C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Court employee’s apathy lands guarantor in soup
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Carelessness on the part of an employee of the local district courts has cost an employee of the Punjab Public Health dear.

The victim, Mr Madan Lal, who is posted in the meter mechanic wing of the Mohali office of the Public Health, is running from pillar to post to prove that two cheques of Rs 2,500 each, which had been deducted from his salary after his salary was attached by the court in a case of surety for a loan, have been misplaced by an employee in the court of Civil Judge (Junior Division), Mr A.S. Shergill.

The statement of his salary account for the month of July 2005 and August 2005 shows that an amount of Rs 2,500 each had been deducted from the account in favour of the Civil Judge( Junior Division). The amount was to be sent to the treasury for being deposited in the court account.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, he said he had given a surety for his friend who had taken a loan of Rs 15,000 from a Sector 37-based financier, Mr Gulshan Sahni, in 2003. However, the borrower defaulted and the court ordered for attachment of the salary of Mr Madan Lal for the recovery of the amount. Every month, an amount of Rs 2,500 was deducted from Mr Madan’s salary and deposited in the court account.

During the pendency of the case, Mr Madan Lal, reached a compromise with the financier. Both agreed that a total amount of Rs 65,000 had to be paid. Of this, an amount of Rs 57,500 had been deposited in the court account and the remaining was to be paid. However, when Mr Madan Lal checked with the court , he found to his utter shock that two cheques of Rs 2,500 each had not been deposited in the court account.

Showing proof, he said one of the cheques (113736, dated July 2, 2005) in the name of a former Civil Judge( Junior Division)¸ Mr S.K. Singla, had indeed been sent by ICICI Bank but it was never deposited by the court employee concerned. The cheque was found to be in the possession of a clerk of an advocate. “ The cheque was sent to the treasury but since it was over six months old, it was returned,” said the victim.

“I do not know how the cheque landed in the custody of the clerk. The second cheque is untraceable. Now, I have to move an application for the revalidation of the two cheques” lamented Mr Madan Lal.

He plans to approach the higher authorities in the courts to expose the apathy of the employee(s) concerned in the court.



20 buffaloes burnt alive
Nine battle for life; loss worth Rs 5 lakh
Our Correspondent

Raipur Rani (Panchkula), January 14
Twenty head of buffalo were burnt alive and nine others injured in a fire that broke out at Garhi Kotaha village, near Raipur Rani, on Lohri evening yesterday.

The animals belonged to migrant families of Yousuf Khan and Suleman Khan, living on the outskirts of the village.

The raging fire engulfed their improvised wild grass cattle sheds leaving 20 head of buffaloes dead on the spot. Nine others sustained serious burn injuries and were struggling for life. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

As per Yousuf Khan and his son Suleman Khan, whose families, originally hailing from Uttaranchal, live in adjoining sheds in the open ground on the Raipur Rani- Naraingarh road, the estimated loss of animals and other goods was over Rs 5 lakh.

Failing to control their anguish, they said each of them owned 10 of the total 20 dead buffaloes, while the nine others belonged to Yousuf.

They added that residents of Garhi, Ferozepur, Dandralon, Sultanpur villages and motorists reached the spot after noticing the blaze but failed to protect the animals as the inferno lasted for just a few minutes.

Yousuf and Suleman said all their belongings, including over Rs 20,000 in cash, and feed were burnt in the blaze. They, however, expressed gratitude for the quick response of the district administration and public.

Dr Ram Mohan More and Dr Baljit Singh, government veterinary officers, said the chances of survival for four buffaloes with over 90 per cent burns were bleak, while the five with lesser degree of burns were responding to treatment.

Local villagers were extending help and raising donations for the aggrieved families.



100 million children of poor widows may be
deprived of education
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Almost 100 million children of poor widows in India face the risk of being deprived of education. Though the law of the land provides for compulsory education to all children, lack of supervision coupled with poverty and local customs are an overriding factor depriving them of education.

Stating this while talking to The Tribune here today, NRI entrepreneur and Chairman of the Loomba Trust, Mr Raj Loomba, said data complied by the trust revealed that there were 35 million widows in India whose children were affected. The objectives of the trust, established in 1997 in the United Kingdom and launched in India in 1999, are to promote the welfare and education of children of poor widows and orphaned children. Ms Cherie Blair, wife of the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair is the trust's president.

Born in Jalandhar and now settled in London, Mr Loomba is here to participate in the Parvasi Punjabi Diwas - 2006, a conclave of non-resident Indians from Punjab to discuss investment and business opportunities in the state.

He said in the preceding year the trust took up the education of 500 Indian children who had lost their fathers during the Tsunami disaster.

"Poverty," Mr Lomba said, "is a vicious cycle. Only education can break it as it rationalises thinking." He added that in the field of ensuring education for all, India is 100 years behind other countries like Japan and the United Kingdom

"The problem with widows," Mr Loomba said, "is not only confined to India, but also across the globe." Stating that never before have there been so many widows and wives of the missing of all ages in developing countries, he added that the unprecedented rise was caused by armed conflict, ethnic cleansing, AIDS and child marriage.

He said he was also appealing to governments, NGOs and corporates to help raise funds for scholarships given to children. In 2004, at a fund-raising event in Delhi where Ms Blair was also present, about Rs 4.5 crore were raised for the trust.



Stars honoured at Parvasi Divas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Eminent personalities from the entertainment world as well as NRIs were honoured at a cultural evening organised as part of the Parvasi Punjabi Divas-2006 here today.

Those felicitated included film personalities Dharmendra, B.R. Chopra, Yash Chopra, Raj Babbar and Mangal Dhillon and singers Gurdas Maan and Hans Raj Hans. The awards were given by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The two-day event is being organised to explore business opportunities and encourage NRI from Punjab to invest in the state. A multi-media presentation on trends in the media and entertainment industry was also made.

Earlier, the Chief Minister released a blueprint on the media and entertainment industry in Punjab with a focus on employment and entrepreneurship. He also read out the action taken report by the state government on announcements made by him concerning the investment scenario in Punjab during the last NRI convention in Mumbai.



Realtors eye Baddi belt
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
After nearly developing all available space in the Zirakpur- Dera Bassi belt, realtors are now eyeing the greens in the vicinity of the Baddi- Barotiwala-Nalagarh belt. With many a top real estate developers in the country planning to start housing projects in this industrial belt, land prices have skyrocketed to anything between Rs 70 and Rs 80 lakh per bigha in Baddi.

This boom in real estate here has farmers giving up farming and horticulture, to become full-time real estate agents. With companies buying land along the entire stretch, the farmers here are making hay by selling their land, which is giving them much higher returns than their agriculture produce would.

Thus housing is coming up as a parallel industry in Baddi. With two realtors — Mountview Group having already launched its housing project Mountview Monal Apartments and Amravati Builders having been already granted licence for housing projects, there are at least six other housing projects awaiting a final nod from the Government of Himachal Pradesh. The fact that Mountview Monal Apartments has already booked over 65 per cent of its proposed 416 apartments since January 1, has prompted others real estate developers to accelerate their clearances from the government and be the “early birds” to cash in on the housing boom.

Mr Harish G. Aggarwal, one of the developers of Mountview Constructions, told TNS that because of constraints on the existing housing units in the Baddi-Barotiwala belt, housing construction had become important here. “The proposed direct link road between Chandigarh and Baddi, and the extension of the railway line from Pinjore to Baddi, not only means better connectivity, but has also led to a boom in property prices,” he said. He added that unlike in the Chandigarh periphery area falling in Punjab, the housing projects are much more organised with housing projects also giving space for schools and clinics.

Earlier this week, promoters of Omaxe Constructions, too, had announced that they would shortly launch their housing project. The CMD of Omaxe Constructions, Mr Rohtas Goel, said the proposed housing project at Baddi will have one, two and three bedroom apartments. “We are awaiting licence from the Himachal Government, and will soon launch the project,” he said.

Trammell Crow Meghraj Property Consultants, India’s leading international real estate consultancy, which opened its office here today, too, is looking forward to business opportunities in Baddi.



Passing Thru

Chandan Tripathi, Head Designer, Hi Fashion Clothing Company, Gurgaon Chandan Tripathi, Head Designer, Hi Fashion Clothing Company, Gurgaon

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here in connection with the launch of Spring-Summer collection of Numero Uno, the fashion guru of the denim industry.

Can you elaborate on the features of the new collection?

The Spring-Summer ‘06 showcases denims with sand blasted, whitened indigo and tinted looks. A range of fashionable shirts has been displayed in white cotton, lightweight denims and linens. It has been designed keeping in mind contemporary lifestyles and making sure that consumers are kept abreast of what is happening on the international fashion scene.

What is the USP of Numero Uno?

Numero Uno’s strength lies in knowing what today’s young and stylish customers want — a fashion brand which gives style, comfort and value for money.

What are the expansion plans of the company for the region?

With a view to expanding its retail presence, the company plans to add about 15 exclusive stores by next year. Besides, the company will venture into belts, shoes and eyewear soon.

Your fashion forecast for 2006?

Stylish denims, troopers, cargos, skirts and blouses are going to be hit this season. The main emphasis is on comfort and style.

— Pradeep Sharma



Follow ethics in business: Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
“If we have to succeed in the global market, high standards of profession have to be maintained so that the profession enjoys respect everywhere. India can emerge as an economic power only if we follow the right principles and ethics.” This was stated by the Governor of Haryana, Dr A R Kidwai, addressing members of the Chandigarh Management Association here today. Dr Kidwai was the chief guest at the 39th foundation day function of the CMA, held at the CII Convention Centre. The theme of the function was “Ethics in business”.

The Haryana Governor said India had a key role to play, especially when globalisation had begun. “Whatever be the aspect of life, develop values that inspire trust. No business can succeed unless we inspire trust among customers, business associates or even in our personal contacts. Truth, honesty, integrity and sincerity have to be applied so as to emerge successful,” he said.

Dr Kidwai added that at a time when India was emerging as a leading hub of industrial activity and production, business houses had to be cautious that business ethics were maintained. Scams like leaking of secret information from a BPO at Gurgaon or leaking of information with regards to credit card numbers of an American company, could be disastrous for business, he added.

Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune, who was the keynote speaker on the occasion, said moral regeneration was the need of the hour, while India was emerging as a global power. “ Though the main objective of business is to make profit, one must ensure that the means used to earn profits are just and fair. Earning profit may be good business, but if the product is of poor quality, or in someway cheats the customer, it is bad ethics,” he added.

Mr Philip said the corruption had pervaded each and every sphere of life in India. “We must join hands to develop good ethics for the betterment of the nation,” he said.

Mr B.M. Gulati, president of the CMA, said though ethics was a variable definition, a good business house should inculcate good ethics.



Beauty queen’s message to youth
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 14
Don’t give up if you are not able to achieve your aim in the first go. Keep trying till you attain your objective.

This was the message given to youth by Ms Ramneek Gitte Hanspal, who participated in the Miss Universe pageant as Miss Denmark, while talking to mediapersons here today. She was here in connection with her kangan ceremony and was getting married on July 29.

Ms Hanspal, who is flying back to Denmark on Monday, said that she would not refuse if she got offers from Bollywood but presently wanted to do modelling and work in videos. She said that she was coming back to India in April to participate in the Levisage-Face of the Year Contest to be held in Mumbai. She is very fond of Bollywood films and those starring Amitabh Bachchan were her favourites.

Talking about the Miss Universe contest, the beauty queen said that Denmark was a small country but had she represented India in the Miss Universe contest, she would have had a bigger back-up.

Ms Hanspal, who was at present doings masters in management in innovation and business development in Denmark, said that she was marrying a Punjabi youth based in Denmark and was very fond of living in India. Even as a child she used to press her parents for coming to India. But now she had to complete her education and would certainly spend some years in India later sometime. She is fond of Punjabi cuisine with Shahi Paneer and Tandoori Chicken being her favourite dishes.

Her father belonged to Kileri village falling under Gurdaspur district and her in-laws were based in Bolath village near Jalandhar.

Born from a Danish mother and a Punjabi father, Ms Hanspal said that she was more attached to relatives from her father’s side even when she happily interacted with those from her mother’s side.

For staying fit she went to the gym four times a week but was not following her fitness routine for the past some time.



District status sought for Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 14
Various social organisations, sarpanches, block samiti members, zila parishad members and workers of Kharar Vidhan Sabha constituency led by Ms Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to Chief Minister, Punjab, yesterday met Capt Amarinder Singh at his official residence and submitted a charter of demands. The main demands were district status to Mohali, waiving of enhanced rates of sewerage and drinking water and release of grants of Rs 2 lakh each to all those panchayats who were elected unanimously.

The Chief Minister assured them that their genuine demands would be considered sympathetically at the earliest. Mr Kuljit Singh Bedi, president, Block Development Committee, Mohali, said the population of Mohali had crossed 3 lakh and the state government was going to spend Rs 200 crore for its beautification and Multi-national companies were also coming to Mohali. Keeping in view the industrial needs of Mohali, heads of various organisations demanded that the status of district should be accorded to Mohali.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Mangat, Member District Planning Board, said Mohali did not have a judicial court and people had to go to Kharar or Ropar for petty works. Organisations demanded the setting up of a judicial court in Mohali.

Prominent among other organisations who raised demands includes members, Zila Parishad, Mr B.S. Tej, president, Citizen Welfare Federation, Mr Shamshar Singh Purkhalvi, president, Dalit Chetan Manch.



Housekeeping course for Colony No. 5 women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
In a new initiative to bring women from rural areas and disadvantaged sections into core areas of tourism and hotel industry, Mrs, Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and Administrator of the Union Territory or Chandigarh, inaugurated a house keeping course for women of Colony No 5 here on Thursday.

The course would be conducted by Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management with the help of professional hands and local resources with periodical visits of participants to the Institute for practical training.

The institute would arrange the requisite material and infrastructure support for affording the students opportunities required for the training and their subsequent placement in the local hotel industry.

Mrs Rodrigues, interacting with women, numbering about 40, exhorted them to accept this profession as a challenge and to develop the techniques necessary for the profession.

She inaugurated a six-month course on beauty culture for rural women at Kajheri. The Woman and Child Development Corporation of the Chandigarh Administration will run this course.

Mrs Rodrigues interacted with the participants. She told them that these vocational courses helped build confidence among house-bound women.

She asked the Director, Social Welfare, who was accompanying her, to monitor the progress of these programmes.

Mrs Rodrigues visited a nursery school of healthcare India in Colony No 5 and was impressed with the performance of children who sang nursery rhymes.

She asked the teachers to identify the best among the lot for placement in good schools.



Consumer awareness camp
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 14
The National Youth Day was celebrated by the Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum by organising a consumer awareness camp at the ITI here.

According to Col Angad Singh (retd), general secretary of the forum, students and staff of the institute paid tributes to Swami Vivekananda. The youth were exhorted to follow the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, which were significant in spreading the consumer movement.

Representatives of the forum explained the rights and responsibilities of consumers. The youth of the country had an important role to play in spreading the message of consumerism.

Mr D.K. Bharadwaj, Director, Bureau of Indian Standards, explained the importance of the ISI and Hall marking of jewellery.



Lohri celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Members of the Welfare Society, Sector 45-B, celebrated Lohri with traditional fervour yesterday. The city Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, was the chief guest on the occasion. A former Mayor, Mrs Lalit Joshi, and the former Head of Orthopaedics Department, GMCH, Sector 32, Dr Raj Bahadur, were also present.

Children presented impressive song and dance items, which were appreciated by all present at the function. The Mayor announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the construction of berm surrounding parks in the locality.

Flt-Lieut J.S. Tiwana gave away prizes to children. The children who got prizes are Dushant, Simran, Harshmit, Preet, Bhuvash, Vinu and Shubham. Senior citizens of the sector were also honoured. Mr S.C. Hans and Mr B.C. Gupta, president and general secretary of the society, respectively, thanked the participants and appreciated the performance of Kartik, who anchored the function.



Senior citizens celebrate Lohri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Members of the Sector 37 Senior Citizens’ Association, Chandigarh, celebrated Lohri along, with their families and friends at a “Lohri Milan” function organised at Parshu Ram Bhavan here today. Senior citizens sang folk songs along with their family members. Mr R.P. Dutta, who turned 76, was honoured by Mr S.S. Lamba and Mr M.L. Vohra, president and vice-president of the association. The function ended with a vote of thanks by the joint secretary, Mr S.K. Pruthi.



Enthusiasm marks Lohri celebrations
Tribune News Service

Derabassi, January 14
The management, staff and students of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology and Sri Sukhmani International School celebrated Lohri with enthusiasm here yesterday.

Competitions such as slow race, musical chairs, best dressed students and staff members were organised. A dance party was the highlight of the celebrations.

Prof Avtar Singh, Chairman, and Mrs Kanwaljit Kaur, Director of institute, highlighted the importance of Lohri.

Dr G.S. Rekhi, Director of the school, exhorted the students to devote equal time to studies and extra-curricular activities.



Tax evasion continues despite VAT implementation
Shveta Pathak

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Even after nine months of its implementation, the value added tax (VAT) has not proved useful in curbing tax evasion. The most glaring example of it is the non-issuance of bills by retailers to the customers.

While several retailers attribute the same to customers “who say they do not want an invoice”, the fact remains that the retailers themselves tell customers that avoiding a bill will amount to some reduction in the price of products purchased by them.

Restaurant owners are also issuing computerised bills. These are not proper printed invoices, which means that the customers are being charged the tax but the same is not being paid to the government.

“On many a occasion, if a customer demands a bill he is told that extra amount will be charged from him. Why will one insist on a bill even after that? Be it chemist shops, general stores, garment sellers or food joints, the situation is similar everywhere,” said Mr Ratan Malhotra, a resident.

People also allege that most of the retailers refuse to furnish a bill even when asked for. “I got my mobile phone handset repaired from one of the shops in Ghumar Mandi. When I asked for the bill, I was given a handwritten chit. On insisting, all I got was the signed business card of the shop owner. Although I am aware that a signed business card is not a document that will be useful if things go wrong, I did not have any option but to get my work done from him after all for how long will you keep fighting? It is not possible for common man to insist on all such things unless there is some control mechanism from the government itself,” said Ms Reena Goel, another resident.

Even as the fourth quarter of the current financial year has started and the government claims to be adding up to its revenues with the implementation of the VAT system, common man and industry are both condemning it for practical problems that it is creating.

“Those who issue bills are required to give printed bills with a TIN (tax identification number) on top, it is still common to come across computerised or handwritten bills, that do not mention TIN number and the type of tax that a customer pays, though they do not forget to add tax as an additional item,” a tax practitioner said.

He said many people were still using their old sales tax numbers, which are no longer permissible. A computerised bill without a TIN number means the one who issues can erase those bills with a single command on his computer.



‘Ab Tak’ launched
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 14
“At times news channels sensationalise crime, especially murder and rape, by repeating it and failing to see its derogatory effects”, said actor Jaspal Bhatti while environmentalist Mike Pandey lamented the lack of value-based programmes aired by them. They expressed these views at the launch of local television channel “Ab Tak” by the Panchkula-based Oscar Institute of Art and Research here today.

Jaspal Bhatti said there was scope for local channels provided standards were maintained. Chairperson of the institute V.K. Sood said “Ab Tak” would initially cater to the tri-city, but shortly expand to the whole of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir.



Beopar Mandal’s plea to DC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has urged the Chandigarh Administration to extend the 30-day period to enable traders to file details of the tax-paid stocks.

The Administration through an ordinance had given 30 days’ time to allow the traders to file details. Mr J.S. Kalra, member of the Beopar Mandal, said they would meet the Deputy Commissioner and ask him to extend the time period.


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