C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Politicians counter-attack General
Shooting war intensifies in corridors of power

Admn to expose encroachment mafia in city
Ajay Bannerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Chandigarh Administration today said investigations were on to identify those who had encouraged, abetted and benefitted from encroachments in the city.

The administration reiterated that it was committed to and working on the humane solutions to the problems faced by the citizens on the basis of broad-based consultations.

It was equally firmly convinced that rewarding the law-breakers and those flouting the rules was not a sound public policy and would not be conducive to good governance. A spokesperson of the Chandigarh Administration today clarified that a rational and orderly use of land was essential for the survival and the safe future of the city.

The city could not be industrial in nature and its future prosperity lay with the services sector, for which acquisition and development of land was essential, the spokesperson added. The spokesperson said various sub-groups had been formed from among the Administrator’s Advisory Council to study various issues like building bye-laws and allowing various relaxations. Nothing would be done without consulting the representatives of the people and the local MP was also on the council.

The development of public recreational spaces in the southern sectors, augmenting educational and other social services, transport services, resettlement of the disadvantaged, creation of high value-added trading and other services were all dependent upon planned land use.

Referring to Mani Majra, the spokesperson said having lost all legal cases, right up to the Supreme Court, an attempt was afoot to force the administration into legitimising such encroachments.

The administration was confident that a broad-based, consultative process would meet the needs of the city effectively.



Interference only for people’s sake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, today said he was answerable only to the electorate and not to anyone in the Chandigarh Administration. Mr Bansal said he would not be seen “interfering” if the needs and aspirations of the people were met. He was referring to a news item in Chandigarh Tribune today which revealed that the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, (retd), had briefed the Prime Minister about interference by local politicians.

“The common minimum programme (CMP) of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) may not be of concern to someone in the Administration, but for me, it is sacrosanct and I will always fight for it,” he said.

Mr Bansal said, “It is my commitment to the people who have reposed faith in me and the Congress. I do not expect any high-ups in the Administration to be Congressmen, but I do feel it is their duty to honour the CMP and the Congress manifesto”.

“I strongly believe that in a democracy, if the Administration is sensitised and responsive to the needs, aspirations and yearnings of the people, there will be no occasion for their representative to be even seen to be ‘interfering’.”

On the matter of the DC, he said, “I have objected to an officer permitting the use of his office for political purposes like moving a no-confidence vote against an elected Chairman”.



DC defends Badheri’s removal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Breaking his silence over the removal of Congressman Bhupinder Singh Badheri from the chairmanship of the Market Committee, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar said six members of the committee had demanded a meeting following which Mr Badheri had convened one in which the no-confidence motion against him was tabled.

The official appointee, Mrs Padmini Singla, cast her vote in favour of the existing majority and not the minority group of the market committee led by Mr Badheri. The official acted as per the rule book and favoured none while upholding democracy.

Mr Badheri lost the no-confidence motion and was removed from the chairmanship of the Market Committee. Congressmen felt slighted at this.

Clarifying his position, the Deputy Commissioner, said as per the statute, a meeting had to be called if half of the members called for it. The facts are as follows: There are 10 members in the Market Committee, Chandigarh, including the official member that is the SDM (East), Mrs Padmini Singla. The constitution of the committee is as per the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961. There is no distinction between official and non-official members in terms of voting rights. The Deputy Commissioner says a no-confidence motion is considered only if a two-thirds majority votes in favour of it.

In this case, seven members were required. With six elected members in favour of the no-confidence motion, Mrs Singla had three options: one to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion and remove the Chairman, two to vote against the motion and allow the Chairman to survive and three to abstain in which case the motion would have failed.



Cong councillors train guns on MC Commissioner
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Politicians in the city are engaged in a verbal duel with the bureaucracy. While the ember of discord between Congress workers on one side and the UT Administrator and the Deputy Commissioner on the other is still kindling, Congress councillors have now trained their guns on the Commissioner of the municipal corporation.

The scene has shifted to the corporation following public display of dissatisfaction over certain issues with the UT Administrator and the Deputy Commissioner.

Congressmen owing allegiance to Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, were in the limelight. In the latest development, no allegations have been levelled directly against the Commissioner. “Clearly the underlying message regarding questions related to corporation work are directed at embarrassing the Commissioner”, a councillor said.

The Governor was charged with ignoring the welfare of hundreds of dwellers in Mani Majra, who were being uprooted in an anti-encroachment drive. The Deputy Commissioner is alleged to have had a partisan role in the ouster of Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a former Chairman of the Market Committee.

Mr H.S.Lucky, a Congress councillor, has raised certain questions related to the official trip of the Commissioner to Finland recently. The paper submitted to the Mayor reads: “whether any report has been prepared regarding inspection, whether any official having full knowledge of the working of a hydraulic machine accompanied the team, whether permission for the trip was taken from the local authorities, what are the details of expenses involved and are there any CVC guidelines regarding hospitality to be taken from private firms?”

Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, said he would file replies to all questions raised in the questionnaire. He refused to comment on the nature of the complaints, saying: “I could not have gone abroad without informing the Administration. I have the data regarding issues raised by councillors and will provide it to the House”.

Official sources in the corporation said there were three more questionnaires sent to the corporation. The basic aim was to embarrass the Commissioner. “The anti-encroachment drive in Sector 22 and the charging of rent from cable operators have not gone down well with certain councillors who have vested interests. They are looking for some excuse to take on the Commissioner”, the sources 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, and if so, what expenses were incurred?”



Recall DC, Congmen to Hooda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The stand of a section of the local Congress against the DC took a new turn today with a delegation calling upon Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana, expressing dissatisfaction over the working of Mr Arun Kumar, DC.

‘Calling the meeting a courtesy call, a Congress leader said we told Mr Hooda that Mr Arun Kumar should be recalled to Haryana. The DC is indulging in tarnishing the image of the Congress. He was a choice of the Om Prakash Chautala government. We are expecting a change now when 
we have Congress governments of the Centre, Haryana and Punjab. 
Even the local MP is a Congressman”.

The leader said the “anti-encroachment drive in the city targeting temples and other religious places is aimed at embarrassing the Congress. Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, chairman of the Market Committee, was removed at the instigation of the DC”.

Those who went with the delegation included Mr Ram Pal Sharma, vice-president of the local unit, Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, Mrs Pushpa Sharma, Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Deputy Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, Mr Pradeep Chhabra, a former Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr H.S. Lucky, Mr Badheri, Mr D.D. Jindal, Mrs Geeta Chaudhary, former Deputy Mayor, D.S. Babla ad Mrs Harpreet Babla.



‘Free housing’ draws labour to city
55 acres already under illegal occupation; UT in a fix
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Its almost like a loot. Shocked officials of the Chandigarh Administration have no words to describe how the number of jhuggies in colony number V (a major slum south of Sector 44) have grown at a rapid pace in one year. Already 55 acres of prime land is under illegal occupation in colony number V.

Another 2,500 people have been added in the past one year, says the latest report following a detailed videographed census.

All this has sent the plans of the Administration to rehabilitate these slum dwellers for a six.

More finances and lands will be required now and the number is growing everyday, thus not allowing any final plan as these slum dwellers hold onto land valued at crores of rupees. Most importantly the new comers cannot be removed.

All these people have been lured to the city because of its much criticised scheme of free housing for slum dwellers.

The idea of living in slum means surviving on stolen water and stolen power and halting the planned development of the city.

A just concluded census of the jhuggies in colony number V has startled senior officials also.

As per the latest data, the number of jhuggies in colony number V has risen by 500 and the population has gone up by 2,500---all in the space of one year. A secret report being prepared on the same is also to name the people who are involved in adding to the slum population of the city.

Interestingly, the census had been ordered after reports from the field staff indicated the presence of a syndicate working like a well-oiled machine involved in building jhuggies and also luring labourers from UP and Bihar with the promise of free housing.

And this is the state of only one slum. There other major ones like colony number IV, Sanjay Colony and Indira Colony.

It may be recollected that The Tribune had unveiled yesterday how the UT Administrator had briefed the Prime Minister and also the Union Home Minister about the growing political meddling, especially in the case of encroachments.

So will these jhuggies be demolished ? Officials are tight lipped on the matter.

The Administration is clear there will no freebies for slum dwellers. The slum dwellers will have to pay a rent of Rs 500 per month for living in flats which will be constructed in village Maloya. The residents of the flats will not be included in the village voters' list to prevent any change in the demographic profile of the area.

Uplifting the slum dwellers to small flats is the part of the common minimum programme of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), said an official. This is governance to remove slums and uplift slum dwellers to flats, allowing them to live with dignity. However, lands like those in Mani Majra will not be allowed to be part of some larger gameplan of someone.

Interestingly, the Administration has roped in an NGO which is teaching the slum dwellers on how to live better in flats and not convert the same into slums.

In total 22,000 flats are to be constructed. Each one room flat will cost about Rs 1.50 lakh.

Under various schemes the Government of India subsidises 50 per cent of the cost of the flat.

Thus the Administration will be spending only Rs 75,000 per flat. The rent of Rs 500 per month should be enough for the Administration to recover the costs of the interest which the banks will charge on Rs 75,000. The Administration, meanwhile, has roped in HUDCO to study the project and then devise a model.

But still there is no answer as to how to control the problem of slum-dwellers, who are increasing by the day.



Inquiry marked into collection of ‘Vat’ from vendors
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 20
The SDM, Kharar, today marked an inquiry into an incident wherein shopkeepers of the rehri market, Phase 3B1, here, had allegedly caught two contractors of the Kharar Market Committee reportedly collecting “Vat” from the roadside vegetable and fruit vendors last night.

Hundreds of rehri market shopkeepers collected outside Ramgarhia Gurdwara in Phase 3B1 where these two contractors were kept till the police was called. The two, however, told the police that they were authorised contractors of the Kharar Market Committee and had the authority to collect market committee fee at the rate of 2 per cent from every roadside vegetable and fruit vendor. They added that they were collecting the fee at night as the fee could only be counted on the basis of the total sale of fruits or vegetables of the vendors. They denied having used the word “Vat” for the fee.

The roadside vendors, supported by the rehri market shopkeepers, however, told the police that the two had been coming here regularly since April 1 and telling them that they were collecting Vat from them. In some cases they also collected money calling it sales tax.

The two had reportedly collected thousands of rupees from these small time vendors since then. Many of the vendors pointed out that the two did not give them any receipt for the fee they charged.

Mr Shayam Bansal, municipal councillor and president of the Mohali Market Association, reached the spot last night and told the police that the two could be contractors of the Kharar Market Committee but still had no authority to collect market fee from roadside vendors. “Their jurisdiction is only the market committee or the Phase 1 sabzi mandi,” he said, adding that only those arthiyas who were registered with the market committee could be charged market fee.

One of the two persons, who were caught by the rehri market shopkeepers, identified himself as Harpal Singh Bedi, He said he had the permission of the SDM, Kharar, and the SDM, Mohali, to collect the money.

When contacted the SDM, Mohali, Mr M.L. Sharma, said he had not given any permission to anyone to collect market fee in the night.

Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, SDM Kharar, when contacted, said the Market Committee Kharar had given the task of collection of market fee on contract but he was not sure if these persons had the authority to collect money from roadside vendors. “Anyone who did a sale purchase of fruits or vegetables above Rs 4 lakh per year has to pay the fee,” he said.

Mr Darshan Singh also reached the spot and later went to Phase VIII police station where the two were taken by the police. “I have asked the secretary, Kharar Market Committee, Mr Balbir Singh, to look into the matter and file a report to me. The police has been asked to carry out its independent investigations.



Awareness drive on solid waste management
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
To sensitise the public, especially students, about solid waste management, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has launched an awareness campaign this year. For this it has identified various organisations, including schools, colleges and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), throughout the country.

The waste management campaign is part of the National Environment Awareness Campaign launched by the ministry in 1986. Under this campaign, action-based programmes are undertaken on a particular theme every year.

A selected group of bodies can participate in the campaign by conducting various activities. This year’s theme is solid waste management.

“The aim is to help the common man understand how to get optimum benefits from the daily waste by using simple techniques.

The waste management will help in sustainability of environment and biodiversity,” says Ms Jatinder Kaur Arora, Joint Director (Biotechnology), Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

“The campaign will focus on giving practical training about waste management by setting up vermicomposting and compost pits, organising workshops, rallies and competitions and cleanliness drive in villages and cities,” says Mr S.K. Saxena, Senior Scientific Officer of the council.

For this, the ministry has shortlisted 28 NGOs and 58 schools and colleges in Punjab; 84 schools and colleges and 65 NGOs in Haryana; nine schools, colleges and NGOs in Chandigarh; and 107 organisations, including 44 schools and colleges, in Himachal Pradesh.

The success of the programme will depend upon the involvement of the state science councils since the responsibility of organising training programmes and distribution of resource material lies with them.

Under the campaign, every organisation will get a grant of Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000. The amount will be spent on various activities, including the setting up of compost pits in schools and colleges.

Dr Subhash Gupta, Senior Scientific Officer, Himachal State Council for Science and Technology, says various schools in Bilaspur and Mandi districts have already started taking waste management steps by adopting vermicomposting.

Vermicomposting is a simple technique of decomposing organic material, including kitchen and garden waste, into organic manure with the help of earthworms.

For educating resource personnel, the Environment Society of India has set up three compost pits in Chandigarh.



Six MBA aspirants’ dream goes sour, courtesy postal delay
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Postal delay has marred the chances of six MBA aspirants for admission to University Business School (UBS) this session after their NRI sponsorship certificates did not reach in time of the counselling. While the aspirants, ranked the first 100 on the merit list, have to surrender their seats in the first counselling, they are now pleading the authorities to consider them for 11 vacant seats still left with the UBS.

Adhering to the guidelines, the department, however, says since fault lies at the students’ end, why it should accommodate them even as the aspirants have now acquired the certificates required for admission in the NRI/category.

It was on April 10 that the aspirants in the NRI category attended counselling at the UBS, which has clearly laid down the requirement of having a “sponsorship certificate” on the day of counselling. Since the certificates from the NRIs did not reach on Saturday, as was expected, the candidates could not stake their claim to the seats.

“Though I had started the procedure of getting the certificate quite sometime ago, the counselling being on Sunday, I could not get the sponsorship certificate from the USA which was delivered to me on Monday. I, with five others, also submitted an application along with fax copies of the certificates with the chairperson and explained our problem. He assured us that we should be in touch so that our seats do not go away. But now we learn that we are totally out of the race and not being considered for the vacant seats, even though we have the certificates with us now,’’ rued a candidate.

Talking to The Tribune, the UBS chairperson, Prof Satish Kapoor, however, defended the department’s stance by saying that the procedure had been followed. “We have stated the requirements in advance and the rules have been clearly laid down. It is the duty of the candidates to make sure that all certificates are with them when they stake their claim for a seat. Prof Kapoor did not comment on whether the cases of these 6 candidates would be considered for the remaining seats.

While the students plan to put up their case with Vice-Chancellor K N Pathak now for a final decision, the rigidity of the university rules comes to the forefront which, at times, overlook the merit to be fair to its laid rules.



DC’s appeal to people on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 20
Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, Brijendra Singh has appealed to people to help check female foeticide to check declining sex ratio.

In a statement here yesterday, he said that in case anyone got information regarding the conduct of a test to determine the sex of foetus or anybody indulging in foeticide, the Civil Surgeon should be informed at phones 0172- 2573907 or fax No 0172- 2582884.

He assured that the name of the informer would not be disclosed and stern action would be taken against the defaulters. Those involved in such crimes could be imprisoned for three years and had to pay a fine up to Rs 10,000. Those committing the same crime for second time would be imprisoned for five years and they would have to pay a fine up to Rs. 50,000.

Civil Surgeon, Panchkula, Satvir Chaudhary said that 33 ultrasound centres had been registered under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act and no complaint of sex determination had been received during past two months.



PSEB staff hold protest rally
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 20
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) organised rallies on the second day here today in protest against the move of the Punjab Government to privatise the board.

The work in the offices of the board came to a standstill and the protesting employees did not even mark their attendance.

Addressing a rally, Mr Jasbir Singh, vice-president of the Technical Services Union, said that if the government did not withdraw the decision to privatise the board, employees would be compelled to resort to strike on a regular basis and the government would be responsible for such a step.

Mr Vijay Kumar, president, said that the management of the board should get rid of the contract system and provide due benefit to the kin of employees who died while on duty.

Meanwhile, some industrial units in Phase VII here had to go without electricity throughout the day. Mr R.P. Singh a representative of the Mohali Industries Association, said the power supply to these industries had been cut off last night but could not be restored as there was no one on repair duty. The electricity board officials, too, had shown their helplessness in the matter. 



Protest rally by Markfed staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Employees of the Markfed today went on a mass leave today in protest against the office not releasing the bonus and ex-gratia payments for 2003-2004, a press note said here today.

A protest rally was also organised. Employees are holding a protest dharna since December 15, 2004. The rally was addressed by Mr Bhupinder Singh, convener, Mr Harbhajan Dass, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Mr Hawa Singh, Mr Rakesh Kumar, Mr Amar Singh Baghel, Mr Nazir Mohammad Seera, Mr Jangir Singh and Mr Balam Giri.



Shopkeepers manhandle MC employee
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 20
Employees of the Enforcement Wing of the Municipal Council here had to face the wrath of some shopkeepers today when the team went to remove goods lying illegally in some verandahs of markets.

It is learnt that in Phase VI an employee of the council was allegedly manhandled by a shopkeeper who alleged that the team always targeted his shop while no action was taken against other persons of the market who had stocked their goods unauthorisedly in the verandahs.

In Phase III B-2 the enforcement team was stopped from removing goods till it gave a list of the items seized to the affected shopkeepers. The shopkeepers alleged that most of times when they went to take back their goods later from the council, they were not given all items that had been seized.



Fire Safety Week ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Official functions related to the Fire Safety week of the Municipal Corporation concluded here today. The highlight of the event was an exhibition of fire extinguishing gadgets and vehicles at the corporation office, Sector 17, a press note said.

The Fire Department carried out educational programmes on fire safety in different schools of the city during the week. Students were informed about precautionary steps needed to prevent fire at homes.

Mr Kulwant Kalson, secretary, said that students were shown live demonstrations of care needed during fire incidents. The winners of the poster-making and essay-writing contests organised during the safety week included Ruchi Saxena, Gagandeep Singh, A. Puri, Narender Singh, Gagan Bansal and Jagdish Kumar.

Others present on the occasion included Mr P.S.Aujla, Commissioner, Mr K.S.Raju, chairman of the fire committee and Mrs Pushpa Sharma, Senior Deputy Mayor.



Three vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 20
A car and two motor cycles were reportedly stolen from the city, the police said, here today.

Amarjeet Singh of Sector 16 lodged a complaint that his Esteem car (CH-03-N-5411) was stolen from Sector 36 market on Monday. A case of theft has been registered. Rakesh Sharma, a resident of the Sector 45-C, Chandigarh, lodged a complaint that his Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle (CH-03-Q-0407) was stolen near the Nirman cinema, Sector 32-D on April 15. In another incident, a Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle (CH-03M-4474) belonging to Saneh Aggarwal was stolen on Monday. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Motorcyclist hurt

A motorcyclist was hit by a car near main market Sector 39 on Monday evening. The victim was taken to the PGI. The accused was arrested and later released on bail.

Mobile stolen

Mr Nishi Kant Jain of Sector 15, Panchkula, lodged a complaint with the police that his mobile phone was stolen from his car which was parked near the SD College Sector 32 yesterday. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.

Student hurt in mishap

Jyoti Sehgal (22), a B.Sc final year student broke her leg when she was hit by a mini school bus near the Sector 15-D market here today.

The victim, a student of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11 was passing through the Sector 15 market in the afternoon when the school Bus (DL-1L-5864) hit her Honda Activa (CH-03-K 7147) from behind. She was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, by the police.

The police has arrested Pritim Singh of Mitsar village near Kurali and booked him for negligent driving under Sections 279 and 337 IPC. He was later released on bail. 



Two snatchers arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 20
The local police today arrested 22-year-old-Deepak of Daria village, on a charge of snatching a purse from a woman in Sector 36 earlier this month.

Deepak was arrested from Sector 42 after the police received a tip off about his whereabouts. The police said after committing the crime the accused went to Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh and started working as a truck cleaner. He had snatched a purse containing Rs 4,200 and an ATM card from Madhu, a resident of Phase II, Mohali, from near Kisan Bhavan on April 10.

He was riding a scooter (CH-01-F-0719) and the woman was travelling in a rickshaw.

The woman gave the number of the scooter to the police.

The SHO of Sector 36 police station said the complainant had identified the accused and the purse. A case has been registered.

In a separate incident, the police last night arrested Sunil, alias Chikna of Sector 55, accused of stealing a motorcycle and attempting to snatch a mobile phone near Attawa village two months ago.

The police said Sunil was arrested near Food and Craft Institute, Sector 42 following a tip off.

He had stolen a motorcycle on February 20  this year. Next day he  had tried to snatch a mobile phone from Manu Bakshi of Sector 41 near Attawa village.

When Mr Bakshi raised an alarm, the accused ran away from the spot leaving the motorcycle and the mobile phone behind.

The SHO of Sector 36 police station, Mr Jagbir Singh, said that Sunil was involved in several other criminal cases.

He was a history sheeter of the Chandigarh Police.

He was produced before a local court today, which remanded him to one-day police custody.



Tribune staffer hurt
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 20
Mr Ajay Gupta, a Tribune Trust employee, was critically injured when a Tata Indigo car knocked him down at Sector 9 / 10 dividing road, here this morning.

A resident of Sector 9, Mr Gupta was crossing the road when the car (DL-3CW-6037) knocked him down. Hearing the thud, passersby and residents of the area assembled at the spot and took him to the General Hospital, Sector 6. The car occupant also accompanied the injured to the General Hospital.

Mr Gupta, who sustained serious head injuries, was referred to the PGI emergency in Chandigarh as his condition had started deteriorating here. The doctors conducted two city scans of his head in the PGI till late in the evening.

Mr Gupta is unconscious and has been kept under observation for 72 hours in the intensive care unit (ICU), said Mr Anil Gupta, a brother of the victim.

Ms Sunita Devi, investigating officer (IO) of the case, said that the police had started investigations. A case would be registered against the car driver after recording victim’s statement, she said.



5 of a family sustain burn injuries
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 20
Five members of a Haripur village-based family sustained burn injuries when a leaking LPG cylinder caught fire, late Tuesday night.

According to the police, Mr Chhote Lal, a resident of house no 687, his wife Kanti Devi, their sons Raman and Ashish and daughter Anjali sustained burn injuries and were admitted to the PGI in Chandigarh, today.

The police said the cylinder inside the house caught fire when Mr Chhote Lal ignited a match stick for smoking. The injured were first taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, and later to the PGI. The police has started investigations in the case.

Mechanics injured

Three mechanics sustained injuries when a cooler they were repairing at ITI, near Sector 14 busted, this afternoon.

The police said that the mechanics — Manmohan, Varun and Mukesh — had come to the ITI from Chandigarh to repair the water cooler. The three were admitted to the General Hospital and were later referred to the PGI in Chandigarh. Their condition in the PGI was said to be stable.


Scooterist injured

A scooterist Mr Jatinder sustained serious injuries when an unidentified vehicle hit his vehicle on the Panchkula-Kalka highway here today.

The injured was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, in Panchkula, but the doctors referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh, after his health deteriorated.

A case of rash and negligent driving causing grave injuries has been registered against the driver of the unidentified vehicle by the police.



Purse snatched
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 20
A purse was snatched from a woman by two scooter-borne youths in Sector 71 here yesterday.

According to the police, the woman was returning home from the market in the area when the incident took place. 



Suicide bid by woman
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 20
A 24-year-old woman allegedly tried to commit suicide by slashing her wrist in Sector 68 here late last night.

According to the police, Anjali was taken to the Fortis hospital. It is alleged that she took sedatives and later tried to slash her vein with a blade.

She told the police that she tried to take her life as she was being allegedly blackmailed by a youth living in Panchkula.

The police has registered a case under Section 306 and 511 of the IPC in this regard.

Meanwhile, one person was injured when he was hit by a Tata 407 truck near Chawla Chowk here today. The person, who was going on foot, was seriously injured.



Workshop on promoting food-processing units
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 20
Poor storage and transportation cause a big loss to the produce. Due to lack of awareness many food-processing schemes can’t be implemented properly. In Punjab and Haryana, these losses come to nearly 30 per cent of the total produce.

This was stated by Mr S.B. Sareen, project director, Food Processing Project, Entrepreneurship Development of India today. He was here for a workshop on “ Entrepreneurship development”. The main objective was to promote food-processing units in Punjab and Haryana.

He said various training programmes were being undertaken by them. The ministry had sponsored 40 such food entrepreneurship programmes which would be taken up this fiscal year. These programmes would be assigned to NGOs working in the states.

The programme aimed at encouraging women. Besides creating avenues for self-employment, this would hasten the pace of development and helped creating quality products, he said.

Mr R.C. Sachdeva, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, New Delhi, said the government had approved foreign investment of Rs 834 billion through 698 collaborations.

He said the country was producing 200 million tonnes of foodgrains and 130 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables. In the fruit and vegetable category, India was the second in the world. But in terms of food processing, India was processing only 2 per cent of its total produce while in the West 50 per cent produce was processed.

The workshop was organised by The Entrepreneur Development Institute of India in Sector 22, in association with the Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and the North India Technical Consultancy Organisation, Chandigarh. The workshop was sponsored by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.



OBC issue opens on April 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Oriental Bank of Commerce launched a public issue of 58,000,000 equity hares of Rs 10 each through the book-building process. The bid will open on April 25 and close on April 29. The price band for the issue will be announced a day prior to the bid.

The issue comprises a net issue to the public of up to 46,400,000 equity shares a reservation of employees of up to 5,800,000 equity shares and a reservation for the existing shareholders of the Oriental Bank of Commerce up to 5,800,000 shares.

The proceeds from the issue will be used to augment the Oriental Bank of Commerce capital base to meet the future capital requirements.

PNB, Punjab Agro ink pact

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Punjab National Bank and the Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation here today to support farmers of Punjab under the contract farming programme.

The MoU was signed by Mr Kripa Shankar Saroj on behalf of the Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation and Mr S.S. Arora, Assistant General Manager, Regional Office Punjab National Bank.


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