C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Protesting farmer dies during rally
Unions demand compensation for family of deceased
Tribune News Service

Two farmers from Punjab take rest near Rose Garden as the Bhartiya Kisan Sabha stages dharna in favour of its demands on Wednesday in Chandigarh.
Two farmers from Punjab take rest near Rose Garden as the Bhartiya Kisan Sabha stages dharna in favour of its demands on Wednesday in Chandigarh. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, September 13
The ongoing farmers rally at Matka Chowk witnessed a minor setback when one of the farmers died of heart attack today. Sixty-year-old Balwant Singh from Dugalwali village in Tarn Taran district of Punjab suddenly collapsed during the protest.

More than 5000 farmers were present at the chowk pressing for their demands when the incident occurred . According to farmers, he was unwell and had come this morning with one of the unions. His body was sent home for cremation.

The farmers’ unions have demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a job for the next of kin of the deceased. They have also demanded that the loan taken by the farmer should be waived on compassionate grounds.

Despite the incident, the spirit of the farmers remained high. Hundreds of farmers from different parts of the state owing allegiance to the BKU (Ekta), the BKU (Ugran), the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Punjab Kisan Sangharsh Committee, the Punjab Kisan Union, the Jhamoori Kisan Sabha, the Kirti Kisan Union and the Jameen Ugara Committee poured into the city ahead of the Assembly session beginning tomorrow.

Several farmers’ organisations today threatened to block rail traffic in Punjab on September 25 if the state government failed to accept their demands, including enactment of law to bail out peasants under debt.

“The rail traffic in entire Punjab would be blocked by farmers for two hours on September 25,” Mr Pishhora Singh Siddhupur, president of the BKU (Ekta), said.

The farmers’ leaders demanded that the government should frame ‘Punjab Relief of Indebtedness Act’ to regulate farm loans. “The law, if enacted, will check exploitation of farmers by private money-lenders and commission agents,” stated one of the leaders.

“The total debt of Punjab farmers stands at Rs 25,000 crore,” stated Prof Manjit Singh acting president of the BKU Punjab. Other demands included that the entire debt of poor and marginal farmer, leaders also asked the state government to issue passbooks to farmers.

Mr Jai Singh Philaur, president Dalit Dastan Virodhi Andolan (DDVA), demanded that Jat Sikhs of Punjab should also be declared Other Backward Class. He demanded water connection to every poor and the facility of 200 unit of electricity free of cost and the government land or plot for the poor man on lease.

Challenging the Amarinder Singh Government proposal to acquire “fertile and cultivable” land, the leaders said they would not allow the state government to succeed in this endeavour.

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Hardy boys warn motorists, prevent mishaps
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
A Maruti car driver had a narrow escape late last night when his car rammed into an injured buffalo lying listless on the unlit road separating Sectors 24 and 25.

Soon after the mishap at about 11.30 pm , four youngsters acting as Good Samaritans took upon themselves the task of preventing further mishaps.

Waiving their tee-shirts after taking them off, the youngsters embarked upon the arduous task of warning the drivers rushing down the poorly lit road. Among the vehicles diverted away from the injured animal was an ambulance.

After receiving the information, a Tribune lensman called up the police control room. And for a change, cops, as many as 12 of them, on Bullets and other vehicles reached the spot within minutes of receiving the information.

Acting swiftly, the cops called up the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) while the youngsters — Ganesh, Anil, Prince and Sanjeev — continued to warn the motorists.

The animal was removed from the road by the cops and the boys nearly half an hour but the buffalo could not be saved.

Talking to The Tribune, the boys said initially a truck rammed into the buffalo due to poor illumination and left the animal injured and gasping for breath. And then the Maruti car tilted precariously towards one side after ramming into the injured animal.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said accidents on the road were not uncommon due to poor illumination. He added that the matter had been taken up with the municipal corporation authorities time and again but so far nothing has been done in this regard.

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BBMB employee kills self
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
A senior assistant with the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Gurcharan Singh, committed suicide by hanging himself at his apartment in Sector 36 late last night.

In the absence of a suicide note, the police was not clear about the reason that forced him to take such a step.

Quoting acquaintances, sources in the police said the victim had been suffering from depression and undergoing treatment for it at the PGI.

His wife, son and daughter had been living in Canada for the past over 15 years.

The victim had to miss his son’s marriage in Canada about a month back as he could not get a visa.

Fifty-year-old Gurcharan hailed from Kapurthala and had been living alone in the apartment allotted to him by the BBMB about 15 years back.

The death came to light this morning when his friend’s daughter Harpreet Kaur came to his apartment and found the door locked from inside.

When her repeated knocks went unanswered, she called up a friend of hers and asked him to come there. When their attempts to get him to answer the door were futile, they forced the door open.

They found the body of Gurcharan hanging from a ceiling fan, following which they informed the police, which reached the spot.

The police said Harpreet, hailing from Talwara, had been staying with Gurcharan for the past over four months.

She had been taking coaching in hardware from a private computer institute in Sector 35 here.

A police official said though no suicide note was found, they had been verifying mobile call details of the deceased to reconstruct the sequence of events.

The victim received an ISD call on his mobile phone around 1 am last night.

Quoting Ms Harpreet, the police said she had gone to meet her parents at Talwara.

She came back this morning and did not notice anything amiss with Gurcharan then.

His colleagues told the police that Gurcharan left for the day around 5:10 pm yesterday.

They also said Gurcharan was soon to be promoted to the post of superintendent.

The police informed the victim’s wife, who would reach here on September 15.

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SHO held guilty of disobeying court
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
In an unprecedented order, a local court has held the Station House Officer (SHO), Mani Majra, guilty of disobeying the lawful authority of the court of the Judicial Magistrate.

Holding Inspector Dhan Raj Sharma liable for punishment under section 29 of the Police Act, the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Balwinder Kumar, has imposed a penalty of Rs 5000 to be recovered from the personal salary and deposit it in the UT Treasury. Orders have been sent to the SSP for compliance.

Aggrieved by the orders of the JMIC, the SHO filed a revision before the Additional District and Session Judge, Mr B.K. Mehta, who stayed the operation of the orders till September 15. Initially, the revision was filed by the Public Prosecutor. But on being told that the public prosecutor could not represent an accused, a private counsel was hired by the Inspector.

Going back to the facts of the case, the JMIC has passed the orders after the SHO failed to appear before the court in connection with the death of Head Constable Kuljit Singh, a prosecution witness (PW) in a case of Excise Act against Parveen and Gagan Nagpal. Both were booked under the Excise Act and Section 420 and 120 B of the IPC in 1998.

Both the suspect, who were on bail, were today acquitted by the JMIC. Sources in the courts said the report of death of the prosecution witness was received from the SHO only after the issuance of a notice under Section 29 of the Police Act to the SHO. Since the report was sent through a lower functionary and the SHO was asked to furnish an explanation.

After the court refused to accept an oral explanation of the lower functionary during a recent hearing of the case, a message was received through the Additional Public Prosecutor that the SHO was busy at a VIP duty and will come after lunch.

When the SHO came at 4.15 pm on August 17, 2006, he was asked to wait and to give his explanation in writing. But he reportedly trespasses into the retiring room of the JMIC, who was dictating an order. Thereafter, Mr Sharma left without intimating the court.

In these circumstances, the Magistrate observed that the SHO had got no explanation for his conduct as to why the death report of Head Constable Kuljit Singh was not furnished despite various orders of this court.

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City Beautiful becoming foreign tourists’ haunt
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
In a very positive indication for tourism. The number of foreign tourists visiting the City Beautiful has nearly tripled during the past decade. As many as 8655 travellers from foreign lands visited the city during 1996. The number rose to 23,284 in 2005.

The list of foreign tourists compiled by the Department of Tourism for 2005 shows that visitors from the United States of America topped among the foreign travellers who came to see the architectural beauty carved by Le Corbusier, the master French designer. The list also figures United Kingdom (2631 visitors), Pakistan (1895), Canada (1226), Germany (1149), Australia (1061) and France (1048), besides others.

Confirming the figures, Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Tourism, said the official data is based on the information procured from all hotels and the police sources. The list covers majority of the foreign travellers, however, small exceptions can be made in case of those who not stay here or those staying in houses of the local population.

It is interesting to point out that even the number of Indian tourists have gone up considerably during the last decade. While the records show that as many as 4,24,512 tourists came to Chandigarh in 1996, the number rose to 6,14,176 in 2005. The number of Indian tourists is understood to be bigger because a considerable number have alternate arrangements of their stay, either at their friends places or relatives.

It is interesting to point out that the foreign tourists are making extensive use of the official website www.chandigarhtourism.gov.in to seek information and even book hotels. Tourists are able to confirm their place of stay at a sizeable number of places and can also make arrangement of their local travel. Mr Mat Rudolph, a tourist from USA, said: “It has been a delightful visit to the city and I will recommend the place to more friends. I had made all my bookings online and have found the services satisfactory. I was invited to participate in the inauguration of the cycle tourism and am very delighted to have a ride on the bike. It is very easy to understand the map of the city and the place also has very little language problems. I stop at places and ask for my destination in English and am helped”.

The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development (CITCO) and the Tourism Departments are toying with new idea to attract more tourism. “Shikaras” at Sukhna Lake is an important project which is at an advanced stage of implementation. A provision of nearly a dozen bicycles exists and another dozen will be made available within a week.

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COMMUNITY
 

Eco Notes
Sukhna home to 197 aquatic species
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Sukhna Lake has always been a tourist’s delight. But now there is a need to improve its ecology, says a study conducted by the Department of Zoology, Panjab University. The study, “Aquatic diversity of Sukhna Lake”, was conducted between December 2005 and July 2006. It was submitted to the UT Environment Department recently for perusal.

The rain-fed lake was created in 1958 by harnessing three choes — Kansal, Ghareri and Nepli. Over the years, the depth of the lake has come down to 1.8 m from 8 m due to siltation.

The lake is home to 197 aquatic flora and fauna species, including 32 fish species. The fish species include Indian major carps and a few exotic carps, including the common carp, the silver carp, the grass carp, the mosquito fish and the goldfish.

Though Indian major carps like the rohu, the mrigal and the catla are stocked in the lake from time to time, exotic carps are also introduced occasionally. In addition, fish from surrounding areas also entered the lake during floods.

Prof M.S. Johal, who was the principal investigator of the study, says abiotic and biotic factors of the lake were studied.

He says the lake support aquatic fauna which can survive both in clear waters and oxygen-deficient waters with temperature varying from 13.3°C to 35.4°C.

The lake has colourful aquarium fish species, including the green barb, the stigma barb, the fire fin barb, the danio and the zebra fish. Some hardy species like the sting ray catfish and the banded colisa are also found in the lake.

The common carp is the biggest fish found in the lake. Its size varies from 30 cm to 40 cm and weight up to 3 kg. However, in the freshwater its weight goes up to 10 kg Catla, whose weight varies from 1.5 kg to 2 kg, is also found. The length of the pari, also known as feather-back, varies from 2.5 inch to 3 inch.

Regarding the habitat restoration programme, Prof Johal says it can be restored by creating food and breeding zones. The beds of the water inlets should be covered by medium-size stones. This will create ripples that check the growth of bacteria and oxygenate water.

More species of minnows, a small fish, should be introduced in the lake to minimise inter-species competition for food.

Since the water of the lake is slightly alkaline, he says the Administration should strictly enforce the ban on performing religious ceremonies on the banks of the lake.

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MC to crack down on illegal
constructions in villages

New building bylaws ready
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 13
A new set of building bylaws will come down heavily on villagers indulging in haphazard construction activity within the municipal limits. Water conservation system is an important aspect of the new set of bylaws. Clearance of the bylaws by the recently elected civic body is expected soon.

The bylaws, incorporating suggestions of experts from government departments, are expected to rein in not only present-day violators of building bylaws in villages under the Municipal Council, but also regulate such activity during future expansion of the town.

The wide-ranging bylaws, apart from specifying parameters for construction and installation of public health components like water supply, drainage and sewerage disposal, also cover marriage palaces, nursing homes, hospitals and multiplexes coming up in villages.

The council had earlier invited suggestions and objections regarding building bylaws from residents of villages, but failed to receive any response.

Asked about the possibility of marriage palaces, hospitals and multiplexes in villages, Mr Amarjit Singh Sekhon, Executive Officer, said the town was becoming very important and there was every possibility that persons living in villages who owned major chunks of land got tempted to come up with such ventures.

He said he had come across huge buildings coming up in villages under the limits of the council. Marriage palaces and hospitals were not covered under the earlier building bylaws. Additions had been incorporated in the bylaws keeping future expansion in mind.

He said the bylaws would be made effective from the day these were cleared by the General House of the civic body.

From the day the new building bylaws come into force, the existing bylaws made by the council and the government under Schedule-D of the East Punjab Refugee (Rehabilitation and Building Sites Rules), 1948, shall stand repealed.

The building plans in the case of bigger plots would be cleared only if these conformed to the rain water harvesting concept to the satisfaction of the competent authority to clear such plans. Provision of water harvesting structures for refuse of used water like water emanating from kitchens and bathrooms, for flushing toilets and gardening shall be considered for approval on merit. Waste water from baths and washbasins shall be used for ground water recharge by organic filtration.

The most thickly populated part of villages falling within the ‘lal dora’ would be declared as core area with a gross population density of 250 per acre. In this area, a resident owning a plot of 100 yards or less would be allowed to cover the entire area under his possession, while the building bylaws would apply in the case of bigger plots.

Even in the area falling in the outer revenue limits, a resident would be allowed to construct only 70 per cent of the plot area. In case where construction was being done for commercial activity, the owner would be allowed to cover only 50 to 60 per cent of the area, depending on the size of the plot.

Once the building bylaws were implemented, the residents of villages would have to get the building plans cleared from the council before undertaking any construction activity. If at a later stage it was found by council officials that bylaws were being violated while carrying out construction, the civic body would not release water and sewerage connections.

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New roads in border areas on the anvil
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs is mulling over to build new roads along its 3225-km-long border with China over a period of six years and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been sounded on the projects to be undertaken.

A senior officer with the BRO, which is a part of the Indian Army, disclosed that the Ministry had discussed its plan with the top echelons of the organisation and the thrust was on developing basic infrastructure in the remote frontier districts.

Incidentally, the roads, exceeding 20 in number, will cost around Rs 900 crore and are a part of a grand plan of the Ministry to develop districts that lie along India’s borders with China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal.

But the primarily strategic import of the project could not be lost given China’s rapid beefing-up of its infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the officer said.

Importantly, the Ministry’s plan comes in the wake of the recent Central nod to complete the Rohtang Tunnel which was hanging fire for the past two decades.

The tunnel, when completed by 2014, will ensure round-the-year connectivity with remote Himachal areas bordering Tibet. The officer asserted that Himachal Pradesh was the key region as far as the BRO was concerned and there was an urgent need to shape up the things there.

The Ministry had been quite worried over the poor road-and-rail-network in the remote regions of 94 border districts and was spurred into action by intelligence inputs suggesting the need for such a project.

Though the Ministry has expanded the scope of the project so as to not to make it appear as China-centric, the fact is that the presence of more than a lakh exiles from Tibet, including the Dalai Lama, in India remains a perennial cause of tension between New Delhi and Beijing.

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City airport set for makeover
Amrita Dhaliwal

Chandigarh, September 13
Taking a flight from the city airport is going to become a pleasurable experience soon. Chandigarh Airport is not only all set to introduce new flights to the city but will also undergo a complete makeover.

A proposal to make the airport wi-fi enabled is under discussion. Airport Controller Suneel Dutt, said the provision for free Internet facility on the airport premises is also being considered.

An art gallery, too, has been proposed inside the departure lounge. According to Mr Dutt, art students of the city will be given an opportunity to display their creativity, free of cost. The paintings displayed will also be put on sale. The canteen contract, too, is being changed, a decision many passengers will welcome.

According to sources, talks with leading hotels, including Taj, Mountview, Piccadily are on for the canteen contract, tenders for which will be floated next week.

Tenders are also being floated for new facilities being planned to be introduced at the airport which include ATM machines, PCO STD facility, tea-coffee vending machines, newspaper stands. These facilities, states Mr Dutt, will be in place by the end of December. Passengers will now also get to see their favourite channels on plasma TVs while waiting for their flights.

Toilets have been renovated and floorings, too, have been changed. A new route to the car parking has also been initiated.

Plans to renovate the existing building by increasing the space are also being considered.

More flights to the city are on the anvil. A direct flight to Bombay is expected to take off in November.

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Committee formed for granting licence to motorised rehris
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
In pursuance of the resolution passed by the general house of the corporation at its meeting on July 31, the Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has constituted a committee consisting of five councillors for the purpose of finalising the terms and conditions for the grant of licence of motorised three- wheeler rehris.

Mr Pardeep Chhabra has been appointed the chairman and Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, Maj-Gen A.S. Kahlon (retd) are its members.

It may be mentioned here that a few months ago, the Municipal Corporation had announced that it would be introducing motorised rehris, bringing hope to many roadside vendors.

However, the tall promises made for the rehris faced a roadblock in the form of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The Municipal Corporation is not too sure about the provisions under the act for such rehris to ply on the road. According to sources, more than 30 applications have been received.

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No insects in cooked food, says probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Punjab Education Department officials conducting an inquiry into the alleged detection of insects in rice bags in a school in Mohali have found that insects were not found in cooked food but in a new bag of rice that was issued from stores of Punsup a few weeks ago.

Sources said the District Education Officer, Mohali, had submitted a report to the department, saying that the mid-day meal provided on September 8 comprised “dal-roti”. Hence, the possibility of insect-ridden rice being served to children on that day was ruled out.

The bag of rice was opened for inspection on Friday when the insects were found and the authorities concerned were informed by the school management.

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Mazdoor Sangh stages protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Over 200 members of the Parwasi Mazdoor Sangh today staged a protest in front of the office of the municipal corporation, Sector 17. They also burnt an effigy of the Congress councilor, Mr Kuldeep Singh.

The protestors who mostly hailed from Adarsh Nagar Colony, Sector 54 alleged that Mr Kuldeep Singh, who was also the area councilor, had not used any funds for the development of the colony. Mr Suresh Rahi, president, Parwasi Mazdoor Sangh, alleged that the colony dwellers were forced to live amidst filth.

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CITCO holds lunch for senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) organised a lunch for senior citizens at Baithak, Kalagram, here today.

An official press note said the lunch was organised as part of its social activities. The Managing Director, CITCO, Mr J.S. Bir, said special arrangements had been made to provide lunch to more than 200 senior citizens.

The event is a prelude to International Senior Citizens Day observed on October 1. CITCO will also organise a tour for Senior Citizens on World Tourism Day on September 27.

Mr P.H. Vaishnav, a former Chief Secretary of Punjab and President of the Senior Citizen Welfare Association, appreciated the efforts made by CITCO.

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Welfare body says builder ‘coercing’ them
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 13
The executive committee of the New Generation Residents Welfare Society met here yesterday.

The meeting took serious note of the situation arising out of the letter issued by the builder threatening to discontinue the water supply and EPBAX services if the residents did not pay maintenance charges.

The meeting alleged that the builder was coercing them into paying maintenance charges without providing services to the satisfaction of the residents.

A press note issued here alleged that the lift was kept out of operation for most of the time. Similarly, the campus was not cleaned regularly.

The resident felt unsafe in their complex as there was no check on the entry of unruly elements, the note added.

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Woman sustains burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
A 40-year-old woman sustained burn injuries when she accidentally caught fire while cooking at her Khudda Lahora village residence here this morning. The police, while quoting the statement recorded by the victim, ruled out foul play.

According to the police, the victim, Kulwinder Kaur, a mother of two, accidentally caught fire while she was pouring kerosene on dung cakes. She raised an alarm and her family rushed to her help. She was taken to the PGI, where the doctors said she had sustained 60 per cent burn injuries. Her condition was stated to be critical.

The police said the victim had recorded her statement before the Magistrate.

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Celebrations for MC chief

Panchkula, September 13
Celebrations marked the completion of 100 days in the office of Municipal Council chief, Ms Manvir Gill, which coincided with the 41st birthday of the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, who was the special guest at a programme hosted by Ms Gill at Sector 12, here today.

Representatives of various residents welfare associations attended the functions. TNS

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Raising Day tomorrow

Chandigarh, September 13
The Western Command will celebrate its 59th Raising Day at its headquarters in Chandi Mandir on September 15.

A homage-paying ceremony at the war memorial, a ‘barakhana’ and a band concert will be organised. TNS

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CRIME
 

Leader of chain snatchers arrested

Panchkula, September 13
The CIA staff of the Panchkula police claimed to have arrested the ringleader of a gang of chain snatchers from Amartex Chowk here today.

Acting on a tip-off, the CIA staff laid a trap and nabbed Pankaj, a resident of Mubarikpur village, near Dera Bassi. The police also recovered four motorcycles and a mobile phone from his possession. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Pankaj had been leading a gang of eight chain snatchers who are active in chain snatching in Zirakpur, Panchkula, Ramgarh, Pinjore and other areas in the periphery.

The police has also recovered some gold and silver chains from his possession. The other members of his gang are at large. TNS

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Gold earring snatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Two unidentified miscreants snatched a gold earring worn by an elderly woman on the road separating Sectors 46 and 47 here this afternoon.

The police said 70-year-old Mahinder Kaur of Sector 47-D lodged a complaint alleging that she was going to Sector 46 when two unidentified youngsters, on a motor cycle approached her, asking for an address. As she went near them, one of the youngsters, pulled her gold earring and before she could raise an alarm, they fled.

A case was registered.

Vehicle stolen

According to the police, Mr Matu Kumar Kanti of Sector 47 reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-R-0316) was stolen from near Nehru Park in Sector 22 on September 10. In another incident, Mr Rohit of Sector 7-C lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that his Hero Honda Passion motor cycle (HR-60-6789) was stolen from Sector 30-A on September 9.

Ganja seized

The crime branch of the Chandigarh Police arrested Vimal Mandal of Kajheri village from Sector 25 on Tuesday on the allegations of carrying 2.50 kg of ganja. A case under Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was registered in the Sector 11 police station.

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Booked for assault

Mohali, September 13
A resident of Madanpur village was booked on the charge of assaulting a constable. Mr Gurpinder Singh was stopped by a constable, Darshan Singh, in Phase I for routine checking.

Gurpinder had a heated argument, followed by a scuffle. The constable allegedly sustained minor injuries in the incident. OC

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BUSINESS
 

Now, garam Dharam woos truckers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The ‘Punjab da puttar’ was at his charming best. Wooing the 50-odd truckers and transporters, the “garam Dharam”, posed with them for a picture and obliged them with autographs.

The brand ambassador for Shriram Transport Finance Company, veteran actor Dharmendra was in town to interact with customers of the company here today. He spoke highly about the various finance options offered by the company and their bouquet of financial services.

Later, all customers participated in a game show where they were shown clips of Dharmedra’s movies and asked to guess the name of the movie. Five lucky winners were later presented gifts by the actor. Twentyone more were also awarded.

Earlier, while speaking to mediapersons, Mr Umesh Revankar, executive director, Shriram Transport Finance Company, said the company was planning to expand its operations in the northern region - Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan.

“As of now, we disburse Rs 75 crore a month as loans in these states. By the end of 2008, we plan to increase this loan disbursal to Rs 200 crore. Because of the nine-tonne restriction on load allowed on trucks, there is serious shortage of trucks and we hope to gain from this,” he said.

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Small enterprises vital for growth, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
To develop sustainable enterprises, there is an urgent need to transfer private investment small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These SMEs generate economic, social and environmental benefits.

This was reinforced at an interactive session on New Ventures India — 2006 organised at the CII, Northern Region Headquarters, here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Suneel Parasnis, Country Head, World Resources Institute, said: “SMEs make a major impact on the use of natural resources and economic development as 80 per cent of the world’s population lives in developing countries and on an average SMEs account for 80 per cent of employment and 60 per cent of GDP in developing countries”.

Mr Parasnis further said SMEs form vital connections between communities, natural resources, micro-enterprises, and markets. Envisioning to connect the local SME economy with the global market, the CII-Godrej Green Business Centre (GBC) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) with support from USAID took a joint initiative by establishing New Ventures (NV) India under the “Global Development Alliance” to facilitate the development of green enterprises.

Mr Parasnis said in India this project was initiated in December 2005. In February 2006, business plans were invited from all over India by SMEs. As a result of this, there were 56 plans received out of which 10 have been chosen. Discussing some of the yardsticks in this regard, he added: “Quality, experience and business models, were some of parameters kept in mind.”

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