C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mani Majra dwellers in a fix
Confusion over letter of Finance Secy
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Two years after being exempted from the purview of the Periphery Control Act, the fate of hundreds of families living in 500 dwelling units in Darshni Bagh area, Mani Majra, hangs in the balance.

The families are running from pillar to post to get their structures regularised so that they may apply for regular water and electricity connections. The office of the UT Finance Secretary, through an order, had allowed regularisation of 490 structures covering an area of over 35 kanals.

Using Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, the Administration had released the land from land acquisition proceedings in September 2003. But the woes of the beneficiaries are far from over.

Despite having the entire record of landowners in the Darshni Bagh area, the officers of Municipal Corporation are passing the buck to the office of the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO).

“Once the land has been released from the purview of the Periphery Act, its control ceases to be with the LAO. Rather, the land is covered under the Capital (Development and Regulation) Act.

To get a no-objection certificate (NoC), the applicants are being sent to the office of the LAO. The office of the LAO is sending the applicants back to the MC.

It may be mentioned that the Chandigarh Administration had started acquisition proceedings of Mani Majra area in 1992. The landowners had gone to the High Court and finally the stay was vacated in 2002.

The land awards were announced in 2003. But the 35-kanal area of Darshni Bagh was released from acquisition.

To get the houses regularised, the MC was directed to issue an NoC for electricity and water connections. A number of occupants are drawing power through kundi connections.

The then Finance Secretary in a letter issued to the Commissioner Municipal Corporation and the Land Acquisition Officer had stated that for Mariwala town, Pipliwala town, Subhash Nagar, Thakurdwara and Darshni Bagh residents be allotted house numbers serial-wise as well as NoCs by charging development and composition fee.

On the directions of the Administration, a three-member committee of officers of the MC and the LAO conducted a door to door survey to demarcate the area exempted from acquisition. The entire record of the survey was handed over to the MC.

But the MC again wrote to the office of the LAO, seeking clarification. The MC has been told again that the record is with it. The applicants have demanded that the NoCs be issued to them at the earliest. 



Local lad VRV in Indian cricket team
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Local lad Vikram Raj Veer Singh, who is often rated as India’s fastest bowler, made it to the Indian cricket side announced today for the first Test match against England which begins on March 1 at Nagpur. The bowler, known by his initials VRV, is in Vadodra playing for the Board President’s XI against England.

The speedster is the seventh Test player from the city. Before him Kapil Dev, Yograj Singh, Ashok Mahotra, Chetan Sharma, Dinesh Mongia and Yuvraj Singh have played for the country.

Earlier, VRV was included in the last two one-day matches in the Indo-Lanka series held last year. But due to an ankle injury, he could not be part of the playing eleven.

VRV, a product of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, has been given preference ahead of established bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth.

It was time for celebration when the news of his selection flashed on the TV this evening. His friends started thronging his Sector 23 residence that reverberated with the sound of happiness and joy. His father, Mr Darshan Vaid, an Inspector in Punjab Police, was busy giving interviews to mediapersons. Mr Vaid said, “He has got an opportunity and he should capitalise on it”.

His coach, Sukwinder Bawa, was on cloud nine after hearing the news of VRV’s selection. “I was sure that he would secure his berth in the team this time”, said an elated Bawa while adding, “In my opinion, he is the fastest bowler in the country. He will deliver the ball in excess of 140 km per hour and has the ability to swing the ball both ways”.

His college-mate and friend from SD College, Sector 32, Mr Aman Attri said, “VRV had worked very hard for this day and I hope he plays in the final eleven”.

The six-feet four inches tall VRV is one of the fastest bowlers of the country as he has bowled over 140 Kmph many times in domestic tournaments.

His school principal, Mr Ravinder Talwar, termed him as a promising cricketer. “Determination and hard work are the main factors behind VRV’s success. I am sure that this disciplined cricketer will make permanent place in the team,” said Mr Talwar.



Community service centres in UT villages soon
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
While Chandigarh is witnessing an information technology boom, all its 18 villages remain poor cousins.
The city will soon be witnessing the hustle and bustle of IT giants at the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park and already has IT-aided e-Sampark centres, while the villages remain alien to any of these facilities. The city will soon be having at least 50 Jan Sampark centres or “mini e-Sampark” centres, which will benefit the urban population.

Chandigarh is not a district with big distances between the urban and rural settlements.Villagers feel that when the Administration was talking of development of periphery and setting up big institutions, recreational facilities and mega-housing schemes, it was unfortunate that the villages were not getting the due attention.

The city has eight e-Sampark centres all over the city, including Sectors 10, 15, 18, 23, 43, 47 and Industrial Area. Another centre is coming up at Sector 40. The Administration has already started the process of launching the Jan Sampark centres (at least 50) all over the city to bring the IT-enabled facilities right at the doorsteps of the residents. “We are demanding similar facilities in our villages,” said Mr Gobind Prakash, a resident of Khuda Lahora.

The e-Sampark centres are centralised places for paying the electricity and water bills, getting bus passes, registering births and deaths, issuing senior citizen cards and several other facilities under one roof. The biggest attraction is absence of any queues and the venue has a place to sit and relax while waiting for the turn at the counter.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a member of the Chandigharh Territorial Congress Committee, said: “It is strange that while the Administration continued to increase the Sampark centres in the city, it had not bothered to put even a single village on its IT map. It should at least be a little considerate towards the original inhabitants of the land where the city has come up.”

Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Information Technology, said: “Community service centres will soon be set up in villages. The centres are like mini-Sampark centres. The centres will be equipped with all facilities of handling the bills and other queries of the public. The size is smaller because they will be catering to a smaller numbers.”

The centres are designed to cater to lesser population so these have just two windows. The villagers can avail services of paying water and electricity bills and getting death and birth certificates, etc.



Tyagi brothers on transit remand
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
The Tyagi brothers, the two suspects besides Pawandeep in the sensational triple murder case in Sector 34, are being brought by a team of the Chandigarh Police from Jamnagar in Gujarat on transit remand. The police said the team was expected to reach Chandigarh tomorrow morning.

Ravikant Tyagi and his cousin Anil Tyagi were arrested by the Gujarat Police yesterday on the basis of information provided by the Chandigarh Police.

The sources in the police said the team of the Chandigarh Police would board a flight for Delhi from Ahmedabad, which would land at Delhi by 2:20 a.m.From Delhi, the suspects would be brought to the city by road.

The Tyagi brothers had allegedly killed retired gp Capt T.P. Singh, his wife Shibani Singh and sister Ajit Kaur on February 7 in conspiracy with Pawandeep Singh, elder son of the retired officer.

Pawandeep Singh was arrested from Nagaland on February 13.



A Tribune Exclusive
Age bar: SC struck down similar BCI diktat in 1995
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The decision of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana not to give a licence to law graduates who have crossed the age of 45 years, except in a few cases, has stirred a hornet's nest, with some people even talking of moving the court against the decision.

Incidentally, in order to buttress their stand that the Bar Council decision will not meet the scrutiny of the courts, most of these people refer to the judgement of the Supreme Court of India in the Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice and others versus Bar Council of India case.

The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana's decision has reportedly been taken to stop the Bar from becoming a "parking lot for the retirees". Also, it feels that such a decision will ensure that only those who are committed to the profession and want to take it up as a profession seriously will seek a licence to practice law.

However, as Mr Manmohan Singh, a law graduate and former Deputy Secretary, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), points out, in early 90s also the Bar Council of India had also come out with a similar rule, barring persons above 45 from being issued a licence to practice law.

However, on appeal, the Supreme Court had held that Rule 9, which barred entry of persons, who had completed the age of 45 years, was discriminatory, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as also Sections 24 and 49 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

In its order, the three-Judge Bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice A.M. Ahmadi, had also gone into the rationale behind the BCI rule, which was to maintain the dignity and purity of the profession by keeping out those who retire from various government, quasi-government and other institutions, since they on being enrolled as advocates, use their past contacts to canvass for cases. This, the BCI had claimed, not only brought the profession into disrepute but also polluted the minds of the fresh recruits entering the profession.

To this, the Supreme Court held that there was no dependable material in support of the rationale on which the rule was founded. It also termed as discriminatory the clause which, while disallowing those who had crossed the age of 45 years from being given a licence, allowed those who had held a licence earlier, but had given it up for other options, to get the same revived, even after they had passed the age of 45 years.

The judgement is reported in SCC-1995-1-(page 732 onwards).

However, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, sticks to his stand that there is nothing wrong with the latest order.

"In the Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice case, the Supreme Court set aside the BCI order only because the BCI does not have nay power under the Advocates Act to frame rules to regulate the entry or working of lawyers. It is only the state Bar Councils that can do so. Already, the Bar Councils of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have framed similar rules," Mr Dhanda says.

He also asserts that, if need be, the Bar Council would fight any legal challenge to the decision "in any court of the country".



Leaving luxury to work for the marginalised
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Living life in the luxury lane, it was smooth sailing for 11 Sikh youngsters in the US and Canada till India came calling eight years back. Inspired by the teachings of the Gurus, six girls and five boys, all young and single, knew it was a decision that would change their lives forever. But the love for `Swadesh’ and the desire to get back to their roots was too great and so came to Punjab, the 11 friends and `Fateh’, the social organisation which is now known well in the villages of Punjab.

In Chandigarh, to attend an international seminar on NGOs and Women Empowerment : Indian and Canadian Experiences, Navpreet Kaur (34) who has been associated with the Fateh from its very inception, narrates how the organisation has grown tiding over all odds and rebellion. While Navpreet who has a management degree and is accompanied by her husband, others like Jaipreet and Karamjit operate from the Chandigarh office.

“When we first came to India, it was at Tallewal village where we set up our base and started operating and gradually moved on to other villages and are currently working at Ropar,” said Navpreet. With clear objectives to cater to `Fateh’ is dealing with rural health, rural sports, female foeticide and women empowerment. Navpreet also informs you about the ‘Change of Cross Borders’ programme of the organisation wherein young people both of foreign and Indian origin are recruited and trained and are then made to work in villages in Punjab. At present too three youngsters are working in Punjab villages, informed Navpreet.

While Navpreet has been in India for a year others like Jaipreet has been operating from Chandigarh for the past three years. Not only this the organisation has also sponsored 60 students who would be receiving education at Sikhya School, Chandigarh.

Also CAB volunteers are made to learn about the Indian culture and heritage by learning various dance forms and other skills.

Meanwhile, Navpreet who has a three-year-old son is keen on bringing up her son in a complete Indian environment. With plans of reaching out to a larger community, the founding members want that the coming generation too should think of the poor and the marginalised and the nation.



Shifted staff may be treated on deputation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Employees of the Chandigarh Administration shifted to the Municipal Corporation in 1996 may soon be treated as on deputation. The development follows a notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs whose receipt has been endorsed by the Administration.

The notification of the MHA issued in November 2005 said that if implemented, the notification was likely to benefit 4500 employees. Employees’ unions had been pleading that they be treated as on deputation since 1996.



Cycle tracks turn into death traps
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The city known for its wide and clean roads is drawing a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons. Roads and cycle tracks laid recently are being dug up at several places without observing norms, threatening the lives of residents.

Many southern sectors and the housing complex in Mani Majra has been dug up indiscriminately by a private telephone operator. The onus is on the U.T Administration and Municipal Corporation, that gives out contracts for laying of pipes for harvesting of sewage effluent as tertiary treated water for irrigation, to essure this does not happen. Some recently carpeted cycle tracks have also been dug up.

The cycle track along the Sector 34 and 44 dividing road has been dug up for laying of these pipes, thereby not only causing a threat to commuters, but also causing a huge financial loss of taxpayers’ money.

Similarly, the cycle track on the road dividing Sectors 19 and 27 is in a bad shape. It is broken at most places. Even where cycle tracks exist, no concrete effort is made to ensure their use. As a result, some cycle tracks are witnessing encroachments, while others are becoming garbage dumps.

Former U.T. Administrator O.P. Verma had approved the laying of cycle tracks in the city in early 2004. Two years down the road, the cycle tracks are still not fully functional. Many are incomplete, broken and need to be re-laid.

Based on the city’s master plan as envisaged by Le Corbusier, the city will have around 106 km of cycle tracks, laid at a cost of Rs 7 crore by the U.T Engineering Department. Two years after work was started, the roads are still being widened at several places.

According to the architectural design, city roads are classified into seven categories, known as the system of 7 Vs. The V-1s are fast traffic roads connecting Chandigarh to other towns; V-2 are arterial roads; V-3 fast vehicular roads within the city; V-4s are supposed to be meandering shopping streets; V-5 are the sector circulation roads; V-6 are access roads to houses and; V-7 the footpaths and cycle tracks.

A city NGO, Yuvsatta, has been organising cycle rallies on many tracks, but the cycle tracks have been dug up again and again at many places. Sometimes it is a private telephone company. While another time it is the Water or Electricity Departments wanting to lay pipes or wires.

At many places in the city, like near the Sadar Bazar Rehri Market in Sector 19-C, there are many encroachments either in the way of passages or extensions, delaying the completion of cycle tracks. This has led to political pressure and in turn the route of some cycle tracks stands altered to suit encroachers.

Cycle tracks and pedestrian paths are the first casualty of any development activity in the city, such as laying of water pipes are electric cables in the absence of any laid down policy. More and more people are now questioning the arbitrary digging of roads and cycle tracks without the presence of supervisory staff.



UT all set for planned development of urban areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Chandigarh Administration is fully geared up to implement various projects designed to meet the objectives of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission(JNNURM) aimed at having planned development of urban areas with focus on efficiency in the services delivery system.

As a part of its implementation programme, the Administration has set up a steering committee under the chairmanship of the Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma, to take decisions for successful prioritising the project under the mission and optimum utilisation of the benefits of the mission so as to ensure that these percolate down to the grass-roots level.

The other members of the committee included the Mayor and the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Home Secretary, the Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board, the Chief Engineer and the Chief Architect. The Finance Secretary will be the Member Secretary of the committee.

The Finance Department has been appointed as the nodal agency for the purpose of the project under the mission, which is being formulated by the Chandigarh Housing Board, the Municipal Corporation and the Engineering Department. The administration and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will execute the Memorandum of Agreement with the Government of India shortly indicating their commitment to implement identified reforms.

The administration will prepare planned urban perspective frame work indicating policies, programmes and strategies of meeting fund requirements, which will be followed by the preparation of development plans integrating land use with services, urban transport and environment management for every five year plan period.

The main thrust of the sub mission on urban infrastructure and governance will be on major infrastructure projects relating to water supply, including sanitation, sewerage, solid waste management, road network, urban transport and the re-development of inner city area with a view to upgrading infrastructure and shifting industrial/commercial establishment to confirming areas.

Programmes like Slum Improvement and Rehabilitation, Sites and Services, Environmental Improvement, Nigh Shelters, Community Toilets and Housing at affordable prices for the EWS and the LIG categories will be taken up under the sub mission for basic services for the urban poor.

It may be recalled that the Union Government had launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission on December 3, 2005, and the city of Chandigarh with less than one million population as per 2001 census had been included for assistance under the mission in the category of other cities.



Analyse pre-fabricated structures, says Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
As a part of the programme to give clean living to the poor and down trodden, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, the Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, today asked the Engineering Department of Chandigarh Administration to analyse the concept of pre-fabricated structures to accommodate displaced persons from slums. It will be an interim arrangement before shifting them to well-built tenements, for which an elaborate plan is already on.

The administration has already structured a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the homeless poor. As many as 18,000 flats are to be given on rent at the proposed township which will have all modern facilities of education facility, sewerage, water supply and community centre.

After inspecting the sample of a pre-fabricated structure constructed by the Chandigarh Engineering Department, General Rodrigues suggested some modifications so that the accommodations were more comfortable and cost effective. He directed the Chief Engineer to plan community type toilets in the corner of the locality.

The Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, explained the technical details of the pre-fabricated structure and informed that it had been constructed with 50 mm thick aerocon panels which had slope roof of AC sheets.

The unit would accommodate a kitchen and a bath room. The pre-fabricated structure will accommodate GI/CI pipes and wiring for electricity.

About 10 to 12 pre-fabricated structures will be constructed in a day. About 350 to 400 structures will be constructed in a month. The material of the structure will be retrieved once the dwellers are shifted to the pucca structures. 



Meeting on threat of bird flu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Animal Husbandry Directors of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh met here today to draw up a contingency plan in the event of an out break of bird flu.

The meeting was held to plan a common strategy and coordinate among themselves on taking pre-emptive measures.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandary, said awareness among the public on bird flu was important.

The representatives of the northern states said no case of bird flue had been detected during sero-surveillance and monitoring, which was a continuous process.



“Crime more prevalent in educated class”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A two-day international seminar on “NGOs and Women’s Empowerment: Indian and Canadian Experiences,” organised by the Canadian Studies Centre and ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre, was inaugurated today at Panjab University.

The director of the seminar, Prof B.S. Ghuman, who is also the coordinator of the Canadian Studies Centre, while welcoming the delegates said the purpose of the centre was to promote Indo-Canadian studies in the field of social sciences, sciences and humanities; to undertake research on Indian diaspora in Canada; and to facilitate exchange of faculty and students.

Introducing the theme of the seminar, Dr Neelu Kang stated that NGOs had emerged as dynamic institutions in reaction to the politico-socio-economic situation. “By and large NGOs are apolitical and autonomous and have advantages because of nearness to the common man, commitment to the cause and self-reliance,” she said.

Prof Veer Singh, Dean University Instruction, Panjab University, while delivering the inaugural address, said: “Though we have one of the longest Constitution and the most detailed plethora of laws, but unfortunately the machinery at the implementation level is ineffective and hence all problems remain unresolved.”

Pointing towards the adverse sex ratio and female foeticide, which denies even the right to take birth to the girl child, he said: “This crime is more prevalent in educated and elite middle class.”

Emphasising upon the need for women’s education, he stated that empowerment could come only with education. This empowerment could come only through women themselves.

Citing the questionable role being played by the political parties in the Women’s Reservation Bill, he said the responsibility of ensuring gender justice remains on the shoulders of the intellectuals.

While delivering the keynote address, Dr Sunera Thobani, Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, University of British Columbia, Canada, said the biggest failing of the women rights movement in Canada had been the prevalent racial inequalities in society, which according to her was a deeply colonised society with deeply entrenched racial hierarchy. She mentioned about the “Keep Canada White” period of the 50s and 60s.

Lamenting the non-inclusion of aboriginal women in women’s rights movement in Canada, she said the aboriginal women’s empowerment was missing in these movements.

Ms Rita Manchanda, Executive Director, South Asian Forum for Human Rights, Nepal, in her presidential remarks said the empowerment of women means empowerment of disadvantaged sections of society. Terming it unfortunate that United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals were a step backward over International Women’s Conference of 1995 in Beijing, in which only one goal related to education of women was listed.

Highlighting the example of Kerala, she said even though it was the leading state on many human development indicators, but it had failed to translate it into better women rights state.

Mr Gurbans S. Sobti, Adviser (Trade and Investment), Consulate-General, Canada, Chandigarh, Prof Satwinder Kaur Bains, Department of Social Work, University College of Fraser Valley, Canada, and Ms Ninu Kang, Director, Family Programmes, MOSAIC, Vancouver, were the guests of honour. 



Newspaper employees observe ‘‘demands day’’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Demanding the setting up of new wage boards, the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisations today observed ‘‘demands day’’ by holding a rally in front of the The Tribune office here.

Addressing the rally, the Convener of the confederation, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, exhorted the employees to the strengthen the unions in their organisations so that their rights could be protected. It was the constitutional right of newspaper and news agency employees to seek the setting up of wage boards.

The President of the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists, Mr Vinod Kohli, asked the workers to wage a united fight for the setting up of the new wage boards.

The General Secretary of The Tribune Employees Union, Mr Anil Gupta, said the Manisana Wage Boards were set up in 1994. Demanding the immediate setting of the wage boards, Mr Gupta pleaded for bringing the electronic media and contractual employees under the purview of the wage boards.

Other speakers, including Mr Balbir Singh Jandu, Mr Ashok Malik and Mr K.B. Pandit, President of the Haryana Patrakar Sangh, also pleaded for the setting up the new wage board, saying it was ‘‘long overdue.’’

Later, a delegation of the confederation submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor for forwarding it the Prime Minister and the Union Labour Minister.



Best roundabout award for Milkfed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39, has won the “Best Garden in the City” award in the large garden (over 4 kanals) category, while the first prize in the ‘small garden category went to the Accountant- General, A&E, Punjab.

The second prize in the “large garden category” went to the Executive Engineer, Punjab Markfed, Sector 35, and the second prizes in the small garden category were shared by the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation Nursery, Khuda Alisher, and the Commanding Officer, 25, Squarden Air force Station, Chandigarh.

The first prize for Best Roundabout went to the Executive Engineer, Milkfed, for the roundabout on Junction No 35.

The first prize for the best maintained college campus went to the Regional Director, Regional Institute of Cooperative Manage-ment, Sector 32.

The Institute for the Blind, Sector-26, got the first prize for the best maintained school campus. Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Bhawan, Sector 30, got the first prize for the best maintained bhavan, while Mr Sarabjit Singh Sandhu Sector 45 A, won the first prize for the best maintained open space.

In the second prize category, CITCO got the prize for best roundabout, DAV College, Sector 10, for the college campus, and Mr Simar Grewal, Director, junior wing, St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, and Strawberry Fields, Nehru Bhawan, Sector-24, Chandigarh, were winners in the private school campus category.

Gurdwara Patshahi Daswin, Sector 8-B, and Mrs Kulbir Kaur, Sant Baba Sarup Singh Ji Gurdwara Sant-Sar Sahib, got the second prizes in the bhawan and non-government premises category.



Experts: rationalise excise duties
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 23
The Budget should make sincere efforts to increase capital expenditure if the country has to continue moving on the path of growth. These were the views expressed by Dr Manoj K. Sharma, Reader University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, Chandigarh, while talking at a symposium on “Pre-Budget analysis 2006-07” organised at the SAS Institute of Information Technology and Management here today.

Dr Sharma expressed concern on increasing revenue expenditure and wanted rationalisation of excise duties.

Dr B.B. Tandon from Panjab University explained the implications of the Budget on the common man. He was optimistic about the growth of the economy. He said the Budget should not only be a statement of fiscal policy, but a means to achieve equity and growth in the economy.

Prof A.K. Vashishth from the UBS expressed concern on the under-development of rural areas. He said a lot of mundane issues at the grassroots level were waiting to be resolved and quality education was still a far-fetched objective.

He hoped the Budget would propose measures to increase compliance with tax proposals and not on high tax rates. He quoted Singapore as an example where the government was generating good revenue from taxes at the tax rate of 10 per cent.

Dr Ashok Tandon, CMD, Milestone and Milestone, and chairman, CH-HP Chapter, said the proposed Budget should fulfil the aspirations of the youth.

He suggested that the Budget should propose measures to curtail the growth of black money and encourage entrepreneurs to invest in rural areas.



Inspector Cheema operated upon
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
Inspector J.S. Cheema, against whom a woman Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) had lodged a complaint of sexual harassment on Monday, has today under gone a heart surgery in Mohali-based Fortis hospital.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, family members of Inspector Cheema said he had under gone an open heart by-pass surgery this morning, which took over four hours. He was unconscious till late evening and his condition was reported to be stable. Inspector Cheema was shifted to the surgical care unit in the evening.

Inspector Cheema had been admitted to the hospital after he suffered a heart attack following a complaint of harassment filed against him by ASI Sarabjit Kaur Sekhon on Monday. Inspector Cheema was conducting an inquiry against ASI Sekhon.



PNB staff holds protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
On a call by the All-India Punjab National Bank Officers Association, officers of the bank today staged a dharna at the bank’s head office in Sector 17.
Mr V.N. Gupta, assistant general secretary, and Mr T.R. Verma, zonal secretary of the association, said other than Chandigarh, the dharna was staged by officers at all zonal offices and regional offices of the bank throughout the country.

The bank officers are demanding improvement in customer services in core banking branches, better manpower planning and relieving of officers where orders have been issued and fixing accountability at all levels.

They are also protesting against delay in the promotion process, non-implementation of clean note policy, compensation for late working hours employment on compassionate grounds and reimbursement of full medical expenses.

Mr Verma said though these issues were discussed by the association with the management. “We will go on a one-day strike on March 31 if our demands are not met,” he said. 



Kerala samajam’s memo to minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A delegation of the Kerala Samajam, Chandigarh, the Malayalees Association, Panchkula, and the Shri Ayyappa Sewa Samiti, Mohali, met Mr Vayalar Ravi, Union Minister for Indian Overseas Affairs in New Delhi, yesterday.

The delegation submitted a memorandum to the minister demanding increase in the frequency of the Kerala Sampark Kranti Express from its present weekly to atleast biweekly, increasing two, three-tier AC coaches and sleeper coaches and an increase in the Chandigarh quota.The memorandum had already been submitted to the Union Railway Minister, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav.

The delegation also met several Kerala MPs to seek their support for their demands.



Dalit manch demands relief
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 23
The Dalit Chetna Manch, Punjab, has demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and an inquiry into the alleged negligence of some doctors of the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, due to which a youth had to lose one of his legs.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Shamsher Purkhalwi, president of the manch, said strict action should be taken against the doctors for “negligence.

Mr Purkhalwi said Kuldeep Kumar, a resident of Nabha Sahib village, met with an accident on February 14. He was taken to the GMCH. He alleged that the doctors in the hospital did not attend to the patient properly.

He alleged that the patient kept waiting for about 15 hours after which he was operated upon. The leg of the patient was amputated. 



Workshop on management of hazardous chemicals
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 23
A two-day workshop on “Management of hazardous chemicals/hazan, hazop and risk analysis” organised by the HRD Foundation in collaboration with the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) was inaugurated here today.

Mr B.B. Chakraborty, programme director, HRD Foundation, said the workshop aimed at enhancing effectiveness in respect of preservation and managing safety in the industry and safe handling of chemicals.

Over 50 delegates, even from far off places like Assam, Chennai and Noida attended the programme.



Saini sammelan

Chandigarh, February 23
The All India Saini Sewa Samaj, New Delhi, will organise a Saini sammelan at Saini Bhavan, Sector 24, here tomorrow. Mr Chhagan Rao Bhujbal, PWD Minister of Maharashtra will be the chief guest.
Creater of Rock Garden Padam Shri Nek Chand, Arjuna awardee Ms Rupa Saini, International hockey player and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary of the SGPC will be honoured for their contribution to the nation and society. TNS



ESIC Day today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is observing the 55th year of the establishment of the ESI Scheme tomorrow, according to Mr G.C. Jena, Regional Director, ESIC.
He said with just 1553 employees covered under the scheme in 1962 when the scheme was implemented in Chandigarh, the number of covered employees rose to 31,950 as on March 31, 2005. 



Boy succumbs to injuries; minor girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
A 7-year old boy, who was hit by a scoter on Tuesday, today succumbed to his injuries in the Sector 16 General Hospital, here. In another incident, a minor girl from Daria village was allegedly abducted by her neighbour. In two separate incidents, a theft of a motorcycle and a mobile phone was reported to the police. Besides this, the local police has arrested two persons on the charges on indulging in gambling while a Sector 38 resident was arrested with 21 nips of liquor.

Giving details of the fatal accident, the sources in the Sector 36 police station said, 7-year-old-Rajesh Kumar of Nehru Colony succumbed to his injuries in the Sector 16 General Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday after being hit by a scooter being driven by a minor boy. He suffered multiple injuries in the accident, which claimed his life. A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the scooterist.

Minor girl abducted: The local police has booked a resident of Daria village on the allegations of abducting a minor girl. The police said the father of the victim in his report had alleged that his 16-year-old daughter had been abducted by Gurnam Singh, his neighbour. The complainant told the police that the girl used to go to a sewing centre in Sector 30 had gone missing since February 17. He further added that he was searching his daughter on his own and realised only later that she was abducted by Gurnam Singh. A case has been registered in the Industrial Area police station in this connection.

Motorcycle stolen: Mr Dimpy Malhotra of Sector 46-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Hero Honda motor cycle (CH-03-F-3484) has been stolen from Sector 35 on Tuesday. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.

Mobile stolen: Mr Sanjay Kumar of Sector 25 reported to the police alleging that his mobile phone had been stolen from his residence on Wednesday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 11 police station.

Gambling: The local police has arrested Sanjay Kumar of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran from the same locality and Neeraj Gupta of Dadu Majra was held from Dadu Majra on the charges of indulging in gambling at a public place on Wednesday. The police recovered Rs 330 and 310 from their possession.

Two separate cases have been registered under the Gambling Act in this regard.

Liquor seized: The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police has arrested Om Parkash of Sector 38 on Wednesday from near Shahpur Chowk on the charge of carrying 21 nips of country made liquor. A case under Excise Act has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.



Complaint against doc’s ‘apathy’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
A resident of Ram Darbar today complained to the police against a doctor of the local dispensary. She said she had undergone medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) at the dispensary yesterday. This morning, she developed pain and went back to the doctor, who refused to attend to her. She has sought action against the doctor for not attending to her.

When contacted, the Station House of Officer (SHO) of the Sector 31 police station, Mr Mani Ram Kadiyan said that since it was a medical matter, the case had been referred to the UT Health Department for action.



16-yr-old tries to kill self
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A 16-year-old girl allegedly attempted suicide by hanging at her Colony No. 4 residence this evening here.
According to the police sources, 16-year old Shalu was found hanging by her family members, who immediately got her down from the ceiling hook and rushed her to hospital.

Sources said that Shalu, a student of Class IX, Government School, Sector 8, had come home at 5 p.m. after attending a farewell party. Her cousin, Pawan, scolded her for coming late. Later, the family members realised that Shalu had locked herself in a room. They broke open the door to rescue her.

The police has registered a case of attempt to commit suicide against Shalu under Section 309, IPC.



Youth falls from fourth floor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
A youth fell from the fourth floor of Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) this evening. The police said the youth sustained serious injuries. The victim, Parveen Kumar, a resident of Sector 23, has been booked.



Order on truck overloading proves roadblock for industrial growth
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Supreme Court directive banning overloading of trucks is proving to be a roadblock for industrial growth. In the wake of shortage of trucks and more material to be ferried, the freight charges have gone up by over 40 per cent.

In November, 2005, the apex court had held that state governments cannot allow trucks and other goods transport vehicles to carry excess weight on roads and highways by imposing penalty, thus legitimising the overload. The court had directed all state governments to withdraw their notifications, issued under Motor Vehicles Act, to condone the offence of overload.

As a result, most of the trucks ferrying raw material and finished goods across the length and breadth of the country, cannot carry more than nine tonnes of load. This, say industrialists, is causing huge losses to the industry as freight charges have gone up by 40 to 50 per cent, cutting deeply into their profit margins. At many places, the truck unions were demanding empty haulage.

Mr Pradeep Aggarwal, Director, Sri Rama Steels Limited, Barotiwala, informed TNS ever since the SC directive, the freight charges from the ports to North India had increased from Rs 1200 per tonne to Rs 2200 per tonne. "Since the truck unions are functional in most places, they are dictating their terms to the industry for ferrying material, and we are left with no choice but to succumb to their pressure," he said.

Mr Amarjit Goyal, Chairman, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that in wake of the shortage of trucks to cater to the mammoth growth of industry, the SC directive was detrimental to growth.

The transporters, however, argue that the freight hike is also because of the hike in diesel prices. Mr Charan Singh Lohara, Chairman of the Punjab State Goods Transport Association, informed TNS that even with the present hike in freight charges, they were unable to meet the running cost, because of the high cost of diesel and also toll tax. " 


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