C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No liquor licence for criminals
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
In a bid to check the entry of persons with criminal record in the city’s liquor business, the Chandigarh Administration has proposed that such persons should not be given licence to run a vend.

While introducing more suggestions in the draft Excise Policy 2006-2007, the Administration has recommended that the applicant should not have any criminal record anywhere in the country.

Sources in the Administration said after receiving objections from the general public and interacting with the persons involved in the liquor business, clearance from the Income Tax Department would be mandatory for the applicants seeking to run liquor vends.

Allowing liquor manufacturing companies to run vends is also part of the new recommendations proposed by the Excise Department. Keeping in view the sale potential at the location of the vends, it has been proposed that the fee in case of country liquor vends be reduced from Rs 50 to Rs 40 (category A) and Rs 30 to Rs 25 (Category B).

Though the fresh recommendations incorporated in the draft policy have to be approved by the Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, it has been clearly pointed out that the prices of different brands of liquor would come down. This would end the monopoly of the liquor cartel in the city. Owing to the hold of a particular person over the liquor trade in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, prices of liquor have risen equally in the past years.

Under the draft policy, it has also been recommended that the number of liquor vends (IMFL) would nearly double. The city will have 65 vends for the retail sale of country liquor and it has been proposed to increase the number of vends of IMFL to 150 from the existing 78 vends where the sale of all types of liquor, including country liquor, IMFL, beer and wine, will be allowed.

Another proposal made in the policy is the replacement of present auction system of retail sale vends of country liquor and IMFL with licensing system to avoid monopolistic tendencies. The Administration is contemplating this proposal. To bring transparency in the allotment of retail sale vends, the vends would be allotted by draw of lots in case the number of applicants is more than the number of licences to be granted in a particular locality.

The Administration also plans to fix some standards for the ahatas such as the size of their premises with attached toilets, provision of air-conditioning, maintaining good crockery and cutlery. Sources said the final policy was expected by next month.



Fake recruitment: agent booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
After investigating the case of “recruitment of drivers” by a Delhi-based recruiting agent allegedly for the banned Kuwaiti transport company, KGL Ltd, the Chandigarh Police today registered a case against the travel agent.

Proprietor of the recruiting agency, Shambros Human Resource Consultants, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, V.K. Sharma has been booked for forging the document of the Dubai-based company — Drake and Scull International — for the purpose of cheating.

The name of Protector of Emigrants (POI), K.L. Gandhi, has also figured in the case. A case has been registered.

It may be mentioned that The Tribune had exposed a well-organised racket of human trafficking right under the nose of the Ministry of Indian Overseas Affairs.

For conducting the interview of candidates at BS Trade Test Centre, Maloya village here, the demand letter of a Dubai-based company, Drake and Scull International, had been forged by the travel agent.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that to fulfil the demand of manpower of the foreign employer, a forged demand letter and power of attorney of Drake and Scull International was submitted to the POI for clearance.

Drake and Scull International had, in a written communication, categorically denied that it was conducting any interviews in India and no demand letter had been given by it to anyone for this purpose.

The documents were, however, cleared by the officials concerned without raising any doubts about the authenticity of the documents submitted for the clearance.

The police pointed out that the POI concerned had to be informed a week in advance of the interviews by the recruiting agent.

But in this case, Mr Gandhi gave the permission on January 13, 2006, a day ahead of the interviews. Initially the POI, Chandigarh, had authenticated the documents submitted by the agent but later the POI in a communication to the police said the documents could be verified by the Delhi office.

Sources said the name of others who were present on the day of interview — two project managers of Kuwait Gulf Link Limited, Quadros Dionysious Alexis and Staney Sequeria, trolley driver in Kuwait Balram Karki, two officials of the Kuwait police, Lieut Mohamed Jassim Marzouk and traffic constable Mubarak Abdullah Alzafri — have also figured in the case registered by the police.

The Tribune is in possession of the denial letter by the HR Department of Drake and Scull International, Dubai, UAE, issued on January 17.

A close examination of the demand letter “produced” by the agent and the clarification issued by Drake and Scull International clearly shows that all details on the letter submitted by the former were fake, right from address to the post box number to the signing authority.



BJP, Cong exchange charges on MPLAD fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The local units of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have begun to criticise each other over the manner in which the allegation against Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress member of Parliament, of paying Rs 5 lakh for “honorary” membership to the Golf Club, has been handled.

The BJP today accused Mr Bansal of trying to brush aside the allegation of misuse of MPLAD fund “by using highly objectionable and threatening language against his political opponents. At his press conference yesterday, Mr Bansal did not reply properly to any of the allegations levelled against him. To blame others for his own failures, to humiliate and insult his political opponents and indulge in self-praise is a habit with Mr bansal”.

Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, party spokesperson, said: “Not only in this case, but in certain other cases also the money given by Mr Bansal was not used for the purpose it was sanctioned.

“Mr Bansal also owes an explanation to the public as to why he issued contradictory statements, factually incorrect. Like on January 24, he said that no money was released to another Golf Club in Kishangarh whereas now it has been established that a sum of Rs 5 lakh was actually given to the club”.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, president of the District Congress Committee (Rural), said: “Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former BJP minister, has been hatching conspiracies against Mr Bansal without any provocation”.

Mr Badheri underlined a number of development schemes launched by Mr Bansal in villages of the UT.

Mr Badheri alleged that Mr Jain had raised the issue of opening of Delhi Public School against Mr Bansal when elections to the Lok Sabha were drawing near. The correct position was that it was a registered society which was running a school and had purchased land strictly in accordance with the ruled frames by the BJP-led NDA government.



“The Famous Five” from slums
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
“The Famous Five” is what comes to mind when you meet five slum kids from Colony No. 5 as they pack their bags for Delhi to participate in the “Bal Panchayat”. Not only have these children become local heroes, they also have the determination to live up to the image by being peer educators and involving more kids once they get back from the panchayat.

Sachin (13), Happy (13), Suresh (14), Vijay (15) and Harinder (15), are already “Panchs”, in their own little way. Active involvement with a local NGO, Yuvsatta, towards the uplift of slum dwellers, more so to generate awareness about health and hygiene is a task these children are already pursuing.

While all of them regularly attend school and are students of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, Harinder is also a balloon seller. A good homework on “Bal Panchayat” is something all five have done and they do not mind taking more information and tips from field worker Anil, who accompanies them to Delhi.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Anil said that the “Bal Panchayat” this year would focus on rights of the child. He added that the concept of “Bal Panchayat” was initiated in 1996 by CASP-Plan and aimed to bring together children living in slum areas who then set their own agenda, debated issues relevant to their lives and took actions they deemed appropriate to bring about social change. He said the workshop would also bring together diverse stakeholders, including children, and would provide them a platform to share experiences and concerns.

“We are excited to be part of the organisation which has 400 other members like us and understand that we too have a right to lead better lives,” said Harinder. All of them would be sitting on train for the first time, and they are looking forward to the maiden visit to Delhi. With lunch packed and little pocket money tugged in the pockets, these kids are ready for change.



Admn introduces “Handyman” service helpline
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The Chandigarh Administration has set up a maintenance cell at the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), to provide maintenance services to residents of the city in technical fields. The services will be available on a phone call for plumbing/sanitation, welding, carpentry, AC/refrigerator and handling of electrical apparatus. The services will be called “Handyman”.

Mr Sukhcharan Singh Lamba, in charge of the programme, said in the first phase, a team of 20 persons, four each from different trades, has been selected. Details of the implementation, along with the phone numbers, are expected to be announced next week. The project of self-employment has been initiated under the Swaran Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yogna being handled by the municipal corporation.

Mr Baljit Kapoor, Principal of the CCET, said: “The college is providing special training facilities for the under-privileged sections of society. The work force of the trained people will be available for service-after proper verification of their police records.

“The trained manpower is going to be of immense use to the elderly and others. They only need to call the Handyman and the worker will reach at the earliest. Besides telephones, we also plan to distribute pamphlets in markets. There is a possibility of the trained work force being absorbed by shopkeepers”.

Mr Lamba said: “We are ready with the first batch of the work force and the number can increase corresponding with the level of absorption. Some can go independent, some can be employed by private parties while some can stay on in our team. Except electricity repair, which needs immediate attention, we are starting with time guarantee of 24 hours for redress of problems”.

The Handyman in charge said: “We are calculating Rs 50 per hour as the payment to workers. The tools will be provided by the college. After the groundwork for the progress of the progamme is laid down, we will work out the availability of the work force according to selected zones in the city”.

It was pointed out that the scheme was aimed at candidates who fall in the category of below the poverty line. The trainee needed to be Class VIII pass. He would be given a training of 600 hours.



Man seeks information on contempt cases
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A resident of Sector 18, Chandigarh, Mr Kuppanagari Saaiebaba, filed two applications under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, seeking information regarding contempt matters pending before the Advocates- General of Punjab and Haryana.Both applications were identical in nature and even the information sought was the same.

But, to his surprise while the office of the Advocate-General (AG), Haryana, supplied him the information sought by him, nothing of this sort was done by the AG, Punjab.

Mr Saaiebaba applied for information in tabular form indicating details of criminal contempt of court petitions received and disposed of by the two AGs. The information had been sought for the past 11 years.

On January 18, the office of the designated public information officer, AG, Haryana, sent him the complete information sought by him.

However, the Superintendent of the AG, Punjab, wrote a letter to the applicant, informing him that before his application was considered, it would be appreciated if he specified the exact case, the name of the petitioner and the respondent in the matter in which the information was required.

Mr Saaiebaba wrote back, saying that his original application said it all and since there was no ambiguity or confusion, no clarification was required at his end.

Claiming that he had come to know that no public information officer had been appointed for the office of the AG, Punjab, he also sought information about the name of the information officer, date of his appointment etc.

But, to his surprise, a few days later, Mr Saaiebaba received a letter signed by a law officer in the AG office, informing him that since he had not disclosed the particulars as sought by the office, no action was being taken on his application.

The cheque for Rs 50 submitted by him as fee fixed by the government was also returned to him.

Incidentally, Mr Saaiebaba had also filed a criminal contempt petition against some Haryana Government officers for misleading the High Court. His request for permission to proceed against the officers was declined by the AG, Haryana.



Indian, Chinese troops exchange pleasantries near Leh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A border personnel meeting between Indian and Chinese Army delegations was organised at Chushul to commemorate the 57th Republic Day. After the delegation arrived at the Indian border personnel meeting Hut, the Tricolour was unfurled, which was saluted by Army personnel from both countries.

A formal meeting was held in an atmosphere of mutual trust and camaraderie, where both sides exchanged greetings and agreed to join hands in contributing to peace, stability and development of the region in consonance with bilateral agreements, a statement issued here today said.

A cultural programme was also organised by troops of the Chushul Garrison. The Chinese delegation was enthralled by the cultural heritage as well as Indian music tunes played by the military band. They also participated in some fun-filled games.

Earlier this week, an Indian Army delegation, led by Brig Manvender Singh, crossed over to the Chinese side to take part in the Chinese Spring Festival, one of the most important festivals which heralds the Chinese new year. The event was organised at Chinese Moldo Garrison opposite Ladakh on January 24.

In his opening address, Chinese delegation leader, Senior Colonel Awang Duoji, said the ongoing confidence-building measures between the two countries had been effective and fruitful.

The Chinese also organised a cultural programme, games and a feast in honour of the Indian delegation.



Kulu NCC cadet gets PM’s Baton at Republic Day camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Cadets from the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate made a mark in the best cadet competition at the ongoing Republic Day camp in New Delhi, with Rahul Sharma winning the gold medal in the Air Wing category.

He was awarded the Prime Minister's Baton and a gold medal. He is from No.1 Himachal Pradesh Air Squadron based at Kulu. This, NCC officers here said, was perhaps for the first time that the directorate had bagged such an award.

Besides Rahul, Mayur Jamwal from No.2 Chandigarh NCC Battalion and Vibhuti Jain from 19 Punjab NCC Battalion, Ludhiana, have been awarded the bronze medal in the competition for securing the third position in their respective categories.

The best cadet competition is one of the most prestigious and keenly contested events at the Republic Day camp in Delhi. One cadet each is adjudged as the best in the senior as well as junior division Army, Navy and Air Force wings and the girls division. Several aspects, including performance drill, firing, obstacle course, personality, general knowledge and camps attended are considered during selection.

Two cadets from No.2 Punjab Girls NCC Battalion, Binona Sharma and Tinu Sharma, secured the second position in solo song and dance competitions, respectively. The directorate also secured the second position in the motivation hall briefing. Officers added that cadets from this directorate also bagged several medals in aero-modelling, ship modelling and equestrian competitions, but details on this aspect were being awaited.

The directorate had sent a contingent of 126 cadets, including six riders, to participate in the Republic Day camp. Of these 29 cadets had been selected to form the NCC contingent that marched down the Raj Path on January 26. There are 16 NCC directorates representing all states.

Another eight were selected to make up the guard of honour presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the PM's NCC rally yesterday. The rally, which marks the conclusion of the month-long camp, showcases NCC activities and capabilities and prizes for excellence are awarded to cadets by the PM.



Mushaira marks R-Day celebrations
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 28
The Kidar Adabi Trust organised a tri-lingual mushaira on the 57th Republic Day here. Twenty poets read out literary compositions on patriotic themes and diverse social subjects after the chief guest and poet Sham Singh lighted the traditional ‘shama’.

Haryana Punjabi Sahit Akademi awardee Sudershan Gaso, Dr Gurvinder Aman, Manjit Kaur Ambalavi, Manmohan Singh Daon, Dr Gurdarpal Singh, Daljit Kaur, Goverdhan Gabbi, Kedar Nath Kedar, Surjit, S.S. Baidwan, S.L. Kanwal, Surinder Sikka and others participated.

Dr Gurdarpal compered the mushaira which was presided over by S. Manmohan Singh Daon.



Lala Lajpat Rai remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The Servants of the People Society held a function to celebrate the 142nd birthday of Sher-e-Punjab Lala Lajpat Rai here today.

Addressing the function, Mr P.H. Vaishnav, former Chief Secretary of Punjab, said the nation should follow the ideals of Lala Lajpat Rai such as modern and scientific education, especially for women to emerge as a great power.

Swami Brahmeshananda, secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, while drawing parallels between Lalaji and Swami Vivekananda, said both visionaries served the country through spiritual and political awakening.

The chairman of the local branch of the society, Mr Onkar Chand, highlighted the ideas and thoughts of the great leader and his dream of making India a modern state.



Artillery officer decorated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Capt Sumit Kohli, an Artillery officer, has been decorated with Shaurya Chakra for gallantry during counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He is the only officer from Chandigarh to have been awarded a gallantry medal on the occasion of the 57th Republic Day.

He was commissioned into 102 Medium Regiment in 2000 after passing out from the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, and is serving with the Rashtriya Rifles. He has been posted in Srinagar for the past about 26 months.

Al alumni of Shivalik Public School and Government College, Sector 11, he is a keen tennis and handball player. His father retired as an establishment officer in Markfed. His wife Deepika is an architect.



Mishap victim dies at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A taxi driver succumbed to his injuries at the PGI after the Qualis he was driving was hit by a PRTC bus near the Aroma light point here this morning. The victim, Manjeet, was a resident of Ropar. After hitting the Qualis, the driver of the bus escaped from the spot. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304 A of the IPC.

Two arrested

The crime branch of the Chandigarh Police today arrested two youths for allegedly stealing two-wheelers and other items from different parts of the city. The two, Ravinder Kumar and Sunny Pal, both residents of a PGI residential colony, were arrested after they stole a colour TV and a tape recorder from a shop at Khuda Lahora village yesterday. They had also stolen two scooters from Sectors 15 and 22 here.



Union Minister for focus on agri industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay visited Alchemist Limited’s, a food processing plant at Banmajra, near Ropar, today.

Addressing the workers and officials of the plant, Mr Sahay said it was the time to focus on the food processing sector as it had long been neglected. He said a campaign for encouraging retail outlets selling agri products would be beneficial for the economic growth of the farmers.

India has the potential of becoming the world’s food factory and for this the sector needed to be given due importance. We are aiming to flood the world food market with products not only with the labels of “made in India” but also “made from India” where the country would be viewed as world’s largest agri raw material supplier, Mr Sahay added.

The coming Budget would focus on food processing sector and 51 pre cent FDI would be invited in the retail chain segment, he added.

Mr K.D. Singh, chairman and managing director of the concern, suggested that the Union Government should give the food processing sector all perks and impetus as the IT and infrastructure sectors.



SBI housing loans for NRIs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
State Bank of India, Chandigarh (main branch), Sector 17-B, yesterday launched a new product in housing loans called SBI freedom---home loans---at a customers' meet for NRIs.

Mr A. Krishna Kumar, General Manager, State Bank of India, Chandigarh, formally launched the product by lighting a lamp along with Mr Akhilesh Mohan, Deputy General Manager. NRI customers were present in good strength at the impressive gathering. Mr Krishna Kumar, while addressing the customers, said State Bank Of India had always been a pioneer in introducing customer friendly products from time to time. In this direction he informed that an agreement is also being entered into with Western Union for convenience in remitting of funds by Indians abroad. The combined product will be launched shortly.

Mr Akhilesh Mohan detailed the salient features of SBI freedom home loan such as dispensing with mortgage of property, 100 per cent financing of project cost, easy and variable options for repayment etc. He also clarified the queries raised by the customers about the scheme.



Bank Security Awareness Week at PNB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
All branches of PNB, Chandigarh B-Region, observed Bank Security Awareness Week from January 23 to 28, 2006.

During this week mock drills were conducted in various branches to ascertain the readiness of the branches to deal with various security crises. Besides, demonstration of security gadgets at the zonal office, Ludhiana, and a quiz competition on bank security was also organised in the PNB Zonal Training Centre, Ludhiana. At a few branches Mr Rohtash Kumar, Senior Regional Manager, was present to observe the mock drills.

While interacting with the staff he stressed on strict discipline in maintaining security norms. He emphasised the need of total involvement of the staff members in ensuring the security of cash, life, property and information.


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 |