C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Petrol cheapest in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
For taking advantage of the gap between the announcement of the petrol and diesel price hike and the implementation of the new prices, a large number of commuters today rushed to the petrol stations in the city to get their tanks filled to the top. The new prices would be effective from midnight tonight.

As a result, heavy rush could be witnessed at most of the petrol stations in the city as people queued up to fill their tanks at the old rate the last time. The rush was more pronounced at CITCO station, Sector 9; BP- Sector 21, besides few company owned and operated ones, including the one in Sector 33. A few petrol station reportedly downed their shutters an hour before the closing time tonight following the hike, thereby putting motorists to inconvenience.

A motorist, Rajeev Kumar told TNS that a petrol station in Sector 20 closed an hour before the actual closing time as the station owner wanted to sell the stocks of today at the increased prices tomorrow and another one nearby had already started overcharging before the price hike actually came into effect.

The government today raised the price of petrol by Rs 3 per a litre and diesel by Rs 2 a litre in line with the rising crude prices. Following the hike, petrol will continue to be the cheapest in Panchkula as compared to Chandigarh and Mohali , while diesel in Panchkula would be the costliest.

The general reaction of the city residents was that the hike would hit them hard. “I think i will start moving about on my scooter for it gives better mileage at lesser cost. Driving a car at these rates is an expensive proposition, moreso one is also required to shell out Rs 5 for parking also every now and then,’’ said Amit, a Sector 18 resident. Expressing concern over the latest increase in petrol and diesel price, another commuter Vishal rued that “my monthly fuel bill will go up by around Rs 500, eating into whatever little savings I was able to make so far.’’ His friend Gaurav said, “how much can we save in getting our tanks filled today, for what about paying from tomorrow?’’

Housewives are a worried lot too for they fear that an increase in diesel prices announced today would lead to an increase in the prices of almost all products of daily consumption as the transportation costs would rise.. `` The worst hit would be the prices of vegetables and edible commodities as their transportation from the nearby townships is completely dependent on trucks,’’ said Vijay, a grocery merchant in Sector 8.

Meanwhile, the autorickshaw and taxi unions have protested against the hike for their fares have not been revised even as the price of petrol and diesel is revised at least four to fives times in a year. The fares of autorickshaws in the city have not been revised since 2001.

The hike in diesel prices would have an adverse affect on farmers, as the costs of running tractors, pump sets and generator sets would go up substantially.

Various political parties condemned the hike saying that ever since the Congress came to power it has been taking steps which burn a hole in the pocket of the common man. Mr Sat Pal Jain, former UT President of the BJP said, “Congress had in its manifesto promised to check the rising prices but contrary to it they were raising it time and again. They should check the wasteful expenditure by the official machinery to cut costs rather than put this unnecessary burden on the common man, he said. He hoped that the government would take steps to ensure that the prices of commodities are not jacked up arbitrarily. They would be protesting against the hike tomorrow.



Think twice before you drink and drive
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Revellers in high spirits think twice before gripping your cars’ steering wheel with unsteady hands after guzzling invigorating yellow drink in city bars and clubs. Chances are that the cops will sober you up by issuing challan receipts after springing from behind the camouflaging bushes.

Be extra cautious if you are driving in Chandigarh Club’s vicinity late in the evening after having a drop too much. For, the men-in-white have already set up a special naka on the road leading to the club for making blind drunkards see the light.

Quoting figures, sources in the police headquarters say the Chandigarh traffic police personnel managed to challan over 50 drunken drivers over the weekend as a part of a special “Sobriety Drive” recently intensified by it.

Giving details of the drive aimed at catching residents going on a spree, the sources add that on at least three occasions on Saturday last the cops were forced to arrest of the offenders due to “aggressive drunken behaviour” and stiff resistance offered by them.

The sources add that the drive against drunken driving will further be intensified by the cops in the coming few days. The focus will not just be on the revellers going for joy rides or returning home after drinking, but also on the drivers of commercial vehicles, including trucks and autorickshaws.

They add that senior police officers are also exploring the possibility of booking the overcome motorists for endangering human lives by indulging in rash and negligent driving under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code.

This, they assert, is necessary as over 141 fatal accidents were reported to the Chandigarh Police the previous year. Out of the total, one third of the deaths occurred between 7 pm and 5 am. In a majority of the cases, the drivers were zipping down the roads at break neck speeds after going on a binge.

The sources assert that otherwise 186 major and minor accidents were reported to the police from January till April this year. A substantial number of them were caused due to drunken driving.

They further add that from January last year to July this year nearly 12, 000 motorists were challaned by the police for overspeeding. So many of the offenders were also drunk.

Drink within limits

Before having one more for the road, just make sure you do not exceed the limit. The sources in the local police say that if the concentration of alcohol in the blood is more than acceptable limit, the cops can challan you for drunken driving and even impound your vehicle.

It all depends upon the time you spend guzzling liquor and snacks you have with it, but generally speaking three small pegs spread over an hour is considered safe from the driving point of view. The concentration of alcohol is measured with the help of alcho-sensor.

The sources add that some of the drivers caught by them at the nakas are so drunk that they even find it hard to blow their breath in the sensors for enabling the police to gauge the alcohol’s concentration. Then there is the problem of VIP brats out of their senses due to excessive drinking. They have to be handled with extra caution, the sources conclude.



Woman hangs herself to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
A 22-year-old married woman allegedly hanged herself to death at her Dadu Majra Colony residence late last night. The reason behind the death is not known as no suicide note was found.

Sources in the police said, Kiran Devi, mother of two sons, was found hanging from a ceiling fan hook by her husband, Sanjay Chauhan, at around 2.30 am. Her eight-month-old son was playing on the bed while other four-year-old was sleeping and the light in the room was on.

Sanjay, who is working in a private firm in Mohali and usually works till late hours, told the police that he came back from his job at 2 am and found the door locked from inside. When his repeated calls went unanswered he called his neighbours. He was told that they saw Kiran working till 12.30 am and she might be in deep sleep. Sanjay reportedly waited for sometime before he peeped through the desert cooler and found Kiran hanging. He raised alarm and with the help of neighbours he entered the room. By that time Kiran was no more.

They police sent the body to the General Hospital in Sector 16. The police has informed the parents of the deceased in Patna about the incident and is waiting to record their statements. The postmortem will be conducted tomorrow, said the police.

Kiran had married about four years ago. The neighbours and her husband told the police that she had a sensitive nature and got disturbed over trivial issues.



Order to release soldier serving life term
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
In what could be the first-of-its-kind order vis-à-vis court martial proceedings in the armed forces, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has suspended the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to a soldier for having allegedly killed another soldier.

The accused, Naik Shinder Singh of 10 Sikh, who has been lodged in Central Jail, Bathinda, since August 11, 1996, was sentenced to life imprisonment by an Army court martial on June 10, 1998.

Passing a detailed order on an application filed through advocate Capt Sandeep Bansal (retd), seeking stay or suspension of sentence awarded to the soldier as also grant of bail to him, Mr Justice Surya Kant also ordered release of the soldier on bail.

Naik Shinder and two other soldiers were arrested by the police for having allegedly killed Naib Subedar Manjit Singh and Havaldar Hardayal Singh. The case was withdrawn from the civil court and it was ordered to be handled by a court of inquiry and thereafter, a general court martial.

In his petition challenging the manner in which the inquiry and subsequent court martial was conducted as also the order of sentence, the petitioner has also challenged his dismissal from service.

During hearing, Capt Bansal (retd), counsel for the accused, submitted that his client had already undergone actual sentence of more than eight years and eight months and since there was little possibility of his main petition being disposed of soon, there was every chance that by the time the court decided his writ, he would have undergone the entire sentence.

In his order, Mr Justice Surya Kant observed that the petitioner had already undergone over eight years’ imprisonment and there was noting adverse regarding his conduct in sentence. The Judge held that in view of circumstances, it was a fit case where interim direction to stay suspension of the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to the petitioner and to release him on bail should be issued.

Therefore, apart from suspending the sentence, the soldier was ordered to be released on furnishing bail bond to the tune of Rs 25,000 with one surety of a like amount to the satisfaction of the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Ordnance chief of Western Command elevated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Lieut-Gen D.D.S. Sandhu has, on promotion, taken over as the Commandant, College of Materials Management at Jabalpur today. Prior to this, he was heading the Ordnance Branch at Headquarters Western Command, Chandi Mandir, in the rank of Major-General. General Sandhu is also the Colonel Commandant of the Army Ordnance Corps (AOC).

Commissioned in June 1967, he headed the Army’s Computerised Inventory Control Project, designed to computerise the functioning of the AOC. His earlier assignments include command of the Central Ordnance Depot in Delhi and a tenure in Nigeria.

His academic qualifications include masters in business administration, masters in material management, M.Phil in defence studies and a doctorate in International Marketing of Indian Defence Products.



Army relaxes standards for technical recruits
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Faced with a shortfall in eligible youth for recruitment into the technical stream, the Army has brought about certain relaxations in the educational standards prescribed for such candidates.

Candidates no longer needs to obtain the minimum prescribed marks in specified subjects at the 10-plus-two intermediate level in order to be eligible. According to directives issued by Army Headquarters recently, they simply have to be pass class XII.

Deputy Director-General Recruiting, Brig R.D. Sharma, said the standards were revised after the Army was not finding adequate number of candidates to fill vacancies in the technical trades.

Though the exact shortfall of manpower in technical trades is not available, unofficial sources place it at about 30 per cent. Soldiers in the technical stream are responsible for maintenance and repair of electronic, electrical and mechanical equipment.

Earlier, candidates should have passed 10+2 with English, Maths, Physics and Chemistry, with minimum 50 per cent marks in aggregate and at least 40 per cent marks in each subject specified for the trade. The stipulation of minimum marks has now been done away with.

Though the shortfall of technically qualified candidates was being felt at the national level, Brigadier Sharma said that the Punjab-Haryana-Himachal Pradesh region was not affected. One reason being cited for surplus of technically qualified persons in this region is the presence of a large number of technical training institutes. The shortfall of candidates, sources said, was particularly severe in the north eastern region.

Recently, about 200 candidates for the technical trades were recruited from this region over and above vacancies allotted to this region. It was done as vacancies allotted to other regions by Army Headquarters went unfilled.

“If a candidate qualifies in our written examination and other tests, even though he may have fared poorly in academics, it is good enough for us,” an officer said. “This way we can broadbase our selection and in-service training and courses can make up for the rest,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Army is also granting dispensation in educational standards for candidates from particular regions and communities who are applying for recruitment as general duty soldiers. For this category, candidates require to be matric with at least 45 per cent marks in aggregate.

The dispensation was introduced last year keeping in view the socio-economic conditions and remoteness of specified regions. This will continue till March, 2007, when its further status would be reviewed.



Passing Thru

What brings you to the city?

Sheetal Sharma
Sheetal Sharma, Director-Coordinator, DAV College Managing
Committee, New Delhi

I am here to visit DAV School, Mohali, on occasion of Teachers Day. Our main thrust is to consolidate our existing network of various educational institutions across the country so as to equip these to effectively deal with today’s challenges.

Educational sphere has deeply been commercialized. What is being done to tackle this?

DAV has never supported any endeavour aimed solely at commercial gains. We are trying to provide every possible facility required for a comfortable teaching and learning. Our institutions have been opened with a missionary zeal and not on mere commercial considerations.

How do you view teaching as a profession?

It is excellent. I started off as teacher and still miss my classroom. Believe me teaching is one of those wonderful professions that gives a feeling of contributing towards making the future of society.

What do you suggest to modernize the education system?

By incorporating IT-enabled teaching and well-equipped computer labs, we have ensured that all our institutions, even those situated in far off locations, should have all modern facilities and computers.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Ray of hope for housewives, retirees in IT sector
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Information Technology Department of the Chandigarh Administration has introduced a new series of the C-TOSS (Chandigarh Training of Software Skills) programme for housewives and people retired from active services to equip them with potential for job in the IT sector.

‘C-TOSS Plus’ programme has a revamped syllabi details of which have been worked out by the Society for Promotion of Information Technology in Chandigarh (SPIC). Orientation classes are currently underway at the SPIC centre inside Punjab Engineering College premises. Normal classes commence from September 8 onwards, sources in the SPIC said.

The biggest potential for employment in this sector is seen in the ‘call centres’. The course specially underlines the goals of ‘telephone etiquette and soft skills”. This means a programme for improving clarity of speech and developing conversation skills for enhancing the potential of communication.

The official said in the first phase the IT enthusiasts will be given a 50-hour training under a syllabi developed by the Hero Mind Mime Group. “At the moment one cannot comment on details of self-employment that the course offered. At the same time there are a number of individuals who are carrying out professional IT job, particularly data inscription, from their homes in the city. This is an area which will develop in relation to the pace of development in the IT sector of the city”.

The training programmes in the city will be assessed by the NASSCOM which has recently launched the assessment programme for the ITES-BPO(Business Process Outsourcing) sector. The assessment will be handy for the trainees while applying for jobs in the market.

It was pointed out that the ‘C-TOSS plus’ programme has been taken up following very good response to the C-TOSS programme. Nearly all the colleges of the city, barring one-two, are running the course. The course has already been introduced in a number of government schools as well. “The programme in schools is an introduction for students to the world of IT. It is training them for future and saves students the time and effort to learn the basics at the higher level”, he added.

“With coming in of more IT companies at the IT park, there is going to be plenty of scope for employment. Call centres definitely have place a large number who can equip themselves with the minimal requirements at handling the software and improving their communication skills”, the official added.



Viewers deprived of 11 TV channels in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
The One Alliance channels have stopped beaming its 11 channels in the township, including its flagship channels Sony Television, Set Max and Ten Sports.

While officials of Sony TV say that a decision in this regard has been taken after the cable operators in Panchkula failed to clear their outstanstanding dues, the operators say that these are arm-twisting tactics. The office bearers of the Panchkula Cable TV System and Panchkula Cable Network, however, say that they are being asked to pay the enhanced tariff from April, though the tariff change was affected only in July.

Thousands of residents here have been forced to forego their favourite TV programmes, thanks to the 11 channels of the Sony package going off air. These channels are Sony TV, Set Max, Discovery, Animal Planet, AXN, MTV, Discovery Travel and Living, Animax, Nick, Ten Sports and SAB TV.

The dispute between the operators and the channel has arisen after Sony included two channels in its package — Ten Sports and Sab TV in July. The Sony package was earlier available to the cable operator for Rs 65 per connection. After the two channels were included in their package, Sony increased its tariff by Rs 38 per connection, and the package is now available at Rs 104 per connection.

While the cable operators allege that the Sony TV is asking them to pay the enhanced tariff from April — two months before the increase was affected — Sony TV officials claim otherwise. Mr Ajay Arora of Sony TV says that they have stopped beaming the channels in Panchkula as the cable operators have not cleared their dues. ‘As soon as the dues are cleared, we will resume broadcasting,” he assured.

It may be noted that following bifurcation of various television packages, leading to an increase in subscription, the consumers are forced to pay Rs 350 per month since March, as compared to the earlier monthly tariff of Rs 300 per month. Operators say that following the hike in subscription by most pay channels, the are left with no option but to hike tariff.

Other than the 7 per cent increase in tariff allowed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from January this year, Star TV network and Zee Network included some new channels in their package and bifurcated the packages. With this bifurcation and increase in tariff allowed by TRAI, Zee Network has hiked its subscription by Rs 29 per connection, and Star TV by Rs 17. 20 per connection.



Dalit bodies call off bandh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
With the Dalit organisations calling off their protest at the last moment, confusion prevailed over the call for the Chandigarh bandh here today. The response to the bandh call was poor.

According to Dalit leaders, the bandh was called off late last night following a CBI probe and enhancement of interim relief to the Gohana victims to Rs 1 lakh ordered by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, yesterday.

However, the police had made elaborate security arrangements keeping in view the widespread violence in Panchkula on September 2. Leaving nothing to chance, the police had virtually cordoned off the slum areas.

Meanwhile, shops in certain colonies remained closed in response to the bandh call. The planned rally of the Dalit organisations at the Matka Chowk could not be held.



Coop bank staff hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Employees of Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank held a gate rally today in front of their head office. The call for the rally was given by the Coordination Committee of Markfed, Cooperative Bank, Agriculture Development Bank, Milkfed, Housefed and Puncofed Employees Unions.

The employees demonstrated against the “anti-employee” policies of the Punjab Government and protested against the “anti-employee” attitude of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies.

The general secretary, Mr Baljit Singh Kumbra, announced full support to the actions of the coordination committee and promised to participate in the rallies of the coordination committee in full strength.

Union leaders are demanding two years ex-gratia/bonus from 2003-2004 and 2004 -05 and clearing of all promotion cases.

Later, the convener of the coordination committee, Mr S.K. Bhanot, announced the future course of action.



BSNL executives hold lunch-hour protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Executives of BSNL Employees Association and Sanchar Nigam Executive Association under the banner of United Forum today observed a lunch hour protest and raised slogans in front of the office of the chief GMT, Punjab Circle, Chandigarh and GM’s offices all over the state. The executives are agitating for redressal of their grievances and for other issues not resolved by the Punjab Circle management of BSNL.

The main demands of the executives are filing up of vacant posts of SDEs and DEs by giving officiating promotions, sanction of posts in new services of WLL, Broadband, Internet and mobile services, providing telecom facilities in technically non-feasible area of Chandigarh and other SSAs, accountability in delaying the revival of popular plans of fixed landline phones. They have also demanded service WLL phones for executives working in the circle office and GSM mobile to executives in field in SSA’s. 



Engineer a student at 78
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
Mr Raghbir Singh at 78 is busy with his academic pursuits.

Post retirement, this former Chief Engineer with the Haryana State Electricity Board (HSEB), decided that he could not be content with just sitting at home. “I had fulfilled all my responsibilities towards my children, and had always wanted to pursue academics. After retirement, I had the money and time to enhance my knowledge, thus I began my second innings,” he says.

In the past 19 years, Mr Raghbir Singh has completed a post-graduate diploma in Labour Law and Personnel Management, Bachelors degree in Law, and is now working on completing his Bachelors degree in Computer Applications. “ I had to stop studying for a year because of weak eye sight and a cataract problem. Now that I have had an eye operation, I will complete my BCA soon,” he says confidently.

Mr Raghbir Singh was born in an average middle class family in Sonepat. “My father was a Patwari, and ensured that I got a good education. I was good in studies, and always studied on a scholarship. After having completed my Bachelors in Science (Engineering) from Maclagan Engineering College, Lahore, I joined the Punjab Electricity Department as a Sub Divisional Officer (Haryana was carved in 1966, and he joined the HSEB). But I was so caught up in the rigmarole of life, that I never had time for pursuing academics. Retirement brought with it spare time and other resources, and I decided to study, rather than lead a life of solitude,” he says.

He says that he got a lot of support from his family. “My grandchildren, would often find it strange that I would study with them,” he laughs, as he remembers their initial reactions. “I wanted to do my Masters in Engineering (M. Tech), but could not make it for the course. I did my LL. B., mainly so as to be able to defend my own land dispute cases and learn about land records,”he says.

Mr Raghbir Singh says that at his age, it is not easy to learn lessons, because of weak memory retention and weak eye sight. “But it is my determination and zeal to attain knowledge that keeps me going,” he says.



Tubewell Corpn staff stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Members of the Tubewell Corporation Workers Union, Punjab, today staged a dharna outside their Sector 26 head office in support of their demands. Hundreds of employees from various divisions in the state raised slogans against the Chairman and Managing Director of the Corporation against their indifferent attitude towards their demands.

Addressing the employees, the state president, Mr Rajpal Joshi, and general secretary, Mr Ram Ji Dass Chauhan, alleged that the long-pending and genuine demands of the employees were being ignored. Instead of resolving the issue, the management was adopting an agitational approach towards the employees.

Their demands include giving jobs to the wards of the deceased on compassionate grounds, payment of balance allowances to the employees along with transportation costs, regular promotions after removing the ban, implementation of the Supreme Court order with regard to workcharge services , summer and winter uniforms for the operational staff , mandatory transfer of lining circle workers to the tubewell circles etc. They have threatened to intensify the agitation if no action was taken on their demands. The agitating employees will lodge a continuous protest in front of their office from September 7 and will even gherao the officials also. 



Green belt inaugurated in Sec 37
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), Ms Kamla Sharma, today inaugurated green belt in Sector 37.

In a press note issued here today, Ms Sharma informed that the green belt had been developed out of her Area Development Councillor Fund at a cost of Rs 6.53 lakh.

Besides pathways and electric lights, the green belt, particularly developed for the residents of Sector 37(A and B), also has a rain shelter, the press note added.



Sector 19 taps go dry
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 6
The main water pipeline in Sector 19 burst today and hundreds of residents of the sector were forced to go without water all day. Residents complained that their taps went dry in the morning and they found it hard to do their normal chores. Residents say that they made numerous complaints to HUDA, but no alternative arrangements for supplying water were made. They themselves had to get private water tankers and get their water tanks filled. The pipeline reportedly burst during the digging work being carried out by the BSNL for laying its cable. The HUDA authorities say that they have formally lodged a complaint with the BSNL authorities in this regard. 



PUDA notices to farmers decried
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 6
The Kissan Hit Bachao Committee (Periphery Area) has condemned the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for issuing notices to farmers of various villages who had carried out constructions on their land.

Mr Baljeet Singh Kumbra, press secretary of the committee, said here today that PUDA had stated in the notices that the constructions carried out were illegal. He said that according to the 74th Amendment of the Constitution, PUDA Act, 1995, was unconstitutional after 1996. As such PUDA had no right to act as a regulatory body and issue notices to farmers. He alleged that it was only a step to give rise to corruption.



Woman raped near nursery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
A 30-year-old unmarried man allegedly raped a woman in her mid-40s this morning near the Durga Nursery in Mani Majra here. In a separate incident, a youngster was arrested by the police for eve-teasing.

A painter, Khem Chand, alias Chottu of Mauli Jagran, was arrested by a police party after the victim raised alarm. A case under Sections 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. The suspect was later produced before a local court which remanded him in judicial custody till September 20.

Giving details of the incident, the sources in the police said Khem Chand followed the victim, who had gone to the bushes near the Durga Nursery at around 5 am to pick rags. Finding the victim alone, he raped her and then threatened to kill her in case she informed anyone about the incident. As the luck would have it, a police Gypsy passed there by and the victim raised the alarm. The police pounced on the accused and arrested him.

In a separate incident, a youngster was arrested by the police on the allegations of eve-teasing a minor girl in sector 22 this afternoon.

The police said Sanjay Thomas (18) allegedly passed filthy remarks to a schoolgirl near Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22. A cop noticed this and arrested him on the charges of eve-teasing. He was later released on bail.



13 kg ganja seized
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police claimed to have seized 13 kg of ganja from a Dadu Majra village resident yesterday. According to sources the market price of the contraband is about Rs 65,000.

Bharat Gupta was arrested from near Dadu Majra. The police had set up a picket-point. Bharat tried to turn away on seeing the police party which made the cops suspicious and a search of his bag led to the recovery of the contraband.

During preliminary interrogation Bharat told the police that he hailed from Bihar and used to smuggle the contraband to the city. Bharat is a fruit seller and lives alone in Dadu Majra village in a rented accommodation.

A case under Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act has been registered in this regard. He will be produced before a local court tomorrow.



Couple held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
The local police today arrested a Sector 38-based couple on charges of duping four persons of Rs 2.80 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad.

Sources in the police said Prem Chand Chauhan and his wife, Nirmala Chauhan, were arrested on the basis of a complaint of Ravinder Singh, Praneetpal, Raghbir Singh and Suresh Kumar, all residents of Gurdaspur. A case of cheating under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered. While the third accused, Anil Minocha is still at large.

Giving details of the case, the sources said the accused had given an advertisement in 2003 regarding the immigration services provided in their Sector 34-based M/s Edge Immigration Private Limited. The complainants reportedly approached the accused and were asked to pay Rs 70,000 each as advance fee for the visa formalities. The deal was struck for a Canadian visa for Rs 4 lakh. After taking the money the accused called the complainants for medical tests. Later they kept on making one excuse or other to the complainants and never arranged their visas.

The sources said earlier a case was registered against the company in July.



Night shopping still a far cry
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The commercial hub of the city, Sector 17, may not keep date with night shopping as the shopkeepers are cool to Chandigarh Administration’s ambitious proposal of extended shopping hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In fact a majority of the shopkeepers have shown indifference towards the night shopping in an informal inhouse survey conducted by the Shopkeepers Association, Sector 17, recently. Practical problems, coupled with lack of infrastructural development in Sector 17 which could attract the shoppers and visitors, are cited as major reasons for disinterest among shopkeepers.

When contacted, the general secretary of the association, Mr JPS Kalra, confirmed that the workers had shown little interest in the night shopping. Since a majority of the shop workers come from the peripheral areas of the city, transport to their places of residence during the late hours was going to pose serious problems.

Besides, traders’ security, particularly those carrying huge cash, was also a cause of concern. To top it all, the unregulated parking of vehicles also discouraged the shoppers during late hours.

Most of the shopkeepers were in favour of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m shopping hours keeping in view the convenience of all concerned. Currently, the shops function from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Putting the record straight, Mr Kalra clarified that the traders were not against the night shopping. However, the administration should prepare the ground for night shopping by developing infrastructure, particularly the recreational facilities, to attract the shoppers and visitors.

The ball for night shopping was set in motion following a visit of the UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (Retd), to Sector 17 on June 11. Subsequently, on June 17, the association representatives met General Rodrigues in which decision regarding extended hours was mooted.

It is highlighted that the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, which has been extended to Chandigarh, will have to be amended.

The sources said the decision to have extended shopping hours had been taken in the wake of the “multiplex culture” coming to the heart of the city. With atleast four multiplexes slated to be operational in the sector in near future, it was felt that nigh-shopping could make the sector a “happening place.”



No fuel surcharge on SBI ATM cards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Mr A. Krishna Kumar, General Manager of the Chandigarh Circle of the State Bank of India (SBI), today inaugurated an arrangement under which “no fuel surcharge” will be payable by SBI and associate banks’ ATM-cum-debit card holders at select BPCL petrol stations.

The facility was rolled out at four retail outlets of the BPCL at Sectors 21, 22, 35 and Mani Majra. The SBI, with its eight associate banks, is the largest debit card issuer in South Asia with over 13 million ATM-cum-debit cards.

The bank has also introduced a host of new services at its ATMs, like the payment of school and college fees of Panjab University and Punjab Engineering College, re-charge of prepaid mobile phones and donations to temples and trusts, the press note added.


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