C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Four-year-old falls into water tank, dies
Incident inside Sulabh Shauchalya; residents gather in protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
A four-year-old boy from Lal Bahadur Shastri Colony in Sector 56 here drowned after he accidentally fell into an uncovered water tank inside a Sulabh Shauchalya this morning. The incident has shocked hundreds of residents, who use the shauchalya daily.

The tragedy came to light when the parents of the child started looking for him after he failed to return home for a long time. Initially, the parents found no one inside the shauchalya, but when the father of the boy tried to look for him in an open storage tank inside it by lowing himself into it, his feet touched the body of the boy, who was immediately pulled out in a unconscious state.

Mayor gives Rs 20,000; probe ordered

Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, gave a cheque for Rs 20,000 on behalf of the UT Administration as compensation to the family of Ravi.

According to a senior official of the corporation, an inquiry has been initiated into the matter. However, according to the authorities, the shauchalya does not fall under their jurisdiction. “The inquiry will be conducted to see what happened and who is responsible,” said Mr S.R. Aggarwal, Superintending Engineer, Public Health. Talking to TNS, the Mayor said, “I, along with officials of the MC, visited the site of the accident and we immediately apprised the Commissioner and the DC of the situation.”

He was taken to a dispensary barely a few yards away, but doctors there allegedly refused to attend to the boy, who was later taken to the Phase VI Civil Hospital in Mohali where he was declared brought dead. This incident has once again brought to the fore gross negligence on part of the authorities concerned in covering manholes and storage tanks that time and again prove to be deathtraps.

The in charge of the Palsora police post, Sub-Inspector Jaswinder Kaur, said a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for causing death due to negligence had been registered against A.K. Singh, chairman, Sulabh Shauchalya International Social Service Organisation, NAC, Mani Majra, besides the shauchalya’s caretaker-cum-sweeper, Dharampal, on a complaint of the victim’s father, Major Singh. Major Singh works as a daily wage labourer.

The child had reportedly gone to fetch water when the mishap took place, the police said. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the victim’s uncle, Lakhbir Singh, said, “Ravi, the only son of his parents, had gone to answer nature’s call in one of the toilets and did not return for a long time. Suspecting something might have gone wrong, we began looking for him and also checked the toilets in the process. The caretaker, when asked about the child, expressed ignorance.”

He added: “Soon the news of the missing child spread in the colony and people joined the search operation. After all our attempts to trace the child failed, we again went to the toilets and my brother Major Singh descended into the tank only to feel his son’s body with his feet.”

The listless child, after being pulled out, was rushed to the dispensary bang opposite the toilets. “Though the doctors could feel the pulse, they refused to attend to the child and simply referred him to the Phase VI Civil Hospital,” alleged the victim’s grandmother, Surinder Kaur. “By the time we reached there, it was too late. The boy was declared dead on arrival. We took our child back home, without knowing what to do.”

Breaking down, Surinder Kaur said, “As the place was dark and dingy, Ravi used to say that he was afraid of that deep well and said he might slip into it one day. Today, when he was getting ready for school, he told his mother that he wanted to relieve himself. His mother had prepared his lunch for the school and was waiting for him to return, but it was not to be.”

The police said it came to know about the incident from the hospital. The body was then shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital for a post-mortem.

As people gathered outside in protest, the caretaker reportedly fled the spot. Residents alleged that their numerous complaints to cover the water tank had fallen on deaf ears. They added that the contactor was asked to put lights as anyone could fall into the tank while fetching water. They said the tank remained full of water as the water supply pipe was submerged in it. It was a common practice among residents to use that water.

This is the second incident in the city in the past one year when a life has been lost due to negligence on the part of the authorities.

Last year in August, Chandigarh Police Constable Jaswinder Kaur had lost her life after she accidentally slipped into a drain, which was lefty uncovered by the municipal corporation (MC). The police has recently booked eight MC employees for causing death due to negligence.



PU Elections
SOPU, INSO join hands for poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Students Organisation of Punjab University (SOPU), one of the main groups gearing up for the student poll, got a shot in the arm when the Indian National Students Organisation (INSO) joined hands with it today. The SOPU-INSO alliance fielded joint candidates for the four key posts of the Punjab University Campus Students Council.

SOPU members alleged that members of other groups were violating the model code of conduct. They were taking voters for films and trips to Kasauli, they alleged.

Raathi and Goldy demanded that the police and the authorities concerned should check violation of the model code of conduct and take appropriate action against the violators. They had already lodged complaints with the authorities and given them proof in the form of “video clippings” regarding these violations, they said.

SOPU’s presidential candidate is Dalveer Singh Khangura, alias Goldy. He, along with INSO president Vikas Raathi, addressed a joint press conference here. He said the main focus of the alliance would be reduction in fee.

Goldy, a student of history in the university, had contested for the post of president in the last elections also, but had lost by around 200 votes to Amandeep Singh of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU).

SOPU had, however, managed to gather a large chunk of votes last year and the INSO, which contested independently, was the third most popular group. With the SOPU- INSO alliance in place, PUSU, the group in power the previous year, was likely to find it tough to retain power.

Divya Gill, an INSO member and student of the Department of Laws, would contest for the post of vice-president, the traditional post kept aside for women students.

Sahil Goel of the University Institute of Engineering Technology (UIET) and SOPU member would contest for the post of general secretary. Sukhjeet Singh Sukhi of the INSO, a student of the Botany Department, would stand for the post of joint secretary.

Addressing the conference, panel members highlighted the achievement of SOPU and the INSO over the last year. Stating that they intended to bring about fresh changes in the university, Goldy said their alliance would work towards improving living conditions for the hostellers and the academic environment on the campus.

He said they would revive the student festival “Sinm”. Raathi said the alliance would release its manifesto on September 5.

The police has, meanwhile, beefed up security arrangements on the university campus. The entry to the university from the gate opposite the PGI has been closed till elections. The other two gates are heavily manned and students are being allowed in only after showing their identity cards. The police has also posted riot-control vehicles near the makeshift party offices outside the boys’ hostels.



Officials caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Continuing with its drive against corrupt officials, the UT Vigilance Department today caught two government officials belonging to the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) and the UT Electricity Department while allegedly accepting illegal gratification.

Giving details, sources in the department said Bhagwan Singh, working as a technician in the CHB, was caught red-handed while taking a bribe of Rs 1,000 from Mrs Kamla Devi of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, for not sending a report on encroachment to the authorities.

Employees’ protest

Residents of Sectors 42, 43 and 44 witnessed a blackout this evening for more than two hours when employees of the Electricity Department cut supply to the sectors from the substation in Sector 42.

The employees were protesting against the Vigilance Department allegedly trapping Mr Surinder Kumar, a low division clerk, on charges of bribery. The employees alleged that he was “framed” with notes forcibly thrust into his pocket.

Irritated over the blackout, the residents raised slogans against the Electricity Department. The supply was restored around 9.30 pm.

Mrs Kamla Devi, in her complaint, alleged that the accused had been demanding Rs 5,000 from her. She met him on Thursday, requesting him to take Rs 1,000 as advance money. The remaining amount was to be given in a few days. The accused asked her to hand over the amount and in the process was nabbed by sleuths with marked currency notes.

In another incident, acting on a complaint filed by Mr Abdul Sattar of Sector 44, a vigilance team arrested Surinder Singh, a lower division clerk in the UT Electricity Department, posted in the office of the SDO, Sector 43, while allegedly taking Rs 500 as bribe.

Mr Sattar told the Vigilance Department that the accused had been demanding financial favours from him for making a correction in an electricity bill.

Sources in the Vigilance Department said the accused had been issuing inflated bills and then demanding money from customers to carry out corrections.

In this case, the complainant was served a bill of Rs 10,000. The accused reportedly told Mr Sattar that he would take Rs 500 to reduce the bill up to Rs 7,000 and Rs 1,000 for reducing it to Rs 4,000.

Two separate cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act have been registered in this connection. On the other hand, Mr Bhag Mal Rana, general secretary of the UT Chandigarh Power Men Union, terming the incident as victimisation, said the employee was implicated in a false case.

They sat on dharna in the Sector 43 electricity department office and did not entertain any complaint. The employee would carry out a rally and a march to Sector 9, protesting against “unnecessary” harassment to their employee, he said.



‘Develop youth groups to fight female foeticide’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
There are laws and there are efforts to check the dwindling sex ratio. Yet, the situation is only getting worse with every census. Women are being violated whether it is through child marriage, female foeticide or child trafficking. When a child dies or fails to be born, it is a life denied. The menace is growing and the provisions in law are no deterrent to the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Dr Jyotsana Chatterji, Director, Joint Women’s Programme—India, involved with empowering women and children, is, like many other non-government organisations, crusading for the cause.

She believes that despite all efforts going into campaigns to save the girl child, she is dying a slow death. The answer lies in making youth partners of change.

Speaking on the sidelines of the two-day regional workshop on “Promoting girl-child-friendly-society,” here today, Dr Chatterji favoured developing youth groups in colleges and universities to fight female foeticide.

“The youth should make social concerns a part of their agenda. Like in elections on campuses, all candidates must be made to sign declarations that they will not seek dowry, not force early marriage upon their sisters and not kill an unborn girl child in the womb. The change of mindset has to begin from the school itself and such issues should become a part of the curriculum,” she emphasised.

Dr Chatterjee, also a leading activist, said that economic distress like crop failure and suicides were also linked to the treatment meted out to the girl child. “Child marriages, lower educational and healthcare facilities and child trafficking are some of the issues related to violence against the girl child. Loopholes and lapses in policies, programmes and the delivery system have failed to address the issue, “ she rued.

Dr Chatterji suggested a central law on the registration of marriages, mechanism for effective monitoring for the protection of girl child, involvement of civil society, NGOs and community workers in working towards elimination of the problem.

“Health workers need to be trained to maintain proper records of births and expecting mothers in any area to keep a check on foeticide. This systematic documentation could provide significant leads of villages and areas where foeticide is rampant. Besides, men must be empowered to understand that women are as equal as they are,” she opined.

Sharing her concern, Prof Luxmi Kanta Chawla, a senior BJP leader from Punjab, said that against this backdrop of continued discrimination against the girl child, specially in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, it was essential to draw up a strategy to reverse this alarming trend.

The workshop is a joint initiative of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, YUVSATTA, the Population and development education cell, RRC, Panjab University, the Centre for Women Studies, Panjab University, and the CYP Asia Centre, among others.



100 go angling on day one at Sukhna Lake
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
It was the day Noor Mohammed had been waiting for the past six years. An avid angler, this 65-year-old resident of Mani Majra had to go all the way to the Ropar Head Works to indulge in his favourite pastime.

So, today when the Chandigarh Administration lifted ban on angling at Sukhna Lake, Noor Mohammed was the first one to stand in the queue to obtain a licence. There were many others like him for whom angling is a favourite hobby.

On the first day itself, over 100 one-day licences were issued by the Fisheries Department between 9 am and 5 pm. The shallow lake is home to Indian major carps like the rohu, the mrigal and the catla and a few exotic carps.

All along the 3-km specified stretch along the water body, a number of anglers could be seen waiting patiently for their catch. While most appeared to be fish vendors or daily-wage earners who were catching fish with “makeshift” devices made from a plastic thread, a few anglers had the fishing rod.

Some were there to cherish their old memories of how their angling hobby saved many precious human lives. Karanjeet Singh, a Sector 22 businessman, said he prevented 10 persons (mostly women) from committing suicide at the lake during the nineties.

Krishan Lal, a resident of Sector 44, who has been coming to the lake since the formation of the city, was happy to catch two fish.

If there was an air of enthusiasm over the lifting of ban on angling, the avid anglers were upset over the failure of the Administration in regulating angling. “If there is no control on the number of fish that one can catch and on the use of crude methods to catch these, the entire purpose of opening angling as a sport will be defeated,” said Rajinder.

In the evening, most of the fish vendors could be seen selling their stock in the fish markets at Bapu Dham and other labour colonies at cheap rates. The anglers feel the activity should be regulated through some registered anglers’ association and the timing should be extended from 7 am to 7 pm instead of 9 am to 5 pm.

An official of the Fisheries Department said for one-day licence, Rs 25 was being charged. For 10 days, the fee was Rs 200 and the fee for one month was Rs 500.

“If the experiment was successful, angling could be introduced at new water bodies to be created at Sarangpur and the industrial area,” said an official.

Sources said inability on the part of the Administration to stock healthy fish seed had spelled doom for the aquatic fauna in the artificial water body that had been promoted as a favourite tourist destination.

The enormity of the impending crisis can be assessed from the official data that says that around 7 lakh fish seed being produced every year at the fish seed farm was being stocked in Sukhna Lake and check dams of the Forest Department. As per March-2005 figures, the Fisheries Department estimated 84 tonne fish in the water body.

The lake was created in 1958 to strike a balance among land, water, flora and fauna. It is a rain-fed lake and was formed by harnessing three choes — Kansal, Ghareri and Nepli.

Angling could be a deterrent to those attempting suicide at the lake.

Those who used to fish at the lake regularly before the ban was imposed in late eighties, say since the anglers used to sit all along the water body, the number of those committing suicide there was less.

Mr Rajinder, an angler, said, “We used to sit on the stairs till late and this prevented people from committing suicide there. Personnel of the Chandigarh Police were a happy lot as these anglers were supplementing their work.



Seminar on corporate governance
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 1
SAS Institute of Information Technology and Research here organised a seminar on “Corporate governance - new challenges”. Prof Veer Singh, Dean University Instruction, Punjab University, said that corporate governance was to sharpen its edges since the traditional corporate system was inadequate to face the new challenges. The control of the business family was to give way to the control of the professionals and other stakeholders. He was also of the view that accountability and transparency should be the hallmark of corporate governance in India.

Mr P. Sivaram, COO, Punjab Tractors Ltd, emphasised on the goals of corporate governance as customer delight, workers satisfaction and strong ethical practices. Corporate should be a living company with strong identity and it must be sensitive to the needs of the community.

Mr Anil Arora, Director, Special Projects, Ranbaxy wanted independent directors to play a major role in corporate governance. He wanted societal values to be encouraged so as to check frauds and misappropriations in the corporate governance.

Mr Subhash Arya, COO Tata Tele Services Ltd, was of the view that ethics was the main challenge in governance of the corporate. He also narrated the Tata’s code of conduct, which involves five core values of integrity, understanding, excellence, unity and responsibility.

Dr Girish Jaswal, Head of the Management Department of the institute, emphasised that the corporate governance must focus on the overall good of the people.

Earlier, Col Karamjeet Singh Director, SASIIT, welcome the eminent personalities of academic field and senior executives from the corporate world who participated in the seminar.

Madam Gurbir Shergill presented the mementos to the participants on behalf of the management of SASIIT.

Seminar: Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences held a seminar on “The great mind challenge contest-2006” under the aegis of IBM’s Academic Initiative Programme. Mr Jitender Singh, project officer of IBM, Gurgaon, was the key speaker. Dr Zora Singh, chairman of Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes, inaugurated the seminar. Mrs Shalini Gupta, director of the Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, presided over the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jitender Singh explained about the objectives of the contest and told that it was for promoting the students with this project experience. About 200 students participated in the seminar.



Workshop on heritage awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
With a view to acquainting schoolchildren with our rich heritage and catching them young, Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, today inaugurated a two-day teachers training workshop on heritage awareness and setting up of heritage clubs, in our schools, at the Museum and Art Gallery Campus, here today. This workshop has been jointly organised by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the Education and Tourism Departments, of Chandigarh Administration.

Mrs Rodrigues emphasised the need for an innovative and educated approach, commitment, hard work and sincerity, by the teaching community, to create awareness among our children about the preservation of our heritage. “We could use innovative schemes and ideas to get groups of children to take on a heritage project state-wise, covering all aspects of heritage buildings, artifacts, paintings, etc. of the area in which they are located. This will give the kids a lot of pride in their effort and will be a tangible result of their hard work,” she said.

Appreciating the efforts of INTACH, for its initiatives for the preservation of historical monuments and to open heritage clubs in schools, Mrs Rodrigues said that its dedicated members deserve all praise, for undertaking the process of exploring different avenues to bring about a tangible change of attitude, from indifference, to one of pride, in what we have and in preserving our heritage.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, Chairman of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Chandigarh Chapter, in his welcome address said that this innovative programme had been started by the INTACH by drawing up an action plan to create awareness about our heritage among school children by conducting such events. Teachers from 25 schools of Union Territory Chandigarh and around are participating in this workshop.



AIDS awareness training for Catholic priests
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Catholic Church has assumed a significant role in spreading HIV/AIDS awareness in the region. Under the new initiative adopted by the Diocese of Delhi, Jammu, Jalandhar and Chandigarh, not only will AIDS awareness be integral part of the church’s policies, it will also be an area of top priority.

Already engaged in reaching out to the community on this matter of national interest, the church has now decided to rope in priests for spreading awareness regarding AIDS. Taking a lead in the area is the Chandigarh-Shimla Diocese which will hold a special orientation programme on HIV/AIDS awareness for priests working in the community.

“The idea is to use the experience of priests who can influence thousands of people at a time. Since they are already handling several social projects for the church, they can act as valuable resources in handling the HIV/AIDS issue. While inspecting their respective areas, they can serve to demystify the epidemic and lend a human face to it by touching upon the complexities and sensitivities involved,” said Father Sahaya Thatheus, who has been appointed by the Chandigarh-Shimla Diocese as coordinator of the three-member committee set up to look after gender discrimination and AIDS awareness issues. The committee was set up by Bishop Dr Gerald John Mathias.

To begin with, the Diocese will organise a workshop for 45 priests working at 80 churches under its fold. The workshop will be aimed at adding skills to the existing knowledge of priests who are covering vulnerable areas in Bathinda, Patiala, Chandigarh, Shimla and Karnal.

The new initiative is an extension of the earlier awareness plan which the church had adopted in September, 2005, when a regional meet of the four Diocese of Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Jammu was held here in Chandigarh. The meet, which saw the church reiterate its commitment to fighting gender discrimination and HIV/AIDS, ended with the adoption of an action plan which is serving as a touchstone for all future endeavours.

The action plan comprises the following focus areas — dealing with HIV/AIDS on a priority basis, eliminating gender discrimination and celebrating in the Diocese the following days — World AIDS Day, Girl Child Day, Mother’s Day and Women’s Day.

Father Sahaya added: “All these days are related to the concerns which we have now formalised in the form of policies. Though we have been talking about AIDS awareness since September last year, from this year onwards we plan to renew our focus.

As for priests, they had earlier also been instructed by the Bishop to keep the Christian community in particular informed about the hazards of HIV/AIDS. The tools we normally use for spreading AIDS awareness include street plays which we write and direct ourselves and puppetry shows. We have also been organising rallies on this issue.”



Lost on way to Hardwar, child found in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 1
For police personnel posted at the Phase 11 police post it was a touching sights when nine-year-old Shahrukh ran into the arms of his mother after having wandered about for 15 harrowing days and nights.

The mother cried with happiness as she smothered the child with kisses while his father Furkhan did not know how to thank the Mohali police enough.

Shahrukh, son of a junk dealer, a resident of Ashok Vihar Colony, Panipat, was lost while travelling to Hardwar with his elder brother, Ashoo, a fortnight ago. The child wandered about in cities and railway platforms.

He survived on the kindness of those around him. Dirty and tired, he landed at the Chandigarh railway station on a train yesterday morning and strayed into a bus which brought him to Phase 11 here.

“The bus conductor dropped him near the Amb Sahib Colony as he looked to be labourer’s son. He moved around the area for some time. Nafeez, a residents of the colony, took him in and informed us at the police post last evening,” said Mr Ravinder Singh, SHO phase 11.

“All the child could tell us was that he lived near Pahalwan Chowk in Panipat,” said Ravinder Singh.

The SHO then contacted the SP, Panipat, who gave him the numbers of the various police stations and posts in Panipat.

“We finally found the police post, Paharganj where this area fell, but there was no case of missing child reported there,” said Mr Ravinder Singh.

Nafeez took the child back home where he was kept like a family member. “This morning we got a call from Panipat that they had found a couple who had reported that their son had gone missing many days ago and was named Shahrukh. Shahrukh’s parents arrived here this afternoon. The child recognised his parents instantly,” said the SHO.



Project to increase green cover gets under way
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, September 1
Concerned at the depleting green cover in the wake of the cutting of over 22,000 trees for the four-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, the Rotary Club today initiated a unique project to supplement government efforts in preserving the fragile ecology of the region.

In fact, under the ambitious project, “District 3090 clean and green project”, which was kicked off by the Banur MLA and former Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the club planned to plant over 6,400 saplings in the month of September alone.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhupinder Saini, president of the local Rotary Club, informed that about 30 per cent of the total target of planting the saplings in lieu of those cut for the four-laning project had been met by the government agencies so far. The club was supplementing the government efforts in the preservation of the environment, he added.

Lauding the efforts of the Rotary Club, Capt Kanwaljit Singh called upon people to make the planting of saplings a mass movement. Though the developmental projects necessitated the cutting of trees, yet the government agencies and the public should replenish the tree cover by planting more saplings at the available spaces.

Dr B.M. Dheer, Rotary International District 3090 Governor, who was the guest of honour, highlighted the social projects undertaken by the club in the fields of female foeticide, saplings plantation and free medicare to the poor.

Earlier, carrying banners and flags, schoolchildren marched in procession from Government Higher Secondary School to the Community Centre here to spread the message of sapling plantation.

Meanwhile, over 100 persons pledged their eyes after death on the occasion of the 64th birthday of Capt Kanwaljit Singh. The former Finance Minister was also felicitated by 17 social organisations of the township for his services to society.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Jasjeet Singh Bunny, general secretary of the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Paramjit Saini, secretary of the local Rotary Club, Mr Surjit Singh Garhi, a member of the SGPC, and Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.



Now, condom vending machines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The State AIDS Control Society (SACS) will install 20 condom vending machines (CVMs) at key locations in the city, an official press release said here today.

The Chandigarh Administration today approved the proposal of governing body of SACS to this effect. The Hindustan Latex Limited (HLL), will operate and maintain the machines. The filling and refilling of condoms in all 20 machines would also be carried out by the HLL.

The sites identified for the CVMs include Municipal Corporation office, Licensing and Registering Authority block (gents toilet), public convenience (near Neelam Cinema) and public convenience (near Bridge Market), all in Sector 17. In Sector 22 the CVMs will be installed a public convenience (near Market), public convenience (opposite ISBT).

Other sites for the CVM include public convenience (Sector 34 near UTI Bank), Sulabh at Transport Area, public convenience (Sector 26 near Banyan tree in Main Market), Petrol Pump (Sector 9), Drop-in Cafetaria (Sector 34), outside cafetaria of ISBT, Sector 17, Hotel Mountview (men’s rest room), Hotel Shivalikview (men’s rest room), outside Cafeteria of ISBT, Sector 43, Chandigarh Club, Sector 1 (men’s rest room), Bharat Petrol Pump (Sector 21), Petrol Pump (Sector 22), Army Transit Camp (near Ram Darbar), N-Area (near Airport) and Panjab University (Student Centre).



‘Include unions in making decisions’

Chandigarh, September 1
The managements of banks must include the bank officers’ unions in decision-making for smooth functioning of the banks.

This was stated by Mr Amar Pal, who has been elected general secretary of the All-India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), apex body of bank officers’ unions.

He said most problems between the managements and unions of public sector banks were a result of unions not being included in the decision-making process.

He said one of the major challenges facing the banking industry was the inability of managements of public sector banks to fill vacancies of officers. As a result, most services like replenishing of ATMs, recovery of advances, clearing houses and opening of accounts, were now being outsourced.

He said his main thrust as general secretary would be to fight for bank officers being given the option of taking pension after retirement.

“We will also be working for salary revision of officers, which is due in November 2007, and for getting the scheme on jobs on ‘compassionate’ grounds renewed,” he added. — TNS



Toilet blocks opened at Kajehri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Two sets of toilet blocks for women and gents consisting of 20 water closets (WCs) each were opened for public use at Kajehri Chowk by Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, today.

The Mayor said additional two blocks of toilets at Kuldeep Colony, Pandit Colony and Mazdoor Colony were near completion and would be opened for public use within a week.

More such toilet blocks were proposed for Adarsh Colony, Nehru Colony, Sector 53, Palsora Colony, Industrial Area Colony No. 4, Sanjay Labour Colony, Madras Colony and Colony No. 5. These would be completed up to October 31.

All toilet blocks would be maintained by Sulabh International. After a period of one year, monthly passes would be given to families of these colonies at a nominal cost.



Radhashtami celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The local unit of the ISKCON celebrated Radhashtami, the Appearance Day of Lord Krishna's consort, at Hare Krishna Dham, here today.

The programme began with Mangla aarti at 4.30 a.m. followed by Charan darshan of Radha Rani, bhajan sankirtan, abhisheka and maha aarti.

A prize distribution function was held on the temple premises. Children from various schools of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali participated. Winners of fancy dress competition, flower arrangement and quiz competition were given away prizes by Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu, president of the local unit of ISKCON.



165 motorists challaned

Chandigarh, September 1
The Chandigarh Traffic Police booked 165 motorists for various traffic rules and regulations here today. The police has impounded 13 vehicles as the drivers were not carrying proper documents. — TNS



City gets postal van
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Chandigarh Postal Division today introduced a business van in the city. The van would function independent of the existing post offices in the city. The facility would not work parallel to the existing post offices but would extend the functioning hours of the Postal Department, said a senior postal official.

The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices (SSP), Chandigarh Division, Mr Nirmaljit Singh, said under the facility, booking of speed post articles, booking of registered letters, sale of postal stationery, booking of e-post messages, sale of passports forms and acceptance of bulk mail would be done.

There were certain areas where the facility for registered letters or speed post was up to 4 pm. After that, customers had to go to the General Post Office, Sector 17. “Now the van would visit places with inadequate post office facilities”, said the SSP.

Under the schedule, the van would start from the GPO at 2 pm and stay at the CRPG campus, Hallo Majra, for 30 minutes before moving to the campus of Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), Sector 26, where it would stay for 30 minutes.

From the CCET campus, the van would move to Panjab University where it would stay for 30 minutes. At the last stoppage in the Sector 34 market, the van would be positioned for an hour. The staff attached with the van would collect bulk mail from clients in respective areas.

Mr Nirmaljit Singh flagged off the van.



Biz Clips

Inaugurated: Mr H.S. Bedi, General Manager, Indian Oil Corporation, inaugurated new computerised system at Mann Filling Station, Sector 49, on Friday. With this, customers can avail online fueling with instant billing from the machine itself. — TNS

Bonanza: The State Bank of India, Chandigarh Circle, is celebrating “Independence Bonanza” as part of which concession of 0.5 per cent on interest rates is available on housing loans. Personal loans, including pension loans, are being given with 1 per cent concession on interest rates. — TNS



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