C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT creates new post to perk up colleges
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In a major restructuring of the city’s Education Department, the Chandigarh Administration has created the post of Deputy Director Colleges to look after the day-to-day working of the various government colleges of the city.

The first Deputy Director Colleges of Chandigarh would be Prof Pahlad Aggarwal who is currently the Principal of Government College, Sector 11.

Orders to this effect were passed by the Education Secretary here this evening. Confirming the move, the Director Public Instruction (Colleges), Mrs Raji P. Srivastava (also the Joint Secretary Finance UT), stated that this had been done with a view to improving the functioning of government colleges and perking up the quality of education being rendered to the students.

“The post of the DPI is generally held as an additional responsibility by the Joint Secretary, Finance, in the Chandigarh Administration. As a result, adequate attention is not paid to the detailed functioning of colleges. The Deputy Director would be now taking care of all issues related to the education policy, learning and evaluation of students, university liaison, accreditation policy, research consultancy etc.,” she said.

While the post of the Deputy Director was created today, also on the anvil is the setting up of posts of Dean College Instructions in various colleges. The post, interchangeable with the post of the college principal, would be filled from among the college’s senior-most faculty members.

While the Deputy Director Colleges would be working under the DPI (Colleges) and would be responsible for sorting out all routine issues at the level of the administration, the deans would be responsible for assisting the principals in their work and would be reporting to the DPI (Colleges).

Initially the post of the dean would be created in the two government colleges in Sector 11 on an experimental basis, following which if the system functions smoothly, similar posts would be created in other colleges.

Also on the anvil is the formation of a recommendatory body- ‘Government College Core Group’- which would meet fortnightly to thrash out various common issues facing the colleges and also give suggestions to improve functioning. The core group would include, other than the college principals, senior faculty members, retired educationists and subject experts. Persons of academic prominence would also be invited from time to time to address the group.

“These changes are a result of months’ long exercise which included gathering of suggestions from various persons formally and informally. A team of persons had been deputed by the department to visit these colleges to talk to the faculty and students and give feedback,” said Mrs Shrivastva.

Mr Pahlad Aggarwal would be replaced by Principal A.N. Garg who is currently the Principal of Government College, Sector 46. He would be replaced Mrs Usha Jindal who is a senior lecturer at Government College for Girls, Sector 11. Incidentally Mrs Jindal had been superceded by Mrs Inderjit Kaur who had been made the principal of the college recently.



Fearing axe on mango grove, industry seeks assurance
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Is the Mango Grove in the Industrial Area along Purv Marg under threat of being cut down to provide parking for the malls and other commercial buildings coming up in the area after the Chandigarh Administration announced its conversion policy? Though there is no concrete proposal yet to cut down hundreds of trees, industrial associations and industry owners fear that the trees are bound to become a casualty in due course of time.

Chandigarh citizens showing environment concerns and those associated with the Industrial Area have expressed concern. “Don’t even think of cutting the trees to make space for parking”, they say.

At least three organisations - the Industries Association of Chandigarh, Chandigarh Paper Board and Groz Beckert Asia Limited, an affiliate of the German company with the same name that has been manufacturing knitting needles since 1961 - have written to the Administrator, Chandigarh, expressing apprehension on the issue and seeking a commitment to protect these trees.

However, the Administration has described this apprehension as unfounded, saying that the plan for the commercialisation of the Industrial Area has incorporated adequate space for parking purpose.

“The Administration will ensure that there is a twin basement under every building that comes up in the area. We are also actively considering a proposal to build some public parking lots in the area”, UT Financial Secretary S.K. Sandhu said.

He further said, “Though the Chandigarh Housing board is the nodal agency planning the parking in the Industrial Area, as far as I know, there is no such proposal and the fears of the industry owners is misplaced. The UT Administration had made it mandatory for everyone to build a twin basement for parking.”

The Mango Grove along Purv Marg falls under the jurisdiction of the Horticulture Department of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. Incidentally, it falls under the priority projects pertaining to the greening of Chandigarh under the ‘Greening Chandigarh Action Plan 2005-2006’. Under this plan, the Administration proposes to plant 13,149 trees and shrubs across the city.

The Mango Grove on the Industrial Area side of the Purv Marg has hundreds of mango trees and they may face the axe in one go, if the fears of the industrial area industry owners come true.

The Chandigarh Administration announced its policy on conversion of industrial plots in July 2005, and revised it on September 18, 2005. As per the revised policy, the floor area ratio (FAR) was increased from 1.5 to 2, bringing down the effective rate of conversion charges from Rs 18,000 to approximately Rs 12,000. The Administration also changed the minimum size of the industrial plots that could convert to a multiplex, marriage palace or banquet halls from 4 acres to 1 acre. The commercial activities have been specified to include shops, offices, banks, hotels, restaurants and training institutions.

Residential use and red category trades as notified by the Department of Environment, with the exception of hospitals and nursing homes, shall not be permitted. All this is parking-intensive and requires more space per customer or employee.

The Chairman, Steering Committee on Chandigarh’s Industrial Land Conversion Policy, Mr H.S. Mamik, argues that Dr M.S Randhawa, Chandigarh’s first Chief Commissioner, had described the mango groves as the lungs of the Industrial Area and it would be a pity if the suggestion to convert this area into a parking lot was considered or implemented.

So far, only two companies have sought approval for building shopping malls in the area. The first mall is coming up in an area of about 5800 sq yard and the second in an area of 8300 sq yards. With Industrial area falling in the 40 per cent zoning area, the mall being built on the 5800 sq. yard plot, will have two basements of 2320 sq yards each, giving 4640 sq yards for parking. With 20 per cent space taken out for movement of cars, only 3712 sq yards will be available for parking. With each vehicle requiring about 18 sq yards, it will leave space for only 200 cars. This is grossly inadequate for a mall with four multiplexes, 50 shops and a floor for food court.

It is estimated that a parking space for at least 550 or 600 cars and an additional 200 scooters /motorcycles is required on the premises. But since this is not available, the obvious question is how the administration will prevent the overflow of parking onto roads, some city architects feel.

Architects in the city are of the opinion that the 6900 square yards of parking at Fun Republic in Mani Majra is proving to be inadequate, leading to serious traffic congestion, a similar situation in the Industrial Area should be prevented with proper planning.



20 youths recruited by Bheora identified
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
The Chandigarh police today claimed to have identified over 20 youths recruited in modules operated by Paramjit Singh Bheora, one of the prime accused in the assassination of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh. The police has already forwarded this information to the police stations concerned in Punjab. More arrests are likely to be carried out on the basis of the information in the next couple of days.

Sources in the Operation Cell said the police had also identified foreign and Indian sources who provided financial support to the terrorist outfit. The police has papered a list of these suspects. The names of some Chandigarh residents are figured in the lists of persons and sympathisers who were providing assistance to the terrorists.

The sources further added that Bheora was targeting Punjabi youths with a “religious bent of mind and those belonging to weaker financial backgrounds” to instigate them to join his modules. He lured the youths with money to recruit them in his modules. The police has prepared a list of about eight youths, who were ready to go to Pakistan for training. Their passports and other documents were under process.

About the financial resources, Bheora has reportedly divulged to the police during his sustained interrogation that the money was being funnelled to India through various modules, including havala channels. Bheora told the police that he was receiving huge amounts through his sources to carry out his activities. The police said his revelations led to the identification of a Punjab-based advocate who was associated with Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and the information regarding him has also been flashed to the concerned police.

Sharing the information, Inspector Vijay Kumar, in charge of the Operation Cell of the Chandigarh police, said Bheora had told the interrogating officers that they were targeting religious heads of certain institutions, including Nihang Ajit Singh Phoola, Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala and Ashutosh, head of the Divya Jyoti Jagran. They were carrying reconnaissance of their targets and were waiting for an opportunity to hit their targets. During this they had been following Phoola while he was joining hearings in Nawanshahr.

About his relations with Jagtar Singh Hawara, Bheora told the police that Hawara was not fair in the distribution of money that they received from their sources. He also added that Hawara used to dominate them and had supremacy in his attitude.



Petrol station staff thwart robbery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
Four employees of a petrol station in Sector 52-B here thwarted an armed robbery bid and caught one of the robbers late last night.

They sustained minor injuries in the attack. The robber was later handed over to the police.

The police recovered a pistol, a cartridge of self-loading rifle and an iron rob from the spot.

The police said the robber was identified as 23-year-old Ajay Shastri of Faidan village in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

He was remanded in police custody by a local court till April 5. His accomplices were identified as Rakesh and Neeraj of Nehru Colony.

A case of attempt to robbery was registered under Sections 392, 393, 394, 398 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, 28-year-old Dinesh, one of the employees working at the National Petroways petrol station, said three armed robbers came to the petrol station at around 3 am.

He added that he was sitting along with his colleagues in their cabin after filling fuel in a vehicle when he noticed a man wearing a mask coming towards them.

He further said he immediately raised the alarm, but before they could react, the man entered the cabin and hit him on the head with an iron rod.

Dinesh said he managed to grab the assailant by the hair and overpowered him while two other robbers entered the cabin and had a scuffle with Raj Kumar and Praveen, two other employees at the petrol station.

Praveen said he and Raj Kumar came out of the cabin and one of the robbers took out a pistol and fired at him, but the bullet missed him.

He added that he hit the robber wielding the pistol, on which the pistol fell on the ground and he picked it up, after which two robbers fled, leaving their accomplice behind.

He further said Dinesh and his colleague Sya Ram nabbed the third robber and they called the police, which reached the spot and arrested the robber.

Parveen said the mask the robber was wearing was tightly fitted that they had to make efforts to pull it off.

The police said it was interrogating Ajay to find out if it was the same gang that had struck at a petrol station in Sector 43 in January.

The police said the gang might be involved in the bid to break open an ATM in Mani Majra on the night of December 31 last.



Cabs get green signal
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The State Transport Authority (STA) of the Chandigarh Administration has approved local taxi service in the city.

The Administration had announced that the local cab service would commence from April 15, but the matter needed a formal clearance from the STA.

The specifications which would be followed by the three taxi service providers signed to work on the project were also cleared.

The service providers were Hertz and Mega Cab Services, both Delhi-based companies and the local Indus Travels and Logistics.

In the introductory phase, each company planned to introduce 50 cabs each.

The minimum specification for the cars was 1000 cc. The cars included Maruti Esteem, Tata Indigo, Hyundai Accent and Ford Ikon.

All cars would be white, sport a logo and fitted with air-conditioners and air heaters.

The cars would be allowed to display advertisements on side doors and a white box would be fitted on top.

A green light would mean that the cab was empty, a red light would mean that it was occupied and a yellow light would mean that it was on way to fetch a customer who had called over the telephone.

Each taxi service would be provided a separate four-digit number for hiring and the numbers would be displayed at prominent places and conveyed to the public through press notes and advertisements.

The STA had identified 30 points in the city where cabs could be signalled to a halt.

Taxi spots would be installed at certain points, which would have the facility of parking at least a couple of cabs.

The charges for the cabs would be lower than those in Delhi and Goa.

The down payment and charges for the first kilometre would be Rs 15 and it would be Rs 12 per kilometre for the remaining distance.

The rate of Rs 12 per kilometre was lower than the rate of Rs 13 per kilometre, proposed for luxury cars in 2001.

Officials sources said under the new service, operators would not have the right to refuse to provide service.

The formal approval was given at a meeting under the chairmanship of Mr Krishna Mohan, Transport Secretary.



City roads to be cleared of stagnant water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Chandigarh Administration has drawn up a detailed programme to clear the city roads of standing water which spoils the metalled roads as well.

To avoid any untoward accidents during the monsoons, the Engineering Department has initiated a drive for cleaning of kerbs, road berms, channels and road gullies.

Schedule: Uttar Marg (between Sector 2 and 4 and Rock Garden), Udyog Path( between Sector 14 and 25, Sector 15 and 24, Sector 16 and 23 and Sector 17 and 22), Dakshin Marg (between Sector 25 and 38, Sector 24 and 37, Sector 23 and 36 and Sector 22 and 35); Jan Marg( between Sector 3 and 4, Sector 10 and 9, Sector 16 and 17 and Sector 23 and 22); Vidya Path (between PEC and Sector 2); East National Highway (between Sector 22 and 35, Sector 23 and 36, Sector 24 and 37 and Sector 25 and 38): from April 1 to 9.

Outer Dakshin Marg( between Sector 47 and 48, Sector 46 and 49, Sector 45 and 50 and Sector 44 and 51): from April 6 to 15: Uttar Marg( between Sukhna Lake and Sector 5); Udyog Marg( between Sector 17 and 22, Sector 18 and 21, Sector 19 and 20, Sector 27 and 30; Dakshin Marg( between Sector 22 and 35); Vidya Path(between Sector 12 and 11, Sector 14 and 15, Sector 25 and 24 and Sector 38 and 37): from April 1 to April 16.



Cops picks up two Bhatisar youths
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, March 31
Residents of Bhatisar village, near Banur, were in for a shock, early this morning, when two youths belonging to the dusty village were allegedly picked up by Chandigarh police.

When asked, the Chandigarh police denied the allegations, saying that it had no information about the youths.

Mr Gurjit Singh, brother of 24-year-old Harjit Singh, one of the youths allegedly picked up by a team of the Operation Cell of the Chandigarh police, claimed that his innocent brother was picked up by the police at 5 am. He was accompanied by the family members of Sukhi, the other person picked up by the police, besides panches and other representatives of the village.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune outside the Operation Cell, here, they alleged that the police, in an act of highhandedness, picked up the innocent youths without informing their families about the crime they had committed and also the police station concerned.

Describing Harjit Singh, they added that he was a boy with a humble background and was into farming to earn his livelihood. Harjit Singh is married and has a daughter and a son. They also added that they have reported the matter to the police.

About Harjit, they said he is the president of a youth club of their village and has no police record against him. Both the boys were never involved in any activity and were living peaceful lives.

The villagers also added that the police officers had handed over them a slip before leaving with the youths. In the slip, the name of Operation Cell, Inspector Vijay Kumar was written along with the land line phone number of his office.

They also claimed that in case the police avoided giving information about their boys, they would take up the matter with senior police officers.

On the other hand, Inspector Vijay Kumar while denying the allegations, maintained that they had not picked up any one from the village. He expressed ignorance about the episode.

Sources in the police believe that a family member of Sukhi is suspected to be involved with Paramjit Singh Bheora, one of suspects of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh and a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) activist. It is suspected that the man had facilitated harbouring of Bheora in Rajasthan during his run.



Big rush at treasuries, banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The closing day of the financial year today saw a huge rush at the government treasuries and banks in the morning hours in the tri-cities.

Since morning, people had gathered at various bank branches, not just to the file their service tax, Customs Duty and Central Excise Returns, but also for cash withdrawals. The maximum rush was witnessed at the Treasury branches where the government department bills were being cleared.

With a view to enable tax payers to pay taxes till the late hours, most of the banks in the tri-cities, and the neighbouring cities of Ambala and Patiala had extended the banking hours today. Work was on in the designated branches of the State Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India and Vijaya Bank, till late in the night.

Heavy rush of the drawing and disbursing Officers (DDO) from various government departments was witnessed at the Central Treasury Office of Punjab and Chandigarh in Sector 17 here this evening.

Officials from various government departments of Chandigarh and Punjab were present at the Treasury to get their bills cleared before the closing of the fiscal year.

Hundreds of bills worth lakhs of rupees were cleared by the treasury officers by this evening. All departments of UT and Punjab were linked with the Sector 17 Treasury.

Though the UT Treasury was computerised, the absence of computerisation in the Punjab Treasury meant that the employees had to sit overnight to complete the work.

Mr PL Bhatti, Central Treasury Officer, Chandigarh, said over 200 bills of various departments of the Chandigarh Administration were cleared so that the DDOs could approach the SBI Treasury to withdraw the money. He said to ensure that there was no heavy rush on the last date, the DDOs had been asked to submit their bills in advance, if possible.

However, there were some complains that the bills which had been given a few days in advance had not been cleared till the last date. Till the filing of this report, the Punjab Treasury was clearing the bills. “ We have issued tokens till 4 pm and after that no bill was accepted so that we could process the cases,” said the Central Treasury Officer, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singh Jakhal.



MC creates 100 posts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Municipal Corporation today decided to introduce an additional post of MoH, apart from creating 100 new posts on a regular basis in order to regularise the services of daily wage workers working in NAC Mani Majra during 1987-1995.

The House also increased the financial limit of two committees of the MC. The limit of the Road Committee was increased from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, while that for the F&CC Committee was increased from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.

The remuneration of the councillors attending the meetings of the MCC was also revised.

The daily allowance entitlement of the councillors was revised to Rs 500 for attending meetings of the House, Rs 400 for attending meetings of the F&CC and Rs 300 for attending meetings of other committees.

The issue of managing community centres through public participation was also given the nod by the House today.

The creation of a new subdivision and additional staff for existing roads division was also given the green signal.

The issue of widening of roads in a few sectors was also cleared.

Earlier, a two-minute silence was observed to mourn the death of the son of the former Mayor, Mr Gian Chand Gupta.



UT cancels allotment of 3 bhavans
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The allotment of three bhavans has been cancelled by the UT Estate Office for misusing the premises for commercial activity. A similar action against others is also on the cards.

Khukhrain Bhavan, Gulati Bhavan and Ramgarhia Bhavan had been allotted land on concessional rates on behalf social organisations but were being misused for commercial activity.

During a recent survey, the estate office found that 20 bhavans of the total 48 bhavans were allowing commercial activity on their premises. The premises were being used for hosting various functions.

Though such notices have been issued in the past, this time the administration has decided to come down heavily on the violators. The activity was in violation of the Chandigarh Lease Hold of Sites and Building Rules, 1973.

Some of the owners have been found to be running marriage halls with catering services. In one case, a house has been built on a place for a bhavan. Owners rent these out for exhibitions as well.

On the basis of the survey, resumption notices have been issued to 20 such bhavans, including Law Bhavan allotted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

Land to hotels is allotted on commercial rates or the sites are auctioned. The land for bhavans is sold at low rates.



Regiment celebrates golden jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The presentation of the Standard to 62 Cavalry by the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, marked the regiment's golden jubilee celebrations at its location somewhere in the Western sector today. This is the Army's first armoured regiment to be raised after Independence and also the first outfit to be raised entirely on tanks.

A mounted parade was organised on the occasion, a statement issued here said. The Standard is presented to a regiment as a mark of recognition of its professional acumen and battleworthiness.

The parade was followed by the release of a coffee table book on the history of the regiment by the Army Chief.His wife, Anupama Singh, presented gifts to ex-servicemen, their families and widows on the occasion. A large number of serving as well as retired regimental officers were present.

Twentyfive years ago at Ambala, the then President, Dr Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, had presented a Guidon to the regiment, which was laid to rest today.

62 Cavalry was declared "Fit-for- War" on March 31, 1957, with its first Commanding Officer, Lt-Col R.S. Butalia, at the helm. It took active part in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, where it was tasked to protect the flanks of 1 Armoured Division during its offensive in Pakistan.

It has to its credit several awards and recognitions which include a Maha Vir Chakra, two Param Vishisht Seva Medals, four Ati Vishisht Seva Medals (AVSM), a Bar to the AVSM, and a Sena Medal. The regiment has also performed commendably in counter- insurgency operations garnering two Sena Medals and two Army Chief's Commendations.

Commanded by Col Neeraj Kapur at present, the regiment has been selected several times to carry out critical trials and evaluations. It is also the victor of the prestigious Armoured Corps Hockey Tournament.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will attend some of the commemorative events tomorrow and renew the regiment 's association with Punjab and the erstwhile state forces of Patiala. A special commemorative stamp will be released on the occasion.



Dhritarashtra turns filmmaker
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Girja Shankar at a press conference in the Chandigarh Press Club, Sector 27, Chandigarh
Girja Shankar at a press conference in the Chandigarh Press Club, Sector 27, Chandigarh, on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 31
After dabbling in acting for several years, Girja Shankar has hit the expected road. Gone are his days at the “Mahabharata”. It is now time for him to “work and expect its fruit as well”. Though not in line with the Bhagvadagita, the attitude speaks volumes about the man who made his first mark as an actor in ‘Mahabharata’. But Dhritarashtra is history and Girja Shankar must move on…

So he has, although in a different direction. Turning director-producer with the film “Banana Brothers”, Shankar is hoping for a fate reversal. Much time has passed since he tasted success in “Mahabharata” and it is natural for him to yearn for the lost taste all over again.

“Banana Brothers”, he hopes, will bring that taste back to him. And he has played his cards well to entice success. He has chosen the fashionable genre of crossover films, called his film “comic and hilarious”, set up his sets in the US and cast actors who sell, like Anupam Kher and Johnny Lever.

But the box office is not all that obliging. It is rather fastidious, and more so when the film sets out with tall claims, as “Banana Brothers” has. In Chandigarh to garner support on the occasion of the Punjab release of the film today, Shankar said, “I am looking at the trials and tribulations of two simple first generation American-Asians settled in the US. They have their pangs of emotion; their moments of hope and despair and all the usual stuff Indians settled abroad endure. But finally the film is about everything falling in place. The film has pace and punch and all that you need for a good hearty laugh.”

Notwithstanding claims, facts remain facts: casting comedians does not ensure comedy. And that is something Girja Shankar is well aware of. So he has mixed his elements well. He has picked Jaidev for music; film shooting has been done in some breathtakingly beautiful locations at Los Angeles, California and San Francisco.

“Another strength of my film,” says Shankar, “is its stress on ethnic bonding. My protagonists are from two communities - Gujarati and Punjabi. The story is about their journey and their interesting business venture in the form of Banana brothers’ café.”

For those who thought “Banana Brothers” had something to do with “bananas”, here is a piece of information - this “banana” derives from the Hindi version of “banana”. There are no “fruits” in the film!



Seminar lays stress on genetics in dairy
Tribune News Service

Mr D.S. Bains, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development, Punjab, speaks at the seminar on Canadian dairy genetics in Chandigarh
Mr D.S. Bains (right), Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development, Punjab, speaks at the seminar on Canadian dairy genetics in Chandigarh on Friday.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 31
The Consulate-General of Canada, Chandigarh, organised a seminar on Canadian dairy genetics here today.

Mr D.S. Bains, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, Punjab, said Punjab dairy farmers could learn a lot from the Canadian experience.

He suggested that some kind of tie-up could be finalised between farmers of Punjab and Canadian companies, particularly those having expertise in the field of genetic engineering of milch cattle.

Dr Krish Karihaloo of the Alta Genetics Inc, Canada, said that dairy farming in Canada and many parts of the West had turned into a fully-grown industry whereas in India, it was suffering from some shortcomings.

Referring to the issue of use of genetics to improve the quantity of milk being given by a cow, Dr Karihaloo said Canada had made vast strides in this sector.



e-governance projects reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A meeting of the e-Governance Committee of the Chandigarh Administration was held under the chairmanship of Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, to monitor the progress of e-governance and review of e-Sampark, Jan Sampark and Mobile projects. Future plans
for e-governance were also discussed at the meeting.

Those present on the occasion included Mr Krishan Mohan, Home Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary -cum- Secretary IT, Mr S.N. Sahai, Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board, Mr R.K. Rao, the Deputy Commissioner and Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP.

Mr S.K. Sandhu said the centres were now facilitating 1.25 lakh residents of the city each month through the eight e-Sampark Centres and the Jan Sampark which is at the pilot stage.

The Adviser also said casual leave applications and meeting notices should be sent only by e-mail by all departments/offices. It was also decided that the Administrator’s Trophy for the best department in terms of e-Governance adoption would be presented every year.



Rs 40,000 donated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
Mr Harsukhinder Singh, president of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, yesterday donated Rs 40,000 to ‘Sawera’, an organisation looking after the welfare of physically challenged children.

Mr Harsukhinder Singh said the donation was made to help ‘Sawera’ to purchase a bus for schoolchildren.

He said ‘Sawera’ was running a school which had children from Hoshiarpur, Muktsar, Ludhiana and Delhi, for whom it was providing a residential facility, with financial assistance from parents and others.

He said a survey was being conducted in the surrounding villages to identify children and others who needed help.

After collecting the necessary data, government agencies would be approached for help so that various kinds of aids could be provided to the physically challenged persons.



Tribune employees retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Mr Jagdish Raj Sharma and Mr Radhey Shyam, Senior Foreman and Senior Head Dafri of The Tribune, respectively, retired here today. While Mr Sharma served the institution more than about 40 years, Mr Radhey Shyam had put in 36 years of service.

Mr Jagdish Raj Sharma and Mr Radhey Shyam joined The Tribune in 1966 and 1970 at Ambala and Chandigarh, respectively.

They were given a warm send off by their colleagues. A farewell party was also arranged in their honour at the office premises. The General Manager, Mr Sanjay Hazari was present on the occasion.



BIS staff sensitised on harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) organised a one-day sensitisation programme on sexual harassment at the workplace for its employees here today.

In her inaugural address, Ms Kala Variar explained various guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for the protection of women. She stressed that the programme would help change attitudes among the employees and help create harmony among them.

Ms Renuka Salwan, Deputy Director (Public Relations), BIS, said sexual harassment of women at the workplace violated their right to earn a living with dignity and was against the fundamental rights. She appealed to the participants to follow the code of conduct in order to promote the well-being of all women employees at the workplace.



Anti-tobacco campaign
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
The Generation Saviour Association will organise quit and win campaign to create awareness regarding the ill-effects of smoking.

Ms Amteshwar Kaur, president of the association, said at a press conference here yesterday that the campaign was supported by the World Health Organisation and other international partners. The aim was to create a smoke-free and a tobacco free-society.

She said the quit and win was an international smoking cessation contest for smokers around the world, who would have to abstain from smoking and other tobacco products for a four- week period. Health and cash prizes to the tune of Rs 5 lakh could be won.



Jagran today

Chandigarh, March 31
The fourth annual vishal Bhagwati jagran will be organised by the Yuva Sangthan on April 1 at Main Market, Sector 44-C here. The jyoti will be lit at 9.30 p.m. followed by bhog and aarti. Musician Lavlee Mann from Yamunanagar along with his associates will present a sankirtan programme on the occasion. TNS



Failing exam, girl ends life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A 14-year-old girl allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself, after she failed to clear her Class VII exams.

Police sources informed TNS that the victim, Pushpa, was a student of Government High School, Mauli village. Her annual result was declared today, and she had failed to clear the examinations.

Family members said that she was very upset and locked herself in the room. Her parents were away at work. When her brother came home in the afternoon, he found her body hanging from a hook in the ceiling.



Cyclist killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
A cyclist was killed after being hit by a jeep near Housing Board Colony, Dhanas, late last night. In another incident, a motor cycle was stolen from the city.

According to the police, the accident victim was identified as 24-year-old Munish Kumar, a resident of Housing Board Colony, Dhanas. He was hit by a Mahindra Bolero Jeep (CH-03-P-9610). He suffered serious head injuries in the accident and was rushed to a hospital, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.

The jeep driver reportedly sped away from the spot. A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving was registered in this regard.



VAT on liquor reduced
Tribune News service

Bacchus Bacchus …

With just few hours left for the outgoing liquor contractors to end their stocks, heavy rush of boozers could be seen at the vends in Sectors 17, 24, 52, Palsora and Mani Majra.

Despite the contractors “announcing” stock clearance sales, none of the popular brands of liquor and beer was available at most of the vends. The drop in the prices of different brands of liquor varied between 30 per cent and 50 per cent.

Since all the liquor vends are controlled by the liquor cartel, headed by the liquor baron, Ponty Chadha, the crash in prices was the same at all vends. None of the popular brands like Aristocrat Premium, Royal Challenge, Royal Stag, Peter Scot were available at any vend in the southern part of the city.

Chandigarh, March 31
In the new financial year, prices of liquor in the city would be on a par with those prevailing in the neighbouring areas of Punjab and Haryana.

To ensure that the landing price of liquor remains on a par with the neighbouring states and there was no inter-state smuggling, the Chandigarh Administration today issued a notification to bring down the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 22 per cent to 4 per cent, as announced by the Punjab Government.

A notification in this regard was issued late this evening, said a source in the administration. Further, excise duty on country liquor was reduced from Rs 10 per proof litre to Rs 5 per proof litre.

The District Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, said the concession would be effective from April 1. In the third attempt to allot vends yesterday, the Excise and Taxation Department was able to allot only 11 vends. The number of vends which remained unallotted were 37 and 20 for country made and IMFL, respectively.

Since the neighbouring states drastically reduced the landing cost of liquor, leading to distortions in price sensitive liquor states, the administration, which was the first to announce the licence system, had to follow the suit. The notification has been issued as UT follows Punjab in matters of taxation.

It may be mentioned that the policy of licensing is being followed in states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Goa, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.


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