C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Wipro setting base in IT Park
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
After having been allotted 40 acres of land in Industrial Area, Mohali, Wipro is now looking at the possibility of setting base in the Chandigarh Information Technology Park. Representatives of the IT giant have identified 20 acres of land in the IT Park in case they decide to set up base here.

Though no official in the Chandigarh Administration was ready to go on record regarding this development, officials of Punjab Infotech Limited showed concern that the coveted Wipro project worth Rs 1,336 crore, might pull out of Mohali and shift base to Chandigarh.

When contacted, Mr Raghunandan, General Manager, Wipro India, said they had asked for 100 acres of land in Mohali but were given only 40 acres. “For this also, we have not received any formal intimation. As a result, we have started looking at land available in Chandigarh. But the fact that we are interested in land in Chandigarh does not mean that we are not going ahead with the Mohali project. We are just keeping all the options open,” he said.

Mr Raghunandan also said they could go ahead with both the projects and would like to wait for a formal letter from Punjab allotting the land to them.

Confirming that Wipro had been allotted 40 acres of land in Mohali, the Director, Punjab Infotech Limited, Mr N.S. Kalsi, said there was no ambiguity regarding the allotment of land to Wipro. The Punjab government had allotted 25 acres of land for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and another 40 acres of land for Wipro in Industrial Area, Phase VIII A and B here. The two companies plan to set up their software development centres at Mohali. However, Wipro’s demand for a total of 100 acres had been put down due to shortage of land in the area.

Sources added that both Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Wipro would seek the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status for their ventures in Mohali. Wipro had planned to apply for a product specific special economic zone status for the development of software and IT enabled services with an employment potential of around 10,000 persons.

With Quark and Dell firmly in place here, TCS and Wipro would be next in the line of IT companies to set base in Mohali. Sources added that Infosys, Satyam, Apple Computers and Motorola were some of the other companies with whom talks of the Department of Industries and Punjab Infotech Limited were on for finalisation of projects in Mohali.



UT to have special local taxi service
Sanjiv Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Chandigarh Administration has decided to allow a special local taxi service in the city. A special logo painted on a particular colour will be specified by the administration to give a distinctive look to the service.

Following deliberations with the Home Secretary, the matter is currently being looked into by Mr P.S. Shergill from the State Transport Authority and Mr Vivek Atray, Director of Tourism. While principally agreeing on a local taxi service, the officials are working on details of implementation of the proposal.

A senior official said that it had been clarified right at the outset, that only a specified number of taxis will be allowed on roads of the city for the special service (approximately 50). The number of cabs to be introduced will be fixed for preventing overcrowding of city roads.

Initially, the cabs will be operated from the specified stands only where the rent will be paid before hiring the service. The railway station, airport and the ISBT are some of the potential sites, the official said. Another site with potential for cab users has been identified as the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park.

Tourists have been identified as the biggest potential users of the special cab service. “Tourists largely have to depend on autorickshaws for their local travel. A majority of these vehicles are not using the meters for charging fare resulting in blatant overcharging”, the official said. It was also pointed out that to overcome certain discrepancies in routing of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking buses, even the local population will be users of the cab service.

Officials felt that strict measures need to be initiated against the taxi and autorickshaw drivers who were not making use of the meters for charging. A move by the administration on an earlier occasion had been opposed by the cab drivers. This time the administration is contemplating strict action against the defaulters to have clean services in the city.

It was also pointed out that the administration was making special efforts to cover Mohali and Panchkula in the local tour map of the special cabs. “Any tourist from outside will naturally like to cover the places in adjoining towns. The matter, however, still needs to be settled at the level of the different governments of the adjoining states”, the official said.

It was pointed out that the introduction of the cab service will need to be regulated right from the outset to avoid confusion. “Coming up of the IT Park in the city and even the adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali will definitely witness a regular entry of professionals on tour. A professionally managed taxi service, promising speed and comfort, will be an expected facility”, the official added.



67 burglaries in 10 days
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
Ravinder Singh, arrested by the Special Staff of Panchkula Police on December 10, was no ordinary burglar. This high profile burglar has confessed to 67 burglaries in Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali during the past 10 days .

The police has not only recovered gold jewellery worth Rs 4. 70 lakh from him, but also found out that he owns two palatial houses in Kurukshetra, besides four cars. In fact, he would use his Qualis or Santro to carry back the loot after the burglary.

Ravinder was arrested by a police party on the night of December 10. The police had received information that Ravinder would be going to Kurukshetra to attend the wedding of his niece.

ASI Surjit Kumar and Head Constable Jagdish laid a trap at the marriage venue and nabbed Ravinder.

He was in police remand, and during his investigations, the police got to know of the wealth amassed by the burglar.

He owns a Qualis, Santro and two Indica cars, besides two palatial houses in Kurukshetra. While he was staying with his family in one house, the other one he gave to Avnash and her son. 



Inquiry ordered into 'shortage' of MDC plots
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
The Department of Town and Country Planning, Haryana, has ordered a departmental inquiry into the alleged "shortage" of over 140 plots in Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), Sector 2 and 6, at the time of draw of lots on December 15.

Senior officials in the department said an inquiry had been ordered to affix responsibility of the unavailability of 141 residential plots at the time of the draw of lots. The inquiry has been ordered after about 33,000 of the unsuccessful applicants raised a hue and cry over the issue.

HUDA had offered 538 plots in Sector 2 and 6 when this housing scheme was floated in April 2004. As many as 33,938 applicants had applied for the plots in the two sectors by investing Rs 465.103 crore with HUDA.

Over 5,900 applications were received for residential plots in Sector 2 MDC, and 27,850 applications for 372 plots in Sector 6. About 700 applicants had withdrawn their applications after the housing scheme was caught in a legal wrangling.

However, for almost two years since the scheme was floated, the local Town and Country Planning staff and the Land Acquisition Office staff did not bother to physically verify the availability of land where the plots were planned. It was only after HUDA announced that the draw of lots would be held on December 15 that the two offices started work on the demarcation plan.

It was less than 20 hours before the draw of lots that the officials of the two department informed HUDA officials that they were short of 141 plots as a chunk land earmarked for these plots was under litigation. Some of the land was also in the possession of the PWD department for the construction of road and plots had been earmarked on this land. As a result, the draw was held for just 349 plots and 48 plots were reserved for the oustees. 



IPS officer without salary for 7 months
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
A senior IPS officer serving on deputation with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been without pay and allowances for the past seven months as he is caught between bureaucratic wrangles.

The central government is taking the stand that since the officer is attending a training course, his pay and allowances should be paid by his parent state, West Bengal.

The state government, on the other hand, is citing rules where an officer nominated to a training course while on deputation is considered to be in service of the central government.

Several representations have been sent by the officer, Mr Adhir Sharma, to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Directorate-General CRPF, but these have not produced any results.

The officer was serving as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) with the CRPF in Chandigarh before proceeding to New Delhi to undergo the APPPA course at the Institute of Public Administration.

In fact, a letter written by the Joint Secretary (training) in the Ministry of Personnel to the Joint Secretary (Police) in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on December 9 states that in accordance with rules, the central government department concerned, that is the CRPF, should disburse his pay and allowances.

The DIG was serving with the CRPF when he received his repatriation orders in May this year. MHA rules state that an officer, on completion of his deputation, is entitled two months earned leave before joining his parent cadre.

Rules quoted by the officer in his representations also state that the training period is not to be excluded for calculation of the service rendered with the central government if nomination is before joining the parent cadre.

The list of courses mentioned in the rules that are not to be considered for exclusion of service period includes the one being attended by the officer.

He received intimation for nomination to the course while in service of the CRPF.

The course was to start on July 1 and he wrote to the CRPF headquarters for cancellation of 11 days earned leave so that he could join the course.

Interestingly, while CRPF Headquarters agreed to pay the expenses for the eight-month training course, it has refused to disburse his pay and allowances.

Towards the expiry of his tenure with the CRPF, Mr Sharma had moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), as he was not being granted extension in the CRPF.

Regulations permit that if an officer has rendered service in hard areas, he can be granted extension for another two years.

He had served in the ITBP and the CRPF in high altitude as well as insurgency-prone areas earlier. The pronouncement of the order by CAT is being awaited.



Passing Thru

What is the purpose of your visit?

Dr Raj Kaushal
Dr Raj Kaushal, MD,
Chairman and CEO,
Nursing Services of
America (NSOA),
Brentwood Tennessee

I am in Chandigarh to recruit quality nurses and affiliate healthcare professionals who are willing to work in the US

*How is NSOA different?

We are a reputed US-based healthcare company owned and operated by medical professionals from Chandigarh settled in the US. We provide free training to NSOA candidates in addition to work style orientation for the US lifestyle. Besides this, free air fare from India to the US, assistance for initial setting, free training, health insurance and best remunerations in the industry are assured.

How many candidates have you recruited so far?

The NSOA has already identified its first batch of candidates for training them through the various stages of the process which takes 12 to 18 months. In the current interviews we have shortlisted 24 candidates. These candidates, who would travel on immigration visa, are also allowed to take along their immediate family members.

What are the terms and conditions for working in the US?

The candidate will be required to work for a contract period of three years, failing which she will have to reimburse the company. Every year the candidate will be given three weeks’ vacation to visit home. A health cover will also be provided.

 Any future plans?

Maybe we will look for the male nurses in the coming days.

— Payal Pruthi



City call centres review security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Call centre employees in the city are by and large comfortable with the level of care taken by their organisations to pick them up from their residences before their shifts and drop them at their residences after their shifts late at night. Even though there is no presence of any Chandigarh Police personnel around Rajiv Gandhi Technology Park, but still most call centre workers are satisfied by the prevailing arrangements made by companies at the technology park.

“Initially we were a little anxious after we heard about the murder of a call centre employee in Bangalore, but we are fully protected as the company has hired several Toyota Qualis vehicles to drop us home at odd hours”, Ms Richa said.

Even though the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has asked Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) units to adopt best safety practices, employees in many BPOs at Chandigarh say that the situation in the city is much better than bigger cities like Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai where a large number of call centre employees are dependent upon public transport.

Recently the Nasscom President, Mr Kiran Karnik, reacted to the murder of a Bangalore BPO woman employee by saying, “As a best practice, though not required by the law, BPOs should ensure that a woman employee should not be dropped home in the last. Our internal system for safety and security of employees, especially women, needs improvement”.

Following the Bangalore incident, the Chandigarh-based BPOs have started proposing to put a system into practice where background checks will be done on all drivers and supervisors before hiring them. Also, as a safety measure, the companies propose that the first pickup and the last drop should be a male employees. In the absence of a male employee, the most companies are contemplating that a company’s security guard should accompany the female employees to their homes.

Most BPOs in the city have given out contracts for pickup and dropping of employees to private contractors. These contractors have been told by the companies operating out of the Chandigarh technology park to screen their employees to avoid the Bangalore incident repeating in the city. The Bangalore incident — the first of its kind where a Hewlett Packard woman employee was raped and murdered — has shocked the Indian BPO industry.

“The situation is quite comfortable as there is a police picket near the roundabout leading to the technology park. There is another picket near the railway crossing on the Madhya Marg. Besides, the police patrol along most major roads infuses some sense of security among our staff”, said an official of a call centre here.

However, Mr Sat Narain, father of a girl working at a local call centre said, “We are quite uneasy when our daughter is away for work. Especially after the Bangalore incident, we are more anxious”. But he said the company had assured all workers that their safety was the concern of the company and adequate steps were being taken to ensure it.

When some journalists visited the technology park around midnight on Tuesday, the entire area was abuzz with activity with nearly 100 odd call centre workers arriving and leaving their work place. Toyota Qualis vehicles in large numbers have been deployed for ferrying these workers who arrive and leave in groups making it quite safe.

However, some women workers, mostly in their early twenties, expressed apprehensions and admitted feeling insecure if they were the last ones to be dropped or the first ones to be picked up.



Disabled Army officer waits for a promised plot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Thirty years after an Army officer applied for a plot in Shimla, he has found, to his utter dismay, that the plot which he was allotted no longer exists. Not only this, the promise made by a state minister to allot him a flat in lieu of the plot appears to have been empty words.

Now released from the Army after having suffered 100 per cent disability, Lieut-Col H.S Jarg, a local resident, said for year he had made repeated rounds of the Himachal Pradesh Housing Board (HPHB) offices in Shimla at times from places as far away as Guwahati, but the case for allotment of his plot made little headway.

Finally in July, 2004, when the allotted piece of land was registered in his name and he went to get construction started, he discovered that the number of plots in the particular lane had reduced from 15 to 13.

“The signed copy of the map given to me by the HPHB at the time of registration clearly demarcated 15 plots,” Colonel Jarg said. “My plot was the corner plot numbered 15, but in its place stood house No.13,” he said.

Stating that the National Highway Authority (NHA) had acquired some land adjacent to his plot for construction of a bye-pass, he also did not rule out mis-measurement of plots on the part of the authorities to account for the missing two plots. He claimed that on inquiring from the NHA, he was told that the land had been under acquisition since the 80s.

His tale of woe began in 1975, when he applied for a plot in Jakhoo in Shimla in response to an advertisement issued by the board. Later he learnt that the plots concerned were in possession of ministers and other VIPs. He was then assured that plots would be given to the applicants at Sanjouli in the suburbs of Shimla. He was asked to take possession of the Sanjauli plot in 1986.

“When I went there with an architect earlier this year to get my plot demarcated for construction, I was told by authorities that it does not exist,” he said. In view of this, he said he demanded an alternate plot or even a flat.

“I even met the Housing and Animal Husbandry Minister who is heading the HPHB and he publicly assured me that a flat would be allotted to me within a month,” Colonel Jarg said. “So far nothing has happened, even though I have paid all charges for the plot, including some penalties levies and maintenance fees,” he added.

The HPHB, on its part, has maintained that allotment of the plot was duly made and hire purchase tenancy agreement was also executed. The deeds were signed by the applicant in June last year, which also contained the layout plans. Hence the contention of the applicant that the plot does not exist is not borne out by facts and the HPHB cannot accede to his request for allotment of an alternative plot or flat.



Decision on modernisation of dhobi ghats deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has failed to demarcate prime chunks of land in Mani Majra, which are otherwise under litigation. Further, due to the stay orders passed by various courts no action has been taken against the illegal occupants of the land till date.

This came to light during the MC House meeting today when a former Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, raised the question of getting the land occupied by Durga Nursery on the Chandigarh-Panchkula highway vacated.

The 97th meeting of the House also deferred decision on the ambitious proposal pertaining to the modernisation of the existing dhobhi ghats and the setting up of automatic laundry marts in the city due to the objections raised by certain councillors. The issue pertaining to the violation of fire safety measures in various buildings, including public places, educational institutions, hotels, government offices etc also generated some debate as councillors questioned the fire wing officials on the negligence aspects and why no action had been taken against the defaulters.

The first question on the agenda with regard to the dumping of debris on the roadside was deferred as Mr Pawan Bansal, whose question it was, was not present in the House today. However, there was a heated discussion on Mr Subhash Chawla’s query on the occupation of a prime chunk of land in Mani Majra by Durga Nursery. Mani Majra councillors Surinder Singh and Balraj Singh informed the House about various other pieces of land worth lakhs of rupees, the property rights of which were still under litigation, under illegal occupation.

Mr Surinder Singh said that various pieces of land in Mani Majra were under litigation. Mr Balraj Singh pointed out that the land beyond the nullah flowing on the boundary of Panchkula and Mani Majra belongs to the MC but no action had been taken to get the same vacated from the illegal occupants.

The MC had got all this land at the time of its formation. When Mr Chawla sought detailed information from the officials concerned about the land under the occupation of Durga Nursery, the latter said the same would be available with the Patwari of the area. Mr Chawla quipped that in the absence of the required information how they were fighting the case in the Supreme Court. The MC reportedly got the demarcation done on November 19 and the encroached land measuring four kanals and 18 marlas was taken back, while the rest of the land was still under litigation.

The Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, ordered that a committee be constituted for the demarcation of several pieces of land under litigation. On the issue of violation of fire safety norms, the councillors opined that notices be issued to them as per the Act before taking any action or sealing the buildings.

Even though the Finance and Contract Committee of the MC had passed the proposal with regard to the modernisation of the existing dhobhi ghats and the setting up of automatic laundry marts, but the same could not be passed in the House today. The councillors, both nominated and elected, raised objections on the estimated costs prepared by the officials for the project and the suggestion that the MC would run them.

Mr Chawla urged the officials to reconsider the estimated costs of setting up the required infrastructure and the loss it would cause to the traditional dhobis once these ghats became functional. Nominated councillor Major-Gen A.S Kahlon was of the view that MC should give sheds on lease for setting up these marts. The BJP councillor, Ms Kamla Sharma, also impressed upon the authorities to dwell on the issue of livelihood of the dhobis before implementing the project.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr P.S Aujla, intervened to clarify that they wanted to modernise the dhobhi ghat in Sector 15 in the first phase to cater to the needs of the floating population of tourists and students. Deferring this item till the next meeting, the Mayor directed the officials concerned to prepare a fresh report taking into account the queries raised by the councillors and submit the report to the Finance and Contract Committee. 



Lal Chand adjudged best police recruit
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 20
Constable Lal Chand was today adjudged the overall best recruit at the passing-out parade of new recruits organised by the Chandigarh Police in the Sector 26 police lines here. He also bagged the second award in the indoor training.

According to a spokesman for the Chandigarh Police, as many as 222 new recruits, including 15 women and 10 ex-servicemen, had undergone the nine-month training at the recruits training centre of the Chandigarh Police in the Sector 26 police lines. The awards were given away to the best performers among the new recruits on the basis of their performance in different fields during their training.

The UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, took the salute at an impressive march past and inspected the parade led by parade commander constable Yashpal. He gave away awards to outstanding jawans for their distinguished performance during their training. The UT Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Satish Chandra, the Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gaurav Yadav, and senior officers from Punjab and Haryana were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, the IGP said that all recruits had undergone a full-fledged basic training of nine months in instructions in the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, human rights, gender sensitisation, computer, community policing and other aspects.

General Rodrigues asked the IGP to set up a small group of senior officers to conduct a detailed analysis of the aptitude and professional competence of the individual recruit constables, identify their specialised area of interest and create instruments for speedy advancement by specialisation in different fields.

The Administrator UT Chandigarh Cup was awarded to constable Lal Chand as the overall best recruit, who also won the Inspector General of Police (UT) Cup as the second-best recruit in the indoor training. He was given the Class I certificate and Rs 1,000 for the administrator cup and the Class Ist certificate and Rs 500 for the Inspector General cup. The overall second best recruit award went to constable Jaswinder Singh, who also won the Inspector General cup for the best recruit in indoor training.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) (UT) Cup for the best outdoor training was bagged by constable Yashpal, who also won the second IGP award in firing. The IGP Cup to the second best recruit in indoor training went to constable Dinesh Kumar. Constable Gurdeep Singh won the first IGP award for firing. All of them were given Class I certificates along with cash rewards.



Ex-Mayor conspicuous by absence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The former Mayor, Ms Kamlesh Banarsi Dass, was conspicuous by her absence in the MC House today and the same was being discussed in various quarters. MC officials have reportedly sent a complaint about her misbehaviour to the Adviser to the UT Administrator following a tiff with the MC Chief Engineer on the issue of recarpetting of roads in her ward at Ram Darbar.

Sources in the MC disclosed that the recarpetting work in Ram Darbar area had been stopped. The officials concerned maintained that the same could not be resumed till the encroachments along the roadside were not removed.

The area councillor had been repeatedly asked to get the illegally built three-storey structures and other such encroachments along the roadside demolished so that the work of recarpetting could be resumed but to no avail. Ms Kamlesh had a tiff with the Chief Engineer on the issue after the ward development fund committee meeting on December 16.

She even alleged that officials discriminated against her for she was from the reserved category. The Adviser is reportedly taking a serious view of the complaint against Ms Kamlesh. 



Homeless, pennyless old man braves winter chill
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
Even the bright sun shining down this December morning failed to bring warmth in the life of 70-year-old Kanshi Ram. Shivering in the verandah of a shop in Sector 9 here, he cried over the loss of his only worldly possessions- a blanket, two shirts and a pair of socks. The bag containing his meagre possessions was stolen last evening.

Having spent all night shivering in the cold, with mercury dipping to 4.6 degrees last night, Kanshi Ram was found in a semi-conscious state by office bearers of an NGO — Jeevan Mukt Nishulk Vidyalaya, when they went to the temple to pay obeisance.

After having fed him warm milk and some warm breakfast, the good samaritans thought that they would admit him to the Old Age Home being run by the district administration in Sector 15 here.

Little did Mr Mansa Ram Ahuja and Mr R.S. Jain, from the Jeevan Mukt Nishulk Vidyalaya, realise that they had planned for the near impossible.

Red tapism in District Red Cross Society-run Old Age Home, Sector 15, ensured that he could not be admitted, on the pretext that the facility was not for homeless, but for senior citizens who did not have anybody to look after them.

Incidentally, Kanshi Ram belongs to Vikas Nagar in Dehra Dun, and had come here for medical aid two years ago.

He had lost his entire family — wife, sister and parents a year before he came to Chandigarh.

“I had no one to go back to, so I decided to stay on in Chandigarh. I had already sold off my shop in Vikas Nagar to bear the medical expenses for getting treatment for enlargement of prostrate gland.

While my treatment was on, I stayed in shelter provided by some voluntary organisations,” he said.

For the past one week, Kanshi Ram was staying outside the temple in Sector 9. He was allowed by the temple management to sleep inside the gaurd’s room at night, but the gaurd, unhappy with the intrusion, allegedly threw him out two days ago. Since then, he was sleeping on the roadside.

The old age home officials also demanded a ration card, a proof of residence, a health certificate and a character certificate by a Municipal Councillor, saying that all these were mandatory before allowing admission in the home. Said Mr M.R. Ahuja,” How can an aged homeless person provide all these documents.

These formalities can be avoided if the Red Cropss Society wants to serve the community,” he said.

It may be mentioned that the old age home here was built almost two years ago spending lakhs of rupees. But till date, there is not a single admission there.

Even as the Old Age Home officials expressed helplessness over admitting him, many street vendors in the area decided to chip in to bring some relief to the old man.

While Chottel Lal, a groundnut seller, gave him a blanket, fruit seller Harbhajan Singh gave him some food. By the afternoon, it was brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, who immediately ordered that Kanshi Ram be admitted in the Old Age Home, and looked after properly.



MC gets nod for new sanitation system
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 20
The Municipal Council was given a green signal to go ahead with the new system of sanitation by former municipal councillors and representatives of various welfare bodies at a meeting held here today.

Though some of the members at the meeting were initially showing reluctance to adopt the new system, the council was finally able to get a unanimous positive response from the gathering.

The civic body plans to introduce a new sanitation system under which contractor will be lifting garbage from door-to-door and dumping it directly at the main garbage dumping site. The dumping points located in various parts of the town will be eliminated.

The council had sent a team of officials to Jaipur and Greater Noida to study sanitation system there so that a similar system could be adopted here. The proposal in this regard was earlier cleared by the elected body.

The Administrator of the council, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, and the Executive Officer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sekhon, told the gathering about various aspects of the new proposal.

Mr Sekhon said that under the new system each family would have to pay Rs 25 as sanitation cess to the contractor for lifting garbage while the rate fixed for each commercial unit was Rs 50. a sub-committee would be deciding how much money was to be collected from marriage places for lifting of garbage. The town would be divided into two zones for adopting the new system.

A number of members suggested that the town should be divided into four zones. Mr Kulwant Singh, former president of the council, said that it would not be posible as the contractor had to make a huge investment for the work which he would not like to do for a smaller area.

Moreover, he would also be expecting a reasonable profit from the work.

The Administrator said that once the sanitation work was given on contract, council officials would have to supervise the work of the contractor. Responsibility would have to be fixed and council officials would be asked to give a certificate in connection with the work.

Mr Sandhu said that complaint centers would also be set up so that residents could bring to the notice of the contractor the shortcomings in the work. The complaints would have to be dealt on a time-bound basis. He said that the new contractor would be asked to recruit safai sewaks who were working with the present contractor so that their livelihood was not adversely affected.

The Executive Officer said that some penal clauses had also been added so that the contractor did not take the work lightly. He would have to pay a fine of Rs 100 per beat per day for not sweeping the area, Rs 5,000 if he does not set up a complaint centre, Rs 500 per container per day if garbage was not lifted, etc.

However, members of the Safai Majdoor Union held a protest outside the office of the council in Sector 68 when the meeting was being held. They opposed the new system of sanitation and said that the civic body had adequate infrastructure to carry out sanitation work at its own level.



Cell formed to handle avian influenza
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The Chandigarh Administration has constituted a cell under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary (Environment and Forests) to monitor and keep a liaison with all associated departments and handle any situation arising out of avian influenza in the city.

The members of the cell are the Director, (Animal Husbandry)-cum-Joint Secretary (Finance), Director (Health Services) and the Chief Wildlife Warden.

The administration is exercising strict vigil over the poultry, resident and migratory birds in the UT to rule out any possibility of avian influenza. A state- level action plan is already in place to handle the situation. The Poultry Department is taking blood, sputum and faecal samples of poultry birds on regular basis.

The Forest and Wildlife Department has already taken blood, sputum and faecal samples of resident and migratory birds in two lots to screen out any possibility of H5NI virus.

Regular patrolling is conducted by Wildlife staff on daily basis to see any symptoms of avian influenza in birds or any dead bird. 



Mundi Kharar resident missing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 20
A resident of Mundi Kharar has been missing for the past eight days.

According to the police, Gurvinder Singh, who worked in the WWICS as a graphic designer, had not returned home since December 12. He had contacted members of his family on the same day in the evening and told them that he was coming back home. But neither did he return home nor could he be contacted on the phone.

The police said that he had not even attended his office on December 12. He was under great stress as he had taken loans from some institutions. A complaint to the police was made by his brother.



Dera followers siege tehsil office
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 20
About 100 followers of Dera Baba Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, today laid siege to the tehsil office here for almost five hours in order to get their affidavits attested from the tehsildar. They had prepared affidavits asking the district administration to officially acknowledge the fast being planned by them.

The Tehsildar-cum- Executive Magistrate, however, refused to attest individual affidavits. The followers remained at the tehsil office for the whole day, but to no avail.

The followers said they had planned to stage a dharna and undertake a fast here for which they wanted to intimate the local administration. The affidavit prepared by them stated that if during the stir any of the follower dies, the CBI or the Haryana Government should be held responsible. The followers were protesting against the cases registered against some followers, who they claim are innocent.

Harnek Singh, a follower, said the magistrate could not refuse the attestation of the affidavit, which had already been signed by executive magistrates in Chandigarh, Sirsa, Fatehabad and other towns of the region.



Temporary reprieve for ADGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
An Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), B.S. Thind, was today given temporary reprieve from appearance in person in a case pertaining to bouncing of a cheque by a local court.

The police officer from Himachal Pradesh, was supposed to appear in the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr R.K. Singla, in connection with the case moved by Vijaya Bank. But he was given exemption. The next date of hearing has been fixed for January 10.

The bank had alleged that the police officer had taken a loan of Rs 20 lakh and he defaulted in payment of the loan amount.

One-year jail
A local court today sentenced a car dealer to one year of imprisonment for cheating, Mr P. Vasudeva while selling him a Maruti Esteem. The car dealer sold the car without telling that the loan against the vehicle had not been fully paid.

Handing down the order, Mr Harbhajan Dass, ACJM, imposed a fine of Rs 500 each under section 418 and 420 of the IPC.

The complainant had purchased the car in 1997.

Police remand
A local court today remanded Ramandeep Singh, a Sector 33 resident on the allegations of duping a Dhanas resident of Rs 2 lakh, to one day police custody. He had taken the money for allotting 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 buyers by claiming that the plots belonged to politicians.



Woman’s body found in pond
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 20
The body of a woman in her mid-forties was found floating in a pond in Khudda Lahora village here this morning. The police quoting the family of the deceased ruled out any foul play behind the death.

The sources in the Sector 11 police station said the victim was identified as Manglesh. A villager noticed the body floating in the pond and informed the police.

Mr Shivpal, husband of the victim, told the police that Manglesh who was mentally unstable had been missing for the past three days. The police shifted the body to Sector 16 General Hospital.

The body was later handed over to the family after the post-mortem examination. The police has initiated the inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard. 



MBA student commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 20
Ankit Kumar, a 22-year-old MBA student, committed suicide at the Highland Cooperative House Building Society on the Ambala-Kalka highway here this afternoon.

Ankit, who was stated to be depressed for quite sometime now, hanged himself to death from a ceiling fan around 2 pm today. Ankit, who was pursuing an MBA course from an institute in Pune, was reportedly alone in his rented house.

The police said there was remote possibility of a foul play as no suicide note had been found from the house. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination at AP Jain Civil Hospital in Rajpura.

Ankit’s father reportedly works at an office of Defence Ministry in Sector 9 of Chandigarh and his mother is a teacher at the Kendriya Vidyalaya here.



Man found murdered in Colony No. 5
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 20
A man in his early thirties was found murdered along the roadside in Colony Number 5 here early this morning. There were deep wounds behind the victim’s head and right ear. The police is suspecting illicit relations of the victim to be the motive behind the murder.

The victim, identified as Raju, native of Bihar, was working with a private air-conditioner contactor. He used to stay at the sites and had no permanent address. The police is verifying his antecedents and the contactor reportedly told the police that the victim used to avoid talking about his family.

The murder came to light this morning when Mr Kedar Nath, who runs a public call office, noticed a body lying outside his kiosk. He informed the police at around 6:30 am. The police recovered the body lying in a pool of blood. The body was found wrapped in a blanket.

The police shifted the body to the Sector 16 General Hospital and registered a case of murder on the basis of the statement given by Mr Kedar Nath. The police rounded up about 200 persons from the colony for questioning.

Kiran, a cigarette vendor in the colony, told the police that she saw the victim at around 8:30 pm last night. The police said Kedar Nath was engaged with private bus companies, which took passengers to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Every Tuesday morning a bus came to the colony to fetch the passengers. Kedar Nath told the police that he came out from his kiosk at around 4: 30 am, when the bus came and did not notice anything there.

The 15-year-old Bablu, colleague of Raju, who was quizzed by the police, said Raju was an alcoholic and a womaniser and was thrown out from his job. Raju stayed with him for about one and a half month in the recent past.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said taking into the consideration the character of the victim, the possibility of illicit relations being the motive behind the murder could not be ruled out.



Cash, jewellery worth Rs 1.25 lakh snatched
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 20
Cash and valuables worth about Rs 1,25,000 were snatched from two persons at a marriage function organised here on Sunday.

A complaint in this regard was made to the police here today. According to the police, a sum of Rs 90,000 was snatched from the purse of Mr Amarjit Singh Gurna, father of the bride. Valuables worth about Rs 35,000 were found missing from the purse of a niece of Mr Gurna.

Some persons suspected to be involved in the crime were handed over to the police but were later released. The affected family later suspected that some ragpickers were involved in the crime after it saw the video film of the marriage function. The police is investigating the matter.

In two separate incidents burglars decamped with cash and jewellery.

Mr Sukhjit Singh, a resident of Phase VI, complained that thieves decamped with cash and jewellery worth about Rs 25,000.

Mr Sudeep Pupneja, a resident of Sector 70, told the police that a gold set and Rs 25,000 in cash were stolen from his house.



Sahara India gets new name
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Sahara India Mass Communication, which spans the two areas of mass entertainment Motion Pictures and Television, has a new company name.

Shantonu Aditya, CEO, in an announcement said the company had got a new name Sahara One Media & Entertainment Limited. The new name unites all businesses under the equity of our brand.

Sahara One Media & Entertainment Limited’s first initiative to expand business was the upcoming launch of the Hindi movies channel, FILMY, which will be launched in January 2006.


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