C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tyagi brothers arrested by Gujarat cops
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
Making good use of technology available with telephone companies, the Chandigarh Police managed get the Tyagi brothers, co-accused in the sensational triple murder case of Sector 34, arrested, with the help of the Gujarat Police from a remote place in Gujarat last night.

The police said the accused had confessed to have committed the crime.

The Tyagi brothers allegedly killed retired Gp Capt T.P. Singh, his wife Shibani Singh and his sister Ajit Kaur on February 7. They were accompanied by Pawandeep Singh, elder son of the officer. Pawandeep Singh was arrested from Nagaland on February 13.

Confirming the development, the Deputy Superintendent of Chandigarh Police (DSP) (South), Mr KIP Singh, said Ravikant Tyagi and his cousin Anil Tyagi had been arrested by the Gujarat Police on the basis of information provided by the Chandigarh Police.

He said a police party had been sent to Gujarat to bring the Tyagi brothers to the city on transit remand.

Elaborating the sequences of events that led to the arrest of the accused, the In charge of the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police, inspector Satbir Singh, said the police was monitoring details of phone calls of the Tyagi brothers.

Last evening at 7.45 pm, the Chandigarh Police traced a phone call the accused made to someone in Gurgoan from a public call office (PCO) in Okha, a remote place in Jamnagar district of Gujarat.

The police contacted the PCO operator, Sanjay Kumar, on his phone (02892262630) and enquired about the persons who had made the call. After confirming the identity of the callers (Tyagi brothers), the Chandigarh Police requested the Gujarat Police to arrest them.

Senior officers of the Chandigarh Police talked to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jamnagar, Mr R.R. Bhagat, over the phone.

A source in the police said a police party comprising four police officers, including in charge of the Maloya police post, SI Neeraj Sarna and SI Harinder Singh Sehkhon had been sent to Okha. The police party took a flight from Delhi to Ahmedabad. They are expected back in city on Friday.



Cop held with 1.4 kg opium
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police today arrested a Punjab Police constable on the charges of carrying 1.4 kg of opium. In another incident, thieves decamped with 20 tolas of gold and Rs 70,000 from a house in Sector 16.

The sources in the Crime Branch said, Shishi Ram, a constable, posted in the 13th battalion of the Punjab Armed Police, was arrested from near Sukhna Lake on the basis of the secret information. His search led to the recovery of 1.4 kg of opium valuing about Rs 40,000. Shishi Ram is a resident of Adarsh Nagar in Naya Gaon.

The police said Shishi Ram had been smuggling opium from Rajasthan and he belonged to Rajasthan. Shishi Ram has been deputed as a personal security guard of an IAS officer.

Meanwhile, giving details about the burglary, the sources in the Sector 17 police station said a retired Col Jasbir Singh of Sector 16 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that 20 tolas of gold and Rs 70,000 were stolen from his house.

He told the police that he was out of station since February 2 and the burglary came to light on his arrival when he found the doors broken and the entire house was ransacked. A case has been registered in this regard.



All set for Rose Festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Visitors to the Rose Festival this year can enjoy ‘Morning Ragas’, a classical musical presentation, this Saturday and Sunday.

The festival will be inaugurated by Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator.

The UT Administration has decided to organise ‘Morning Ragas” at 7.30 a.m. in the last two days of the festival.

A deliberate effort has been made to make the festival as colourful as possible with public participation, sans the commercial stalls which lined the road opposite Sector 17 on the days of the festival earlier.

Visitors can enjoy the musical concert by a famed Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam on February 26. A “hasya kavi sammelan” is scheduled for February 25.

A senior official said colourful stage events would be held at the Rose Garden all through the festival. Arrangements for joy rides had been made in the open area in Sector 17 opposite the Rose Garden.

The attractions at the festival include photo exhibition, flower competition, brass and pipe band competition, folk dance performances, joy rides and tambola.

At the Leisure Valley, there will be a pavilion on ‘Tourism in North India’, including Chandigarh Tourism, Haryana Tourism, Punjab Tourism, Uttranchal Tourism, Himachal Tourism, ‘Cinematic Tourism’, ‘Rural Tourism’, and ‘Medical Tourism’. The Jan Marg is being specially decorated to give the event a festive look.

General Rodrigues will inaugurate the green belt in Sector 38. A folk dance competition will be held on February 24 at 1.30 pm. The wife of the Governor, Mrs Jean Rodrigues, will be the chief guest at the “Rose Prince” and “Rose Princess” contest which will be held on February 25.

On the same day, there will be a photography competition and the Rose quiz competition.

On February 26 there will be an on-the-spot painting competition and an “Antakshri ” contest. The prize distribution function will be held at 3.30 p.m. on February 26.

This year, the Jan Marg will be kept open to the traffic. There will be no commercial stalls during the event. The Sectors 16-17-22-23 roundabout wears a festive look. It has been specially decked up for the event.



Man kills 2 children, goes missing
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 22
In a shocking incident, Mohan Bahadur, a Nepali, allegedly killed his two children and later drowned their bodies in a mini dam at Mirjapur village in Kharar following a fight with his wife.

The bodies of the 11-year-old boy Raju and six-year-old girl Rinku was fished out from the mini dam in this evening by the police.

Till the filing of the report, the police had registered a case of murder against Bahadur on the complaint of a former sarpanch of Gauchar village, Mr Bhagat Ram.

The police suspects that Bahadur may have jumped in to the dam after killing his two children and continued search operations with the help of divers to trace his body.

According to the police, Bahadur was working in a cowshed in Gauchar village. Last night, while the family was watching television, Bahadur had heated arguments with his wife over a domestic issue.

Thereafter, he brutally beat up his wife and mother-in-law and left the house taking his two children along with him. In the morning, villagers admitted his wife and her mother-in-law to the PGI.

Bhagat Ram told the police that he had spotted Mohan Bahadur near the mini dam this evening while he was strangulating his two children with a dupatta. When he raised an alarm and rushed to rescue the children, Bahadur tied the children with the dupatta and drowned them in the dam and disappeared. 



PU Syndicate fines MCM DAV College
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Panjab University Syndicate today slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, which had started a new course without approval. The MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, had started the B Sc course in microbial and food technology without securing the final nod of the university. It was decided at the meeting that the college be given provisional affiliation if it paid the fine.

The fine, however, would be paid by the college and not students. The Syndicate also made it clear that in future even provisional affiliation would not be given to an erring college. The MCM DAV College will be required to get UGC clearance before starting the course. A similar fine has also been imposed on Mai Bhago College, Ludhiana.

Deciding the fate of the Department of Evening Studies, all recommendations of the committee headed by Dr Virendra Kumar were approved by the Syndicate members. The Syndics decided that the timings for B Sc classes would remain from 3pm to 9pm and for BA classes from 9 pm to 4 pm.

According to the recommendations of the committee, the department will constitute a broad-based board of control and the employment criterion as condition of eligibility would also be construed pragmatically as proposed by the committee.

The department would now hold periodic staff meetings and efforts would be made to prevent failure of students in large numbers.

The Syndicate also approved 5 per cent relaxation in marks (from 55 to 50 per cent) at the Master’ s level and (50 to 45 per cent) at the graduate level for physically and visually impaired persons.

The Syndics agreed to reduce laboratory charges of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) from Rs 13,200 to Rs 10,000 per student annually for the session 2006-07. The proposal was put forth by Prof B.S. Sohi, Director, UIET.



Bird flu: rapid response team of doctors formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Chandigarh Administration today reviewed the progress on the action plan for preventing the ingress of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in the city.

In view of the outbreak of Avian Influenza in parts of Maharashtra, Mr S. K. Sandhu, Finance-cum-Secretary, Environment and Forests held a meeting with Director, Animal Husbandry and Poultry, Director, Health Services, Chief Wildlife Warden and Medical Officer of Health to review the progress.

Dr A. V. S. Kohli, Officer Incharge, Animal Husbandry, Veterinary and Poultry said as many as three teams have been constituted under veterinary doctors to inspect the poultry farms on daily basis. At least 13 staff members of the Veterinary Department got training from the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar. The department has been taking up samples since November 2005 and all those samples have tested negative.

The department has also advised people not to eat raw, half-cooked or partially-cooked chicken and eggs The Veterinary Department has also imposed a ban on the poultry products coming from Maharashtra.

The Wildlife and Forest Department of the Administration has been conducting regular patrolling and surveillance around Sukhna Lake and other water bodies within UT. Four foresters and a same number of forest guards have been trained at the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar.

Blood, faecal and sputum samples have been collected from the resident as well as migratory aquatic birds from Sukhna Lake and sent to Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar. All these samples tested negative. Samples of the migratory birds will also be taken this week with the help of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) located at Pinjore.

The residents have been advised not to touch any migratory or dead bird. They have been requested to report the matter of death of any kind of bird to the Chief Wildlife Warden immediately.

Director, Health Services, informed that a Rapid Response Team comprising the doctors from different disciplines have been formed to tackle with the situation in case of outbreak of the bird flu in Chandigarh. This team is monitoring the situation around the clock. This team of doctors will be sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Delhi for a three days training programme from February 28 to March 2.

Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 and the PGI have been asked to remain prepared for any outbreak of Avian Influenza. General Hospital, Sector 16 has kept ready two rooms, one for males and other for females to tackle the situation effectively in case of bird flu. These rooms are equipped with all facilities like ICU, ventilator and automatic analyzer.

A 24-hour control room has been set up by Veterinary and Poultry Department. People may contact telephone numbers 5077224 and 98140-25488 for help. Residents of Chandigarh have been asked to report the death of any bird on number 2782645 and 94172-17525.



Damaged copter airlifted to Air Force station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Mi-17 helicopter, which force-landed in a river-bed near Shahbad a few days ago after it developed a technical snag, was airlifted by a Mi-26 helicopter to the Chandigarh Air Force Station today.

The damaged Mi-17 was ferried under-slung by a Mi-26 heavy lift chopper from Air Force's 12 Wing here and was later handed over to No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD), which is responsible for repair and maintenance of Mi-series helicopters in the IAF's inventory.

The Mi-17 had force-landed near Damli village adjoining Shahbad on February 10 during a routine sortie from Halwara to Sarsawa with 24 IAF personnel aboard. The IAF had tried to airlift the helicopter yesterday but aborted the efforts after the lock on one of the cables had snapped. Airlift to 3 BRD indicates that the helicopter had suffered a serious problem.

Air Officer Commanding, 12 Wing, Air Cmde T.K. Venugopal, said that a team from the Mi-26 Helicopter Unit, led by its Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr Sushil Ghera, had flown to the Mi-17's location in another Mi-17 today morning to prepare the damaged aircraft for airlifting it out. Another team comprising engineers and technicians, led by the Wing's station Chief Engineering Officer, Gp Capt M.C. Roy, had also gone along for technical assessment.

The Mi-17's main and tail rotor as well as a few panels were removed to facilitate airlift and also to reduce the damaged helicopters weight. The Mi-17, which eventually weighed a little over 6,000 kg, was lashed at three different points by cables, which in turn were attached to the Mi-26's master cable extending from its under belly. The Mi-26, which is the world's largest and heaviest helicopter, can carry a payload of 20,000 kgs.

The Mi-26 returned to Chandigarh in a Mi-17 in the afternoon and thereafter proceeded to the site in their own aircraft. Extreme caution had to be exercised to ensure that the under-slung load did not swing, which would have been disastrous. The under slung load also required the Mi-26 to fly at a reduced speed of about 110 kmph as compared to its average cruising speed of over 200 kmph.

The flight to Chandigarh took about 25 minutes and the Mi-17 was lowered on to a grassy patch on the airfield adjoining 3 BRD, from which it was towed on its own wheels to a hangar.



Resentment over demolition of bus shelter
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 22
Resentment prevails among residents of Phase XI here over the demolition of a bus-queue shelter by PUDA authorities.

They said the only bus-queue shelter in the area was demolished some days back for the convenience of certain shopkeepers whose showrooms was being obstructed due to the structure. But the step has caused a lot of inconvenience to persons who boarded local buses from this point.

Mr Amrik Singh, former municipal Councillor, said it is suspected that the bus-queue shelter was demolished to please some VIPs whose showroom fell in the area. He said when he questioned the PUDA officials about the demolition he got no specific answer.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Walia, president of the Welfare Council, Phase XI, said persons who boarded local buses from this point would have to wait in the heat and even during rain without any shelter. He said that about 1500 families lived in the area who would be adversely affected.

Mr Amrik Singh said the parking area in front of showrooms No. 39 to 66 was being constructed all over again leading to wasteful expenditure of about Rs 15 lakh. He said the disposal of rain water from a pocket of eight marla houses and the area falling between showroom 39 to 66 was not proper as road gullies in the area were damaged.

Residents faced problems during the rains as water accumulated in the area and entered houses causing inconvenience to them.



“Cheema has been implicated”
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
“Inspector Jasbir Singh Cheema has been implicated by Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Sarabjit Kaur Sekhon as he was looking into a complaint against her” This is what Mullanpur Garibdass resident Misha Singh has to say. He is the complainant in the case against the woman cop that inspector Cheema was inquiring into.

In an attempt to throw new light into the incident that had rocked the police department a couple of days ago, Misha Singh said the Inspector-General of Chandigarh Police had asked Cheema to hold an inquiry into Sekhon’s conduct on the basis of his complaint. As a result of which, Sekhon was acting vindictive.

ASI Sekhon, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue saying that the matter was pending trial in the court of competent jurisdiction.

Going into the background of the case, Misha Singh, meanwhile, said on January 24 this year he was involved in a minor accident in Sector 10. Two girls riding on a scooter collided with his car from the rear and ASI Sarabjit Kaur reached the spot to investigate the matter. In spite of the fact that the girls had submitted in written that they did not want to pursue the case, Sekhon implicated him in a case of molestation. She also slapped him and intimidated him in the Sector 3 police station and took away his two mobile phones and Rs 10,000.

Mr Misha further alleged that the girls did not file the complaint against him and Sekhon herself was the complainant in the case.

The condition of Inspector Cheema continues to be unstable even today. He was admitted to Fortis Hospital in Mohali on Monday after he suffered a heart attack following a complaint of harassment filed against him.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune on the phone his family said he was showing signs of improvement but was not fit to record his statement.



Gate rally by newspapers’ staff today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Tribune Employees Union along with the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists, the Indian Express Employees Union, the CJA, the PTI Employees Union and the UNI Workers Union will hold a rally in front of the Tribune office gate at 10 am here tomorrow. The rally is being organised on a call by the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees’ Organisation to observe February 23 as “Demands day” to seek the setting up of the wage boards for the newspaper industry.



Additional rail coach from Jajjon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, today said that the Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, had accepted his request to attach an additional coach from Jajjon Railway station to Jalandhar.

Mr Khanna, who is a member of the Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur, said here today that he had written to Mr Yadav, in this regard. Mr Khanna said the coach would be attached with a local shuttle train and later with the Shatabdi Express 



Directions to shops selling poultry products
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 22
Shopkeepers selling chicken in the town have been directed not to buy poultry products from other states.

The directions were given by the veterinary officer in charge of the slaughter house being run by the Municipal Council at a meeting held with shopkeepers selling poultry products. The shopkeepers were asked to inform the council in case any bird died under mysterious circumstances.

The addresses of shopkeepers selling poultry products were noted down by officials concerned and directions were given to carry out checks of the shops selling poultry products.



CPI protest against rising prices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Chandigarh unit of the CPI today held a dharna against the failure of the Central Government to control the day-to-day rising prices of essential commodities.

The dharna was held near the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Sector 17.

The dharna was addressed, among others by Mr Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary, local unit, Mr .S. Ghambir, president, AITUC, Chandigarh, and Mr Raghubir Singh Sandhu, president, Trade Union Council. The activists protested that the Central Government had closed the fair price shops and ration depots.

They also demanded that the Administration should withdraw the recent hike in electricity tarrif.



UT employees hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Federation of UT Employees and Workers here held a dharna and demonstration at Matka Chowk today. Employees working in various departments of the UT, and the MC held a rally to press for their long-pending demands. The dharna was organised against the IMF, World Bank and WTO-dictated privatisation policies of the Central Government and the UT Administration.

Employees of departments like Electricity, Water Supply, Roads Transport, Health, Horticulture, Maintenance, Indian Council for Child Welfare, Market Committee and others participated in the dharna. They demanded restoration of 01-11-1966 service conditions bonus, regularisation of the services of daily wagers, treating transferred employees from the UT Administration to the MC as on deputation, filling vacant posts, offer of appointment to the next of kin of deceased employees, deleting the 5 per cent ceiling and housing scheme for UT employees. The dharna was addressed by various trade union leaders.



Software problems persist at RLA office

Chandigarh, February 22
Thanks to the efficiency of the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA), applicants for a duplicate licence are being forced to make repeated rounds to the office since the past several days.

Reason, owing to certain problems with the software, the computer systems are not accepting the data being punched for renewal of driving licence and duplicate licence. Those approaching the RLA for endorsement of documents are also facing a similar problem.

At least 30 such applicants return disappointed everyday.

It may be mentioned that recently new computer systems and a server had been installed in the office of the RLA. The premises is also being air-conditioned.

Sources in the office said the service provider, SPIC, was unable to rectify the problem. The earlier service provider, TATA, has also been approached by the RLA officials to rectify the problem. — TNS



Accident prone points identified
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has carried out a study of fatal accidents and identified four accident-prone points in the city. The police said steps like advancing the shifts and setting up additional picket points are being taken to reduce the number of accidents.

The sources said the Transport Traffic Light Point, Sector 27, 28, 29 and 30 Traffic Light Point, Kalagram Traffic Light point and Aroma Traffic Light Point have been identified as the accident-prone places.

In an effort to bring down the number of accidents, the duty of cops has been advanced by one hour at these points besides, the deployment of special nakas. In addition to this, the police has identified diversions for slow carriage ways on Madhya Marg and Dakshin Marg and the Himalaya Marg and Jan Marg for cycle tracks.

The sources further added that the study also analysed the profiles of the 13 fatal accidents occurred from January this year to February 20. Out of these three were pedestrians, another three were cyclists and five persons were two-wheeler riders. Besides this, one person lost his life in a three-wheeler accident and another victim was travelling in a four-wheeler.



Review meeting

Panchkula, February 22
The fourth meeting of the District-Level Review Committee was convened today by PNB. It was revealed that banks disbursed loans of Rs 809 crore to agriculture sector in the district from April 2005 to December 2005. — TNS



50 women given sewing machines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
At least 50 women beneficiaries, who were given six months’ training in cutting and tailoring, were given sewing machines under the Swarn Jayanthi Shahari Rozgar Yojana at a function here today. Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Deputy Director, SJSRY, and the Chief Accounts Officer, MCC, awarded certificates to three women of ENS Colony, Sector 52.

The beneficiaries were motivated to form a DWCUA group for which, besides loan assistance, 50 per cent of project cost was being provided as subsidy. The training programme was organised in association with the Society for Social Health, Chandigarh.



In panic, he jumped to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
To evade his arrest, a youth died after sustaining serious injuries when he allegedly jumped from the third floor of a Sector 20 house, this afternoon. He was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where he succumbed to his injuries.

Giving details about the incident, the DSP (East)Mr Vijay Pal Singh, said the victim, Tej Singh of Bal Pind in Patiala district, was booked in a criminal case in the Sadar police station, Patiala. He ran away from the Punjab police custody last month.

The DSP said Jeet Singh today came to the Labour chowk and was taking tea from a roadside vendor. At that time two Home Guard jawans of the Chandigarh police reached there and on seeing them Jeet Singh ran away. The jawans and some passers-by chased him. In order to evade the arrest, Jeet Singh entered into a house and reached the top floor.

Unable to find his way out, Jeet Singh jumped from the top floor and was injured. He was rushed to the GMCH, where he died at around 6:15 pm. The police has recovered a mobile phone from him along with a dairy. The Patiala police has been informed about the incident. The post-mortem would be performed tomorrow.



Student assaulted by classmate, 20 others
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 22
A student of Sector 17-based ITFT institute alleged that he was assaulted in public by his classmate and some unidentified youths outside his institute. He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital, while the accused fled from the spot.

Karush Verma of Sector 20-B in his complaint to the police alleged that he was attacked by a group of about 20 youths, including his classmate, on Tuesday afternoon. He alleged that his seniors Munish and Vikas along with other assaulted him with rods and sticks causing injuries on his head and other parts of the body.

Karush further alleged that the security staff deployed at the Canadian Consulate rushed to his help and on seeing them the accused fled the spot. He also alleged that his mobile phone and a gold chain had also been snatched by the accused.

When contacted the SHO of the Sector 17 police station Moti Ram said he had received the complaint and a daily diary report had been registered in this connection.

The medical examination reports of the victim were awaited and the action would be taken on the basis of the reports.



Cement firm convicted

Chandigarh, February 22
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has convicted Shree Krishna Cement, Bhiwani, for using ISI mark on its products, without having a valid licence from the BIS.

An official press note issued said the two proprietors of the company have been sentenced to rigorous Imprisonment for six months, and fined Rs 2,000 each. — TNS



CII conference sets road map for growth of steel industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The CII Steel Mart ’06 Conference today set a road map for the growth of North India’s steel industry. Indian entrepreneurs have called for exploring the Pakistan market as Indian steel products are cheaper than Pakistan products.

The two-day conference-cum- exposition — Steel Mart — saw a host of leading luminaries from the steel, allied industries and financial institutions deliberate on the challenges and opportunities that the industry faces today.

Products like pencil ingots, long products and hot and cold rolled coils can be exported to Pakistan, said Mr R.P. Varshney, Executive Director, All-India Induction Furnaces Association, while adding that there was also considerable demand for steel pipes and tubes in Pakistan.

One of the biggest achievements of Steel Mart was the decision to set a platform for a Joint Action Plan (JAP) by the industry. This JAP will cover critical issues like common branding for Indian steel, joint training programmes, policy issues, including requirements of power, tackling fragmentation of industry and sharing of resources for consolidation and growth as well as addressing environmental issues.

Dr A.S. Firoz, Chief Economist, Economic Research Unit, Ministry of Steel, Government of India, said the future was bright for the Indian steel industry and the JAP would help boost the growth in an organised and structured manner.

Industry leaders, too, were optimistic about the future of the industry. Mr N.C. Mathur, Director, Corporate Affairs and International Marketing, Jindal Stainless Ltd, said: “The region has become a major hub for the auto and auto components industry, which is also on the growth path and this augers well for the steel industry.”

Mr Anuj Munjal, Deputy CEO, Hero Cycles Ltd, Cold Rolling Division, said: “In fact, the opportunity is there for the steel industry to move up the value chain and supply special steels like trip steel, dual phase steel, dent resistant steel etc that is required by the auto industry.”

Mr S.I. Singh, Director, National Institute of Secondary Steel Technology, was of the view that the industry needed to invest more in research and development. “At present, only 1.5 per cent of the total earnings are being ploughed back into R&D,” he said.

Moving up the value chain and focus on quality was also a key discussion area. “India can enhance its competitiveness in the global markets through sophisticated testing techniques and ensuring a world-class product,” stated Mr. John Hawkins, Vice President, Leco Corporation, USA.

“For becoming a world-class organisation, quality has to become an integral part of the company’s overall strategy. What Indian industry needs to do is stay abreast of the latest technologies, automate the testing process to eliminate human errors and consistently try to reduce costs,” he said.



“Need to change perception about plastic”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Dr Sushil K. Verma, Director-General of Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, today said there was a need to change our perception about plastic. It is a misnomer that the polythene bags were not eco-friendly.

He was speaking at a seminar ‘Plastic Packaging- Eco-friendly’ organised by the Chandigarh plastic manufacturers here today. Dr Verma, who gave a presentation on the subject, said polythene was a recyclable product. Adding logic to the same, he gave the fact chart of the chemical reactions under which a plastic product and polythene undergoes recycling or biodegradation.

He said, “The alternative to plastic is equally not acceptable.” Replacing paper with plastic was equally destructive. Apart from being five times more expensive, paper bags would deplete the forest reserves of the country. He stressed the need for better waste disposal and management of plastic on the pattern of the Western countries.

The Mayor of Municipal Corporation, Mr Surinder Singh, said the administration should have a practical approach towards the issue. Mr Jarnail Singh, president of the Plastic Manufacturers and Traders Association, said the notions that polythene bag choke the drainage and sewerage system is totally wrong, Mr Naresh Mittal, senior vice-president, also spoke on the occasion.

The association urged the administration to evolve a strict policy to check disposal and littering of polythene bags.



Need to have common economic council: PHDCCI chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
There is need to have a common economic council of northern states in order to give a boost to their economy. It is essential to focus on the common economic interests of these states for trade within and outside.

These were the views of Ms Sushma Berlia, the first woman President of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, during her maiden visit to the city. She said the growth rate in the North was sluggish as compared to the growth in South Indian states, and thus the need to have a common platform for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

"The PHDCCI is looking for a Common Economic Agenda for the northern states to remove inter-state restrictions. In this direction, a Chief Ministers' and Chief Secretaries' Conclave will be organised later this year, " she added

Appreciating the efforts made by the Punjab Government in reducing the revenue deficit to 2.20 per cent from 5.38 per cent, the PHDCCI President said that the planned investment had gone up in the past two years. She, however, said that the state government should take initiative for second generation reforms in agro and food processing industry, taxation and infrastructure to attract new investments.

"The Punjab Government must also frame a scheme for private participation through contract farming to give benefit to the unorganised farmers to achieve higher returns. An extension office of the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industry in Punjab is required for promotion of food processing in this sector," she said.

Ms Berlia advocated establishing of thermal power plants at Coal Pitheads at Chhattisgarh to counter critical situation of availability of power in Punjab, and hydel power generation with governments of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

She said subsidy to farm sector should not be at the cost of industry; electricity duty needed to be reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent; and, open access to purchase power from other power trading companies should be easy, reasonable and at par with other states.

Ms Berlia added that the lump sum entry tax should be borne by the consignee which could be decided on different weighing slabs. Explaining the difficulty being faced by the industry in the movement of goods within the state, she said that Information Collecting Centres (ICC) should be instructed not to harass the local transportation as they had been set up to check on inter-state movement of goods and not on intra-state movement.

The PHDCCI President also demanded that the government start the implementation of identified SEZs and upgradation of airports at Amritsar, Chandigarh and Halwara to international standards.



Seminar discusses tax issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Tax saving and tax planning is our right and not a crime.

These views were expressed by Mr R.N. Lakhotia, eminent tax consultant, while addressing a two-day seminar on "Income Tax Planning", organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry today. “By proper tax management, the corporate tax payers can reduce their incidence of corporate tax, particularly by planning new industrial undertakings by utilising various provisions contained in the Income Tax Act 1961,” he said.

The first session of the seminar focused on the intricacies of the Fringe Benefit Tax and its implementation in general. The faculty imparted detailed information pertaining to the tax and its impact on various tax-payers. The second session addressed the role of human resources in planning salaries and pre-requisites for employees with emphasis on the latest updates on direct taxes.

Mr Lakhotia was of the view that by taking advantage of the existing provisions in the law, a designer salary package could be prepared for the employees, which would be more employee- friendly.

He also hoped that this year’s budget would correct many anomalies with regard to the Fringe Benefit Tax. Innumerable investment options were discussed during this seminar.

He also recommended the preparation of will by all persons above 50 years. Deliberations on tax planning of business expenditure with the help of latest decided case laws was found interesting by the participants.


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