C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman embraces death to save son, but in vain
Tribune News Service

Onlookers gather around the railway track in Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, where Prem Wati and her son Ajay were crushed under a train on Friday.
Onlookers gather around the railway track in Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, where Prem Wati and her son Ajay were crushed under a train on Friday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Panchkula, September 16
A 22-year-old youth and his mother were crushed to death under a train near the Mansa Devi Complex level crossing today. The youth committed suicide, while his hapless mother died while trying to pull him out of the way of the speeding train.

The incident took place around 1 pm. Eyewitnesses say they saw the youth, Ajay, running towards the train, while a woman (later identified as his mother, Prem Wati) was following him. “Just as the woman tried to pull him away, the train first hit her and then the youth,” they said. The victims were residents of Indira Colony.

It is learnt that Ajay was under a severe depression as his newly launched venture of removing dents from vehicles failed to take off. “We had taken him to the General Hospital, Chandigarh, for treatment, but he ran away from the hospital. He would often say that he wanted to end his life, so we would keep a close watch on him. His mother died while trying to save him,” said Mr Ram Kishen, father of Ajay, his voice choking with emotion.

The family, including Ajay’s elder brother, Raju, had been concerned about his mental health. They had heard about a baba in Surajpur, near here, who could cure depression, and had taken him there last night.

“He was there at the dera, and after the baba told us that he was alright, we came back to our house in Indira Colony. We were all sleeping, and we do not know when Ajay slipped out. My mother saw him leave, and ran after him. Some neighbours later said that they even heard her shout at him to come back,” says Raju.

One of the neighbours, sensing that something was wrong, followed them, and saw the two being crushed under the train. The police has initiated inquest proceedings, and the bodies have been sent for post-mortem examination.



Onion prices shoot up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The cost of onion has once again shot up in the city due to an acute shortage in supply from Maharashtra. Large areas of the state have reported destruction of crop, which has led to a price hike.

The price has almost doubled in just a fortnight. And there is every possibility of it going up even further in the coming week, if fresh stocks from Nashik don’t hit the market.

“The prices have been on a steep hike. The retail price has been oscillating between Rs 18 and Rs 20. But a week before when the stock was thinning and supply was awaited from the regions of Maharashtra, particularly from Nashik, the price rise could not be checked,” said Kishori, a wholesaler in Sector 26 market.

The wholesale price of onion is pegged at Rs 1,050 per quintal for average quality of onion and it is retailed at Rs 15-18 per kg, while the higher quality of onion is being sold in retail for Rs 18-20 per kg,” he added.

“It is high time some concrete steps are taken to check the spiralling prices of onion otherwise it will be a repeat of 1999,” said Anu, a housewife.

A few other housewives said it was a reminiscent of 1999 when onion had to be imported from Iran after the prices of onion touched Rs 100 per kg.

If the supplies from Nashik are not restored at the earliest, onion will be available only in the range of Rs 20 to Rs 25 depending on the quality.

The supply of onion to the city is generally ensured by Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Now the stock of onion from these states is over. And since the supplies have also not been coming from Nashik due to destruction of crop in the cultivation area, prices are likely to go further up.



HC gives 2-week reprieve to marble traders
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

A marble market being demolished during a drive at Raipur Khurd in Chandigarh on Friday.
A marble market being demolished during a drive at Raipur Khurd in Chandigarh on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 16
Even as the drive by the enforcement wing of the Chandigarh Administration to remove unauthorised marble shops at Raipur Khurd village was called off after the affected shopkeepers got a two-weeks reprieve from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, three shopkeepers were booked for preventing government servants from carrying out the drive.

Today was the second day of the drive and by the time the orders of the court were delivered, the demolition squad had razed some pucca structures and damaged stocks of marble at some shops.

While shopkeepers argued with officers to wait as the two-week stay orders of the court were being brought to the spot, the officials did not relent. This resulted in heated arguments between the two parties. An FIR was registered against three proprietors of Laxmi Marbles — Subash Bansal, Verbhan Bansal and Rajesh Bansal — at the Industrial Area police station. However, the Chandigarh Marble Traders Association alleged that on seeing the stay orders, the officers got irritated and instead manhandled the pleading shopkeepers, a fact denied by the officials.

As per the orders of the high court, the shopkeepers will have to vacate the premises within two weeks failing which the Administration will bulldoze the structures.

Around 10 truckloads of marble were confiscated and shipped to the godown of the authorities concerned, said the president of the association, Mr Hemant Garg.

He said it was not possible to remove the stocks within a few days as demands by the Administration.

The Land Acquisition Officer (LAO), Mr S.K. Setia, had to repeatedly assure the residents that no residential house was being demolished in the village The enforcement squad was escorted by a police force.

Meanwhile, the local unit of the BJP has criticised the Congress MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, for having utterly failed in safeguarding the interests of the people of Chandigarh. Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, BJP spokesperson, said the demolition of marble shops in Raipur Khurd was condemnable. He alleged that officers of the Administration and the MP were hand in glove on the issue of houses outside the “lal dora”.



2 HMT employees crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 16
Two persons were killed when they were hit by a speeding truck while they were waiting for a bus at a bus stop at Old Panchkula this morning. The driver of the truck was reportedly driving on the wrong side.

Balraj (44) and Surinder Kaur (35), both employees of the HMT, Pinjore, had come here together from Pinjore. Surinder Kaur had to catch a bus from Old Panchkula for her ancestral village, and had taken a lift from Balraj on his motor cycle.

Balraj, a mechanic in the factory, was going to Chandigarh to get his son’s passport made. Surinder Kaur had just disembarked from the motor cycle, when a speeding truck (HR- 34- 9063) coming from Panchkula, hit them.

Eyewitnesses said the truck first hit Balraj and dragged him on the road for a few metres, before hitting Surinder Kaur. Both employees died on the spot.

The driver of the truck fled the scene.



Students to pay Rs 20 for water at school
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Charging for every little facility being provided to students has become a norm with most private schools but Chandigarh Baptist School, Sector 45, has taken it a little too far. Beginning this month the school has decided to charge all students a “meagre” fee of Rs 20 per month to provide them with clean drinking water.

In a circular issued to all parents, the school authorities have stated that a mineral water plant has been installed at the school premises. It adds: “The class teachers are going to collect Rs 20 for the month of September and Rs 20 will be charged along with fee” for extending this facility to the students.

The circular goes on to add that the parents must pay the fee and all dues, inclusive of this water fee, before September 26, failing which their wards would not be allowed to appear in the first terminal examination.

A parent said an oral order from the class teacher also bans carrying of water bottles to school to ensure students only consume “clear drinking water from the plant”. Resentful of this “latest tax”, the parents maintained that the school was already charging all sorts of funds and should have met the expenses of the installation of the plant from them.

The Principal, Ms Sarojini Massih, said the school had installed a mineral water plant at the premises to deal with complaints of contaminated water.

“The plant has cost us Rs 10 lakh and we are required to pay Rs 20,000 every month as installment for the same. Since the plant was set up only for the benefit of students, we decided to charge them Rs 20 for the next six month. The rest of the cost will be borne by the school,” she said.

The school authorities added that the decision to levy a fee of Rs 20 had been taken by them in consultation with the parents of the students. “They were very happy about the plant and didn’t seem to mind paying a little money in the name of hygiene. Also, the fee has nothing to do with the first terminal examination as is being misconstrued,” the Principal said.

The school has its monthly parent-teacher meeting scheduled for tomorrow where the issue will be taken up by irate parents who are not too happy with the arrangement. “It’s not about paying Rs 20 a month. When we can afford to pay the exorbitant fee, we can certainly afford to pay an additional Rs 20,” the parents maintained.



Passing Thru

Shiv Khera, renowned motivator for several Fortune 500 companies
Shiv Khera, renowned motivator for several Fortune 500 companies

Your motivational skills have influenced many lives. What inspires you?

My greatest motivation is belief. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can do things or cannot do them, depending on your thinking process and belief. It is a lot to do with your feelings , and less to do with your mind.

What is the reason for your success?

I believe in sharing knowledge. My programmes help people self-evaluate, because self-evaluating is a very enlightening process. People often mistake self-evaluation with rationalisation. I lead them to a path of self-discovery and a positive attitude. The positive attitude will ultimately benefit the society.

How did you embark upon your journey of self-discovery?

I have risen from the ashes. There was a time I was broke and had to sell my mother’s jewellery for meeting the family’s day- to- day needs. I migrated to Canada and did odd jobs like washing cars and selling insurance policies. I was chucked out of my job as an insurance agent. That’s when I decided to take control of my life. After this, I paved my own way to success.

What are your new books about?

I am working on two books — one on leadership and the second on selling skills.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Time running out for kidney patient
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Grinding poverty has once again played foul. For Vinod Nandan Sinha, his wife Veena, and their two children, the diagnosis of renal failure has a ring of finality from which there seems to be no respite.

Vinod Nandan Sinha and his wife, Veena, hoping for monetary help to be able to continue the expensive treatment for Vinod, diagnosed with renal failure.
Vinod Nandan Sinha and his wife, Veena, hoping for monetary help to be able to continue the expensive treatment for Vinod, diagnosed with renal failure. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

The beginning of it all seemed mild - a nosebleed at a wedding that seemed innocuous by itself. However, tests revealed high blood pressure and an ultrasound showed renal failure last year. The doctors recommended the PGI, Chandigarh, and the family moved here from Patna.

The dialysis started soon after and with it an endless trudge to gather enough money. “We had no idea what this was all about and what kind of expenses this would entail. We started the treatment and suddenly all the money we had was not enough,” says a despondent Veena.

To pay for the treatment, the family sold their business, a chemist shop and their house in Patna. “We were not poor, we might have not rolled in the lap of luxury but my father had built up a decent income over the years and we were content in that,” says the younger son, Sunny.

Money was spent unceasingly. Both the sons had to stop their schooling and take up part-time jobs. However, it seems, the odds are against him. After the kidney compatibility test of Vinod’s mother failed, Veena is now undergoing a series of tests to determine if her kidney will be compatible for a transplant.

The irony is that Vinod’s brothers and sisters, living in Bihar are not willing to come and help, either by way of donating their kidneys which would in all probability be a match, or by willing to help with finances.

Unable to go through with a transplant, Vinod suffered an attack of haematoma. An operation followed in July and virtually rendered the family penniless.

“We had collected a decent sum of money by selling our house. We thought we had enough to make it. Now, we have nothing and need help. We do not know where to start. I have only studied up to Class X , so I cannot get a job either,” laments Sunny.

All Veena can do is cry in despair. “I had ornaments which I sold for the operation.”

The treatment has also trickled down to one instead of two dialyses a day since there is no money to continue it.

Collecting Rs. 30,000 every month for the treatment is near impossible for this family, living at the PGI Sarai complex. Each day the situation only gets worse for the patient, unable to get timely treatment, and the family, knowing it is helpless.

Anyone wishing to help them can send a draft in the name of The Director, PGI with the name of the patient at the back of the draft or can get in touch with the PRO on 2756003. Funds can also be contributed to the Poor Patients Welfare Fund at the PGI.



Despite tragedy, Army officers hold get-together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Despite cancelling all social functions to mark its 58th Raising Day as a mark of respect to 34 soldiers who died in Kinnaur bridge collapse barely a week ago, officers posted in Chandi Mandir and around got together for cocktails at the Shivalik Officers Institute last evening.

This has not only hurt the sentiments of friends and acquaintances of those killed in the line of duty, but has also upset ex-servicemen settled here, who have termed the action as insensitive.

Earlier this week, the get-together, for which retired officers were also invited, was cancelled and the authorities at Western Command made a public announcement to this effect.

The get-together for serving officers was held at the same venue and time as the earlier function was scheduled.

According to sources, over 100 officers accompanied by their wives, were present.

Among them were the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt-Gen S. Pattabhiraman and the Chief of Staff, Lt-Gen P.K. Grover.

An official spokesperson for Headquarters Western Command, when contacted, termed the get-together as routine and not as part of any celebrations.

Some of the officers, however, have questioned this stance, asking since when gatherings of this magnitude have been routine affairs and that too at the same venue and for the same purpose for which an earlier function was supposedly cancelled.

A section of retired officers were also of the view that if the function was cancelled once, the Army should have stuck to its decision.

Organising such a get-together, they said, was inappropriate.

According to an officer present at the get-together, the evening was a “sombre affair” and was without any lights or music.

There were also officers who felt that given the occasion, there was no harm in organising a get-together if it was held in a solemn atmosphere.



She is determined to bring ‘culprits’ to book
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Agony has given way to determination in her cold hard eyes.

As Bindi stares resolutely, you realise that nothing but action against those allegedly responsible for her elder sister Bubbly’s death will bring tenderness back to her eyes.

“I have shed enough tears...,” she says in a decided voice. “No, I will not cry. No, not anymore. I will work hard to make sure that the culprits are brought to book”.

Bubbly’s body was found “hanging” from the ceiling of a Sector 34 house where she was working as a maid servant on September 7. Though the police termed the incident as suicide after holding preliminary inquiry into the matter, Bindi is insisting that her sister was “killed in cold blood”.

Bindi, working just three houses away, claims she has reasons to suspect foul play. “I met Bubbly in the evening on September 6. She was happy, as always. Was neither sulking, nor sullen. Believe me, she had nothing on her mind. We talked for over 15 minutes. Then she left, saying she had to prepare food.... That was the last I heard from her”.

Waiving her hand in a gesture of resentment and annoyance, she says, “I was informed about 25-year-old Bubbly’s death only at about 8.30 am the next day. I rushed to find her lying listless on a bed with marks around her neck and blood oozing from a leg. Her dupatta was still dangling from the ceiling. The police came to the room only after eight or 10 minutes”.

She adds: “Why wasn’t the police called in before the body was removed? In any case, why didn’t anyone miss her till about 8.30 am? She used to get up at least two hours before that. And what about the blood on her leg? How do you justify its presence? Something is wrong somewhere.”

Bindi claims that the post mortem examination report was never handed over to her by the authorities concerned, though it might have shed some light on the incident. “The police simply said Bubbly has committed suicide. I am just not satisfied with their response. A probe by an independent agency or a senior officer of the Chandigarh Police will bring out the truth about Bubbly’s death, I am sure of it.”

Bindi says her statement was recorded on Wednesday evening in the office of a Deputy Superintendent of Police. A complaint levelling similar allegations has also been forwarded to the authorities concerned by Bindi’s brother Kundan Ram.

Confirming the receipt of the complaint, a senior police officer says the case has not been closed. “We are taking into consideration the points raised by Bindi and her brother. “So far we are not in a position to say that Bubbly had not taken the extreme step. For, we have not been able to find anything incriminating against anyone”.

Describing Bubbly as a “simple and a nice girl”, Mr Harcharan Singh — the owner of house where Bubbly was working — says she was suffering from depression.

Giving details, 67-year-old Harcharan Singh says her house back in Garhwal was damaged due to land slide and her year-old nephew had died only recently. As a result, she used to feel low all the time.



For now, no clothes, money for Hawara
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
An order of the Burail Jail authorities declining permission to defence counsel of Jagtar Singh Hawara, alleged BKI chief and main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, to provide money and clothes to the militant has kicked up a controversy.

With the blood relations cutting off all ties with the alleged dreaded militant, the question as to who will provide clothes and money has assumed importance. The Punjab jail manual provides that only the blood relations can provide clothes and monetary help to undertrials.

Citing the jail manual, a communication from the Deputy Superintendent, Burail Jail, to the Special CBI Judge, Mr M.M. Sharma, said here today that defence counsel would “not be allowed to deposit money in favour of Hawara as he had no locus standi to bring the cash.” Cash and clothes could only be deposited by the blood relations, the communication stated.

“Mr Thakur said he had moved the court to deposit cash and clothes in a transparent manner. Since the blood relations of Hawara had stopped visiting him about seven years ago, he needed clothes for the coming winter season. Similarly, money was required to provide him extra diet and medicines as his lower abdominal area had developed problems.

Defence counsel, Arunjeev Singh Walia was questioned by the local police for reportedly providing turbans and dry fruits to Hawara before his escape from the Burail Jail in January last year.

It was alleged that the turbans were used to dispose of earth from the tunnel dug up by Hawara and his accomplices for their escape. Hawara and his accomplices are alleged to have survived on the dry fruits for several days after the escape.

“I had moved the court only to avoid any controversy,” Mr Thakur claimed.

Hawara, who was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 7 from outside Punjabi University in Patiala, is reported to be wearing the same T-shirt and the lower of a track suit since then.



Muslims flay PUDA move to possess graveyard
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 16
Members of the Muslim Welfare Committee condemned the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for forcibly trying to take possession of the graveyard land in Sector-57.

Mr Imtiaz Ali and Mr Zakair Hussain, president and general secretary, respectively, of the committee alleged at a press conference here today that PUDA had deployed a chowkidar on duty at the graveyard to see that no dead were buried in the area.

They said that members of the committee had met Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, PPCC, the Housing Minister, the Chief Administrator (CA) of PUDA in this regard. The CA had directed the Additional Chief Administrator to look into the matter and submit a report within 15 days.

They said that if PUDA failed to solve the matter within 15 days the committee would be compelled to launch an agitation.

Mr Anwar Hussain, general secretary of the Ropar unit of the minority cell of the PPCC, appealed to the authorities concerned not to play with the religious sentiments of the Muslim community. He said that according to their religion graveyards could never be shifted from one place to another.

Office-bearers said that the land in question was allotted to the committee by the erstwhile Department of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, in 1984. Since then the Muslim community had been burying their dead in the area. PUDA now wanted to vacate the area claiming that it had been illegally encroached upon.

On August 27 last year PUDA had tried to carry out demolitions in the graveyard which had led to a lot of tension in the area. The Muslim community had protested against the PUDA action and had them blocked traffic near the graveyard for about two hours.



Implement law to protect migrant workers: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The two-day International Labour Organisation workshop on protecting rights of migrant workers from India concluded here today, with participants stressing the proper implementation of existing legislation to protect the interests of the migrant workers.

Since the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was planning to amend the existing Emigration Act, it was suggested that the ministry should look towards plugging the loopholes in the Act, which enabled various agencies to exploit the workers.

The role of recruiting agents was also debated and it was suggested during a panel discussion that trade unions must sensitise their members about issues pertaining to migrant workers.

Welfare and social protection for the migrant workers and their families and the social inclusion and integration of migrant workers in labour-receiving countries were also delved upon by experts.

A session was also devoted to gender issues involving the migrant workers.

Among those who took part in the discussions today were Mr Justice V. P. Mohan Kumar, Chairman Kerela State Human Rights Commission, Ms Yasmeen Abras, member, National Commission for Women (NCW), Mr Som Parkash, Labour Commissioner, Punjab, Ms Gurpret Deo, Deputy Secretary (NCW), experts from the academia, research scholars and those associated with the ILO and study of migrant workers.



Dhawan guns for Bansal’s scalp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Training his guns on the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, for his alleged failure on all fronts, the president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM), Mr Harmohan Dhawan, today rallied around the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) for “his vision for the city”.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Dhawan advised Mr Bansal to resign “in the interests of the people of Chandigarh” as he had proved to be an incapable MP.

Showering praise on General Rodrigues for initiating and executing several projects, including IT park, bio-tech park, film city, vegetable market and the rehabilitation of 22,000 slum-dwellers, Mr Dhawan, however, urged the Chandigarh Administration to set up a special grievances cell for the public.

Answering a question, Mr Dhawan demanded the constitution of an Assembly for the city, saying that the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) had failed in its objective of providing basic amenities in the city.

The CVM would chalk out an agitational programme if the Administration failed to redress the grievances of the public. He said the CVM was ready to join hands with all parties except the Congress for the welfare of the people.

Meanwhile, a BJP spokesman, Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, alleged that the Congress had failed to safeguard the interests of the residents as was evident from the demolition of marble shops in Raipur Khurd.



Worker electrocuted laying cable
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
A worker, laying a cable near a house in Sector 28, was electrocuted last evening. Elsewhere in the city, thieves broke into a house and decamped with jewellery, besides house-hold goods. A theft of a scooter was also reported to the police during the past 24 hours.

A worker, Rajinder of Ropar district, was electrocuted while laying a cable. The police has registered a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against contractor Ravinder Singh of Patiala district.

A case of cheating was registered under Section 420 of the IPC at Section 19 police station on the complaint of Bhupinder Singh of Ropar district against a Sector 21 resident, Harbans Singh.

In his complaint, Bhupinder Singh alleged that the accused had taken over Rs 4 lakh from him for sending him abroad but failed to keep the promise.

Ms Harpreet Sodhi of Sector 44 alleged that her Honda Activa scooter was stolen from her house. Her car’s stereo was also taken away by the thieves.

In his complaint, Chander Pal of Ram Darbar said gold jewellery and other goods were taken away by thieves after breaking into his house.

A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 31 police station.

In another incident, a Mani Majra resident claimed that he was assaulted by Mintu near his house. A case of assault under Section 324 of the IPC has been registered.

Kishore of Ram Darbar was taken into custody on the allegations of possessing seven bottles of liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.



CTU, Punjab Roadways staff clash
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 16
The confrontation between CTU and Punjab Roadways employees again reached a flashpoint today when their employees entered into a brawl over a CTU bus allegedly plying without a permit from city to Hardwar.

The employees entered into a scuffle and later exchanged blows. The situation was brought under control only after the intervention of the police.

Secretary of Punjab Roadways Karamchari Dal Jarnail Singh along with other members surrounded a Hardwar-bound CTU bus (CH-01-G-8186) when it was about to leave for its destination around 1.30 pm.

Representatives of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the CTU alleged that Jarnail Singh not only stopped the bus from leaving for its destination but also slapped Jaswant Singh, a CTU worker, besides allegedly roughing up Mohan Singh, conductor of the bus.

On the other hand, Jarnail Singh maintained that he had come to the spot as he was the duty inspector.

When they tried to park a Punjab Roadways bus on the Haridwar counter, station supervisor of the CTU Ramesh Chand Negi along with around 20 employees objected to it. He further added that the CTU employees forcibly parked their bus without permit on the counter and took the passengers. On this, the police was called.

Representatives of Punjab Roadways employees alleged that the police acted as a mere spectator and failed to stop CTU workers from roughing up Punjab Roadways employees. Divisional Manager of Punjab Roadways Jarnail Singh and General Manager of Chandigarh Depot Karanjit Singh Kaler, who was also present on the occasion, stated that the CTU employees were aggressive and were forcibly grabbing over the Punjab Roadway’s times.

They added that they had the permit for the Chandigarh-Hardwar route, but the CTU was not allowing them to ply their bus.

After getting the information, the SSP of the Chandigarh Police sent DSP P.K. Dhawan to asses the situation.

According to information available, DSP Dhawan heard views of both parties.

When contacted, DSP Dhawan asserted that the police had received complaints from both parties and they failed to reach any conclusion.

He will now invite the two parties for a meeting tomorrow. A daily dairy report has been registered in this regard.

The sources in the Punjab Roadways said they had issued directions to stop the bus when it entered the Punjab territory and check its permit.



Traffic jams on Kalka-Shimla highway
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 16
Hundreds of tourists and others passengers were put to hardship throughout the day following traffic snarls on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway, because of recarpeting work being undertaken by the Haryana Public Works Department today.

The traffic jam lasted for over six hours on a 30-km stretch between Majri Chowk and the Kalka barrier that forced the vehicles on the highway to move at a snail’s pace.

Following the blockage, traffic on the highway was disrupted. Vehicles were lined along the either sides of the highway starting from Pinjore to Hotel Red Bishop in Panchkula till late in the evening.

The Panchkula police had a tough time in controlling the heavy volume of traffic. The motorists were allowed crossing the highway only one way for some time then the other way. While passengers traveling in the long route vehicles were the worst affected, local residents took link roads to reach their respective destinations.

“It took me three hours to reach my native place, Surajpur, from Panchkula as the motorists, especially the cavalcade of VVIP’ and VIP’s that violated the rules in taking their turn to cross the stretch first,” claimed Mr Surjit Singh, a resident of Surajpur village.

The vehicular traffic on the busy highway was restored late in the evening.



Rajbhasha award for Allahabad Bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Allahabad Bank has been awarded the Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Award for excellent performance for official language implementation. The Chairman and Managing Director, Mr O.N Singh received the Rajbhasha Award from the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, at an award ceremony held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

The bank achieved third position in the Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Award competition for 2003-04. The Reserve Bank of India has also awarded to Allahabad Bank, first prize in region `A’ and fourth prize in region `B’ under the Reserve Bank Rajbhasha Shield Competition 2003-04 meant for public sector banks /financial institutions.



Special kids view ‘Iqbal’

Chandigarh, September 16
On a special invitation from Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, 140 students of the Institute for the Blind and 125 students of the Vatika High School for Deaf and Dumb today visited Fun Republic, Mani Majra, to see the movie ‘Iqbal’. The movie is based on the life of a handicapped child.

Ms Rodrigues interacted with the children. She also distributed gifts among them. The children enjoyed the movie and the lunch specially arranged on the occasion. — TNS



Sec 16 sans power for 18 hrs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 16
Hundreds of residents of Sector 16 here had to go without power for almost 18 hours after two transformers here developed a technical snag.

Residents complained that the power went off at around 10.30 pm last night and was restored only at 2 pm today. “We kept on calling the Bijli Suvidha Kendra, but got no response. Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) officials reached here only past midnight, and after some time said that the fault could be repaired only in the morning,” complained Mr Satish Goyal.

Officials of the UHBVN said the leads in the transformers had loosened and as a result, the power supply went off.



72-year-old woman falls off second floor
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 16
An old woman, living in Phase II here, was critically injured after she allegedly fell accidentally from second floor of her house today.

Mrs Rattan Kaur (72) was immediately taken to a private hospital in Phase IV here where she was operated upon.

Mr Mohinder Singh, husband of Mrs Rattan Kaur, said around 4 p.m. she had gone to the second-floor accommodation which was occupied by their son and his family.

At about 5 p.m. she was found in the back courtyard in a badly injured state.

Members of the family could not say how she fell. The police is investigating the matter.



Man found dead
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 16
An unidentified body of a man apparently in his early 40s was found yesterday morning from Grain Market in Sector 39, here. The police ruled out any foul play behind the death citing there were no injury marks on the body.

Sources in the police said the man was in rags and he might have come to the Grain Market yesterday and died there. The man appeared to be a drug-addict from his appearance, said a police officer.

The body has been sent to the mortuary of the General Hospital, Sector 16.




Chandigarh, September 16
Reacting to a news item published in these columns under headline “Parties demanded Vidhan Sabha for city” on Friday, the CPM has clarified that it had never demanded Vidhan Sabha for the city.

The CPM demands the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab,” a press note added. — TNS



One held for stealing cycles
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 16
After his utensils were taken away by moneylenders, a 32-year-old hawker took to stealing bicycles.

The police today claimed that the hawker had taken a loan of Rs 7,000 from two different persons, which he failed to return. The moneylenders then picked his utensils to recover their amount rendering him without work.

The police claimed have solved about 16 cases of bicycle thefts with his arrest. Raman Singh, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, was arrested from Sector 52 and 53 dividing road following a tip off, last evening. A case has been registered against him and he was produced before a local court today which remanded him to one day of police custody.

Police sources said Raman Singh had been working as a hawker selling snacks in apani mandi at various places in Mohali. Some time back he took a loan of Rs 7000 from two persons to send the money to his family in Uttar Pradesh. As he failed to pay back his loan, the money lenders picked up his utensils. Workless Raman came in contact with Gora, a resident of Balongi village. Gora asked Raman to join him and they began committing thefts.

The police recovered the stolen bicycles from various places in Chandigarh. Efforts were also on the trace Gora, a police officer investigating the case, said.



Panchkula arson: Cong Dalit leader questioned
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 16
Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) sleuths today interrogated the Congress Councillor and Dalit leader, Mr Dalbir Singh, who has been named as one of the accused in the arson here on September 2.

The Dalit leader was called in for questioning by the CBI sleauths at the Commando Complex at about 3 pm. His questioning continued for almost four hours. The CBI team reportedly quizzed him about the identity of the people who led the mob.

A group of over 500 persons, mainly from Mauli Jagran village in Chandigarh, and Indira Colony and Rajiv Colony here, had wreaked havoc on the roads of Panchkula on September 2, to protest against the torching of houses of Dalits in Gohana. They burnt one bus, damaged three others, besides damaging scores of other government and private vehicles. Minor incidents of looting were also reported .

The police had booked Dalbir along with 10 others under Sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 323, 395, 341, 427, 436, 506, 332 and 353 of the IPC.



Electronic cash register sales set to boom
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
With the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime in place in most states in the country, the market for newly launched electronic cash registers is set to boom.

Mr S.K. Sinha, Chief Executive of Sharp Business Systems (India) Ltd, who was in the city today told the TNS “electronic cash registers have been introduced to tap the market especially in the retail segment in the states where VAT has been introduced”.

“VAT has made it imperative for grocers, florists, in fact every shop and business in the country to have an electronic cash register, which will keep a tab on sales, besides calculating VAT,” Mr Sinha said.

Sharp Business Systems (India), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, Japan, is now targeting the retail sector and professionals with a new range of products, including the new range of scientific calculators.

“We expect to see a quantum jump in the sale of ECRs from the next year, as VAT would have taken effect completely across the country by then, besides signs of FDI being allowed in the retail sector,” said Mr Sinha.

The company, which is one of the major players in the ECRs and other business equipment in India, is expecting a turnover of Rs 85 crore, by registering a 20 per cent growth every year.

“We have gained significant market share in different segments of office automation, including A3 MFD (multi -functional device), tax and multimedia projectors in the five years of our presence here.”

The company is entering the second phase of growth with products targeted at different sectors, said Mr Sinha.

“The sales of ECRs is to rise substantially from the current 7,000 units, which we are selling per year now. The existing retailers, including the neighbourhood grocery stores, are also gearing up for a makeover in the way they carry out their operations and how they present themselves to customers,” Mr Sinha said.

Talking about the Punjab market, he said: “Chandigarh is a fashionable place and offers a great market for electronic cash registers. We are also trying to tap the home market with our multimedia projectors.”



Hero Honda wins QC competition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The ‘Wintech’ team from Hero Honda Motors Ltd, Daruhera was adjudged the winner at the preliminary QC competition organised by CII Northern Region at Chandigarh today. ‘Udan’ QC Circle from Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Hardwar and ‘New Titanic’ from Krishna Maruti Ltd bagged the first runner-up and second runners-up trophy, respectively. These teams will now participate in the regional finals to be held on December 9, at New Delhi as a pre- runner to the national competition.

Quality movement has been gaining strength in North India and QC circles play a very important role in involving a wide cross section of employees in any organisation for improving quality through the exchange of ideas and views and sharing of experiences and various approaches to problem solving.

Addressing the valedictory session, the chief guest, Ms Saroj Siwatch, Labour Commissioner, Haryana, congratulated all participants.

The competition included participation of 18 QC teams representing companies from different industrial centres in the Northern Region like Asahi India, Bharat Electronics, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Denso India, Gates India, Hero Honda, Honda Siel Cars India, Krishna Maruti, Maruti Udyog, Munjal Auto Components, NTPC, Sandhar Locking Devices, Sona Koyo Steering Systems and Tata Motors Ltd.

Earlier, while welcoming the participants, Mr R.M. Khanna, past Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council, mentioned that the transformation taking place today in the world economic order offered great opportunities as well as a challenge to the organisations and professionals working in the field of quality. The adoption of quality systems was a way of gearing up to meet these challenges.



SBI branch at Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The State Bank of India, the largest public sector bank in India, today opened its fully computerised branch at Zirakpur, near here. Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Principal Secretary (Finance), Punjab, was the chief guest and the function was presided over by Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, Chandigarh Circle.

The branch has been opened to meet the growing banking requirements of the residents and business establishments of the area. The branch is fully equipped to handle all types of business and render whole range of banking services to the local clientele, Mr Contractor said.


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