C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Faster CTU bus service on anvil
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In a major development, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) has prepared a draft plan for introducing a ‘grid’ system in an attempt to ply the buses only on vertical and horizontal lines on the city roads. By not travelling on the inner sector roads, this will mean a faster service which will stick to a rigid timetable making it a possible permanent source of transport to daily travellers.

The biggest highlight of the revised bus service schedule and the new routes is that no one will have to wait at any bus stop for more than 15 minutes. Majority of the buses will ply at an interval of approximately eight minutes only.

A sketch of the new bus routes
A sketch of the new bus routes (only vertical and horizontal) under a grid system planned by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking.
— Sketch by Gaurav Sood

A route-wise survey report has been prepared by the CTU which has relied purely on the practical applicability of the work on ground. The report will be submitted to the Home Secretary before it is taken up for final approval. Senior officials pointed out that the new system of buses will likely be applicable from January, 2006 onwards.

The CTU has specified 15 new routes for application of grid system of plying the buses. As many as 120 buses will be employed for at least 1649 trips on various routes daily. “Regular and timely availability of buses at lesser time intervals will definitely encourage a greater number of commuters, particularly the office goer, to discard their private conveyances and make use of the bus service”, a senior official said.

The draft plan has made an elaborate effort to give adequate bus service for the neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula, as well. Buses will also run connecting the two neighbouring towns after passing through the city.

Officials pointed out that the biggest advantage of the grid system is saving on account of time. “We will make all efforts in ensuring the punctuality which will go a long way in making it people friendly. It was discovered during our survey that a vast majority of people do not prefer travelling by buses because they meandered a long way on the internal roads. In order to avoid the time wastage on the internal roads, the routes have been mapped out only on the main roads”, he said.

The official said the buses would charge a flat rate of Rs 5 on all the routes for a one time travel exercise. The CTU will continue with its ongoing schemes of monthly passes.

Manimajra, Grain Market, PGI, Sector 43, Sector 47, Sector 38 (West), Maloya, High Court, Mohali and Panchkula have been identified as the major points of start and return of different buses. Some of the prominent routes that the buses will undertake include the Madhya Marg, Dakshin Marg, Himalaya Marg, Jan Marg and Dakshin Marg, besides others.



Chrysanthemum Show: Panchkula resident pockets 36 prizes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The number 13 proved to be lucky for Sector 8, Panchkula resident, Mr Virinder Sharma, at the Chrysanthemum Show here today. Participating for the 13th year in a row, 46-year-old Sharma today had the unique distinction of having bagged all the 36 prizes in the 12 categories of the show. This is for the first time that any single person has bagged the prizes in all the categories.

Talking to TNS, Virinder informed that it was his hard work that had finally paid off. “I started participating in the show 13 years ago, after I was snubbed by a retired Army General who had won a few awards in the show,” he informs. It was the will to learn and his passion for flowers that made him devote at least six hours everyday to his hobby. “I liked flowers and would visit the various shows, after the incident with the Army officer, I decided to master the art myself,” he adds. He had last year won 22 prizes. To ensure that he would learn the best he informs he toured India and attended various flower shows. “I have also been invited as a judge to many,” he informs.

An industrialist, Virinder tends to his chrysanthemums at his factory itself, thus attending to both his work and his passion. “My plants are at the industry itself and I spend my time looking after the plants there only.”

The next stop, Virinder says, is hopefully to get recognition for his art from the UT Administration. “I don’t think anybody can win all the awards together, I doubt it if even I would be able to repeat it again.”



Chrysanthemum Show inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, inaugurated the 19th Chrysanthemum Show, organised by the Municipal Corporation, here today at the Terraced Gardens in Sector 33. Lieut-General S.F. Rodrigues (retd) was also present on the occasion.

Ms Rodrigues released a folder on the propagation practice of growing chrysanthemum. Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, and P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, while giving a brief about the festival, informed that in the three-day show, 208 varieties with thousands of pots had been displayed and various government/ semi-government institutions, Chandigarh Housing Board, PGI Chandigarh, Punjab Warehousing Corporation, CITCO, IMTECH Chandigarh, HUDA Haryana, PWD Punjab & Chandigarh, AG Punjab, etc and the private growers took part in competitions of flowers grown in pots. Prizes will be given to the best three exhibits in each category.

Ms Jean and General Rodrigues also inspected the flower arrangements of 208 varieties of flowers displayed on the occasion. General Rodrigues interacted with municipal councillors and senior residents of the area and sought their active involvement and partnership in the further beautification of the garden and the city.

The show this year has new attractions like a flower bed decked tunnel with an impressive exhibition of blow-ups of colourful chrysanthemums in different hues at the entrance of the garden.

Over 25 categories have been added to the show this year and the number of pots on display is also more than previous time and all have been identified for the public. A total of 411 entries have been registered till today. The Mayor of the corporation will give away the prizes to the winners on prize distribution function, scheduled to be held on December 17.

The prizes in different categories declared by the Municipal Corporation here today are Class A: Artistic arrangement (amateurs): Virinder Sharma of Sector 8, Panchkula, was winner of all three prizes, while Sant Sarup Singh of Sector 38-A shared the second prize with Virinder Sharma. Class B: Artistic arrangement (institutions): Regional Director, Regional Institute Of Cooperative Management, Chandigarh, Chandigarh Housing Board, Sector 9-D, Kid’s Kingdom School, Sector 8-A. Class C: Section C-1: Incurved Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula, S.C. Rajpal, Panchkula (second & third). Section C-2, Incurving Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three). Section C-3: Reflexed Chrysanthemum : Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three). Section C-4: Spider Chrysanthemum : Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three) Section C-5: Anemone Chrysanthemum : Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (first & second), Sant Saroop Singh, Chandigarh (second), Kulbir Kaur, Chandigarh. Section C-6: Korean Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three). Section C-7: Pompon Chrysanthemum : Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three). Section C-8: Button Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three). Section C-9: Spoon Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three), N.D. Sharma, Chlandigarh (third). Section C-10: Decorative Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (al l three), Sant Saroop Singh, Chandigarh (third). Section C-11: Collection of four different varieties of Chrysanthemum: Virinder Sharma, Panchkula (all three).

Class-D: (institutions) Section D-1: Incurved Chrysanthemum: Chandigarh Housing Board, Sector 9-D, Punjab State Ware Housing Corporation, Sector 17, CITCO, Sector 17. Section D-2: Incurving Chrysanthemum: Punjab State Ware Housing Corporation, Sector 17, Chandigarh, CITCO, Sector 17. Section D-3: Reflexed Chrysanthemum: Chandigarh Housing Board, Sector 9-D, Dirctor, P.G.I., Sector 12, A.G. Punjab, Chandigarh. Section D-4: Spider Chrysanthemum: Chandigarh Housing Board, Sector 9-D, Chandigarh, Chandigarh Housing Board, Sector 9-D, CITCO, Sector 17 and Principal, Hans Raj Public School, Sector 6, Panchkula.



Winter nightmare for the homeless
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The early morning and late evening chill is fast closing in on the city as days get shorter and the nights longer, colder and dreary. The mercury today dipped further to a temperature of 2.8 degrees centigrade, the lowest ever in the past five years in December. As winter tightens its grip over the city with every passing day, the nightmare for the homeless is just about beginning.

The sheer mention of the changing weather and it is enough to send a shiver down the spines of the shelterless. For these rickshaw- pullers, labourers and beggars, living life under the sky and exposed to the vagaries of the weather, winter is all about surviving the cold to last yet another season.

Every winter is a renewed struggle to "organise" warm clothing and blankets to tide over difficult times for these people who have made the corridors their home and bonfires their friend.

Huddled in a blanket and leaning against a pillar in the dark corridor of the bank square, Sector 17, 50-year-old rickshaw-puller Ram Sharan is only one of his tribe. Every corridor, market, rickshaw-stand and there's a Ram Sharan, shivering away through the night, praying for day break and the bright sunshine to warm up his life after a bone-rattling night.

"Ever since I came from Bihar two years back, the Sector 17 market has been my home. There are four of us from the same place and we generally stick together during winters. A small fire keeps us warm and one of us is assigned the job of collecting firewood," says Ramesh Kumar, a small-time vendor running a roadside tea shop, sitting with his friends around a cosy fire.

With the nights becoming "unbearably cold" and with only a blanket as their shield against the chill, most of them resort to drinking to keep warm.

"A few gulps down the throat and the cold doesn't seem to matter. We try to beat the chill at night with country-made liqour since sitting around fires is a tough thing to do after a long hard day," claims Chaman Lal who works as a labourer and spends the night with rickshaw pullers from his hometown, Pratapgarh in UP.

Sitting around a bonfire in Sector 22, rickshaw-pullers here discuss the course the season will take.

"Each winter, the sordid story of deaths come back to haunt us. It's people like us who die every year. They go to sleep at night and don't wake up in the morning. While we know of the cruel winters in the city, there is little we can do since a room costs a lot more than what we earn in a month. We have to live with this and pray the cold won't get us this season or any other season," maintains Ganga Ram.

Alone in the city and usually the only bread winners for their families, these homeless people have accepted their fate. While most of them sleep on pavements and in corridors, a handful of them return to the comfort of their homes in their native place.

"There is hardly any business in winter as people prefer to stay indoors. The amount I earn here in winter is nearly the same as I would earn back home. As soon as the fog makes its first appearance, I just pack up and leave. Also, this is the only vacation I take to be with my family and save every penny for this trip," explains Bhagi Chand, a daily wager staying in the Sector 20 market.

Living out of compulsion in the open, the unanimous refrain of these people is that the administration should build more night shelters to house them through the cruel winter.

These people are already dreading the day the sun refuses to shine and the clouds cover the sky, when the rains come down and fog lays siege to the city.

Shivering and quivering, their arms closed, the homeless hope against hope another winter will pass off uneventfully for them.



Mild tremor rocks city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
City residents experienced mild tremors late last night after a quake of moderate intensity, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in the Hindukush was recorded by the Meteorological Department.

While most of the residents slept though the quake which had lost most of its punch by the time it travelled to the city, a few families living in housing societies panicked with the “slight’ shaking of the earth at 3:17 am.

Half-asleep they rushed downstairs and spent nearly half-an-hour in the open.



Banks can’t seek relief under Securitisation Act, says HC
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the question of constitutional validity of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, stands settled and the issue is not open to further legal debate.

Disposing of the petition filed by M/s Kalyani Sales Company and another, challenging the legality and validity of the actions taken by various banks and financial institutions under the provisions of the Act, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta also did not agree with a judgement of a Single Judge of the Delhi High Court that held that the Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) did not have jurisdiction to entertain issues under the Act.

The Bench, instead, held that the DRT would have jurisdiction to entertain an application contemplated under Section 17 of the Act even in respect of debts under Rs 10 lakh.

The petitioners have also challenged the objection raised by the Registrar, DRT, asking the petitioners to pay Rs 91,000 as court fee instead of the normal Rs 250. The petitioners had approached the DRT against the action of a bank in taking possession of their property in lieu of an outstanding bad debt and putting the property up for sale.

Adjudicating the issue of the amount of court fee to be paid by the petitioners to the DRT, the Bench held that in the absence of any fee prescribed under Section 17 (1) of the Act, the application filed under Section 17 (1) would be maintainable on payment of fixed court fee of Rs 250 only.

In an important directive, the court also held that banks and financial institutions, which had already invoked the provisions of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDB Act), 1993, for a debt of Rs 10 lakh or more, could not, at the same time, seek relief under the Securitisation Act.

“The bank of the financial institution has to elect its remedy to either proceed under the RDB Act or to withdraw the proceedings to initiate action under the Securitisation Act,” the Bench held.

The court also directed the DRT to entertain and decide the appeal/application filed by the petitioners on payment of fixed court fee of Rs 250 only.



Passing Thru

H.M. Muzaffari
Mr H.M. Muzaffari, Director, Iran Culture House, New Delhi

Q: What brings you to the city?

A: I am here for the inauguration of a two-day seminar on Sufism being organised by the Panjab University’s Department of History. The Iran Culture House is organised this seminar in collaboration with the university.

Q: What other projects is the Iran Culture House encouraging?

A: Our projects are spread across India. Most deal with the common thread of art and culture between India and Iran. These deal with the Persian language and art. We are also encouraging the preservation of Persian manuscripts in various libraries and centres across India. These are the main source of information of Medieval India.

Q: Which are these manuscripts?

A: Mostly travel accounts. We are also organising training workshops for scholars teaching them ways and methods of correction of manuscripts. We are organising many lectures on the common forms of art and craft in India and Iran.

Q: Which form of art is common between these two countries?

A: Miniature paintings of the Mughal period. We have a project that is studying the contribution of painters Mir Sayeed Ali and Absul Samad.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Land freed from junk dealers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Over 70 junk dealers, who had illegally occupied prime land running in to crores to operate their business, were removed by the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Administration in Industrial Area, Phase 1 here today. The land, measuring five acres, is meant for construction of yard line by the railways.

The drive was carried out with least resistance from the junk dealers, who otherwise spoke against the Chandigarh Administration for not allotting them suitable land for carrying out their trade.

Escorted by a strong posse of policemen, three JCBs of the enforcement staff removed the junk dumped by the dealers all along the road leading to the Industrial Area. Sources in the Administration said around 40 temporary and permanent structures, put up the dealers, were removed and 10 truckloads of junk were removed from the spot.

Since a day’s notice was given by the enforcement staff, a number of dealers voluntarily removed their goods.

In the coming days, the enforcement staff would also carry out drive in the Ram Darbar. The junk dealers who are running their business in Hallomajra were also asked to remove their structures.

Mr Balbir Singh, a junk dealer who has been running trade for the past 15 years, lamented that the administration had failed to allot them sites. Mr Shish Pal, a leader of Junk Dealers’ Association, said there were over 300 junk dealers in the city, who were giving employment to around 20,000 persons.

In 1972, the administration had constructed small booths for them. But due to their small size the booths were not accepted by junk dealers. Again the administration had offered to allot them sites in Sector 47 at a cost of Rs 10 lakh each. But the sites were then auctioned, said Mr Shish Pal. The city was an important centre for collection and sale of junk.

The dealers quoted a letter written by the then Joint Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, in August 1998 which stated that on a communication from the Home Minister the request for the kabari sites at confessional rates was being considered. It was mentioned that the rate of allotment would be at par with the rates at which the sites were auctioned at Industrial Area in 1997.



Penthouses — a new rage in Zirakpur
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 13
If your are rich and can spare about Rs 50 lakh, then Zirakpur is the place to buy your “dream house”. Penthouse, the byword for luxurious living, has come to Zirakpur, the fastest growing township of Punjab.

With prices ranging from Rs 42 lakh to Rs 56 lakh, penthouses seem to be a new rage in the town with alteast three major real estate developers coming out with penthouses. And if the reported response to the “luxurious apartments” is any indication, the buyers are lapping up the new marvels of living even as the real estate developers are laughing their way to the banks.

Taking a lead in this direction is Silver City Construction Limited, the developers of the Silver City and Silver City Extension on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, which has come with penthouses in its latest housing venture — the Silver City Greens.

Situated on the fifth and sixth floors and costing Rs 56 lakh, a penthouse boasts of the state-of-the-art facilities, including four bedrooms, drawing-cum-dinning room, lobbies, family gym and home theatre room and an independent terrace. A small family swimming pool would be an added attraction of the penthouse spread over an area of about 3,246 square feet on both the floors.

“The construction of the penthouses is an attempt to bring world class facilities to Zirakpur for the elite. It is in line with the Silver City’s promise of high-class living in the pollution-free environment, “Mr Sunil Bandha, Silver City General Manager, said.

Another land developer, Orbit Apartment Construction Private Limited, is offering penthouses, having five bedroom duplex apartment at the rate of Rs 52 lakh built on 3,341 square feet on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway.

Another major promoter — NK Sharma Enterprises — is reportedly offering a penthouse for Rs 42 lakh on the VIP road at some distance from the highway.

Observers felt that with the prices of the apartments touching a new high, the penthouses offered a new way of luxurious living. If the covered area and array of facilities is taken into account, the cost per penthouse is not prohibitive, says a coloniser.

Inquiries revealed that a majority of the penthouses had been booked by the prospective buyers. Some of the buyers had reportedly booked the penthouses for investment purposes in the wake of the four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala highway which would cut the distance between Chandigarh and Zirakpur and Zirakpur-Ambala.



Bird flu: samples taken from migratory birds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Blood samples of at least nine migratory birds were taken by the Forest and Wildlife Department officials of the Chandigarh Administration for screening against the possibility of avian influenza “commonly known as the “bird flue” here today.

Faecal and sputum samples were also taken from the set of birds and sent to the Regional Veterinary Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar, for tests. The reports are expected to arrive by next week. The samples, picked up from the Regulator End of Sukhna Lake, will be checked for strains of H5N1 virus.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Ishwar Singh, Deputy Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden said “samples from the migratory birds in Sukhna have been taken as a precautionary step to diagnose cases of bird flu. In the first batch, samples were extracted from the local birds and none of them was detected to be suffering from the avian flue”.

Mr Ishwar Singh said “in the current lot we have taken blood, faecal and sputum samples from Black Winged Stilt, Common Moor Hen, Reeve and Ruddy Shelduck. The checks are a regular feature and will continue even in future, particularly till the season the migratory birds visiting the Sukhna Lake was over.”

“One foot of the bird, whose samples were taken, is marked with a metal ring to keep a regular track”, the Deputy Conservator added.



Long, lonely battle for justice
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
For over two years, Mukesh Kansal has been fighting a long and lonely battle against the police authorities, who have disposed of the case of his brother’s death as suicide. “Justice is everyone’s right, and till I get justice for my brother, I will not rest in peace,” he says.

Mukesh’s elder brother, Neeraj Kansal was found burnt to death in bushes along the Panchkula- Ramgarh National Highway on September 26, 2003. His scooter was found parked on the highway. The body was completely charred and the police maintained that Neeraj had committed suicide.

The police worked on the suicide theory, saying that Neeraj had met the then Excise and Taxation Officer in Chandigarh in connection with a scrutiny of their firm of manufacturing pillows. The police claimed that she had abetted the “suicide,” and a case was registered against the ETO. However, since no evidence was found by the police, the police filed a cancellation report of the FIR, which was accepted by the lower court.

“Till several months after his death, we thought he had committed suicide. But we could not fathom why he would take such a drastic step. Also, his body was found so far away from our house in Sector 46, when there was no fuel in his scooter nor did he have money to buy fuel and reach there on his own. There were no signs of struggle at the place where his body was found. Any person, who would immolate himself , would have at least moved around, causing fire to the bushes,” he says.

Mukesh says that though their father, Mr Ram Kumar Kansal, approached the police with these facts, but the police did not want to investigate the matter as if it was a murder. “Neeraj’s Reliance cell phone was found at the spot, and after we got details of the phone bill, we realized that he had been talking to one of his friends and the latter’s girlfriend. We suspect that Neeraj was murdered by the two, in collusion with his friend- turned- business rival,” he says.

Mukesh says he has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court for cancellation of the lower court’s orders and for ordering a fresh probe in the matter. “The police should themselves investigate the case in light of the details of the call made from Neeraj’s mobile, as is being done in several other cases by the Chandigarh and Punjab police. Justice is everybody’s right. If the police re- investigates the matter in light of these revelations, we will definitely get justice,” he says.



Trust celebrates annual day for poor children
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
It was a special day for the 100 odd students of the informal school run by the Piya Sharma Charitable Trust at Rajiv Colony here. Not just because it was the annual day of the school, but also the only day in the year, when these poor students get new sets of clothes.

The air was filled with excitement as Ms Kartar Devi, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Haryana, distributed clothes to the students. Their faces lit up as their names were called one by one and received a new set of school uniforms, including sweaters. Like Neha, a daughter of a rag picker, and a recent admission in the school, said that it was the first time in her life that she had received new clothes. "I have always worn the clothes that my father finds in the dumpyard," she said, as she hurriedly unpacked her bag to keep the new clothes.

The function began with the Project Director of the Piya Sharma Charitable Trust, Ms Pooja S. Passi, according a welcome to the chief guest. The school students sang a welcome song for the guests, which was followed by Ms Passi reading out the annual report of the school. Though most of the projects are self financed, the World Health Organisation and the Social Welfare Department, Haryana, also provide some grants.

It may be mentioned that the Piya Sharma Charitable Trust was formed eight years back, in memory of Ms Piya Sharma, who was killed in a road accident. The trust now runs an informal school for slum children, a tailoring school for poor girls, reproductive and child health projects for women in slum areas, besides running an adolescent health clinic by the name of Yuva Josh.

Later, Mata Jai Shree of Gita Dham, Kurukshetra, distributed free stationery, toiletries and biscuits to the students. Addressing the students, she emphasised on the need for personal hygeine in students. She also praised the members of the trust, Ms Sudha Sharma and Ms Passi for providing education to the poor students.

The Social Welfare Minister, Ms Kartar Devi, said the government was giving a lot of thrust to education and health. She said the government had decided to give scholarship of Rs 1,000 to those poor children who secured above 60 per cent marks in Class X. The scholarship will be given to them for two years, till they complete higher secondary-school level.

Among others present on the occasion were Mr A.K. Singh, Director, Social Welfare Department, SDM Mr Virender Dahiya and senior officers of the Health Department. 



Making special children self-reliant his aim
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
“They fight, they gossip, they laugh like normal children and share a complete world among themselves, but why are they being treated as a stigma?” This was spark enough to ignite the conscience of Dr BS Chavan, Joint Director, Government Institute for Mentally retarded Children, Sector 32, and he decided to make these special children self-sufficient. He wanted them to compete not with the normal children but among themselves.

In this direction, the First All-India Cricket Tournament for Mentally Challenged Children is being organised by the GIMRC, Sector 32, here, in which 20 teams from India are participating.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Chavan said, “In 1998 when I joined this institute, one day I noticed these children watching a cricket match and was surprised to see that they were enjoying the game as normal people. They were able to identify the players and understand the game fully. So, the idea cropped up in my mind to give them exposure, and I decided to organise cricket matches for them. The normal children were not ready to play with them, so I thought of organising matches among themselves. Earlier, there used to be zonal tournaments and now it’s going to be a national event. Twenty players would be selected out of the 20 teams participating in this meet which would form a national team.”

“These children were a bit disappointed because earlier Kapil Dev was scheduled to inaugurate the meet but due to some unavoidable circumstances, he could not turn up. We received this message just two days ago, but he has promised to come here, whenever he visits the city next”, said Dr Chavan. It is surprising to see that the special children have a great sportsman spirit and never argue on any point and are happy even if they get out for a duck.



WTO regime a threat to poor nations: CPI(M-L)

Chandigarh, December 13
To highlight the slogan of “Quit World Trade Organisation”, the Punjab Provincial Committee of the CPI(M-L) organised a convention of peasants and workers from various parts of Punjab here today.

The convention was organised in connection with the conference of trade ministers under the aegis of the WTO from December 13 to 18 at Hong Kong. The major items included issues on which no final decision could be taken at an earlier meeting in Geneva in July 2004 because of sharp contradictions between the USA and the European Union on agriculture subsidies.

Addressing the convention, Mr Darshan Singh Khatkar, provincial secretary of the CPI(M-L), said the WTO regime was thoroughly anti-people and spells a serious threat for the people of the Third World countries. — TNS



UT employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
On a call of the coordination committee of government and Municipal Corporation employees and workers, a large number of employees from the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, Public Health, Electrical and Horticulture departments, Chandigarh Housing Board and various other departments of the Municipal Corporation today participated in a rally here today against the “anti-employee attitude of the government”.

A press note said the employees were protesting against non-implementation of recommended demands of employees by the Chandigarh Administration, including, central government service conditions for UT employees; transferred employees from administration to MC be treated as on deputation; grant of bonus to employees; and immediate sanction for appointments on compassionate grounds, besides others.



Navjot Sidhu to meet the Press
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Chandigarh Press Club will hold a ‘Meet the Press’ programme tomorrow 11.30 am Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP and former cricketer, will address the meet.

Only candidate and regular members can attend the programme.



1 held for stealing money
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Narinder, a resident of Uttaranchal, was arrested by the Sector 17 police for allegedly stealing money from donation boxes at Shiv Mandir, located near the Sector 17 bus stand.

During questioning by the police, the thief told the police that he needed money as he was suffering from TB. The police recovered Rs 1850 from the thief.

Purse recovered

Two beat constables, Mr Virinder Singh and Prem Prakash, posted at the Industrial Area police station, did the Chandigarh police proud by tracing the owner of a wallet. The owner, Jai Goyal, who was all praise for the cops, said he had misplaced the purse while going to his Sector 29 residence. The purse contained Rs 8000 and a debit card.


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