C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

City stars shine on Civil Services horizon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The IAS results declared today afternoon by the UPSC brought cheers to many in the city. The second all-India rank was once again bagged by a city resident this year.

While Gurneet Tej bagged the second rank, Dr Abhinav Trikha bagged the 12th rank. A resident of Panchkula, he made it in his third attempt. An MBBS, he had been focussing on clearing the IAS for the past three years. “I had decided to shift to the administration side with the hope that I would be able to make a difference,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prena Puri bagged the 14 rank at the all-India level. Rohit Gupta bagged the 31st rank. He made it in the second attempt. A product of the IIT, Delhi, Rohit is a resident of Patiala and is currently working in Noida.

Others from the city who cleared the examination, included Dhanpreet Kaur, who got the 62nd rank, Dr Tarundeep Kaur who bagged the 300th rank, Deepshikha Arora, who bagged the 200th rank, and Pradeep Virk, who bagged the 143rd rank.

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DGP Virk’s son also on the list
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Pradeep Virk had tough examples to follow in his life. His grandfather, Mr K.S. Virk, was an IAS officer and his father, Mr S.S. Virk, an IPS officer who is now the Director-General of Police, Punjab.

Today, Pradeep become the third generation of his family to clear the Civil Services examination. His rank is 143. With this, he will get into the IPS like his father.

Pradeep says he is happy at getting through the examination. However, he would like to fulfil the dream of his grandfather, who wanted him to become an IAS officer.

Pradeep did his schooling from Apeejay School, Jalandhar, and went to do his graduation from Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh. He acquired a degree in law from Panjab University.

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Deputy Mayor’s house raided, car impounded
SHO, SI suspended in showroom theft case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh police today conducted a raid on the Sector 8 residence of Deputy Mayor Harmohinder Singh Lucky and impounded a Skoda car registered in his name. It is investigating the alleged involvement of his wife Harneet Kaur in a case of theft of expensive clothes from an exclusive women garments showroom in Sector 17 in April.

Inspector Jagbir Singh, in charge of special crime and investigation cell, has been transferred to the Sector 17 police station as SHO.

Meanwhile, taking serious note of the alleged irregularities committed by the police officers concerned in trying to shield her in the investigation (ignoring the statement of the watchman Nand Kumar who first detected the theft), the UT SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, placed Mr Moti Ram, SHO of the Sector 17 police station, and Sub-Inspector Gurmeet Singh under suspension with immediate effect.

Further, a departmental enquiry has been ordered asking DSP Devinder Singh Thakur to “ascertain the conduct of these police officers and their attempt to shield the guilty”. Obviously, the inquiry has been ordered to establish if the suspended officers deliberately left out the names of two women involved in the reported theft and excluded the information about the use of a Skoda car in the theft from the FIR.

Inspector Satbir Singh, in-charge of the crime branch of the Chandigarh police, said a police team carried out a search at the residential premises of Mr Lucky. He was present at home during the raid, however, his wife Harneet Kaur was not at home. The police impounded the white coloured Skoda car, which had allegedly been used in the crime and has found mention in the statement recorded by watchman Nand Kumar.

Sources in the crime branch said Mr Balbir Singh, manager of the shop, accompanied the police in the identification of articles stolen from the shop. The police, however, could not find anything during the raid.

The owner of the shop, Mr Alok Jain, could not be contacted by the police despite repeated efforts. The police said Mr Jain’s statement was crucial in ascertaining the role of police officers or any other party that exerted pressure to manipulate or distort the facts of the case.

Despite the fact that the watchman was the first to detect the theft and bring it to the notice of the manager of the shop, his statement was “ignored” during the investigations. The fact that even the owner of the shop did not mention anything about watchman in his complaint had puzzled the police, the sources added.

However, the police is now investigating the role of Mr Jain in the entire episode. He has neither volunteered to give any information nor come forward to reveal the names of the suspects. This is despite the fact that he was among the few persons who first came to know of the incident. The only reason, the police says, Mr Jain is not coming forward could be that he might be under some pressure.

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Police ‘ignored’ vital clue
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
While investigating the case of theft of expensive clothes from an exclusive women garments showroom in Sector 17 in April, the Chandigarh police appears to have “ignored” a vital clue, which could have exactly pinpointed the identity of the conspirators in the crime.

The duplicate key and its origin could have easily led the police to the conspirator(s). The duplicate keys with which the showroom was opened in the wee hours each time to take out the clothes had remained in possession of the mystery woman, till the day she and the salesman, Raju (27), were noticed by the watchman, Nand Kumar, on the morning of April 17.

Raju disclosed the startling fact to her mother, Rashmi Devi, on April 19, when she came from her native place Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, on getting a call about the arrest of her son. “My son categorically told me that the woman used to herself open the shop and take away the keys while going back. He told me that he was under tremendous pressure from the woman”, said Rasham Devi, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune today.

She, along with her husband Pyar Singh, have been camping in the city to manage bail for their son. Rasham Devi said: “When I met my son in the police station, he told me that he was constantly threatened to provide the clothes to the suspect and was threatened with elimination if he dared to speak.”

Raju’s parents have not been able to meet their son in the Burail jail. Eagerly waiting to see their son, the couple said the life of their son had been ruined by that lady. Raju was in jail on May 2 when his wife delivered a baby girl at the General Hospital, Sector 16. Soon after the marriage, Raju’s wife stayed at her in-laws’ house in Himachal Pradesh and she came to the city about a month before the delivery, said Rashma Devi.

Investigations revealed that prior to working at the Sector 17 showroom, he used to work at a Sector 8 showroom of the same employer, Mr Alok Jain. Raju’s wife also used to work there as a salesgirl. Later, both entered into the wedlock. After the marriage, Raju’s wife left job and they lived in a rented house in Buterla village. Incidentally, the Sector 8 showroom was close to the house of the local councillor.

Rashmi Devi complained that she, through a local contact, had contacted the SHO of Sector 17 and the owner of the shop, but both refused to help.

Sources revealed that the salesman had been in touch with the woman for the past many months and was apparently being blackmailed to do the act for certain unknown reasons. After the case was settled on April 18 and 19, an ASI, who was posted at the Sector 17 police station played a key role in collecting and delivering the “compromise” money on behalf of senior officials.

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Substitution policy paves way for draw of lots
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Decks have been cleared for a draw of lots for at least 10 cooperative house-building societies following the approval of the substitution policy by the Chandigarh Administration yesterday.

In fact, the dream of hundreds of the members to have a home in the City Beautiful would be fulfilled with the draw of lots becoming a distinct reality.

In a way, it had been a long drawn-out battle against the administration by the substitute members who, after exhausting all legitimate channels, moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On the refusal of the Registrar of the Cooperative Societies (RCS) to allow the draw of lots at least twice, the substitute members of the Universal Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 48, had moved the high court.

In their application before the court, the members had reportedly claimed that they had cleared all the dues and were members for all intents and purposes.

It was highlighted that it was with the hardearned money of the substitute members that the housing projects were completed by the societies.

Moreover, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had accepted the land cost from the substitute members thus recognising their ownership rights, the members had highlighted.

The case of the Universal society was unique in a sense that the society had advertised the vacancies following the withdrawal of their membership by an overwhelming majority of the members.

Similarly, the other societies had also reportedly substituted members by following proper procedure laid down in the Cooperative Societies Act and bylaws governing the respective societies.

It may be recalled that the case was listed before a Division Bench of the high court today.

However, it was adjourned till May 15 as the notification issued by the administration could not be submitted in the court.

Anyway, with the administration recognising the supremacy of the general bodies of the cooperative societies in deciding the substitute members, the court case is only of academic interest now.

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4 families shifted from house collapse site
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
After two days of the roof-collapse incident in which three members of a Kashmiri migrant family in Bapu Dham Colony died, a team of Central Forensic Science Laboratory, (CFSL) Sector 36, today visited the spot and took samples to establish the exact reason of the collapse.

The team also took samples from debris and other construction material to find out if the building collapsed due to some blast as per reports.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Administration has temporarily shifted four families to an alternate site from the one which witnessed a collapse in Rehabilitation Colony of Bapu Dham on the intervening night of May 5 and 6, an official press release said here today.

The Chief Engineer on inspection had advised the Administration that some tenements adjoining the collapsed structures were not fit for residential purposes as they had developed cracks.

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Passing thru

Romy Juneja
Romy Juneja, founder and Head of Operations, Mobilenext

What is MobileNXT all about?

MobileNXT Teleservices Pvt Ltd set up in March 2006 is a one-stop-shop offering a host of telecom-related products and services with its headquarters in Bangalore. Aimed at becoming India’s largest chain of mobile stores, MobileNXT has been set up with a vision of revolutionising the sale and post-sale process of acquiring a mobile phone, mobile services, accessories and value added services.

How will your stores be different from other mobile-selling retail outlets?

MobileNXT’s defining and differentiating feature is its multi-brand display, post-sales support offering, strong exchange policy and value-added kiosk services. Focused on providing a consistent offering to build consumer value, MobileNXT is aimed at reinvigorating the retail consumer experience in three areas - store environment - product, services and after-sales support offerings.

How many stores will you open this year? what is the expected turnover?

We have already opened three stores at Gurgaon, Ahemdabad and Kolkata. Our focus is on tier-II towns, and we propose to open 31 stores all over the country in the first year, including stores at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Amritsar and Panipat. This year, we hope to have a turnover of Rs 47 crore. By the end of three years, we will have 170 stores across the country and our turnover would be around Rs 365 crore

— Ruchika M. Khanna

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Chandigarh Calling

As the heat in the city is getting deadlier, what’s drawing envious attention is the ‘King of Fruits’ — the juicy, succulent and ripe mango. Aptly named as the nectar of the gods, this yellow bundle of delight is already dotting the stately mango trees in the city. While the sight of naughty children trying to climb these trees in the hope of making off with some juicy mangoes is uncommon, we do have other mango-stealers. Yes, these are the emerald green parrots swarming all over the mango trees. And guess what… no amount of fierce guarding can protect your mango grove from these little dacoits.

Spiritual centre

Divine Life Society’s Chandigarh branch, holding regular local yoga and health camps, besides feeding the poor, is all set to add a new chapter. It is setting up “Sivanandasharm” at a plot allotted to it in Sector 29-A. Its foundation stone was laid here on Monday. Once it comes into existence, the ashram is expected to help the society in providing additional facilities to the residents.

Established over 20 years ago, the Chandigarh chapter has also been distributing spiritual literature, besides providing regular spiritual inputs to the residents. The society management says that the concept of setting up “Sivanandasharm” was introduced by Swami Sivananda way back in 1932, four years before the society came into existence with the objective of disseminating spiritual knowledge, besides training people in yoga and Vedanta.

Taash ke khiladi

If you’ve enjoyed the Hindi classic, ‘Shatranj ke Khiladi’ and want to witness it happening live, frequent the park opposite to the main market of the Modern Complex, Manimajra. The park brims with about 20 such khiladris (players) of taash, if not chess. Giving company to the tree leaves rustling in the breeze are about 20 old, retired men, bundled up in a group. Chattering and gossiping among themselves for hours on end, they pass their time playing cards. Maybe the harsh sun will soon drive them to their homes. But till now they’ve braved the winter chill and rains alike to indulge in their favourite sport.

Danger zone

Too much of AIDS’ awareness happening around but still no one has bothered to look at ‘under-the-tree’ barber shops. These temporary saloons have everything required to transfer the deadly virus to an unsuspecting victim. Scissors that are not sterilised, over-used blades, poor shaving skills leading to cuts and bruises all make a deadly cocktail inviting an attack by the lurking virus. Incidentally, these shops are functioning without permission from health or municipal authorities. In fact doctors warn that use of needles, blades or other sharp tools, that are not sterilised to be strictly avoided as a preventive measure not only against AIDS but also against tetanus and other not-so-deadly-diseases.

Chilling out

Hundreds of children from all over the city are swarming to the swimming pools to beat the heat and prepare for good times during their forthcoming summer break. However, an interesting feature these days is to see a very massive rush of tiny-tots accompanied by their parents. Tiny-tots can be seen splashing in the cool waters at the pools in Panjab University, Chandigarh Club and Sector 23, besides several other places. “The pool exercises are not just a welcome respite from the sweltering heat. Swimming is a rare sport which encourages all body exercise,” says a coach at the Chandigarh Club.

Top-ranked cellphones

Amongst the electronic gadgets cell phones seem to rank at top position in the Y-generation of City Beautiful. And the latest style statement is the cell phones tugged at the back pocket of DNK denim jeans and more than boys it is the city girls who are more conscious about their handsets. They remain centre of attraction at college premises for possessing the latest mobile phones.

With cell phones reaching near iconic status for college students, shelling out a heavy amount is not really a big problem. This was witnessed during the recently concluded mobile-Tek fair at CII when a majority of them were inquiring about “O2” which is the latest model of Panasonic with price tag of 45,888 to enter the Indian market. It is in great demand by the students because of its touch screen facilities and funky hi-tech looks.

Though Nokia was still at the top position, others making their mark were Sony, Samsung, Benq, and Motorola, respectively, according to their demand.

— Sentinel

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Night checks of motorists irritant
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The harassment continues. In violation of its own stand against stopping drivers not committing any visible offence, the Chandigarh Police is regularly bothering motorists by carrying out late evening checks after setting up barriers on the main roads across the city.

Some of these barriers, erected on poorly-lit roads just around the bends, are also resulting in accidents. “Even though the rusted and corroded blockades are hard to detect in the dead of the night, they are placed bang in the middle of the road to form a maze of sorts just around the turnings,” says Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Anil Pal Singh Shergill. “This is not all. The blockades leave little space for the cars and other vehicles to manoeuvre. Although these factors combine together to cause mishaps, the Chandigarh Police is just not bothered about it!”

To top it all, so many police personnel deployed at these barriers make a point to misbehave with the motorists. “If the cops fail to find the documents amiss, they start harassing motorists by asking them to step out of the vehicle so that it can be searched thoroughly,” adds Shergill.

The worse affected are the residents of the northern sectors, including Sector 10, 18, and 29. Interestingly, the Chandigarh Police is not armed with statistics to show the effectiveness of these late evening barriers. Rather, there have been instances when the miscreants managed to carry out undercover operations and escape without being detected.

Quoting an example, the sources in the local police assert that burglars broke into a Sector 35 bank only recently by using gas cutters. Despite all the barriers of inconvenience and the police patrol vehicles, they reached the bank with gas cylinders and went away with the loot undetected.

Though senior police officers refuse to comment on the issue, sources in the police headquarters add that the problem stems from the fact that the barriers are almost always erected at the same point on the main roads. “In the absence of surprise element, the mischief maker and even the traffic violators know which road to avoid,” they add.

Giving details of the instructions issued by the top brass of the Chandigarh Police to the challaning officers, they say: “A motor vehicle shall be stopped for challaning only on the commission of a visible traffic offence…. A motor vehicle can be stopped for checking of documents only under the specific instructions of senior supervisory officers”.

They go on to add: “While stopping the vehicle due care shall be taken that no hindrance is caused to the smooth flow of traffic. The vehicle shall under no circumstances be stopped on the road intersection or rotary…. The challaning officer shall walk to the point where the vehicle is stopped and shall first greet the driver and then tell him the reasons for stopping the vehicle in a polite manner. The driver or the traffic offender shall be addressed as ‘sir or madam’. The conversation with offender should be polite and brief….”

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Severe power shortage hits Punjab, Haryana
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Even as the Northern region sizzles at over 40°C Haryana and rural areas of Punjab are reeling under a severe power shortage. While Punjab is facing a shortfall of 1500 MW at peak hours, Haryana is facing a peak hour shortage of 400 MW-500 MW.

While Haryana has imposed power cuts for two to three hours on its urban and industrial consumers, Punjab has decided not to supply power to the farmers’ tubewells till June 10, so as to tide over the present crisis. The power supply to tubewells in farms will be resumed only after June 10, so as to facilitate Punjab farmers in sowing the paddy, informed senior officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Till yesterday, Punjab had imposed unscheduled cuts on urban and industrial consumers, and even imposed a compulsory weekly off on industry. But with their power purchase agreements with other power trading companies and state electricity boards in place, the cut on the urban and industrial consumers have been withdrawn, said the Member Distribution, PSEB, Mr H.S. Sekhon.

While there was relief for consumers in Punjab, the shut down of a 200 MW unit at Panipat, worsened the situation for consumers in the state today. The duration of the cuts was increased all over the state to deal with this shortage in supply. Officials in Haryana Power Utilities said that though the power purchase agreements for getting almost 600 MW are in place, the execeptional hike this year has led to the power crisis.

With the demand in the two states increasing by over 13 per cent this year, the Haryana Power Utilities and the Punjab State Electricity Board had not envisaged a severe shortfall in supply. Officials in the two states said they had planned for a hike of 8 per cent, but with the temperatures being so high, the demand had increased substantially. Yesterday, Haryana supplied 745 LUs of power, which has been the highest so far in this season, while Punjab supplied 1065 LUs.

Officials in the two states, while taking several internal administrative measures (installing capacitors on transmission lines, checking power thefts etc.), say that in the days to come the crisis would only worsen. With the farmers set to sow the paddy in their fields next month, the agriculture consumers will have to be supplied an assured eight hours of electricity, thus putting the burden on industrial and domestic consumers.

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Fauji Beat
CDS a must for India

AT the launch of the book: “Kargil: From Surprise to Victory” authored by the former Army chief General V.P. Malik, in New Delhi, on April 27, the former Foreign Secretary, Mr M.K. Rasgotra, said that if India had a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the Kargil war would have been “shorter” and “less damaging” than it actually was.

General Malik has, in the book, said he had to explain the operational situation and its serious political and military implications to his colleagues in the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and get them on board to fight the war jointly. He said the Army, Navy and the Air Force were faced with their respective problems when it came to the timely mobilisation for war. “These problems”, he further said, “could be overcome if all three services planned, coordinated and implemented a joint military strategy and, more importantly, put across our points of view to the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) in unison”.

Coming from General Malik, who was not only be the Army Chief but also the Chairman of the COSC during the Kargil war, the CDS issue, which has been dragging its feet since 2001, after the government sanction, must get a serious consideration once again. Interestingly, it was the controversy between the three services, more than anything else that stalled this appointment. Thus was thrown the most important lesson learnt from the Kargil war to the winds. Do we want the armed forces and the country to suffer again in the next war because of the inter-service rivalry between the three services? If not, then the government must appoint a CDS without any further delay.

Health scheme feedback

Some of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) patients tell us in confidence that when they go to a military hospital, they do not disclose that they are members of this scheme. “This saves us a trip to the polyclinic, which has then to refer us to the same military hospital, but as ex-servicemen, we are entitled to report directly to a military hospital for treatment and medicines”, they say. Thanks to the letter issued by the Central Organisation of the ECHS about two months ago, which has made the ECHS a lame duck.

Another aftermath of this letter is that some of the patients have started going to the private clinics for X-ray, ultrasound, routine blood tests, dental treatment, etc. This saves them lot of botheration and wastage of time first at the polyclinics and then at the military hospitals. The result is that a lesser number of patients are being referred to the diagnostic centres and empanelled hospitals. The authorities can now pat themselves on their backs for saving funds by this “negative achievement”. Incidentally, there is no space for an X-ray machine, a dental chair or a lab in the Chandigarh polyclinic. In the absence of these, the patients have continued to suffer for the last two years.

Return of medals

Time was when the Army was considered to be one of the two top services and only the Indian Civil Service (ICS) ranked little higher than it. While the successor of the ICS, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) continues to retain the towering slot; the Army has dropped to an unimaginable low. Not to speak of the JCOs and other ranks, even the officers are insulted by the “mighty cops” as a routine. The same cops that bolt in the face of rioting, to control which is very much a part of their duty. And the same officers and men in OG, who are trampled by the cops, are then called out to control the worsening situation. Take the recent example of Vadodara in Gujarat. How long will they continue to do this in the face of insult?

Against this background, now see the plight of a retired Lieut-Col Ranjit Singh from Moga who in utter disgust, after a grievous humiliation by an ASI of the police has decided to return his well-earned, but now disrespected, medals to the President of India.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Councillor highlights Mansa Devi civic problems
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 8
Highlighting public grievances the Municipal Councillor of Mansa Devi Complex, Renuka Rai Walia, today gave a representation to the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, Panchkula.

In her representation, Ms Walia highlighted over a dozen issues and problems of the area being faced by the residents for the last many years.

The issues include construction of staff quarters for safai karamcharis, Mahamai Colony rehabilitation, beautification of nullah flowing near the mandir, frequent blockage of the sewerage, vacant booths being used illegally and many more.

The councillor complained that the problems had not been redressed for a long time. She requested the CEO for taking appropriate action to solve these problems.

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Garbage piles up at Sukhna, is anyone bothered? 
Naveen Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
“The City Beautiful” does not portray that impression across its various sectors and other icons.

For example, the embankment of the Sukhna Lake has been littered with filth, garbage and plastic, barely a km away from the house of UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues.

Hundreds of bureaucrats and politicianns go for a morning and evening walk here, but this has not prevented heaps of rubbish coming up on the lake's bandh.

As one goes away from the Haryana Raj Bhavan towards the Chandigarh Golf Association (CGA) Golf Range, one encounters several piles of garbage clearly visible these days owing to the drying up of the grass and vegetation due to heat.

Though picnic-makers are one of the culprits that throw plastic bags after consuming their eatables, yet the cleaning spree is limited to the lake shore and concrete pavements only.

Opposite the CGA entrance, the flight of stairs, leading to the lake from the parking site, presents a pathetic look with heaps of rubbish overflowing the brickbin that attracts waste from the kitchen of the CGA Club as well as from other areas.

Incidentally, the Sukhan Lake is projected internationally as an icon of the city beautiful and it attracts bird-watchers and tourists from all over throughout the year. During this time of the year, special “Shramdaans” are held to desilt and clean this artificially made water body.

From time to time, the Chandigarh Administration issues instructions banning immersion of material into the lake. It also launches special cleanliness drives.

Unfortunately, these drives always ignore the banks of the lake that run across the Chandigarh Golf Club till Kishangarh village.

This area is frequented by a lot of youngsters and elderly who drive up to the parking area and reach the lake using the stairs.

But stink and stench at many spots on the outside-band of the lake has raised many questions about the upkeep of the area which is in the vicinity of the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhavans. 

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Micro Cabinet meeting of Lions Club held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Blood donation camps, ‘Sight First’ programme and child care projects would be the main thrust areas of the Lions Clubs this year, this was stated by the newly elected District Governor of District 321-F of the Lions Club International, Mr R.K Rana, here yesterday.

Mr Rana gave this message to office-bearers of Lions Clubs from different parts of Punjab who had come to attend the goal setting Micro-Cabinet meeting.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Rana informed that the Lions Club International had set a target of collecting $200 million for the ‘Sight First’ programme.

To make the various service projects a success Mr Rana set up different sub committees in the district.

The following have been elected to the Core Cabinet of the district 321-F: District Cabinet Secretary—Mr Sanjay Sardana; District Cabinet Treasurer— Mr B.S Jaswal; District PRO—Mr K.R Sharma; District Cabinet Secretary (Programmes)—Prem Kaushik and B.S Saffary.

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Zirakpur architects seek inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Zirakpur Architects’ Welfare Association has shot off a protest letter to the Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, demanding an inquiry and sealing of all records of Nagar Panchayat, Zirakpur.

The association has attached a list of pending building plans which have not been approved by Nagar Panchayat, Zirakpur, for a period extending beyond two months as laid down for approving of building plans.

As per building byelaws and the Municipal Act, if two months have passed, the building plan is considered to be approved.

Neither the owner of the building nor the architect has been informed regarding the fate of these files.

The architect or owner have not been conveyed objections, if any, to the said building plans on the files by officials of the Nagar Panchayat.

The association also alleged that some building plans were approved within a week by the Nagar Panchayat by adopting illegal methods. 

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Stale pastries leave six ill
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 8
Six guests, including children and an elderly woman of an Old Panchkula-based family fell prey to food poisoning after they reportedly partook of pastries from a pastry shop yesterday afternoon.

After consuming the pastries, they started to vomit and also complained of diarrhoea following which they were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

The victims were administered antibiotics and glucose at the hospital.

According to sources, the victims had come to attend a marriage party at their relative's house in Old Panchkula.

The victims included Tania (6), Reshma (30), both from Delhi, Rohan (13), Priya (14), Nikita (6) Saloni ( 5) from Muzaffar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

While talking to The Tribune, Dr G.P. Saluja, Chief Medical Officer, claimed during investigation it was clear that the victims had taken stale food which caused food poisoning.

He also made it clear that the stale pastries might had caused food poisoning to others customers too. But no such case was reported in the town as yet.

Dr Saluja claimed that samples of pasties being sold by the particular shop would be taken.

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Mother’s Day function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Mother’s Day was celebrated with enthusiasm at Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, Panchkula, here today.

Grandmothers and mothers of students of class X were invited to the school.

Students of classes pre-nursery to X presented a colourful cultural show.

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Removing power lines not to affect work at IT Park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The process of removing the poles supporting the high tension(220 MW) power lines in Phase II of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park will not affect the work on ground.

This was stated by Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, while responding to a story ‘High tension wires hold up IT park work’ published in Chandigarh Tribune on May 7.

Mr Bhardwaj said the process would in fact help the Administration to retrieve more than eight acres of land for work in Phase II of the IT park. The development work would go on simultaneously with the removal of poles and making the supply underground.

The Administration is faced with removing the high tension wires running over Phase II of the IT park. Mr Bhardwaj said the entire matter will be sorted out within six months. The department has invited quotations seeking an ‘expression of interest’ for the project. 

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Drive against errant school bus drivers on, 136 challaned

Chandigarh, May 8
The challaning drive launched by the Chandigarh Traffic Police against drivers of school buses has failed to act as deterrent. It was apparent from the fact that the police, during its early morning drive today, issued challans to 136 drivers besides impounding 20 school buses for various violations of traffic rules.

It seems that no lessons have been learnt by those plying school buses, exactly a week ago the traffic police had challaned 185 school bus drivers and impounded 18 buses for not complying with the road safety norms.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Traffic Police said that as a part of its ongoing drive against the school buses, the traffic police carried out a two-hour-long drive at eight places. In all 162 bus drivers, including 136 of different schools, were challaned while 20 school buses were impound for various violations. The police challaned 101 drivers and conductors for not wearing proper uniform, 21 buses for plying without attendants, seven buses were challenged for plying without route plates, four buses were found plying without fitness certificates besides other violations.

Police sources said that school principals and bus owners were informed about their buses impounded by the traffic police. OC

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No water supply today noon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
There will be no supply of water to Sectors 1 to 12, 18-B, 20- A and B, 27 to 30, Industrial Area, Phase I, Sector 22-C and D, Sectors 23 to 25, 56 and Sectors 35 to 43 tomorrow noon, an official press statement said here today.

The water supply will be suspended because of maintenance job at the Water Works of Sector 26\39. 

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Councillor in dock over dowry charges
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh Police has booked a Patiala-based Councillor, Amarinder Singh Bedi, his mother and his father on the charges of criminal breach of trust and demanding dowry on the basis of a complaint lodged by a city resident.

Mr S.K. Sharma of Sector 27 told the police that his daughter and Amarinder Singh had got married in 2004. Therafter, the couple went to Australia on a study visa.

Then, he stopped studying and began asking my daughter to get money from us.

Mr Sharma, who is a Central Excise and Customs Officer in the UT (presently under suspension) further alleged that after his daughter refused to fulfil his demands, Amarinder began to physically torture her.

Mr Sharma reported the matter to the Chandigarh Police which registered a case in this regard on May 3.

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Police accused of replacing revolver in firing case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
In a late night firing incident in which some persons fired in the air to threaten a city resident after having a heated argument over parking space outside a hotel in Mani Majra, the victim today alleged that the police is hushing up the matter by “replacing” the revolver with a air gun.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Arun, Sharma, complainant, alleged the police in its effort to shield the accused deliberately avoided to recover the second revolver used in the crime.

Not only this, the police also replaced the revolver that was recovered from the spot with an air gun to weaken the case against the accused.

Ms Sharma said he had taken up the issue with the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gaurav Yadav, who had assured him of fair and speedy investigations into the case.

He said the accused, Rajnish Bansal of Sector 12, Panchkula, had a heated argument with him outside hotel Solitaire while he was coming out from the parking lot in his car.

At the same time, Bansal was entering the parking lot in his Scorpio and both blocked each other’s way in effort to cross over first. This led to a minor altercation following which Bansal called his friend, who were having drinks in the hotel, and they all began abusing him.

He reported the matter to the police, but by the time the police reached the spot, friends of Bansal first threatened Mr Sharma by pointing their revolvers at him and then fired in the air.

A case under the Arms Act and various other provisions of the IPC has been registered in this regard.

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Body found

Panchkula, May 8
Body of an unidentified man (aged about 35) was found near an industrial plot in Industrial Area, Phase-I, this afternoon. According to information, some workers of an industrial unit noticed the body lying adjacent to an electricity transformer and subsequently informed the police. Receiving the information, a police party reached the spot and took the body into possession. — TNS

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New taxicabs to hit city roads on May 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to start the new cab service on May 11, Mr P.S. Shergill, the Secretary of the State Transport Authority, said here today.

The new service will be flagged off by Mr Lalit Sharma, the Adviser to UT Administrator, from Rock Garden on Thursday morning.

The Mega Cab Service has committed 25 Indigo Marina for the city roads.

The Indus Travel and Logistics has offered 15 vehicles — 13 Maruti Esteem and two Bolero — to the State Transport Authority for clearance. All cabs are required to be air conditioned under the new policy.

Mr Shergill said all 40 vehicles presented before the STA have been found fit and fitness tests were also cleared by the Weights and Measures Department. The cabs are also fitted with electronic meters and bill printers.

This will be the first metered taxi service in the city. The existing taxis on the city roads do not use the meters.

The rate of the taxi service in Delhi was Rs 15 per km and Rs 16 per km in Goa. The rates on the city roads will be Rs 12 per km.

All the cabs on the city roads will be monitored by the Global Positioning System (GPS) for ascertaining the location of the cab. Records of each hiring, particularly the receipts, would remain on the car computers.

The contact number for the Mega Cab service is 4141414 and 4646464 for the Indus Travel and Logistics.

A four digit number will be issued to both the services, separately.

The uniforms for the cab drivers have been inspected. About 30 sites have been identified for cab parking at various places all over the city. Interestingly, the first passengers on the cabs will be given free rides, Mr Shergill added.

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Also coming tourist guides
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Department of Tourism has decided to time the launch of recently empanelled tourist guides’ service with the launching of the proposed taxi services 
on May 11.

The guides would facilitate tourists visit to the City Beautiful. With this, tourism in the city would receive a boost, Mr Vivek Atray, Director, 
Tourism, said.

Mr Atray added that the administration had also approved the rates for hiring a tourist guide on the pattern of the Delhi Tourism.

A tourist guide would charge Rs 100 for an hour whereas for four hours (half-day) ,the rate would be Rs 300.

Similarly, Rs 500 has been fixed for eight hours (full-day). The guides would work under the supervision of the Assistant Director, Tourism, Mr Vinod Kalia (telephone Number 0172-5191118).

Tourists or tourism agencies may also contact the Tourist Information Office, ISBT, Room No 84, Sector 17, Chandigarh, on telephone numbers 2704614 and 2703839.

The Department of Tourism has recently empanelled nine tourist guides for the convenience of the tourists visiting Chandigarh.

The guides have been properly trained by the Food Craft Institute and are well versed with the tourism sites and requirement of interacting with the tourists.

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Bollywood designers to set shop at Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Bollywood will soon call on Mohali. Not for shooting in the rustic locales here but for setting up of back-end operations by leading Bollywood designers in the Fashion Technology Park.

This was revealed by Mr Jagjit Singh Kochchar, Chief Executive Officer of the Fashion Technology Park (FTP), at Mohali today. He said the leading Bollywood designers led by Manish Malhotra and Neeeta Lulla had joined hands to form a company for setting up their backend operations at the FTP. A formal MoU would be signed between the FTP and the company on May 13, he said.

Mr Kochchar said he was also in talks with Pantaloon, which could be setting up a shop at the FTP. "I have received tremendous response from designers in Australia, the UK and Canada. This FTP is spread over 14 acres and will have a total construction of 11.5 lakh sq feet area. As many as 5,000 designers will be directly employed, while hundreds of artisans indirectly involved," he said.

"We have also tied up with Seva and Dastakar for emulating their models for helping artisans in Gujarat and Kolkata," he said.

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PHDCCI flays proposed changes in post office Bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has decried the proposed changes provided in the Indian Post Office Amendment Bill, 2006, on the grounds that this will completely eliminate the private competitors from the market as it is economically non-viable.

The Bill seeks to regulate the 3000 crore private courier industry. The principal change in the policy is to prohibit courier companies from carrying “letters” weighing below 300 gm. The definition of the “letter” provided in the new Bill is, “any written communication, or communication produced by mechanical, electronic or other means and sent to and from any person to any specified address.” A blanket inclusion of all products under this category constitutes more than 90 per cent of the 2500 courier companies operating within the country. The delivery of this kind of letters will be the monopoly of the postal department after passing the Bill, an official release from the PHDCCI said today.

The Bill also proposes registration of courier companies and will have to pay a USO (Universal Service Obligation) fee for not operating into rural areas. A registration fee and a renewal fee of Rs 25,000 and Rs.10,000, respectively, will be levied on medium and small courier companies. The fees will be Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively, for large courier companies operating nationally and internationally. The Bill proposes to set up a Mail Regulatory and Development Authority and a Mail Disputes Settlement Tribunal.

The PHDCCI said that the restrictions on the courier service industry was against the WTO commitments under the General Agreements on Trade in Services. It will create an image of protectionism when the country is marketing its open-economy, which will directly affect the foreign direct investment in other service industries.

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SUN Group formally takes over Punwire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 8
The management of the SUN Group today formally took over the Punwire factory at a function held in Phase VI, Industrial Area, here today.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, said that the company had remained closed for more than five years and could be revived once again only by the efforts of the Punjab Government and the continuous agitation of the workers. He said the company was now safe in the hands of the SUN Group. He said the Punjab Chief Minister was also making efforts to revive some more units.

Mr S.C.Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, said that Punwire was a well known company which had to be closed down due to some irregularities. The workers were now happy that the unit is being revived by the government.

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