C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Parking means trouble here
Residents feel harassed, contractors overwhelmed
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The extension of area under paid parking in the city offers nothing but inconvenience if one visits markets of Sector 22, 34 and 35.

While residents complain of unprofessional and even “rude” behaviour at these parkings, contractors complain of poor planning by the Municipal Corporation in drafting clear-cut rules for providing comfort to the residents.

Residents and contractors are unanimous on the need for a common pass for all parkings.

A senior official conceded the need for a common pass, however, “the proposal needs to be mooted by a councillor”.

Former Deputy Mayor Pradeep Chhabra has mooted the proposal at least a couple of times in the House.

The markets of Sectors 8, 9 and 17 already have the provision for paid parking. Barring those residents who have passes for free parking, all others have to buy separate passes for different parkings.

“We are stopped right at the entrance to the parking. This leads to wastage of time and we pay even if there is no space available to park our vehicles. Staff on duty charge us money even if we have gone to drop an acquaintance,” said Naveen Mahajan, a resident of Sector 38 (West).

It is felt that the corporation should to issue a common pass. The share of the contractor can be passed on straight from the corporation.

Parking contractor in Sector 35 Dheeraj Kumar said: “We have no problem if a common pass was issued for all parkings. We cannot give slips at exit points because it will lead to long lines there as well.”

Another contractor, Devinder Singh Walia, said: “We face an awkward situation when residents refuse to pay the fee saying they were entering the parking just to look around. We have to argue that they will be asked for the slip when they leave the parking. We have paid huge amounts for parking in auction (as high as Rs 50 lakh) and are authorised to charge for every entry. In case of any problem, it needs to be settled with the corporation and not with the contractors.”

A large number of vehicles can be seen parked in the open ground in Sector 34. These illegal parkings are made to evade the fee. A Chandigarh Police vehicle is seen towing away illegally parked scooters opposite the paid parking on road berms in Sector 35.

There are complaints about paid parking charges in certain backlanes of markets too. This was denied by a least two contractors.

At least 18 shopkeepers have complained to MC Commissioner P.S. Aujla alleging “autocratic behaviour” by the staff on duty at paid parking.

They alleged that charges for parking were being demanded even in service lanes. They alleged that illegal barricades had been erected in the backlanes. They have asked for making paid parking “public friendly” and not “money friendly”.



No respite from heat in sight
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The temperature in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula hit a scorching 42.4 Degrees Celsius today, just a bit lower than this summer’s highest recorded temperature on June 4 at 42.6 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature recorded is three degrees above normal for this time of the year. The minimum temperature recorded was an almost agreeable 28 degrees Celsius when compared to the day’s high.

A look back at the weather and temperature charts for June 18 in the last six years reveals that the region witnessed rain and thundershowers on this day right from 2000 onwards, which brought the maximum temperatures down to a bearable 32 to 36 degrees Celsius.

The weather gods in the city seem to have once again dispensed with the pleasantries and despite the light cloud cover earlier on in the day, the sun baked the residents. Tonga and rickshaw-pullers sat huddled in droves under the meagre shade of the trees which seemed to offer little protection today. The highest maximum temperature in the country was recorded at Talcher in Orissa on June 13, 2005.

The city may see some cloud cover tomorrow but the day is expected to be really warm again. Isolated rain or thundershowers are forecast for the next 24 hours over Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Isolated dust storms or thundershowers are predicted for Haryana and Delhi while the rest of the region is going to remain largely dry.

Meanwhile, according to the India Meteorological Department, New Delhi, the southwest monsoon has advanced further over some more parts of East Central Arabian Sea, parts of South Konkan and Goa, south madhya Maharashtra, parts of north interior Karnataka, entire Rayalseema, parts of Telangana, coastal Andhra Pradesh and some parts of west central and north Bay of Bengal.



Army reduces liquor quota for all ranks from CSD canteen
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The scale of entitlement to draw liquor from Canteen Stores Department (CSD) outlets by serving armed forces personnel as well as ex-servicemen has been reduced across the board. The only exception is the service chiefs and officers of the rank of army commanders and their equivalents in the other two services.

Army Headquarters has also fixed different quotas for serving and retired personnel, doing away with the earlier practice of uniformity. The scales applicable to those who have hung up their uniforms are lower than those in service

While there is a marginal cut in quota for the top brass, the scales applicable to retired junior and middle-rung officers has been brought down to about 60 per cent of the earlier entitlement.

According to a letter received by Headquarters Western Command, Chandimandir, from the Quarter Master General's Branch at Army Headquarters, earlier this week, the scales have been reduced by the "competent authority" after several representations were received from various quarters. The letter has also been sent to the Air Force, the Navy and Coast Guard establishments for implementation of the revised scales of liquor entitlement.

Keeping with the earlier practice, no limits have been prescribed in the new regulations for officers of the rank of Field Marshal, Chief of the Army Staff, Vice-Chief of the Army Staff and General Officers Commanding-in-Chief and their counterparts in the other services.

The quota of officers of the rank of Vice-Chief of the Army Staff and their equivalents has been fixed at 18 units (equivalent to 750 ml whisky bottles) per month. Earlier they too enjoyed the privilege of having no limits on drawing CSD liquor.

Serving lieutenant generals will now be entitled to 16 units a month, while the quota of retired lieutenant generals has been reduced from 16 units to 14 units. The quota of serving brigadiers has been brought down by a couple of units to 16 while that of retired brigadiers had been reduced from 16 units to 12 units.

Serving officers up to the rank of colonel, who were earlier entitled to 16 units, will now be able to draw 12 units while retired officers in this bracket, who too were entitled to 16 units, will now have to be content with 10 units per month.

Similarly, serving Junior Commissioned Officers will be entitled to draw eight units while retired JCOs will be entitled to draw six units. Earlier, both could draw 10 units every month. The scales for other ranks remain the same with six units per month, but has been reduced to four units in the case of those who have retired.



Experimenting with rare mediums in art
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Little had Ravindra Sharma known that his romance with art would take him places. A habitual scene stealer at art exhibitions across India and a great painting hand, Sharma is heading for Europe, thanks to his indulgence.

Selected by Camelin India as this year’s senior art representative in the prestigious Euro Tour that happens annually, Sharma is getting his act together for visits to London and France. He will be off on June 23 and will return on July 5.

During the trip, Sharma’s responsibility will be “helping the eight winners of Camelin India contest articulate their impressions of Western art” and “leading them in the right path so they can assimilate and aspire”. Last year’s mentor for the Euro Tour was Kalicharan, the famous Delhi based artist who has several credits to his name.

For his part, Ravindra Sharma is ready to bring home a world of experience. Sharing his plans with The Tribune today, the professor of art in Chandigarh Government College of Art, Sector 10, said, “The trip is significant inasmuch as it affords you the opportunity to interact with masterpieces created by legends in the realms of art and conservation. One may have seen several works of art in photographs, but a personal interaction with one such work can yield pleasure of a lifetime. That’s what this trip will offer.”

The itinerary sounds promising with all its features. The eight winners of Camelin annual art exhibition, along with Ravindra Sharma, this year’s artist of eminence on the Euro Tour, will visit all places of artistic and historical significance in London and Paris, apart from closely collaborating with some of the practicing artists in the west.

On their trip they will visit the London Eye, the British Museum, the National Gallery of Portraits, the Tate Britain Gallery, the Royal College of Arts, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tussads Wax Museum, Orsay and Louvre Museum. The Paris trip would be made worthwhile by a visit to the Picasso Museum, among others.

Said Ravindra Sharma, “The journey will not only be educative, it will also facilitate aesthetic gratification. When you see the work in a museum, you see it in all its prominence, in all its detail and in terms of its relationship with its surroundings. The play of light and colour on the canvas then attains a different meaning altogether. That’s real, virtual art which we are all seeking.”

Well known for his innovative streaks, Sharma is already thinking of what he can bring home from the experience. Personally he would benefit hugely from the trip, a professor of western art as he is. But even on the professional level, the Euro Tour will lend him an edge, especially in terms of understanding art in global contexts.

At home, he is busy experimenting with rare mediums in art. He has devised some unique painting methods which don’t employ the brush at all. In this world, cardboards, potato peels, banana leaves, rags, fingers and thumbs do the job of caressing the canvas. Shortly, all these methods will be detailed in a book which Sharma is authoring.

It’s this departure from norm which caught Camelin’s attention and helped Sharma win a coveted slot on the Euro Tour to places of great conservation value in the west.



Craze for reading hots up among children
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

  • Young children in the ten-year-age group select their own books.
  • Four to six-year-old children generally depend on their parents to select books for them. These are generally the Noddy series by Enid Blyton, but the choices for this age group are numerous with a number of illustrated books coming out dealing with subjects ranging from fairies to the environment.
  • Boys veer towards Hardy and girls towards the Nancy Drews.
  • The Pokemon craze is dying down much to the relief of most parents.

Chandigarh, June 18
Blazing summer heat has made it difficult to venture out during the day, so children are turning to books for succour. The trials and tribulations of boy wizard Harry Potter are attracting them the most. The fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, is scheduled to be released in July and the bookings have already begun in earnest and the scramble to own the complete series is on in full swing.

Asia Book House owner Vipin Kinger says he sees welcome changes in reading habits among the young ones. “Children are much more aware of what is being published around the world and parents are also encouraging their young ones to pick up reading as a hobby. It is heartening to see books like “The Diary of Anne Frank” and Paulo Coelhos’ “The Alchemist” being selected.

In the second spot comes the Roald Dahl tales — “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “The Witches” and “Matilda” — and closer home, it is Ruskin Bond whose is very popular among the 10 to 12 year age group.

Sushanta Banerjee, manager at the British Library in Sector 8, also lists Ruskin Bond in the “fastest moving books” segment this summer.

Literary classics in abridged versions seem to be another “trend” this year.

Pooja Verma, team leader at Browser, a bookshop-cum-library, says, “This may be due to recommendations by teachers for holiday work, but almost the entire range of classics is being picked up by varied age groups.” Charles Dicken’s “Oliver Twist” and “Great Expectations”, Shakespeare’s works, tales by Lamb and Sherlock Holmes find place of pride among the wizards, golems and elves.

Capital Book Store owner Ajay Arora says, “What is really ruling the bookshelves this year is most definitely fantasy fiction like Jonathan Stroud’s “Amulet of Samarkand” along with its much awaited sequel “Golem’s Eye”. Eragon, the charming fable of a young boy and his dragon is another hot seller this year.”

According to him, spin-offs from successful television series or movies like “The Snicket” series, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”, “Charmed”, “Mary Kate and Ashley”, are deeply influencing children’s reading habits.

Enid Blyton’s mystery fables continue to fascinate cutting through the age barriers. Twelve-year-old Parag is going to Manali with his parents for a short holiday.

He is frantically scouting the shelves for the Famous Five Series. “I have just finished with the Secret Seven series and now I am starting on this.”

Seven-year-old Disha “loves” the “Naughtiest Girl” books by Enid Blyton.

However, it is ten-year-old Manasi who puts her finger on the pulse by solemnly declaring that no reading is complete without comics. So what are hot favourites this year? For boys, it is the DC comics, Batman, Superman and X-men, but children across the board love Archie comics, the foibles of TinTin and the enchantment of Asterix which leaves the Amar Chitra Kathas out in the cold! As Mr Arora puts it, “Many NRIs pick up the entire series when they come to India.

They are concerned that their children do not know enough about Indian mythology or history.”

However, it is the bespectacled boy who rules — Harry Potter remains the undisputed king of bookshelves around the world!



280 cartons of liquor seized, 1 arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
A bid to smuggle liquor was foiled late last night with the arrest of one person. At least 280 cartons of various brands of liquor were seized from him. However, the other accused managed to give a slip to the police.

The SHO of Sector 26 police station got a tip off some persons were transferring liquor cartons from a truck (HR-37-1341) to an oil tanker (HR-56-1219). The SHO immediately informed his seniors and a police team was sent to the spot in the Transport area at 12.30 am.

On seeing the police some of them managed to flee, however Ram Sakka, a labourer, who was loading liquor cartons, was arrested.

A case has been registered under the Excise Act and Ram Sakka was produced before a local court, which remanded him in judicial custody till July 2. The trucks have been impounded.



Girl killed by speeding car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
A 10-year-old girl, Upasana Devi, was killed after a Maruti Zen car hit her near Shiv Mandir in Colony No. 5 this afternoon.

The police said that Upasana was going with her grandmother Somvati when the speeding car hit her. She was reportedly dragged a few metres and sustained multiple injuries.

Upasana died on the way while she and Somvati were being taken to the hospital by the driver of the car, Harjinder Singh. The driver then dropped the body and Somvati near Sector 42 and sped away.

Later in the evening, Harjinder Singh was arrested by the police and later released on bail.

A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered.



Passing Thru
How did VJing happen to you?

Manish Paul, VJ with Zee Music
Manish Paul, VJ with Zee Music

I always wanted to be a VJ. It didn’t happen by chance. Talking is my passion so it was natural for me to enter this profession. I still remember my first assignment. I was paid Rs 300 for it. From then onwards, I did not look back. That amount has risen manifold now.

Any plans to join MTV or Channel V?

I am enjoying my work with Zee Music and I am doing live shows also. I am very happy with my assignments. I don’t compare myself with others.

What brings you to city beautiful?

I am here in connection with “Yahi hai sahi”, a condom promotion campaign. I will do my bit in spreading awareness among the masses about the dreadful disease. It is a challenging task and I feel lucky to be part of the campaign.

Do you like any other VJ and why?

I like Nikhil Chinnapa very much. I remember when I was struggling to become a VJ,I used to observe him a lot. He had a different style, rather varied styles. But I never tried to copy him. I have maintained my own identity.

— Swarleen Kaur



College Call
A premier institute of architecture
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, June 18
The Chandigarh College of Architecture, Sector 12, has its share of proud moments. It is one of the oldest institutions in the northern region. The college has been conducting a five year undergraduate course leading to degree of Bachelor of Architecture (B Arch) since 1961.

The college is equipped with many features vital to give a thrust to budding architects. An audio-visual and photography section fare well with its students. A computer centre is another feather in its cap. A museum displaying building materials, fixtures and models motivate students to achieve their academic goals. Hostel accommodation is available for both boys and girls. The college has an assembly hall with modern audio-visual facilities besides a well-stocked library. For basic stationery the college has a store.

Apart from this there is Bazm-e-tulba, students centre for indoor games, gymnasiums along with a canteen. For tours, a 42-seater bus is available.

Several awards, scholarships and medals have been instituted to encourage students to excell as an inspired professionals. Panjab University merit scholarships, government merit scholarships are being offered to meritorious students. Medals are awarded for outstanding performance in academic and co-curricular activities covering art, literary and cultural competitions.

Seminars are organised from time to time and architects from different countries keep delivering lectures. To provide the latest information the updating of syllabi is done.

With the strength of 200 students, the college has 21 regular and 20 guest faculties.

The Principal of the college, Mr Rajnish Watts, put special emphasis on consultancy projects which provides students with much-needed practical knowledge. They get the opportunity to work in the field and are paid for good work. The college has already conducted seven such projects and three projects are scheduled for July.

The joint admission brochure for B.E and B.Arch courses is available since June 6 and is priced at Rs 200. Students can take the prospectus from Punjab Engineering college, Chandigarh, Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Chandigarh College of Architecture, University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University and Department of chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University. The last date of submitting the form is June 30. The prospectus can also be downloaded from the website www.pec.ac.in.

The total sanctioned intake is of 40 seats including five seats allocated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Secondary and Higher Education), Government for nominees of states/ UT's deficient in technical education facilities.



PU Syndicate’s no to three new courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Three new courses —Master of Business Economics, postgraduate diploma in entrepreneurship and PG diploma in knowledge management — have not received approval from the Panjab University Syndicate. At a meeting held today, the Syndicate has decided not to run the courses for the forthcoming session 2005-06.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said the courses could not be started as the complete syllabi had not been drafted. A few city colleges have already advertised these new courses in their prospectuses which are on sale.

In another decision, the Syndicate has decided to refund the tuition fee (more than Rs 200) of a student who vacates a seat in any of the departments in PU within six months of taking admission. The fee would be refunded within three months of moving an application. The university will make a deduction of 10 per cent of the total amount.

Offering a bonanza to the toppers of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), the Syndics have approved scholarships of Rs 1,000 for 10 months to each of the topper of the university examination in each branch of the first, second and third year of the BE courses from the 2005-06 session.

Meanwhile, internal assessment in the Department of Correspondence Studies — 20 per cent for postgraduate courses and 10 per cent for undergraduate courses — has been approved.

The faculty appointments in the Department of Economics and the Department of Evening Studies have been approved. The Syndics approved the appointment of Dr Krishan Gauba of the PGI as the Director Principal of Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences.

The Syndicate also approved the appointment of Dr Tankeshwar Kumar as Director (Computer Centre) in the Department of Computer Science and Applications, PU and Dr Surinder Mohan Kant as Director, Youth Welfare, PU. The appointment of Mr K.K. Sharma and Mr C. Haridasan as Assistant Registrars were also approved.

The execution of an MoU between the PU and the IBM has received the approval of the members along with the appointment of Dr R.K. Gupta of the Department of Correspondence Studies as the Coordinator, for the Centre for IAS and other Competitive Examinations, PU.

The members expressed their concern over the problems faced by students to get roll numbers for the B.Ed entrance test scheduled for June 22. The Syndics have urged the examination branch to make the procedure smooth.



SD College offers job-oriented courses
Tribune News Service

Ambala, June 18
Sanatan Dharma College (Lahore), Ambala Cantt, is offering a number of vocational and job-oriented courses.

The college Principal, Dr Desh Bandhu, said the job-oriented three year degree courses include Bachelor of Computer Application and BSc (Information Technology). The restructured three year degree courses include BSc with Electronics, BSc with Electronics & Computer Science and BA with Office Management, he added. Dr Bandhu further said the vocational three year degree courses include BSc with Computer Application, BSc with Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, B.Com with Computer Application, B.Com with Principles & Practice of Insurance, B.Com with Advertising, Sales Promotion & Sales Management, B.Com with Tourism & Travel Management, B.Com with Office Management and Secretarial Practice and BA with Functional Hindi.

The undergraduate traditional courses are BSc non-medical, BSc medical, BSc Home Science (for girl candidates only), B.Com, BA, BA Hons (English, Political Science, Sanskrit). The postgraduate courses are MA (English), MA (Hindi) and MA (Economics) Part -1.

The career oriented add-on courses are Marketing, International Trade Management and Office Management & Secretarial Practice. The short-term courses are basics of computers and English speaking and personality development.

Dr Bandhu said the college was started in 1916 in Lahore and has completed 89 years of its existence by imparting high quality education.

He said that more than five decades after its existence in Ambala Cantt, the college has set new standards in academics, sports and co-curricular activities. The college has a vast campus which houses Prof Brij Narain Memorial Hall, R.B. Sohan Lal Hostel for girls, a well-stocked library with separate wings for students and staff members, a seminar hall, audio-visual room, botanical garden and a play ground. The college is offering 46 different scholarships to meritorious and deserving students.

Admission schedule:

Last date for receipt of forms : 30.06.05 till 4 pm.

Normal admission without late fees: 01.07.05 - 15.07.05.

Late admission with late fee of Rs 25 and with the permission of the principal: 16.07.25 - 21.07.05.

Late admission with late fee of Rs 25 per day subject to maximum of Rs 200 and with the permission of the principal: 22.07.05 - 30.07.05.

Commencement of all Classes (UG & PG): 16.07.05.



Zila Parishad poll
Zila Parishad — more talk, less teeth
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The Zila Parishad, constituted to give more representation and power to villages at the decision-making level, remains toothless.

The 10-member parishad in the city represents 17 panchayats and 18 villages. The tenure of the existing Zila Parishad ends on July 21.

Even the process to elect the new body has begun. A member said apart from the budgetary provisions, no work has been cleared for the samiti.

Enquiries reveal that functions like rural water supply, issuance of birth and death certificates, management of rural schools, sanitation, social forestry, poverty alleviation programmes, diary and poultry have so far not been transferred. Not giving the powers takes away the very purpose for which the body was formed, said some members.

With meager funds at its disposal, the Zila Parishad has been able to do very little. A recent study conducted by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) has indicated that the tax collection base of Panchayati Raj institutions was weak and villages were mainly dependent on funds given by the Chandigarh Administration.

The funds are handed over to the Zila Parishad for further distribution to the panchayat samiti and panchayats.

It has been pointed out that none of the institutions — panchayats, Zila Parishad and panchayat samiti — has been able to move a resolution to levy any taxes prescribed under the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994.

Some of the panchayats were getting a meager source of income from the property rented out or from the scant agriculture land.

One of the exceptions was Maloya village, which has Rs 24.55 lakh on account of land acquisition price given by the Chandigarh Administration.

As per Section 86 of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, every panchayat has to set up a panchayat fund in which it has to deposit the income from different taxes like chula tax, income from shamlat land, sale of dead animals, rent of buildings, and other sources.

The centre faculty has pointed out that a major hurdle in the collection of tax was that none of the panchayats could levy taxes without the permission from the Administrator. So far, no permission has been granted by the Administrator.

It has also been pointed out that in a democracy any setup without the functional powers had little meaning. In that context, the local panchayat samiti, which remains without any financial power, is a body that exists just on papers.



Expecting swanky gifts? Forget it dad!
Saurabh Malik

Just in case you do not know about the Father's Day, it is celebrated in many countries for honouring fathers. In the USA, UK, and Canada, it is observed on the third Sunday in June.

Though the concept was introduced in India a few years back by greeting card companies, the Father's Day was celebrated for the first time way back in 1910.

The idea originated in 1909 with a USA resident. She was inspired by a sermon on the Mother's Day.

Reluctant hands involuntarily drop the deodorant can and there end all musings of favouring dad with a gift on the Father's Day.

In fact, Ankit forgets all about his resolve to acknowledge dad's love with a present as a soft feminine whiff, breezing out of a perfume vial, reminds him of Tamana — his airy flame.

"Dad will understand, he always does. Sweetie Tamana will not — the thought flashes through his mind.

The little lamb will get furious if she learns about him wasting money. For, Tamana doesn't like all-time-and-no-money-to-spent kind of an affair.

Pulling out crisp currency notes from his leather wallet before pocketing the phial, he turns around and smiles at his proud reflection in the mirror hanging on the gift shop's decked up wall.

Wise decision, the Plus Two student tells himself.

Standing next to him in the kiosk, his best chum Sameer agrees with Ankit. He too is sure of the fact that valuable gifts are essential. But only for proving love to the dear ones "ïn real sense of the word".

"A hug is enough for satisfying dad," he asserts. "That's the reason why I am not buying anything for him on the Father's Day. Otherwise also, what's the big fun of giving dad a gift after borrowing money from him. I am sure he wouldn't appreciate it."

For him, dad is more of an ATM and he proudly admits the fact. "Cards are not required. A picture of innocence is enough for you to withdraw solid cash, anytime, anywhere," he says, without making any attempts to conceal his mischievous smile.

Courtesy the duo and so many others sharing similar thoughts, the Father's Day, in sharp contrast to St Valentine's Day, continues to be a drab affair, at least in this part of the region.

In Chandigarh and other trendy towns of the region, February 14 is commercially a festival bigger than Divali.

No, doubts about it," says Ms Raman of a Sector 11 gift and chunk jewellery shop.

"We sell more gift articles on St Valentine's Day than on Divali and the New Year. For bill-and-cooers believe in exhibiting their love through cards and gifts. The expensive, the better".

Forcing a smile, she adds, "But apparently no one is bothered about mothers and fathers…. Guess, lovers and more important than parents for the youngsters now-a-days". TNS



Roll back power tariff hike: forum
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 18
The Consumers Protection Forum has demanded withdrawal of hike in the power tariff as it amounted to more financial burden for the consumers.

Mr P.S. Virdi, president of the forum, said the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission to hike power tariff by 10.27 per cent and that too with retrospective effect from April 1 was unjustified. While condemning the decision, the forum demanded its withdrawal.

In a letter to Power Minister Lal Singh, Mr Virdi stated that the tariff hike amounted to injustice with the consumers. He said among the domestic consumers about 30 per cent belonged to economically weaker section while about 55 per cent belonged to the middle class and it would become very difficult for them to bear the additional financial load.

The letter further stated that the power board had never taken a firm stand to curb power thefts in the state. Mr Virdi alleged that as a result many people who were running industrial units indulged in power theft leading to losses. People living in unauthorised colonies also indulged in power theft. Such losses were then shown by the board as transmission losses and the common was man made to bear the brunt.

Meanwhile, frequent interruption in power supply has been observed by residents of the town for the past about two weeks.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Mr Y.S. Ratra, the Consumers Protection Forum stated that the town was facing power shutdowns very frequently. On the one hand the consumers were not being provided adequate power, on the other they were being compelled to pay heavy power bills as billing was done by the power board on the basis of sanctioned load. This move of the board was totally unjustified.

Mr Virdi, said that the matter was brought to the notice of the Chairman last year but no action had been taken by authorities concerned so far.

Mr Virdi demanded that the public should be informed before hand about the power cuts that were to be imposed due to poor power position in the state.



Asiad Circus opens in Panchkula
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 18
The gala opening of the ‘Dazzling Show of Shows’ from artistes of Asiad Circus in Sector 5, Panchkula, is indeed a rejoice for the residents especially for school children who are on summer vacations. Additional Deputy Commissioner Praveen Kumar inaugurated the maiden show amidst cheers especially from children.

Addressing mediapersons, managers Satnam Dass Midha and R.P. Sharma, who are associated with the circus trade for the past 32 years, opined that the circus was no more a lucrative business yet our moral responsibility to feed the 275 staff members, including over 100 dedicated performing artistes kept us sticking to the trade. They reiterated that though the statutory levies had been withdrawn by the government, but the ban on the participation of carnivorous animals had hit the business badly. The animals were a craze among the children, our main clients, and our circus had a set of 32 trained animals, including four elephants, six horses and 10 dogs, they said. The performers, including 70 female artistes hail from Nepal, Kerala and Assam.

Most of the performers are school dropouts like the 2.5 ft tall joker Charan Singh (26) from Etah. His associate joker Alam (35), who is also 2.5 ft tall, has his wife, who is 5 ft tall, as a co-performer. Every show promises 30 items, including dare devil performance of four motor cyclists, elephants performing Ganesh pooja and varieties of feats. The circus is tentatively scheduled for a month with three shows daily.



Name IT park after Rajiv: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, in a letter to the UT Administrator, Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, has recommended that the upcoming Information Technology Park at Kishangarh should be named after a former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Bansal said the former Prime Minister was committed to usher the country into the 21st century. “It was under his leadership that various technology missions were launched in the country which gave a major boost to the telecommunication and Information Technology sectors,” the letter read.



Farmers’ protest to continue
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 18
The protest by farmers whose land is to be acquired by PUDA will continue till they get a share in the developed area. This was stated by Mr D.P. Singh Baidwan, convenor of the Kissan Hit Bachao Committee (Periphery Area) here today.

He said the affected farmers were able to stop PUDA from forcibly acquiring their land and by doing this, they had been able to show the market value to the land to be acquired to others.

He condemned the move of the Punjab Police Housing Corporation to set up a colony near Kharar after “forcibly” acquiring the land of residents of Khoonimajra village.

Mr Tejinder Singh Jakhar, president of the committee, said the farmers all over Punjab had become aware of the problem and had decided to oppose PUDA.

He said the farmers were not against development but they wanted a share in the residential and commercial areas to be developed by PUDA. He said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, had taken a historical stand in the matter of river waters and won the hearts of the farmers. Similarly, he should take a decision keeping their interests in mind. 



Expedition to highest peak in HP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
As part of the Western Command's endeavour to promote adventure sports, the Third Battalion of the Fifth Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) is undertaking a mountaineering expedition to Leo Pargial, the highest peak in Himachal Pradesh.

The 25-member team was flagged-off by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, from Chandimandir today. Handing over the expedition flag to team leader, Lieut-Col S.S. Yadav, he asked the team members to spread the message of patriotism, peace ad harmony while passing through remote areas of Himachal Pradesh.

Extending his good wishes, the Army Commander said the unit would add another feather in its cap by scaling the 6673-metre high peak. The team will attempt to scale the peak on July 8 and the expedition is scheduled to end on July 17.



Proposal to privatise octroi collection
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 18
A proposal to privatise octroi collection will be discussed at the monthly meeting of the municipal council scheduled to be held here on June 21.

The Director, Local Government, Punjab, had issued directions to the civic body on April 30 to work out formalities for handing over the work of octroi collection in private hands.

The council had already put up a proposal at its meeting held on October 29 last year for privatising the work but it had to be kept pending as the House refused to clear the proposal.

The civic body had now proposed to privatise the work from August 1, 2005, to July 31, 2006.

In case the proposal is cleared by the House, the reserve price would be fixed by the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana. 



Minor fire incidents reported

Mohali, June 18
Small incidents of fire have been reported from different areas of the town. In all three incidents wild growth had caught fire.

In the morning a fire was reported from near the Radha Soami Satsang Bhavan. The fire brigade brought the situation under control.

Another incident was reported from near the PTL factory in the afternoon and the third one was near Leisure Valley in Phase IX here. OC



Two houses burgled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
Mr Vivek Pathania of Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra reported to the police that Rs 10,000, one gold chain, one gold mangal sutra, three wrist watches, one credit card and other articles were stolen from his residence during daytime yesterday. In another such incident, Justice Iqbal Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court lodged a complaint that two ceiling fans and other articles were stolen from his residence on Wednesday night. Two separate cases have been registered in the various police stations.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Sushil Kumar, a resident of Biha village in Hamirpur district, lodged a complaint that Sant Ram, cleaner of his truck, had sped away with his truck (HP-26-0498) from the transport area in Sector 26 yesterday. A case has been registered and police teams have been sent to Himachal Pradesh to nab the accused, said the SHO of Sector 26 police station. In another incident, Mr Joginder Singh of Phase III-A, Mohali, reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-M-1119) was stolen from near gurdwara in Sector 8 on Thursday. A case has been registered.


Mr Karam Singh, a resident of Sector 36, sustained injuries when a Lancer car hit his scooter near Sectors 34 and 35 small chowk yesterday. The police has arrested the car driver, Kulrajinder Singh of Sector 21, and registered a case of rash and negligent driving. He was later released on bail.

Draft found

Mr Jeevan Dogra, a resident of Bhelana village has found a demand draft of Rs 4,582 drawn in the favour of Dharam Raj Pal by the State Bank of India, Ajmal Khan road branch, Karol Bagh, Delhi. The draft was found from near the Tribune chowk, yesterday. Mr Dogra can be contacted on mobile phone number 98884-14237.



50 pc reduction in Hutchworld rental
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Hutch yesterday introduced low rental and usage-based charging for Hutchworld. Existing post-paid and pre-paid subscribers can “opt-in” for the new tariff scheme from September 1. Hutchworld can now be availed at Rs 49 per month and a usage-based charge of 10p per 10KB will be levied.

Hutch subscribers can track their Hutchworld usage through the GPRS data counter (available on most GPRS compatible handsets). A heavy user on an average utilises 1 MB/day or 30 MB/month.


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