C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Inflated water bills shock Mohali residents
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 4
Water bills have come as a rude shock to residents here. While most residents have received bills more than double of what they paid earlier due to a general hike in water usage charges, there are some others who have got the bills 10 times higher than what they paid on an average earlier.

The reason — the water supply department has, in accordance with the revised rates sent by the municipal council here, charged for sewerage connections calculated not on the basis of number of toilet seats in a house but on the basis of the size of the house.

The worst-hit are hundreds of residents living in kanal houses (and all those running commercial ventures). The department has charged these residents sewerage equal to the water bill. This means that if someone living in a kanal house is incurring a water usage charge of Rs 1,000 per month, he would have to pay another Rs 1,000 as sewerage connection charge.

Earlier, the sewerage charges were calculated at the rate of Rs 15 per toilet seat in case of domestic connections, irrespective of the size of the house, and Rs 30 per seat in case of commercial connections. Residents of a kanal house that had 10 seats and incurred a bill of Rs 1,000 on account of water use, paid a total of Rs 1,150 to the council. From this month, they would have to pay Rs 2,000. Similarly, shops/ showroom/ hotelowners in the township with 10 toilet seats and Rs 10,000 water use bill earlier paid Rs 10,300 to the MC would now have to pay Rs 20,000.

Officials of the department also pointed out that this was one of the most irrational and unfair methods of calculating sewerage charges and was unique to the area. In Chandigarh, water usage was calculated at the rate of Rs 4 per kilolitre per month and the sewerage was calculated at the rate of Rs 10 per seat per month. In Panchkula, the water use charges are calculated at the rate of Rs 1.24 for the first 15 kilolitres, Rs 2.50 for 30 kilolitres and Rs 4 for 45 and above kilolitres. The sewerage in Panchkula is calculated at the rate of Rs 8 per seat.

In Mohali from August 2005, the water usage rate was increased from Rs 1.80 per kilolitre to Rs 3.20 per kilolitre. Irrespective of the number of seats, sewerage charges have been made equal to the water bill in case of kanal houses; those living in houses up to 5 marla would pay a lump sum of Rs 60 for sewerage; for houses above 5 marla but less than 10 marla, the lump sum to be paid is Rs 90 and the houses more than 10 marla but less than 1 kanal the sewerage charge is Rs 120. While Mohali residents were expecting only a hike of 10 per cent in the water and sewerage rates as resolved in the MC, a revision of sewerage rates has left them fuming. Even for smaller houses which have only one or two seats have to pay a much larger amount than.

The council is also only partially to be blamed. It has simply forwarded to the water supply department a rate list notified by the Department of Local Bodies, Punjab, issued in May 2003. While these rates were "accepted" by some of the corporations and councils across the state, the Mohali MC had recently passed a resolution agreeing to this revision. The changes were to come in effect from August this year.

Meanwhile, many resident welfare organisations have protested against this hike. Members of the Pensioners and Senior Citizens Welfare Association, the Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum and People's Welfare Society have formed a forum to launch a protest to ensure that the old system of calculation of sewerage is revived.



Challan filed against Hawara, 16 others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Chandigarh police today filed supplementary challans against Jagtar Singh Hawara, alleged chief of Babbar Khalsa International(BKI) and main accused in the Burail jailbreak case, and 16 others in the same case.

In the challans, which were filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), the police had prayed that the accused should be tried for waging war against the state under Sections 121 and 121-A of the IPC.

While dropping the sedition charges against the Burail jailbreak accused, a former Additional Session Judge, Mr Balbir Singh, had released certain accused on bail. After his escape form the high-security Burail Jail, Hawara was declared a proclaimed offender at that time.

Meanwhile, a local court today fixed October 7 as the date for orders on a bail application filed by Hawara.

Counsels for Hawara contended that since the prosecution had failed to file challan within 60 days of the arrest of the alleged militant under Section 167(2) of the CrPC, the bail should be granted as a matter of right.



KV schools go all out for guests
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

The visiting teams of Kendriya Vidyalayas take lunch at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, Chandigarh
The visiting teams of Kendriya Vidyalayas take lunch at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, October 4
Over 7,000 Kendriya Vidyalaya sports enthusiasts from all over India have turned up to participate in the 36th KVS National Sports Meet 2005, which is being held in the city. A significant part of the meet is that every host Kendriya Vidyalaya has ensured to providing ample aboard and lodging facilities to the guests from around 18 regions.

Sector 31 KVS has left no stone unturned to make their guests feel comfortable. The visiting 444 sportspersons, along with 50 officials, are lodging on the school premises.

All arrangements are being looked after personally by the Principal of the school, Ms S. P. Shergill. The food is being prepared under the supervision of the teachers. The menu has been planned as per the instructions of the KVS Regional Office, Chandigarh.

The selection of seasonal vegetables, daal etc. was discussed with the officials accompanying the students, said Ms Shergill.

Food is served on counters in a spacious tent. A fully equipped ambulance with a doctor and nurse has been arranged by the 3 BRD, Air Force Station, Chandigarh. Separate first aid kits are available at all venues for the meet.

The cultural activities are being organised for the entertainment of the guests in which the pupils from different regions take part. Besides, we are holding “kitlay competition” in the evening where our judges (local teachers) assess the upkeep of the rooms where the visiting players have been putting up and the grades are given.

Kendriya Vidyalaya High Grounds, Chandigarh, which is hosting kho-kho and volleyball (girls) events, has geared up for the five-day national meet in which 650 students from 18 regions are participating. Elaborate arrangements have been made on the vidyalaya premises for them. The Principal, Ms S. K. Bhatia, said 933 Kendriya Vidyalayas, across the country, formed the biggest chain of schools in India and we were making all efforts to play a good host.

A cultural bonanza and “bara khana” would be organised on October 6 at 7 pm on the school premises.

Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Chandimandir, is hosting 472 pupils along with around 50 officials accompanying them. Ms Narinder Mohini, Principal, said: “We have made all arrangements to make our guests feel comfortable. They have been provided with good food prepared in hygienic conditions under the supervision of our teachers. The food is being served on a self-service basis. In case of any medical help, an ambulance with a doctor and nurse is at our disposal all the time.”

Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 29, which is organising competitions for table tennis and badminton, has made arrangements for around 500 students in the school. All members of the staff are working round the clock to meet the requirements of the visiting teams. The Principal of the school, Ms Sudesh Sharma, is head of the jury for the two events.



KVS Sports Meet
Chandigarh beat Jaipur in hockey
Tribune Reporters

Sweety of Chandigarh region hits Neeti of Guwahati region during a taekwondo match during the 36th National Sports meet at KV-3BRD
Sweety of Chandigarh region hits Neeti of Guwahati region during a taekwondo match during the 36th National Sports meet at KV-3BRD on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 4
Matches in various sports disciplines of the 36th KVS National Sports Meet 2005 were held in the city and vicinity today. The following are the results:

KV, Sector 31: The matches of hockey and boxing were conducted at Sports Complex, Sector 42.

Boxing (boys): Quarter finals: (42-45 kg) Vipin Kumar, Delhi,1; Gurmeet Singh, Chandigarh, 2; and Amit Kumar, Ahmedabad, 3. (45-48 kg) Ram Singh, Dehra Dun 1; Sunny Gaur, Delhi, 2; and Sasi Chandra, Delhi, 3. (48-51 kg) Vikram Singh, Jabbalpur, 1; Jagdeep, Mumbai, 2; and Anoop Kumar, Delhi, 3. (51-54 kg) Chandan Kumar, Mumbai, 1; Joginder Singh, Lucknow, 2; and Vishal Jamwal, Jammu, 3. (54-57 kg) Ashok Kumar, Ahmedabad, 1; Sandeep, Delhi, 2; and Sandeep Rawat, Delhi, 3. (57-60 kg) Ajad Singh, Delhi, 1; Sachin Vasist, Delhi, 2; and Viney, DehraDun 3. (60-64 kg) Deepak, Lucknow, 1; S. Stainlass, Bangalore, 2; and Vikash Kumar, Delhi 3. (64-69 kg) T. S. Beeshman, Chennai, 1; Avikash, Chandigarh, 2; and Tikinder Singh, Dehra Dun, 3. (69-75 kg) Prinsu Yadav, Chandigarh, 1; Ajay Yadav, Chandigarh, 2; and Kamlesh Shah, Lucknow, 3.

Hockey (Boys): Chandigarh b Jaipur 4-2. Jabalpur b Hyderabad 6-1; Dehra Dun b Delhi 6-0; and Jammu b Mumbai 7-0.

KV, 3BRD: Shilpa and Alka of Chandigarh cornered glory by registering wins in 800 m race (u-17) and high jump (u-19) respectively. Jundo (girls) (41-45 kg) Sakshi, Delhi region, 1; Renu Bora, Dehra Dun region 2; and Rekha, Lucknow region, and Rita, Delhi region, 3.

Shotput (u-14): Leena Trera, Chennai region 1; K. Lakshmi Priyanka, Chennai region 2; and Manisha Priyadarshini, Bhubaneshwar region, 3.

600-m race: (u-14) Pooja Pandey, Bhubaneswar region, 1; Aarti Yadav, Dehra Dun region 2; and Jagriti Singh, Patna region, 3.

800-m race: (u-19) Alka, Chandigarh region 1; Manjusha, Mumbai region 2; and Deepika Pal, Delhi region, 3.

High jump: (under-17) Jyothi Kumari, Hyderabad 1; Deepti Daswal, Delhi, 2; and M. Sathava, Chennai, 3.

800-m race: (under-17) Shilpa, Chandigarh, 1; Sapna Kumari, Jabalpur, 2; and Rajani Tomar, Delhi, 3.

KV, Zirakpur: Chandigarh lost to Bangalore 0-2 in the girls’ hockey event held at the grounds of KVS here. Patna drubbed Bhopal 3-0 while the match between Delhi and Jaipur held to a draw.

KV, Sector 29: Chandigarh paddlers thrashed Mumbai 3-0 in table tennis (u-14) entered into semifinals of all the three events ( u-14, 17 and 19) held at TT Hall, Sector 23, here. In other matches Bhopal bt Patna (3-0); Silchar bt Bhopal ( 3-0); Bangalore bt Dehra Dun (3-2); Chandigarh bt Jammu(3-0); and Chennai bt Ahmedabad ( 3-0).

KV-1, Chandi Mandir: athletics ( Boys): long jump (u-14) Bikash Kumar, Bhubneshwar, 1; Abhin Haridas, Chennai, 2; and Rahul Kumar Singh, 3. (u-17, boys): Kailash Singh Bisht, Dehra Dun, 1; Aman Sagan, Kolkata, 2; and Deepak Kumar, Bhubneshwar, 3.

High jump (u-19, boys): Pankaj Kumar, Bhubneshwar, 1; Parveen, Chennai, 2; and Manoj Kumar 3.

Javelin throw (u-19, boys): Prafful Kumar, Bhopal, 1; Rohit, Jammu, 2; and Ravi Kant, Guwahati, 3.

Long jump: (u-19, boys): Amit Kumar, Dehra Dun, 1; Manoj, Mumbai, 2; and Suhail Ahmad, Delhi, 3.

Shotput: (u-19, boys): Hardip Singh, Dehra Dun, 1; Deepak Chauhan, Delhi, 2; and Prashant Tyagi, Delhi, 3.

Javelin throw: (u-17, boys) Manpreet, Mumbai, 1; Deepak Singh, Lucknow, 2; and Ashok Kumar 3.

KV-GC-CRPF, Pinjore: handball: Pool B: Kolkata bt Bangalore 13-11; Pool D: Chandigarh bt Bhopal 38-16; Pool C: Bhubneswar bt Patna 18-17; Hyderabad bt Jabalpur 26-20; Pool A:Mumbai bt Dehra Dun 18-15.

Ambala: Basketball, handball and lawn tennis matches were held on the second day of the 36th KVS National Games being held at Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Ambala Cantt.

School Principal Urmila Sharma said 15 teams comprising 180 girls would participate in different events.

In basketball today, Dehra Dun beat Guwahati 51-04, Chandigarh defeated Delhi 21-06, Lucknow beat Mumbai 36-14, Chennai won from Kolkata 55-19 and Jabalpur defeated Patna 20-18.

In handball Chandigarh defeated Jammu 29-04, Jabalpur beat Ahmedabad 14-04, Mumbai defeated Delhi 21-03 and Jaipur won from Hyderabad 16-06.

In lawn tennis (under-14) Delhi beat Chennai 2-0 whereas in under- 17 Chennai defeated Delhi 2-1. In under-19 Jammu defeated Delhi 2-1.

PATIALA: V.Divyashree of the Bangalore region struck gold in the 100m backstroke swimming event (u-14) for girls of the 36th KVS national sports meet which commenced at the NIS pool here today.

Divyashree was followed by Shristi Rawat of the Delhi region and Sujatha of the Chennai region in that order.

In the 100m backstroke for under -17 girls, Ramya K. of the Chennai region won the first place while D.Gayathri of the Hyderabad region and Monika Sharma of the Jaipur region were second and third, respectively.

Other results: 1500m free style (boys, u-19): A.G Ramchandra Rao (Bangalore region)-1, A.Rishabh (Lucknow region)-2, Anurag Choudhury (Delhi region)-3. 100m backstroke (boys, u-14): Girish Kumar (Chennai region)-1, S.Javed (Hyderabad region)-2, Sachin Tendulkar (Bangalore region)-3.(Cricket boys u-14): Mumbai region beat Dehra Dun region by 25 runs.Bhopal region beat Lucknow region by 6 runs.

Earlier, the Mr M.P Mahajan, Principal of Kendriya Vidyalya (No.2), to whose school the disciplines of cricket and swimming have been allotted, urged the students to take part in the games with a positive attitude and also asked them to play with true sportsman’s spirit.



PU set to scrap re-evaluation in professional courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Panjab University is all set to scrap re-evaluation in professional courses, except in the Department of Law. A proposal regarding the same has been forwarded to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, and is expected to be discussed by the syndicate.

A committee under the chairmanship of a former Dean (University Instruction), Prof Bansal, met on September 29 and sent the recommendations to the VC. The committee, which included chairpersons of the departments where the professional courses are being run, also proposed that the examination process should be completed by May 15 and the results should be declared by May 25.

The departments which would be affected by this decision are Departments of Pharmacy, Mass Communications, University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Library Science and Honour School Science.

According to sources, the Department of Law was not included as the number of students here were too many and it would be difficult to implement the proposal.

The committee also suggested that answer sheets should be checked in the department itself and external examiners should come to the department for checking. It has also been proposed that the result should be compiled in the department concerned and then handed over to the examination branch for the final declaration.

The committee has also proposed an alternative to the re-evaluation procedure by suggesting that before the result is declared, the students should be informed about their results. In case of any complaint, the answer sheets should be re-evaluated by a committee of teachers.



Passing Thru

Girish Bapat
Girish Bapat,
Vice-President (Marketing)
LG Electronics India

What are your latest offerings in the consumer electronics segment?

The plasma display panels with flat screen and the DTH (direct-to-home) TV which is an innovation for providing 40 million non-satellite and cable households in India an option. Keeping in view the space constraints in Indian homes, we have also come out with the Slim Magic TV, which offers a 30 per cent reduction in space compared to any flat TV with colour picture tube.

How do you find the Punjab market for your product range?

Greater Punjab market has expanded tremendously over the past few years. By way of its latest offerings, including the basket of top-end products, the company hopes to further contribute to the growth of the market which has great potential.

What is the focus of LG Electronics?

To offer the customers the best of products and variants in almost all product categories. The focus of the company is to develop and manufacture technologically superior variants throughout the year. It is now wooing the buyers with new state-of-the-art products like NKS (next gen karaoke systems), wireless home theatres and MP4 home cinema and DVD players.

What are the future plans of the company?

LG India plans to produce 33 million DVD writers by 2008 and 20 million mobile handsets by 2010 at its new facility at Ranjangaon (Pune). We plan to invest Rs 900 crore at this plant cumulatively by 2008. The company plans to launch 20-25 new models of its existing product range by the year-end.

— Poonam Batth



Cameras to ‘capture’ traffic rule violators
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Speedsters and other traffic rule violators may soon find it impossible to argue their way out of trouble after they are caught by the men-in-white. For, the traffic wing of the Chandigarh Police is all set to get hold of a video-camera-based speed radar christened as “Digital Eyewitness”.

The speed radars-cum-camera not only captures “real time video image of vehicles moving at a distance”, it also indicates the speed on the video-screen. So, you can actually record the movement of the vehicle, along with the speed at which it is travelling.

Elaborating, the sources in the police headquarters say it is just like any other video camera. The only difference is that instead of just date and time on the screen, it also indicates the speed at which a particular vehicle is travelling.

“As such, the camera can record photographic evidence of speed and other violations committed by the motorists,” a senior officer says, adding that the recording is done directly on a DVD and can be produced as evidence in case of motorists contesting a challans.

“Digital Eyewitness will particularly prove handy in a place like Chandigarh where almost every violator claims close association with either bureaucrats, politicians or the top brass of the Chandigarh or the Punjab Police,” the officer asserts. “It will also prove useful while dealing with VIP brats”.

Giving details, the officer says so many times the cops are prevented from performing their duties by VIPs and their wards. They not only argue, but threaten the police personnel with dire action against them.

“Then there are residents who simply deny their involvement in an offence and blame the cops for harassing them due to non-payment of bribe. In all such cases, the Eyewitness, manufactured by a US-based firm, will prove indispensable,” the officer adds. In case of a dispute, the recording will be produced in the court of law”.

Bringing to foreground the salient features of the “Eyewitness”, the officer says the images are sharp with “superior color quality”. It has “high quality night video capability” and is resistant to headlight blooming and smearing. The controls are backlit for making operations easy during poor lighting conditions.



Beggars throng Mansa Devi shrine
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
The navratra fair at the Sri Mata Mansa Devi shrine is a boom time for the street urchins of the region. These children have converged on the temple to make their booty by encashing on the largesse of the people.

Though child beggars are a common sight outside the shrine, navratras are a boom time. These “resident” beggars, who operate near the shrine through the year, now have to share the “booty” with other child beggars, some of whom have come all the way from Chandigarh, Patiala and Kalka.

So while the major traffic intersections in Chandigarh are free from these beggars, the devotees at the shrine are being harassed to “pay up” in the name of the Mother Goddess.

Girls, who are otherwise considered a burden in the poor families, are now the “favourite ones”. Thanks to the ritual of feeding “kanjak” (young girls) and giving them cash and gifts, a number of girls can be seen here cajoling devotees to give them alms.

Tina (8), a resident of Pinjore, says she has been brought here by her father, so that she can earn some money for her family. “This is my third year at the fair. In April, I would make Rs 200-300 a day. I hope to make as much money now,” she says. But devotees have to be wary of the beggars. A number of adults, too, have converged here. The police, too, agrees that these are anti-social elements and many women from a tribe in Rajpura and Patiala come here to snatch purses or chains, in the garb of beggars.

It is another matter that these child beggars are looked upon as a nuisance by many devotees. These beggars move around in clusters and cajole devotees standing in queues for alms.



Hospital mooted at Mansa Devi shrine complex
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said today that there was a plan to set up an integrated hospital on 50 acres at Mata Mansa Devi Shrine complex.

The Chief Minister was talking to mediapersons after paying obeisance at the shrine and performing yajna on the occasion of first navratra. Mr Hooda was accompanied by the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Venod Sharma.

Mr Hooda said this integrated hospital would have separate units for allopathy, ayurveda, homoeopathy and acupressure therapies. He said there was also a plan to replace the chowki at the shrine complex with an new one. Sanitation would be given priority and automatic machines would be procured to maintain cleanliness at the complex.

“A cloak room will be set up for the belongings of pilgrims visiting the shrine. A vegetarian restaurant will also be set up on the pattern of Hare Rama Hare Krishna canteen at Vrindavan and Mumbai. There is also a plan to set up a dharamshala on 2 kanals,” he said.

The Chief Minister said musical fountains would be set up behind the yajnashala and puja bhavan and these would cost an estimated Rs 23 lakh. He said the District Town Planner, Panchkula, was giving final touches to the plan for development of the land belonging to Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board.

Meanwhile, Mr Hooda greeted the people on the beginning of the navratras today. He also appreciated the arrangements made by the administration for pilgrims.

Thousands of devotees visited the shrine. For the first time VITA — the official brand for milk products produced by the Haryana Dairy Development Board — has been assigned for providing prasad. Two booths have been set up near the main entrance of the shrine in this regard.

The Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr M.L. Tayal, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary N. Bala Bhaskar, senior civil and police officials of the district administration were also present on the occasion.



TN eyeing tourism potential in North
MoUs with UT, Punjab, Haryana on the anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Encouraged by an unprecedented growth of 17 per cent in the tourism sector last year, Tamil Nadu is now eyeing the potential in North India.

Determined to achieve 20 per cent target growth rate this year, senior functionaries of Tamil Nadu Tourism Department held meetings with their counterparts in Chandigarh today and yesterday. The meeting will pave way for an MoU aiming at tourist exchange programmes between the two regions. Similar MoUs will later be signed with Punjab and Haryana.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Dr S. Bakthavatchalam, the visiting Assistant Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism, said only about 7 per cent of the 28 million domestic tourists visiting Tamil Nadu annually were from the northern region, especially Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. As for international tourist arrival — the figures are eight lakh.

Said Mr Bakthavatchalam: “We have religious pilgrims from West Bengal and Gujarat but from this region we mostly get ex servicemen interested in visiting Ooty and Kodaikanal. These are destinations they have missed due to postings in remote areas. There is also potential to target honeymooners from this region. We are also earning well from our domestic tourist market where an average tourist spends Rs 575 on himself per day,” he said.

With no plans to open counters in Jammu and Kashmir yet, Tamil Nadu is planning to go in for major expansion in the other northern areas. It has already announced combined packages with roadways and railways from Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra, Delhi and Chandigarh.

With a renewed zeal, the state is also focusing on its hitherto hidden treasures like Chettinad Palace, Tranquebar, Pichavaram and Navagraha. Said Mr Bakthavatchalam, “For long we did not consider tourism a core sector. Real competition emerged only seven years ago when states felt the responsibility of promoting tourism and enhancing their revenue. Over the last five years we have seen a remarkable — 17 per cent growth in this area. We have introduced several sops to ensure the trend continues.”

Recently Tamil Nadu slashed luxury taxes being charged by its five star hotels by half. “We have also introduced new trains for the northern region. These connect Chennai-Chandigarh-Dehradun. Apart from that we have associated with many private players for tourism promotion.

Film tourism is another area of interest to Tamil Nadu. Ever since Jammu and Kashmir was besieged by terrorists, locations in Himachal Pradesh have emerged as convenient replacements for directors like Mani Ratnam. In exchange, several film makers from the north and Mumbai are regularly shooting in Ooty and Kodaikanal.

“We plan to continue this relationship, while also strengthening our health tourism potential. We work closely with reputed medical institutes which are being swarmed by foreign tourists for eye and heart operations,” said Mr Bakthavatchalam.



Security up for CMs’ conclave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Punjab police is assisting the Chandigarh police in maintaining law and order in the city during the Congress Chief Ministers’ conclave scheduled to begin from October 7. Eight companies, including that of Punjab police commandos, is expected to be deployed in the city.

Sources in the Punjab police said vehicles and wireless systems, besides intelligence inputs, would be provided to the local police, along with sniffer dogs and some surveillance equipment. The Chandigarh police would also be assisted in patrolling areas around the venue.

The police personnel were also being issued special identity cards for the conclave. A special control room was also being set up for the purpose.

The sources in the Chandigarh police headquarters added that security had already been beefed up in and around the city. Snipers belonging to the operation cell of the Chandigarh police, along with Home Guard personnel and other cops, had been deployed.

Special drives were also being carried out to identify persons roaming around in suspicious circumstances. Special checks were being carried out at the railway station, the inter-state bus terminus in Sector 17 and Sector 43, besides hotels and motels.

A senior officer of the Chandigarh police said intelligence reports regarding suspicious activities had not been received by them so far, but they were just not taking any chances, particularly in the light of the blast that took place in Sector 17 bus stand just a few days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit here.



Mountview to play host to Cong CMs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Hotel Mountview will host Chief Ministers and Deputy Chief Ministers participating in a two-day conclave of Congress Chief Ministers here from October 7.

Sources said Hotel Mount View had booked 100 rooms for the guests following a demand from the Punjab Government. The hotel had kept aside an additional quota of 45 rooms for the conference.

All the visiting Chief Ministers and their deputies will be staying at Mount View, the only five star hotel in the city. The delegates expected to stay here also include Chief Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries of the states concerned.

As many as 75 rooms at Hotel Shivalik View have been booked for the conference. Rooms are being prepared for mediapersons accompanying the delegates in the hotel.

The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee will host a lunch for the visitors. The media centre for the visiting delegates will be at Haryana Nivas.



Police trying to hush up matter: constable’s sister
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, October 4
The Chandigarh police has failed to proceed against its own brethren, apparently. Even though the family of constable Manmohan Singh, whose body was found lying in the police headquarters on September 3, has levelled allegations against members of the CIA staff, the police has still not registered a case.

After carrying out preliminary probe into the matter, the police had claimed that the constable had jumped to death from the building’s top floor.

The family, on the other hand, has been insisting that Manmohan Singh had either been murdered or was forced to commit suicide. Despite “best efforts”, a criminal case has not been registered in the matter. On Tuesday also the family tried to meet the Inspector-General of the Chandigarh police but he was not available.

Though senior police officers are silent over the issue, sources in the headquarters say the failure to proceed in the matter is contrary to the method of investigation adopted by the Chandigarh police.

They say the police wasted hardly any time in registering an abetment to suicide case against city resident Samidha Bansal. After investigations, she was given a clean chit.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune after she failed to meet the IG this morning, Ms Bhupinder Kaur, sister of Manmohan Singh, alleged that the police was trying to hush up the matter.

A visibly dejected Bhupinder Kaur alleged that they went to meet another senior police officer of the Chandigarh police on Friday, but he too refused to listen to their woes and behaved in a harsh manner.

Bhupinder Kaur added that she came to India from Canada after Manmohan Singh’s death. Since then she has been running from pillar to post to bring those responsible for her brother’s death to the book.

Bhupinder Kaur said she would remain here till they got justice. “I also had to cancel my flight to Canada scheduled for October 5,” she claimed.

The investigation officer told them that they were waiting for the viscera report to proceed on the matter, she said.

Last week Paramjit Kaur had claimed that her husband had received two phone calls from members of the CIA staff minutes before his death on September 3. The DSP (Central), Mr P. K. Dhavan, also admitted to the fact that Manmohan Singh had received the calls. He, however, added that as Manmohan Singh was deployed with the CIA staff there was nothing unusual about his receiving the calls.

In her complaint to the UT SSP, Ms Paramjit Kaur had alleged that certain colleagues of Manmohan Singh had been harassing him soon after the CIA staff busted a gang of liquor smugglers on August 24.

It was on the basis of information provided by Manmohan Singh that the police cracked the case, claimed Paramjit Kaur. She also added that some members of the CIA staff wanted to favour the accused in the liquor seizure case, though her husband was against it.



Nabard proposes common dairy farm in Kajehri
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
To do away with unhygienic conditions resulting due to dairy farming within the Kajehri village, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has suggested a common dairy farm in the village. The project cost has been estimated at over Rs 1 crore.

Making these recommendations in a draft report on micro planning for the village, the agency which has been roped in by the Chandigarh Administration, has said that around three acres of land would be required for setting up the dairy farm to be run by a farmers society. Around 70 per cent of a total of 600 animals in the village are buffaloes.

The agency has also proposed to set up a plant for conversion of village waste in to manure and a water treatment plant. For the waste treatment plant, garbage would be provided by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

In the report, which has recently been handed over to the UT Administrator, the agency has identified services like roads, drinking water, primary health centres, school building and veterinary aid centres. Basing the entire project on the concept of community participation, the agency has said participation of the representatives of the Panchayati Raj institutions and the village panchayat would be required.

Once approved, the involvement of the government departments and private sector would be sought in developing the rural infrastructure. On the similar pattern, the micro-planning of other villages would be taken up.

The UT Administrator has sought that there should be a databank, giving all details regarding construction of roads, laying of sewerage and water supply lines, covering open drains, projects concerning sanitation and disposal of garbage, construction of streets and provision of streetlights and bus queue shelters. The aim was that each village should be remodelled and restructured in such a way that these act as pilot projects for changing the rural scene of the whole country, said an officer.

Another area which has been focused in the report is laying of 12 feet village phirni and construction of drains.

On the pattern of funding of rural projects by NABARD in Punjab and Haryana, the agency has also proposed funding similar projects for the UT villages under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).



No-trust vote against MC chief on Oct 18
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
The Municipal Council President, Mr Tarun Bhandari, will face the no-confidence motion on October 18. A meeting of the Municipal Council General House has been called on October 18, by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Parveen Kumar.

A date for the MC meeting was announced yesterday after a group of councillors led by Mr R.K. Kakkar and Mr V.K. Kapoor met the ADC, Mr Kumar, and urged him to announce the date for the elections at the earliest.

With the date having been announced now, intense lobbying has begun in the Congress for the post of president. But it might ultimately be the nine councilliors from the recently ousted INLD, who would hold the key as to whether the no-confidence motion would be passed against Mr Bhandari or not.

The Congress faction owing allegiance to local MLA and Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, and the other faction owing allegiance to local MP, Ms Selja Kumari (Mr Bhandari’s faction) were all out trying to woo the INLD Councillors.

Though both camps claimed support of the INLD councillors, but these nine councillors might be divided in giving the vote, although senior INLD leaders claimed otherwise. One of the camps had reportedly also offered that a new president would not be appointed and the vice-president (who belongs to INLD) would be made the officiating president.

However, the INLD leaders denied that they had a truck with either of the two factions. “The INLD has always been for the development of the town. All nine councillors will be united in their decision when the no-confidence motion comes up, though we have not yet decided, who we will support,” said senior INLD leaders.



House plan: EO blames owner for wrong facts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
In connection with the case of a Sector 15 resident alleging that the UT Estate Office (EO) had failed to pass the revised plan of the top floor of the house despite court orders, the Estate Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner said today that the owner had furnished wrong information regarding his share in the house.

Following the news item, the Estate Officer had got the matter probed and it was found that while applying for the revised plan to the Estate Office, Mr Gopal Prasad had stated that his share was 33.33 per cent, whereas his actual share was just 20 per cent. The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, Mr R.K. Rao, said the anomaly was noticed by the building branch and it was conveyed to Mr Prasad.

The owner in a representation to the UT Administrator had alleged that since December 2004 the Estate Office had been delaying the passing of the revised plan for the house on one pretext or the other.



Tension prevails at graveyard
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 4
Tension prevailed at the graveyard in Sector 57 here today when a watchman allegedly stopped some Muslims from burying the body of a child there.

According to information available, some persons had gone to bury the body of a newly-born child but the watchman, who had been deployed at the graveyard by PUDA, allegedly did not allow them to bury the body. The watchman told them that they could not bury the body till permission in this regard was given by PUDA officials. He said that he had informed the authorities concerned and PUDA officials would be reaching the graveyard.

However, after waiting for some time the Muslims finally buried the body in the graveyard area as no PUDA official turned up.

Mr Zakir Hussain, general secretary of the Muslim Welfare Committee, condemned the PUDA authorities for deploying a watchman at the graveyard to prevent Muslims from burying their dead in the area.

Office-bearers of the committee have been alleging that PUDA was forcibly trying to take possession of the land which had been allotted to the committee by the then 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 get the area vacated on the pretext that it had been illegally encroached upon.

Even last year PUDA had tried to carry out demolitions in the graveyard which had led to a lot of tension.



Kanwaljit leads farmers’ protest

Chandigarh, October 4
The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today led a protest of farmers in Banur against the slow procurement of paddy in the state.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was the Finance Minister in the previous SAD-led government in the state, reminded the farmers how a similar situation of damaged paddy and discoloured paddy had arisen during the SAD regime and how it was quickly sorted out. He blamed Capt Amarinder Singh for the slow procurement of paddy and also the suicide by a farmer in Kapurthala. TNS



Gold chain, motor cycle stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
In two separate incidents, snatchers escaped with a gold chain and a bag containing cash. Besides this, thefts of a motor cycle and spare parts, along with household goods were reported to the local police. A pedestrian was also injured after being hit by a car in the city during the past 24 hours.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police said two cycle-borne youngsters snatched a chain from 70-year-old S. Rajan while she was walking near her residence in Sector 21 early this morning.

In another incident, two youngsters on a motor cycle snatched a handbag from college student Malkiat Singh containing Rs 4,000 cash and some documents from near the Nirman cinema in Sector 32.

The victim was travelling on a rickshaw at the time of incident. The police has registered a case of theft and other offences under Sections 379 and 356 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Mr Arnish Sharma of Sector 15 complained that his motor cycle (CH-03-C-6933) was stolen. Acting on his complaint, another case of theft was registered at Sector 11 police station under Section 379 of the IPC.

In his complaint, R.K. Khaitoulya of Sector 11 said that thieves broke into his house before decamping with Rs 1500 cash and other household goods while he was out of station. In a similar complaint, Inderjit Oberoi of Sector 28 said that thieves broke into her house and took away gold ornaments. In both the matters, the Chandigarh Police has registered cases.

Karam Kataria of Sector 22 complained that the petrol tank of his motor cycle was stolen while the vehicle was parked at his residence. A case of theft has been registered.

Pedestrian Asha Rani of Mani Majra was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital after being allegedly hit by a car (CH-03-D-3879). A case of endangering human life due to rash and negligent act and other offences has been registered by the police under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.



2 held for selling non-transferable society membership
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
The local police today arrested two city residents on allegations of cheating and criminal conspiracy for duping a Zirakpur resident of Rs 4 lakh by selling a non-transferable society property.

According to the sources in the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police, Amit Arora and his brother-in-law Harish Khanna, who is vice-president of Progressive Cooperative Housing Society, Sector 50 were booked under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC on the basis of a complaint made Mr Gurdarshan Singh, an ex-serviceman working in the Sector 46 branch of the Panjab National Bank.

In his complaint to the EOW dated September 15 this year, Mr Gurdarshan Singh mentioned that he had given Rs 4 lakh to Amit Arora and Harish Khanna in order to purchase a membership of a house in the society in March this year. The deal was finalised for Rs 22 lakh and the rest of the amount was to be paid later. He alleged that the accused had told him that a member of their society had surrendered his membership and the same would be transferred to his name. He was assured that the transfer would be materialised in a matter of few days.

It was only later that the complainant came to know about the fact from the office of Deputy Commissioner that the membership was non-transferable. When he contacted the two accused Arora and Khanna he was told that they would do something, but later they allegedly started dilly-dallying in the matter. At last Gurdarshan Singh asked them to return his money they told him that they could not return the money. Fed up with their excuses Gurdarshan Singh brought the matter to the notice of the police.

A police officer investigating the case said that the inquiries made with the DC’s Office revealed that the DC had earlier passed the orders against the transfer of membership after the frequent complaints about misappropriations being committed in this regard.



Brother held for man’s murder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 4
The Kharar police today arrested Gulzar Singh, brother of a 55-year old man who was hacked to death by four persons at his residence in Rampur Taparian village near Kurali on September 21. Gulzar Singh has been arrested on charges of murdering his brother by “hiring” killers.

The victim Darbara Singh was killed after the rest of his family was locked inside a room in their house by the assailants. The victim’s family had alleged that Darbara Singh was murdered by Sukhvinder Singh, another resident of the village, who had developed differences with Darbara Singh over the issue of his marriage.

The police, today, however, stated that investigations in the case had revealed a different picture. Gulzar Singh had, according to the police, taken the help of his neighbour to arrange for the assailants to attack his brother that night.

“We are on the look out of the killers,” said Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, Kharar, adding that more details would be available regarding the cause of the murder by tomorrow.

Darbara Singh was unmarried and had been living in Dubai for over 25 years and had returned to his native village some years ago. He was living here with Gulzar and his family.



Labourer hit by truck, dies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 4
A 35-year-old labourer, Lachchman Das, was killed when he was hit by a truck, near Ramgarh late tonight. The victim was going on a bicycle when he was hit by a speeding truck. The truck driver escaped.



India’s first interactive online map portal launched
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
It is that last mile that he has revolutionised so that you never get lost again. For Rakesh Verma, MD of CE Info Systems (P) Ltd., innovations come as easy as eating an apple pie. Having pioneered the creation of digital maps of India in 1995 in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) segment, Verma launched India’s first interactive online map portal, www.mapmyindia.com, on August 20 this year.

This is Verma’s way of turning “thinking into reality” and he has done precisely that. With ‘mapmyindia’ you can search for any location in India-villages, towns, roads, hospitals, restaurants and even petrol pumps at the click of a mouse. The site provides highly detailed, interactive, digital maps covering the length and breadth of India. “With 150 cities mapped, we have virtually covered most of the country,” says Verma.

“Our cities are different from western countries. The problem we face is that very often our streets have no names.” To overcome this, Verma developed a unique system called eLocation, “given away for free when you sign on through the site.”

This is where the ingenuity of the system comes in. “It is a revolutionary service that allows anyone who knows your eLocation ID to see where you are located on a detailed map and to get directions from a nearby landmark right to your doorstep. An eLocation ID is just like an email ID or visiting card.”

What this system, therefore, does, is relies on you to give the location of your home or business from a landmark nearest to your place and to share your location via messages or the website and get maps and driving instructions-directly on your PC or mobile phones (to be launched shortly)

“One needs to have access to a formidable and large digital mapping data and that needs to be adapted to local conditions,” says Verma. Interestingly, this is a barrier that automated navigation software deployed in foreign countries like ‘Mapquest’ in the US or ‘Whereis’ in Australia have also not been able to overcome.

With a quarter of a million hits per day, the market “created and nurtured” by Verma and his team, has found a home in India. Though, driving directions between cities and for intra-city travel is available only to premium users for which there is a price to pay.

The revenues, however, are generated through the big players like the Election Commission of India, Hyundai and travel portal www.makemytrip.com, amongst others, who have tied up with Verma’s systems to make access to their locations easier for their customers and users.

This is what Verma came back for from the US, giving up his job with GE in 1992. “I wanted to make a difference here, do something that would be of value here. I knew we would have to face challenges but it has been a worthy journey.” So go for that convoluted road expedition, for you have the precise map to rely on.



Presenting chikankari in new avatar
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Exquisite chikankari in georgettes, semi-georgettes, crepes and crisp cottons with delicate thread work that delight. Bright pinks with muted greens, subdued pastel shades, sunshine yellow and mellow blue with crochet and brocade trimmings all make for a festive collection by Prakriti Chawla.

On display is a play of embroidery work, replete with jacquard salwars, brocade trimmings to kurtas and dupattas (Rs 6000 to 12,000), blooming kurtis with vibrant flower patterns complete with stoles (Rs 450 to 1650), richly embellished saris (Rs 17,000 to 24,000) and even ponchos (Rs 3250) in the sheerest of fabrics.

A product of the National School of Fashion Technology, Delhi, in 2002, this petite young lady specialised in knitwear but moved onto chikan to prove her forte as a designer and here her collection springs alive. “I designed knitted tops with chikan work for the NIFT shop in Delhi, but decided to diversify and exhibited my first collection in Lucknow where I lived.”

With her own centres for dying, printing and finishing and with more than 40 women working under her, Prakriti has it all tied-up. “I have supervisors there and I go once in two months to keep an eye on what is being produced. I give the ideas, designs and the general feel of what I want.”

For this showing, the result is beautiful. Lots of bright colours, cheerful dyes, ombrez work — muted, subtle colour blends — bold shaded threads (a difficult product to source!) used with imagination, fine silver wire (kasab) — and mirrors covering the entire ensemble and variation of appliqué work (daraz) — represent a collection that is stimulating and artistic.

What is the inspiration then to produce a classic showing of an age-old form of handiwork? “It could be anything. The colours of a tree, a design previously done and developed, a person walking on the road; what is important is that I do what I love and fortunately it sells!”

Any last words on fashion? “Anything that makes you look and feel comfortable. Always wear what is best suited to your body type and you will never go wrong.”



Govt move to waive interest welcomed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 4
Members of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) today welcomed the decision of the Punjab Government to waive off the recovery of interest against such small scale industrial units and other beneficiaries which availed loan under the seed-margin money, Punjab State Aid to Industrial Act, 1935 and Integrated Rural Development Programme, provided they deposited the entire balance of principal amount of loan in one instalment within a period of three months.

Those who have already deposited the entire amount of the loan, the recovery of interest will be waived off and case against them will be closed.

“This waiver would bring relief to the small and medium scale industries and also give a boost to the sagging industrial activity in the state, “said Mr Balbir Singh, president of the association.

Member of the association said they had been pursuing this matter with the Punjab Government for the past three years.

They had requested the government to expedite the “one time settlement scheme” with regards to recovery of interest free loans on the pattern of decision taken in respect of seed money loan cases. Such a scheme would provide relief to small industries.

Mr Balbir Singh also welcomed the statement of Finance Minister Mr Surinder Singla, that the government would release the pending ‘capital incentive subsidy’ of over Rs 500 crore to the state industry in the phased manner through tradable bonds by January 2006.

The association has also welcomed the assurance of the Finance Minister in abolishing octroi in the state.


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