C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PM is here, but may not address media
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here tonight, his second visit to the city in less than two weeks. This time he is here to participate in the ongoing conclave of 15 Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states. The Prime Minister was expected to arrive here earlier in the day, but could only make it around 10 p.m. due to prior engagements in Delhi.

Though, originally the Prime Minister was scheduled to address the media on Saturday around 12.15 p.m., it is now reliably learnt that senior leaders are of the opinion that this should be avoided to evade embarrassing questions in light of the Supreme Court’s interim judgement on the dissolution of Bihar Assembly pronounced today. Even though deliberations on this are still on, there is a strong possibility of the media address being cancelled. But the conclave tomorrow will start with his address.

Meanwhile, following The Tribune report pointing out the hoisting of Congress flags outside the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhavans, these flags were removed and replaced by flags of different colours. The security in most parts of the city, however, continued to be on high alert with traffic to the northern sectors in the vicinity of the venue being the most affected.

Traffic was diverted so as to avoid routes passing by Hotel Mountview that is hosting 13 of the 15 Chief Ministers. The traffic has also been redirected away from the Haryana and Punjab Raj Bhavans in Sector 3. Life in other parts of the city, however, remained normal as these top Congress leaders, including Union Defence, Finance and Home Minister, remained confined to the venue of the conclave.

Most offices in the Punjab and Haryana Secretariats remained virtually empty with many officers and visitors opting not to go there till the conclave is over as most officers have been put on duty. Ministers too preferred to stay away. Interestingly, while party leaders have been deliberating ways to reward the grassroots workers, none of them was allowed near the venue.

Interestingly, since most proceedings other than that of Ms Sonia Gandhi’s address was not open to the media, hundreds of television anchors and print journalists spent hours waiting for the three press briefings by Ms Ambika Soni, general secretary of the Congress. Since no one wanted to miss out on any development, many innovative television journalists took the opportunity to interview their fellow newspersons and telecast their views on various issues like the impact of the apex courts judgement on the forthcoming poll, etc.

Yesterday night, dinner was hosted for the Congress leaders by Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister. Tonight it is the turn of Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda. While all Congress leaders will be there, journalists have been invited for dinner by Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Media Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister.

Interestingly, the list of presentations by Chief Ministers of different states given out to the media did not have Punjab scheduled anywhere, even though the state’s Chief Minister is one of the hosts. It was later learnt that the omission was due to an oversight.



CTCC infighting comes into open
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
It seems nobody can check faction-fighting in the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), not even the Congress president and the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and the Congress top brass.

Ms Gandhi had called upon the Congress Chief Ministers to put an end to faction-fighting during the ongoing Congress chief ministers’ conclave, the local unit failed to put up a united show even to welcome the leaders. Both CTCC factions welcomed Ms Gandhi and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, separately.

In fact, even the presence of the Congress top brass failed to broker a temporary truce between the warring factions. The faction, led by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, comprising among others the Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, three former Mayors and CTCC delegates, welcomed Ms Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh by inserting a front-page advertisement in an English daily.

However, not to be outsmarted, the CTCC president, Mr B.B. Bahl, put up another advertisement in a rival newspaper almost exactly at the same spot. He went a step further by putting another page one advertisement in another English daily welcoming the Union Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee. Mr Mukherjee is primarily seen behind the appointment of Mr Bahl as the CTCC chief in the face of strong opposition from Mr Bansal.

Meanwhile, the alleged denial of an invitation to the Mayor, who is a known Bansal loyalist, for a lunch hosted by the local Congress unit for the visiting dignitaries seemed to have further angered the Bansal faction.

Though faction-fighting in the CTCC is a routine affair it intensifies whenever a Congress top functionary comes to the city. With a galaxy of Congress leaders thronging the city for the two-day conclave, both factions have been vying with each other to score political points.

The fresh round of faction-fighting should be seen in the backdrop of the ensuing elections to the posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor, and the Deputy Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) scheduled to be held on January 1, next year.

Like the previous years, intense lobbing has started for the coveted post of the Mayor and there are several claimants from both the factions for the post. With remote chances of unanimity on a single name, the party high command will have to step in to resolve the impasse, sources said.



Malayalees meet Chandy
Tribune News Service

Members of the Malayalee Samajam, Mohali, with the Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr Oommen Chandy, in Chandigarh on Friday.
Members of the Malayalee Samajam, Mohali, with the Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr Oommen Chandy, in Chandigarh on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, October 7
Members of the Malayalee Samajam, Mohali, met the Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr Oommen Chandy, today, who had come to Chandigarh to attend the Congress Chief Ministers’ conclave.

The president of the samajam, Mr Benny Thomas, said the Chief Minister was apprised of the ongoing activities of the samajam and the present status of the Kerala Bhavan project, which the Malayalee Samajam had taken up. It had been allotted a piece of land in Sector 65, Phase 11, Mohali, by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority for the construction of the bhavan.

Mr Benny Thomas also handed over a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding funds for the construction of the bhavan.



Effigies of Sonia, Manmohan burnt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Welcoming the decision of the Supreme Court on the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly, the BJP today demanded the resignation of the Bihar Governor, Mr Buta Singh.

In a press note issued here, the party said the apex court judgement had exposed the real faces of the Congress, the CPM, the CPI, and the RJD.

Activists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) burnt the effigies of the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and demanded the immediate recall of the Bihar Governor.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Party, the Janata Dal (Secular), the BSP and SAD also demanded the recall of Mr Buta Singh to maintain the dignity of the Governor’s Office.



Finally, PU employees’ pension woes end
Amrita Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, today finally put to rest the speculations over approval of pension for the Panjab University employees by confirming that the file had been cleared yesterday evening.

He is in the city for the ongoing conclave of Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states.

In a meeting with the MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mr Chidambaram today confirmed that pension for the Panjab University employees had indeed been cleared. Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bansal informed that it was now only a matter of time before Panjab University would receive an official notification.

"I always knew that Mr Chidambaram had a positive outlook on the whole issue and am very happy that the pension has finally been approved," he said.

Confirmation of the news today has brought to an end 15 years of struggle of PU employees for pension.

The varsity employees have been fighting for the cause since 1991. The centre had in 1993 approved the pension.

The pension scheme was, however, again revised and sent for the approval in 2002. The approval was finally received today.

The scheme which has been approved is the pension scheme of 1991 with some amendments.

All employees, who have joined before January 1, 2004, will be entitled to get pension under it.

For employees who have joined later, their is a new pension scheme by the Central Government.

To avail the pension, PU employees will have to return the university's share of the provident fund and the interest on it.

Once the final notification comes, pension will become part of the university budget.



Pollution control committee turns heat on PGI, GMCH
GMCH getting notices since 1999 on biomedical waste dumping
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Two major government hospitals in the city — the PGI and the GMCH-Sector 32— are now under the scanner of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee for dumping biomedical waste at a landfill site in Dadu Majra.

Two days after a PGI van was confiscated for improper dumping the biomedical waste in open, the committee has issued show-cause notices to the two hospitals asking the directors to report on the issue within 15 days.

The notice issued to the GMCH states that the authorities were repeatedly asked by the committee to comply with the biomedical waste rules and to install air pollution device but the GMCH failed to do the same despite several notices/letters.

Incidentally, such notices were sent to the GMCH authorities from 1999 onwards till July 2005.

During a joint inspection on October 5 by Mr H.K. Kandhola, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, UT and Mr G.C. Bansal, Medical Officer, Health, of the dumping ground, Dadu Majra, it was found that the GMCH too had dumped its biomedical waste at the Dadu Majra dumping site.

After issuing notices to the two hospitals, the pollution committee is contemplating further action against the concerned authorities.

A similar notice has been served to the PGI as well. The committee also mentions that the hospital authorities at the GMCH have not installed sewage- treatment plant and taken other pollution-control measures and continue to discharge sewage in violation of the Water Prevention Act, 1974.

Meanwhile, the fact-finding committee, constituted by the PGI to investigate into the matter, earlier headed by the Deputy Medical Superintendent, will submit its report in three days' time.

The committee is now headed by Mr P. Kulhara, Head of the Department of Psychiatry.

What does law say

As per Section 6(1) of BioMedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, biomedical waste shall not be mixed with other wastes. When a offence under this Act is committed by any government Department, the Head of the Department is deemed to be guilty of the offence and is liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

The contraventions of the aforesaid rules is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years with fine of a maximum of Rs one lakh or both.



Forest land in danger, no action yet
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Activity to divert forest land for non-forestry purposes by a Patiala-based businessman is going on unabated on a large chunk of land in Karoran village, thanks to 'helplessness' of the State Forest Department.

The violator has engaged workers to raise the level of the retaining wall, being raised in middle of the seasonal rivulet — Patiala Ki Rao.

Under the relevant provisions of the Indian Forest Act, the forest officers are empowered to arrest the violator and impound any vehicle being used to level the forest land. The Punjab Forest Minister, Mr H.R. Joshan, was not available for comments as he was busy at the Congress Chief Ministers' conclave.

In the last report, an officer of the Forest Department had claimed that a challan had been issued against the violators and police action had also been sought. As per the records of the State Forest Department, the entire area of 3700 acres of Karoran village is a forest area.

Enquiries reveal that prior permission of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is required for diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes.

The department, under the Japan Bank of International Cooperation-assisted 'Punjab Afforestation Project', has spent over several lakhs to protect the fragile hills from eroding in the areas notified in Karoran.



Move for CBI probe into Nayagaon rape case opposed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 7
Residents of Nayagaon village today protested against the Punjab Government for demanding a CBI probe into the Nayagaon rape case.

Stating that this would help the accused and lead to a delay in the filing of the challan against them by the special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police. Mr Manjit Singh Kamboj, president of the joint action committee of residents and shopkeepers of Nayagaon in a press note alleged that the Chief Minister, and the DGP, Punjab, were trying to hush up the case.

Pointing out that investigations in the case were almost over and the main accused had been arrested, Mr Kamboj added that there were just a few days left for filing of the challan in the case and if the investigating agency is changed at this stage it will help the accused. “There is nothing left for the CBI to investigate now. The case is being referred to the CBI to get the investigation delayed to save the ministers, IPS and IAS officers involved in the case,” alleged Mr Kamboj.

“It is rarely that poor people like us get together to praise police officials. However, the investigations done by SIT, headed by Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, IGP, in the case of the rape of a 14-year-old child and his exposing the nexus between land mafia and politicians and Punjab bureaucracy has earned our gratitude and respect,” said the press note.

The committee condemned the action of the DGP, Punjab, for changing the head of SIT and now proposing a CBI inquiry to allegedly hush up the case.



His world is rustic village charm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The quiet of his works speaks a thousand languages. In these languages rests the vibrant world of Avtarjeet Dhanjal.

Dhanjal has carried his world with him — the world of rustic village charm, the world of darkness caused by power breakdowns, the world of wide open spaces and skies. It is this world of extravagance that has finally made its home on the canvases and in sculptures of Dhanjal — a South Asian artist who has won many a heart back home in London.

In Chandigarh on Alliance Francaise’s invitation to deliver a lecture on the role of an artist in the 21st century, Dhanjal poured his heart out on many aspects, including real art that is subservient to nothing, not even itself.

“Artists have a social responsibility and it is the artist’s job to look beyond the obvious. He must paint a futuristic picture by flying ahead of times. Only an artist has this privilege,” he said.

Although contradictions seem apparent in the works of Dhanjal, who celebrates his roots but lives away from them, he finds logical explanations for his inclinations.

“For me, both London and India are essential — London because it leaves you alone if you so wish and affords you ample opportunity to contemplate and react; India because it fills the empty spaces and reasserts the value of bonds. I savour my loneliness in London and use it to create images that I identify with. But that does not mean I don’t value my trips to India. India enriches me in a different way. I take back my experiences and once I have assimilated them, I use them as motifs for my art.”

In Dhanjal’s opinion, the better slot goes to the West, which despite being the centre of materialism, offers more time for contemplation.

For his part, he has made quite a name in Europe. He has been part of the best art circuits and has lent fresh perspectives to art. “While changing with the times artists must be concerned about staying ahead of them. Everyone has his/her own ways of reacting to change. I react with a renewed expression every time I encounter a new trend. Change brings its challenges which then inspire art,” said Dhanjal while reflecting on the themes of his artworks.



Youngsters flout traffic rules with impunity
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh police has failed to learn its lesson, apparently.

Even though 48 hours have lapsed since a youngster was killed and another injured in two mishaps on the road in front of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College in Sector 26, it has failed to adopt necessary preventive measures, including intensified patrolling and regular challaning.

It is true that men-in-white can be seen deployed on the road near the college campus. But one look is enough to tell you that “something more is required”. For, you still find youngsters not giving two hoots to the traffic rules and regulations.

Triple riding is a common feature on the road cutting through the “institutional area”. The fear of the cops is the last thing on their minds as three youngsters on a single bike or a scooter zip down the road, one after another. Even the presence of schoolchildren on the road is no deterrent as they negotiate the turns at high speeds.

The long story of violations does not end here. You have youngsters claiming proudly that they do not believe in the practice of wearing safety helmets while riding bikes. You can see them and many more riding down the road with safety helmets locked to the motor cycles.

Then there are others who believe in mixing chatting with driving. They are apparently not aware of a recent research conducted at Johns Hopkins University. It clearly says that the brain cannot handle sights and sounds simultaneously. Neurologists and cops deployed with the traffic wing of the Chandigarh police agree.

A senior officer admits that driving requires good control. Even a minor error can lead to an accident. It does not happen every time, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. Yet the cops have done little to teach the youngsters a lesson or two.

The officer claims that “nakas” are set up in front of the college at other sensitive spots on the road from time to time, but admits that challaning is seldom carried out by the police on a regular basis.

As far as the perpetually non-functional traffic lights at the intersection near the college are concerned, the cop says that it is made operational during the rush hours. “Otherwise, we have patrol vehicles and cops permanently deployed on the road to manage traffic and take care of any untoward incident,” the officer concludes.



Housing body submits demands to UT Adviser
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A delegation of the Chandigarh State Federation of Coop House Building Societies (Chandigarh Housefed), led by Mr Deep Chand Sharma, chairman of the National Coop Housing Federation of India, called on the UT Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma, here today.

According a press statement, the delegation urged the Adviser to take steps for the development of the cooperative movement in the city.

The delegation wanted the Chandigarh Administration to recognise the substitute members as original members and regularise the membership of the general power of attorney holders.

The other demands of the delegation included the enhancement of tenure of the managing committee of the cooperatives from one year to five years, organising the multipurpose cooperatives for the slum-dwellers, availability of loan in favour of the Chandigarh Housefed by the Chandigarh State Cooperative Bank for Housing Cooperatives and its members.

Representation to the Chandigarh Housefed in various committees of the Administration and the allotment of land to the housing cooperatives and its members were also demanded by the delegation.



Plot allottees decry PUDA lethargy
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 7
Members of the Sector 76-80 Plot-Allotment Sangharsh Committee today stated that PUDA had given 10.5 acres of land to Housefed but was not giving them any relief.

“On one hand PUDA is not giving allotment letters to 3950 allottees whereas they have sold 10.5 acres of land which is free of all encumbrances to Housefed. Also the allottees have come to know from reliable sources that earlier a chunk of 5.4 acres of land earmarked to Housefed was under litigation but now PUDA had given them an entire piece of land clear of all litigation,” said the press statement issued by Mr Harbhajan Singh, press secretary of the committee.

The committee had been formed by the 3900 allottees who had been given letters of intent by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for allotment of plots in these sectors in 2000 but have not been given the physical possession of plots.



Dandia begins at Fort Ramgarh
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, October 7
The grace of Dandia reverberated the ambience at the Fort Ramgarh as the five- day Dandia dance festival commenced here with the Maa Durgeshwari pooja at 7.30 pm. The festival, aimed at popularising the traditional dance, will feature special performances of live classical dance, folk dances and solo classical followed by Dandia.

“We have specially made arrangement of a few choreographers who will guide our guest about different Dandia steps,” claims D.S. Cheema .

Free Dandia sticks to all guests will be provided free of cost and dress stall has been set up from where they can also hire traditional dresses.” The whole fort has been decorated in unique traditional style to match the spiritual fervour the holy Navratras.



Protest against hike in water, sewer charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 7
Residents of Phase XI here held a protest march and blocked traffic against the hike in water and sewer charges here last evening.

Slogans were raised against the Punjab Government and the local Municipal Council by the protesters who demanded that the hike should be immediately withdrawn.

Mr Amrik Singh, municipal councillor from ward no 24, said there was resentment among the people against the hike in the water and sewer charges which was made effective from August 1. He said people had earlier gathered in a park as a mark of protest. The gathering decided that if the hike was not withdrawn, people of the area would not deposit water bills from the next month.

A resolution was also passed by the protesters in which they said the rates had almost been doubled and were being hiked for the second time during the past four years. The rates in Panchkula and Chandigarh were lower than Mohali even when more development had taken place in those areas. Mr Amrik Singh said copies of the resolution were sent to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Principal Secretary Local Government, Punjab. 



SC order on commercial property hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Property Owners Welfare Association (POWA) today welcomed the judgment of the Supreme Court under which a landlord could get the commercial property vacated for personal use.

At a meeting here, the executive committee of POWA felt that the decision would have far-reaching effects on the real estate and construction business.

The members reiterated their stand that in the changed scenario of the city turning into a metro it needed investor-friendly policies.

The real estate should be freed from unnecessary shackles such as the Rent Act and the stamp duty, a press statement said.



Narrow escape for students

Mohali, October 7
A school bus carrying students hit a pole with live power cables in Phase III B 2 here today. It adversely hit the power supply in the area.

The students had a narrow escape as the driver tried to speed away the vehicle from the accident site even when a power cable had got entangled with the vehicle. This resulted in the transformer getting damaged.

Employees of the PSEB who visited the site said high tension wires were passing above the transformer. The driver had behaved in an irresponsible manner by putting the lives of students in danger. They said departmental action would be taken against him.— OC



Lok Suvidha camp at Zirakpur

Chandigarh, October 7
Officers of Patiala district yesterday came to the doorsteps of Zirakpur residents for on the spot redressal of their grievances and issuing of the different types of document.

Hundreds of residents of 10 villages around Zirakpur were able to get their work done for which otherwise they had to go all the way to Patiala. From issuing driving licence to attestation of documents, all works were done at the one-day camp, “Lok Suvidha Camp”, tenth of its kind organised so far in the Patiala district.

The Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat had also set up its counter for on the spot redressal of complaints. — TNS



Bus driver held with poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A bus driver was taken in custody on the allegation of carrying contraband. A jail inmate was also booked on the allegation of possessing opium. Two cases pertaining to drugs were registered by the police.

The theft of ornaments and a car was also reported to the Chandigarh Police during the past 24 hours. An alleged thief was also taken in custody. A Sector 25 resident was arrested for alleged cheating and criminal breach of trust on the grounds of selling a jhuggi allotted to him by the UT Administration

In another development, a Patiala resident, Rajiv Goyal, has applied for anticipatory bail in a case alleging criminal breach of trust and subjecting a married woman to cruelty under Sections 406 and 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). His plea, claiming false implication, will come up for further hearing on Monday.

Bus driver Naib Singh of Patiala district was taken in custody by the local police on the allegation of possessing a bag containing 12 kg of poppy husk. Giving details, a spokesman said the bag was recovered by CTU’s ticket-checking inspector Baldev Kumar Saini. A case under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act had been registered, the spokesman added.

Another case under the provisions of the NDPS Act was registered by the police on a complaint of Burail Jail’s Deputy Superintendent Subhash Chander. In his complaint, Mr Chander said 5 gm of opium was recovered from Arvind Singh, alias Pinka, after he came back from a hospital.

A spokesman for the Chandigarh Police said a gold set, along with other ornaments, were stolen from the house of Sector 22 resident Manoj Kumar. In a similar complaint, Jai Singh of Sector 28 reported the theft of ornaments and Rs 5,500 from his residence. In both cases, the articles were stolen during daytime. Taking up the complaints, the police registered cases under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC.

Mr Aneet Oberoi of Sector 44 informed the police that his Maruti car (HR-32-9797) was stolen from the front of a shop-cum-office in Sector 9. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the matter.

Arvinder Kumar of Halomajra was arrested on the allegation of entering the house of Sector 51 resident Ajay Kumar with the intention to commit theft. After preliminary investigations, the number-plates of his motor cycle were also found to be fake.

In his bail application, Rajiv Goyal of Patiala claimed that the allegation of harassing his wife were false and fabricated in an attempt to make him leave his mother and return to the US where he was initially working.

In her complaint, his wife Sonia Gupta of Sector 18 had earlier alleged that her husband had been harassing and mentally torturing her after being instigated by his mother and other relatives.

Ms Sonia added that even when she was expecting, her husband told her to ensure the absence of her father and other relatives at the time of delivery. The complainant alleged that she was threatened with dire consequences.

Seeking the registration of a criminal case, Ms Sonia said all efforts directed towards reconciliation had failed and she had been pushed out of her house. Besides, the dowry articles had been misappropriated.



Australia for IT tie-ups
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

John McCarthy
John McCarthy

Chandigarh, October 7
Australia has become the third biggest educational destination for Indian students with nearly 21,000 Indian students studying there at any given time. Even as Australia moves towards becoming a preferred destination in the field of education, the Australian High Commissioner, Mr John McCarthy wants a more meaningful and serious exchange in the fields of science and technology at all levels.

Both India and Australia have several common features such as vast tracts of dry land and huge agricultural produce. “Only meaningful exchanges of knowledge gained through research and expertise in the fields of biotechnology and information technology (IT) will make both the economies grow. India has a very highly gifted scientific community and we can do much more top end collaboration of scientific and technical brains,” Mr McCarthy suggested here today.

The Australian diplomat who was in town to inaugurate a new visa issuance centre and to participate in an interactive session with members of the CII, told The Tribune that he would be happy to see a relationship ‘that works both ways’. No relationship works if it is results in one-sided gains; he said adding that Australia was good at growing, processing and transporting food, something that it can teach India. On the other hand, Australia would welcome collaboration and investment in the field of IT from large companies.

Even as India has great IT potential, Australia can give it a lesson or two in “e-governance, electronic commerce and promotion of IT in which my country has the expertise”, Mr McCarthy says. Australia recognised India’s economic growth, he said, adding that Australia and India were working towards improving bilateral relations that could lead towards establishing a preferred economic partner status between the two nations.

While highlighting the great potential of technological exchange between the two countries, Mr McCarthy said that India should recognise the value to dig out technologies from Australia in the area of mining, agriculture and food processing, energy and education sectors.

He acknowledged that North India was the potential market for Australian products.

Mr McCarthy disclosed that the Australian Prime Minister would visit Indian next year accompanied by a delegation of businessmen and bankers.

It will be a sequel to the visit of FICI and CII chiefs to Australia and the subsequent visit of Australian bankers to India this year. “I am hopeful this will lead a positive outcome in terms of major economic programmes between the two nations.”

Though, Australia will continue to showcase its educational institutions to Indian students for which the Australian High Commission would be organising seminars at Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana. “We provide the opportunity, but the onus to select the right institute is upon the students who have to see what is their requirement,” he said.

At the same time to promote business relations between the two countries, he said that Australian companies would become a permanent feature at Agro-Tech shows.” These are good platforms to show our products and the Australian High Commission will have a stand at the next agro-tech show.”



Australian visa collection centre opened
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
With the opening of the Australian High Commission visa application and collection centre in Chandigarh, travellers to Australia from the region will no longer have to go all the way to Delhi to clear the paper work for visa purposes.

The Australian High Commissioner to India, Mr John McCarthy, who formally launched the centre today, made it clear that outsourced to Indian company TT Services, the collection centre will make it more easier and more convenient for those in the region, particularly those residing in Punjab to apply for visas to Australia. The centre located in Sector 8 had informally begun operations on September 19.

High Commission’s First Secretary (Immigration), Ms Kelly H. Raj, said the centre would provide clients a face-to-face contact point, a visa application service, and information on how to apply for the visa. Client services will be available to the applicants throughout the day from Monday to Friday (except public holidays), including courier, passport tracking and helpdesk services.

“I hope that it will help boost even further the number of Indian tourists, students and business people choosing to visit Australia,” Mr McCarthy said while adding that visas to business visitors would be made available within 24 hours.

For the benefit of the travellers, visa applications will be collected at the new centre and forwarded to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi for processing.

Mr P. Varadan, managing Director, TT Services old TNS that nearly 5,000 people visit Australia from Punjab every year almost a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the number every year.



Competition in industry stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Competition Commission of India will give equal treatment to both the private sector and the government or public sector for initiating action against any activity that may have an adverse affect on competition in the market. Mr V.K. Dhall, member of the competition Commission of India, ( CCI), at a seminar on competition policy and law organised by PHDCCI here yesterday, said the competition authority would focus on transparency and all decisions taken by the authority would be in public domain.

He said the CCI would have the power to intervene in any commercial activity undertaken by the state or government department that might adversely affect competition. In case of policy matters of the states, the commission would try to influence decisions only through advocacy work.

Speaking about the significance of promoting a pro-competitive culture, Mr S. C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, emphasised the need to monitor and eliminate anti-competitive practices.

Mr Salil Bhandari, member of the Managing Committee of PHDCCI, said the Indian industry was at a juncture where consolidation through mergers and acquisition was gaining strength. While regulating combinations, the CCI should take care consolidation was not hindered.

Mr Satish Bagrodia, another member of the Managing Committee, PHDCCI, emphasised that the crucial part of the competition law would be its enforcement. Given the complexity of the subject and dynamics which vary from industry to industry, it would have far-reaching implications. 



Direct mail service launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh Division of the Punjab postal circle today launched the service of direct mail here. The facility caters to business organisations for direct advertising of their products.

Mr Nirmaljeet Singh, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Chandigarh division, launched the service.

Mr Onkar Chand, Superintendent, Headquarters, said only un-addressed postal articles and printed communication that was not prohibited by the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, or Indian Post Office Rules, 1933, could be sent by direct mail.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |