C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Close shave for many as fire breaks out
in Infosys Complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Shrieks rented the air at the Infosys Complex in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park here this evening as thick smoke engulfed the three floors of the building following a fire breakout in the basement.

Girls were crying and boys huddled in groups trying to find out if their accomplices were safe.

The occupants of the main building looked desperately at the doors of the 'Guest House Block' of the complex praying for the safety of the occupants.

A panic-stricken girl, stuck up on the second floor, was rescued by a fireman using a ladder. Also, a boy escaped from a rear window on the first floor.

The fire had erupted in the basement at around 5 pm and resulted in a thick fog of smoke which spread on to all floors causing commotion and suffocation. The smoke was visible even from long distances outside the park.

The nearly three-hour drama was full of anxiety for the occupants of the building. More than 24-odd occupants of the 'Guest House Block' of the upcoming Infosys building had a narrow escape when they found that fire had broken out in the basement.

The first two hours after the incident was reported were virtually terrorising for those who had escaped and were looking at the doors and the windows on the first and second floors for their colleagues to escape out.

Mr Prashant Bhardwaj, a worker, said: “I was taking rest on the first floor around 5 pm when I heard shouts of fire breakout in the building. It was suffocating in the corridors when I came out. I ran downstairs and spent nearly an hour searching for colleagues.”

Another occupant said: “We had apprehensions about one of our colleagues whom we did not find at the site after the incident. We waited for the fire officers to walk all over the second floor. It was much later that we found that he was safe far from the IT park.”

Mr Anand Singh, fireman, got the girl who was trapped on the first floor. He said: “She was panicky and almost fainting when I got hold of her.”

Mr Jaspal Singh, another fireman, did the job at the site of actual fire in the basement.

“A very strong gust of flames caught us when we opened the basement door,” he said.

Mr H.S. Khandola, Additional Commissioner of MC, overlooked the firefighting operations in which at least five fire tenders were used. At least two visits were made by the Fire Department officials on all floors to check for any casualty.

Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, Mr P.S.Aujla, Commissioner of the MC, Mr R.K.Rao, Deputy Commissioner, Mr M.S.Brar, Director, IT, and several other officials were present on the occasion.

The security at the Infosys behaved in an unruly manner when they snatched the camera of Manoj Mahajan, Tribune lensman, who was the first mediaperson to reach the spot.

He was stopped at the entry and his camera was snatched. The securitymen took out the 'picture disc' and threw it away.

Minutes later, scores of mediapersons from other agencies reached the venue and they entered unquestioned.

Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, when informed about the incident, said the incident was unfortunate and ordered his men to get back the camera.

Mediapersons said: “ The securitymen should not have snatched the camera of the photographer on duty. They should have at least informed the police .”

  • The hydraulic platform-cum-turn table fire machine of the Municipal Corporation gave its first impressive performance in the firefighting operation.
  • No fire tender could have reached the top floors but the operation was managed very easily because of the new machine.
  • Firemen conducted two searches of the entire complex using the machine to reach its highest and the remotest corners.



MC Poll-06
Cold-shouldered, Muslims decide to go their own way
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Upset at not getting a ticket, the Muslim community of the city has decided to fight it out on their own in the upcoming Municipal Corporation elections.

Making their resentment apparent, four senior party workers of the Congress have also submitted their resignations today evening to Mr B.B. Bahal, party president, Chandigarh Territorial Congress, and to the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Those who have resigned include Mr S.M. Khan, member Chandigarh Territorial Congress, Mohammad Sadiq Khan, chairman, minority cell, Chandigarh Territorial Congress, Dr Irshad Hassan, general secretary of the minority cell, Congress, and Mohaiuddin Khan, general secretary of the minority cell, Congress.

The Muslim community has now decided all out to contest on their own from Wards 11,13, 14, 24 and 26. They have also decided to support the candidates from the Muslim community who have already filed their nominations from different political parties, apart form fielding candidates independently.

As of now, it has been decided that Mr S.M. Khan will contest as an independent candidate from Ward No 24, while Mr Shezad Ali will contest the elections as an independent from Ward no-24 as a cover candidate.

Upset over the indifferent attitude of the Congress, the Muslim community had held a meeting today morning to decide their future course of action.

Talking to the TNS, Arshad Khan, spokesperson for United Progressive Muslim Front, said that it was ironic that while on one hand the Congress at the Centre was promoting the cause of Muslims by tabling the Sacchar Committee report in Parliament, on the other hand it could not even spare a seat for the Muslim community here which represents about 8 per cent of the UT's population.

“The findings reflect very pitiable conditions that the Muslims are not represented well in the various facets of society.

Since Independence, their representation in Parliament and legislative assemblies has been 5-8 per cent. At the time of drafting of the Constitution, it was decided that the Muslim representation would be in direct proportion to its population,” said Mr Khan. 



CVM not keen on detente; BJP to field 16 new faces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Efforts made by the BJP and the Akali Dal failed to patch up the differences between the CVM and BJP.

Despite the intervention of Capt Kanwaljit Singh today afternoon, the CVM refused to budge.

Ever since it was confirmed that the CVM would not be joining back the alliance, frenzied activity was witnessed in the BJP office today.

According to reliable sources, the BJP has informed the selected candidates individually. The process of procuring the required documents and affidavits too started late today evening. Tomorrow is the last date for filing nominations.

According to highly placed sources, the BJP will be fielding around 16 new faces in the upcoming MCC elections.

According to senior BJP leaders, the candidates being fielded from Ward Nos 2, 7, 14, 17 and 26 are unknown faces even to party circles. The candidates from Wards Nos 5, 6 and 19 are yet to be decided.

The Akalis meanwhile have been given four seats of Ward Nos 9, 10, 15 and 18. Mrs Harjinder Kaur, sitting Councillor is expected to contest from Ward No-15.

According to sources, the tentative list of candidates includes Mr Bal Kishan Kapoor, general secretary, Chandigarh BJP, from Ward No 1, Prof Rajni Gupta, Director, Excellent Coaching Centre from Ward No 2, Mr Vijay Upall, District President, BJP, from Ward No 3, Surinder Jagota, a leading caterer from Ward No 4 and Sachin Lotia, president, SC cell, from Ward No 7.

Others in the list are Kamla Sharma, sitting Councillor from Ward No 8, Kewal Kishen Adiwal, ex-mayor and first SC Mayor from Ward No 11, Krishen Mahajan, Secretary, Chandigarh BJP from Ward No 12 and Bhim Sen Aggarwal, Secretary Chandigarh BJP, from Ward No 13.

Also, Sanjiv Pandit, president, Chandigarh District BJP, will be contesting from Ward 14, while Rajesh Gupta, a new comer to the BJP, who had contested the elections as an independent candidate last time and lost, is expected to contest from Ward No 16.

Veena Kohli from Ward No 17, Negraj Verma, wife of colony cell president, from Ward No 20, Divesh Moudgil, president, BJP youth wing from Ward No 21, Arun Aggarwal, president, BJP Mandal, from Ward No 22, Ram Lal, Senior Worker from Ward No 23, Anil Dubey, senior worker from Ward 24, Gurcharan Das Kala, an ex-CVM worker, from Ward No 25 and Mrs Sunita Chaudhary from Ward No 26 are the other tentative candidates.



Filing of nominations in full swing; tally rises to 65
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
As many as 36 nominations were filed today for the upcoming Municipal Corporation elections, taking the total tally to 65. Incidentally, tomorrow is the last date for filing nominations.

The Ward No-24 saw the maximum number of nominations today with its tally being six, while the Ward No-23 followed closely with five nominations.

The nominations filed today are — Ms Raj Dulraj (BSP) from Ward No-5, Mr Joginder Pal (LJSP) from Ward No-10, Mr Manovar (RJD) from Ward No-11.

Three nominations have been filed from Ward No 12— Mr Shankar (SJP), Mr Ajay Kumar (BSP) and Mr Vidya Singh (RJD).

Mr Ram Sumer (BSP) has filed nominations from Ward No-13. Four nominations filed from Ward No-14 are — Mr Ashok Kumar (Independent), Mr Jagir Singh (BSP), Ms Manjit Kaur (CPI -M), Mr Naresh Kumar (Independent). Four candidates have also filed nominations from Ward No-18, they are — Mr Devinder Singh Babla (INC), Ms Harpreet Kaur Babla (INC), Ms Minakshi (Independent) and Mr Lalit Kumar (Independent).

There is one nomination each from Ward nos 19, 20 and 21. These are— Ms Sarita Devi (Independent) from Ward No-19, Ms Kiran Devi (Independent) from Ward No-20, Mr Manjit Singh Tiwana (CPI) from Ward No- 21.

Five candidates have filled nominations from Ward No 23 — Mr Ishwar Singh (Independent), Mr Satyawan (Independent), Mr Surinder Pal (LJS), Mr Sanjeev Kumar (Independent) and Mr Chander Shekhar (Independent). Six candidates have 
filed nominations from Ward no 24— Mr Ram Kumar (Independent), Mr Ajay Verma (NCP), Mr Ram Asre (RJD), Mr Ram Naresh (RJD), Mr Shiv Kumar (BSP) and Mr Mukesh Bassi (INC).

Three candidates have applied from Ward No-25 — Mr Des Raj Gupta (BJS), Mr Jaspal Singh (BSP), Mr Subhash Chaner (Independent). Four candidates have applied from ward 26 — Ms Balbir Devi (Independent), Ms Rachna Sharma (SP), Ms Nirmala Devi (BSP) and Ms Nitika Gupta (BJS). 



Resentment among Cong ticket-seekers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The declaration of the list of candidates by the Congress for the forthcoming MC poll has left many ticket seekers disappointed. The list, which was declared last evening, witnessed a lot of activity thereafter. Many scenes of resentment were witnessed today.

Mr B.B. Bahal, party president was surrounded by party workers who were denied ticket. The workers of the colony cell of the Congress had immediately submitted their resignation to Mr Bahal yesterday. He had, however, assured them that something would be done.

The chairman of the cell, Mr Shambu Bannerjie, meanwhile, today stated that he would contest the elections independently. He along with 170 office-bearers and their supporters, has walked out of the Congress.

Meanwhile, all three councillors of the SC (reserved category) who have been shown the door, are also miffed. The councillors are upset over the fact that despite the wards being increased, sitting councillors have not been given ticket. “Most of the candidates are new and it is not like the ones who have been shown the door, did not perform,” stated a councillor.

They have, however, refused to contest the election independently.

Today all three councillors also approached the party high command at the Congress office and demanded to know why they had been denied the party tickets.

Talking to TNS, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid stated that he had no idea why he had been denied the ticket. “I have no idea why this has happened. It is the party’s decision.” He refused to contest the elections independently.

Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Mayor Shyama Negi, undeterred by the fact that she had not been given ticket, stated that she would contest the election independently. Talking to TNS, she stated that she would file her nomination soon. 



VRV gets chance to lift Team India's sagging morale
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The local cricketer, Vikram Rajvir Singh, popularly called VRV, is lucky enough as he got another chance to don Indian colours in the forthcoming Test series against South Africa in December.

After seeing the disastrous show put up by the Indians in the ODI series in South Africa, selectors picked him up with a view to make the most of his speed on the fast pitches of South Africa.

However, the other local all- rounder, Dinesh Mongia, who was part of the ODI squad in South Africa, could not make it to the Test team announced today.

Talking to mediapersons here at the PCA Stadium after flashing the news of his selection, VRV expressed happiness over his selection and said he was determined to put up excellent performance at South Africa.

“Last time in the West Indies Test series, I bowled well but could not get wickets. This time I will try to focus on line and length as well as pitching the ball in right areas instead of speed,” said VRV.

“I had good practice at Mohali wicket, which is identical to the South Africa's fast pitches. This will give me an extra advantage there to perform well with both ball and bat,” added VRV, who is also giving attention to excel in batting.

In the elite group Ranji match against Bengal held recently at PCA, VRV took five wickets conceding 105 runs.

So far, VRV could not capitalise on the chances during his international stint. During the West Indies tour, though the 'Team India' clinched the Test series against the West Indies after 35 years, VRV could not even give any glimpse of his much-vaunted pace bowling skills there and he finished with figures of 2 for 158 in the entire series.



Martyrs’ families threaten to return medals
Say govt delaying Afzal Guru’s hanging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh November 30
Serving an ultimatum on the Central Government, family members those security personnel, who sacrificed their lives in defending Parliament during the December 13, 1991, attack, today threatened to return the bravery medals to the President if the the death sentence to Afzal Guru was not finalised by December 13.

Expressing anguish at the "delaying tactics" of the government in confirming death sentence to Afzal Guru, who had filed a clemency petition with the President, the families wanted early the hanging of the accused to "assuage" the feelings of the victims. If he was not hanged by December 13, we would have no other option except returning the medals to the President, they said here today.

"We want the early hanging of Afzal Guru in the interest of justice," demanded Ms Ganga Devi, wife of Delhi Police ASI Nanak Chand, who died fighting militants in the attack. The medals are of no use if the main conspirator is not brought to the justice, said Mr Sardara Singh, father of Head Constable Om Parkash. Jaywanti, wife of Bijender Singh, driver of the Vice-president, who was awarded Kirti Chakra, said despite serious injuries her husband drove the injured to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on the fateful day. However, now the government is "dishonouring" martyrs by delaying decision on Afzal Guru's hanging.

Meanwhile, Mr MS Bitta, chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF), who was also present, alleged that attempts were being made by certain fundamentalist groups in Jammu and Kashmir to pressurise the Central Government to grant clemency to Afzal Guru after the Supreme Court awarded him death sentence. He wondered why the government was "sitting over" the file after the Apex court judgement.

Mr Bitta said it had been three years since Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, main accused in the September 11,1993, attack on the Indian Youth Congress headquarters in New Delhi was awarded death sentence by the apex court. However, the Centre was yet to decide on Bhullar's clemency petition and the same pattern may be repeated in Guru's case, he alleged.

Mr Bitta said the front would file a PIL in the Supreme Court soon pleading that the Central Government have no clemency powers over the apex court decisions on terrorists.



Watch out

Mr I.P.S. Mann is a part of the 47-member delegation currently camping in Lahore, Pakistan, for the Punj-Aab Cup, a Golf tournament.

Besides the game, the event is also an effort towards improving the bilateral relations between the two countries. This is the second event in the ongoing series and the first one was hosted by India last year.

Only 12 players, out of the total 47, will play the tournament.



In Town

The Vice President of India, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekawat, will be in Chandigarh on Friday to inaugurate the four-day Agro Tech 2006 at the Parade Ground in Sector 17. This is the seventh fair on advances in agriculture technology being organised by the CII. The fair is expected to get wide participation from across the agricultural and food industry, state governments of North India, PAU and agriculture research institutes. The Netherlands is the partner country for Agro Tech 2006.



Passing Through

D.K. Gupta, Assistant General Manager
D.K. Gupta, Assistant General Manager, Havell's India 

What brings you to the city?

I am here to launch an awareness campaign for promoting the use of energy efficient devices and unveil our rural marketing plans in North India.

Today, 14 dedicated and Havell's branded vans are being rolled out from here in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

How do you propose to increase your market presence in rural areas?

We propose to add 1,000 additional outlets in the rural areas in the region in the next one year.

Our long-term commitment to rural segment allows us to invest in these markets with confidence.

Do you see growth in market for energy-saving devices?

Yes, the market for these devices is expanding rapidly because in the long run you save money on power bills by using these devices.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Tainted officer retires without facing action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Mr S.P.Kansal, the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, today retired with the administration initiating no action in the harassment case against him.

It is pertinent to mention that a departmental inquiry had confirmed charges of harassment against the AETC. As per the report submitted by the inquiry officer Swati Sharma, SDM (East), the harassment charges levelled by a contractual woman employee of the excise and taxation department had been proved.

When contacted, officials of the administration said there was no evidence in the inquiry report. Hence, no action had been taken against Kansal. "The charges have been probed in detail and some of the allegations seemed totally baseless," sources said.

R.K. Rao, District Magistrate, had marked a magisterial inquiry into the allegations last month. A woman employee in the said department had alleged that Kansal had misbehaved with her. She had added that Kansal had been defaming her in the office, further adding that he often used unparliamentary language.

The inquiry report against Kansal had concluded that the allegations leveled by the woman employee were true and that Kansal had been harassing the public and also his subordinates in one way or the other. 



Congress majority notwithstanding, BJP man becomes ZP chief

Chandigarh, November 30
Mr Bhajan Singh, a BJP leader of Kishangarh village, has been elected as the Chairman of the Zila Parishad.

The elections to the Chairmanship of the Zila Parishad were held yesterday in the Block Development and Panchayat Office, Sector 19. Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner, oversaw the election process.

Interestingly, four of the six members of the Zila Parishad are affiliated to the Congress party, which include the president of Chandigarh Congress (Rural), Mr Manmohan Singh of Khuda Lahora village. Others are Dayal Singh of Dhanas village, Rajwant Kaur of Raipur village and Dharminder Daria.

However, despite this a BJP man has been elected as the Chairperson. Meanwhile, frenzied celebrations were witnessed after the results were declared. However, before the election process started, Mr Manmohan Singh appealed that in light of the ongoing court case, Mr Bhajan Singh should not be allowed to participate in the election procedure. His appeal was rejected by Mr Sandhu.

It may be mentioned here that after the inclusion of five villages in the MCC, four persons — Jai Chand of Palsora village, Kuldeep Kaur of Halo Majra village, Karnail Kaur of Kajehri village and Rajinder Singh Saini of Maloya village — are no longer members.

The total members have, thus, now reduced to six from the earlier eleven. Taking part in the celebrations, Mr Satya Pal Jain said this victory was a testimony of the victory that BJP will witness in the upcoming MCC elections.

"The results have proven that even the villagers are not happy with the Congress. This is also a fall out of the fact that five villages were forcibly handed over to the MCC despite the villagers protest," he stated. It may be mentioned here that the administration had not permitted the Zila Parishad elections to be held for the past 16 months.

It's only after the intervention of the High Court that the elections were organised. — TNS



Husband of MC president threatens journalist
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
A journalist of a vernacular daily, Surinder Bhatia, was allegedly threatened and abused by the husband of MC president, Manveer Gill, here today.

The incident took place this morning when Ms Gill's husband, Kulwant Gill, called up and asked Bhatia why he had named him in a story about a CD that showed bargaining with councillors to become president. Kulwant allegedly used abusive language and threatened Bhatia with dire consequences for publishing the story.

The Zila Partrakar Parishad and Panchkula Press Club led by their presidents, P.P. Verma and DN Chaudhary, held an emergency meeting and condemned the incident. A delegation of jounalists met Deputy Commissioner, Brijendra Singh, and Superintendent of Police, Balbir Singh, later in the day to lodge their protest.

While the SP directed CIA Inspector Surjit Singh to register a case against Gill, the DC said an inquiry would be initiated in this regard.

Meanwhile, Manvir Gill maintained that her husband talked to Bhatia very briefly this morning. "He did not use abusive language and did not threaten him. We have done no wrong," she said. 



Common man feels pinch of spiralling food prices
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
If you thought that the hike in wheat flour prices was playing havoc with your household budget, think again. In the past one year, monthly grocery budget of a household has gone up by more than 40 per cent, with the rate of inflation increasing from 4.18 per cent in November last year to almost six per cent this year.

With prices of all essential commodities and groceries showing a sharp rise, the common man is feeling the pinch. Other than the wheat flour, prices of edible oils, pulses, rice, dairy products like milk, butter and ghee, and poultry products like eggs are spiralling.

While all sectors in the economy — manufacturing sector, services sector, financing and real estate, construction et al have shown a rapid increase since last year, the growth in agriculture sector has been slow (1. 7 per cent in the second quarter of this fiscal as against 4 per cent in the corresponding period last year).

The stagnant agriculture production, coupled with increase in demand, is largely responsible for prices of all these commodities hitting the roof.

Says Mrs Reshma Kochar, a teacher in a private school at Ludhiana, “Last year, for our family of six, we were spending Rs 5000 a month on the groceries. Now, we are spending Rs 7000 a month. As a result, we have had to cut down on our budget reserved for entertainment, socializing and leisure activities”.

Figures available from Labour Bureau, Shimla, show that the consumer price index in October, in this region, was the highest in Yamunanagar and Ludhiana at 132 points. The national consumer price inex increased to 127 points in October, as compared to 124 in August and 125 in September this year.

The prices of wheat flour and pulses like Urd and Rajmah that have seen the maximum rise in the past one year. The prices of wheat flour has gone up by Rs3.50 a kg. (from Rs 11.50 a kg in November 2005 to Rs 15 a kg now). In fact, the wheat flour prices have been on the rise since last year and are expected to increase further by at least Re 1 per kg.

Prices of pulses like rajmah have gone up by Rs 20 a kg (a 50 per cent rise). From being sold for Rs 40 a kg last year, this is now being sold for Rs 60 per kg. Gram (chana) prices have gone up by 40 per cent while price of urd has increased by 30 per cent, from Rs 54 a kg in November 2005 to Rs 70 a kg now.

Similarly, moong is selling at Rs 45-47 a kg (an increase of almost 30 per cent rise in one year).

A loaf of bread is now dearer by Rs 2 (an increase of 20 per cent), while gram flour (besan) has shown a rise of 40 per cent in a year. The price of toiletries and other FMCGs, too, have shown a rise of two to eight per cent. Even spices, especially red chilli powder, are getting out of reach of the common man (from Rs 100 a kg six months ago to Rs 150 a kg now).

Similarly, sugar prices have spiralled from Rs 17 to Rs 21 per kg. The prices of dairy products have increased by 10- 25 per cent, with a maximum hike in prices of cottage cheese (paneer). Edible oils are now dearer by Rs 4-10 a litre.

Officials in Food and Civil Supplies Department, Punjab, say that the rise in prices was a result of forward trading in these commodities. “With economics driving the market forces, everyone seems to be indulging in future trading. High speculative prices are being quoted for these grocery items for future use, thus leading to a shortage of supply now,” said a senior official.



ILO backs child labour law
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The International Labour organisation’s (ILO) representative in India, Ms Leyla Tegmo-Reddy, today stated that the ILO supported the Modified Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act implemented by the Centre.

In the city for an ILO workshop held at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Ms Leyla said she was aware of the practical problems that government agencies were facing in implementing the Act. “But instead of modifying it, the government and the non-government agencies would focus on starting a simultaneous process of rehabilitation of these children. Intervention will be required at all levels. This would include making arrangements for their education among the younger children and skills enhancement among the elder children,” she said.

Ms Leyla who is also the Director of ILO’s sub regional office in New Delhi said the Ministry of Labour, Government of India, was also working on a system to impart training and skills to the informally employed workers. “Currently the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) admit students who are at least matriculates. We are working with the ministry to come up with a system in which informal workers who might not have had any formal education can access technical skills ,” she said.

Ms Leyla added that for the informal worker who cannot spare time to educate himself or herself even when skill development programmes are available, the government will have to ensure the availability of short- term courses, modular courses and even mobile units which can reach the worker. “Also there is a need to begin a system of certification. This would be one of the big steps in moving towards achieving ILO’s efforts of organising workers in the informal economy,” she said.

Highlighting the importance of the sectoral approach for intervention, Ms Leyla said workers employed in brick kilns, back processing offices etc have similar problems. “But more stark is the men - women worker divide. Within the informal economy, women are concentrated at the low end of the spectrum in low- paying irregular and often unrecognised forms of work. There is a need to ensure that equality issues are mainstreamed into policies and programmes at all levels. Trade unions need to handle gender issues as a priority in their collective bargaining and they also need to increase the level of women’s participation in their organizations and decision-making bodies. Setting up a women’s wing and allocating a specific fund for the women’s wing is crucial to deal with gender issues in a systematic manner,” she said.

Appreciating that the Government of India already has many schemes for the needy and less privileged, Ms Leyla however pointed out that those who can make use of these schemes do not know about these. “There is no dearth of grants or efforts in the government but it has to be taken to the target group,” she said.



‘Food situation precarious in country’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Dr G.K. Chadha, member, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, has said India is very precariously poised between the supply and demand for food this year. While for the past many years the supply of food has been more than the demand, this year the country might be faced with a tricky situation.

Dr Chadha was talking to mediapersons following a presentation at the two-day International Labour Organisation national workshop on “Disseminating Replicable Organising Strategies” that began at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here today.

He said the food situation was not easy as more buying power could also lead to a shortage. Also, the government had allowed private purchase of foodgrains which would lead to less procurement. He added that other than the food situation, inflation was getting out of hand specially when compared to other South Asian countries. “Inflation is now a matter of concern as rising food prices hit the poor the most,” he said.

Pointing out that unemployment was another issue on the Prime Minister’s priority list, Dr Chadha said the 11th Plan should focus identifying industrial ventures which were labour intensive and able to absorb more job aspirants with varying levels of skills. “We cannot continue to harp on capital intensive limited skills required units just because we have to be competitive. We can use the domestic market for such ventures,” he said.

During his presentation, Dr Chadha highlighted the robust growth of the Indian economy and the significant contributions of the informal sector to the national economy. He said a significant change had taken place by the policy departure from inward economy and import substitution economy to an open economy and market-led economy.

The workshop was inaugurated by Ambassador Paramjit Sahai, who said economic growth and protection of informal sector workers needed to be harmonised. Mr N.K. Wadhawan, Labour Commissioner, Punjab, highlighted some of the problems of migrant workers and advocated suitable policy packages. In her opening remarks, Mr Leyla Tegmo-Reddy, Director of ILO Sub Regional Office, emphasised that social partners must strive hard for ensuring decent work paradigm for growth.

Mr Adyanthaya, a noted trade union leader and member of the ILO governing body, said there was no alternative to the present policy of globalisation. He, however, cautioned that growth must accompany equity and pointed out that the ILO was committed to play a significant role in improving the conditions of the informal sector workers.



Two employees of Tribune retire
Tribune News Service

Mr Subhash Saini
Mr Subhash Saini

Mr Balbir Kumar
Mr Balbir Kumar

Chandigarh, November 30
Mr Subhash Saini, Assistant Circulation Manager of The Tribune, retired from service today after putting in 35 years of service.

Mr Saini, who joined the The Tribune in 1971, was given a warm send-off by his colleagues here. Among others, Mr OP Arora, Additional General Manager, lauded the services of Mr Saini to The Tribune.

Mr Balbir Kumar, Assistant Carpenter, retired here today after putting in 18 years of service in The Tribune. He joined The Tribune in 1987.

He was given warm send off by his colleagues.



Woman booked for duping resident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The local police booked a Delhi-based woman on allegations of duping another Delhi resident of Rs 20 lakh.

According to the police the case has been registered on the direction of a local court. Mr Ashish Sohnvi of Sainik Vihar, New Delhi in his complaint alleged that he had entered into a sale agreement of a house in Sector 21 with Ms Kiran Sood. He had paid Rs 20 lakh as per the agreement, which was not fulfilled by the accused. The matter was brought to the notice of a local court and a case of cheating, criminal conspiracy and other charges was registered in this regard. The case was being investigated by the Economic offences Wing of the Chandigarh police.

Scooter stolen

Mr Vishnu of Sector 32 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Chetak scooter 9CH-01-F-8983) was stolen from Sector 17 on Tuesday night. a case of theft has been registered in this regard.


The special Crime Investigation cell of the Chandigarh police arrested Dharampal of Dadu Majra Colony from the same locality on the allegations of indulging in gambling at a public place on Wednesday. The police recovered Rs 2725 from his possession. 



Agro-Tech 2006 begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Agro-Tech 2006 is being organised to enhance agri and related yields, both quantitatively and qualitatively. To achieve sustainable double digit GDP growth, it is important to empower agriculturists and to ensure enhanced investment in the sector.

This was stated by Mr Ajay S Shriram, Chairman, Agro-Tech 2006, while addressing media persons here today. He said the theme of Agro-Tech 2006 had been identified as 'Technology in Agriculture: Growing Farmer Wealth'. The fair, to be held from December 1- 4 will be formally inaugurated by the Vice President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat , here tomorrow.

Mr Shriram said the main objective of the fair is to increase knowledge dissemination, technology adoption and awareness among the farmers of the northern region. “It will help in identifying the potential areas and inducing investment in the agriculture and allied sectors in the region by way of seven concurrent shows.

It will provide an excellent opportunity to the investors, input manufacturers, agricultural traders for promoting their activities and products in the North, including agro chemicals, agro fertilisers, horticulture, and floriculture.

The farmers, who visit the fair, will get an exposure to the best in agriculture techniques and advance technologies, worldwide," he added.

Giving details of the Agro-Tech 2006, Mr Shriram said, "It has always been our endeavour to add more and more value to every edition of Agro -Tech. Advanced technologies in India and abroad are being showcased in the seven concurrent shows in Agro-Tech and will provide great opportunities for conducting business and establishing joint ventures and partnerships with the best names in the industry, worldwide. At the same time, agri theaters and kisan ghostis will be held for the farmers.

"The Indian biotechnology industry was slow to start but is now gaining momentum. Although, the current share in the global market is just 1.1 per cent but it has the necessary ingredients to become a prominent player in the global biotech market.

To provide Indian biotech market a fillip and the adequate attention that it deserves, Biotech 2006 exposition is being held for the first time," said Mr Adesh Gupta, Chairman CII Northern Region.



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