C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn to make exhibitors pay VAT
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Armed with the Value Added Tax (VAT), the Chandigarh Administration has tightened its noose around the fly-by-night traders, who organise exhibition-cum-sale of different items, including garments, and pay no taxes on sale proceeds.

In the past it has been noticed that these exhibitions do not take permission and pay no tax on sale proceeds.

Sources in the administration said under VAT the Excise and Taxation Department would conduct surprise checks to verify whether any premises, commercial and private, had been rented out for organising exhibitions.

There has been a practice that commercial premises are being rented out to such exhibitors. Even the exhibition halls of some bhavans in the city are rented out for such sales in violation of the building bylaws.

As per the provisions of VAT, any such exhibitor has to pay a security amount of Rs 1 lakh and two securities of Rs 50,000 each. The securities will have to be given by registered traders, which means that there could be no evasion of tax.

The sources said though the Excise and Taxation Department had powers to check evasion of tax under the Punjab General Sales Tax, 1952, but it was done on some occasions. However, now under VAT it was tough to evade tax.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, said the provisions of VAT would be strictly implemented.

Mr J.S. Kalra, general secretary of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said it was an old grievance requiring redress of the local traders, who had to face a tough competition from the “outsiders”.

“We have been assured by the administration that traders, who come from outside to sell their products, would be made to pay tax”, he added. There are around 20,000 registered traders in the city.

Meanwhile, the Food and Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department of the Chandigarh Administration has fixed the retail price of kerosene at Rs 9.02 per litre for sale in the Union Territory with immediate effect. The rates have been specified following the implementation of VAT. The retail price fixed is inclusive of VAT.

On the issue of a nominal hike in the prices of petrol and diesel, the Beopar Mandal has sought a roll back.



Shiv Sena leader’s jeep set ablaze
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 22
In yet another incident, unknown miscreants burnt down the jeep of Mr Sandeep Kapoor, president of Haryana unit of Shiv Sena (Hindustan) around midnight.

The incident took place after Mr Kapoor had parked his Mahindra jeep (HNE-1531) outside his house in Sector 7 last night. It was around midnight that Mr Sandeep’s father, Mr Sudhir, heard some cars screeching outside the house. He did not go out to check till he heard the street dogs barking loudly.

“On going out, we found that somebody had set ablaze the jeep. We rushed out to see who could be behind this act, but the assailants had fled. Later, the police beat constables told us that they had seen two black colour cars whiz past them,” alleged Mr Sandeep Kapoor.

He alleged that the incident could be politically motivated. “Two months ago, someone had also ransacked the Shiv Sena office in Sector 18 here, and broken all furniture.

We had also received an anonymous threatening call a few days ago. We complained to the police, but they refused to either provide us security or take any action,” alleged Mr Gaurav Goel, district president of Shiv Sena Hindustan.

Mr Kapoor has lodged a complaint with the local police.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Shiv Sainiks was held in the evening, wherein they demanded immediate police action, against the miscreants.

They threatened to take to the streets if the police did not arrest the accused within a few days.

This is the fifth incident in the township when a car parked outside a house has been burnt by miscreants at night.

Similar incidents have been reported in Sectors 4, 11 and 12, though none of the earlier victims had suspected anyone for the act. 



SI ‘thrashes’ PCO owner
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
A Sub-Inspector (SI) of the Chandigarh Police posted in the Vigilance Department allegedly thrashed a public call office operator over an issue of Rs 2 that the operator demanded in lieu of a call made by the officer.

Mr Ram Singh, who runs a public call office in Sector 46, alleged that SI Sri Prakash made a phone call from his booth. When he demanded Rs 4 as shown in the bill from the cop, the later agreed to pay Rs 2 only and began arguing. The policeman reportedly maintained that it was a local call and the bill was enhanced.

According to the eyewitness, both exchanged heated words, ensuing which the cop allegedly thrashed Ram Singh. 



Sacha Sauda: CBI told to furnish probe details
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) to provide details of the personnel the agency had deputed to investigate the three cases against Sirsa-based chief of Dera Sacha Sauda and his aides.

The Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mrs Justice Kiran Anand Lall also came down heavily on the CBI for claiming staff paucity as one of the reasons for its plea for extension of time by which it has to complete the ongoing probe.

The CBI has sought three months' extension for completion of the investigations into the murders of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and Ranjit Singh of Kurukshetra.

The third case pertains to the anonymous letter sent by a female resident of the dera, who had alleged that women at the dera were being sexually exploited. Following the receipt of the letter, the High Court had ordered investigation by the CBI in this case also.

On March 1, the High Court had given six more months to the CBI to complete investigations. On September 16, the court extended the time by another three months.

Today, counsel for CBI told the Bench that dera inmates were not cooperating in the investigation and that an atmosphere of fear prevailed among them.

When he referred to the agitational approach adopted by the dera management and its followers against the probe, particularly the recent massive rally held in Chandigarh, the Bench said it would summon the UT Home Secretary and top cops of Punjab and Haryana on this issue.

Counsel asserted that the rally was akin to interference in the probe ordered by the court and hence was contempt of court.

Referring to shortage of manpower, he said that was also one of the causes of the delay in the completion of the probe.

Thereafter, the Bench expressed its unhappiness over the slow pace of probe and wanted to know about the number of personnel deputed for the investigation at the start. It also wanted to know how many personnel were conducting the investigation presently.

Hearing will resume tomorrow.



Cold wave, fog mishaps kill 7 in North
Tribune Reporters and Agencies

Chandigarh, December 22
Cold wave and fog-related road accidents claimed the lives of six persons in Punjab and one in Haryana while parts of north-west India were in the grip of severe cold wave following fresh snowfall on the high altitude areas in Himachal Pradesh during the past 24 hours.

One person, Charanjit Singh, died of cold when he went for an evening walk at Bhawaingarh village in Sangrur district of Punjab last night.

An unidentified woman died due to cold outside the waiting room of the Ludhiana Railway Station today. In another incident in Ludhiana, body of a 25-year old boy, who had succumbed to cold wave, was recovered near the railway track.

With these deaths the toll due to cold wave rose to ten in the north-west region so far.

The poor visibility due to fog led to a head-on collision between a Qualis and a truck near Sarhali in the Tarn Taran area of Amritsar district in Punjab this morning, killing three persons and injuring six others.

The fog-related road accidents claimed the lives of nine persons in Amritsar district alone and left 31 injured in different parts of Punjab during the past three days.

Several areas, including Udhampur, Amritsar, Adampur, Halwara, Ambala, Sarsawa, Sirsa, Bhatinda, Suratgarh, Hindon and Palam in Delhi were shrouded in a thick fog in the morning.

In Punjab, the temperature again dipped in Chandigarh and its adjoining areas today with the city showing 4.6°C, two degrees below normal.

Cold wave conditions are likely to abate in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh during the next two days, the Weather office said.

SIRSA: A motorcyclist was killed and two car occupants were seriously injured in road accidents in the district due to reduced visibility in the fog, police said today.

Darshan Singh of Sukhchain village was seriously injured when his motor cycle dashed into a cart near Mandi Kalanwali yesterday and later died in hospital.

In another accident, Jagdish and his cousin Sukhchain residents of Zira in Punjab were seriously injured when their vehicle collided with a mini-truck near here in the dense fog.

SHIMLA: It was for the first time today that there were light snowflakes on the Mall Road, Ridge, Jakhu, Bharari and other upper parts of the town. The maximum temperature was recorded at 11.6°C and minimum at 3.2°C, almost one degree less than normal.

There were reports of 2 cm snowfall being recorded at Kalpa in Kinnaur, today morning. The mercury further dipped to 11.6 degrees Celsius in Sundernagar and 3.2 degrees in Bhuntar in Kulu district. There has been intermittent snowfall in the tribal districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and other higher reaches of the state.

The local meteorological office predicted moderate rainfall in the lower areas and snowfall in the higher reaches.

CHAMBA: The Saach Pass, situated at an altitude of 4,413 metres in the district has been closed following the season’s first heavy snowfall this afternoon. Consequently, the isolated Pangi tribal valley in the district has been cut off from the rest of the country.

The official reports said the Saach Pass, would remain closed till May, for about six winter months during snowy season and reopen for pedestrians in June next year.

Meanwhile, the Himalayan ranges in the district and the adjoining Pir Panjal hills in Jammu and Kashmir have been experiencing first heavy snowfall of the season, according to official reports. The low-lying areas have been drizzling. As a result, there is sharp fall in the temperature.



Dell to expand operations in India
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 22
Dell would be expanding its operations in India. After having established centres in Bangalore, Mohali and Hyderabad, the company would be announcing setting up base in a fourth city before the end of this year.

Talking to media persons at the Dell Centre here today Mr Romi Malhotra, Managing Director, Dell International Services India, said a few cities had been shortlisted and the announcement would be made within the next week.

When asked about data security concerns regarding financial back offices and contact centres, Mr Malhotra said the risk in India was as less or as great as any other nation.

“Indian companies are, in fact, go an extra mile to ensure that the risk is minimal. Also we have noticed that if companies were to consolidate work, controls are easier than in cases when the work is dispersed,” he said.

Stating that Dell had nearly met its target of employing 10000 persons by the end of 2005 in India, Mr Malhotra added that the company was also considering enlarging its centre at Mohali.

“We opened here in March this year and have employed 1500 people. We are specially encouraged by the quality of manpower and are thinking of increasing our services from Mohali,” he said, adding that the other than the availability of talent the point that goes in favour of this area was the extent of government support.

“However if Chandigarh- Mohali-Panchkula want to attract more companies here, peripheral and support services to the IT industry need to be strengthened. Training of manpower, better internal transport services and more flights to and from Chandigarh are required. What is most needed is a flight that brings you to Chandigarh in the morning and takes you back to Delhi in the evening,” he said.

Responding to a question regarding safety concerns of call centre employees following the incident in Bangalore, Mr Malhotra said a large number of precautions were taken to ensure safety of employees.

“Other than the security and access control systems which are followed, a lot of care is taken while choosing vendors that deliver peripheral services like transport, cafeteria etc.



Passing Thru

Mohammad Ghouse
Mohammad Ghouse, Head, Physical
Education, International Indian School, Jubail,
Saudi Arabia

Is it for the first time that you brought school sports children to Chandigarh?

Yes, for our schoolchildren, it was a maiden visit to Chandigarh and the table tennis hall in Sector 23, where this event was held, is really magnificent.

Do both girls and boys play sports in Saudi Arabia?

Both our boys and girls teams in TT had qualified in our zonal sports meet and there is no bar on girls playing these sports.

Who bears the expenditure of sport children when they go out of Saudi Arabia for tournaments?

It is the school management, which lends a helping hand and bears the entire expenditure of children.

Is there any priority accorded to any particular sport disciplines?

Yes, soccer, basketball, athletics, cricket, table tennis, badminton are very popular in our school.

How the CBSE sports tournaments are held in the Gulf region?

The Gulf region comprises Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain while the Saudi Arabia zone itself is very big and has a separate CBSE cluster sports meet.

— Arvind Katyal



Proposal to make Mohali a revenue district cleared
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
The proposal to make Mohali a revenue district having an independent authority on the pattern of Noida has been cleared and work in this regard was going on at a fast pace.

This was stated by Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, while talking to mediapersons at the office of the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, here today. The MLA had come to have a look at the Suvidha Centre which was shifted to the ground floor keeping in view the problems faced by senior citizens and physically challenged persons.

Bir Devinder Singh said that soon Mohali would become a self-sustained administrative unit. The process of making Mohali a district was also going on.

He said PUDA had acquired land for setting up a 220 KV sub-station which would be providing uninterrupted power supply to the town. The Punjab State Electricity Board had deposited Rs 6 crore with the authorities concerned in this regard. The Punjab Chief Minister was likely to lay the foundation stone of the sub-station after about 15 days.

A sum of Rs 40 lakh was being spent on extending the building of government schools in Phase XI and Mataur village. Both the schools would be upgraded and soon Mohali would have three senior secondary schools. At present there was only one such school.

The MLA said that all the slums colonies in the town would be relocated and Rs 2 crore was being spent on the resettlement of slum dwellers.

The four-laning of the Kharar-Banur road was approved by the Government of India and the project would be completed next year. The road from Chandigarh to Kiratpur Sahib would also be four-laned, he added.

The MLA said that strict action would be taken against persons who parked their vehicles on the footpaths. This caused great inconvenience to senior citizens who went for walks. He appealed to the residents to vacate footpaths failing which officials of the Municipal Council, with the help of the police, take strong action in this regard as nobody was above law.



Gen Rodrigues ‘grants’ poor kids wishes
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 22
Aiming to build a new India with an egalitarian society and social cohesion by empowering the disadvantaged, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), accompanied by Ms Jean Rodrigues, inaugurated Dell Wishing Tree, a social initiative of the employees of Dell India, here this evening.

The programme is a part of the corporate community's outreach activities to generate awareness among the people about their social responsibilities towards the disadvantaged sections of the society.

After the inauguration, the General and Ms Rodrigues presented gifts to the lesser privileged children with the good wishes of the Dell employees. Under this novel programme, organised every year in the first week of December, tastefully decorated Christmas trees are placed on all floors in the Dell facilities. Names, gender and age of the children are displayed and gift collection boxes are placed in front of the trees. This helps the employee to choose a child and buy an appropriate gift for him/her.

In his brief address on the occasion, General Rodrigues emphasised the need for empowering the countless under-privileged individuals by developing their potential and helping them to contribute.

He said it would be possible to find sustainable employment opportunities to 260 million people living below poverty line only by imparting them education, vocational training and creating other developmental programmes. "Our strategy and vision is, therefore, to develop the knowledge-based competence of the students through information and communication technologies," he said.

He impressed upon the Dell Management the need to contribute in this programme by extending infrastructural support and learning processes.

Mr Romy Malhotra, Managing Director, DELL International Service, speaking on the occasion said Dell was committed to helping the needy children through its learning, caring and sharing programme and reaching out to the needy people of the country.

He said that their employees in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mohali were contributing in a big way in social initiatives besides in-growth oriented ventures in the region.

Mr Vivek Mathur, Site Director Mohali, highlighted the corporate's achievements in the past years.

The General and Ms Rodrigues also went around the facility and interacted with the employees working in this complex. The students of St Stephen School presented a programme of carol singing on the occasion.



Seminar on consumer safety
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 22
“There is a need to create a culture of consumer rights in which interest groups use social sanctions and boycotts as means to deter those indulging in cheating the consumer,” said Dr Anjman Midha, a food supply officer from Ajnala during the celebrations of National Consumer Day here today.

Stating that voluntary organizations need to come immediately to the rescue of the consumer both socially and legally, Dr Midha said consumer forums and commissions be given teeth to act so that the violators do not get any protection or lease from the clutches of the punishing authority.

Dr Midha was speaking during a seminar on ‘Consumer Safety and Health’ organized by the Department of Food, Civil, Supplies and Consumer affairs, Punjab to mark the day which falls on December 24.

The key note address was delivered by Dr. B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary of the Department. 



Car stolen from PU
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
A car was reportedly stolen from the city and while a shop was burgled in Ram Darbar. Elsewhere, the local police arrested one person for allegedly carrying 1 kg of ganja. Besides this, the local police registered a dowry harassment case.

Mr Madan Lal of Hoshiarpur district lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Maruti car (PB-07-C-3726) was stolen from Panjab University campus on Wednesday. A case of theft has been registered.

Shop burgled: Mr Rajesh Bansal of Phase I, Ram Darbar, reported to the police alleging that brass, water taps and Rs 2500 were stolen from his shop during the Tuesday night. A case has been registered.

Dowry harassment: Ms Naheed of Manimajra filed a complaint to the police alleging that her husband Anish and her in-laws, all residents of Gobindpura Mohalla, Manimajra, were harassing and maltreating her to bring dowry. A case has been registered.



Woman found dead in in-laws’ house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Lakhbir Kaur, a 27-year-old resident of Sector 29, allegedly hanged herself to death at her residence late to night. The body of Lakhbir was first noticed by her sister-in-law. The sister-in-law called the watchman, who cut the rope and lowered the body. The victim was rushed to a private clinic, where the doctors declared her brought dead.

The in-laws of Lakhbir maintained that she died due to heart failure. The police investigations, however, revealed that there were strangulation marks around the neck of the deceased. Suspecting foul play the police has informed the parents of Lakhbir at Hoshiarpur.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of CrPC. The body has also been shifted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, for post-mortem. Married to Baghel Singh four years ago, Lakhbir is survived by two daughters. No suicide note was found from her in-laws house.



Gold chain, purse snatched
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 22
As many as two cases of snaching were reported in the township today. While motorcycle-borne miscreants snatched a gold chain from an evening walker in Sector 12 A, another woman lost her purse to motorcycle-borne snatchers near Sector 4.

Police sources informed TNS that the first incident took place in the afternoon when Ms Sheetal Chaudhary, a resident of Sector 4, was walking on the road dividing Sector 11 and 4. Two motorcycle-borne youth approached her, and fled after snatching her purse.

In another incident, Ms Nisha Kapoor was taking an evening walk in Sectoe 12 A, when motorcycle-borne youth snatched her gold chain. The police have registered a cases in both incidents.



Car stolen
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
A Maruti 800 car of a Municipal Council employee was stolen from outside the office in Phase VII here today.

Mr Avtar Singh Kalsia had parked the vehicle outside the office. But when he came out after office hours he found the vehicle missing from the parking area.



Agriclinics centre scheme flops in Punjab
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The much-publicised agriclinics and agribusiness centre scheme launched by the Union Ministry of Agriculture, in association with NABARD, has failed to pick up in Punjab, even though Haryana has shown a remarkable success.

As against a 104 agriclinics and agribusiness centres that have come up in Haryana, 22 agriclinics and agribusiness centres have been set up in Punjab. The issue was discussed at length during the state-level Bankers Committee meeting of both Punjab and Haryana earlier this week.

The Ministry of Agriculture had set a target for opening of at least 10 agriclinics in each district within a year. The scheme has come a cropper in the two states, despite their agrarian economy and hundreds of unemployed agricultural graduates.

In Haryana, the maximum number of agriclinics have been set up in Bhiwani (20), Jind(10), Kaithal (10)and Hisar (10). Other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan, too, have done well by establishing as many as 425, 364 and 246 agriclinics and business centres.

This scheme, aimed at providing business opportunity to agriculture graduates, besides providing consultancy and professional agri-extension services to farmers, was launched almost two years ago.

The centres provide farmers advice on crop selection, best farm practices, post-harvest value added option, key agricultural information, including weather forecast, price trends, credit and input access etc. The agribusiness centres are meant to supply seeds and other agricultural inputs.

The scheme was initiated with each bank being given separate targets for extending finance to agriculture graduates to set up these clinics and business centres.

Though officials in NABARD point out that the bankers are not willing to popularise the scheme because of the risk involved in advancing finance without a collateral. However, bankers say that the reason for the scheme not picking up in Punjab, was that the agricultural graduates lack entrepreneurship. Mr I.D. Singh, General Manager, Punjab National Bank, Punjab Zone, informed TNS since Krishi Vigyan Kendras provide free consultancy services, farmers turn to the KVKs rather than agriclinics for advise.

“But, most of the agriculture graduates, too, are not willing to take up the scheme. The unemployed agri-graduates prefer jobs in Punjab, so this scheme is not popular,” he said.


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