C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Team India in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Cricket passion today reached a feverish pitch with the arrival of the 14-member Indian team here at Hotel Mountview this evening.

The team, however, was in no mood to hang around the hotel where it was greeted by fans amid heavy security. However, Harbhajan, Rahul, Sehwag, RP Singh and Sachin obliged the fans with autographs.

Without giving the mediapersons an opportunity to interact, Rahul and his team scurried out of the lobby through a side exit and went to their hotel rooms upstairs. It was a long and disappointing wait for reporters and television crews.

However, they appeared somewhat dejected, probably after the three-wicket defeat at the hands of West Indies, who became the second team to qualify for the semifinals.

Scheduled to play the knock-out match against Australia at the PCA Stadium on October 29, the team decided against any practice session today.

“No, we don’t have any programme of the sort yet, but will have net practice tomorrow,” said Vicky Banga, local manager of the team.

On the other hand, the Australians are leaving no stone unturned in their effort to beat India. The Aussies had three-hour practising session at the Sector 16 cricket stadium with wet balls to get them acquainted to the effect of much-talked about ‘dew’ factor.



Property tax payers may breathe easy
MC to discuss amendments on Oct 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
In order to make payment of property tax easy some amendments have been recommended in the tax on commercial, industrial and industrial lands and building bylaws, 2003.

According to the recommendations, the assesses who voluntarily opt for the self-assessment scheme may deposit property tax within 60 days of introduction of the said scheme or the last date specified therein.

The tax for the ensuing year can be paid either in lumpsum within two months of the beginning of the financial year i.e. up to May 31 or in two half yearly instalments. The first instalment will be required to be paid by May 31 while the second will have to be paid by November 30 every year.

Earlier the assesses were required to pay the tax for the ensuing year either in lumpsum within 30 days of the beginning of the financial year by April 30 or in two half yearly instalments, first payable by April 30 and the second payable by October 30 every year.

The period of payment has also been suggested to be amended as April 1 to May 31 year in place of April 1 to 30 each year. The interest rate of 18 per cent per annum is also recommended to be reduced to 12 per cent.

The issue will come up for discussion before the general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh(MCC) on October 31.

It has also been proposed that areas which fall under the MCC and had been left out earlier should be included under the self-assessment scheme attached with the tax on commercial, industrial and institutional lands and building bylaws 2003. Areas of Sectors 25, 38 West, Dadu Majra Colony, Milk Colony Dhanas and Rehabilitation Colony, Mauli Jagran, will be included under the same.

Meanwhile, the MCC this year has earned Rs 12.94 crore as property tax up till October 12.



Bank services hit
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 27
The banking services in the tri-city were hit today in the wake of a strike call given by officers of all public sector banks under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions, which represents nine major unions in the banking sector.

It is estimated that transactions worth crores were affected in the region because of the strike. Sources in the banking industry said the daily transactions in the tri-city were to the tune of Rs 200 crore. Because of the strike call given by the bank officers, no transaction in the public sector banks could be effected.

Mr Amar Pal, convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions, said the strike in the region was successful and all public sector banks remained closed.

Addressing the protesting officers, he said though the bank officers had tried to avoid confrontationist attitude and lodged their protest through token strikes and rallies during the past one month, it seemed to have little effect on the government.

“We were forced to give a strike call as the government had not done anything to accept our demands that had been pending for a long time. If the government apathy continued, we might go on an indefinite strike,” he said.

The bank employees have been demanding that besides provident fund, they should also be allowed to opt for pension. The employees are also demanding that the compassionate appointment scheme be restarted. They are opposed to the outsourcing of services and are demanding that fresh recruitments to deal with the staff shortage. They are opposed to the new pension policy; merger and acquisitions in the name of consolidation; and attacks on trade unions.

Those who remained on strike today would lose one-day salary. With around 5,000 bank employees in the tri-city, the cumulative salary loss would be around Rs 25 lakh. While 500 employees participated in the protest against the alleged “anti-employee” policies of bank managements and governments, the remaining had a “holiday”.

AMBALA: Banks in Ambala Cantonment and Ambala City remained closed on Friday following a strike call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions.

Bank employees, including managers working in public sector banks, observed strike. The employees assembled in front of the SSI branch of Punjab National Bank, Sadar Bazar chowk, Ambala Cantonment to hold a demonstration there.

They demanded that wards of employees who died in harness should get job on compassionate ground. Their other demands included the second option of pension without any discrimination, filling of more than one lakh vacancies in public sector banks, scrapping of outsourcing in the banking industry, scrapping of amendment to the section 12(2) of the Banking Regulation Act and stopping infringement of trade union rights.

The bank employees were addressed by Mr B.S. Sahni of the All-India State Bank of India Employees Federation and Mr G.S. Oberoi, secretary of the All-India Bank Officers Association (Haryana State Committee).

They demanded that the government must hold discussions with the United Forum of Bank Unions to settle various issues.

In the absence of positive steps from the government, the forum would be forced to intensify the agitation, they added.

PATIALA: Employees and officers belonging to nine unions observed strike here on Friday.

Mr S.K. Gautam, zonal secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said in a press note that employees held a rally in front of the State Bank of Patiala head office. Com. S.K. Gautam, general secretary of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union (Punjab state), Com Yog Raj Gupta, general secretary of the All-India Oriental Bank Employees Federation, Com Vinod Sharma, Secretary of the All-India Bank Officers Association spoke on the occasion.



Sahayta's spirit has gone
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Neelu Tulli, the woman who spent years helping cancer patients fight disease, has died of cancer.

Neelu, the spirit behind the Sahayta Cancer Sahyog which, along with PGI doctors, changed the way people dealt with cancer, died in the city last night. She was suffering from sarcoma of the uterus with metastasis at a very advanced stage. Strangely, in the 10 years that Neelu spent serving cancer patients, she had no idea of the malignancy that was sapping her energies.

It was only a year ago — long after Neelu had assisted several cancer survivors at PGI's cancer clinics — that she discovered what was going to be the greatest irony of her life. She was detected with cancer at a terminal stage and had already withstood five cycles of strong chemotherapy before succumbing to cancer last night.

Her funeral procession spoke volumes about her dedicated existence which she used to destigmatise cancer. Many cancer survivors witnessed their ideal go up in flames today. They were tearful and inconsolable.

But perhaps that's not the way Neelu would have wished to depart. People close to her know her as a warrior, who didn't lose hope in the face of death. Despite knowledge of her malignancy, she continued to inspire cancer survivors and help them in whatever way she could.

Personally, she bared her own wounds so others could know how cancer made its first appearances in her body. In the Sahayta's July, 2006, newsletter, she wrote of her excruciating pain.

But that didn't keep Neelu, the founder president of the Sahayta, from working for those suffered like her. Last year, the Sahatya spent Rs 14 lakh to buy chemotherapy drugs for the needy survivors. She had other plans, which her friends will now have to realise.

For her part Neelu lived by the lines she often used to quote: "Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations…." And she did.



22 eateries raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
To check the pilferage of domestic LPG cylinders, officials of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) today carried out a raid in the Sector 22 market and seized 40 cylinders which were being used in commercial establishments. The raids were carried out under the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of Supply and Distribution) Order, 2000.

During the raid 22 hotels, restaurants and dhabas were raided. The places which were raided are Sai Sweets, Pink Pearls, Bhoj Vegetarian, Disha Dhaba, Hotel Amar, Quality Restaurant, Hotel Green Chilli, Sher-e-Punjab, Ashok beer Bar, Jugnu Ahata, Hotel Diamond Plaza, Mehak Food and Drinking Palace, Hotel Balaji, Drinking Junction, Swagat Restaurant, Canteen Restaurant, Sagar Deluxe Dhaba, and Hotel Samrat. 



Watch out

Inderjit Chadha

Another local hockey sensation Inderjit Chadha, at present representing Indian Oil Company team, Delhi, will display his stick-work against Tamil Nadu in the 62nd National Hockey Championship underway at the Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium in Jalandhar on Saturday.

Inderjit, a product of Chandigarh Hockey Academy, Sector 42, was instrumental in enabling the junior Indian hockey team to clinch the World Cup held at Hobart, Australia during 2001-2002. He was declared the outstanding player of the tournament then.



In Town

Madhup Mudgal, one of the best known vocalists of the present generation, will be in the city today to perform at the ongoing Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sector 27. Madhup heads Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, which was founded by his father and first guru Vinay Kumar Maudgalya. Madhup has also had the privilege of coming under the tutelage of celebrated gurus of Hindustani classical music like Pt Vasant Thakar, Pt Jasraj and Kumar Gandharva. He holds an M. Phil degree from Delhi University. He will present a vocal recital at BVM at about 8 pm today.



Passing Through

Beenish Saleem
Beenish Saleem, Cricket Correspondent, The Post. 

How are women treated in Pakistan?

Pakistan society is slowly going through a change. A majority of women in Pakistan are not allowed a status equal to men, women in bigger cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi are witnessing a change. Though women are growing professionally, but women have to fight for their rights.

How do you manage being in a male-dominated profession of sports reporting?

Women have taken to reporting but their number in the media, and more so in cricket reporting, is very limited. In my own organisation, of the 400-odd employees, just four or five are women. But my bosses are very considerate and go out of their way to help me out and feel easy.

What would you like to do during your visit in India?

I am trying on different western outfits, will be visiting a discotheque and carrying back lots of eatables. Back home, we cannot do all this.

— Akash Ghai



Report predicts scarcity of auto, aerospace engineers
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
There is good news for students pursuing an engineering degree. A recently released Nasscom report suggests a shortage of around 2.5 lakh engineers in India to tap the global engineering service industry that is estimated to outsource a US $ 40 billion work to India.

India's biggest engineering and design company, Tata Technologies and its subsidiary INCAT, have started scouting for talent in the region, besides its sister company iKnowledge Solutions (iKS) has announced its Indian tie-up with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) certification - a globally recognised certification - that will put Indian engineers on a par with those from the developed world.

To achieve the objective, on Wednesday INCAT announced deployment of its "i.get.it Professional" software programme throughout its global operations, with a special focus on India .This software tool will help engineers evaluate their skills for SAE certification. At the same time INCAT hopes to provide better support for clients' engineering and design (E&D), and product creation processes. i.get.it Professional has an expanded capability for flexible knowledge transfer and information sharing that will enable INCAT create and tap a virtual repository of engineering knowledge from over 2,000 professionals anytime, anywhere.

Mr William Laws, head ,Corporate Communications at Tata Technologies, told The Tribune that INCAT, which had emerged as one of the largest IT companies in the country with revenue targeted to touch the US $ 500 million by 2010, saw a tremendous potential for engineers with specialisation in automotive and aerospace.

But most engineering and design companies like Tata Technologies felt there was a serious shortage of trained engineers. "There is a general lack of trained engineers in automotive engineering".

Tata Motors - the parent company that owns Tata Technologies and INCAT - is working towards the launch of the Rs 1lakh common man's car around the first half of 2008. The company has already announced that it would come out with petrol and diesel variants of the car. INCAT was formerly a US company, founded in 1989, it was acquired by Tata in October 2005.

INCAT is focused on services and solutions for product lifecycle management (PLM) and information lifecycle management (ILM), creating value for its clients through its unique-in-the-industry "Global Delivery Model", its state-of-the-art technology and a pragmatic approach to engineering and manufacturing processes that reduces costs and time to market, says Mr Laws.

An Indian company, headquartered in Novi , Michigan ( USA ) and Stuttgart ( Germany ), INCAT has a combined global workforce of more 3,000 employees. But the company is now looking towards North India for specialised workforce.

Once Tata Technologies and its companies like INCAT and iKS have the SAE tie-up in place, Indian engineers can be certified on their skills, helping their eligibility to work anywhere in the world with major auto manufacturers.

Mr Laws sees a boom time for automotive and aerospace engineers with projections of US $ 750 billionper annum global engineering service industry, out of which India can easily capture US $ 25 out of the US $ 225 billion outsourced work to emerging economies.

Quoting Booz Allen Hamilton report for Nasscom that was presented in Bangalore this August, Mr Law says the global spending on all engineering, research and development in 2004 was $ 746 billion. This will be $1.1 trillion, it has been predicted in this report. Again, the market for off-shored engineering services in 2010 is predicted to be worth $60 billion.

In Chandigarh to familiarise people in North India with the kind of work Tata Technologies and its subsidiaries are doing, Mr Laws also assessed the work potential and availability of engineering talent in the area. He feels that outsourcing of engineering services is the new buzzword that can check the lowering esteem of engineering education in North India. Auto and aerospace engineering students with certified skills by agencies like the SAE will certainly ride the wave of the future, he says.



In need of financial help for renal transplant
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Hailing from Sansarpur, a sleepy village in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Mohit Sharma (26) has been struggling for the past one year. He needs a renal transplant. He has lost his eyesight partially due to the affliction.

After swelling in his body, Mohit approached a private hospital in Terrace, a small tom in the district. The doctors there referred him to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The hospital further referred him to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) where he was diagnosed for renal failure.

Extending financial assistance to the family, a certain school somehow managed to arrange some amount for Mohit’s treatment.

Mohit and his aged mother, Santosh Sharma, have been putting up in a rented accommodation of the their relatives in Bartana village in the Zirakpur Nagar

Narrating her tale of woe, Mrs Santosh, while fighting back her tears, said the ailment had put the family under debt and what-so-ever they had, had been spent on Mohits’ treatment. Since the family could not arrange for money for a kidney transplant, the PGI authorities after dialyses asked Mohit to get this done from outside, claimed Mrs Santosh. She was told that Mohit’s blood group did not match with her’s and hence she could not be a donor.

On the suggestions of relatives and friends, she approached Fortis Hospital, Mohali. The charges (about Rs 8,000 per dialysis, including medicines) that the hospital sought was too much for the family to bear.

The family finally sought financial help from the Himachal Pradesh Government and got a sum of Rs 1 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Mrs said :, ”We want money for the kidney transplant and a major chunk of the grant given by the HP Government is being spent on dialysis. We want to money for a kidney at the PGI.”

The family is in a desperate need for assistance.

Donations may be made to Mohit Sharma by contacting Mrs Santosh Sharma at 01762-509071 or 09888217818.



Infantry Day at Chandimandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
To commemorate the first post-independence operations undertaken by them 59 years ago, Infantry Day was observed in Chandimandir Military Station today. It was on this day in 1947 that troops from 1 Sikh landed at Srinagar to repulse Pakistan-backed raiders.

A wreath was laid at the Veer Smriti war memorial by Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt Gen A N Aul, the senior-most serving officer in Chandimandir, in memory of those who had laid down their lives in the line of duty. Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, an infantry officer, also paid floral tributes at the memorial.

Addressing infantry officers and men at a special sainik sammelan, General Aul highlighted the significance of Infantry Day and underlined the fact that no battle can be won without Infantry, known as “the queen of the battlefield”.

Infantry contingents, he stated, have been successfully operating in the most difficult terrains, be it the heights of Siachen, the jungles of the north-east, the deserts of Rajasthan or counter insurgency operations.

The firepower Infantry has increased over the period of time, which, he affirmed, which would enable Infantry to achieve success in any future operation just as in the past.

Later, speaking to media persons, General Aul said that modernisation is a continuous process the infantry is getting newer weapon systems, which are lighter and carried greater firepower. During the 1999 Kargil conflict, when he was a brigade commander, he said that it was found that Infantry’s armoury was inadequate.

He said that induction trends into the infantry have changed, with more people in the training academies opting to join this arm. There had been a problematic phase some time ago, but things have now changed for the better, he added.

A social function was also organised at the Shivalik Officers Institute in Chandimandir, where serving infantry officers played host to veteran infantry officers and their families as well as officers from other arms and services.

AMBALA: Infantry Day was celebrated at Ambala Cantonment today.

Lt-General VK Singh, GOC 2 Corps, and other senior Army officers laid wreath at the war memorial to pay homage to soldiers who had made the supreme sacrifice. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the veteran infantarians.

On this day in 1948, first battalion of the Sikh Regiment under the command of Lt-Col Diwan Ranjit Rai, landed at Srinagar airfield to fight against Pakistani raiders.



Girl Child Fortnight
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana Government will celebrate Girl Child Fortnight from November 10.

This was stated during a meeting held here today under the chairpersonship of the Commissioner and Secretary, Women and Child Development, Ms Anuradha Gupta. She reviewed the preparations of different departments engaged in the arrangements for the celebrations. ‘‘Cherish the Girl Child’’ was also the theme of Children’s Day on November 14, she said.

Ms Gupta said during the fortnight, functions would be organised at the village level. Also, a special drive for a medical check-up of village girls of the state would be launched by the Health Department during the period.

Ms Gupta said anganwari workers would organise awareness sessions about the declining sex ratio, infant mortality rate of girl children and the necessity of girls’ enrollment in schools.



For some, honesty is still the best policy
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 27
Honesty is still the best policy for some people. A case in point is Mr Kuldip Singh, a dhaba owner on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway, who returned a bag containing cash, gold ornaments and mobile phone to a couple today.

The couple, Mr Gurdeep Singh and his wife Ranbir Kaur, had breakfast at the dhaba of Mr Kuldip Singh this morning. The couple, who was on their way to Ambala from Mohali, forgot their bag at the dhaba. It was picked up by a waiter and handed over to the dhaba owner.

When Mr Gurdeep Singh reached Ambala, he realised that his bag had been left at the dhaba. He rushed to the dhaba to inquire about the bag. Mr Kuldip Singh, who had kept the bag safely, returned the same to Mr Gurdeep Singh. The bag reportedly contained Rs 12,500, gold ear- rings, a mobile phone and certain important documents.



Community centre opens in Sec 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, inaugurated community centre in Sector 30-B here today. Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, and Ms Pushpa Sharma, area councillor, and other officers of the MCC were also present.

According to a spokesman of the MCC, the building has been planned for two floors but in the first phase, only ground floor of the building has been completed. The covered area of ground floor of this centre is 2826 Sq. ft. The total cost of the ground floor is Rs 13.33 lakh, including Rs 10.33 lakh from ward development fund and Rs 3 lakh from the Mayor’s discretionary fund.

Mr Bansal has also granted Rs 5 lakh out of the MPLAD fund for the construction of the first floor of the centre.

According to the spokesperson, during 2006-07, the MC will develop community centres in Sector 39, 42, 28 (Electricity Colony), Modern Housing Complex and Pocket No. 7, Manimajra, while community centres in Sector 38, Sector 40 and Sector 8 will be renovated this year.



Sena threat keeps cops on toes
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 27
The police was kept on its toes for hours as the threat of some supporters of the Shiv Sena disrupting the match being played at the PCA stadium between Pakistan and South Africa loomed large here today .

A convoy of police vehicles was seen speeding up from the direction of the stadium. All the vehicles were stationed near the Punjab School Education Board. Even the mounted police was called. The force remained stationed there for hours.

Earlier, on Wednesday more than 200 supporters of the Shiv Sena had gathered in Phase VIII from where they started a march towards the stadium raising slogans against Pakistan. They were stopped by the police and 138 of them were arrested.



Dimpy, daughters still at large
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Fashion designer Dimpy Gujral, her two daughters and their neighbour, who were booked on Thursday for assault, rioting and criminal intimidation for allegedly thrashing Sector 8 resident, is still absconding.

The police on Thurday arrested their watchman Bhadur, while Dimpy, her two daughters Neha and Ritu, along with their neighbour Akroop, reportedly managed to give a slip to cops.

The SHO of the Sector 3 police station said efforts were on to trace the accused. A police team today raided Dimpy’s residence, but the house was locked.



Cash, jewellery stolen

Pinjore, October 27
A sum of Rs 53,000 and gold jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh were reportedly stolen from a locked house in Sector 8. The theft came to light when the owner of the house, Mr Amit Kapoor, brother of Batala SP Ashwini Kapoor, returned home after a holiday.

He told the police that he, along with his family, left for his brother’s house in Batala on October 21. On coming back, he found his entire house had been ransacked. — TNS



Dishtv to launch services aboard aircraft
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The pioneer in Direct to Home (DTH) entertainment service, dishtv, is all set to launch its service in commercial

The company, which adds one subscriber to its fold every five seconds, will launch the service on aircraft next month, airing 125 channels for the
passengers on different commercial aircraft.

Mr Jawahar Goel, Additional Vice-Chairman, Essel Group of Companies and Head of Business dishtv, said that they had already started this service on the Indian naval ships. “With this, we will prove that DTH is, indeed ,the future of TV entertainment, and you can access your favourite programmes, anywhere and anytime.”

The company, which at present has a subscriber base of 1. 53 million, is one of the fastest growing DTH service, as it adds 1. 20 lakh subscribers each month. “This means that we are adding a subscriber every five seconds. But over the next few months, we are getting very aggressive and will be adding a subscriber in our fold every three seconds, thus ensuring that we get 2.3 million subscribers by the end of the year,” he said.

Mr Jawahar Goel said that after a long legal battle, dishtv has managed the rights to air The One Alliance and Star bouquets through its DTH service, and has fuelled its growth. “Till recently, efforts for expansion were primarily concentrated towards cable dry areas (remote areas, villages and hill terrains).

“But now, with a concentrated strategy towards providing high-quality TV viewing option to the consumers in metros and Cat II towns, dishtv is poised towards exponential growth and further establishing its pioneering leadership position,” he said.

Asked about how competition from DD Direct (Doordashan’s DTH service) and Tata Sky, was affecting dishtv, Mr Goel replied that this competition had only helped create more awareness about DTH and helped them increase growth.

“There are 107 million TV homes in the country, of which only 64 million are cable homes and 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh homes have access to digital cable network.

So there is a huge untapped market, which will help us grow,” he said.

He said they had an advantage over their competitors as their set top boxes were cheaper and they had a better dealer model “ We are not recruiting people directly and work on an entrepreneur model, while our competitors are working on a branch model, thus increasing their infrastructure costs,” he added.



Wine traders’ body to stabilise rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The newly formed Chandigarh Wine Merchants Association has decided to stabilise the rate of liquor in the city.

Consisting of 170 liquor vend licencees, the association headed by its president, Mr Sat Pal Choujar, would urge its members to become more consumer-friendly.

Mr Choujar said an effort would also be made to recover over Rs 1.50 crore, charged by liquor companies from vend owners, on account of overcharging on beer.

Mr Choujar, who had been authorised to select other team members, today announced his team.

The office-bearers are vice-president: Mr S.S. Chinna, senior vice-president: Mr Manjinder S. Dhillon, vice-president: S.P.S. China, general secretary: Mr Harpreet S. Wadhwa, Joint Secretary: Mr SPS China, Mr Harpreet S Wadhwa, Mr Krishan Garg, Mr Sanjeev Abrol , Mr Azad Singh and Mr Vinay Singh, Treasurer: Mr Subash Chander.



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