C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


E-Revolution 2005
Countdown to IT mega event begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
As the countdown for the city’s most important IT conclave E-Governance 2005 begins, all preparations are complete to host 300 to 400 delegates in various places in the city. This will be the first-ever IT conclave in the city where the Chandigarh Administration as much a participant in the event as the organisers of the NASSCOM Conference in IT-ITES: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges.

It is also the first time that IT Secretaries from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will address top IT leaders, each trying to promote their state for future investments. The Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers are expected to attend the inaugural session on the morning of July 15.

The city’s new pride — Taj — reported that 25 rooms have already been booked and all 50 rooms are expected to be booked by tomorrow. All other delegates will stay at the CITCO-run Hotel Mountview and Hotel Shivalikview.

During the three-day conclave nearly 40-50 delegates will be playing golf at the Chandigarh Golf Association (CGA) course on the morning of July 15 before the mega conference gets underway.

Taj, the venue has been turned into a high-tech place with large monitors put up and broad band Internet on Wi-Fi by HFCL (Connect) giving everyone at the venue to be online throughout and even perhaps enable a video conference for those IT professionals back at their companies who are unable to make it to Chandigarh. All three days of the conference will have 24-hour Internet connectivity.

The Arts College students too are contributing their bit by putting up an exhibition on the theme of IT. The exhibition will also be put up at the venue itself. Besides Cybermedia, UT Administration and NASSCOM, the other sponsors of the conclave are Microsoft, TVS Electronics, Intel, CISCO, UTI Bank, PNB, SAP, Modera Systems, Xansa. Punjab Infotech and Hartron. Punjab and Haryana are the participating states. The STPI and HFCL (Connect) are the co-hosts of the mega show.

During the event, the Punjab Raj Bhavan would witness the presence of the country’s IT thinktanks when Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues hosts high tea for them on July 16. The organisers are also making arrangements for those delegates who wish to take a break to any nearby place in the hills.



Rooms inundated

As the city prepares to receive hundreds of delegates for the E-Revolution 2005, scheduled here from July 14 to 16, not all is well with the venue where this big IT conclave would be held. Even as elaborate arrangements have been made to convert the city’s only five star hotel Taj into a Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) state-of-the-art centre, “chiller valve” malfunction inundated some rooms where hotel guests were staying.

For occupants of at least three rooms, staying here, it was not a very pleasant experience. Their rooms almost turned into a swimming pool. Flooding from leaking “chiller valve” submerged carpets and flooded the entire area in the vicinity of these rooms.

The hotel became operational recently and hosting the E-Revolution 2005 — IT Conclave will be the first major event to be hosted here. Many CEOs IT top shots like Mr Kiran Karnik, President, NASSCOM, (that represents and sets the tone for public policy for the Indian software industry) are expected to stay here.

Taj General Manager Mr Anil Malhotra was not available for comment, but the hotel’s spokesperson, Ms Nagina Singh said “it was a small problem of pipe that is quite expected at the teething stage of any institution. Also, no hotel guest was inconvenienced due to the leakage”. She said that a small problem like a minor leak should not be allowed to overshadow the grandeur, majesty and services offered here at the hotel.

Senior Chandigarh Administration officials including Director IT, Mr Vivek Atray visited the hotel and inspected the venue as they did not wish to leave anything to chance, especially given the fact that UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues is taking a lot of personal interest in the event. He plans to use this opportunity to get important IT companies in local projects that will benefit the common man.



Hawara’s great escape still a mystery to cops
Tribune Reporters

With the arrest of Joginder Singh alias Jinder, a resident of Sidhwan Bet in Ludhiana district, the Chandigarh police today claimed to have arrested another aide of Jagtar Singh Hawara. The police said Jinder was arrested from his residence this morning after revelations made during preliminary interrogation by Joga Singh and Samir, who were arrested by the Chandigarh police in Sector 17, yesterday.

The police said, Joginder Singh was allegedly handling arms and ammunition received by Hawara and then passing it to other persons. He had also reportedly harbored Hawara after his escape from Burail Jail. 

Chandigarh, July 12
Even though the Chandigarh police has arrested three alleged militants since the arrival of Babbar Khalsa International’s alleged chief Jagtar Singh Hawara in the city, it is still trying to find its way through the tunnel in the jailbreak case.

Sources say that despite questioning Hawara round the clock for over three days, the Chandigarh police has failed to solve the mystery shrouding their great escape from model jail in Burail village here.

The cops have not even been able to crack Hawara about the involvement, or innocence, of the jail officials in the case. At the time of the jailbreak 18 months ago, the cops had expressed apprehension that accomplice Devi Singh’s stay in Hawara’s cell was a part of a larger conspiracy.

Moreover, the fact that Hawara and others were able to dispose of the loose earth from the tunnel without raising suspicion went a long way to suggest the connivance of the jail staff in the case.

They had added that the co-accused in the case had supplied Hawara and his accomplices with a “long cloth” for enabling them to descend and climb up the tunnel. Besides this, the inmates were openly using mobile phones for getting in touch with their mentors in the West. For them, money was hardly a problem even in the jail.

Hawara, along with Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora — all accused of being involved in the assassination of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh — had tunnelled their way out of the jail in January last year, along with Devi Singh. Though Hawara was nabbed by the Delhi police in connection with the twin blasts in the national Capital, the others are still at large.

The sources add that the Chandigarh police has so far neither denied nor confirmed the involvement of the jail staff in the case on the basis of Hawara’s sustained interrogation. Though Hawara has all along been insisting that the jail officers were “too scared to act against them”, the cops have so far not been able to say for certain whether the staff was innocent, or was being shielded.

They have not even been able to lay their hands on those accused of facilitating the escape. In fact the three arrested by the Chandigarh police have nothing to do with the jailbreak case. They were a part of Hawara-controlled-module planning to strike terror, the sources add.

Justifying their stand, a senior officer of the Chandigarh police says that they have been able to gather valuable information from Hawara and were working on it. “We will act on the same as and when the time comes,” he concludes. 



Hawara accomplices in police custody
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
A day after two alleged accomplices of Babbar Khalsa International(BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara were reportedly arrested by the Chandigarh Police from Sector 17 here, the father of the one of accused alleged that they were picked up from Ludhiana district on July 10 evening.

Talking to reporters at the District Courts here, Mr Avtar Singh father of Samir, alleged that a Chandigarh Police team picked up his son from his residence in Jagraon on July 10 at around 5.30 p.m.The family was told that he was being taken Ludhiana in connection with the identification of an accused.

He was bundled into a Tata Sumo vehicle where the another accused Joga Das was also present and allegedly taken to Chandigarh. Mr Avtar Singh alleged that he brought the matter to the notice of the Jagraon SP, Mr Rajiv Ahir, yesterday but to no avail.

Later, he also sent telegraphic messages to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, chairman of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), the Punjab DGP.

It was only today morning that he came to know about their arrest through media, Mr Avtar Singh claimed.

Denying the involvement of his son in any criminal activity, Mr Avtar Singh said he had passed his B.Com examination from the GGN Khalsa College at Sidhar in Ludhiana district, and was currently working with the HDFC Bank, Jagraon.

The counsel for the accused alleged that the Chandigarh police violated the Supreme Court directive in not informing the relatives of the arrested persons immediately.

Meanwhile, Mr Satbir Singh, Inspector of the Operations Cell, refuted Mr Avtar Singh’s allegations, claiming that bus tickets from Ludhiana to Chandigarh were recovered from them.

A local court today remanded three alleged accomplices of Hawara to police custody till July 20. Two of the accomplices, Samir and Joga Das, were reportedly arrested from Sector 17 here yesterday, while another person, Joginder Singh, was picked up from Moga early today.



Man falls into ditch, fractures arm 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
A resident of Sector 46, Mr Sunil Tazrana, had his arm broken due to laxity on the part of the Municipal Corporation. Running an electronics business Mr Tazrana along with his scooter fell in a five-feet-deep ditch dug by the MC for repairing leaking pipes and ended up with a broken arm.

“The MC labour dug up this pit in front of my house nearly a month back to repair leakage in pipes. After carrying out the repairs, they just left the pit open and despite repeated complaints failed to fill it up with earth,” Mr Tazrana said.

After a downpour on Sunday, while he was returning home, his scooter skidded and went straight into the pit. The scooter was pulled out with a rope while he was helped out of the ditch by neighbours.

“A police gypsy showed up after the accident and assured us to get the ditch filled by MC officials. They, too, have failed to help us out. With a fractured arm, I can’t go to my work for a month and a half and my business will suffer. Will the MC pay for all this,” he asks.



Body of slain Merchant Navy officer brought home
Saurabh Malik and Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, July 12
For city-based Merchant Navy Officer Navneet Singh Sondhi, the journey ended before he reached his destination.
The young officer was on his way to Delhi for appearing in an interview in the US embassy when two motorcycle-borne youngsters stabbed him on July 5 near Samalkha before taking away the car he was driving. He was rushed to a hospital in Delhi where died last night.

An eerie silence punctuated with spasmodic shrieks could be heard at his Mani Majra house late this evening as Navneet’s family brought along with them the body from the capital.

Attempts by the neighbours - gathered at the house - to console the parents proved to be futile. His maternal uncle, Wg Cdr M.S. Chada (retd.), said the knife which killed 26-year-old Navneet also took along with him all the hopes and aspirations he had ever lived for.

Describing him as a topper throughout, Mr Chada said Second Officer Navneet had reached India on June 28 from London after taking a test for promotion as Chief Officer in his Singapore-based company. “As he had topped in a similar examination in Singapore earlier also, he was quite confident about his success”, Mr Chada asserted.

He added god-fearing Navneet Singh was all smiles when he left the house at about 10 am on that fateful day. “All went well till he stopped the car near a thread mill in Samalakha at about 12.45 pm to ease himself”, he says.

As luck would have it, Navneet was spotted by the two youngsters riding down the highway on their motorbikes. After threatening him with a knife, they asked for the car keys.

Unwilling to give up without a fight, Navneet resisted but was not able to withstand the onslaught. He fell down, bleeding profusely, after being stabbed. “The knife pierced through his body, so great was the force with which the knife was struck,” he added.

Injured Navneet was spotted by two local boys. They tried to stop the passing cars, but in vain. Finally they called up the police. After rushing to the spot, the cops took Navneet to the a local heath centre from where he was referred to the Trauma Centre near the Inter State Bus Terminus in New Delhi.

Mr Chada said before referring Navneet, the doctor checked up the numbers stored in his mobile set. After reading “mama ji” in the phone book, the doctor called him up, he said.

His friend-and-batchmate Ankur Aggarwal said Navneet had never ever fought with anyone. In fact, he used to pray before having his meals. “His only ambition was to live up to the glory of his family. You see, his father Col Man Mohan Singh is a retired Army officer. Grandfather was also a Captain in the Army. “Why him?” he asked in a tone chocked with emotion before breaking down.



Tehelka case: Forensic expert cross-examined
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The Deputy Government Examiner of Questioned Documents, Mr Mohinder Singh was cross-examined at length by the defence during the general court martial trying Brig Iqbal Singh for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case. He had conducted the forensic examination to determine whether the additional summary of evidence had been doctored and had testified as a court witness yesterday.

During his deposition today, Mr Mohinder Singh maintained that when punctuation marks were altered and then read in conjugation with preceding and succeeding words, it was possible to make out whether the added writing was fraudulent or not.

The forensic expert said that the SOE had been independently examined by his superior officer, Mr N.C. Sood, the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents and had also come to the same conclusions which were presented by him to the court yesterday.

He said that besides tests mentioned in the written report placed before the court, several other tests were also carried out. He also handed over a printout of the Video Spectral Comparator reading to be attached to the court record.

The court has fixed July 16 as the next date of hearing when former tehelka.com staffer, Mr Mathews Samuel, who had executed the sting operation catching politicians and officers on a video tape while demanding and accepting bribes, is expected to depose before the court.



Date of filing returns extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The due date for filing of annual returns of TDS for the financial year 2004-05 for offices of the government u/s 206 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, has been extended to August 31, 2005.

The due date for filing of electronic quarterly statements of tax deducted at source (TDS) and tax collection at source (TCS) for the first quarter of financial year 2005-06 i.e. quarter ending June 30, 2005, has also been extended from July 15, 2005, to July 31, 2005. 



Passing Thru

Kushal Tandon
Kushal Tandon, Grasim Mr India 2005 

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I came to attend a friend’s wedding in Shimla and decided to come to Chandigarh to visit a friend. These are the friends that I had made in a couple of shows that I have attended.

What your plans for the future?

Right now I am busy preparing for the Mr. World to be held in Turkey in October. I was laid up in bed with a very bad bout of jaundice and need to work out and prepare for the contest. However, what I would really like to do is act in Hindi films especially with people of the calibre of Ram Gopal Verma whose work I really admire.

What would be your tip for youngsters who are aspiring to win a competition like the one you did?

Eat everything but workout regularly. 40 minutes a day, three times a week is more than enough if you are regular. I am not very big built, but I am lean and muscular. I used to be a national level swimmer representing Madhya Pradesh and I attribute my fitness levels to regular swimming.

What do like to do in your spare time?

I like spending time with friends and love driving! — Gayatri Rajwade



Claims by Bansal group ‘false’
Chairman’s election
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
A few days after the Bansal group claimed the support of at least six members in the 11-member Zila Parishad to elect its new chairman, Behl group managed to bring at least seven of the members under its fold with the “active” support of the three BJP-aligned candidates.

Led by the chairman of Panchayat Samiti, Mr Didar Singh, the six other members converged at the Sector 3 residence of the Haryana Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Vinod Sharma, and took his “blessings” before leaving for a hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Those present at the house of the minister were Mr Kuldeep Singh and Mr Sunil Parti and some BJP leaders.

The group would be kept at the hotel of the Haryana minister in Manali till the oath-taking ceremony of the members of the parishad was not held, said sources in the Behl group. The chances of the members resorting to horse trading can not be ruled out as the members of the Panchayati Raj institutions have changed loyalties while voting for the chairman.

The consensus among the six members over Ms Kuldeep Kaur (Hallo Majra) being their candidate for the chairmanship was reached last evening after the members held a meeting in the office of the Panchayat Samiti and the Market Committee office.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Kajheri told Chandigarh Tribune that claims by the Bansal group of having a majority were false. Some of the members rallying with Didar Singh, who is said to be a close confidant of the Haryana minister, were paraded before mediapersons a few days back by supporters of the Bansal group. Since then differences had cropped up between the supporters of the Bansal group over the name of the woman candidates who would be taking over as the new chairman of the parishad.

The party sources said while a member of the CTCC was in favour of Rajvant Kaur (Behlana and Raipur Khurd), who is daughter-in-law of Raghbir Singh, said to be an old supporter of Pawan Bansal, another member of the CTCC was in favour of Kuldeep Kaur (Hallo Majra), wife of the Panchayat Samti chairman, Didar Singh.

They said Mr Ranbir Bhatti and Mr Harbhajan Singh Kaheri of the BJP were trying to ensure that the Bansal group did not have an upper hand in electing the chairman. As a result, three BJP members of parishad, Hukam Chand, Jai Chand and Bhajan were allying with Didar Singh.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a former president of the rural cell of the Congress, said the BJP was resorting to low-level politics and cashing on the differences in the Congress. He said the Congress had large base in the villages.

It may be mentioned that Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri had been ousted from the Market Committee and the Panchayat Samiti by the rival Congress faction with BJP support. A similar situation had been witnessed while electing the chairman of the Zila Parishad.



Service conditions: UT staff get assurance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
With a view to “demystify” the procedure of transfer of employees from Administration to the municipal corporation and also to allay the unfounded fears of employees, the UT Administrator today issued written directions to the Commissioner, municipal corporation that the remuneration, tenure and terms and conditions of service (including salary, pension, gratuity, leave encashment etc.) of employees will not be changed to their disadvantage in any way during the period of their service with the municipal corporation.

This was stated in an official press note issued here today. The note said that during the last few days an impression had been created in the section of the Press that Chandigarh Administration had ordered transfer of employees belonging to Administration to MC in an arbitrary manner. Some employees have also expressed of apprehensions and fear about their service conditions, perhaps due to lack of knowledge about mandatory provisions of law.

It has further been directed by the Administrator that no employee transferred from UT Administration to MC shall be retrenched without the prior approval of the Administrator.

Legal provision ensures that the terms and conditions of service of transferred employees cannot be changed to their disadvantage without the previous sanction of the Administrator. Therefore, service conditions of such employees are not adversely affected with their transfer to MC. 



Demolition drive by HUDA
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 12
Unruly scenes were witnessed in Rajiv Colony here this afternoon when the Enforcement staff of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) converged here to remove encroachments along the seasonal rivulet passing by the colony.

The residents, instigated by one of the colony leaders, were protesting against the demolition of jhuggis by the Enforcement staff. The demolition drive was temporarily stalled, till the police arrived on the scene and about 35 jhuggis, that had come up recently along the nullah, were removed.

The enforcement drive was led by SDO’s Y.M. Mehra and Ram Singh, and Junior Engineers Karam Chand and Jasbir Singh. They said that some other jhuggis that had come up in Rajiv and Indira Colony recently, would be removed tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, about 130 jhuggis were removed by the HUDA staff from various sectors of the township. The service lane of Sector 11 showrooms, encroached upon by motor mechanics, was also cleared of encroachments.

While 50 jhuggis each were removed from Sector 15 market and in Sector 14, another 15 jhuggis were removed from near IMA House and 15 jhuggis from Sector 11.



Demolitions in Dhanas, Khuda Lahora
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The enforcement staff of the Estate Office today carried out demolitions in Khuda Lahora and Dhanas. An official in the estate office disclosed that in Dhanas, the drive was aimed at discouraging the shopkeepers selling marble from encroaching upon government land.

A religious structure which was recently demolished had to be again demolished by the enforcement staff. In Khuda Lahora, the enforcement staff demolished around eight structures which had recently come up in violation of the Periphery Act outside the lal dora of the village. Similar enforcement drive would be carried out at other villages in the coming days.



Probe into excess payments by MC begins
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 12
The Urban Development Department, Haryana, has initiated an inquiry into the alleged excess payments made by the Municipal Council to the mohalla committees formed for the maintenance of neighbourhood parks in the township.

The inquiry has been entrusted to a Sub-Divisional Officer in the department, on the basis of a complaint made by People’s Voice God’s Voice Group (PVGV Group). The inquiry officer had reportedly visited the MC office yesterday, and sought the records from the staff.

The PVGV Group had alleged that excess payments had been made to the committees, but no money was spent on the development or upkeep of parks. This money was siphoned off by the committee members in collusion with certain Municipal Councillors, who were heading these committees.

Today, some Municipal Councillors, who had submitted these “hiked bills”, reportedly withdrew these bills to avoid scrutiny by the inquiry officer.

It may be noted that the Municipal Council had given the upkeep of neighbourhood parks in private hands.

Emulating the successful privatisation of parks in Ludhiana by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, committees of residents residing near the parks had been made. These committees were given funds by MC at the rate of Rs. 1 per square metre for each park, to meet the costs of gardener, removing weeds and for planting ornamental plants.

While these committees were formed for maintenance of most parks here, the bigger gardens in the township, (including those within the MC limits ) are maintained by HUDA.

These neighbourhood parks were also maintained by HUDA, till they were transferred to MC two years ago. But the 150 odd gardeners of HUDA were not transferred to MC. Thus, the authorities decided to privatise the maintenance work. 



Estate Office ‘delays’ zoning plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
With the Estate Office allegedly delaying the zoning plan of the auctioned plots in certain parts of the city, people are at the receiving end.
One of the general power of attorney (GPA) holder, Mr J.S. Shangari, alleged that despite repeated requests, the Estate Office had failed to supply the zoning plan, which was a pre-condition for the preparation of the building plans.

Mr Shangari said he had purchased two 10 marla plots in Sector 19-B for Rs 77 lakh and Rs 75.50 lakh at an auction held on December 10 last year. The plots were purchased after raising loan from the banks.

The delay on the part of the authorities was proving to be costly to the bidders. Mr Shangari said though he had been repaying monthly instalments with interest, yet there is no sign of the starting of buildings.

In a representation to the UT Administrator, Mr Shangari demanded strict action against those officials, who were delaying the zoning plan. He also threatened to move the consumer court if the zoning plan was not sanctioned immediately.



Weather pleasant after showers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
After a few blistering humid days following the first monsoon downpour last week, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula once again received some cooling showers yesterday. The weather continued to be pleasant enough today with overcast skies hinting at rain the whole day.

The maximum temperature fell to a pleasant 27.8 degrees Celsius yesterday and hovered at 30.4 degrees Celsius today. The minimum temperature today was at 24 degrees Celsius. Although the city received only a trace of rainfall through the day, the Meteorological Department recorded 39 mm of rainfall at night up to 12 noon today. The city received 6.4 mm of rainfall yesterday.

The precipitation is being caused by an upper air cyclonic circulation over central Pakistan and adjoining north-west Rajasthan and south west Punjab extending up to 4.5 km above sea level and another upper air cyclonic circulation over central parts of Uttar Pradesh extending up to 5.8 km above sea level and tilting westwards with height. The monsoon is proceeding normally and is currently over Anupgarh, Pilani and Aligarh, and according to Mr. Chhatar Singh, Director of the Meteorological Department at Chandigarh, “Northern India has received 98 per cent of the normal rainfall levels so far.”

The forecast for tomorrow remains the same as it did today. A few showers are expected at night and through the day and the skies will remain partly cloudy.



Truck blocks Ghaggar bridge; traffic jam for 2 hours
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 12
Traffic flow on the Zirakpur-Dera Bassi stretch of the busy Kalka-Ambala highway was disrupted for more than two hours after a truck broke down on the Ghaggar river bridge, this afternoon.

Scores of passengers and motorists were stuck in the traffic jam. The local administration and the police, however, made no attempt to divert the traffic from the intersection of the Chandigarh-Ambala and the Panchkula-Patiala highways at Zirakpur towards Rajpura. Similarly no traffic diversions were made on the highway in Dera Bassi and Ambala.

The traffic police personnel deployed on the Ghaggar river bridge had a tough time controlling the traffic as well as VVIPs, VIPs and other bureaucrats who were in a hurry to cross the highway. The honking of horns by vehicles with red lights atop violated the traffic rules and added to the chaos.

Unaware of the blocked highway, all long route buses and other motorists got caught in the jam which cleared only after 4 pm. Vehicles could be seen lined up all along the highway on either sides of the bridge even as traffic policemen at both ends of the bridge tried to regulate traffic flow.

The worst hit were passengers who had to catch trains from Ambala railway station and flights from Delhi International Airport. They, too, were delayed for two to three hours.

Vehicular traffic on the highway was restored after the damaged truck, loaded with gravel, was removed with the help of a crane in the evening. 



Petrol stations to remain closed on July 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The Chandigarh Petroleum Dealers Association have unanimously decided to keep all petrol pumps in the city closed from July 17 midnight to July 18 midnight in response to the nationwide strike call given by the Federation of All-India Petroleum Dealers to press for an increase in the commission on sale of petrol and diesel.

The federation is demanding an increase in the commission to 5 per cent of the sale price from the existing 1.59 per cent on petrol and 1.27 per cent on diesel. The requests for adequate dealer commission on percentage basis has been ignored despite promises. They are also demanding common price policy for petrol and diesel. They will also press for the implementation of accord signed by the oil companies with the federation in August 2001.



Sarbjit Singh installed as Rotary Club president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Mr Sarbjit Singh was installed as the new President of the Rotary Club Chandigarh Shivalik at a ceremony held at hotel Sip-n-Dine, Madhya Marg, Chandigarh, today.
Mr Sarbjit Singh is former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion he said the club would undertake community projects such as the construction of rainwater harvesting infrastructure, heath check-up and eye surgery camps, vermiculture and vermicomposting, turkey farming, hard paving of village streets, plantation of trees and vocational training for the needy and the poor.

General V.P. Malik, PVSM, AVSM, former Chief of the Army Staff, was the chief guest at the installation ceremony and congratulated the incoming team. He appreciated the role of NGOs in general and of the Rotary Club in particular for taking up challenging tasks such as the eradication of polio.

The Guest-of-Honour, District Governor Nominee, Rtn. Shaju Peter, assured his whole-hearted support and guidance to the club.

The outgoing President, Col. Harsharan Singh Sandhu, the Charter President of the Club, highlighted the work done during the previous year.

The following are the members of the new board of the club: President Elect— Harshvir Singh Jaspal; Charter President— Col. APS Dhillon; Joint Secretary—Maneet S. Matharu; Director Club Service —Minnie P. Singh.



New BSP unit chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Mr M.C. Suman will be the new president of the local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of party held under the chairmanship of Mr Maan Singh Manhera, general secretary of the party unit.

Meanwhile, Mr Hem Raj Kashyap was elected as the coordinator. Besides, 20 general secretaries and secretaries each were also elected, according to a press note.



Criminal involved in cases of murder, theft arrested
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 12
The Panchkula police claims to have solved the Sector 26 robbery incident with the arrest of Gurpal Singh alias Palla of Amritsar. The police also claimed that the suspect had been involved in over a dozen criminal cases, including murder, theft, robbery and dacoity, registered against him in different police stations of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

In a press note the Panchkula SP, Dr. RC Mishra, claimed that Gurpal Singh alias Palla, a resident of Nanakpur Colony in Her village in Amritsar district, had been residing in a rented accommodation in Sector 28 along with some accomplice.

The SP added that Palla had been active in various crimes after the death of his father. He started his ‘career’ with purse snatching at Lawrence Road in Amritsar. With his accomplice he murdered a Bihari youth Raju, a labourer, putting up in labour quarters of Putlighar Thread Mill. He also robbed a middleman (ahrtia) of Rs 4 lakh and some valuables in Raja Sansi locality.

He also broke into the house of the Principal of DSP College, Kapurthala, tied all the residents in the house and looted them of cash, jewellery and a Tata Safari. On May 30, 2005, he escaped from a police team while he was being taken to be produced in a court in Amritsar.

In Panchkula, Palla lured a girl of Pinjore area on June 18. A case of abduction has been registered against him at Pinjore police station on the complaint of girl’s mother, the SP claimed.

He also added that during interrogation, Palla admitted the crimes and the police has also recovered some goods stolen from the house of Mr Amar Singh Tewatia, an advocate.

The police has also constituted a team to conduct the suspected hideouts of Palla’s accomplice. He was today produced before a court was remanded in police custody for eight days.



Cop caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 12
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today booked a Punjab police officer posted at Nayagaon on graft charges. The policeman was reportedly caught by a VB team while accepting a bribe of Rs 15000 from a resident of Kansal village.

Though the police officer was taken to the vigilance bureau office in Sector 17 Chandigarh and an FIR was lodged, he was let off in the evening. None of the vigilance bureau officers, including the ones who had conducted the raid, could be contacted to know about the details.

According to sources, the policeman had allegedly struck a deal with Sucha Singh, a resident of Kansal village.

Sucha Singh was reportedly involved in a gambling case which was being investigated by the policeman. The policeman allegedly offered to help in the case if Sucha Singh paid Rs 50000 to him the deal. The deal was finalised at Rs 25000.

Some part of the fixed amount had to be handed over at the Nayagaon police station today.

However, Sucha Singh complained to the VB. A VB team raided the police station and reportedly caught Sucha Singh handing over the money to the policeman.

Police sources confirmed that an FIR had been lodged against the policeman and investigations had started.

They added that no action was being initiated till it was clear that the complaint was not motivated and the police officer had been wrongly trapped.

Sources in the Mohali police said they were not informed about the incident. “Transparency would have been assured had the vigilance informed us least after the operation had been conducted successfully,” said a senior police officer in Mohali.



5 booked in assault case
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 12
The police has booked a few persons for allegedly attacking a senior executive of the Godrej factory here yesterday. They were booked on charges of wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation and being armed with deadly weapons.

The persons that have been booked are Jagwinder Singh, a resident of Kharar, Ranjit Singh, Baljinder Singh and others. They had allegedly attacked the senior executive, Mr Sachin Mittal, who sustained injuries and had to be hospitalised.



Convict tries to end life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Sunny Kapoor, a convict undergoing life imprisonment in the high-security Burail Jail, today tried to commit suicide by cutting veins of his arm. According to sources, Sunny(25), who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002 for a murder, was reportedly depressed when he cut his veins with a blunt object around 1.30 p.m. He was rushed to a hospital from where he was later discharged.
He has been booked for attempt to suicide.



Deposit service tax at bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The State Bank of Patiala has been authorised to collect central excise duties and service tax at identified branches in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. Mr V.N Kaila, Principal, Chief Controller of Accounts, Ministry of Finance, Central Board of Excise and Customs formally launched the programme here today in the presence of Mr Yogesh Aggarwal, Managing Director of the bank. The bank also plans to foray into the general insurance segment as it already has subsidiaries in the credit cards and life insurance segments.

Speaking to mediapersons after the programme, Mr Agarwal said the bank had achieved the target of bringing down the non-performing assets ( NPA) to 0.93 per cent , perhaps the lowest in the country. The target is to achieve zero per cent NPA by March 2006. The bank, he claimed ranked fourth among banks in the country due to its performance levels. It has also achieved the RBI benchmark of providing 18 per cent credit to the agricultural sector since it has a strong network of rural branches.

Mr Agarwal said the bank had taken several initiatives on the information technology front and nearly 70 per cent branches have been computerised, while the remaining would be computerised by August 15. The customers would be able to withdraw their money from any branch. They will now also be able to deposit the tax in 25 of its branches and the business of the bank would also expand. The bank has also successfully networked 510 of its branches ( 68 per cent of the total branches) under the core banking solutions as on date and plans to cover all 750 branches. The bank has connected all 259 ATMs with SBI ATM network whereby customers can withdraw money from any ATM of the State Bank Group ATM network all over the country.

Speaking at the function, Mr Kaila said the bank would be able to discharge its new duty properly for it has already given the requisite training to its employees for the purpose. This is the furth bank to get authorisation after State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and UTI.

There has been a significant increase of 25-30 per cent in the tax collection. The target is to have a service tax collection of Rs 70,000 by 2009, it is Rs 17,000 now, he said this while adding that service tax would be the main contributor to taxes in the times to come and it would be around 50 per cent.

Answering a query, Mr Kaila said oil companies were the major contributors of taxes. Mumbai has the highest tax collection followed by Gujarat and then the other metros and Bangalore.



Nabard celebrates foundation day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Nabard commemorated its 24th foundation day today.
Delivering the foundation day lecture, Regional Director, CII, Chandigarh, stressed on achieving rural transformation in India with a special emphasis on the role of Nabard in agriculture and rural development.

She said it was for the first time that we were seeing an increasing realisation of the symbiotic relationship that existed between the twin pillars of Indian economy - industry and agriculture. She stressed that for every additional rupee generated through agriculture production in India, the existing economic linkages could add another three rupees to the income of the rural economy.

Ms Jain pointed out 11 priority areas like marketing, focus on yields, quality control, crop diversification, farm mechanisation, contract farming, information technology, etc which needed to be addressed to bring about rural revolution in India. The function was presided over by Mr D.P.S. Rathore,Regional Director, RBI, Chandigarh.

Earlier, Mr A. Ramanathan, CGM, Nabard, talked about the success story of Nabard since its inception 1982. The regional office at Chandigarh which looks after the twin states of Punjab and Haryana and the regional office recorded an all-time high refinance disbursal of Rs 1639.29 crore under investment activities. Bank linkage of over 6,000 SHGs were facilitated. The regional office mobilised a sum of Rs 63.93 crore under Capital Gain Bonds. Besides Rs 311.01 crore from RIDF was released to the state governments of Punjab and Haryana. Nabard was able to secure business worth Rs 52 lakh through Nabcons.

In his keynote address, Mr Rathore dwelt on the genesis of Nabard and pointed out that the organisation as such had come of age. He specifically mentioned three areas which stood apart viz. funding of rural infrastructure projects through RIDF, interventions under Rural Non-Farm Sector and Nabard’s initiatives in promotion of the SHGs which has resulted in the world’s largest micro-credit programme.

Mr Rathore and Ms Jain along with Mr Ramanathan unveiled the inhouse wall magazine, “Apani Baat”. The magazine has been conceived as a “participatory forum” through which we can focus on “the road ahead”.


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