C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT plans 4,100 houses for govt employees
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Chandigarh Administration is planning to construct more than 4,100 new houses in the city to provide accommodation to employees of Punjab and Haryana governments. The administration has already prepared a draft policy for constructing new houses, which lies pending with the House Allotment Committee.

The Administration plan is to construct 40 houses of type VI, 30 houses of type V, 150 of type IV, 450 of type III, 2000 of type II and 1,500 houses of type I.

The official note accepts that, “Due to the shortage of government accommodation in the Union Territory, the Class III and IV employees have to wait for 15 to 20 years before they get their turn for the official accommodation. The administration plans to bring down the waiting period for its employees until five years, at the maximum”.

The city, at the moment, has nearly 13,033 houses of different categories in the general pool. More than 75,000 government employees of Punjab, Haryana, the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab and Haryana High Court working in Mohali, Panchkula and the city are eligible for allotment.

The Administration also plans to make additional rooms to the existing accommodation in Categories VIII and IX and re-categorise the houses as VIII-A and IX-A. Alterations are also being made certain other old categories.

The Chandigarh Administration has taken serious notice of a number of houses, which have not been cleared by the earlier allottees. These allottee’s, including certain senior bureaucrats, have either retired or have been transferred or the original allottee had died.

The Administration has asked the allottees to vacate the houses as soon as they are no longer to keep occupying them. The administration also proposes to enhance the rent amount, which worked out after concession for the retention of houses of employees. Employees in this category continue to have possession of the house, for a certain period, in view of a grace period expected because of retirement, death in the family or certain other emergencies.

The concessional rent on account of retention of the official plot is proposed to be raised to 30 times instead of the existing rate of 20 times for first three months and 50 times instead of existing 30 times for the next three months. The penal rent will be 100 times more than the original instead of the existing rate of 50 times.

The Administration is yet to work out the exact planning of the scheme on the map. It maybe mentioned that the Administration was already considering a proposal to convert certain old single-storeyed government houses into three-storeyed buildings.



Three property dealers arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 24
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police has arrested three property dealers on the charges of duping a city resident of Rs 3.5 lakh by selling him a plot by forging documents.

The sources in the EOW said a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy under Section 420 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against them in October last year.

The complainant, Mr Rajnish Bansal of Sector 8, had alleged that Navjeet Singh and Munish Batra of Mohali, and Surinder Pal of Sector 44, Chandigarh, had cheated him by selling a plot belonging to someone else. The property dealers allegedly forged documents claiming ownership of the plot and took Rs 3.5 lakh from him as earnest money. They had agreed on a deal for over Rs 7 lakh.

Ms Bansal told the police that the plot belonged to one Balwinder Kumar. The sources said there were three other persons involved in the fraud and efforts were on to trace them.

HUDCO manager arrested

A high drama was witnessed on the premises of the district courts here when a woman accused in a case of cheating allegedly tried to jump from the first floor of the court premises. She was however, pulled back by policemen from the Economic Offence Wing. The woman was apparently unhappy over her arrest.

The DSP EOW, Mr Inderjit Singh, said he was unaware of the incident. The Inspector in charge, Mr Sandal Singh, also said he was unaware of the incident. No complaint has been lodged at the bus stand police post. The women, Ms Harjot Kaur, a Manager of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) Limited, Sector 34, was today arrested on the charges of actively conniving with some persons in helping them get a loan from HUDCO on the basis of forged documents. The fraud caused a loss of approximately Rs 13 lakh to HUDCO.

Giving details of the case, the sources in the EOW said, Mrs Harjot Kaur, had been arrested from Mohali on the basis of the findings of the case. A cheating case was registered in 2004 following a complaint by HUDCO alleging the involvement of seven persons, who duped the institution of about Rs 13 lakh on forged documents.

It was alleged that Mrs Harjot Kaur had connived with the accused in forging documents by falsely showing the applicants (the accused) as government employees. The investigation pointed towards the involvement of Mrs Harjot Kaur in the fraud and subsequently she was arrested, said a police officer.

She was remanded to one day judicial custody by the Duty Magistrate.

Order to book real estate promoters

PANCHKULA: Acting on the complaint of a local resident, a court today directed the police to register a case under Section 156(3) of the CrPC against a real estate developer based at Sector 34 in Chandigarh.

In his complaint, Mr A.C. Sharma, alleged had that he had purchased certain plots from the promoters in Zirakpur and paid Rs 12 lakh to them. He claimed that neither the plots as proposed by the promoters were available nor the colony was approved by PUDA and the Nagar Panchayat, Zirakpur.

It may be recalled that in 2004 the promoters had launched an intensive advertisement campaign for the sale of the plots in Zirakpur.

Raids on property dealers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 24
In a major drive against property dealers, the Income Tax Department today carried our on the premises of three property dealers in Panchkula.

In the search and seizure operation, which continued late in the night, searches were carried out on the premises of shangari builders and two other real estate agents.



CAT quashes notification on employees’ transfer options
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today quashed the 2004 notification by which the employees of the Chandigarh Administration were asked to give their options for transfer to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation after they had been declared surplus.

Affecting the fate of thousands of employees, the order of the tribunal puts an end to the controversial move by the Administration to transfer its employees to the Municipal Corporation (MC).

Pronouncing the orders after four months, the tribunal comprising Mr L.M. Goyal and Ms Shyma Dogra, Vice-Chairman and Member of the tribunal, respectively, directed the Administration to treat May 23, 1996, as the cut off date for taking options from the employees.

Those who have either been promoted or have retired after the cut off date will also be kept out of the ambit of the process of seeking options. The Administration has been asked to comply with the directives within four months.

This means that the junior most employees, recruited after 1996, can be declared surplus. In case there are lesser vacancies compared to the number of employees, the Administration will have the prerogative of not asking for option.

Till the list with the cut off date of May 1996 is not prepared, the present place of posting of the employees will not be disturbed.

By protecting the seniority of the employees recruited before 1996, the orders have also opened the way for promotion of such employees depending upon vacancies.

By disposing of a bunch of applications, the tribunal has offered relief to applicants who had pleaded that they should not be covered under the notification of the Administration. The employees had lamented that they had become junior due to the orders of the Administration.

The problem began in 1996 when the MC was created. The Administration decided that the employees, who were working with the Administration till March 23, 1996, would be considered for transfer to the corporation. However, the employees had complained that the administration was following the pick and choose policy while transferring the employees.

A number of employees of different departments had gone to the tribunal in 2001 stating that their consent had not been taken while transferring them.

The Administration had prepared a seniority list on May 18, 1996, showing the transferred employees as the junior most. Due to the orders, the Chief Engineer in the Chandigarh Engineering Department, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, also remains in the Administration.



Lalu’s ‘populist’ Budget ignores city
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Railway Budget has been widely hailed by city residents, who say, the Union Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav has passed the exam with distinction, scoring at least nine out of 10. The only downside in the Budget the locals see is that there is nothing specific for the city. While most people are pleased over reduction in fares and freight tariffs, some discerning people feel that this is a ‘populist Budget’ and that it would have been better if instead of reducing tariffs, the same money was spent for improving the prevailing infrastructure.

“The Budget is much better than what I had expected; now even I can dream of travelling by an air conditioned coach. The minister has done a great job by giving something to everyone, yet keeping the Railways in profit. As a lay man, I do not understand the intricacies of economics, but all I can say is that it appears to be a people-oriented Budget that is in keeping with the economic growth of the country”, feels Mr Santosh Giri, a resident of Chandimandir Cantt who is working with a private telecom company.

Though, everyone, including Ms Anjana, in charge, Finesse Institute of Languages in Sector 32, says that the Budget is people friendly and everything is “up to the mark”. The introduction of “Garib Rath” that will ensure comfortable travel to the ordinary man is a landmark decision, she says. But she is unhappy that “nothing has been done to improve the security of the people”. She feels that specific attention should have been paid to make travel be rail safer.

Ms Anjana is not the only one who feels strongly on the security issue. Mr J.K. Jain, a retired government officer, too expressed similar views. “All I can say from what appeals to common sense is that this is a populist Budget for votes and no attention has been paid to reduce accidents or improve safety norms”. Most steps like offering 30 per cent discount during the non-peak season and 20 per cent rebate in the peak season on incremental freight, the rationalisation of freight charges, etc., are welcome steps. But the Union Minister should do something to ensure safer travel.

Other issues like Gramin Ticket Booking for rural youth, reducing fare on e-ticketing, the launch of Jansadharan Ticket booking and making trains faster will all go a long way in making travel comfortable. This may perhaps also lead to more people traveling by trains thereby reducing congestion on the roads, says Ms Aarti Verma.

The younger lot is excited about the introduction of ATMs, cyber cafes, etc., on all major stations. “This will really show that the country is progressing and the projected growth rate of 8 per cent will be reflected to one and all. I am a proud Indian, who sometimes feels embarrassed at the sorry state of affairs of our public places. But paying attention to railway stations will make every Indian happy”, says Anuraj Kaur, a school student.

A businessman, Mr D.M. Kapoor, too lauded the sops and incentives announced by the Union Railway Minister, especially for the poor and the migrants. “But someone will have to pay for this largesse. How will the government get the money for this is what we will have to watch out for,” he added.

“There is no specific announcement for Chandigarh, which has assumed a special place in the country in light of IT developments. People were also expecting the introduction of more long distance trains connecting the city”, says a local lawyer, Mr Rajan Khetarpal. A Sector 41 resident, Mr Jatinder Pal, while hailing the Budget, made a very valid point while reacting on the Shatabdi trains.



Tyagi brothers remanded in police custody
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 24
Chandigarh Police today produced Tyagi brothers, the co-accused in the Sector 34 triple-murder case, before a local court here, which remanded them in police custody till March 27. They were brought to the city early this morning.

Ravikant Tyagi and Anil Tyagi were arrested by the Chandigarh Police in a joint operation with the Gujarat police from Okha in Jamnagar district on Wednesday.

Sources in the police said Pawandeep Singh, the elder son of slain Group Captain T. P. Singh, was also produced before the court today and his remand has been extended till February 27.

Ravikant Tyagi and Anil Tyagi told media persons today that they had killed the retired Group Captain T. P. Singh, his wife Shibani and his sister Ajit Kaur on February 7 accompanied by Pawandeep Singh.

They said that on that fateful night they arrived in the city and had drinks at a Sector 22 pub before boarding a rickshaw for Sector 34. Ravikant admitted that he shot dead the Group Captain, Anil killed Shibani by repeatedly stabbing her and Pawandeep bludgeoned his aunt Ajit Kaur and also slit her throat.

Pawandeep today confessed to have killed his aunt. Interestingly, he had earlier denied killing any one of the victims and maintained that Tyagi brothers had done them to death.

Ravikant also added that Pawandeep Singh told them that this would be their last sin as they would get enough money to live peacefully after this. “Pawandeep told us that we will get about Rs 3 lakh to 4 lakh from the house. But when he searched the house he could only find Rs 18,000,” said Ravikant.

He further added that on their way to Delhi, they were apprehensive that Pawandeep, who had killed his parents for money, could also eliminate them for the same. “Fortunately, that did not happen and we reached Delhi. Since then, we have not seen each other as Pawandeep told us that he was going to Manali with his girlfriend. He also gave us Rs 9000.”

Sources in the police said Tyagi brothers had no criminal record and had committed the crime for money.



City gardens bloom with festivities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Chandigarh will soon have a Rose Society the main aim of which will be to popularise roses, propagate rose culture and also inculcate the love and interest for roses among the masses. This indication was given by Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd), the Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, after inaugurating the Festival of Gardens which took off amidst, jubilation and enthusiasm here today.

The highlights of the colourful inaugural ceremony were the releasing of balloons, playing of bands, beating of drums, display of dances and singing of welcome songs by children depicting the variety and character of modern India.

Accompanied by Ms Jean Rodrigues and senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration, including Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, Mr S.K Sandhu, Finance Secretary, Mr J.S Bir, Managing Director CITCO, Mr P.S Aujla, Commissioner Municipal Corporation and Mr V.K Bhardwaj, the Chief Engineer, the Governor went around the festival and had a look at the flower arrangements, potted plants displayed aesthetically.

The rangoli in the flower arrangement corner, fountains and CITCO ‘‘Rasoi’’ were also interesting features of the annual attraction for the viewers.

‘‘This festival must be made more diversified with educative and meaningful ventures to meet the gardening, artistic and cultural needs of the people of all walks of life’’, General Rodrigues said.

The brass and pipe band competition witnessed participation from nearly 10 bands, including Chandigarh Police, ITBP, CRPF, Haryana Police, Punjab Police, PAP, Home Guards and Maratha Light Infantry.

Approximately 300 artistes from various states, including Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam and Chandigarh, dressed in their traditional dresses, regaled the visitors. A number of colourful cultural events, including giddha, Haryanvi dance, bhangra, street shows, magic shows, were organised on the occasion.

General Rodrigues later inaugurated a Green Belt in Sector 38-C and D on an area of nearly four acres. The green belt will be provided with parking facilities, footpaths, steel railing, two rain/sun shelters, sitting benches, green grass, flower beds.



Winners of ‘Festival of Gardens’ contests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Results of various contests of Festival of Gardens were announced today.

Result for Class-D for flowers and plants grown in pots: Amitabh Mohan (first); Gurbaksh Singh (second), for aster plant. Simar Grewal (first and second), Ms Kavita Soni (second), for antirrhinum. Simar Grewal (first and second), for Verbena. Mrs Cynthia Shear (first); Simar Grewal (second), for salvia. Rupali Gautam (first); S. Marriya (second), for brachycome. Simar Grewal (first and second) for Cineraria and Rajinder Kumar also second. S. Marriya (first) and Simar Grewal (second) for carnation.

Mishu Kohli and Hari Mali won the first prize in the collection of foliage plant while Kavita Soni was second.

The collection of different foliage: Sushil Kumar(first) and Kavita Soni(second) for collection of succulent potted plant. Rupan Deol Bajaj (first and second) for bonsai large size format upright. Rupan Deol Bajaj (first) for the bonsai medium, group planting style and bonsai miniature potted plant. Ms Raj sandhu was second.

S. Marriya won the first prize and Simar Grewal won the second prize for the dianthus potted plant. Virinder Sharma won the first and Simar Grewal second for the geranium potted plant. S. Marriya won the first and second for kale potted. Sant Sarup Singh Ji (first) and Ms Kavita Soni and Simar Grewal, were winners in the marigold potted plant category.

Other results are as follows: Simar Grewal (first) and S.Marriya(second) for the petunia

Double hybrid: S. Marriya (first) for the petunia single hybrid and phlox potted.

The team of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 32, won the first prize for presenting bhangra in the folk dance competition. Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, was second while third prize was won by Government 
Senior Secondary School, Sector 18.

Anurag Yadava, a resident of Sector 35, won the first prize in the professionals category of the photography contest. Arvinder Singh, Industrial Area Phase II, was second while the third prize was bagged by K.Sethi, a resident of Manimajra.

In the Amateur category, the first prize was won by Neeraj Sharma, a resident of Ambala, second place by Siddharth Bhardwaj, a resident of Panchkula and the third place went to Sanjay Kaushal, also a resident of Panchkula.

Result for Class E: Flower and plants grown in plants: Pushpanjali Nursery(first and second) for the aster potted plant. PGI, Chandigarh, first and Pushpanjali Nursery, second for antirrhinum. Pushpanjali Nursery, first and CITCO, second for verbena potted plant. Chandigarh Housing Board, first and second for brachycome potted plant. Pushpanjali Nursery, first for cineraria potted plant.



Plaza Carnival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
A variety of cultural events will be held at the Plaza Carnival, Sect 17, on Feb 25. These will include various state folk dances like Raibenshe from Chd, Klabelia from Rajasthan, Bihu from Assam and Bamlahiri from Haryana.



Saini Samaj honours Bhujbal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
“Education is must for the upliftment of family and society but active participation in politics is the key of success,” Sainis are ten per cent in India but their participation in politics is one to two per cent. I am organising a national level rally in Delhi on March 10 to show Saini Power, said Mr Chhagun Rao Bhujbal, National President of Mahatma Jyoti Phoole Samta Parishid here at Saini Bhawan while addressing a Saini Samellan. Mr Bhujbal was the chief guest and honoured Nek Chand Saini, Creator Rock Garden, Arjuna Awardee Mrs Rupa Saini, International Hockey Player and Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee with memontos and shawls.

All India Saini Sewa Samaj, Punjab Unit presented Mr Bhujbal with ‘turban of honour’, sword and cash amounting to Rs 1,51,000. Mr C.P. Sinha, Former State Law Minister, Bihar, Mr Harinairan Singh, Former Minister, HP, Parkash Singh Saini, Parliament Secretary, Punjab, Mr Sat Pal Saini, Former Minister, Punjab, Mr Indraj Singh Saini, National President, AISSS, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, former MP, Mr Kamal Chaudhary, Former MP and National Secretary, NCP, Mr Raj Kumar Saini, Ex-Minister, Jaswant Singh Saini spoke on the occasion.

Mr Gurnam Singh Derabassi thanked the people and appealed to reach Delhi on March 10.



100 structures demolished in Kharag Mangoli
Tribune News Service

A JCB machine demolishes illegal structures at Kharag Mangoli, Panchkula, on Friday.
A JCB machine demolishes illegal structures at Kharag Mangoli, Panchkula, on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, February 24
The enforcement wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today demolished 100 permanent structures and 20 hutments that had come up illegally on HUDA land in Kharag Mangoli today.

Amidst mild protests by the squatters, the 20-member team of the enforcement staff removed encroachments from the land. Initially, when the HUDA staff reached the spot along with a posse of cops the residents protested and said that they had not been given any prior notice.

However, the HUDA staff contended that a notice had been given to the residents 15 days ago. They also said that in case the residents had a stay order by a court against the demolition, the HUDA staff would not go ahead with the demolition. The residents were given some time to remove their belongings before the JCB machine was pressed into operation for removing the structures.

The drive lasted for over four hours and almost 10 acres of land was retreived from the squatters. Later in the day, the enforcement staff also went to Sector 20 for demolishing some religious structures on government land, but came back after asking the authorities to vacate the land on their own in a fortnight’s time.



Lecture on AIDS, drug addiction
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 24
An interactive lecture on ‘Problem of AIDS’ and ‘Drug Addiction’ was organised at the Rayat and Bahra Institute of Engineering and Technology today. The objective of the lecture was to enlighten the youth about the growing menace of AIDS.

Addressing the students Prof S.K. Sharma, director of the institute termed drug addiction and AIDS as the ‘modern curses’ on mankind. He added that timely resistance to temptation can save one from a miserable end.



1,459 riot victims apply for grant
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 24
The district administration has received total 1459 applications from the victims of 1984 riots for the grant of Rs 2 lakh. All the cases of riots victims would be sent to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab by February 28 after the verification of the cases, said the Deputy Commissioner, Mr H.I.S Garewal after holding a meeting with all the SDM’s of the sub-division.

Giving details, Mr Garewal said that 916 cases of the riots victims belong to Mohali sub-division 230 cases from Ropar sub-division, 104 cases of Anandpur Sahib, 91 cases of Kharar and 118 cases of riots victims who have been living in district but belong to other districts.



And now a pocket surfer!
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Innovation is undoubtedly the buzz word in this age of technological advancement. With this in mind, the media product division of Savi Vision has now come up with a sophisticated version of a communicator — pocket surfer.

On display in the Electronicom — an exposition of hi-end electronics and communication devices, being organised here—this communicator will allow for data to be compressed from 200 kpbs to 5-7 kpbs. This will allow a full screen to the user and downloading speed will be reduced from one to three minutes (in a communicator) to 5-7 seconds in this pocket surfer.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar, Director of Savi Vision, informed TNS that this was the first of its kind communication device to have been developed in the country. "It has a complete keyboard and can open and read any web page, graphic files, JAVA etc. It can be mainly used for sending e-mails, net surfing and chatting," he said.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar said one just needed to have a blue tooth enabled mobile phone (GPRS), and the pocket surfer could be connected to it directly— so that it became a wireless Internet. This pocket surfer had 340 pixel colour screen, as compared to 128 pixels in other communicators. This would cost Rs 9,999, as compared to Rs 28,000 for a communicator, he added.

The company has reportedly spent years in Research and Development to come up with the product. "But our R & D efforts are not yet over on the product. As of now, the pocket surfer does not have a hard disk.We are now researching on developing a hard disk for the product," informed the Director of the company.

Mr Sanjeev said the product would be formally launched by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on March 28. 



IAF to organise recruitment rally
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Air Force will organise a recruitment rally in Chandigarh next month exclusively for the youth of the city. It is, perhaps, for the first time that the IAF is organising such an event here.

Air Force officers told The Tribune that recruitment would be done for technical trades. The rally would be held here under the aegis of the Airmen Selection Centre, Ambala, from March 30 to April 2. Earlier, recruitments from Chandigarh used to take place in rallies jointly catering to several areas.

The recruitment rally is among a series of events being organised by the Air Force here. Among them will be the performance of the IAF’s famed Air Warriors Symphony Orchestra here for the first time. The orchestra is scheduled to play before a select audience in the PGI’s Bhargava Auditorium on March 26 and for the general public in the open the next day.

The orchestra was formed by selecting musicians from various bands in April, 2003. Today it has 70 musicians on brass, wood-wind, reed, electronic and percussion instruments, playing contemporary Indian, Western, classical as well as martial tunes. The IAF has eight bands, the first of which was raised in 1944 at the Royal Indian Air Force Station, Kohat, in the North-Western Frontier now in Pakistan.

The most eagerly awaited event will be the scheduled mega air show, which will encompass flying as well as a static display of aircraft and other weapon systems of the IAF at the Chandigarh Air Force Station. IAF officials said the event would showcase just about the entire IAF inventory, including combat and transport aircraft, helicopters, missiles, radar and other equipment, being ferried in from other stations for the purpose. The show, which is scheduled to be held on March 25, would be open to the public.

The star attraction of the show will be the newly acquired IL-78 aerial refuellers demonstrating their ability to replenish combat aircraft in mid air. An IL-78 will refuel two fighters in the skies over Chandigarh.

The IAF’s famed Akash Ganga sky-diving team will also perform on the occasion. Officers said a display by the nine-aircraft Surya Kiran aerobatic team was also being worked out, though its availability was yet to be confirmed.



BSNL scheme to woo back customers
Special marketing awareness group formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Fighting with its back to the wall against private telecom operators, public sector telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL)today came out with yet another scheme to woo back the customers who had disconnected their landline connections, and announced the formation of a marketing awareness group to aggressively market its services.

Launching the scheme, Mr OP Sikka, Principal General Manager Telecom (PGMT), informed that under the special campaign free reconnection of the disconnected telephones had been offered to the customers. No rent will be charged from the customers for the intervening period and they can also enjoy free upgrade to the broad band facility provided to Internet users, he added.

Claiming that the decline in the number of the BSNL landline connections was in line with the "global trend" of the people shifting to the mobile phones, the PGMT conceded that "poor services" could be one of the reasons for this.

Giving details of the marketing awareness group, Mr Sikka informed that the group would make the staff and the general public aware of the new BSNL schemes and tariffs. And for the expeditious disposal of the excess metering complaints, the financial and administrative powers had been delegated to the divisional officers, Mr SK Verma, General Manager (Telecom), added.

The PGMT said to popularise broadband service among customers, the BSNL had offered "free upgrade to broad band facility" for all its Internet users. Under this facility, any customer, whether BSNL or non-BSNL Internet user, can have free broad band connection with no registration, no installation and no security deposits, he added.

Talking about the expansion plans, Mr Sikka said a WLL tower is being commissioned at Ratwara Sahib, near Chandigarh in Ropar district, which would make the "non-feasible area" as "feasible" and help the nigam to extend its telecom network in the area. Similarly, the mobile phone services are being augmented to meet the competition posed by private telecom operators, he added.



Cellphone operators offer low-cost handsets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
In the age of tariff war and with a vast 82 per cent of the population yet to be tapped, cellphone operators are now wooing the clients by offering low-cost handsets.

Leading the race is Reliance Infocomm, which has sent the handset prices crashing, by offering monochrome handsets for as low as Rs 1,650 and colour handsets for Rs 3,100. Spice and Airtel, too, are selling low-cost handsets, but these are priced at over Rs 2,000. In fact, Spice now proposes to set up its own facility for manufacturing mobile phones at Baddi.

With the introduction of the new range of mobile handsets, Reliance has brought down the selling price of branded handsets like LG, Samsung, Kyocera and Nokia. These handsets have polyphonic ring tones, phone book memory of 600 to 2,000 entries and a facility for sending SMS in Hindi.

Mr Himanshu Kapania, CEO, Reliance Infocomm for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, said: “As of now, 18 per cent of the population is using mobile phones. We are targetting a population of 32 per cent, to use mobile phones in the next two years.”



CBM chief announces ‘dream team’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
In a bid to check factionalism in the trading community, the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), Mr Subhash Sethi, today announced the ‘‘dream team’’ aimed at giving representation to different sections to face the challenges posed by the MNCs in the liberalised and globalised regime, ahead of the Union Budget.

Mr Sethi, who was elected president under a ‘‘compromise formula’’ at the general body meeting on February 12 here, has tried to placate all sections of the traders, including the ‘‘Young Turks’’. In fact, he has tried to balance his new team while announcing the new list naming Mr M.P Kohli as the chairman. Mr J.S Sawhney and Mr Jagdish Arora would be new patrons.

Drawing from experience, Mr Sat Pal Garg, Mr Arun Talwar, Mr Satpal Bansal, Mr Satpal Gupta, Mr Purshottam Mahajan and Mr B.K Sood have been named as advisers. While senior members—Mr J.P.S Kalra, Mr L.C Arora, Mr Diwakar Sahoonja and Mr Anil Vohra— would be the general secretaries.

It may be recalled that under the ‘‘compromise formula’’ the CBM had decided to amend the constitution providing for a one-year tenure for leaders of the two factions recently. While Mr Subhash Sethi was made president for the first year, Mr Charanjiv Singh, who was named as the senior vice-president, will take over as the president next year.

Sources said putting up a united front by traders in the year when the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) are due would stand the CBM in good stead. Though mandal is a non-political body yet it had a strong presence in all political parties and its members wielded a considerable influence. It has been a longstanding CBM demand that its president should be coopted as the member of the MCC on the pattern of the nominated councillors.

The ‘‘unanimous election’’, the sources highlighted, would send right signals to the authorities concerned at the local and the central government levels. In fact, buoyed by the elevation of the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, as a minister in the Union Cabinet, the CBM wanted to put up a ‘‘united front’’ to tackle certain issues, including the Rent Act, VAT implementation, the ban on polythene bags and representation in various advisory committees of the Administration.

Meanwhile, Mr Kamaljit Panchhi, Mr Baldev Goyal, Mr Neeraj Bajaj, Mr Gursharan Batra, Mr Sanjeev Mahajan and Mr Rohit Sood have been named as the vice-presidents while Mr Radhey Lal will be the treasurer. Mr P.N Khanna, Mr Ashwani Sondhi, Mr Ramesh Duggal, Mr Naresh Mahajan and Mr Jagdish Kapoor will work as secretaries.

The new joint secretaries would be Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Ramesh Aggarwal, Mr Bhim Sen Aggarwal, Mr Kailash Jain and Mr Jagtar Singh.



Spice gifts and goodies for children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
In continuation to its efforts of sharing the joys of life with the less privileged children, Spice Telecom today brought in much cheer and delight for children of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity located at Sector 23, Chandigarh. As part of its corporate social initiative, Spice presented the children with gifts and goodies brought specially for them from the homes of approximately 150 Spice employees.

The occasion was marked with excitement and fun as children were seen having the time of their lives as they were treated to exciting gifts and goodies from Spice.

Speaking on this occasion, Ms Monica Bajpai, head, Human Resource, Spice Telecom, Punjab, stated: "Spice Telecom has always made a conscious effort to reach out to underprivileged sections of society. Festive occasions like Holi, Diwali, Christmas and New Year's are celebrated with these special children.''


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