C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Large-scale felling of khair trees near Ropar
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Large-scale illicit felling of khair trees in the forest area of Ladal, Sanana, Behronpur, Dhargah Shah and Malkpur villages has been noticed by the Punjab Forest Department. Located about three kilometre from the Chandigarh-Ropar road, the entire area where the felling has been noticed is protected under the Forest Act.

According to official sources, the reckless felling is the handiwork of a well-organised mafia, headed by a person, who has been selectively axing the valuable trees for the past few months. In the panchayat land of Ladal village alone, unmarked stumps of over 150 khair trees are the telltale sign of the grave violation in the felling rules.

Showing copies of their representations given to the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Ropar, members of the Gram Panchayat of Ladal village told The Tribune that despite being informed about the reckless felling in the last few months, the forester and the guard concerned did not take any action.

No effort was made to nab the culprits red-handed, rue to the sarpanch of the village, Mr Surjit Singh. The villagers claim that they had thrice met the DFO. The modus operandi of the mafia was to begin felling after the sunset and smuggle out the trees before the sunrise.

The DFO, Mr S.S. Bhatti, said he could comment on the case only after seeing the file. He said a number of such complaints came to him and he did not remember whether the members of the Ladal village came to him. On being further probed, he said a case of felling of about 100 trees did come and some action had been initiated.

A visit to the area reveals that at some spots, the mafia has totally uprooted trees of girth above 70 cm. To conceal the operation, the felling had not been done in a scattered manner and the stumps have been covered with soil and dry lantana weed. None of the stumps were numbered or had hammer mark.

The man, who leads the mafia, had also levelled pockets of lower Shivalik Hills in Sunanan village in violation of the Forest Conservation Act. This had jeopardized the certified forest management plans, said the sources.

Enquiries reveal that a fully-grown khair tree fetched around Rs 3000 and the price could be much more if sold along with its roots. The villagers said since the trees were being falled under the panchayat land, they had moved an application with the DFO in February to remove the dead and dry trees. The villagers were reportedly told to wait for the season of forest fire to be over.

They informed that in the first week of May, some officials from the forest department came to inspect the damage and took signatures of the panchayat members on their report, but nothing has happened. They lamented that the felling and removing of trees took place despite foresters and guards being posted in the forest whose duty is to check the trees. The watchman of the village put up by the Forest Department has been conniving with the mafia in cutting of trees, they added.



PUDA to develop Kharar Urban Estate
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 3
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here would develop 900 acres of land on the Kharar- Morinda highway as Kharar Urban Estate. A proposal to this effect was mooted during a meeting of the department of Housing and Urban Development held here today under the chairmanship of the minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri.

Mr A.S. Chattwal, Chief Administrator, PUDA, pointed out that the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr H.I.S Grewal, who also attended the meeting, had been asked to select site for the proposed urban estate. The DC, who is the head of the site selection committee, has been asked to look into the possibility of acquiring land on the Kharar- Morinda highway for the said urban estate.

The Urban Estate, Kharar scheme was first mooted in 2002 by PUDA. Over 400 acres of land was to be acquired by the authority on the Mohali- Kharar highway. However, it was realised that the area had already been inhabited by a large number of private colonisers and free access to the PUDA Urban Estate could not be found. Moreover the site selected by PUDA abutted the sites where private colonisers had already constructed houses for sale.

A fresh proposal to acquire over 900 acres of land was mooted today. “It was being felt that the area had a lot of potential and PUDA should play a larger role in developing the area. The preliminary meeting on the issue was held today and once a site has been selected, PUDA would move further.” said Mr Chattwal. 



Heat has residents running for shade, water
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The blistering heat has the city denizens running for cover - literally. The streets are usually empty in the afternoons while every inch of shade is occupied by the rickshaw pullers and tired pedestrians sitting lying in a bid to escape the blazing sun.

The mercury has touched 42ºC. It has been rising steadily in the past three days. The mornings, when the minimum temperatures are recorded, are relatively pleasant at around 25ºC. Over the last few days the temperatures have been climbing steadily. June 1 recorded a maximum of 39.4ºC and June 2 recorded 40.8ºC.

The city's water spots (pots or tanks of water collected at street corners for thirsty passersby especially in summers) are crowded with people queuing up for a cool drink of water.

Ironically the evenings are pleasant enough for a stroll without getting sweaty, but the days are unbearably hot. The minimum temperatures from the beginning of the month are hovering around the 24 and 25ºC mark while there is a marked rise in the day temperatures.

The Meteorological Department in Chandigarh says the maximum temperatures are a degree higher than normal for this time of the year. A look back at the years gone by reveal that maximum temperatures over the last six years have ranged from 39 to 43ºC while the minimum ranges have moved between a mere 24 and 26ºC.

The city should brace up for another cloudless clear day tomorrow with the sun scorching hapless residents. Though the city normally gets a bout of rain when the temperatures soar too high.

Sanjeev Kumar's water spot in Sector 30-B is always crowded with people but on Friday, Sanjeev provided succour to a horse that got exhausted by the heat and needed a drink of water. A bucket was organised and the horse drank to its heart's content. Providing clean drinking water through the day is Sanjeev's way of contributing to the needs of the city he loves so much. An early riser, Sanjeev starts his day with a visit to the temple after which each pot is filled with water at the spot near his home. He stands nearby ready to serve water himself to passers by. This is his way of gratitude to god.



‘Honour killing’ by husband
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 3
In yet another case of “honour killing”, a husband allegedly electrocuted his wife to death in Kurali near Ropar here today. The 30-year-old victim Kirandeep Kaur was reportedly killed by her husband Balbir Singh this morning. Balbir Singh was later arrested by the police and is said to have confessed to the crime.

Kirandeep Kaur who had been married to Balbir Singh for the past 15 years was found dead at her residence this morning near the electric cooler. According to the police, she had been electrocuted to death.

According to DSP Kharar, Mr Raj Bacahan Singh Sandhu, Balbir Singh tried to make the entire incident look like an accident but circumstantial evidence led the police to believe that the husband had apparently killed his wife with the help of another person.

“Balbir Singh reportedly killed his wife as he believed that she was having illicit relations with some other men in the village. He told us that he was a truck driver and stayed away for many days and his wife allegedly took advantage of the situation,” said Mr Sandhu.

Mr Sandhu related that Balbir Singh sent his two children to his sister’s place some days ago and planned the murder this morning.



Inquiry ‘an eyewash’, says ex-sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 3
The former sarpanch of Hallo Majra village, Tejinder Singh, who was allegedly beaten up by the police, today alleged that police officers conducting an inquiry into the incident as “a mere eye-wash”.

He alleged that the police was acting in a biased manner and was trying to shield the guilty policemen, including Kewal Krishan, the then SHO of Sector 31 police station.

The Parvasi Welfare Association, of which Mr Tejinder Singh is a chairman, demanded that a CBI inquiry into the alleged police torture of Tejinder Singh and snatching of Rs 2.50 lakh from him by the police on May 17. They also demanded registration of a case of decoity against Mr Kewal Krishan and other police officers involved.

Mr Tejinder Singh, while addressing mediaperson alleged that the Inspector-General of Police had ordered an inquiry into the case after the media highlighted the excesses committed by the police on him. The inquiry was assigned to SP CID, who had not bothered to approach the complainants even once till date.

He added that DSP Devinder Thakur and Inspector J.S. Cheema (CID) are recording the statements of the witnesses. He further alleged that the inquiry officers were recording the statements of only those who are in favour of the Kewal Krishan and other police officers and thus were biased.

Mr Tejinder Singh alleged that Mr Kewal Krishan had implicated him in a false case as he had lodged 11 complaints of excesses committed by him to higher officers.

Mr Tejinder Singh also produced two residents of the same village who were picked up by the SHO to implicate in false cases. Onkar and Amit, both residents of Hallo Majra village, alleged before the mediapersons that Mr Kewal Krishan demanded bribe from them for not registering a case against them. They alleged that they were picked up by the police on November 4 and December 8, respectively.

When contacted, DSP Randhawa while refuting the allegations said inquiry was conducted as per the law, added that SP was conducting the inquiry.



Hike in power tariff deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The much-awaited hike in power tariff in the city has been deferred for a while as the UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) has asked for a review the scheme and sent it back asking for fresh calculations.

Officials said for the time being the Administration has ordered for fresh calculations. The case will be presented afresh after a week or 10 days.

The case prepared by the officials had done away with several slabs which the general did not appreciate.



Rs 4 crore for 8 VVIP rooms at Raj Bhavan
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 3
The very very important guests of the Punjab Governor coming to the city are in for a royal treat. The Punjab Government is going to spend a whopping Rs 4 crore for a set of just eight suites that would constitute the VVIP guest house, coming up next to the Raj Bhavan in Sector 6, Chandigarh.

The project, conceived in 2000, had been left incomplete after the first year of construction following “dearth of funds” but has now been revived. A fresh design for the guest house has been prepared by the Chief Architect, Punjab, and the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has been asked to undertake its construction.

A one of its kind building in the state, the project has been revived as an architectural feat. Domes, intricate flower work on floors, oriental interiors, gardens, fountains, kitchens, reception, you name it and this place would have it.

Interestingly, the area on which the guest house is to come up was once a mini zoo. The zoo adjoining the Raj Bhavan on one side and the Chandigarh Golf Course on the other, was vacated in June 2000 on the insistence of the Central Zoo Authority. The vacated area was given to PUDA for the construction of the guest house, planned and designed in accordance with the wishes of the then Punjab Governor Lt. Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd.)

Five years and many architectural changes later, PUDA is now supposed to be complete this ambitious project within this year. Initially, the building was to have two floors, but now due to security reasons the whole structure is to come up on the ground floor only. “We have incorporated the already constructed area within the new designs. The whole set of plans have been finalised and sent to PUDA to begin construction,” said Mr S.L. Kaushal, Chief Architect, Punjab, adding that PUDA would be finishing the project within the next six months.

“We are undertaking the construction as deposit work from the Punjab Government and this time the government has assured us that we would be paid in advance for the work. We have reasons to believe them since the most of the construction forms part of the budget allocation,” said Mr Balraj Kumar, Chief Engineer, PUDA.

Sources pointed out that initially the project was expected to cost only Rs 2.70 crore. However, within no time the scope of the work was increased and the cost went beyond Rs 3 crore. The construction had to be stopped since the government had not paid a single penny to PUDA for the project. However, more than Rs 1.63 crore had already been spent on the construction by PUDA before the contractor left the project.

“The project has been revived by the government. We are only the agency doing their work. We would be calling for tenders shortly and the work is expected to begin soon,” as Mr A.S. Chattwal, Chief Administrator PUDA.



Ambala, J&K oil tank operators on collision course
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
A dispute between oil-tank operators of Ambala and those of Jammu and Kashmir is threatening to snowball into a conflict between the two state governments.

The dispute relates to transportation of petroleum products from the Ambala Depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to Leh for the defence forces during the summer months. According to informed sources, the IOC had given work order to both sets of the operators to carry petroleum products to Leh about three years ago. In an open tender, while about 240 oil-tanks of Jammu and Kashmir were given the contract, about 210 Ambala oil-tanks got the work order. Later the corporation engaged another about 90 Ambala oil-tanks on an ad hoc basis.

The contract was for two years, which was extended by the IOC for this year also.

The J&K operators allege that they have been threatened by the Ambala operators that they would not be allowed to carry the petroleum products this year, notwithstanding the IOC’s contract with them. They also allege that the Ambala operators are being assisted by the local police.

The Deputy Chief Minister of J&K, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, whom the operators of that state approached, has written a letter to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in this regard.

Insisting that the alleged threat to life and property by the Ambala operators to the J&K operators “is undesirable and highly depolorable”, Mr Sharma said he feared that a law and order problem could arise in his state in reaction to “any misconduct of the Ambala transporters”.

Seeking the intervention of Mr Hooda, Mr Sharma also pointed out in his letter that out of the about 840-km distance from Ambala to Leh, the J&K oil-tanks ply on only about 40 km inside Haryana, while for the remaining distance they had to travel within Himachal Pradesh and J&K.

He has also written on similar lines to the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the IOC, Mr S. Behuria.

The J&K Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Public Distribution and Transport, Mr Raman Bhalla, has also taken up the issue with the Haryana Transport Minister, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, and the Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr Sunil Ahuja, seeking protection to the J&K operators.

The Inspector-General of Police, Jammu Zone, Dr S.P. Vaid, has also written to his counterpart at Ambala, Mr S.S. Deswal, seeking his intervention so that the defence supplies to Leh are not disrupted.

The sources say earlier the petroleum products used to be supplied to Leh from the Jammu depot of the IOC. However, the operation was shifted to Ambala for strategic reasons. The supplies to Kargil are still being made from Jammu.

The Ambala operators, on the other hand, say since the IOC depot was located in their city, they should be given preference over the outsiders. They deny that any threat was given to the J&K operators.

The sources say the contract is to be renewed in September next. The IOC has invited tenders by the end of this month. The J&K operators say the concept of free trade demands that everyone should be given an equal opportunity to participate in the all-India open tender and no artificial obstances should be created in free trade.



CHB’s transfer policy on flats fails to impress residents
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The transfer policy for the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flats, it seems, has failed to catch the fancy of the residents causing a loss crores of rupees to the Chandigarh Administration.

High transfer fee and cumbersome procedure have taken their toll with the result that the scheme, launched with much fanfare in the year 2001, has failed to pick up in the city.

And if the claims of the residents welfare associations are anything to go by, only about 5% of the general power of attorney (GPA) holders have got the property transferred in their names. This is despite the fact that a majority of the thousands of the dwelling units built by the CHB and administration had been sold on GPA.

The formula for levying transfer fee at the 10% of the current market value as the revised consideration money of the dwelling unit calculated by adding the interest of the scheme varying from 12% to 16% of the original price has rendered the scheme virtually inoperative, alleges Mr KL Aggarwal, president of the Modern Housing Complex (Duplex) Residents Welfare Association, Mani Majra.

The charges for transfer of a category I and duplex house in Modern Housing Complex worked out to be around Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1.75 lakh, respectively. The charging of interest at the exorbitant rates seems to be out of place for the houses which had been constructed under the self-financing scheme after recovering 90% of the construction cost in advance from the allottees, Mr Aggarwal added.

At the time of the notification of the scheme, a lot of hue and cry was raised by residents welfare associations. However, the Chandigarh Administration stuck to its guns and went ahead with the "illogical and impracticable" scheme, alleged an office-bearer of another residents' welfare association.

Another hurdle, the residents alleged, was the cumbersome procedure being followed by the CHB for the transfer of the property. The board demands two sureties and affidavits from the transferee to safeguard its interests. When the property is already free from all encumbrances, the demand for sureties and affidavits was just a harassment for public, it is alleged.

It may be recalled that till 2000 the general public had to resort to taking acquiring property on GPA--which was not recognised by law.

With public pressure mounting, the administration came out with the transfer policy. At that time it was touted that the scheme would benefit about 90% of the public. 



Senior officers to pay for juniors’ mistakes: IG
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 3
In a path breaking move, the new UT Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Satish Chandra, today warned top officers of initiating action against them if a junior-ranking policeman is nabbed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for an offence, a source in the police said.

The IG was addressing a Sampark Sabha at Tagore Theatre, here today. The programme was attended by around 550 officers and jawans of the UT Police, including, SSP Operations L.S. Sandhu, SSP Gaurav Yadav, SP Headquarters Dinesh Bhatt, SP Traffic Police and Securities Amitabh Singh Dhillon, and Office Superintendent R.G. Dogra.

Addressing the gathering, the IGP asked the officers to take necessary steps under the law to redress the grievances of citizens who came for help.

He made it clear that strict action would be taken against policemen found involved in unlawful acts.

He added that the basic objective of the police was to serve people. He asked the police officers to work with commitment and motivation to serve the society in a better way. The IGP advised the police officers and jawans to be polite but firm while dealing with public.

The IGP heard the grievances and issues concerning policemen, which included residential accommodation, increase in various allowances, like conveyance, diet etc. The IGP was also apprised of issues like weekly offs to jawans, welfare fund and relaxation for police wards in recruitment.



DC asked to check feasibility of PPHC project
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 3
With barely three weeks to go before the notification for the acquisition of land for Punjab Police Housing Corporation (PPHC) scheme in Kharar lapses, the Finance Commissioner (Revenue) has asked the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar to probe the feasibility of the PPHC project.

The PPHC had on June 24, 2004 notified the acquisition of over 200 acres of land near the township for construction of houses for retired and serving government servants in the state. More than 4100 applications had been received for the said housing scheme.

Following objections filed by the land owners of the area, the FC (R) Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, during the meeting of the State Land Acquisition Board held yesterday asked the DC, Mr H.I.S. Grewal, to undertake a public hearing in Kharar and report the situation to her by Monday. In case a final decision on the matter was not taken by June 24 this month, the said notification would be considered null and void.

During the public hearing conducted by the Deputy Commissioner today, more than 200 persons from ward number 6 and Khooni Majra gave written objections to the DC against the acquisition of their land.

“The report would be on the table of the FC (R) by 9 am Monday morning,” said Mr H.I.S. Grewal who spent over seven hours in Kharar today listening to land owner.

Interestingly, the former DC Ropar Mrs Seema Jain had reportedly given a go-ahead to the scheme.

While most of the land to be acquired by the PPHC fell within the jurisdiction of the Kharar Municipal Council, over 70 acres of land was a part of Khooni Majra village. The MC had also passed a resolution that the land not be acquired by the PPHC.

Sources added that a group of property dealers in Kharar were being instrumental in the filing of objections against the acquisition of land since that would allow them to develop the land themselves.

Other than seven religious institutions that existed on this land, as many as 58 houses were also constructed in the area. Sources in the PPHC pointed out that 10 of these houses were constructed after the notification for acquisition of land had been advertised and were thus illegal. Out of the 48 houses that existed in the area, 31 houses that were in the periphery of the proposed PPHC land were to be left untouched. The rest of the houses and land owners were also to be compensated with plots and houses in the PPHC scheme in accordance with the share of the acquired land.

Sources said among those who faced dispossession included widows and former army officers. The DC has also asked the executive officer of the Municipal Council to give a report on the private houses already existing on the land to be acquired.



HUDA removes encroachments
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 3
The Enforcement Staff of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today removed encroachments from various parts of the township today.

A team of officials led by three Junior Engineers — Mr Karam Chand, Mr Ram Phal and Mr Jasbir Singh — led the drive. Over 15 jhuggis were removed from Sector 10 market. Encroachments by flower sellers outside the Sector 10 market were also removed.

Keeping their zeal to do away with the traffic hazard in form of fruit sellers around the Sectot 17/18/7/8 roundabout, the fruit rehris parked here were driven away. Six fruit rehris were also seized by the staff.

The HUDA staff also did the land demarcation near Abheypur village in Industrial Area, where HUDA was planning to construct its cement godowns.

Residents of Abheypur had stalled the construction of these godowns earlier claiming that the area earmarked for the godown included a part of their pathway. After the land demarcation today, construction of the boundary wall for the godown was started.



House catches fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 3
Flames caused by a fire in the wild growth on the back of a house in Sector 4 caused a fire on the terrace of the house this evening. Wood scrap and old furniture kept on the terrace was burnt in the fire at the residence of an MES contractor, Mr Kamal Goel. A major tragedy was averted as three gas cylinders were stored in a room on the terrace, after family members immediately called the fire brigade. Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the fire was brought under control soon.

100th episode: A local news channel, Dinbhar celebrated the successful run of its 100th episode in Panchkula on Thursday. The Director Public Relations, Mr Rajeev Sharma, was the chief guest on the occasion.



Women climbers congratulated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S Pattabhiraman, has congratulated the members of the Army women’s expedition team for successfully scaling Mount Everest yesterday.

The Army Commander expressed hope that this heroic feat of the team, comprising Capt Shirpa Mazumdar, Capt Ashwini Pawar, Cadet Tshering Ladol and trainee Dechin Lhamo would give an impetus to Army personnel, especially women, to undertake more such adventure activities.

The Western Command, meanwhile, has planned several adventure activities, including mountaineering expeditions to Mount Kamet and Gangotri in Garhwal and Mount Leo Pargial in Himachal this month.



Mohali resident booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 3
The local police has booked a Mohali resident on the charges of duping a man of Rs 4.30 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

According to information, Mr Harpreet Singh of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, had lodged a complaint to the police alleging that Jitinder Jit Singh of Sector 70, Mohali, had taken Rs 4.30 lakh from him after promising to send him to the UK.

Harpreet had given the money in 2002. He reported the matter to the police a few days ago after his attempts to get back the money failed.

After conducting an inquiry into the matter, the police yesterday registered a case of cheating under Section 420, IPC.

Held for stealing

Manveer Singh of Phase II, Bapu Dham colony, Sector 26, was caught red-handed while stealing crates of soft drinks from a shop in Sector 26.

Mr Nitin Agnihotri, owner of the shop, nabbed the accused while he was stealing 10 crates and later reported the matter to the police.

The police has registered a case in this regard and arrested the accused.

House burgled

Ms Amita Lamba of Sector 42 reported to the police that two gold chains, two silver chains, a camera, three watches and Rs 5,000 in cash were stolen from her residence on Thursday.

She alleged that the thieves gained access into the house by breaking open the locks. A case has been registered.

Scooter stolen

Mr Bhupesh Sharma of Sector 11, Panchkula, lodged a complaint with the police that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-X-3705) was from Sadar Bazar, Sector 19, on Thursday.

A case of theft has been registered in this regard.



3 held for stealing manhole covers
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 3
The police has arrested three persons on a charge of stealing manhole covers from different parts of the town.

The arrested persons are Ganga Prasad hailing from UP, Gurnam Singh, a resident of Shampur village and Sunny hailing from Himachal Pradesh.

The police has recovered 10 manhole covers and two bicycles from them.



Caught while driving stolen scooter
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 3
A thief was today caught by the police while he was driving a stolen scooter. He was driving the scooter with a fake number plate.

According to information, Vijay Kumar Verma (25), a resident of Kajheri was arrested when a police party signalled him to stop. He was displaying a number (PB-011-1958), when the policemen on duty signalled him to stop, he tried to speed away. The cops gave a chase and intercepted him.

The police said the scooter (CH-01-U-3417) was stolen from Sector 22 on May 27. A case has been registered

Purse snatched

In a separate incident, two unidentified scooterist this evening snatched a purse from a woman traveling in a rickshaw from near Piccadilly Hotel.

Harpreet Kaur, a resident of Sector 44, the complainant told the police that her purse was constraining some cash and a mobile phone. A case has been registered.



Rs 70,000 looted from house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 3
Thieves decamped with gold jewellery, cash and silver items worth about Rs 70,000 from a house in Phase X here.

Mr Surinder Pahuja, a resident of Phase III B-1, told Chandigarh Tribune that the theft took place in the house of his brother, Mr Naresh Pahuja.

The thieves took away about 10 tolas of gold, some silver items and Rs 10,000 in cash.

He said that his sister’s marriage had been fixed for June 12. His sister and brother’s wife had gone to Ambala yesterday for some shopping.

They returned late in the evening. He said that as his brother was already at his residence, he asked his sister-in-law also to stay for the night and could go to Phase X in the morning.

When they went to their house in the morning today, they saw that the lock on the main door was broken to gain entry into the house.

Later they found that gold and other items were stolen. The matter has been brought to the notice of the police.



HDFC clarifies

With reference to the front page news item published in Chandigarh Tribune (May 27) “Cheque bounce despite funds”, I would like to clarify the following points:

Om Industries has been maintaining account with the Chandigarh Sec-35 branch. On May 25, the balance in his account was Rs 22,144.89 against which the account holder wanted a cheque for Rs 50,820 to be honoured. The proprietor of the account had deposited one cheque in his account in Varanasi (anywhere banking) and wanted the value of the cheque should be taken into the credit balance (as per the credit realisation timings of Chandigarh) for honouring the above-mentioned cheque. Knowing the fact that each region / city has its own clearing time zones, which get decided by the local clearing house, it was not possible for us to honour this cheque unless the realisation of cheque deposited in Varanasi is available with us. Thus, the branch was not at fault for dishonouring the cheque as claimed by the customer. Rather, as per banking law, it is the responsibility of the account holder to ensure availability of sufficient clear balance before the issuance of the cheque which was not ensured.

Moreover, the other customer, namely Raghav Enterprises, is not maintaining sufficient balance in his account to honour the cheques issued from his account.

The customer’s claim of not being able to contact the Branch Manager for making a request for the above-mentioned clearance is ironical as we have a phone-banking unit and a network of branches for reaching out to the management. I am sorry to highlight that the issue which got printed, has never been escalated by the customer to the branch manager/ senior officials.

As clarified above, the issue of cheque return was not illegitimate as has been claimed by the customer. Therefore, there is no question of wilful return of cheques for earning the income. I would also like to highlight that introduction of cheque return charges is to discourage the customer from issuance of cheques from his account without maintaining sufficient funds, thus promoting healthier and ethical banking practices, which is as per RBI guidelines.

It is evident that understanding of banking practices in a scenario of anywhere banking has not been kept in mind while publishing the facts in the article. Such an article with incomplete understanding of facts damages the image of the industry and organisation. We are one of the India’s Most Respected Companies as selected by Business World as part of The Business World Most Respected Company Awards 2004 and have won the award for “Operational Excellence in Retail Financial Services” - India as part of the Asian Banker Awards 2003.

Neena Singh, Regional Head, HDFC Bank, Chandigarh.



Hemant gets Rajbhasha Shield

Chandigarh, June 3
Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager, SBI, Chandigarh Circle, received Rajbhasha Shield for maximum usage of Hindi in the branches/offices of the bank in “B” region, covering Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, for 2004-05 in the annual review meeting held at the SBI’s Staff Training Centre at Panchkula.

A CD containing diversified information on Hindi, “Click Rajbhasha” was released on the occasion. TNS


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