C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Right time to buy new car
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Planning to buy a new car next year? Well, this year end is a better time to buy, thanks to huge cash and value addition discounts being offered by the major players in the small and mid -size cars. If you worry about losing money at the time of resale because of the car's model being of 2005 than that of 2006 don't think twice. The discounts offered now, ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 could offset your loss at the time of resale.

Car manufacturers and local dealers of Maruti, Hyundai, , Tata and Honda are all offering hefty discounts to jack up their sales. Most of the dealers say that sales are already up by 25 - 30 per cent. Till two years ago, the sale of cars would plummet at the year-end, as people preferred to wait to buy a new model in the New Year. But this is no longer the case. Not only are the customers making a beeline at car showrooms to ring in the New Year in their new cars, the car companies, too, are able to clear their stocks for this year, paving way for their improved versions next year. Mr Hardeep Singh Bajwa, a business executive, who exchanged his Maruti 800 for a Hyundai Santro, says: “Most people wait for the New Year to change their car, but with the companies offering such lucrative discounts, why wait for a new model. Santro, which would have otherwise cost me over Rs 3.85 lakh, is available for Rs 3.35 lakh”.

Hyundai and Tata are leading the race by offering cash discounts, ranging from Rs 11,000 to Rs 80,000 on its various models. Maruti and Honda are offering value addition discounts (VAD), ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000. Mr Harsh Kumar, Sales Manager, Maruti Udyog, informed TNS that the company and dealers decided to go in for gift-offer discounts, which has increased the sales. On the other hand, Honda has not offered any cash or VAD on Honda City, because they had launched a new model in November. But VAD is being offered on Honda CRV (worth Rs 30,000- 40,000) and on Accord (Rs 15,000) .

Mr Harbir Singh, Sales Manager, Hind Motors, says they are expecting a 30- 35 per cent increase in sales of various Tata cars. "Though the scheme is relevant for sales affected till December 20, we are also booking cars by accepting an advance of Rs 25,000," he says. Besides a hefty cash discount, Tata is also offering an additional assured cash discount of Rs 1,000 ( maximum is Rs 10 lakh) through scratch cards on Indigo.



City liquor shops to double
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Under the draft excise policy 2006-2007, the city is all set have nearly double the number of liquor shops(IMFL) as compared to the existing numbers. The city will have as many as 65 vends for the retail sale of country liquor and proposes as many as 150 vends of IMFL against the present 78 vends in which the sale of all types of liquor, including country liquor, IMFL, beer and wine is allowed.

In order to make the excise policy 2006-2007 more user friendly, the Chandigarh Administration has sought the public opinion on the newly formulated draft policy before its final implementation.

Giving information on the draft policy, the Finance-cum-Excise and Taxation Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, said the major deviation of the proposed policy which is being contemplated by the Administration is the replacement of the present auction system of retail sale vends of country liquor and IMFL by licensing system to avoid monopolistic tendencies.

Mr Sandhu said that in order to break the monopoly of trade in few hands, the vends will be allotted singly except in exceptional cases where a weak retail vend will be tagged with potential vend for its disposal under the proposed policy. To bring transparency in the allotment of retail sale vends, the vend will be allotted by a draw of lot in case the number of applicants is more than the number of license to be granted in a particular locality.

The Excise and Taxation Secretary said that keeping in view the sale potential at the location of the vend, the proposed policy classifies the vends in two categories with Rs 50 lakh and Rs 30 lakh fee in case of country liquor vends and Rs 40 lakh and Rs 25 lakh fee in case of IMFL vends. To secure the government revenue, 50 per cent of the license fee will be collected by March 25 (before the start of vend) and remaining 50 per cent will be collected in equal installments on June 30 and September 30.

Mr Sandhu said that the revenue of the Administration will decrease from Rs 83.09 crore to Rs 65 crore through the collection of license fee from the retail sale vends under the proposed policy. The Administration plans to correct the deficit by enhancing excise duty on country liquor from Rs One to Rs 10 per PL, on IMFL from Rs 11 to Rs 15 per PL, on light beer from Rs 2 to Rs 3 and strong beer from Rs 4 to Rs 6 per bottle and also levying Rs 5 per PL assessed fee on IMFL to be sold at retail IMFL vends.

The basic quota of country liquor is to be kept unchanged at 27 lakh PL but the provision of fixation of percentage of supplementary or incentive quota is being done away with.

The Administration also plans to fix some standards for the Ahatas such as the size of their premises with attached toilets, provision of air-conditioning, maintaining good crockery and cutlery in order to raise the standard of these places.

The Secretary, Excise and Taxation, has sought the views and suggestions of the public in general and traders in liquor particularly within 15 days so as to enable the Administration in giving a final shape to the new excise policy for the year 2006-2007.

The suggestions/view can be sent to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner.



Chandigarh Calling

THE audience response at the recently held performances of ghazal maestros Ghulam Ali and Pankaj Udhas put a big question mark on the city’s reputation as a city of art and music lovers. It was sad and depressing to watch the scant respect shown to an artiste of the stature of Ghulam Ali at the Punjab and Haryana High Court golden jubilee function at Rock Garden recently. The performance of the doyen of ghazal singing was disturbed by the ‘honourable’ guests and their deputies, overzealous photographers and the organisers who kept on moving in front of the stage continuously and exchanging pleasantaries. This not only disturbed the esteemed guest no end, robbed the serious listeners of the pleasure of enjoying the singing of Ghulam Ali live but also caused a lot of embarrassment as the artiste tried his best to hold the attention of the non-interested audience. Similar was the scene at the Pankaj Udhas performance at the 32nd Punjabi Conference on Friday. A senior poet had to make a plea to the audience to show some respect to the artiste. And the very fact that all this happened at the programmes attended by the jet set and intellectual fraternity of the city makes the whole thing all the more unpardonable. There is no point in inviting senior artistes if due respect can’t be accorded to them.

New attractions at flower show

Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, inaugurated this year’s chrysanthemum show organised by the Municipal Corporation at the Terraced Garden, Sector 33, last week. Lieut-General S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, was also present.

Many new attractions were added to the annual chrysanthemum show this year. A flower bed-decked tunnel with an impressive exhibition of blow-ups of colourful chrysanthemums in different hues at the entrance of the garden was one of the main additions. Apart from that over 25 categories were also added to the show this year and the number of pots on display were also more than the previous.

This year a history of sorts was also created when a single person, Virinder Sharma, a Sector 8, Panchkula, resident won the first prize for his exhibits in 36 categories. This was the 13th year in a row that he was participating.

Barricades more of a hinderance

The Chandigarh Traffic Police, whose challaning spree is legendary, seems to have got its priorities wrong. In fact regulating traffic is the Achilles Heel of the traffic wing.

A case in point is the Sector 34 market where the police has put up barricades both at the entrance and the exit. Though put up with good intention to regulate traffic and parking of cars and two-wheelers, the barricades serve exactly the opposite purpose.

Besides eating up precious little parking space in the market, which bursts at the seams during the evening hours, the barricades hinder the smooth flow of traffic making the market an accident-prone zone.

Interestingly, one of the barricades warns the motorists against over-speeding. Can anyone overspeed in the market? Only traffic cops can answer this question!

Good times for woollen buyers

The much awaited sale season starting in January all over the city will get a setback this time with the advent of new concept of in-season sale, which is being witnessed by city residents these days. Earlier, people had to wait for sales under different names like off-season, stock clearance etc to purchase the winter clothes on less than normal rates. But this season with the plummeting of mercury, it came as pleasant surprise for the residents to see the sale banners on woollens and jackets by two big companies at Hotel Aroma. The sale attracts large crowds and people are making the hay while the sun shines. “The idea behind the in-season sale is to provide goods to the consumer at discounted rates at the much-needed time”, said Mr Rajeev Vikram, the sale organiser at the hotel.

IIT for city

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, has demanded an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), like seven others in the country, for the city. He raised the issue in the Parliament last week.

“Chandigarh was visualised by Jawahar Lal Nehru as the city which would be a symbol of modern resurgent India. Conditions here are congenial and conducive to make it compete with the cities providing best education in the world”, he said.

He said the list of a premier educational institutes in the city, including Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Punjab Engineering College, Panjab University, Indian Institute of Microbial Technology and the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation was incomplete, without an IIT.

CIA is watching you

For many Internet users, an e-mail from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of United States has come as a surprise and a shock. Spam mail being sent by one Steven Allison, Office of Public Affairs at the CIA headquarters has been informing recipients that they had logged into illegal sites. “We have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites. Please answer our questions! The list of questions is attached”. Thinking that the mail is actually from the CIA headquarters many people have panicked and responded to the queries only to discover the hoax. Many who have taken the e-mail more seriously have stopped visiting certain websites. Interestingly the e-mail has been timed to coincide with President George W. Bush acknowledgement of granting permission to security agencies to eavesdrop on people’s e-mails and telephone conversation, making the whole thing look more authentic.

Deserts and desertification

The United Nations has declared the year, 2006, as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification. Passed in the 58th General Assembly session the move aims at preventing exacerbation of desertification around the globe. All nations of the world have been invited by the General Assembly to celebrate 2006 with this theme and to generate and support public awareness activities related to desertification and land degradation. The UN hopes that international and civil society organisations will help get the message though that “desertification is a major threat to humanity, compounded by both climate change and loss of biological diversity. Land degradation affects one third of the planet’s land surface and around one billion people in over a hundred countries”. Perhaps people of the City Beautiful can chip in too to contribute their bit in making planet earth cleaner and greener.

— Sentinel



Jathedar has no right to take decisions: scholars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Eminent Sikh scholars, who met here today, attacked the authority of the Akal Takht and said the Jathedar had no right to take a decision on Sikh issues. Only Sarbat Khalsa is competent to take a decision on all vital issues.

Talking to mediapersons at the Press Club, Dr Maan Singh Nirankari, Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgir, Mr Mohinder Singh Ghosh and Mr Joginder Singh said that Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has issued directions to the Akal Takht Jathedar and decisions are taken in accordance with his dictates.

Even Sikh history does not make any mention of the importance of the Akal Takht Jathedar.

Mr Joginder Singh, Editor of Rozana Spokesman, said the sixth Guru of the Sikhs had established Akal Takht as a ‘Takht’ (throne) only and any attempt of converting the same into “small causes court” shall be nothing short of betrayal of the Guru and the faith.

Answering a question, Mr Joginder Singh said the next proceedings in the case filed against him by the Jathedar would be done in accordance with the advise of the lawyers.

He refused to comment on the issue of serving summons to the Akal Takht Jathedar for appearance in the court, while adding that he should appear before the court. “If the Sikh Gurus can appear in the court of Mughal Kings, why cant the Jathedar,” they reasoned.

They want that the confrontation between judiciary and the clergy should be done away with, they suggested.

They also made a fervent appeal to the SGPC President and the Jathedar of Akal Takht to avoid describing Akal Takht as a ‘court’ and let the status of a takht, granted to it by the Guru, remain intact.



BJP seeks survey of area under land Act
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 19
The government should order a fresh survey of the area falling under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, which had not been done for decades. An agitation will be launched in February if no action was taken in this regard.

This was stated by Mr Vineet Joshi, an executive member of the national unit of the BJP’s youth wing and in charge of organisational affairs, Jammu and Kashmir, and Mr Khushwant Rai Gigga, state president of the Panchayati Raj Cell of the BJP, at a press conference here today.

They said the areas needed fresh demarcation as people continued to suffer as they could not cultivate their own land because the Department of Forests had allegedly not bothered to carry out a review over the years.

They said out of the 470 villages whose development had been hit due to the PLPA, 157 villages fell in Ropar district, 242 in Hoshiarpur, 29 in Gurdaspur while 42 villages fell in Nawanshahr.

Mr Joshi said a proclamation was required to be made under Section 7 of the PLPA regarding the issuance of notification under Section 4 and 5 of the Act. If fresh survey was done most of the affected villages would be out of the provisions of the Act.

He said the Act was passed more than 100 years ago to stop the erosion of land in the Kandi area. Over the years the character of the land got changed as check dams were constructed but the government kept enforcing the law without following a proper procedure.

He condemned the government for making a fool of the people by announcing Naya Gaon as a Notified Area Committee. The Department of Forests objected to the move on the ground that most of the area of the proposed NAC was locked under the provisions of the PLPA.

Mr Joshi alleged that farmers had to pay “bribes” to officials of the Department of Forests for carrying out cultivation on their land or for using their land in some other way. He alleged that funds, running in crores of rupees, which were received as foreign aid under various schemes for the plantation of saplings were misappropriated by officials concerned.



Effigy of former Chief Minister burnt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
A number of Congress workers led by Mr Krishan Nanha, Mr Dhanendra Kumar and Mr Pawan Valecha today burnt the effigy of the former Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, near mini-Secretariat today.

The leaders demanded that Mr Chautala and his son owned a lot of benami properties in Panchkula and the CBI should be asked to investigate the matter. They alleged that he owned the Nolta Health Resorts and some property in Islamnagar.

The leaders submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, and demanded that Mr Chautala and his two sons be arrested and their passports seized.

On the other hand, the Indian National Lok Dal has condemned the action of Congress men regarding burning of the effigy of Mr Om Prakash Chautala. Senior INLD leader Mr Manoj Aggarwal said that it was unbecoming of the local Congress leaders to use unparliamentary language against a senior leader like Mr Chautala.



Security steps for women staff reviewed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 19
Security arrangements for employees, especially women, working at call centers in the town were reviewed at a meeting held by the Kharar MLA at the office of the SP here this evening.

Officials from call centers being run by Tata, Spice, Dell, Airtel, Connect and Tata took part in the meeting.

The MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, said that women employees working at call centers had to come for night shifts also. Hence special security arrangements were needed. He said that he had asked company officials to get the verification of cab drivers done from the police and the last person to be dropped by the cab should be a male.

After dropping all the employees, the driver should report back to the office ragarding the safety of the employees. The direct contact number of the mobile van would also be notified to the employees so that they could seek immediate help when required. Patrolling in the area would also be intensified.

The MLA, who has earlier met residents of a slum colony near Jagatpura village, said that Rs 2 crore had been earmarked for developing an area where all slum dwellers of the town would be adjusted. He said the Punjab Chief Minister had agreed to give Rs 2 crore out of Rs 200 crore that were to be spent on upgrading the infrastructure of the town. All slum colonies would be relocated by March 31.

He said that power connections would be provided in the area where residents of Guru Nanak Colony were adjusted. A two day camp was organised so that slum dwellers could get themselves registered. PUDA would also be constructing a building for a primary school in the area.



Army to use entire budget expenditure
Tribune News Service

Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman
Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman

Chandigarh, December 19
For the first time, the Army would be spending 100 per cent of its capital expenditure budget, with Rs 1,900 crore being earmarked for acquiring new weapon systems and equipment before the end of this financial year.

Stating this here today, Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, said deals for Russian SMERCH multi-barrel rocket systems, Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicles, communication and surveillance equipment and upgradation of the GRAD multi-barrel rocket systems were expected to be signed by the end of the current financial year.

Bridge collapse probe

Speaking on the Kharo bridge collapse incident in which 34 Army personnel, including two officers, had lost their life, Lieut-Gen S Pattabhiraman said the court of inquiry (CoI) conducted into the matter had revealed that bridge collapse was a result of several factors, including material failure and human error. The CoI has also made several recommendations, which includs prior inspection of material before it is moved out, he added. It may be recalled that the Army was reconstructing a Bailey bridge over the Sutlej in Kinnaur district in September that collapsed just a day before it was to be inaugurated.

"This is perhaps for the first time that we would be utilising the earmarked capital budget," General Pattabhiraman said. "In previous years, the Army had surrendered as much as 50 per cent of the capital budget," he added.

Last year the Army had returned 20 per cent of the capital budget.

He was speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the flagging-in ceremony of a cycle expedition organised by the Bombay Sappers to commemorate their Reunion-2006.

He said rapport and understanding between the central government and the armed forces was very good. This coupled with the changes brought about in the procurement process was a big help for the forces, he added.

The Vice-Chief said that the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) would raise five new squadrons to meet its requirements for tactical battlefield support platforms.

The Army had proposed to induct 50 new helicopters in addition to the 200 or so helicopters it already had.

Besides the Army was also raising two squadrons of the indigenously developed Dhruv helicopter.

General Pattabhiraman said the AAC was also acquiring 60 new helicopters to replace the existing Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. "Trials of helicopters from the United States and European countries have been completed and these are in the process of evaluation," he said.

While some of the helicopters would be assembled here from knocked-down kits, the remaining would be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under licence.

The Army, he said, is also planning to induct advanced mine clearing vehicles (MCVs) to replace the existing trawlers.

He added that MCVs from the United Kingdom, Germany and two East European countries were being considered.

On the issue of the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Pattabhiraman said armed forces were ready for it and it was for the government to take the decision.

"Over the past three years, the forces have developed a culture of jointmanship," he said. "However, all the field commands of the three services have to be integrated first to make the atmosphere congenial for the appointment of the CDS," he remarked.

At present, the Andamans and Nicobar Command is the only integrated tri-service establishment.



Army veterinarians attend seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
A seminar to increase the production and supply of healthy and wholesome non-vegetarian food to the troops in the Western Command zone was organised by the Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC) at Chandimandir today as part of its 226th Raising Day.

Commandant, Command Hospital, Major-Gen P.R. Rao inaugurated the seminar, which was attended by Army veterinarians, military officers, scientists and officials of animal husbandry departments from various states.

Besides the supply and management of livestock, the health aspects of intake of the food from animal origin were among the issues addressed at the seminar. A presentation was made on ‘Increase in production and supply of healthy and wholesome food of animal origin (mutton, chicken and egg)’ at the seminar.

The RVC manages different kinds of livestock, including poultry in the food sector and horses, ponies, camels for transportation in remote and difficult terrain. Speaking on the occasion RVC Director, Col N.S. Kanwar said the performance of RVC personnel and animals during the recent catastrophes like tsunami, earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir, flood relief in Kinnaur and various UN missions had been widely appreciated. The Corps had also attained a unique distinction in the field of Embryo-Transfer techniques in equine breeding.



Fauji Beat
Government must seek release of POWs

If it was their duty as soldiers to fight for the country, was not it the duty of the Army top brass and the country to fight for their release after they became POWs in the 1971 war? Sadly, very little, if anything, has been done for them either by the Army or the country in the past 34 years.

There are 54 known POWs of the 1971 war in the Pakistani jail. Maybe there are more, about whom no information is available. Due to their prolonged stay in jails under adverse conditions, including torture, stress and strain, most of them have become mental wrecks.

Imagine the agony that the close relatives of these neglected prisoners of war have gone through for over three decades by living on the hope that one day will meet time. Many of them have passed away in despair. It is only the Missing Defence Personnel Relatives Association (MDPRA) that has all along been making efforts to seek the release of their near and dear ones.

The MDPRA has also written to Chiefs of the Army and the Air Staff to put in their bid in persuading the government to take up the POWs’ case with the Pakistan government at the highest level. Given the present friendly relations between the two countries, the release of our forgotten soldiers should not be difficult now, provided our political hierarchy gives this issue the priority that it deserves.

Saviours of Fazilka

Fazilka, a border town in Ferozepore district, witnessed one of the fiercest battles of the 1971 war, in which 200 Indian Army men were killed and 450 wounded.

After the enemy had captured the Beriwala bridge in th Indian territory near the border, 4 Jat launched two attacks, one each on the nigths of December 4 and 5 to dislodge the enemy from the bridge. The unit suffered heavy casualties, including that of a company commander, who was carried away by the enemy in a seriously wounded condition. His body was returned on December 18 after the ceasefire.

In Asafwala, stands a beautiful memorial, at the site where the bodies of 64 war heroes of 4 Jat were cremated on December 18, 1971. These brave soldiers sacrificed their lives to save Fazilka from the enemy.

The residents of Fazilka were so impressed by the gallant fight put up by these warriors that they commemorate the event at the memorial every year. The land for the memorial was also donated by them and the memorial was jointly raised by the Army and the citizens of Fazilka in 1971. The Shaheed Samarak Society of this town looks after the upkeep of the monument. When the memorial was damaged during the widespread floods in September 1988, the residents and the civil administration of Fazilka spared no efforts in helping the Army to repair and renovate the monument.

Moral standards

A former External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, who was also the Defence Minister in 2000, said in Chandigarh the other day that the moral standards in the armed forces had gone down over the years. The statement should surprise no one. For, it is that the number of officers who are sullying the image of the Army is growing by the day.

Take the case of some senior officers selling liquor, a CO taking money from jawans to select them for the UN mission, yet another CO getting a duplicate annual confidential report written on an Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) to debar him from further promotion; not to speak of the Tehelka case to quote only a few examples.

No doubt appropriate punishment in each case is awarded to the accused. But this does not seem to deter the growing craze among the officers lot to make more and more money. If the present trend is not ruthlessly curbed, the Army will go the civil way. Who will stem the rot?

— Pritam Bhullar



HUDA to float new housing scheme
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
Thousands of unsuccessful applicants in the draw of lots for residential plots in Mansa Devi Complex here need not lose heart. Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is all set to float another housing scheme in Sector 27 and 28 here.

On offer will be about 700 plots of varying size ( ten marla, 14 marla and one kanal). Senior officials in HUDA say that the plots to be offered are part of the residual plots ( left over plots from previous schemes). The scheme is being given a final shape and will be floated in January.

It may be mentioned that HUDA is coming up with a residential housing scheme in Panchkula after a gap of almost two years. Ever since the Mansa Devi Housing Scheme was caught up in legal wranglings in May 2004, HUDA had not floated any new scheme here. With the successful draw of lots being accomplished, the new housing scheme is likely to be floated in January 2006.

Senior HUDA officials say that earnest money deposited by the applicants in Mansa Devi Complex scheme will be refunded from December 26 onwards, thereby giving time to people to apply again in the new housing scheme.



Manhole death: MC reinstates Supervisor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has reinstated supervisor Prem Nath after the CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) investigation report failed to find any murder attempt in the death of lady constable Jaswinder Kaur in an open manhole in Sector 30.

A Junior Engineer, who had been repatriated to Haryana, has also been cleared of all charges in the case and the inquiry ordered against him also stands closed.

The MC had recommended immediate action against the two of its employees for negligence regarding the open manhole after this incident in August. The investigations into the case were carried out not only by the CFSL but also the crime branch of the police and the Assistant Commissioner, Mr H.S. Khandola. Even though the findings of the MC report differ from those of the police and the CFSL, the MC while giving itself a clean chit has put the inquiry against its employees on the hold.

Experts at the CFSL have indicated in the report that the body of Jaswinder, who fell in the manhole, could have easily reached the water sewage treatment plant in Mohali.



Protest against new sanitation system
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 19
A dharna was organised by members of the Safai Majdoor Union in support of their demands outside the office of the Municipal Council in Phase VII here today.

The protesters raised slogans and opposed the move of the civic body of adopting the sanitation system prevalent in Jaipur.

They said that sanitation was in a state of neglect at Jaipur. No other town of Punjab had adopted such a system. Why was the council so much interested in switching over to that system, they asked?

They said that garbage was being lifted from houses by safai sewaks and dumped at earmarked sites. They demanded that all safai sewaks working with sanitation contractors should be employed as daily wagers by the council till a regular employment was provided to them. The civic body had adequate infrastructure to carry out sanitation work at its own level.



Centre for Computational Engineering opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
With a view to ensuring good governance and effective coordination of public administration wings of the Chandigarh Administration for improving service delivery systems, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today commissioned the Centre for Computational Engineering (CCE) at Punjab Engineering College here.

The centre will undertake mapping and micro-level study by creating a database of information of all departments of the administration to help in prioritising the effectiveness of the public utility services.

Mr lalit Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, and Prof Vijay Gupta, Director-Principal Punjab Engineering College, were among others who were also present on the occasion.



Journalists invited to visit Lahore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
A team of the Chandigarh Press Club will visit the Lahore Press club to participate in the second “Panj Darya” media conference to be held on January 15, 2006.

The club has invited applications from its regular members. The application forms would be available at the club from December 21 onwards and the last date for submitting applications is December 26.



Press conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Dr Ram Prakash, working president, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), will address a meet-the-press programme at the Chandigarh Press Club tomorrow at 11.30 am. All regular and candidate members of the club are invited to attend the programme.



Governor condoles Sayeed’s death

Chandigarh, December 19
Gen S.F.Rodrigues has expressed profound grief over the demise of P.M. Sayeed, Union Power Minister, who died last night in Seoul.

Describing him as a seasoned politician, an efficient administrator and an outstanding parliamentarian, General Rodrigues said his contribution in different facets of life was praiseworthy. The Governor conveyed his sympathies to the members of the bereaved family. TNS



Freedom fighter dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Freedom fighter Prakash Singh Nambardar, father of Prof Mehar Singh Malhi of Government College, Mohali, died at Amrali village today.

The bhog and antim ardas will be held at Amrali on December 25 at 1 p.m.



Sector 33 resident held for selling non-existing plots
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 19
The local police today arrested a Sector 33 resident on the allegations of duping a Dhanas resident of Rs 2 lakh, taken as earnest money, for a non-existing plot. The police said the accused was caught when he was trying to strike a similar deal with another person. He used to lure the buyers by claiming that the plots belonged to politicians.

Giving details the sources in the police said a case of cheating and forging documents was registered against Ramandeep Singh of Sector 33 under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Swaranjit Singh of Dhanas village.

It was alleged that Ramandeep Singh had made a sale agreement with Balbir Singh of Dhanas village in November this year. As per the deal a plot measuring 528 sq yards in the MLA Colony in Kansal village belonging to Mr Iqbal Singh Thind (a former MLA) was on sale for Rs 15 lakh. The accused asked Balbir Singh to give Rs 2 lakh as earnest money and the same was paid to him. It was only later that Balbir Singh came to know the fact that no such plot existed there.

After some days, Ramandeep again called Balbir Singh saying that another 10 marla plot belonging to a former MLA Sucha Singh Langah was on sale. Aware of the fraud committed Balbir Singh informed a local lawyer Arvind Thakur about the offer. They decided to trap the accused and sent Mr Swaranjit Singh of Dhanas village as a decoy buyer to strike a deal with Ramandeep Singh. The accused was called to a hotel in sector this morning. Ramandeep allegedly demanded Rs 12.50 lakh for the same plot and asked Swaranjit to pay Rs 2.5 lakh as earnest money. He allegedly handed over the forged documents, but when inquired he failed to establish the ownership of the plot and it was found non-existent.

Mr Arvind Thakur, the lawyer, alleged that finding himself in trouble Ramandeep snatched the documents and tore them. The matter was reported to the police. Then the accused began imploring for a compromise but the police registered a case after conducting a preliminary inquiry.

When contacted the SHO of the Sector 17 police station, inspector Moti Ram confirmed registration of the case and said the matter was under investigation.



4 arrested for gambling
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 19
The local police arrested four persons on the charge of indulging in gambling at public place from the different parts in the city. In a separate incident a woman was nabbed for allegedly possessing smack. Elsewhere, two women and one person were arrested for allegedly stealing from different parts of the city.

The sources in the police said Pal Singh of Muzzafarsagar in Uttar Pradesh, Mohan Lal of Sector 52, and Sunil Kumar of Sector 25 were arrested from near Sector 22 dispensary on the allegations of gambling on Sunday. The cops recovered Rs 230 from their possession. In another incident, Bhim Sen of Hallomajra village was arrested from Sector 22-C market area while allegedly indulging in gambling and Rs 420 recovered from his possession. Two separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered.

Smack seized

The UT police’s crime branch arrested Seema of Indira Colony, Manimajra, on the allegations of possessing 5 grams of smack on Sunday. A case has been registered against her.

Held for stealing

The local police arrested two women following a complaint filed by Mr Dinesh Kumar Tomer Manager of a factory, making tractor parts. Mr Tomer alleged that Sita Devi and Charno, both residents of Indira Colony in Panchkula stole spare parts valuing about Rs 5,000 from the factory premises this morning. Acting on the complaint the cops arrested the women and recovered stolen property from their possession. A case has been registered in this regard.

In another incident, Mr Bajinder Gautam of Sector 46 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Sanej of district Unao in Uttar Pradesh was caught red-handed while stealing three shuttering plates from his residence on Sunday. Acting on the complaint the police arrested the accused and recovered stolen property from his possession.



Man robbed of Rs 40,000
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 19
Three unidentified motorcyclists robbed an employee of a vernacular newspaper of Rs 40,000 at gun- point this evening. Giving details of the incident, the sources in the police said a case of robbery has been registered on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Rakesh Kumar of Sector 52.

The police said Mr Rakesh Kumar was coming from his Sector 22 office after collecting the money and was on his way to his Sector 25 office on his bicycle when he was intercepted by the three motorcyclists near the Sector 24, 25, 37 and 38 roundabout at around 6 pm.

Two of the occupants of the motorcycle alighted while the third one went to the other side of the road. Brandishing a gun the robbers asked him to part with his bag and a mobile phone. He handed over his bag containing Rs 40,000 to them and the accused sped away.



Doc’s death: police impounds car
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 19
On the complaint of Dr Sunil Malhotra,husband of Dr Sangeeta Malhotra of Panchkula, who died in a hit-and-run case outside the Silver City here on December 2 night, the local police has impounded a car.

Police sources said the Maruti car bearing a Chandigarh number was impounded following a complaint by Dr Malhotra. The forensic expert’s report is being sought to ascertain the possible involvement of the car in the accident, the sources informed.

Dr Malhotra was, in turn, tipped about the suspected involvement of car by an anonymous caller.Dr Malhotra had passed on the car number to the local police on December 14.

Dr Sangeeta was run by an unidentified car going towards Ambala on December 2 when she tried to cross the highway to get into the car of her husband.

Meanwhile, Dr Malhotra said the investigation should be fair and speedy.

The Malhotras had also announced a cash award to any person, who gave the correct information regarding the involvement of the vehicle in the accident.



Mobile snatching case solved
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 19
Special Crime Investigation Cell of the UT police today arrested a Manimajra resident and claimed to have solved a mobile snatching case. This time also, unique identification number of the mobile phone led the police to lay hands on the accused.

Giving details, the sources in the special crime investigating cell said a case of mobile snatching had been registered by the UT police following a complaint filed by Mr Ravinder Singh of Sector 8. Mr Singh alleged that a cyclist snatched his mobile phone from near a Sector 8 gurudwara.

Narrating the sequence which led to the arrest of the accused, the sources added that the mobile service provider succeeded in tracing the location and the user of the set. As per the information available, the stolen mobile phone was being used by a woman in Solan.

When approached, she informed the police that the mobile phone was purchased from a Manimajra resident. The Manimajra resident told the police about another person from whom he bought the mobile phone and that person ultimately led the police to the accused.

The accused was identified as Vijay Kumar Sharma of Mori Gate in Manimajra. He sold the mobile phone for Rs 4800. He would be produced in a local court tomorrow.



VAT awareness camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Chamber of Chandigarh Industries organised a VAT awareness camp at Industrial Area here today. Mr R.K.Rao, Deputy Commissioner and the Excise and Taxation Officer, addressed various issues related to the tax following queries by the industrialists.

Industrialists had queries pertaining to excess VAT credit, maintenance of records, movement of goods for job work and invoicing procedures. Mr Rao assured that refunds, if any, will be made within 60 days of filing of the returns without any condition of submitting ‘C’ forms. Traders can use old invoice books till the end of this financial year.

A registration camp will be organised at Community Centre of Industrial Area, Phase I, on December 26. Registration for VAT is required to be done within 60 days of the notification, it was pointed out.

The Chandigarh Paint Dealers Association in a separate press release said that “the recent imposition of VAT in the city has disturbed the business community. The decision of the administration for imposition of VAT with immediate effect, just 15 days before the end of the third quarter of the current financial year, was unfair”.

The association has sought the intervention of Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab, and the UT Administrator.



SBI Quality Circle convention
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
The 12th Quality Circle (QC) convention of State Bank of India, Chandigarh circle, was organised at State Bank of India, Staff Training Centre, here today.

As many as 23 QC teams participated in project presentations and stall exhibitions. Mr Prithwis Datta, DGM and Circle Development Officer, Chandigarh, inaugurated the convention. He said that at present 66 QC teams are functional in the Chandigarh Circle, and are working for improvement in quality of banking services in their respective areas.

Mr H.G. Contractor, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, Chandigarh Circle, inspected the stalls and also gave away prizes to the winning QC teams. The 23 participating teams in the exhibition displayed projects like promoting and formation of self-help groups, smooth shifting of branch to new premises, managing branch rush etc.

“The implementation of such projects by the QC teams will led to “Total Quality Management” and thereby provide us a competitive edge over our competitors,” he said.

Quality Circle teams of Yamunanagar and Ferozpore Cantonement branches won prizes for the “Best Project Presentation” and Hoshiarpur and Sunder Nagar (Himachal Pradesh) branches won prizes for the “Best stall exhibitions” category.


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