C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Nod to commercial use of industrial land
Conversion of plots into shops, offices allowed
Tribune News Service

  • Multiplexes and marriage palaces in plots bigger than four acres
  • Two or more plots can be amalgamated
  • GPA holders to be recognised
  • Price of conversion Rs 40,000 per sq yrd
  • Plots on internal lanes to pay Rs 20,000 per sq yrd
  • The policy to remain in force for two years from the date of notification
  • CITCO to be nodal agency

Chandigarh, July 4
The Chandigarh Administration today announced its much-awaited “conversion policy”, which will change the face of the industrial area. The new policy will enable entrepreneurs to convert their industrial land and venture into other commercial activities, including shops, offices, banks, hotels, restaurants, training institutions, multiplexes, marriage palaces and banquet halls and malls.

The conversion of an industrial plot into multiplex, marriage palace or banquet hall will be allowed only if the area of the plot is four acres or above. Amalgamation of two or more sites will also be allowed.

However, residential use of converted areas and red category trades as notified by the Department of Environment will not be permitted. The only exception in this case is the permission given to hospitals and nursing homes.

The administration today said it would charge Rs 40,000 per square yard as conversion fee.

These conversion charges have been discounted by another 50 per cent in view of the locational disadvantage of the sites in the Industrial Area.

Another sop for land owners is a special incentive of 10 per cent discount for those getting conversion done in the first year.

Interestingly, the policy will remain in force for two years from the date of notification. This means the administration, if it wants, can withdraw the scheme or enhance the rates of conversion seeing the response.

For conversion, the administration will recognise applications from the GPA holders. The applicants under this scheme, while applying for transfer of leasehold rights, will be exempt from the payment of unearned increase.

The floor area ratio (FAR), which determines the covered area, has been jacked up from 0.75 to 1.5 of the plot size. This increase in the FAR means a person with a 2,000 sq yrd plot can have 3,000 sq yrd covered area spanning all floors.

The height of the building will go up as the owner will cover more area. This means, ideally a two kanal plot holder can now have four storeys.

While the plots governed by architectural controls can have maximum ground coverage of 60 per cent of the plot size, while plot governed by zoning plan can have a maximum ground coverage of 40 per cent.

Area devoted exclusively to parking will not be taken into account for calculating the FAR.

Commercial activity can be started in industrial plots after payment of conversion charges by converting the land use in accordance with the guidelines of the architectural controls.

All funds collected as conversion charges will be used to strengthen the infrastructure of the Industrial Area.

Since the policy is optional, industries that are thriving and flourishing will continue with their existing business.

The Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) has been made the nodal and implementing agency. It has been entrusted with the task of processing the cases of conversion within a period of 15 days of receipt of the application with full conversion fee.

The application from the sub-lessees of CITCO will be submitted with the recommendations of the body.

The applicant should have paid all arrears of lease money, premium or part due, interest, etc. in respect of industrial sites before the application for conversion is submitted. In case the site is resumed or cancelled, conversion will not be allowed until the resumption or cancellation order is set aside and the site is restored to the owner.

Conversion of land use will not be allowed in cases where the title of the property is disputed.

Also, industrial sites which have been mortgaged with the bank or financial institutions will be allowed conversion only after a “no objection certificate” is obtained from the bank.

Sites that were allotted on leasehold or freehold basis will remain as such, after conversion. No sub-division of sites will be permitted.

The application for conversion will be accompanied by an attested copy of occupation certificate or letter of release of sewerage connection.

The conversion fee will be charged for the whole of the size of the plot. Any construction not in accordance with the prescribed norms can be demolished at any time by the Enforcement Wing of the Estate Office and any activity not permissible under the scheme can be stopped at any time.

The conversion will be subject to all laws and rules applicable generally or specifically to the trade.



Industrialists decry move

The Chandigarh Industrial Association in a press note here today criticised the new conversion policy for industrial plots into commercial ventures in Industrial Area, Phase I and II.

Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president, said the decision was entirely one-sided and the administration had not taken industrialists into confidence. He said even representatives from the Industrial Advisory Committee were not called.

Mr Chawla said certain points that separated the industrial area sites from the normal markets were: these were out of city; there were no walk-in customers; and rental value was peanuts compared to the markets; besides others.



Long queues on first day of admission
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
Students were a harried lot today as dates and timings in all four government city colleges clashed on the opening day of admissions.
Long queues were witnessed at Government College, Sector 11 (GC-11), Government College for Girls, Sector 11 (GCG-11), Government College for Girls Sector 42 (GCG-42), and Government College, Sector 46 (GC-46).

Colleges abuzz: A flurry of activity was witnessed among admission-seekers who had to juggle between various locations as they were not sure in which college they would finally get admission.

They had applied in more than one college to ensure that they were not left out. This meant that additional seats were being booked by some students for “security reason” which obviously would be vacated later. For that purpose, fee had to be deposited to retain the seat.

Traffic chaos: A traffic jam was witnessed outside the GC-11 and GCG -11 as admission-seekers parked their vehicles just along the road.

Girls who came at GCG-11 for admission had to go through tough time. Though different queues were earmarked for every subject, they proved insufficient. Students that turned up as early as 9 am had to wait till 2 pm for admission.

Preeti who was present at the college to get admission for a BSc course said: “I had been waiting for my turn since 9.30 am. When my turn came for the admission, I was told to come after lunch time. Though there is a token system here, it is not being followed properly. There should be strict norms to ensure efficiency.”

Confusion galore: Most girls were accompanied by their parents or relatives who were supposed to lend a helping hand. But it only created more confusion.

Mr Inderjit Singh who came along with his daughter for admission, said: “First, I went to GCG-42 and submitted the fee then I came here. It is a sheer waste of money and time because of the admission being on same day.”

Manjit Kalra, Principal of the college, said: “Almost every girl was accompanied by her relative or parents, causing huge rush. They don’t let the girls handle things alone, which adds to our miseries.”

Student rush was also at witnessed at GC-11, GC-46 and GCG-42.

There also students had to wait for long hours for their turn. But the admissions were held in a cordial atmosphere in spite of the hot weather.



Interview schedule for PU candidates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
Schedule for interviews of candidates for various departments/courses:

Department of Psychology: The students who have applied for admission to MA-I (psychology) for 2005-2006 are advised to appear for the interview on July 6 at 9 am at the Department of Psychology. They must bring original certificates at the time of interview, according to Prof Meena Sehgal, Chairperson, Department of Psychology.

Department of Computer Science & Applications: Admission to MSc (Hons School) Computer Science-1 for 2005-2006 will be based on the OCET 2005-06. The admission for the same will be held on July 8 at 10 am for all categories on the department premises, according to Dr M. Syamala Devi, chairperson, Department of Computer Science and Applications.

Physical Education Department: The candidates who have applied for MA-I (physical education/BPEd) are advised to come to appear provisionally in the physical efficiency test, which will be held on July 8 at 7 am at Panjab University grounds. Only eligible candidates (with complete applications) will be allowed to appear in the physical efficiency test. Necessary documents to be seen before the test are: all original certificates, including educational, sports and other required certificates; result awaited/compartment cases will not be entertained. After the test, interview will be held on the same day. Exact time will be notified on the venue after the test, according to Dr J.P. Sharma, chairperson, Department of Physical Education Department.

School of Punjabi Studies: Interview of MA-I (Punjabi) candidates will be held on July 6 at 10 am in the Department of Punjabi, Arts Block I, Ist Floor, PU. Refresher Course in Punjabi will be held from August 4 to 24 in the Department of Punjabi. Interested lecturers may contact the chairperson, School of Punjabi Studies, PU, according to Dr Nahar Singh, chairperson.

Department of Economics: All students who have applied for admission to MA-I (economics) are advised to report for interview along with their original documents for counselling as under, according to Dr Naveen Sharma, chairperson, Department of Economics:

1. All reserved categories (including NRI/NRI sponsored/industry sponsored) — July 6 at 9 am

2. General category — July 7 at 9 am

Department of Urdu: The interview for admission to MA-I (Urdu) will be held on July 6 at 10.30 am at the Department of Urdu. The candidates are advised to bring their original certificates for verification, according to Dr Madhukar Arya, chairman, Department of Urdu.

Department of Mathematics: The interview for admission to MSc-1 (pass course) in mathematics will be held on July 11 at 10 am in the auditorium of the Department of Mathematics, according to Dr Sudesh Kaur Khanduja, chairperson, Department of Mathematics, PU.



Panchkula youth killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Rahul Mehra
Rahul Mehra

Panchkula, July 4
He was on his way to the holy cave of Amarnath to seek blessings to start a new chapter in life. But fate had other plans for 20-year-old Rahul Mehra, who died in a car crash near Srinagar on July 2.

A pall of gloom descended on the house of the Mehras in Sector 17 here as the body was brought back from Srinagar and cremated here today. His parents and elder brother were inconsolable.

Son of local businessman Devinder Mehra, Rahul had just appeared in his BA (Final) examinations. A call from his cousins at Amritsar, he decided to go along with them on the yatra. Along with his cousins, he left for Srinagar on the afternoon of July 2.

On the night of July 2, the taxi in which they were travelling had a head-on collision with a truck and Rahul and the taxi driver were seriously injured. Other passengers escaped with minor injuries.

Rahul and the driver were rushed to hospital, where the former was declared as dead. The driver is recuperating at the hospital. 



Woman dies as truck hits scooter
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
A 27-year-old woman was killed this evening after a speeding truck hit her scooter from the rear near Hallo Majra Chowk here. She died at the GMCH, Sector 32. The truck driver reportedly fled.

Sources in the police said, Ms Sandeep Kapoor, a resident of Sector 20 in Panchkula, was on her way back home when the accident took place. She was coming from Sector 40 after visiting relatives.

Sandeep sustained serious injuries. She was allegedly not wearing a safety helmet.

A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the unidentified truck driver.



Ordering probe into tampering with Tehelka papers within jurisdiction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The prosecution in the general court martial (GCM) trying Brig Iqbal Singh for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case has contended that the court was well within its jurisdiction to refer certain documents to the GCM’s convening authority for forensic investigation.

The defence had, in a representation sent to the court’s convening authority earlier, termed the court’s observations in regard to a witness’ statement pertaining to the summary of evidence (SOE) and the court’s directions calling for the matter to be investigated, as “illegal and unprecedented”.

The defence had maintained that the Army Act does not make a provision of any investigation into an issue arising during the proceedings of the court in regard to the conduct of a person not before the court as an accused.

Stating that such allegations are required to be decided by the court while returning its findings on the charges, the representation adds that the court has entered into a parallel inquiry which is not permitted under law.

Prosecution counsel Arvind Moudgil said that in their reply submitted to the convening authority, the prosecution had contended that the additional summary of evidence had already been provided to the court under provisions of Army Rule 37. This rule states that the convening authority shall furnish to the court’s senior member the original chargesheet against the accused and a copy of the summary or extract of evidence. Therefore, any ambiguity noticed by the court in the documents already admitted by it can be taken note of and can be brought on record, he added.

The prosecution’s reply added that the court, instead of investigating the matter itself, had referred the same to the convening authority which had initiated appropriate action in accordance with law.

The documents have been sent for forensic examination to the Government Examiner of Questionable Documents at Shimla as the Defence Services Regulations state it to be the appropriate agency for handling such cases, the reply stated.



Passing Thru

Gibb Schreffler
Gibb Schreffler, research scholar and ethno musicologist, California University. 

What tempted you to be in Chandigarh for a long time?

The buoyant popularity of Punjabi folklore at global level prompted me as an ethno musicologist at the California university to explore its richness, elan and charismatic appeal through extensive research which necessitated my stay in Chandigarh and Punjab.

How you attained the proficiency in fluent speaking and writing of Punjabi, especially the rural dialect? ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ I learnt Punjabi here from Gurinder Singh and the folklore from Dr Nahar Singh, a specialist, before falling in the tutelage of Dholi Garib Das made me to stay at his house in his village.

Why you chose ‘Punjabi dhol’ for your research project?

Perhaps no other musical instrument is more evocative of Punjab than the double barrel drum known as ‘dhol’ world over. I observed that ‘dhol’ to be most endearing to Punjabis as its sound was closely associated with celebratory occasions like rural fairs, wrestling matches and marriages.

— S.D. Sharma



Chandigarh Calling

There may be plenty of fancy food joints in Sector 17 to break the monotony of shopping, but for those who like the old world charm, those bare benches of the Plaza are still the ultimate relaxation point. This is why one can see many young couples as well as not so young ones getting refreshments packed from those joints to enjoy it under the shade of the trees.

The plaza has other advantages too. Being centrally located, it gives one the panoramic view of the shops, which have already started advertising their sale schemes in big bold letters. And if one gets tired of gazing at the midriff- revealing peroxide blondes and Jazzy B look-alikes, there are always ‘madaris’ around to oblige you with a ‘monkey number’ just for a buck.

‘Carrier’ fairs!

Organisers of Infra Educa 2005 fair held at Shivalik View did well by getting 60 leading participants of the country under one roof on Saturday. They also did their best to familiarise the visiting students with the emerging careers, both globally and in India. But it would have been best had they paid attention to the official press releases that were sent out. The key word was spelt ‘carrier’ instead of career.

Zany Zinta

Preity Zinta behaved quite vaguely at the Chandigarh Airport the other day. The moment she entered the departure lounge, she dropped the stuff she was carrying. Then she started fiddling with her travel suitcase, which she could barely handle. Thanks to her two bodyguards, the stuff and the suitcase was finally brought back into place. But that was not all the news from Preity’s end. She seemed more than just flustered over the attention she was getting. Perhaps she was in no mood to handle fans, or may be she has had too many of them. So she chose to disappoint many a fan by making all the wrong comments about them and their attitudes. Zinta certainly left her fans zapped.

Charming still

On the other hand Rati Agnihotri is unassuming as ever. The other day when her flight got delayed, she could not keep her time with the media persons who had been waiting to get her sound bytes since morning. When it was well past 5 p.m. in the evening, the actress took it for granted that the interviews would have been called off. Finally when she arrived at Tagore Theatre at about 6.30 p.m. in all her make up to play the lead role in a Vandana Sajnani play, she was surprised to see the media brigade, especially the number of photographers who had waited all day just to click her pictures her. She said humbly, “I did not know I still charmed.”

Pedalling dreams

Ram Mahurat Pandey is a happy lad these days for he is in the city where life comes alive. Just a month since his shift, he is already earning Rs 70 to Rs 80 a day as a cycle-rickshaw puller; almost Rs 50 more than as a daily wage farmer in his village in Gonda in Bihar. Ram Mahurat earned Rs 20 for 10 hours of strenuous work in the fields where he had to plough and dig the land. “My mother died a year ago. I am the eldest of the four brothers and it is my responsibility to look after my family,” offers this keen sprightly young man. For Ram Mahurat, the extra money seems to have lifted the debilitating burden of poverty off his lean shoulders. He chats, carefree about his future dreams of a ‘fine missus’ in the distant rosy future. For, he believes his luck has changed in this city where dreams fly.

With gratitude

Who says that the people of the city are indifferent? A colleague returning home from a night shift met with an accident near Transport Chowk. Within seconds people gathered around her. They pulled her out, offered to call her family, gave her water and offered her a lift. The cops, too, arrived promptly. Many of the passers-by stayed back till help arrived. And many stayed even beyond that. A woman cop, who was going home after duty, stopped impromptu. With newspapers full of stories of people’s indifference to accident victims, here is an experience with a difference, told with gratitude.

Readers & writers

Lovers of literature continue to carry on literary activity and many of them in their own quiet way. So it is with the Readers and Writers Club of the city founded by I.D. Singh. Once every month a small group of writers and readers meet in a writer’s home to share their creations. This Sunday the meeting was held at home of lawyer-turned-poet Anil Sharma. A number of poets read their new poems and discussion followed. Such little efforts indeed go into promoting literature a big way.

Onion tales

Local vegetables cart vendors who screech their wares out noisily every morning pushing their handcarts through the sectors are akin to the vaidjis’ (local doctors) of older times. “Here buy these fresh karelas, they will purify your blood and your pimples will disappear,” they declare conspiratorially handing over a bag of the dimpled ugly vegetable. Or then, the ubiquitous onion, food salvager of Punjabi households, is at the receiving end of some serious hard sell. “So what if these are expensive? You cannot cook a dish without onions. Onion eaten raw keeps away heat from the body.” However, the best use of the pungent onion is an eye-opener. “Cut the onion into two halves and put one each under your arms. You will get fever the next day and you can then miss office!”

— Sentinel



Govt to seek SEZ status for IT park in Panchkula
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 4
The government will seek the Special Economic Zone status for the information technology park to be set up in Panchkula.
Senior officials inform that besides seeking the SEZ status for five other industrial parks and industrial model townships in the state, the IT park to be developed here will also be declared an SEZ. The government has recently shortlisted three sites - in Sectors 32, 22 and 23 - for setting up the IT park.

A team of officials led by Ms Keshni Anand Arora, Managing Director, Haryana Electronics Development Corporation (HARTRON) , had recently inspected all three sites for setting up the IT Park. Officials say that while the site in Sector 32 is over 200 acres, a portion of the land here in under litigation. So, some pockets of land in Sectors 22 and 23 could be included in the proposed IT Park.

Mr P.K. Chaudhery, Commissioner and Secretary, Industries, says that the IT corridor being set up here will get the SEZ status. He says that though SEZ status is allowed for areas above 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres), in case of product specific ventures, the SEZ says is allowed in areas less than 1,000 hectares.

It may be noted that the IT park in neighbouring Chandigarh has recently been granted the SEZ status in principle by the Government of India. The 46. 5 acre Quark City in Mohali, too, was granted an the SEZ status, as setting up product specific special economic zones in the private sector is allowed by the government.

When the IT Park here gets the SEZ status approval from the Department of Industries and Commerce, the Government of India, units in the park will get full exemption on electricity duty and tax on sale of electricity for self generated and purchased power. The units will also be exempted from state sales tax, octroi, mandi tax etc. Also for units inside the zone, powers under the Industrial Disputes Act and other related Acts will be delegated to the Development Commissioner and the entire zone will be declared as a public utility service under the Industrial Disputes Act. The GOI’s final approval to the SEZ status is valid for a period of three years within which time effective steps have to be taken to implement the project. 



MC cancels parking contract
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
In the first-of-its-kind action, the Municipal Corporation, today cancelled a paid parking contract on grounds of overcharging by the contractor. Subhash Chander, who was allotted the contract for parking at the Sukhna Lake, had been overcharging visitors and also charging money for the parking in front of the Lake Club even though he was not authorised to do so.

The Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr O.P. Popli, said the contract had been cancelled after senior officers detected the violation of the contract conditions by the contractor. He stated that the parking area in front of the Lake Club belonged to the club and not the corporation despite which the contractor continued to charge for vehicles parked there.

It may be recalled that a week ago, the Municipal Corporation had held a meeting of all contractors of the paid parkings in the city and directed them to stick to the terms and conditions laid down in their respective contracts.

They were given a week’s time to set their house in order failing which the municipal corporation would be forced to take action against them. The week-long period lapses tomorrow and the MC plans to crack the whip on all erring contractors.

About the Sukhna paid parking contract, Mr Popli said Subhash Chander continued to overcharge despite warnings. This action by the MC would also serve as a warning to the rest of the fraternity to fall in line, failing which their contracts too could be terminated.



Cong men hold protest outside minister’s house
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
The local police today arrested protesting Congress men from Shahkot for raising slogans outside the residence of Mr Lal Singh, Minister for Rural Development, here.
Sources said the chairman of Shahpur Block in Jalandhar district and 15 sarpanches of the block had tendered their resignations to the minister.

They were demanding that the transfer order of Block Development Officer, Gurbinder Singh Sra was taken back. The minister refused to accept their demand.

Agitated, they sat on a darna. Later, the police was called. The protesting Congress men were arrested and later released.



Rodrigues for crusade against poverty
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd.), advocated the need for launching a crusade against poverty, ignorance and disease. He urged the Rotarians to expand their social endeavours for this gigantic task.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion of joint installation ceremony of president of the Rotary Club, Chandigarh, Mr. A.B. Singh, and his team and the Inner Wheel Club, president, Dr Pushpa Bhargava and her team, General Rodrigues said the problems in society were enormous and the government alone cannot successfully tackle them. The dedicated and devoted efforts and initiatives of the NGOs were therefore essential for Society.

General Rodrigues mentioned that the amelioration of millions of people living below poverty line, improving the social status of women and the proper nurturing of children were areas of concern in the social sector. He called for concerted efforts at all levels, with special emphasis on rehabilitation plans of destitute women and children.

Appreciating the work being done by the Rotary International in executing various projects for rehabilitation of destitute women by setting up home,General Rodrigues suggested that the members of the Rotary must concentrate on fields of specialisation, and make a deep study of local conditions and to evolve effective strategies to help the poor and needy.

General Rodrigues said the Chandigarh Administration had launched various projects in the fields of education, health and other welfare sectors and sought the active participation of Rotarians in these endeavours.

General Rodrigues lauded the role of the Rotary movement for undertaking the noble task of promoting international understanding and friendship and felt confident that it would achieve its goal through contact with the people and striving to fulfill the vision of one family on earth. He said the Rotarians living all over the world could act as ambassadors to promote peace and harmony on this globe.

Mr R.K. Saboo, past Rotary International president in his welcome address, highlighted activities of the Rotary International.

Mr A.B. Singh, new president of the Rotary Club, and Dr Pushpa Bhargava, new president of the Inner Wheel club, Mr Baldev Aggarwal, immediate past president of Rotary and Ms Neelam Malik, immediate past president of Inner Wheel Club, expressed their gratitude to General Rodrigues for providing an efficient and responsive governance in the Union Territory and assured to be active partners in his endeavours for achieving the goal of healthy and harmonious society.

Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor, was also present on the occasion and pinned on new president of the Inner Wheel Club, Dr Pushpa Bhargava.



Four boys go missing
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, July 4
Their weary eyes are anxiously fixed at the tough faces of burly cops, eversince four boys belonging to their tribe vanished under mysterious circumstances. So far, they have only received assurances and more assurances from the police.

In fact, the Chandigarh Police has practically washed its hands off the matter by registering a daily diary report (DDR). It was on repeated requests that the police today released the sketches of the missing children.

Ms Nirmal Bai, mother of Gobind Raj (6), one of the missing children, in her complaint to the police alleged that Kangli (5), Vinod (4) and her son Gobind went missing since June 28. They had gone to answer the call of nature.

The dejected family suffered another blow when on July 1, Kapil (10), another child, also went missing. As the family had a picture of Kapil, the police flashed copies of the picture to surrounding areas of the city and Jalandher and Delhi.

The missing children are members of a joint family of a Gujrati tribe that had settled in the Madrassi Colony in Sector 26.

“It’s true that the police on Monday released the sketches of the four missing boys,” says mother of Nirmala Bai. “But that’s not enough”.

The in charge of the Bapu Dham police post, Sub-Inspector Janak Singh Rana, said the police has registered the DDR and was investigating the matter. He said some children of this tribe were drug addicts they often went away from their homes and returned after two or three days.

Mr Rana said the sketches of children were made when the parents provided the people with details of identification of their children. Police teams had been sent to Kalka and Ambala in search of the missing children. 



Fauji Beat
Second career options better today

In a month, on an average, two or three officers, five or 10 JCOs and 15 or 20 other ranks are helped to get jobs by the Army Placement Cell of the Headquarters Western Command.

Most of the retired officers feel that a monthly salary of about Rs 15,000 is not adequate for them. A majority of them are also very choosy about the place of posting. Granted that after retirement one does not want to go away from one’s home for employment, but then, employment can rarely be found in the hometown. And any suitable employment within this region i.e. Parwanoo, Rajpura, Ambala, Mohali, etc, should not be considered away from home for a Chandigarh resident.

Recently, when the placement cell sent 10 retired JCOs and NCO clerks for employment to the civil firms, all of them were rejected because they failed in the computer test.

Today, the Army formations and units are fully computerised. Besides, there are enough opportunities in the Army for computer training. Before turning into ex-serviceman, every serving soldier should equip himself for a second career.

The Army Placement Agency (APA) was established at the Army Headquarters in 1998 to help the ex-servicemen and defence widows in finding employment. One can register oneself with this agency one year before one’s retirement/release or after retirement. This agency with its cells/nodes at various command headquarters and in the lower formations must be made full use of by the ex-servicemen in finding suitable jobs for them.

Health scheme queries: Ex-servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) is a voluntary scheme. Each ex-serviceman (who is eligible to join it) has to decide for himself whether he would like to join it or not. What they need to see are the benefits that accrue from this scheme and the coverage that it provides even to their dependents.

A retired Warrant Officer (WO) of 84 years of age has written that his first day at the ECHS polyclinic was disappointing because he had to wait in a queue for one hour to get a consultation slip made for his wife. “Why can’t the senior citizens be attended to separately at the polyclinics?” he asked. It is not possible because most of the patients coming to the polyclinics are senior citizens. For the specialist’s advice and treatment, the polyclinics refer the patients to the empanelled hospitals or military hospitals, according to the procedure.

In this particular case, since the WO wanted to get the eyes of his wife examined for cataract, he should have taken her to the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, because he is a resident of Mani Majra. Moreover, the Command Hospital has one of the best-equipped eye departments in the country.

You can become a member of the ECHS by submitting your application with the requisite documents to the station headquarters concerned. It is for you to contact your bank for any certificates required by the ECHS Regional Centre. Similarly, any instructions to your bank have to be issued by you and not by the ECHS Regional Centre. For this WO to expect the Regional Centre to issue instructions to his bank for stopping his medical allowance of Rs 100 per month is totally wrong.

Kanwar does 1 Jat (LI) proud: The appointment of Kanwar Nirmal Singh as the Director-General of Police (DGP), Haryana, has sent a wave of jubilation in 1 Jat (Light Infantry), now re-designated as 2 Mechanised Infantry (1Jat LI), into which he was commissioned in 1968. The unit was in the thick of countering militancy in Mizo Hills (now Mizoram) when Kanwar Nirmal Singh joined it in March 1968. And it was there that he got his grounding to become a tough and disciplined soldier.

Though he came to the IPS in 1973, he has not lost his moornings with the unit. He was present at the bicentenary celebrations of the Royal Jats (a title bestowed by the British on the unit) at Roorkee in November 2003. Not only that, Kanwar Nirmal Singh also attends the get-togethers of the Jat Regiment officers of this region, which are held quarterly at Chandigarh or Chandimandir.

— Pritam Bhullar



Governor’s wife visits creche
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 4
Mr Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Punjab Governor, visited the Family Counselling Centre run by the Indian Council for Social Welfare (ICSW), Panjab, in the VII industrial area here today to discuss problems being faced by it.

Mrs Rodrigues first took a round of the centre and also interacted with children at the creche. Some children recited nursery rhymes for her. The creche facility is being provided to industrial workers of the area.

Mrs Rodrigues, who reportedly appreciated the working of the centre, discussed as to how could the centre be run without going into losses and what methods could be worked out to provide employment to skilled and semi - skilled women workers.

Mrs Jasbinder Kaur Garewal, honorary secretary-general, ICSW, had apprised Mrs Rodrigues some days ago about the problems being faced by the centre. Mrs Rodrigues had at that time said she would be visiting the place.

Mrs Garewal had pointed out that the plot in which the counselling centre was being run was allotted to the ICSW in the early eighties to set up industrial unit to manufacture wooden toys. All these years wooden toys were manufactured creating job opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled workers. The little profits that were earned by the unit were spent on carrying out more construction. But the situation changed in the recent past and the manufacturing of the toys had to be stopped because of marketing difficulties. Toys made from plastic and other materials and those made in China had flooded the market and there was a stiff competition.

After the manufacturing of toys was stopped, the ICSW set up a counselling centre and a creche on the same plot. But then the PSIC started sending resumption notices to the ICSW on the ground that the plot was not being used for the purpose for which it was allotted.

Among those present on the occasion were Mr H.I.S. Garewal, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Dr Rana Harinder, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, and Dr S.P. Singla, SMO in charge of the local Civil Hospital. 



Trees in green belt burnt
Tribune News Service

Partially burnt trees and hedges in the green belt of Sector 36-A in Chandigarh
Chandigarh, July 4
At least four trees and adjoining hedges have been burnt by miscreants in Sector 36-A over the past couple of days. Dr R. Gupta, a resident of House Number 156, adjoining the site of the incident, said: “We have contacted officers of the Horticulture Department and other officials. However, the practice continues unabated”.

“This is an intentional attempt. The exercise is being repeated in the past at least three days. The officials should intervene immediately”, he added.

Partially burnt trees and hedges in the green belt of Sector 36-A in Chandigarh. — A Tribune photograph



Major-Gen cremated
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
Major-Gen (Dr) Jaswant Singh AVSM, (71), who died yesterday was cremated at the electric crematorium, Sector 25 this afternoon.
Apart from relatives, sangat of the Gurdwara at Sector 34, and officers of the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, attended the cremation.

He was an eminent general surgeon and urologist who served the Army for 35 years and retired as DDMS, Western Command, Chandigarh, in 1993. After retirement, involved himself in social service. He gave free medical service to ex-servicemen and the needy.

He was actively involved with the Institute of Sikh Studies and the Gurmat Prasar Sewa Society.

He contributed several articles to The Tribune for about 20 years.



Honour for Lions Club chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The president of the Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, Mr Sanjay Sardana, was awarded the Best President award at the 88th Lions Clubs International Convention organised by Lions Clubs International, USA, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong.

While his tenure was adjudged the best among all 10,000 Lions Clubs of around 60 countries working in India, Africa, South Asia and Middle-East countries, Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, was declared ‘Club of the year’ at the convention. The International President, Lion Clement F Kusiak of the US, conferred the awards.

Having returned to the city after the award-giving ceremony, Mr Sardana said the clubs and presidents were judged on the basis of various service projects undertaken by the clubs and three clubs from among 10,000 working in India, South Asia, Africa and the Middle-East countries were shortlisted.

These included the Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, India, the Lions Club, Jounich Green Valley, Lebanon, and the Lions Club, Ahmedabad Satellite. These were invited to Hong Kong for the international convention where all finalists were honoured. The Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, stole the show when it was declared the winner in the category. 



Power connections for displaced residents
Our Correspondents

Mohali, July 4
The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, has today asked officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to provide power connections to displaced residents shifted near Jagatpura village on a priority basis.

Mr Sharma, who visited the area, said the place was infested with snakes and other reptiles. Power lights should be installed in the colony for the safety of residents, he said.

The PSEB should give directions for setting up a counter in the area where people could apply for power connections by fulfilling formalities.

He said a request was also made to the Chief Medical Officer to send a team of doctors for the examination of persons shifted from Guru Nanak Colony.

The PUDA authorities were being approached to get the trenches filled to avoid mishap. 



No trace of missing salesman
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 4
The Sherpur police has failed to locate Parmod Kumar, (29), three weeks after he was reported missing by his elder brother and wife.
According to the report lodged with the police, Parmod was working as a salesman of grocery items on the shop owned by his elder brother Sailesh Kumar.

On June 13, he left Sherpur for Bhagat Singh Colony where he had to pay Rs 1000 to a shopkeeper. But he did not reach at the shop to make the payment nor did he return home. A worried Sailesh Kumar informed the police the same evening but a formal complaint could be lodged only three days later as copies of photographs were required .

Sailesh Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that he had been frequently visiting the Civil Hospital and enquiring about unclaimed bodies for the past three weeks. 



Two labourers die of asphyxiation
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 4
Four persons have died in three separate accidents in the district in the past 24 hours.
Karam Chand and Som Nath, both labourers, died of asphyxiation while trying to remove marsh and other solid waste from the bottom of a well at Dhara Mandal in Pinjore, this afternoon. The two were hired by the owner of a sweet shop of the area to clean the well.

According to police sources, residents and shopkeepers of the area got panicky after the two did not respond to their calls and come out. Following the alarm raised by these shopkeepers, residents of the locality gathered there and subsequently the police was informed.

After removing the bodies with the help of a rope, the police sent them to General Hospital, Sector 6, for post-mortem examinations. Inquest proceedings in this regard has been initiated.

The residents apprehend that Karam Chand and Som Nath died due to some poisonous gas at the bottom of the well that had not been cleaned up since long.

In another accident, Sankat Ram died after he fell from the roof of his house this evening. The victim sustained serious injuries and was rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh.

A resident of Angola village, near Raipur Rani, died when a vehicle hit the motor cycle he was riding on the busy Panchkula-Naraingarh highway last night.

Motorcyclist Vinod Kumar met with the accident near Nadda village. The body has been sent to the Government Hospital, Sector 6. The police has registered a hit and run case.



Five held for gambling
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
While the police has arrested five persons for gambling at public place, one was caught red-handed while pick-pocketing. Besides, a motor cycle and a scooter were stolen from the city.

The police on Sunday arrested five persons for gambling from different places in Sector 26. They have been identified as Raghubir Nath, Surinder, Krishan Chand, Jaswinder and Rakesh. The police seized cash from them. A case under the Gambling Act was registered against them.

Mr Manmohan Singh of Mani Majra caught Girdhari Lal while allegedly picking his pocket in ISBT, Sector 17, on Sunday. He later handed over the accused to the police. A case was registered in this regard.

In a theft case, Mr Rajesh Gupta of Sector 21-B has reported that his motor cycle (RJ-31-M 8527) was stolen from his residence on July 2. 



Punjab Agro to set up more retail outlets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Punjab Agri Export Corporation is now entering the retail marketing business of fresh green vegetables, besides a few other organic products for the benefit of the people living in the city and the satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali. While consumers of these areas can buy these products from a special outlet set up outside the Punjab Agro’s office in Sector 28, more such outlets will be set up in the coming months.

The Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Himmat Singh, said PUDA had assured to give the corporation at least half a dozen sites in Mohali for setting up these outlets in various sectors. Though a decision has been taken in principle, the land would be given following the clearance of building plans and other related issues. These outlets would also stock juices and other products of Punjab Agro, besides the organic stuff.

Mr Himmat Singh said the vegetables grown organically in 75 acres in Pagrexco’s Birla Farms, near Ropar, are not enough to meet the growing demand.

“If we find it difficult to sustain due to limited supplies, we will make further arrangements with private parties to expand the market,” he said, while adding that vegetable growers who have taken to the organic vegetables farming would be asked to fill in the gap.

A cold chain has been set up to maintain the freshness of these vegetables — from transportation to marketing.

Mr Ajit Singh, a buyer, says: “They have better colour, taste, aroma and increased shelf life.”

Ms Sudha Bhalla is of the view that vegetables like capsicum remain fresh for at least a week and taste as fresh when cooked.

Mr Sarbjit Singh, who mans the outlet, claims that 100 to 150 consumers visit the stall every day and the number of buyers is increasing.

Besides seasonal vegetables, basmati rice, durum wheat, moong dal, linseed, hyola oil, etc, are also being sold from this outlet and the initial response is good.

A commercial vermicompost production, training and demonstration centre has also been set up at the organic farm. In fact, research has shown that organic farming is fast becoming one of the most popular ways of cultivating fruits and vegetables all over the world. In this only organic manures and pesticides are used to increase the fertility of soil. The seeds used in this case are also completely natural and not genetically processed. Hence, organic foods provide a trusted alternative. Their benefits are that they are easily digestible, contain naturally balanced content of nutrients and vitamins.

Meanwhile, farmers taking to organic cultivation are also being provided marketing support by the corporation. It provides them assured buyback purchase of the organic crops from the growers at a premium and the corporation is paying 5 per cent premium for the first year crop, 10 per cent for the second year crop and 25 per cent premium on the third year onwards. This is being given on crops over and above the minimum support price declared by the government or the market price, whichever is higher.



S.R. Industries buys back equity shares
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
S.R Industries Ltd, engaged in the manufacture of terry towels at Dera Bassi near Patiala, has bought back equity shares numbering 26.10 lakh of the PSIDC subscribed under the financial collaboration agreement.

The company is a joint sector undertaking and was floated at a cost of Rs 20 crore between the PSIDC and entrepreneur R.C Mahajan.

According to sources, the company is stock-listed in trading in the stock market at a price of Rs 31-32 per share of Rs 10 each. At present, a debt-free company, it has paid all liabilities of financial institutions viz IDBI etc.

The promoters today paid complete consideration for the buyback of its equity shares at the current market value of Rs 809.1 lakhs.

These were held by the corporation since its inception. The PSIDC was holding 24 per cent equity of the company as per the financial collaboration agreement, which has now been transferred to the promoters.

Sources said the company had already undertaken major expansion activities to augment its terry towel project capacity to Rs 2,500 tonnes per annum from the existing 1,500 tonnes per annum. The augmented capacity was likely to be commissioned by December 2005.

The company has an annual turnover of Rs 36.70 crore and a net profit of Rs 3.49 and cash EPS of Rs 5.10 per share. Following the expansion, the company may pay an interim dividend at a turnover of Rs 48 crore for 2005-06.

The company products are sold exclusively to Bombay Dyeing and other major merchandises worldwide in Australia, the US and Europe, mainly UK.



CII welcomes revision of rules
Sites at city technology park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Amendment of ‘The Allotment of Campus Sites in Chandigarh Information Services Park Rules 2002’ would substantially facilitate the growth of small and medium enterprises leading to overall industrial and economic development of Chandigarh, according to Mr Partap K Aggarwal, Vice-Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council.

This is in line with the recommendations of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Chandigarh Council.

As per the notification, the BPO / IT / ITES companies with an annual turnover of Rs 10 crore for the past three years will be eligible for consideration as applicants for the allotment of build-to-suit sites. These companies should have been carrying their BPO / IT / ITES operations for at least five years and have a minimum of 100 employees on their rolls at the time of application.

With regard to allotment of build-to-suit sites for R&D/ High Technology Software work, the enterprise should be registered for the past two years and should have the capacity of investing a minimum of Rs 50 lakh at the premises within a year and a certificate from STPI to sustain their activities on a long-term basis.

Earlier, the CII Chandigarh Council had submitted a detailed note on various issues for industrial development of Chandigarh at an interactive session held with Mr S.K. Sandhu, Secretary, Finance and Information Technology, on June 22, 2005 at the CII Northern Region Headquarters, Chandigarh.

Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration, was present at the session and made a lucid presentation on the tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs in the city for the IT / ITES and BPO sectors.

The CII has been taking initiatives for the development of SMEs and the decision taken by Chandigarh Administration on amending allotment rules of Sites at the Chandigarh Technology Park would go a long way in helping SMEs in the region.



Corporate defaulters owe 3,065 cr to city & Punjab banks 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Stepping up its campaign against the corporate defaulters, the Punjab Bank Employees Federation today alleged that Rs 3,065 crore was outstanding against various industrialists in Punjab and Chandigarh till March 31 last year.

Several top politicians and industrialists in Punjab and Chandigarh figure on the defaulters list and the total all-India amount, as worked out by the All-India Bank Employees Association, has crossed Rs 96,000 crore, Mr N.K. Gaur, federation general secretary, said while releasing the list of defaulters above Rs 1 crore here.

Mr Gaur demanded that willful default should be made a criminal offence and the personal properties of the defaulters should be attached to recover the loans.

Coming down heavily on Central Government’s policy to reduce capital in the public sectors to 51 per cent, Mr Gaur said this would change the basic character of the banks and would convert the public sector to the joint sector. This would lead to less government control over banks and dilution of the banks’ social commitments.

The federation chairman, Mr Sudesh Kumar, said the banks had decided to expose big defaulters through a nationwide campaign and as a first step the list of the corporate defaulters had been released all over the country today.

Demanding stringent laws for the recovery of non-performing assets(NPAs), Mr Gaur alleged that the Central Government had been reluctant to publish the list of the corporate defaulters.

The employee leaders demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the task force for the effective functioning of the cooperative banks in the country.

Prominent among those, who were present on the occasion were Mr Davinder Singh and Mr Rajesh Sondhi, president and general secretary of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union, respectively. 



Puncom bags work order worth 8.63 cr
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 4
Punjab Communications Limited (Puncom) has bagged a work order worth Rs 8.63 crore for supply of 356 nos of STM-4 equipment after competing in a major BSNL tender.

According to Ms Ravneet Kaur, VC and MD, the tender had been won by Puncom against stiff competition from other companies like Marconi, Fibcom, SCL, etc. She said the work order would provide the necessary impetus to the efforts of the company to enter into the SDH market, which had shown a steep growth rate.

Entering into SDH market was tactically a very promising move as these products complemented the present product range of the company. Puncom was already executing a prestigious order of providing broadband long haul STM-16 (SDH) network for Railtel worth Rs 46 crore.

Puncom was one of the main companies undertaking project work in the Railways optical fibre-based networks with its own V-Mux and STM-¼ of Tejas.



Prize scheme for small savings
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 4
The Directorate of Small Savings, Haryana, has announced a free-of-cost prize giving scheme for investors in various small savings schemes for 2005-2006.
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, said one prize coupon on contribution of Rs 5,000 and three prize coupons on contribution of Rs 10,000 would be given free of cost to those who invest in various Haryana Government Small Savings Post Offices Schemes.

He said the draw of those contributors who invested up to September, 2005 towards the small savings schemes would be taken out in December, 2005 and a prize worth Rs 10 lakh would be given at the rate of Rs 500 per coupon on 13,116 coupons. He said the total prize money for the purpose would be of Rs 36 lakh.

Mr Brijendra Singh said the first prize would be of Rs 10 lakh, the second five prizes of Rs 2 lakh each, the third 10 prizes of Rs 1 lakh each, fourth 100 prizes of Rs 10,000 each, 200 prizes of Rs 5,000 each, 800 prizes of Rs 2,000 each, 2,000 prizes of Rs 1,000 each and 10,000 prizes of Rs 500 each.



P & G, IISc to work on molecular modelling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The US 51 BN company, Procter and Gamble, USA, has made a donation to the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) to foster collaboration in the area of modelling for chemical and formulated systems.

Dr Shekhar, Vice-President, Research and Development, Procter and Gamble Company, USA, presented a cheque for $ 100,000 (Rs 45 lakh) to Prof Goverdhan Mehta, Director, IISC (Bangalore).

This will help enhance the R and D capability development with IISc to work on areas of mutual interest.

Dr Arun Viswanath, Head of Procter and Gamble’s India R and D centre said: “P and G believes that India’s intellectual capital, technical and scientific expertise and its world -class Centres of Excellence and Academic institutions create a unique potential to accelerate the company’s global innovation capability.” 


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