C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

PU Elections
Lean turnout at open house
Tribune News Service

R.S. Mann
R.S. Mann


D.S. Goldy
D.S. Goldy

Nakul Kundra
Nakul Kundra

Chandigarh, September 7
The battle lines are drawn. As Panjab University and the Chandigarh Administration gear up for student elections tomorrow, the candidates today put their last ditch efforts to woo voters.

With unprecedented security arrangements in place, the traditional open house at the university saw a lean turnout of students as compared to last year. Student unions managed to mobilise only about 1500 students out of the total strength of over 7700. A head count at the open house, which is the most visible show of strength a day before the elections, pointed towards a neck and neck fight between the two main contending parties: Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) and Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) for the key posts.

Rupinderjit Singh Mann, presidential candidate of PUSU, who was the first to speak, made a lasting impression on the electorate. He highlighted the achievements of his party which has been in power at the university. He added that it was the good work done by its members which had brought them to power repeatedly. He also replied satisfactorily to many queries from SOPU supporters. He told the voters that PUSU had the full support of the members of the Haryana Students Association and Himachal Students Union and was confident of a win.

Funded by supporters settled abroad, PUSU is a prominent party of the university and also has a strong hold in the city colleges. It has been in power at the university for the past four years. The party leaders, many of them now seasoned politicians, manage to clamber winning support tying up with other parties in the face of stiff competition. Other than the HAS and HIMSU, this year the party has also tied up with Student Organisation of India. In the last elections, SOI had supported SOPU.

Abhilasha, the only woman presidential candidate in these elections being fielded by the National Students Union of India (NSUI), gave a fiery speech focusing mainly on the grim state of student affairs in the university due to the reign of the PUSU and SOPU party members. She expressed her concern about the security of girls inside the campus, in the present atmosphere under their leadership with “billian de sirahne wi kade dahi jammiya hai” (curd can never set under cats’ pillow).

Whatever be the result of the elections tomorrow the open house debate today saw the birth of an outstanding orator. The speech given by Dalveer Singh Goldy the Presidential candidate of the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) was, in terms of both content and style of delivery, way better than speeches made by the other Presidential candidates.

Repeating the promises that the party has been making these past days, Goldy also pointed out that leaders of their main contending party Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) had been indulging in unscrupulous activities with elections in mind. He referred to the incident in which PUSU leader Amandeep Singh had allegedly stage-managed an attack on himself. He also reminded the voters that the PUSU presidential candidate Mann was facing charges of attempt to murder.

Despite having lost to PUSU last year, SOPU had managed to gather a substantial chunk of votes. The party has this time tied up with the Indian National Students Union (INSO) which had contended independently during the last elections and was the third most popular party.

Nakul Kundra, the presidential candidate of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), told the electorate that it was time for a much-needed change and their party was a national party with national issues in mind. He asked the students to rise above local issues and join hands in the national movement by students for bigger causes.

The same point was brought out by Harmeet Kaur, vice-presidential candidate of the Students federation of indi (SFI) in her speech.

Harmeet spoke at the open house since the party’s presidential candidate had been rejected yesterday. She added that universities were for students, not regional and party politics. 



Tough electoral fight in colleges
Tribune News Service

Students of GCG-11, Chandigarh, protest during the open house on the eve of student council elections on Thursday
Students of GCG-11, Chandigarh, protest during the open house on the eve of student council elections on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, September 7
The toughest fight in the students' elections in city colleges is set to take place at DAV College Sector 10. Awash with colours and heavy with the unmistakable air of elections, the college also organised the first ever open house debate among the four contending presidential candidates.

"Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we have the first elections in a co-ed atmosphere but the enthusiasm among the students is remarkable," said Prof Anil Sarwal, who conducted the open house.

The Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) has fielded its own panel here which includes Rupinder Singh Chahal, alias Rimpy for the post of the president. SOPU has tied up with the Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), Himachal Students Union (HIMSU) and UP Students Union (UPSU) fielding Sukhjit Singh Sra as president. The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is fielding Saurav Joshi as the presidential candidate while the Students Organisation of India (SOI) is fielding Balraj Singh Randhawa as president.

At the SGGS College, Sector 26, there are two parties in the fray. The Khalsa College Students Union (KCSU) which is fielding Harjit Singh Baidwan alias Bholu, as its presidential candidate and the contending party here is the Chandigarh Students Union (CSU) which has fielded Jaswinder Singh Jassi as the presidential candidate.

At Government College, Sector 11, PUSU has tied up with the INSO-HPSU and UPSU fielding Parminder Jawal, alias Goldy, for the president's post, The Government College Students Union (GCSU) and SOI are fielding Jujhar Singh Grewal, alias Savi, as President and the Indian Student Union (ISU) is fielding Vishal Gautam as president.



600 students kidnapped: NSUI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Members of the NSUI have alleged that over 600 student voters of the university have been “kidnapped” by PUSU and SOPU. In a press note issued by Harpreet Singh Harry President, NSUI PU Campus unit, “NSUI is pained over the episode of kidnapping of over 600 student voters from PU campus by PUSU and SOPU. These students are being kept in farmhouses in the vicinity of Chandigarh and are being entertained by serving liquor etc.

The PU administration, nor the Chandigarh Police has taken any steps in this regard, he added.

The PU Vice Chancellor Prof RC Sobti stated that no such incident had been reported to him.



DNA reports say no baby swapping
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The fortnight-long controversy over the swapping of a baby boy with a baby girl at the ESI Hospital, Ram Darbar, ended today with the findings of DNA reports by the Central Scientific Forensic Laboratory (CSFL), Chandigarh.

The DNA reports confirmed that there was no swapping of children at the hospital as there were no contradictory results on the blood samples of the parents and their newborns. The DNA reports established the parentage, showing that the baby boy was the son of Prem Sheela while the baby girl belonged to Usha.

Earlier, Ms Usha had alleged that her baby boy was swapped with a baby girl by Ms Prem Sheela of the same colony in connivance with the hospital staff. She had also claimed to have known the gender of her baby after the doctors handed over the baby to her soon after the delivery.

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh both women reside in colony No 4 and were admitted to the Ram Darbar hospital after labour pain on August 26.

Meanwhile, Dr Ramesh Chand, Medical Superintendent of the ESI Hospital, said the DNA report had solved the case and reflected the transparent functioning of the institution. He added that the women were still admitted to the hospital and would be discharged in a day or two.



Tribune Impact
CE visits street, orders change of wiring duct
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Following a story “A street full of electric shocks” about Ram Darbar Phase II, Mr V.K.Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, today visited the spot and ordered the changing of the insulation duct of the wiring in the troubled area.

He said the work would be carried out immediately. The spot under question was a peculiar case of encroachment on government land. No electricity pole is erected on any residential property. The walls here have been erected by the resident themselves. Complaints by residents of adjoining houses are because the cable in the ground has been slashed at several points to draw electricity illegally through ‘kundis.”

Mr Bhardwaj said there had been at least two unfortunate incidents recently leading to electrocution, one in Kishangarh and another two in Nayagaon.

Another senior official on a note of anonymity said the area has certain peculiar problems which are not in the hands of the Electricity Department alone. “Because of blatant illegal constructions on government land and roofs projecting out right next to high tension wires, a large number of residents are actually waiting for an accident to occur. All the exercise of rewiring is meaningless without the Estate Office regulating the constructions,” he said.

The problem is not singular in Ram Darbar. It can be found in all the colonies all over the city.



School sites’ auction on Sept 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The first ever auction of school sites by Estate Office will be held on September 12. The auction which was scheduled for today had been postponed as the incumbency certificates had not been received from the engineering department.
Besides, all the applicants had not been intimated about the date of auction.



BJP takes out Vande Mataram Shatabdi Yatra
Tribune News Service

The national song was composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1876 and Rabindranath Tagore sang it for the first time during the Congress session at Mumbai in 1896. It was adopted as the national song at the Varanasi session on September 7, 1905.

Chandigarh, September 7
The Punjab BJP today celebrated the centenary of Vande Mataram as the national song with great fervour and zeal all across the state.
Led by its president and MP from Hoshiarpur, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, a convoy of hundreds of vehicles of BJP workers formed a part of the Vande Mataram Shatabdi Yatra which began from Hoshiarpur and ended at Chandigarh.

A specially designed Vande Mataram Shatabdi rath was the carrier of BJP state leaders, including the state general secretaries, Mr Vijay Sampla, and Mr Rajinder Bhandari. the former ministers, Mr Swarna Ram, Mr Balram Dass Tandon and BJP youth leader, Mr Vineet Joshi were also there. The yatra attracted great local crowds in various cities en route to Chandigarh.

According to the state general secretary, they were welcomed by zealous singing of Vande Mataram at all major transit cities of Mehalpur, Balachar, Ropar, Kurali, Kharar and Mohali.

He further added that they had also distributed 10,000 audio cassettes and over one lakh pamphlets with Vande Mataram transcripts amongst masses on their way to Chandigarh.

The yatra finally culminated in Chandigarh with party president and thousands of party workers singing the national song at Sector 17 Plaza.

Majority of schools, including private and public, in the city today sung the first two paragraphs of the Vande Mataram simultaneously at 11 am. 



Killer manholes: MC refuses
information on flimsy grounds

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC) today failed to give a direct reply to an application, under the Right to Information Act- 2005, pertaining to the death by drowning of a four-year-old child in a Sulabh Shauchalaya in Sector 56 and a woman police constable in Sector 30.

The MC took the ground that the information sought was not on ‘Format A’, whereas the said Act does not prescribe any format for information seekers.

Interestingly, the reply has come to the question by the Forum for Public Affairs, an NGO.

As required under the Act, questions relating to human life have to be replied within 48 hours. However, the reply by the corporation says nothing about the question asked by the president of the forum, Mr. Chander Mukhi Sharma.

He had specifically asked the corporation if it had taken any measures to prevent such accidents in future and to name officials responsible for the drowning incident.

The president of the Forum for Public Affairs had also sought information on the number of open pits and manholes in the city and the proposed action to prevent loss of human life in such accidents.

A press statement issued by the Forum for Public Affairs president read that according to Section 7 (1) of the RTI, “…..where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within fortyeight hours of the receipt of the request”.

Mr Sharma said the reply had come within the prescribed period, but the vital information sought had been denied.

Mr Sharma said instead of replying to the questions asked, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Corporation chose to write back saying, “with reference to the above noted subject, undersigned has examined the application as per provisions of the RTI Act, the same is neither in the application 'Format A' notified under the rules framed under RTI Act nor the information asked for in the terms of the provision of the RTI Act-2005”.

Mr Sharma said as per Section 6 (1) of the RTI Act “a person, who desires to obtain any information under this Act, shall make a request in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made, accompanying such fee as may be prescribed”.

The Act does not mention any format anywhere as the purpose of the Act is to facilitate information, he said.



Erratic power supply hits Zirakpur
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 7
Zirakpur may be one of the fastest growing townships in the region but basic civic amenities have failed to keep pace with its haphazard growth. A case in point is the erratic power supply which continues to disrupt normal lives.

In fact, contrary to repeated claims of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities about the improvement in power supply, the unscheduled power cuts continue to play havoc with the lives of the residents. And what irks the residents, a majority of them comprising the educated middle class, is the fact that the authorities concerned seemed to be least bothered.

Only last evening, the residents of parts of Baltana and the Highland Society on the Zirakpur-Kalka road were put to a lot of inconvenience as there was no power supply from 6 pm to 11 pm. And the non-cooperative attitude of the complaint centre at Baltana added insult to injury, alleged Mr Rajiv, a resident of Highland Society.

Echoing the same sentiments, Mr Sanjay Sharma from Baltana said the Punjab Government officials’ claims of developing the township into a state-of-the-art township proved to be hallow if basic amenities are anything to go by. At night, the non-functioning of streetlights and pot-holed roads make the roads accident-prone areas, alleged Mr Sharma.

Another resident alleged that even as the Punjab Government made tall claims about the mega projects in the newly-created Mohali district, the provision of infrastructural facilities left much to be desired.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister and the Banur MLA, who represents the area, alleged that provision of the basic amenities such as the electricity and power to both towns and villages had been one of the biggest failures of the Punjab Government in the past five years. The lack of basic amenities, besides the anti-incumbency factor, would be a major issue in the February 2007 Punjab elections, Capt Kanwaljit Singh added.

With the township bursting at seams in the wake of a sudden urban development, the power supply has apparently fallen short of the ever-growing demand, sources conceded. This coupled with the old wiring led to repeated trippings leading to frequent power cuts, sources added.



Fighting to remove pension anomaly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
In the twilight of her life, the widow of a brigadier who was decorated during the Second World War, has been forced to take up a fight for getting anomalies in her pension rectified.

Frail, confined to a wheelchair and needing constant attention at the age of 92, Mrs Sudarshan Kaur, a resident of Sector 9 here, has been writing to the authorities concerned for the past two years to get certain anomalies in her family pension rectified, but to no avail. After her husband, Brig Balbir Singh passed away in January, 2004, a case was taken up for grant of family pension, which was fixed at Rs 2,397 per month on the basis of old pension payment orders. Since the pension was at old rates, she took up the matter with the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions) for revision of pension in accordance with current rates.

The Controller of Defence Accounts at Allahabad advised her to obtain the relevant records about her husband’s service from the Controller of Defence Accounts (Officers) at Pune.

The CDA at Pune, however, replied that they could not forward any information as the records pertaining to Brigadier Balbir Singh’s service had been destroyed. He had retired from the Army in 1957.

In June, the Additional Director-General, Manpower at Army Headquarters, wrote to the CDA (Pensions), asking them to revise the widow’s pension. The pension authorities further wrote to the CDA (Officers) at Pune, but no response has been received from them.

“It is a matter of regret that one has to go through such hassles at this stage of life,” Mrs Sudarshan said. “It is also sad that despite the regimental spirit and bonhomie, no one in the Army gives a thought about visiting the old officers or widows and help sort out their problems,” she added.



Denial of basmati status to 2 varieties irks farmers
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The inability of the government to notify PUSA 1121 and CSR 30 as basmati varieties by the government has agitated rice exporters and farmers in Punjab and Haryana.
On the contrary, the government has included Shabnam as basmati variety this year.

Both Punjab and Haryana, which make maximum rice contribution to the central pool and are also major exporters of basmati, have decried the move stating that the area under Shabnam cultivation was far less than that of PUSA 1121 and CSR 30.

Vijay Setia, a rice exporter from Haryana, said the agriculture departments of both states had been encouraging farmers to grow PUSA 1121 and CSR 30.

“In Punjab, Markfed has been urging farmers to grow these varieties under contract farming. The state governments were hopeful of PUSA 1121’s notification as basmati variety, especially because of its long grain and aroma. This variety belongs to the basmati family,” he said.

No wonder that in May, Markfed had invited offers from farmers for growing PUSA 1121, PB 1 and Sharbati under contract faming because of their huge export potential.

The farmers were also offered a predetermined price, and trade and quality parameters were prescribed for them.

The Punjab Government agency had clearly said that they were offering contract farming for these varieties as these had good export potential throughout the year.

Farmers on their part said they felt cheated at having been asked to grow a variety that would not yield good returns.

Claiming that Shabnam was an inferior variety, Makhan Singh, a paddy grower in Fatehgarh Sahib, said while PUSA 1121 fetched them Rs 1,200-1,700 per quintal till last year, Shabnam would only sell at Rs 750-800 per quintal.

“But with Shabnam being notified as basmati variety, it would yield more returns and the price of PUSA 1121 would fall drastically,” he said adding that following the notification, Shabnam’s price had already shot up to Rs 1,100-1,200 per quintal.

The skeptics, including some office-bearers of the All-India Rice Exporters Association, however, said the reason for PUSA 1121 and CSR 30 not being notified was that the grain often broke during milling — a fact denied by farmers and rice millers.

Mr Setia said the breakage in CSR 30 was at least 30 per cent less than the traditional basmati, while the breakage in PUSA 1121 was almost the same as in traditional basmati.



Will Army hear his plea for fair play?
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 7
Lt-Colonel D.P. Thapar retired from the Army a good 20 years back. His photographs in Army regalia adorning the walls of his Sector-2 residence and book shelves and cabinets are all an indication that his heart is still with his battalion.

While he cherishes every memory from his days in the Army, he is an anxious man today— not for himself but for his daughter who, too, followed in her father's footsteps and donned the olive green and relived from the service as a Captain in 2003.

“She was among the first batch of lady officers inducted into the Army. What a proud moment it was for me to see my daughter stand shoulder to shoulder with me.

“Inducted for five years, this pioneering batch was given another five years of extension after change in the service rules. We could not have asked for more.

“However, now the Army has extended service by another four years and the first batch as also the second batch has been left out in the cold,” he rues.

After repeated applications to reconsider extension of service failed to elicit a favourable response, three lady officers filed a case in the Delhi High Court to “raise their voice against injustice meted out to them”. Most of the others took up jobs as teachers or just slid into oblivion.

“If the Army can recall the third batch after relieving them, why can’t the same principle be applied to the first and the second batch.

“The Navy and Airforce, too, have given 14-year service period from the first batch onwards. It is not that the Army doesn’t have a precedence to follow. Then, why should the first two batches be made to suffer,” he questions.

The three lady officers who have knocked at the doors of the court began by sending representations to everybody right from the President of India to the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister to the Army chief but nothing worked.

“We had no option but to approach the court for justice and, now, hopefully, there will be something to cheer about.

“My daughter and her entire batch retired as Captain with no pension benefits, a day before they would have picked up their rank as Majors.

“The Forces are perceived by the entire nation as the epitome of justice and fairness. Such behaviour is not becoming of them,” the distraught father says.

Colonel Thapar hopes that the Army, on its own, will realise its folly and rectify the situation at the earliest. If not, then the courts are there to  ensure that justice prevails, he remarks confidently.



Stamp vendor’s licence cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Collector, Chandigarh, today cancelled the stamp vendor licence of Ms Mamta Bakshi, who was running her business from the premises of the Estate Office in Sector 17 here.

There were complaints of harassment, over-charging and rude behaviour against the stamp vendor by certain customers, said the Collector, Mr R.K. Rao.

The action has been taken against the vendor following a complaint lodged by Mr M.L. Sharma, Chairman of the Department of Chemistry, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Mr Sharma had lamented that the vendor was rude and had forced him to pay over and above the prescribed rate.

The collector has directed the vendor to surrender her licence and deposit the unsold non-judicial stamp papers with the treasury office, Central Treasury, Chandigarh.



Cop hurt in altercation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
A spat between a Chandigarh Police constable and a CTU bus driver over a trivial issue turned violent, which left the policeman with a head injury. The incident took place in the bus which was passing through the Industrial Area this morning.

The constable was later rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

The police while terming the incident as minor said both parties had reached a compromise. However, a daily diary report had been lodged at the Industrial Area police station in this connection.

The police said the incident took place on the CTU bus (route No. 22) it was passing near the CTU workshop in Phase I, Industrial Area. As the bus was crowded some altercation brewed up between the bus driver, Harnaik Singh, and Constable Desh Pal, who is posted at the Police Lines, which later turned violent. They grappled with each other and before the passengers could intervene the constable suffered a head injury.



18 Engineer regiment martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Commanding Officer and all the ranks of 18 Engineer Regiment today remembered 34 personnel who lost their lives while constructing a bridge at Kinnaur on this very day last year.

In a heartfelt condolence message, the regiment fondly recalled its association with the martyrs who included two officers, one JCO and 32 other personnel from different ranks. They had all died in a tragic incident which happened last year when the personnel were constructing Baily Bridge at Kharo in Kinnaur.

The friends of martyrs today extended their sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for the peace of departed souls.



Breakfast becomes costlier
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Your grocery budget is going to be toppled yet again. The prices of bread, wheat flour, refined flour, curds and cottage cheese have all become expensive. The price of staple breakfast for most people-bread-have increased by Rs 2, and the prices of curds and cheese, too, have gone up.

The bread which was earlier available for Rs 10, is now available for Rs 12, while the cost of brown bread has gone up from Rs 12 to Rs 14. The 400 gm packet of curds is available for Rs 12 as compared to Rs 10 earlier, while 200 gm of cottage cheese is now available for Rs 22 which is up by Rs 2.

Mr Rajan Kumar of Shiv Provision Store, Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra, said the reason for increase in price of bread was that wheat and refined flour (maida) had become expensive. " In Chandigarh, the flour prices have gone up from Rs 11 per kg to Rs 13 per kg," he said.

Ms Vimal Khanna , a housewife in Panchkula, complained that with the prices of all daily items hitting the roof, the entire household budget is getting upset.



Literacy week on

Chandigarh, September 7
The Jan Shikshan Sansthan is observing literacy week in Colony Number-4 and Mauli Jagran. The programme, which begain here yesterday, will go on till September 15. It will be marked by rallies.
On the second day of the literacy campaign, the Sansthan organised rallies at both the locations. TNS



Staff sing national song
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 7
The staff and employees of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation and the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Phase VI observed the centenary of composition of national song Vande Matram here today. T he staff stood and recited the national song during the event. 



2 boys held for stealing mobile phone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The local police today arrested two boys on the charge of stealing a mobile phone.
According to the police, Mr Vivekanand of Sector 45-C had lodged a complaint with the police on July 27, alleging that his mobile phone was stolen from a book shop in Sector 20, where he had gone for some work. Acting on the complaint the police put the telephone number and the mobile phone set number on surveillance and procured the call details.

The police said the accused started using another SIM card, but it was traced from the IMEI number of the set, when it was put to use.

The accused are residents of Burail and were working at two chemist shops in Sector 20. The police has recovered the mobile phone and its SIM card from them. A case was registered in this connection at the Sector 19 police station.

Injured: A motorcyclist, Lal Bahadur, of colony No. 4 sustained injuries after being hit by a car near Bhushan Factory, Phase I, Industrial Area, last night. He was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. In another incident, a pedestrian, Mr Bhadur Kushwaha of Badheri, was hit by a scooter (CH-03-A-1841) driven by Kamaljit Singh of Sector 56 on the road separating Sectors 40 and 41 on Wednesday. He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Two cases of causing injury due to rash and negligent driving have been registered.

Arrested: The local police arrested Rajinder Singh of Naya Gaon and Ravinder Singh of Phase VI, Mohali, from near a wine shop at Raipur Kalan village on Wednesday. The police seized Rs 360 from them. A case under the Gambling Act was registered at the Mani Majra police station.

Accused held: The UT police yesterday arrested a Yamuna Nagar resident from Mandi Gobindgarh who had allegedly stolen Rs 25,000 and medical equipment from a diagnostic centre in Sector 44 in July this year.

The police said the accused, Raman Kumar, aged 27, had stolen the money and equipment from the Bher Diagnostic Centre in Sector 44 on July 5.

Ms Archana Gupta had lodged a complaint with the police in this connection. The accused had started working in an office in Mandi Gobindgarh after changing his identity and was arrested after information about his whereabouts was received by the police from its own sources.

In another incident, Sujit Kumar of Sector 47 was arrested for stealing a mobile phone. Mr Lakhi Ram, a BSNL employee, had reported to the police that his mobile phone was stolen from his office. It was later that he came to know about the involvement of the accused in the theft and the police arrested the accused, who admitted to his crime.

Smack seized: The local police arrested Sunny of Sector 38 on the charges of carrying 12 packets of smack from near Nirman Cinema in Sector 32. A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act had been registered in this regard.



3 booked in dowry case

Dera Bassi, September 7
The local police has booked three persons on a charge of demanding dowry from a Devi Nagar resident. Acting on the complaint of Ms Mandeep Kaur, the police registered case against her husband Harvinder Singh and two other persons—Ajaib Singh and Gurvinder Kaur. It was also alleged that Mandeep Kaur was beaten up by the accused on September 5. A case has been registered. — TNS



RBI suggests steps to check
tampering of credit, debit cards
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7Have you lost your hard-earned money through the ATM, even when you are sure you did not withdraw the money? Or your credit card bills show purchases, which you never made.

Shocked at this kind of electronic fraud taking place here? Well, this kind of fraud — called skimming of ATM/debit and credit cards— is getting quite common. Skimming is a technique by which data on a customer's cards' magnetic strip is electronically copied into another card by electronic devices called skimmer, without the customer's knowledge. The fake card made using the copied data, works as well as the original card and can dig a deep hole into anybody's finances.

Sources in the banking industry say that skimming can occur at retail outlets, petrol stations and restaurants etc where an extra swipe of the customer's credit/debit or ATM card is made by an unscrupulous employee in a small hand held device called skimmer, before handling it back to the customer. The information is then sold to some miscreant group for making counterfeit cards.

With skimming of these cards getting common, the Reserve Bank of India has now taken a serious note. RBI recently found that in many cases plastic cards with magnetic strips (in some cases these were telephone top-up cards issued by a UK- based telecom company) were used for copying the information from ATM, credit and debit cards, and these counterfeit cards were then used to effect cash withdrawls.

It is thus that RBI has suggested a few measures to be taken by banks so as to strengthen the compliance of customers in card- based transactions. Banks have been asked to conduct random checks to identify any signs of tampering of fixtures attached to ATMs, and to maintain a record of such checks. In case of ATMs manned by security personnel, banks have been advised to ensure that only one person accesses the ATM cabin at a time.

Banks have also been asked to monitor suspicious ATM account activity like sudden increase in number of withdrawls and to investigate customer complaints quickly, to determine if credit card/ ATM-cum-debit card was misused. RBI has also directed that incidents of skimming be immediately brought to the notice of the branch manager, Controller and Information Security Cell at Head Office and also to the local law enforcement authorities.

Banks have also been asked to educate customers to take precautions against becoming victims of skimming, by getting awareness pamphlets printed and distributed among customers. 



Cell operators stress on wireless infrastructure

Chandigarh, September 7
With Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh refusing to allow installation of towers in residential areas, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have underlined the importance of augmenting wireless infrastructure to keep pace with the explosive growth of mobile subscriber base.

Addressing mediapersons here yesterday, Mr T.V. Ramachandran, Director General, COAI, stated that cellular towers were the key infrastructure element.

While maintaining that there was no health hazards from the RF radiations, Mr Ramchandran pointed out that if the growth of infrastructure did not keep pace with the subscriber growth, it would lead to network congestion, poor quality of service, call drops, and might even stagnate the growth of service. “The radio frequency emissions from base stations is some 50,000 times lower than those causing any ill-effects to health, as per the international guidelines set by various bodies,” he said.

He also said the cellular towers were structurally stable as they were set up in compliance with world standards and as per designs certified by reputed institutes such as IIT, CRBI, RITES, and NCBM. TNS



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