arrested two persons carrying eight bottles of liquor illegally yesterday. Vishav Nath and Suresh Kumar, both residents of Colony No. 4, were arrested from the locality. Separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them.

Gambling: The police today arrested Raj Kumar of Kajheri village for gambling at a public place in Sector 41. The police recovered Rs 500 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered in this regard.

Road mishap: Ms Renu of Happy Niwas, Bitna Road, Pinjore, suffered injuries when a three-wheeler (CH 24 T 2697) hit her near Old Ropar Road, Mani Majra, on Monday. She was admitted to the PGI. A case of negligent and rash driving under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered in this regard at the Mani Majra police station.



Suicide by migrant labourer
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 19
A body of an unidentified youth, aged about 20, was found hanging with a tree in a farmhouse adjacent to railway over bridge in Bhankharpur village near here, this morning.

The farmhouse watchman, Karnail Singh, was the first to notice the body. Col Ajit Singh (retd), caretaker of the farmhouse, informed the police.

The police said the man, a migrant labourer, committed suicide with the help of a cloth. It also not rule out the possibility of a murder. The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem examinations.



Stolen car recovered
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
The Sohana police here today recovered a car hijacked by a Samrala resident in 1997. The accused in the case filed at the Sohana police station in 1997 was arrested by the police on April 8 and following police remand, the car (a Tata 407), carried away from a Kangra resident was recovered.

Kangra resident, Tarsem Kumar had complained to the police that Major Singh, a Samrala resident along with Kesar Singh of Khamano Mandi had taken away his car. A case had been registered under Section 382 of the IPC. Kesar Singh was been arrested earlier Major Singh was arrested now.



Rs 100-crore for fashion technology park in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
The Punjab Government has approved a Rs 100 Crore project for an industrial fashion technology park in Mohali. The park, spread over 14 acres in Sector 90, would bring together various elements of fashion technology, including an incubation facility, a fashion institute and a research and development centre.

The park would be set up as an entirely private venture by Chandigarh Overseas Limited, urban estate developers involved in housing projects in Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana.

The park would also comprise business process outsource (BPO) units for international fashion designers. Though only one such BPO is functioning in Hyderabad, the owners feel that there is a large potential for fashion design outsourcing from international fashion houses based in the UK, France and the USA.

“We intend to provide information support for sustaining and developing garment industry in Punjab, create professionals in the field of garment manufacturing and generate an international market for fashion technocrats. Other than this, our main thrust would be on R&D with an international focus and to introduce innovative technologies. We would also boost women empowerment by encouraging their participation in the garment manufacturing sector,” said Mr Jagjit Singh Kochar, consultant for the company.

Falling in the category of “eco-industrial park” or estate (EIP) — an industrial park developed and managed as a real estate development enterprise — and seeking high environmental, economic and social benefits as well as business excellence, the proposed park would be functional before the end of next year.

“The land has already been bought. Hafeez Contractor, Mumbai has designed the entire park. We are now going in for environment impact assessment study in accordance with the government notification,” said Mr Kochar.

A common warehousing facility, customs services, exhibition centre, business centre and a residential facility would also form part of the park. “Other than these facilities we propose to have a large amphitheatre with a ramp. We also intend to host international pageants here,” Mr Kochar added.



Grievance panel for industry sought
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
The Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) has demanded the formation of a state-level grievance committee for the industry and provision of tax holiday to industrial units located in the Shivalik foothills of Haryana on the pattern of those in other hill states.

These views were expressed by members of the chamber during an interactive session of the HCCI here this evening.

They said since the new government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda had announced the decision to formulate a new industrial policy, they would soon submit their charter of demands to him.

Chairman of HCCI Satish Gupta said the industry in the state was concentrated in the National Capital Region and there was a need to boost industry in other parts of the state.

He said special status be granted to any industry having an investment of Rs 3 crore rather than Rs 25 crore.

He added that industrial tariff of electricity be reduced and brought on a par with that of neighbouring states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He also demanded the abolition of local area development tax.

General Secretary of the chamber Vishnu Goyal demanded the setting up of industrial training institute and diploma college near Panchkula so that industrial units could get trained work force, giving employment to unemployed youth.

Former president C.B. Goel was of the opinion that the industry had to cater to a lot of inspectors from labour, industries, health and pollution departments, and that the work could be entrusted to one or two inspectors only.



Retail outlets in small industries sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The Chandigarh Industrial Association, in a representation to the Administrator, UT, has sought allowing small-scale industrial sheds to open retail outlets in front of their industries so that consumers can get goods at reasonable price.

Led by the president, Mr M.P.S. Chawla, the delegation met Mr P.S. Aujla, Municipal Commissioner, and apprised him of bad condition of roads in Industrial Area, Phase I, particularly the road leading from Modern Bread to poultry farm chowk and a spot between CITCO yard and Punjab Roadways depot.

The commissioner assured an immediate action in the matter.

Released: The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has released Rs 1,060 crore of financial assistance for 2004-05 for various cooperative projects against Rs 626.82 crore during the previous years.

Major areas covered by these projects include agro-processing, marketing of farm produce, distribution of agricultural inputs, integrated cooperative development projects (ICDP) and weaker sections programmes like fishery, poultry, handlooms. 



‘PM’s assurance to Beopar Mandal on rent Act’ 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today claimed that during his recent visit to the city, Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had assured the traders of a “Balanced Rent Act”.

Mr Jagdish Arora, CBM president, claimed traders’ delegation which had met the Prime Minister the delegation was assured by the PM that he would take up the matter with the Home Minister and the Urban Development Minister. The Rent Act case, now in the apex court, was being pursued by legal experts through Rent Act Committee chairman of the CBM Ravi Ahuja, the statement added.


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