C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

10,000 try to bell the CAT in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
More than 10,000 candidates took the Common Admission Test (CAT), conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), here today.

Students from neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the city converged on the 10 local examination centres to vie for the coveted slots in the IIMs.

CAT is conducted jointly by the six IIMs to admit students to more than 50 business (“B”) schools in the country, including the University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, here.

Known for springing last-minute and harsh surprises on the candidates, the examiners took some pity on them this time, as the time of the test was increased to two and half hours compared to the earlier two hours. Also, the number of questions was reduced to 75 from the earlier 90.

This meant students got ample time for each question — almost two minutes per question.

There was a sense of relief for non-engineers also, as there was no bias for engineers in the CAT mathematics section this year, with the level of difficulty in the subject being lower than last year.

“The test was not very tough when it came to mathematics and data interpretation (DI),” remarked Saurabh Goyal, an aspirant.

“But the verbal section was very tricky.” Students were also pleased that the DI was easier this time, though in the earlier years this section had been quite tough.

“The verbal section is aimed at testing comprehension. A paragraph is given, based on which questions are asked. This section was very tough. The answer choices were so close to meaning that you ought to have an in-depth knowledge of the English language get it right,” said Sahil Mahajan, another candidate.

The marking was also scaled up this time — there were four marks for a correct answer and a deduction of one mark for every wrong answer. Students felt that the level of difficulty was lower this time, down from 1/3rd negative to 1/4th negative marking.

“This is only hypothetically correct,” contradicted Hirdesh Madan, centre head of an MBA preparatory institute in city.

“This time the negative marking was 1/4th out of five choices, while earlier it was 1/3 out of four choices. So in the final analysis, the negative marking remains the same.”

“It once again proves that it is consistency that is required to clear CAT. Last-minute preparation does not upgrade the skills of the student to clear the test,” said R. Sarwal, a CAT trainer.

“It was a cakewalk in mathematics and DI,” said Deepak Thukral, a student of the UBS. “However, immense application was required in the Verbal Section.”

The quotient of strategy has been reducing year after year, as the number of questions has gone down during the past eight years, pointed out Mr Madan, adding that a score of 115-140 with sectional balance would be enough to get a seat in the IIM, while a score of 85-100 should be enough for the UBS.



New Govt Hospital just a Centre nod away
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Chandigarh Administration is awaiting a formal approval from the Ministry of Health for a new Government Hospital in the Union Territory from the Ministry for Health and a clearance in expected any moment.

The administration has identified a site measuring around 10 acres in Sector 53, opposite Government College, Sector 42, and made a provision of Rs 210 crore for the new project in its budget.

Confirming the development, Home Secretary Krishna Mohan said: “We need a concurrence from the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs, particularly for creation of new posts to look after the medical services. There are several other formalities necessary for the creation of a major hospital, which need to be brought to the notice of the ministry before a permission is granted.”

Sources in the administration said the project was a vital requirement for the southern Sectors, which had the maximum concentration of the local population.

Except for the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, there was no major health facility in the area to cater to the public need.

The infrastructure is also required to take some pressure off the Government Hospital, Sector 16, and the PGIMER.

It was felt that “a centre exclusive to trauma care best suited the current needs of the city. The PGIMER witnesses patients from all over the region, including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Majority of them needed super-speciality care. The doctors were also burdened with a huge number of trauma cases from the city.”

The hospital will have a very “professional” ambulance service. The ambulance will be available on a common telephone number, on the lines of the newly introduced cab service in the city. The ambulance will be equipped with telephone services connected directly to the hospital. “We are likely to start the new emergency services on ambulances in all hospitals soon,” the official said.



Pir Mushalla villagers in ecstasy
Dept drops disputed road plan
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 19
The Local Bodies Department has finally come to the rescue of residents of Pir Mushalla village falling in the Notified Area Committee (NAC) of Zirakpur. Over a month after the Chief Minister’s Office intervened in a controversy arising out of the proposed construction of a 150-foot-road through a developing residential area, the department has reportedly dropped the road construction plan from the Master Plan.

The department action seems to be the offshot of the Chief Minister’s Office seeking action-taken report from the department on a representation by landlords.

In their representation, hundreds of landlords in Peer Mushalla village had appealed to the government to reconsider provisions of the contentious 150-foot internal road in the Master Plan.

The construction and area to be utilised for such a wide road would not only upset the already submitted building plans but also lead to dispossession for hundreds of families.

Moreover, the layout plan of a road of such a width is redundant in the light of the fact that two revenue roads are already passing through Peer Mushalla and yet another internal road is simply not required, the representation had claimed.

It was further alleged that a few influential persons of the area were trying to change the direction of the proposed road to safeguard their lands, thereby putting to disadvantage hundreds of families.

The petition had urged the Chief Minister to safeguard the interests of hundreds of families, who had invested their lives’ savings into the plots. Meanwhile, overjoyed residents have thanked the Punjab Government for dropping the contentious road plan.

“We welcome the prompt response of the Chief Minister’s Office, which did not waste even a single day in forwarding our request to the department. Further, a fair view was taken by the department to the office’s directive,” said Mr Sanjay Bajaj.

It may be recalled that three villages — Pir Mushalla, Gazipur and Kishanpura — were recently included in the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat.

With the inclusion of these villages, the land prices had skyrocketed with the result that the land was selling at a premium.



Police busts multi-crore petro-chemical scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In a major breakthrough, Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police busted an inter-state gang involved in black-marketing of imported petro-chemicals to petrol stations, located at various parts of the country, and causing losses worth crores of rupees to the government exchequer.

The local police arrested two members of the gang and said efforts were on to trace the remaining.

The in-charge of Operation Cell, Inspector Vijay Kumar, said the gang procured petro-chemicals like solvent, naphtha, pentane, and MFO, which were used in paint and other chemical industries from GAIL and other private importers and sold it off in the black-market to petrol station dealers for adulteration of petrol. For this, they had created fake firms and evaded taxes by forging bills and accounts. The gang had caused a loss of about Rs 32 crores during one financial year by selling a total of 8000 tons of solvent in the black-market.

Giving the sequence of events that led to the unearthing of the multi-crore scam, a senior officer in the Operation Cell said they received a complaint about the activities of the gang. The complaint mentioned names of Satbir Sharma of Delhi, Vinod Aggarwal of Indore, Gulshan Madan of Gurgaon, Harish Kumar Mahindru of Chandigarh, Manish Kumar Mahindru of Delhi and Sunil Jaswal of Sikkim.

The police managed to arrest Harish Kumar Mohindru of Sector 5, Panchkula, and Satbir Sharma of Onkar Nagar, New Delhi.

Harish Kumar Mahindru had been working as an assistant manager with Bharat Gears, Mumbai, at their Delhi-based office till 2001.

In 2002, he came into contact with other members of the gang, who at that time were working as agents for petro-chemical products and started a chemical firm in the name of Maha Luxmi chemicals at Una. They also obtained a license to deal in explosive materials from the Controller of Explosives, Nagpur. Thereafter, they opened about a dozen bogus firms in the tax subsidy zone of Una to show compensation for the chemicals. Chemicals procured from private importers found their way into petrol stations in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Satbir Sharma was running a courier company in Tri-Nagar, New Delhi, till 2001 and was also working as agent of petro-chemical products. He later opened a firm in the name of ST Petrochem at Indore and began procuring solvents and other chemicals from private importers like BGH, ADANI and Crane Energy, etc. Thereafter, he in connivance with his other associates opened a fake firm Mahavir Enterprises at Mani Majra in the name of his employee Mahavir Parshad. The firm was opened in Chandigarh with an aim to save sales tax, which was two per cent in Chandigarh, much lesser than the other states in the country. Satbir was also booked by the Madhya Pradesh police in a case of cheating.

The police said investigation was in progress and records of several government departments of different states were under scrutiny. 



Opening of bank locker expensive now
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Want to open a bank locker? Be ready to shell out anything between Rs 10,000 - Rs 50,000 as a fixed deposit or term deposit, in the bank you wish to get a locker.

Most public sector banks now demand a FD, so that its interest accrued can be used for the annual rent of the locker. The amount of the FD is so determined that interest earned through it is equal to the annual rent of the locker. But this may not hold true for all banks, as many of them like Punjab National Bank and the State Bank of India are demanding FDs worth Rs 50,000 and Rs 20,000, respectively. The other banks are demanding FDs between Rs 10,000 - Rs 15,000.

Bank officials, when asked for reasons for demanding FDs in order to give a value-added service like lockers, say that there is a shortage of bank lockers in most of the big bank branches.

“Banks have been incurring huge losses because of huge locker rent arrears. Hundreds of lockers have been allotted to customers, who do not operate these lockers and also stop giving the rent.

We already have space constraints and cannot add more lockers. It is in order to ensure that we get the rent regularly, that we ask the customers to first get a FD,” says a senior officer in Oriental Bank of Commerce.

A top official in the State Bank of India, when contacted by TNS, said hundreds of lockers allotted in various bank branches had not been operated by the allottees for years. “These allottees have not paid the rent, and in order to retrieve these lockers, the banks have to spend RS 4000- Rs 5000 for each locker. In case we have an FD of a allottee, these costs can be realised from the FDs,” he said.

With the imposition of service tax, the locker rents in all banks have been increased. Other than service tax, banks like the SBI have also hiked the annual rent by 20-30 per cent from this year.

In case of private sector banks, though FDs in majority of banks are not required, they have imposed a condition that an allottee has to be their customer and the minimum balance of Rs 5,000 -Rs 10,000 has to be maintained in these accounts.

Interestingly, most of the banks claim that there is a severe shortage of lockers. With reducing spaces in bank branches and increase in demand for lockers, most banks claim that they have a waiting period of two to three months before a locker can be allotted.

They claim that only when an allottee will surrender a locker, that they can now rent it out again. 



Attack on ex-MLA’s grandson: boys rounded up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
The police continued to remain silent on the issue of thrashing the grandson of a former MLA in Sector 5 here on Friday night. While the police has rounded up some of the boys allegedly involved in the attack on Vaibhav, no case has been registered in this regard. However, the boys rounded up for creating a ruckus and beating up the victim denied being involved in the incident.

It maybe recalled that a group of eight boys, allegedly drunk, had beaten up Vaibhav, staff of the hotel and misbehaved with customers on Friday night. A brawl had ensued between Vaibhav, accompanied by his brother and some friends, and the other group of boys. 



Watch Out

How successfully Geeta Tariyal will defend the citadel of Panjab University team will determine the team’s progress in the ongoing All-India Inter-Universities Hockey Championship for Women in Imphal (Manipur).

This is not the first time that a product of the MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, Chandigarh, Geeta has represented the university team in hockey tournaments. She was part of the team in the inter-universities championship held in Rajasthan in 2005.



In Town

Former Indian captain and Bengal Tiger Saurav Ganguly will be in the city for Ranji Trophy games at PCA Stadium, Mohali, from Monday. Saurav, who has been in the headlines over his exclusion from the Indian squad following alleged differences with the team India coach, Greg Chappel, still has a point to prove. His performance for the Bengal team in the country’s premier cricket tournament, Ranji Trophy, will be watched with great interest. 



Passing Through

What is the new area of research the CDAC is focussing on?

We are doing research on a number of areas, but establishing new traffic control systems in view of the growing vehicular traffic is one of them.

What is the new research in this field ?

Presently we have fixed time controllers at traffic points. Under this, each road has statistical data to execute the timing of the traffic flow. However, this is without, the knowledge of what is happening on the road. We have developed a system wherein we will equip traffic signal controllers with vehicle detectors and network these to a central computer.

How does the vehicle detector work ?

The vehicle detector is embedded on the road. Every time a vehicle passes, it will send a signal to the control room. At the end of the day, the police can have graphic representation or statistical data of the vehicles that have passed on the road.

Where all has this system been implemented ?

We began in Pune six months back. The system will shortly be implemented in Jaipur also. It will also help in traffic survillence since we have cameras that can zoom up to the number plate of the vehicle.

— Geetanjali Gayatri



Himachal becomes Ist state to introduce bio-engineering in road management
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
Use of biological agents in engineering is the new mantra in road management in hilly terrains and Himachal Pradesh is leading the way. The hills along 25000 km of rural road are getting a makeover to check landslides and reign in erosion.

"Bio engineering in road management involves plantation of trees, shrubs and grass in a certain configuration to check erosion. This, however, is different from afforestation. It's just not about planting trees but planting them scientifically to achieve the desired goal," says Mr John Howell, Director, Institutions, Development and Environment Consultant, United Kingdom.

Speaking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the Indian Roads Congress in Sector 5, Mr Howell said standard civil engineering relied on stone and concrete to lend support to the hills. "Though easy to predict, this is an expensive proposition, not viable in areas where the roads stretch on endlessly and an entire state is involved. Bio-engineering provides an answer to deal with this problem without burning a hole in the pocket of the state exchequer," he maintained.

Explaining that the configuration of trees-shrubs-grass has to be worked out based on certain conditions, Mr Howell stated, "The bio-engineer needs to keep in mind the steepness of the slope, the soil of the hill, the climate of the area as also the rainfall pattern. All these factors together decide the vegetation needed to contain erosion and landslides."

The cutting of roads in the hills disturbs their natural slope causing instability and making them steeper that the actual angle of repose. "Cutting of the slope makes it steeper beyond the angle of repose. That is what leads to frequent landslides. We plant the trees in a diagonal manner or lay small trenches," Mr Howell remarked.

Plants chosen for plantation come from the local species and are essentially pioneer plants. "These are plants which can survive in dry soil, harsh sun and unstable weather conditions. The programme has been introduced in Himachal Pradesh through the World Bank and it is likely to take off shortly," says this expert who has executed similar projects in Nepal, Bhutan, Laos and Pakistan among others.

"Of my 20 years of work on the project, I have spent half the time executing it in Nepal where we have had very encouraging results. This technique was first used by China and subsequently travelled down to the Alpine countries of Switzerland and Austria before making its way to Asia and finally into India," he said.

Jute for durable roads

Under a latest experiment, the National Rural Roads Development Agency is using jute to strengthen the foundation of rural roads being made under the Prime Minister Grameen Sadak Yojna.

"We have tied up with the Jute Geotextiles for use of jute in pavements, giving the roads a reinforcement affect to roads. This facilitates drainage of water from the sub layer. This water is responsible for maximum damage to the road. The fabric is embedded in the road at three different layers while the top is coated with bitumen," Prof B.P. Chandrashekra from the Ministry of Rural Development, Government Of India, said.

While this would be launched from the five states of West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the department is also exploring the use of coir and is in dialogue with the coir board. For quality audit, the department is working on involving groups of villagers to check road quality in their village. 



South Indian food served hot at food fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
For all those who love South Indian food, St Mary’s School, Sector 46, here, was the best place they could be this afternoon.

The much-awaited South Indian Food Carnival, which is organised by the St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church Society each year, attracted hundreds of city residents to the school today.

The carnival was inaugurated by Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor of The Tribune. Dr John V. George, ADGP, Haryana, was the guest of honour. Mr Philip congratulated the society members for the various charitable works they had undertaken through the year. The society had earlier organised medical camps, medical awareness classes, scholarships, blood donation camps etc.

There were 14 stalls offering more than 20 varieties of South Indian food. It was a treat for those who wanted to have a taste of original South Indian food as it is cooked in South Indian homes, which tastes very different from what is doled out in the city’s South Indian restaurants.

Apart from dishes like dosa, idli and vada, South Indian versions of chicken biryani, paranthas and chicken curry drew huge crowds. The more-adventurous visitors relished kappa with fish curry, ‘pazhampory’ and ‘poovanporry’.

In most stalls, food was being cooked on-the-spot and served hot and steaming. A fruit stall was selling Kerala bananas and other fruits and another had a wide range of South Indian pickles and chutneys on offer.

Welcoming the gathering, Reverend Father Shaji George, Vicar of the Parish, said the proceeds of the carnival would be part of a fund to be used for charitable works.

A cultural programme was presented by the school students who performed thiruvathira and bhangra. A lucky draw of two cycles and a sewing machine was also held. 



Temperature dips further

Chandigarh, November 19
Day temperature has fallen further, adding more nip to the air. Confirming the onset of winters, the Met Department today said the minimum temperature witnessed a significant decline from yesterday. As against 15 degree recorded by weathermen yesterday, the minimum temperature was just 10 degree today. Even day temperature plummeted as against yesterday, providing the weather forecast right.

Aiding fall in temperature today were the windy conditions that prevailed throughout the day. The wind was blowing at the speed of 10 to 15 miles per hour. A part of the change in weather is also being attributed to traces of rain that the city witnessed yesterday. Though the recorded rainfall was only 0.2 mm, it was enough to contribute to the altering weather systems. — TNS



Rotarians asked to generate awareness about healthcare, environment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Mahatma Gandhi is relevant for all times, said Mr Francis Moloi, High Commissioner of South Africa, while speaking on the last day of the Rotary Asia Zone Institute 2006 here today.

Mahatma Gandhi’s values of truth, non-violence, reconciliation and peace are perennial for all times to come, he said.

Speaking on the “Looking at Conflicts of 21st Century through the Lens of Satyagrah”, he pointed out the two contradictory events in the history of mankind attached to September 11, which is being remembered more for the World Trade Centre tragedy than the day in 1906 when Mahatma Gandhi launched the satyagraha to resist political oppression, in Johannes-burg in Africa.

Mr Moloi who had been the Rotary ambassadorial scholar, laid down 10-point agenda for putting the peace process together in a world troubled with numerous conflicts. He pointed out that elements of successful peace process included steadfast commitment to open dialogue, to reach an agreement with no outside interference or involvemen and with legitimate means institutionalised to support it.

“India gave to South Africa Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi, and we gave back to India, Mahatma Gandhi”, he remarked.

Mr Sudarshan Aggarwal, Governor of Uttranchal, speaking on “Ethics: The forgotten way of life”, lamented the rampant corruption in every quarter of life, including bureaucracy, politics, and now amongst, the professionals and businesses.

He pointed out that everyone was falling prey to greed and dishonesty at the expense of another human being. The problem, he added, is that everyone has a piece of advice to point a finger at someone else than looking within himself.

Mr T.K.A. Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, addressing the delegates on “What community expects from Rotary”, asked the Rotarians to address three most vital issues facing the country, the environmental degradation, healthcare, and unemployment.

He said the government had been undertaking various initiatives to provide a reasonably tolerable standard of living to its people but vast multitude of the Indian population which lived under the poverty line who had been denied even the basic amenities of life needed to be taken care of.

Mr Nair underlined the need for the Rotarians to involve themselves in generating awareness amongst various sections of society to prevent relentless degradation of the environment. On the healthcare front, Mr Nair expressed concern over the completely ignored areas of preventive healthcare, and public health issues in the country, which is making it vulnerable to many avoidable diseases.

Mr Richard M. Sherman, Deputy Counsellor-General and First Secretary to the US Embassy, informed that the improved US-India relationships there had seen a marked increase in the demand for visas to the USA, and last year over 300,000 visas were issued to the Indians from different US consulate offices here.

He informed that earlier there used to be a wait for five to six months for a US visa due to increased backlog but with the recent infrastructural improvements the situation has been addressed, and he announced that no backlog existed for visa applications in India as of now, and the maximum time one had to wait for the interview was one or two weeks only.

Last week alone the New Delhi consulate issued 3,000 and the Chennai issued 6,000 visas to the Indians wanting to visit the US. Mr Sherman said very soon US consulate would be opened in Hyderabad since 35 per cent of the work load on the Chennai consulate was from Andhra Pradesh, he added.



Rules at PGI not for VIPs
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
It seems that the PGI authorities have two sets of rules for VIPs and the common man visiting the old emergency building. Enjoying the influence of their status, VIPs have been parking their vehicles with red-lights atop at the no parking zone, blocking the exit outside the old emergency building at the cost of public convenience.

Security guards deployed at the passage (from the PGI staff parking till the oral health centre) have been showing their helplessness as they are being told that the vehicles belong to certain VIPs, top brass bureaucrats or some politicians. Without caring for the signboards of no parking in the area, the vehicles used by the VIPs are being parked in the prohibited area.

Throwing all norms to the winds right under the nose of the PGI authorities, VIPs quite often have been causing congestion at the exit point while the patients and their attendants coming from far-flung areas to the hospital in emergency are being dealt with separate set of rules. After being virtually herded away by security guards from the site, vehicle owners are put to a great hardship at the paid parking lots, where they find hardly any space.

The security guards deployed at the site claim that top brass bureaucrats, political leaders and other influential persons visiting the hospital on one pretext or the other have been violating the rules. They hardly bother to park their vehicles in the parking lots, but direct their drivers to park their vehicles here or do it themselves so that they do not have to trudge to their vehicles.

A majority of the violators often come see the PGI director, medical superintendent or other senior functionaries. The VIP visitors turn down their requests of no parking, claims a security guard.

A Panchkula-based businessman, Mr Ravinder Bhardwaj, who had come to get his son examined at an OPD, had an altercation with the security guards when he objected to the behaviour of the PGI security staff. He said, “The PGI security staff should treat VIPs as well as general patients equally. Moreover, the VIPS should also understand that those who come to the hospital have almost similar pains.”

Mr P.C. Sharma, chief security officer of the PGI, was not available for comment till late this evening.



Zaman for simplifying Indo-Pak visa rules
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
The Chairman of the International Punjabi Conference and author of a number of books, Fakhar Zaman, has urged budding writers not to give up writing even in the face of adversity. Asking them to persist, he said writing abilities may not get overnight recognition, but eventually every writer finds a niche.

He was speaking at an interaction session organised by the Haryana Urdu Akademi organised at Prabhat Inn in Sector 10 here today. Citing his own example, Zaman said six of his books were burnt in public as they did not patronise a particular stream of thought, but his talent was eventually recognised.

Maintaining that he saw India and Pakistan as one, he said the two governments should work towards simplifying visa rules to facilitate easy movement across the border or do away with these altogether.

Zaman was of the opinion that bad blood caused by Partition and war between India and Pakistan should not be passed on to the generations to come. “All animosity must end between the two nations and go down with our generation. Let the coming generations live in peace and with love,” he asserted.

The former Chairman of the Haryana Sahitya Akademe, Dr Chander Trikha, spoke about the life and works of Fakhar Zaman. He gave a brief outline of each of Zaman’s books and said the author was an institution in himself.

Dr K.L. Zakir, Secretary, of the Akademi, spoke about the activities undertaken by the institution in the past. He presented a set of books published by the Akademe to Zaman.



PF staff to start nationwide stir from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Members of the All-India Employees Provident Fund Staff Union are on a war path. With the Union Government dilly-dallying on the acceptance of the demands of the employees, the union has chalked out an elaborate agitational programme starting tomorrow.

Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, general secretary of the union, alleged here today that despite having several rounds of talks with the Central PF Commissioner and the Union Labour Minister, no fruitful results had come out forcing the employees to adopt the agitational path. Starting with a protest day on November 20 and 21, a mass demonstration will be organised by the union from November 22 to 24.Dharnas outside PF offices all over the country will culminate in a token strike on December 14.

Even the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, in a communication addressed to the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Oscar Fernandes, had pleaded for the genuine demands of employees, Mr Sharma said adding that no follow-up action had been taken by the Central Government.

The main demands of the employees included the extension of organised accounts oriented department scale to EPF employees on the pattern of the employees of the “similarly-situated” Central Government departments, sanction of staff as per norms, fixation benefits to Class C and D employees whose pay was less than Rs 300 as on January 1,1986, and scrapping of the “anti-employee” recommendations on restructuring and organisational cadre review in the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).



Daily wagers stage protest, demand salary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Daily wagers and sweepers working under the UT Panchayats today staged a protest at the rally site in Sector 25 under the joint banner of the Co-ordination Committee of Government and MC Employees and Workers, UT Chandigarh.

They were protesting against the non-payment of salaries of daily wagers since September 1. The protestors said that the UT Administration had included five villages with all its functions in the Municipal Area limit with a notification on September 19.

However, a notification regarding the transfer of class IV daily wage employees working under UT Panchayats was not issued till today. The protestors added that this was the reason why block development and Panchayat officer had stopped their salaries.

Addressing the protestors, Rakesh Kumar, convenor of the co-ordination committee, said that this was un-human on part of the administration to do so. 



RSS ideologue remembered
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, November 19
As part of the birthday anniversary of RSS ideologue M.S. Gowalkar, a “social unity conference” was organised at Shri Arjun Dass Sarvhitkari Senior Secondary Vidya Mandir here today.

Addressing the gathering, Swami Gyananand Ji Maharaj, prominent religious preacher, expressed serious concern at the degradation of moral values in society. Urging people to imbibe the teachings of the great saints and gurus, he also stressed on maintaining unity and integrity of the country.

Ms Anita Bali, Mr Surinder Attri, Mr Devi Dayal, Dr Santosh Kaushik, Mr Anil Bali, Mr Bipin Thamman, besides Mr Amritpal Singh, president of the local municipal council, were also present on the occasion.



CPM flays Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The seventh party delegates conference of the local unit of the CPM was held here today. Addressing the delegates, Mr Harkanwal Singh, member of the State Secretariat of the CPM, Punjab, came down heavily on the “anti-people” policies of the UPA government.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Rana, another member, Mr Inderjit Singh Grewal, secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPM, Mr Dalip Singh Nandi and Mr Puran Singh also spoke on occasion.



Constable arrested for misbehaving with women
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
A Constable of the Punjab Armed Police attached with the security staff of Director-General of the Punjab Police was booked on the allegations of outraging the modesty of women and snatching their mobile phones near Rose Garden, Sector 16, here late on Saturday night.

According to sources in the Sector 17 Police Station, constable Naresh Kumar of Gurdaspur, alongwith his colleague Satnam Singh manhandled two women and a man, who were on their way back home after attending a Jagjit Singh night at Kalagram.

The cops, who were in an inebriated state, waylaid youngsters and started misbehaving with women. Things came to an end only when onlookers intervened. On seeing people gathering there Satnam Singh fled the spot. However, Naresh was nabbed on the spot.

A case under Sections 382 and 345 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. Naresh was produced before a local court today which remanded him to two days of police custody. 



Hit-and-run case: man succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In a hit-and-run case, a 23-year-old man was seriously hurt after being crushed under an unidentified truck in the Industrial Area here this afternoon. He was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

According to the police, the victim has been identified as Ankur Garg, a resident of Sector 10, Panchkula. The accident took place at around 2:30 p.m., when an unidentified truck collided with the victim’s motor cycle. The lower part of his body was severally injured in the mishap. The truck driver reportedly sped away from the spot after the mishap. People informed the police about the accident and the PCR vehicle rushed the victim to the hospital.

The police said Ankur’s family had their own business in the Industrial Area. An eyewitness of the accident managed to note down half of the registration number of the truck. The police said they had flashed the message to trace the truck, but did not get any success as it was an incomplete number.

Meanwhile, a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the unidentified driver in the Industrial Area police station.



Baby swapping case

Chandigarh, November 19
The PGI authorities claimed that Rajinder Kumar had given birth to a baby girl on November 10 and the mother had identified the sex of the baby at the time of birth. But the family started making claims about a boy when the registration certificate mentioned the sex of the baby as male. Earlier, the complainant had complained to the Medical Superintendent of PGI seeking a probe in the baby swapping case. — TNS



3 cases of vehicle theft reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
A Scorpio vehicle and two motor cycles were stolen from the city during the past 48 hours.

According to the police, Mr Nikhil Mahajan of Sector 21-D lodged a complaint that his Scorpio SUV CH-03-W-1737 was stolen from his residence on Friday night.

In another incident, Mr Sunil Bishnoi of Sector 22 reported to the police that his Yamaha motorcycle (CHR-24-4851) was stolen from his residence on Friday night.

Similarly, Mr Manmohanjit Singh of Sector 44 filed a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle (CH-03-M-6309) was stolen from SD College in Sector 32 here on Saturday.

Three cases of theft have been registered in various police stations in the city.


Mr Bansi Ram Negi of Himachal Pradesh has lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Beli Ram, conductor of his truck, stole Rs 5 lakh from the vehicle on Friday. The truck was parked in the Motor Market in Mani Majra. A case of theft has been registered in this connection.

Smack seized

The local police arrested Raju of Sector 38-D here from the same sector on the allegation of carrying 2 gm of smack on Saturday. A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered in the Sector 39 police station in this regard. 



60-yr-old man found dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 19
Sixty-year-old Govind Lal Manchanda, a resident of Sector 25, died in an accident in the wee hours of today. His body was found in a pool of blood on the Ramgarh-Panchkula road by an acquaintance.

Family sources said the deceased used to go for a walk early in the morning. He used to cross the Ramgarh-Panchkula road to reach Moginand where he would buy milk before returning home.

Today, too, he left in the morning and was hit by a vehicle, apparently by a car and died on the spot. Shattered glass was found near the body.

Manchanda retired as a Superintendent from the Haryana Government. His wife is an employee of the Punjab Government. He is survived by wife, two daughters, and a son, Lakhshya, who is a Class III student.

House burgled

Thieves decamped with Rs 20,000 in cash, gold jewellery worth Rs 50,000, some watches and a camera, from a Sector 25 house while the house occupant, Kanta Kapoor, was away.

Neighbours said Ms Kapoor had left for Baroda on Tuesday and left the keys with them. “We used to turn on the lights of the house every evening and turn them off in the morning. However, today when I came to turn off the lights, I found the lock of the front door broken. The house was ransacked,” Mr B.R. Arora, a neighbour, said.

He called up the woman’s daughter, Neetu Bahl, residing in Sector 15, and informed the police. She pegged the loss at Rs 50,000 but said the exact loss would be ascertained once her mother returned. 



Price no bar, imported fruits bar bar
City develops taste for imported fruits despite cost
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Californian grapes at Rs 200 a kg, Chinese apples at Rs 120 a kg and Kiwi fruit at Rs 20- 30 a piece! The spiralling prices of these fruits notwithstanding, the city residents are fast developing the taste of sweet exotic fruits from abroad.

Over the past ten days, the prices of most of these fruits, including plums from USA, pears from China, dates from Saudi Arabia, Washington apples, guava and sweet tamarind from Thailand have shown a sharp jump in prices. Most of these fruits are now available for at least Rs 30 a kg more than their price ten days ago.

Blame it on the strike by traders in Delhi following the sealing of shops in residential areas, the low fruit production or the entry of corporates in the retailing of fruits, the prices of these fruits are at an all-time high, as is their sale.

“As awareness rises and people develop a taste for these fruits, sales have picked up by over 40 per cent in just one year. Since the colour and aroma of these fruits is attractive, and these are organic (grown without use of insecticides and pesticides), sales have picked up, irrespective of their high prices,” said Mr Sandeep Arora, a retailer in Sector 7, Panchkula.

Mr Gurmeet Singh of Orchards, a retail shop of imported fruits in Sector 8, Panchkula, said that because of the strike in Delhi, the supply of these fruits to the city has been hit.

This has led to a sharp increase in prices of these fruits during the past fortnight. Adds his partner, Ashok Kumar, “Though the market share of imported fruits has gone up to 30 per cent (vis-a-vis 70 per cent of Indian fruits), these are still “adventure fruits” — to be served as a delicacy on special occasions. Very few people buy these for their own consumption.” Moreover, the price of Indian fruits too have been very high this year. Apples are selling for Rs 40 a kg, while oranges and sweet lime (mausami) are selling for anything between Rs 40- 50 a dozen.

This year, with big corporate houses like ITC, Adani and Reliance Retail picking up a huge chunk of the fruits from the source itself, has led to a rise in prices. “When the Indian fruits are selling at such a high price, the price of imported fruits, too, are bound to be comparatively higher,” said Happy Arora, an imported-fruits’ retailer in Sabzi Mandi, Sector 26, here.

Insiders in the trade say that the prices will rise further in the coming fortnight, when the marriage season begins. “During the marriage season, sale of all imported fruits goes up by almost 50 - 60 per cent, though the supply is not in consonance with the demand,” explained Mr Raju Bhagat, a whole-seller of these fruits in Sabzi Mandi, Sector 26, here. 



Biz Clip
Bank launches Jan Sampark programme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) Main Branch, Kalka, has launched a five-day Jan Sampark programme to achieve 100 per cent financial inclusion by providing “No Frills Zero Balance” accounts in its adopted villages in Kalka subdivision. This programme was launched on the occasion of the 90th Foundation Day celebrations of the bank from Friday onwards. Mr S. C. Dhall, branch Head, said the bank had been taking measures on an ongoing basis for the protection of customers’ rights, enhancing the quality of customer services and strengthening grievance redressal mechanisms.



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