C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pvt publishers make hay as NCERT fails to supply books
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The new NCERT textbooks of various subjects are yet to hit the stands in Chandigarh. The much talked about books, which promise to promote activity-based learning, reduce curricular burden and examination stress, are not available at any of the authorised stores, which sell NCERT books in the city. In fact, most parents have already purchased books available in the market printed by private publishers.

The CBSE had issued a circular to all affiliated schools in February informing them about the release of new books. However, most of the students, especially of junior classes, had already spent anything between Rs 1,200 and Rs 2,000 for buying books. The NCERT had also informed the CBSE that the textual material would be made available for use in the schools before the commencement of the academic session, but nothing had happened.

At most of the leading bookstores in the city, books printed by private publishers are selling like hot cakes. For Class I to VIII, where the CBSE only prescribes the syllabi designed by the NCERT, the first choice is books of the private publishers. Citing various reasons for the same, a school principal said most of the times the NCERT books were released very late and were not available for months together. The quality of the NCERT textbooks in terms of paper quality, colour scheme and visual relief as compared to the books by private publishers was also quite poor.

Another school Principal said, “It is in January that most of the school heads decide on the books to be prescribed and the private publishers start visiting the schools quite early offering various schemes. The scanning is done much in advance and the delay in the availability of books disturbs the school’s schedule where the session starts as early as April 1”, he added.

At the Regional CBSE office, the authorities concerned informed that since the CBSE only directed the schools to follow the NCERT syllabus it was for the school to choose the publisher of books for junior classes. Another official said to place an order of books with the NCERT one had to pay the entire amount at once, which most booksellers could not afford.

Meanwhile, bookstores like Manchanda Book Store, Sector 19, Happy Book Store, Sector 22, have not received the new NCERT textbooks.

Parents rued the fact that though the new books promised to be different, their non-availability had forced them to buy expensive books of private publishers. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Tapan Singh, a parent, said no matter how good the NCERT books were the schools, including government schools, would only prescribe books printed by private publishers. However, in some schools students were still using the NCERT textbooks.



43 jhuggis gutted in Colony No 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
A major fire was broke out at Colony No. 5, here today. More than 43 jhuggis were gutted, destroying property worth lakh of rupees. No causality was, however, reported.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, who visited the area, announced a relief of Rs 2,000 to each of the affected families. He said the Administration was providing them temporary shelter, food and water. The Tehsildar (Revenue) had been asked to asses the damage.

The fire broke out at around 2 pm. It took the firemen about three hours to bring the flames under control. The exact cause of fire was not known.

While slum-dwellers present at the spot stated that the fire was due to sparking from a “kundi” connection, officials stated that the fire seemed to be accidental.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Mangal Chand, Sub-Fire Officer, said three fire engines were used to control the fire.

Apart from household items, a large number of rickshaws, rehris and cycles were destroyed.



Dejected, student goes berserk
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Amit Dutta shook the establishment of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, here this morning. Alienated by the authorities, this final-year applied art student chose the language of aggression to register his resentment against the system that, he says, “stinks”.

Amit shattered windowpanes and wrote acerbic remarks against the college authorities in the college gallery. He accused them of conspiring to suppress his creativity.

Similar writings in bold red paint also filled walls of Amit’s room in Sector 15 International Boys Hostel, from where he was “expelled” this evening on the ground of indiscipline.

And though the graffiti reveals the root of Amit’s aggression (it is full of instances that led to Amit’s isolation at college), the authorities went ahead with a formal police complaint against him. They called Sector 3 police personnel once Amit left the college. In the evening, he was produced before the SDM (Central), who released him on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and a promise of appropriate behaviour.

Meanwhile, Amit has been directed to appear before the court on April 21, till then he will be under observation for his conduct.

The administrative action apart, Amit’s step exemplifies the larger rot in the system or so students of the college feel. His long-time friend said (on the condition of anonymity): “He is the best animation hand in the college but he has been sidelined deliberately. Recently, his works were not allowed to be displayed in the annual art exhibition of the college. He loves sculpting but he is not allowed to work on stones. One day he reacted by spoiling the black marble slab which the Principal was supposed to sculpt. Also, one of his sculptures was rejected on grounds that it was too bold.”

While Amit’s act may be indicative of the collective frustration of students caught in an “unsympathetic system”, his lecturers — Anand Sharma and Anand Shinde — (against whom he has leveled allegations of incompetence) maintain he is “indisciplined” as does Principal Brahm Prakash, who was away to Narkanda for a workshop. Not just that, the authorities, in the police complaint, took the extreme step of demanding medical examination to ascertain his mental health.

The Administrative Officer of the college, Mr S.K. Setia, while discussing the case, said: “There are multiple factors behind Amit’s act of vandalisation but we have been sympathetic towards his career. That is why we have only expelled him from the hostel and not taken him out of college rolls. We will allow him to sit for the final exams which begin on April 10.”

But Amit has already lost the will to take the exam or even chase the degree he was so passionate about.

“I am dejected with the system which nips creativity in the bud. I have written my complaints on the walls and have explained why I have lost the motivation to appear for the final exam. I want to die,” said a de-motivated Amit, who has, in his graffiti, mentioned things like “I am PhD in Applied Art.” “Shoot me.” “I am most wanted.”

While Amit is trying to cope, some members of the faculty sympathise with his situation.

“It’s wrong to say Amit is a psychic. He has just been victimised. Vandalisation was not his objective today. He broke panes of the notice board to express his relationship with his teachers and to make his voice heard. Had the authorities listened to him, this would not have happened,” said a lecturer.

Incidentally, several students from humble backgrounds like Amit (he hails from a poor family of Moga and has struggled very hard to secure admission in the art college) feel sidelined at the college because of being outsiders to the city-bred culture. They lack communication skills and end up in disadvantageous positions. In such a situation, they expect their lecturers to help them get a level-playing field instead of taking a hostile stance towards them.



Travails of getting an FIR registered
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Tracing the mobile phone is not difficult in case of theft or misplacement. It can be found with the help of the IMEI number which is unique to each set. Even if the sim-card ID is changed the phone can still be traced with the help of the IMEI number.

Chandigarh, April 7
The police initially refused to register an FIR in a mobile phone theft case. Subsequently, it registered a daily diary report (DDR), saying the phone had been misplaced.

Though senior police officials refuse to comment on the issue, legal experts say action not only amounts to the subversion of the law, but does not comply with the Supreme Court directions also. The court says investigation should be carried out after registering an FIR in the case of a cognizable offence.

However, in the case of Aayush Chopra of Mohali, the police only registered a DDR after taking its own “time”.

Narrating his ordeal, Chopra told Chandigarh Tribune that he had gone to Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, to take his BA II examination. As the phone was not allowed to be carried in the examination hall, the invigilator on duty asked him to place it on the lecture stand. After finishing his examination, he went to collect his phone, but found it missing. He brought the matter to the notice of the invigilator, who expressed his ignorance about it.

Chopra said he reported the matter to the Sector 26 police station. The police official there refused to pay heed to his requests and made him sit for over two hours.

Refusing to register the case, the police official told him that they had to question all students who came for the examination. And suggesting the way out, the cops told him to get registered a DDR, saying that his mobile phone was misplaced. On the other hand, the cops assured him that they would inquire into the matter without registering a case.

When this issue was taken up with the DSP (East), Mr Vijay Pal Singh, he expressed ignorance. He however, said if complainant said his mobile phone was stolen, an FIR should have been lodged. He added that he would look into the matter.



Sarus breeds at Chhatbir zoo
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The world’s tallest flying bird is breeding successfully in captivity. Five chicks have been bred in Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir, near here, in the past three years. The zoo is now home to eight sarus cranes.

These days, two young ones are the centre of attraction for bird lovers. They can be seen sauntering and flapping their wings. They were separated from their parents.

The heads of these eight-month-old chicks are covered with cinnamon brown feathers. With maturity, the body plumage changes from cinnamon brown to grey and the head to red.

The sarus attains a height of up to 6 ft with a wing span of 8 ft. Its crown is covered with smooth greenish skin, while the rest of the head and the upper neck are covered with red skin.

The redheads depend upon shallow wetlands, marshes, ponds and fields for breeding.

Says Mr K.S. Gopi Sundar, Research Associate (India), International Crane Foundation, USA: “The sarus is holding out in Uttar Pradesh with a good distribution and high density in many districts. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, their presence is restricted to certain areas and seems to be declining. In Punjab, the sarus has been extinct as a breeding bird for many years now and I have no new information except that it appears in some areas as a vagrant.”

He attributes its decline to the increased use of pesticides, changing crop patterns, degradation of wetlands and marshy areas and high-tension electricity wires.

Mr Prabhat Bhatti, a Nangal-based bird watcher, recorded 18 sarus cranes near Santoshgarh village in Una district last year.

“Breeding in captivity is the only solution to protect the threatened species from extinction,” believes Dr Kuldip Kumar, Director, Chhatbir zoo.

“The zoo authorities succeeded in establishing a compatible pair in 2003. Till date, five chicks have been bred. The pair is again likely to breed by May-end, so it has been separated from the newborn chicks,” says Mr Neeraj Gupta, Wildlife Warden, Chhatbir, who has been monitoring the bird since 2003.



Raids at ex-Navy officer’s in-laws house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
CBI sleuths have seized documents pertaining to foreign investments, besides other items during a raid on a house here in connection with the ongoing investigations in the Navy war room leak case.

A CBI team raided a house in Sector 8 of the in-laws of Kulbhushan Prashar, a retired Navy officer, here last night.

The CBI arrested Prashar on his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi from London yesterday.

Sources revealed that the documents were relating to a scheme involving conversion of black money into white through donations. The CBI sleuths also took into possession several other documents relating to property as well as a laptop computer, some CDs and computer paraphernalia.

Prashar’s wife was also present when the raid took place. No arrests, however, were made.



City pools gear up for the summer
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The city has prepared itself to beat the scorching heat. One can have a splash in the water in a number of pools. Various clubs and centres are in the offering. Here are a few places being geared up for swimming enthusiasts.

Lake Sports Complex

Their all new pool is there to keep you cool. New tiles have been put on the deck. More bathrooms and toilets are being constructed. The passage to the pool has been renovated and a new filtration plant is being installed. The subscription is Rs 200 per month for users (OTF) and Rs 150 per month for dependants. Outside users who are residents of Chandigarh, a graduate with PAN is required to pay usage charges of the pool for the full season i.e. six months charges in advance of Rs 1800Guests can enjoy these facilities but will have to pay Rs 50 for a visit. "The pool will be operational by April 15. We will have a morning session from 6 am to 7 am for ladies, 7 am to 8 am for gents and family hours would be from 8 am to 9.30 am. There are separate timings for the convenience of ladies in the evening too, which is from 4 pm to 5 pm. The timings for men are 5 pm to 6 pm. Keeping in mind that office goers can come only in late in the evening, we have scheduled late evening timings from 6 pm to 9:30 pm for families. Better light arrangements have been made for the purpose," said Mr Reet Mohinder Singh, GM, Lake Sports Complex.

Chandigarh Golf Club

The pool will be operational from April 11 till October 31. A permanent member can enjoy the pool for the full season at a fee of Rs 1050 and their dependents for another Rs 800. For temporary member, it is fixed at Rs 1300 and for their dependents at Rs 950. One month use of the swimming pool for permanent members and their spouses will be Rs 530 while Rs 660 will be charged from temporary members. One day use will cost Rs 30 from permanent members while for their guests another Rs 50 would be charged. The timings will be from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. The exclusive session for members and their spouses will be from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. "We are having a late start because of the renovation work which will be completed in two-day's time. We have an overall in charge of the pool, in addition, to a life guard, who would remain there till closing hours of the pool," said Col. J.S. Pannu , GM, Chandigarh Golf Club.

Chandigarh Club

The pool will be thrown open from April 17. The members will have to shell out Rs 400 for three months and Rs 1000 for the full season. Same fee structure will be applicable to dependents. Besides, members' guests will have to pay Rs 50 per visit. "We have a new filtration plant installed in our pool which makes it more hygienic. To cope up with any emergency situation, we have engaged two life guards, out of which one would be especially for the kids who. We have also engaged a lady coach for the convenience of our lady swimmers," said Mr Mukesh Bassi, President, Chandigarh Club.

Chandigarh Press Club

The pool will start from May 1. Members and their families/guests can enrol themselves on fulfilling the required conditions of fee subscription and medical fitness, as laid down in the admit card. Timings will be from 6 am to 10 am and 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Separate timings for ladies in the morning and evening have been slotted from as 9.00 am to 10 am and 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Decision regarding the fee structure will be finalised in the meeting to be held shortly.

Panjab University

The pool would be open from April 15 till October 31. Students need to shell out Rs 50 per month but the outsiders will have to pay Rs 500 for a month. Enrollment will be made on first-come-first-serve basis. Separate timings for ladies and families have been fixed. "We have advertised for a life guard and the whole process will take seven days. Those enrolled with the Lake pool or Sector 23 pool, would not be allowed to use our pool. They would have to produce a no objection certificate from both these places before coming to us. This effort is being made to cope with the heavy rush. Guests would be at Rs 100 per visit," said D.S. Toor, Director, Sports, PU.

Nursery Swimming Pool-23

A special small pool for children between the age group of 5 and 10 is also being made operational. It will have a depth of just 3 feet. Adults will have to pay Rs 1400 for the full season and students will have to pay Rs 1500. "There is one coach each for both the pools and separate timings for ladies," said Mr Negi, District Sports Officer.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Pool-29

This pool run by Rajeev Enterprises Sports Academy located in Sector 29, Kendriya Vidyalaya, has been operation since March 28 and will be open till September 30. The charges are Rs 700 for a month, Rs 1800 for three months and Rs 2500 for six months. There is elaborate arrangement for lights in the late evening hours. Morning timings are 5.30 am to 7.30 am and 5.00 pm to 9.00pm in the evening for the general public. Each session is of one hour duration. "Ours is a fully equipped pool with a coach and three life guards. We have not designated separate timings for ladies because of our tight schedule. We have entered into a contract with the Franklin Air Hostess Academy under which their students will use the pool exclusively from 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm and from 4.00 to 5 .00 pm.," said Robin Chandel, the swimming coach.

Mohali Club, Phase 11

The newly renovated pool has been operational since March 16 and will work till September. The charges per month are Rs 400 per month for members, Rs 600 for couples, Rs 800 for a non-member, and Rs 1200 for non-member couple. "To meet the scarcity of water, unlike the earlier season , we have installed pumps this time. We have renovated the deck of the pool with new tiles and changing rooms have also been renovated. The one time charge for having a dip will cost you Rs 50, " said Mr M. .K Sharma, Manager, Mohali Club.

Gymkhana Club, Sector 3, Panchkula

The pool is under renovation but likely to swing into action from April 15 onwards. The charges for members are: Rs 350 per month and another Rs 200 for their children below 12, Rs 750 per month for non-members and another Rs 250 per month for their kids below 12. Rs 75 for per visit for guests and Rs 50 for kid. "The process is on to appoint a life guard and a lady coach. The session will be of one hour only both in the morning as well as evening . The timings for morning session will be from 6 am to 9 am with separate timing for ladies session from 8 am to 9 am. The evening session will be from 4 pm to 9 pm. and the ladies will have an exclusive session from 4 pm to 5 pm. Our emphasis will be mainly on the hygiene of the pool", said Lt Col. S D Sharma, manager. Gymkhana Club.



UT villages to have mini-sampark centres by May
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
All the 18 villages of the Union Territory will have mini sampark centres by May. The structures are coming up on Built Operate Transfer (BOT) basis.

At least six companies have responded to the UT advertisement for the facility centres. The centres will extend facilities on the pattern of the e-sampark centres in the city providing the facility of depositing electricity and water bills, senior citizen cards and bus passes, beside certain other facilities.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Vivek Atray, Director of Information Technology, said the mini sampark centres or community service centres were coming up as part of a national scheme announced by the Prime Minister under which one lakh villages in the country will have sampark centre facilities.

Mr Atray said at least two rooms each had been identified in the UT villages for the centres. All arrangements for facilities and the required manpower will be provided by the companies engaged for the project.

The Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary, Information Technology, Chandigarh, Mr S.K. Sandhu, said that the e-governance initiative of the Administration, namely e-sampark, facilitated 11,12,276 transactions amounting to Rs 239 crore during the financial year 2005-06 in the city. The services are provided through eight 8 e-sampark centres spread across the city and also through online payment gateway facility available on the website http://chandigarh.gov.in .

It is pertinent to mention that out of the available services, two recently introduced services---Space Booking and HFCL bill payment---were widely accepted and in a short span of two months it registered 7513 transactions. The administration is planning to open one more e-sampark centre in Sector 40 and 18 mini e-sampark centres, one in each village of Chandigarh so that the facility can also be extended there, Mr Sandhu said.

Out of the available services, electricity and water bill collection have been the most popular ones where 10,31,969 transactions amounting to more than Rs 232 crores were carried out. Abut 80 per cent of the total collection of the electricity bill is now made at the e-sampark centres. These centres are providing services to different strata of society covering all age groups. 



Centre to promote development in small towns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Centre has decided to promote urban development in small and medium towns by subsuming existing schemes of integrated development of towns with the accelerated urban water supply programme.

Stating this while giving an overview of the urban infrastructure development scheme for small and medium towns (UISSSMT) at a seminar organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here today, the centre's honorary director, Mr J.P Gupta, said the development of urban infrastructure was being undertaken in 63 selected towns.

He said the emphasis was on the urban renewal programmes for old cities to reduce congestion and to provide basic services to the urban poor. Several development programmes, he added, were being combined to undertake holistic development.

Representatives from municipal bodies and urban local bodies of towns in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh attended the seminar.

The objectives of UISSSMT were to improve infrastructural facilities and help create durable public assets and quality-oriented services in towns, enhance public-private partnership in infrastructure development and promote planned integrated development.

Urban reforms initiatives undertaken by the central government were highlighted by Mr Hitesh Vaidya from the Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion Project, New Delhi.



Smart cards system to be operational soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The non-implementation of the smart card system for making purchases from CSD canteens at Chandimandir is causing inconvenience to serving personnel visiting the military station.

The smart card system is already in vogue in several major military stations and has replaced the conventional liquor card, where entries are made by hand.

A Naval officer visiting Chandimandir from Bangalore complained that he was unable to draw liquor from the CSD canteen in Chandimandir as he could not use his smart card there. Consequently, he had to purchase liquor from the civilian market at much higher rates. Armed forces personnel are authorised a fixed monthly quota depending upon their rank and they must have a valid liquor card for drawing CSD liquor.

An official spokesperson from the Western Command Headquarters said the process of issuing smart cards was underway and the system was expected to be operational in a few weeks' time. As an interim measure for aforementioned cases, the spokesperson added that a certificate could be obtained from the local station headquarters fro drawing liquor.

Some smart cards have already been issued, but at present these are merely being used for identification rather than transactions. These cards can be used all over the country for purchasing goods from CSD canteens and will carry the holder's service details and transaction records.

The idea behind smart cards was to prevent officers from purchasing goods and liquor above their stipulated monthly limit. Though there is a strict and effective check on liquor, there was no effective means on verifying how much worth of goods a person had purchased unless voluminous records were painstakingly scrutinised.

The services are gradually moving towards smart cards. Already smart cards for the Exservicemen's Contributory Health Scheme have been issued, which carry the holder's complete medical history and details of treatment and medication.

A proposal is also under consideration to issue smart cards for armed forces pensioners, which can be used for various purposes.



Bank forum pledges support to SBI staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , April 7
The indefinite strike called by the joint forum of the State Bank employees and officers federations today entered its fifth day.

A rally was held at the local head office of the State Bank of India. It was addressed by Mr Amar Pal, President, All India State Bank Officers Federation and by Mr O.N. Bindroo, General Secretary, SBI Staff Association (Chandigarh Circle). A peaceful procession was taken-out in the bank square.

Addressing the rally, Mr Amar Pal, who himself participated in the consolatory talks held in Delhi, expressed anguish and sorrow over the negative attitude of the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidabram, which led to the failure of talks. He said the strike will continue till the just and genuine demands of the employees were accepted.

Mr Bindroo also criticised the Central Government for forcing the employees to resolve to an indefinite strike, especially when the government was not to bear the burden of the payment of pension.

Meanwhile, the striking employees continued getting support from other trade unions. After LIC employees' support yesterday, the United Forum of Bank Unions declared their support and assured that all bank's would go on a one day lightening strike in case the government failed to accept the demands of the SBI employees within a week.

Both the leaders regretted the inconvenience caused to the public and appealed to them to support their cause and pressurise the government for early settlement of the pension issue.



YPS old boys to honour Bansal today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, will sport an old school tie instead of his customary attire when he meets students from his old school here tomorrow.

An old student of Yadavindra Public School (he passed out in 1964), Mr Bansal will be facilitated by students of his old school under the aegis of Aitchisonian Yadavindrian Old Student's Association. (AYOSA).

Yadavindra Public School was established on February 2, 1948 by Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of Patiala. The Partition of the country had taken away from India the Aitchison College, Lahore, where many princes and chiefs, including those of Patiala, studied.

A dinner will be hosted at Shivalik View Hotel at 7.30 p.m. Among the prominent ex-students expected to attend it are Major Onkar Narain Phulka (retd), the oldest Yadavindrian, Mr Hardev Singh Cheena, IAS, Mr Sarabjit Singh Bedi, Chief Commissioner, Central Excise and Customs, Dr A S Bindra and Lt Gen Charanjit Singh Panang (retd).

Two Chandigarh-based Yadavindrian writers, journalist and author Roopinder Singh and Ms Neelkamal Puri, whose book "Patiala Quartet" is making waves, will also be present at the event which is open to all Yadavindrians.



Progress of war memorial reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
To expedite the construction of war memorial, a meeting was held under the supervision of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Secretary of Engineering Wing, here today. The job is likely to completed by July 31.

The Engineering Department of Chandigarh Administration is constructing a war memorial in the Bougainvillaea Garden.

The war memorial with an estimated cost of Rs 57.5 lakh will have names of around 9,000 martyrs engraved on the black granite stone, fixed on the walls around the memorial. The memorial will be first of its kind in India in honour of martyrs of all defence forces who laid down their lives during war operations after Independence.

Another aspect which has been kept in mind while designing the memorial is that all names will be at the eye level height making it visible and readable for Visitors.

The centre of the memorial will have a 22-ft high metal monument. The technical and fixing details of the monument were also discussed during the meeting.

It was decided that the number of joints will be kept minimum for better aesthetics of the monument. It was further decided that the metal would be given oxidation treatment so as to have minimum weathering effect.



Labour policy reforms discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Council Of Indian Employers (CIE) in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the All India Organisation of Employers (AIOE) today organised a social dialogue on labour policy reforms.

The Union Minister of State, Labour and Employment, inaugurated the conference. The conference, supported by the International Labour Organisation, focussed on the growth employment and competitiveness, with special focus on the northern Indian states. The two-day conference will conclude tomorrow.

On this occasion, representatives from labour departments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, gave presentations from their respective states. The representatives of employers, trade unions and academicians were also present on this occasion.

The conference is being organised to provide a platform to discuss and debate the possibility of the much desired labour policy reforms to provide a push to the on -going reforms. The labour policy reforms are being seen as a critical tool to promote employment generation as well. The concluding session of the conference, to be held tomorrow, will be devoted to a social dialogue between employers and trade unions on the “Roadmap for Labour Policy Reforms— Balancing Socio-Economic factor”.

Mr Sahu later visited the ESI Hospital at Ramdarbar.



Six new members inducted into BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) today inducted six new members to its party. Mr Rajesh Gupta (Bittu) who had contested the past two Municipal Corporation elections as an independent candidate was inducted with his supporters Mr Rakesh Gupta, Mr Sanjay Gupta, Mr Harminder Singh, Mr Ramesh Batra and Mr Nand Lal Nagpal.

This announcement was made by ex-MP Satya Pal Jain at a press conference today. Mr Jain also condemned the current Congress-led government in the state and demanded immediate release of water in the IV phase of Kajauli water works.

“The UT administration has taken no steps to help us,” he stated. Mr Jain also emphasised that the promised 70 MW of electricity was also not released to the city and they would soon be facing power cuts.

Mr Jain also criticised the non-inclusion of Chandigarh in the Railway budget, he also criticised that the Panjab University had not been given any funds in the recent budget, while PAU, Ludhiana, was given a big share of the fund.

Stating that if their demand of water and electricity was not met and the UT administration did not take immediate steps to solve the water issue, they would stage a dharna on April 22 at Matka Chowk.



Punjab Regiment to hold bi-annual get-together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
The Punjab Regiment is holding its bi-annual get-together here on April 9. Serving and retired regimental officers from all over the country are expected to attend the meet, a statement issued here said today.

Colonel of the Punjab Regiment, Maj-Gen K.J.S. Oberoi, the regiment’s senior most serving officer, and president of the Chandigarh Chapter of the Punjab Regiment Officers Association, Lt-Gen R.S. Dyal (retd) would be present.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is also expected to grace the occasion.

The erstwhile Patiala state forces had contributed two infantry battalions to the Punjab Regiment, the 1st Patiala (Rajindra) and the 2nd Patiala (Yadvindra) which were now 15 Punjab and 16 Punjab, respectively.



Residents protest opening of liquor shop
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 7
Local residents are up in arms against the opening of a liquor shop at the Kalgidhar Enclave here.

In a representation to the Dera Bassi SDM, about 150 residents alleged that the opening of the shop would prove to be a nuisance for the residents. Hundreds of residents, including the retired defence personnel and government officials, lived in the area adjoining the proposed shop in Kalgidhar Enclave, the Defence Colony, and the Highland Cooperative Housing Society.

As the liquor shop was right on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway and had enough parking space, it would make it accident-prone. Besides, it would have adverse effect on the personalities of members of the families, particularly youngsters, living in the area, the representation added.

Urging the SDM to shift the liquor shop to another place, the residents threatened to launch an agitation if this was not done.



Public health official clarifies
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 7
An official of the Department of Public Health said here today that small creatures could not enter water supply pipes laid inside buildings as a wire mesh was put on both sides of the water meters which prevents them from entering the pipes .

Mr Gurpreet Singh, SDO, was reacting to a complaint of a Phase IV resident, who had alleged that a snake - like creature had come out of the water tap in his residence yesterday.

He said a minor repair work was going on at the residence of Mr Iqbal Singh and the creature might have crept into the tub from his residence itself and not from the water tap.

He said an official of the department visited the house of the complainant and showed him the wire mesh that existed on both sides of the water meter.



Camp to exchange soiled notes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
To create awareness among the public regarding the clean note policy, HDFC Bank, in association with the Reserve Bank of India, will conduct a camp for the exchange of soiled notes at its branch, SCO 147-148, Sector 17-C, on Saturday between 10 am and 2 pm.

The mutilated notes will be exchanged by branch officials, according to a press note of HDFC Bank.



Yoga classes

Chandigarh, April 7
The Mahajan Sabha, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Bharatiya Yog Sansthan, Delhi, started yoga classes from 5.30am to 6.30am at the Mahajan Bhavan, Sector 37 C, today. The yoga classes are being conducted under the supervision of Mr Gopal Dass. This was stated in a press note issued by Mr Ram Murti Mahajan and Mr R.K. Gupta, president and general secretary of the sabha, respectively. TNS



Two killed in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
An unidentified man was killed while another suffered serious injuries after being crushed by a truck here, this evening. The accident took place at the Sector 45, 46, 49 and 50 traffic lights point, when the truck hit the moped of the victims.

The police said one of the victims was declared “dead on arrival” by doctors at the GMCH, Sector 32.

The other person, who suffered multiple injuries, was under treatment.

His condition was stated to be critical, said the police.

According to an eyewitness, the accident took place as the driver of the truck (HR-38-9718) lost control over the vehicle and rammed it into a stationary Toyota Innova (PB-12-H-4706) from rear. After that the truck hit electric pole along the road before hitting the moped (HR-03-A-9449).

The victims were rushed to the hospital by a police vehicle.

A police official said the victims could not be identified as the police could not find any documents from the victims which could help in establishing their identity.

Meanwhile, the truck driver, Kishana, a resident of Daria village has been arrested by the police after registering a case against him.

In another incident, one person was killed and two others were injured after the horse cart they were travelling on was hit by a bus, near Milk Colony, Dhanas, tonight.

Pawan Kumar and his brother, Hawa Singh, had come to the city from Bhiwani.

They were reportedly going on the cart with their cousin, Montu, when the accident took place. While Pawan Singh died on the spot, Hawa Singh and Montu were rushed to the PGI and are stated to be serious.



A breach of trust
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
In a bizarre incident, a man decamped with the motor cycle of an accident victim on the pretext of offering him help.

Narrating the incident, Mr Satvinder Singh of Behlana village, told Chandigarh Tribune that he met with an accident in Sector 22 this morning. He was riding his black Hero Honda Passion motor cycle (CH-03-U-2089) and it collided with a car coming from the opposite direction. His hand was injured in the accident. Both parties, however, reached a compromise later.

“Meanwhile, a crowd gathered on the spot and one person in his mid-thirties approached me and demanded keys from me to remove my motor cycle from the road, as it was blocking traffic. Unmindful of what was going on in his mind, I handed over the keys to him. Seeing an opportunity, the man decamped with the motor cycle. By the time I realised what had happened, the man had vanished into thin air. He seemed to be a drug-addict,” said Satvinder Singh.

When contacted, an official at the Sector 17 police station said a case of cheating and breach of trust under the IPC had been registered in this regard. He added that the sketch of the accused had been released and efforts were on to trace him.



Kaithal man held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
The local police today arrested a Kaithal resident on the charges of breach of trust and cheating as he tried to decamp with Rs 1.50 lakh from a resident of Rajpura. The two persons had come to the city to purchase a car. However, another accomplice of the accused managed to flee.

Harsant Singh of Takhu Majra village, near Rajpura, reported to the police that he came to the city with Jeet Singh, another resident of his village, to purchase a car. Jeet Singh knew one Naresh Kumar of Kaithal, who used to visit him in his village. Jeet Singh introduced Naresh to Harsant Singh. Naresh told Harsant that he knew some persons in Chandigarh, who deal in second hand cars.

Harsant came to Zirakpur with Jeet Singh today to purchase a car. Harsant had Rs 1.50 lakh with him. From Zirakpur they took Naresh and his relative Parveen Kumar and boarded an auto-rickshaw for Chandigarh. Near Hallo Majra village a passenger travelling in the auto-rickshaw was dropped. Seeing an opportunity, Naresh and Parveen snatched the money from Harsant Singh and tried to run away. However, Harsant Singh managed to nab Naresh, while Parveen fled. The SHO of Sector 31 police station said a case of breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy had been registered in this regard.



Sketches of looters released
Our Correspondent

Panchkula April 7
The Panchkula police has released the sketches of two accused persons allegedly involved in an incident of looting at Panchkula on April 2. Accompanied by two more persons, the culprits had snatched a bag containing Rs 8.10 lakh at gunpoint from two local advocates Nitin Sood and Arvind Sood. The advocates were on their way back home in a Maruti Zen car after withdrawing the money from bank.

The Panchkula police says any information relating to these persons be conveyed to the office of Superintendent of Police at telephone numbers 0172-2567101, 2569100, DSP office: 0172-2570689, 2561216, 9988075775, or 0172-2560200, 9888059929, 9888703827.

The informer will be suitably rewarded and his/her identity will be kept secret, it promises.



Kidnapping case: gangster held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 7
The police today arrested the gangster involved in the kidnapping of a Sector 23 shopkeeper.

Joginder Pehalwan, the gangster, had allegedly taken Rs 1.50 lakh from Jatinder Kumar to get his shop vacated from tenant Ashok Kumar Arora.

Joginder Pehalwan was arrested from Sector 46. Joginder, during preliminary interrogation, admitted that he demanded Rs 2 lakh from Jatinder to get his shop vacated. However, the deal was later finalised at Rs 1.50 lakh.

He has also revealed the name of Kulwinder of Panchkula, who allegedly carried out the kidnapping on his directions.

He would be produced in a court tomorrow for police remand.

Meanwhile, the court has sent Jatinder Kumar on police remand till April 10.

Mr Arora was allegedly picked up from Sector 38 on Wednesday night. He was later dropped near his residence on Thursday morning.



Post offices to provide loans up to Rs 75,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Loan seekers can now approach post offices in the city to get personal loans up to Rs 75,000. After tying up with G.E. Countrywide, the Postal Department today started the new facility at 11 post offices in the city and Mohali.

After analysing its success, the facility would be extended to other post offices in the city, said Mr Nirmaljit Singh, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Chandigarh.

All a loan-seeker would have to do is approach the post offices concerned with relevant documents and fill an application form. After screening the supporting documents, the application would be forwarded to the office of G.E. Countrywide. The Postal Department would get some commission in each case.

The facility has been successfully tested in Mumbai, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh postal circles.

Any person, including those holding savings bank accounts or some form of deposits, would be eligible for the loan. “ We have fixed the loan amount varying from Rs 10,000 to Rs 75, 0000, depending upon the supporting documents and demand,” said Mr Hardeep Singh Bhangoo, area sales manager, G.E. Countrywide.

Mr Bhangoo claimed that the clearance time would be three to four days. The documents required for eligibility would be identity card residence proof, bank statement of six months. Other documents like National Savings Certificate (NSS), Kisan Vikas Patra (KVS), monthly income scheme (MIS), fixed deposit (FD) and savings bank account could also be used as supporting documents, said Mr Bhangoo.

Those seeking loan could also give post-dated cheques of their savings bank accounts in post offices, said a senior official in the department.

“This was an effort to provide one-stop shop for various services to generate extra income for the department,” said Mr Nirmaljit Singh. Soon the facility would be used to give other types of loans, he added.

The facility has been started at post offices in Sectors 9,11, 14,18, 19, 22, 26, 29, 36, 61 and 62.

Other new services started by Postal Department

  • Door to door sale of postal stationery and picking up of post and parcels
  • Auto loan through a tie up with Bajaj Alliance
  • Accidental insurance through a tie up with Oriental Insurance Company
  • Sale of pre-paid SIM cards



ACs, refrigerators showcased in exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Coolex 2006, being held at the CII in Sector 32, is offering options to beat the summer heat by showcasing refrigerators and air-conditioners.

Finance options and cash discounts are being offered by all major FMCG companies. Holiday packages, cooking appliances, bean bags, and much more ... the companies participating in this exclusive exhibition on ACs and refrigerators are out to woo the exhibitors. The three-day exhibition, sponsored by Hitachi and The Tribune (media sponsor), was inaugurated by Principal Secretary, Industry S.C. Agarwal.

More than 20 companies of the best-known names in the industry, like Kenstar, TCL, Voltas, Samsung, Hitachi, Feeders, General, LG, Daikin, Godrej, all seem to have converged here to offer a wide variety to the residents. Samsung has launched the maximum products — 20 — in air-conditioners alone (Split and window AC), in this exhibition.

Mr Amit Mishra, marketing manager of LG Electronics, informed TNS that last year, the company had made about 400 bookings during this exhibition, and they hoped to double their bookings this year.

Meanwhile, the CII authorities say that they will be organising this exhibition at Jaipur and Lucknow later this month.


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