C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Poll funds: EC rules take a backseat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
As the days of the MC elections are drawing near, the candidates are making all-out efforts to attract the attention of voters. They nicely supplement their “all-out” efforts with money power. Not surprising then, the city is covered with flags, posters and banners these days.

Although the Election Commission (EC) has fixed a limit as regards the amount of money that a candidate can spend on his poll campaign, blatant violations of EC guidelines are visible to everyone. There is no mention of such expenditures in the log the candidates are required to maintain as regards their election expenditure.

Majority of the candidates have not even started maintaining their logs so far. Even those who have started doing so are only showing expenditure on tea and petrol.

The Expenditure Observers appointed by the Election Commission are, however, not taking things lightly. They plan to inform the Election Commission about the laxity on the part of candidates.

“We have been asking the candidates to abide by the guidelines, but they avoid doing so claiming that they are busy in poll campaign or that they are doing it. We are also conducting checks,” stated Mr Sikander Lal, Assistant Controller (F&A), Chandigarh Housing Board, Sector 9, who is an observer appointed by the EC for ward Nos. 17 to 26.

Some councillors also acknowledge the lapse on their part. Not wanting to come on record, they say they get so busy with the campaign that at the end of the day they forget to make entries in the log.

According to rules, the candidates are entitled to spend up to Rs 1 lakh on poll campaign. They are required to maintain a log as regards their daily expenditure.

They are allowed to use only two vehicles for the campaign. Other things on which they can spend include banners, stickers, party flags, pamphlets, mikes, name slips and one table and four chairs to be used at the polling station on the day of polling.

The security fee of Rs 500 submitted along with the nomination papers by the candidate is also included in the election expenditure.

The Election Commission has increased the budget for each councillor to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 60,000.

At the end of the elections, the candidates, irrespective of their winning or losing, are required to submit details of their expenditure within one month of the date of election to the Election Commission.

Four Expenditure Observers have been appointed by the commission to check that the rules are being observed.

While the budget fixed for each candidates is Rs 1 lakh, the actual expenditure made by each one of them ranges from Rs 5 to 10 lakh. The money is generally “contributed” by their well-wishers.

However, everybody knows that at the end of elections the logs maintained by most of these candidates will show an expenditure well within the stipulated limit of Rs 1 lakh.



MC chief’s husband taped while buying councillors
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
The dissident group of Congress councillors today dealt a blow to ruling Municipal Council president Manvir Gill by releasing a CD showing her husband “buying” councillors to support her candidature for presidentship.

Mr Tilak Raj Kataria, whose wife Anjala Kataria is a councillor from Sector 20, at a press conference here today said Manvir’s husband had approached him in February to support her elevation in place of Tarun Bhandari.

“He offered me Rs 4 lakh in lieu of my support. He also said other councillors had been tapped and everything had been planned for the removal of Tarun Bhandari. He called up the Deputy Chief Minister and even arranged his meeting with me for the same day at 6.30 p.m.,” Kataria alleged.

“All these months we were trying to get some clarity in the tapes. We realised that the conversation can’t get any clearer in this recording done at my place. Gill came with a token money of Rs 1 lakh that day which I refused to accept, saying that he should come back with the full amount of Rs 8 lakh for my wife and another councillor, Mr Sharda Gupta,” he said.

“The Gills have paid nearly Rs 1 crore in their endeavour to be chosen president. It is a shame for the city and government,” Mr Kakkar said.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, as also the rest, demanded a CBI inquiry into this. “We don’t want any internal inquiry because Gill is quite capable of influencing it. We want a transparent and fair inquiry by the CBI,” he emphasised.

The recording, shown to mediapersons was recorded at the residence of Kataria in Sector 20. It showed Kataria and Gill in conversation during the course of which Gill mentions that Chander Mohan, Deputy Chief Minister, and Chautala have spoken about a possible alignment between the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal.

There is also talk of some money changing hands, though its purpose is unclear and shows that the Deputy Chief Minister is not involved in the financial transactions being carried out as a compromise. “The telephone made to the Deputy Chief Minister was made with the speaker on deliberately,” Mr Kataria said.

Manvir said her husband had not entered any such underhand dealing. “We have not seen the CD. We have only got to know of everything through the media. We can only comment on the conversation once we see it,” she added. 



Door-to-door campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Candidates contesting the upcoming MC elections continued to campaign in their respective wards today.
The Congress candidate from Ward No. 21, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Paali, conducted a door-to-door campaign in Sectors 32 and 46.

A “pad yatra” was conducted under the leadership of Mr. Satya Pal Jain, former MP, BJP, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, local SAD president and Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, BJP president, Chandigarh. They addressed meetings in favour of Ms Farmila (Ward No. 6), Mr Girdhari Lal Jindal (Ward No. 12), Mr Davesh Moudgil (Ward No. 21) and Mr Bhimsen Aggarwal (Ward No. 13).

Mr Harmohan Dhawan, president, Chandigarh Vikas Manch, has announced unconditional support to SAD candidate Mohinder Singh (Ward No. 18). He urged people to support Ms Inderwati (Ward No 26), and Mr Subhash Sharma (Ward No. 25), (Ward No. 19) and (Ward No. 24).

Mr Gurbachan Singh, President, NCP Chandigarh visited wards No. 4 and 10 and requested the people to vote for Mr Victor (Ward No. 4) and Mr Jasbir Singh Bunty (Ward No. 10). He also extended the party’s support to CVM candidate Sarita Sharma (Ward No. 19).



Ward No. 6
(SC Women Reserved-Dadu Majra Colony, Dadu Majra and Shah Pur)


She is 33 years old and contesting the MC elections for the very first time. A BA second-year pass out and now a housewife, Farmila's family has been associated with the BJP for the past many years. If elected, she says she will improve the infrastructure of the ward, especially the conditions of the roads and streetlights.


This 31 year old is contesting the MC elections for the first time. A class XII pass, she is a combined candidate for the LJSP and CVM. This is her first foray into politics and she does not boast of any political background. Solving the problem of sewerage, the issue of garbage being dumped around, the improvement of roads, and repair of streetlights is her agenda for the ward.


This 28-year old lady is contesting the elections for the first time. Her father has been associated with the Congress and the BJP. Helping the poor, building the infrastructure will be her key areas, if elected.

Jaswinder Kaur-NCP

This 32-year old, Class XII pass is contesting elections for the first time. If elected, she states she will help the poor and underprivileged sections of the colony, and also make the Ward clean and green.

Ward No.8
(Maloya, EWS Colony Maloya, West of Sector 39 and Grain Market)

Kamla SharmaKamla Sharma-BJP

She is 60 years old and a sitting councillor from Ward No-6 . She has been associated with the BJP for the past 25 years and has held various positions in the party. This former mayor and social worker states she will focus on developing and maintaining the green belt .

Nina TiwariNina Tiwari-CVM3

This 55-year old lady is contesting the elections for the first time. If elected, she promises to start a special scheme for senior citizens living alone.

Vishav Bharti-BSP

33 year-old Vishav is contesting the elections for the first time. She has an MA in Hindi, from Himachal Pradesh University. If elected, she states she will provide better roads, street lights and parks.

Ward No. 9
(Sectors 39 and 40)

Jagjit Singh KangJagjit Singh Kang- Congress

A businessman by profession, he is the younger brother of Jagmohan Singh Kang, minister for fisheries and animal husbandry. This 53-year old has been associated with the Congress for the past 30 years and has also been associated with the Zila Parishad. If elected, he promises to ensure development of the ward and to complete all pending projects.

Charanjit SinghCharanjit Singh-SAD

51 years of age, Charanjit Singh is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He has been associated with various gurudwaras and welfare organisations. This graduate thinks that the term of the mayor should be increased to two years and funds for councillors should be increased. If elected, he will try to do away with paid parking.

Ishwar Dutt Ishwar Dutt Sharma-NCP

This 45-year old is contesting the elections for the first time. He has been associated with the NCP for the past seven years and has also been the secretary of the organisation. If he wins the elections, he will press for the allotment of houses under the housing board scheme for those who do not have one and will focus on completing all the pending projects of the ward.

Ward No. 10
(Sectors 41, Buterla, Sector 42 and Attawa)

Shyama NegiShyama Negi-Independent

This feisty 53 year old has been in politics since 1975. A Congress rebel, she is the current senior deputy mayor and sitting councillor of Ward No-5. She has studied till Class X. If elected, she states she will focus on free holding of housing colonies and development of infrastructure.

Jagat Bhushan SharmaJagat Bhushan Sharma-Congress

This 50-year old is contesting the MC elections for the first time. A graduate, he owns a traveling business and has been associated with the party for the past 25 years. Development of the ward will be his prime focus, if elected.

Gurnam SinghGurnam Singh-SAD

This 54-year old is contesting elections for the first time. He has been into politics for the past 18 years and joined the Akalis around 2½ years ago. A Class XII pass-out, he has a tent-house business. If elected, he will improve basic facilities of the area . 



Govt blind to gold shine
Villagers give hero’s welcome to kabaddi gold winner
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Lalru, December 11
The tall claims of the Punjab Government as regard promoting sports fell flat today with Manpreet Singh Manna, member of the gold-winning kabaddi squad at the ongoing Doha Asian Games, ruing authorities’ apathetic attitude towards him and the game.

Even as residents of the area gave standing ovation to the son-of-the-soil at Mirpur village near here for his “rare achievement”, the authorities concerned struck a discordant note with no administrative official, either from the local or the state administration, coming forward to welcome the champion.

Resentment prevailed among the residents for alleged raw deal given to the player, who was the only kabaddi player from Punjab to represent the country in the Asian Games.

In fact, in a chat with reporters, the sportsman himself could not hide his feelings. He alleged the state government had always given a raw deal to him. Despite winning gold medal in the last SAF Games, his name was not recommended for the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award. Even the promised cash award was not given to him, the kabaddi player, who has been representing the Indian team for the past over seven years, alleged.

An official with the ONGC at Gandhi Nagar, the player blamed the lack of infrastructure, including good stadia and coaches, for the sorry state of Indian sports. If kabaddi was included in the Olympics, India would be assured of a medal, he asserted.

Meanwhile, the player was given a rousing reception on his arrival in the village. Earlier, he was taken around in an open jeep through the streets of Lalru with a large number of his supporters following him on scooters and cars.

His wife Pooja accorded him a traditional welcome by performing an “aarti” and applying “tilak” on the forehead. His father Pakhar Singh, mother Darbar Kaur, grandmother Angrez Kaur and grandfather Pal Singh were delighted at Manna’s achievement.



PGI extends visiting hours

Chandigarh, December 11
The PGIMER authorities have decided to extend visiting hours for attendants by half an hour.
The authorities had also decided to allow two attendants with one patient admitted either in the Emergency or General Ward. The decision is likely to be implemented from December 15. The visiting hours (from 4 pm to 6 pm) have now been changed from 5.30 pm to 8 pm daily.

The PGI had been issuing 40 passes for visitors everyday, charging Rs 10 per pass per visit from 1 pm to 8 pm daily. This was inadequate for over 2,000 patients admitted to various wards in different blocks of Nehru Hospital. The attendants now need not buy passes for their visits. — TNS



Watch out

Raja K.S. Sidhu: The city-based former shooter Raja Sidhu is member of the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) delegation for Doha to bid for the Asian Games 2014 in India.

At Doha, the delegation will meet the representatives of Olympic associations of different countries to convince them to vote in favour of India. Raja Sidhu is Joint Secretary of the IOA and Secretary-General of the Punjab Olympic Association. He was also part of “2010 Commonwealth” bidding team.



In Town

General secretary of the BJP dissident Uma Bharti’ party, Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party (BJSP),Vishwanath, will be in the city on Tuesday to give a fillip to the campaign for the December 20 elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.The BJSP, which has among its leaders several of the former top BJP leaders, is hoping to open an account in the civic body in the forthcoming elections.



Passing Through

Dinesh Khanna
Dinesh Khanna, National badminton selector

What are your major achievements in badminton?

I am the only Indian who won the Asian Championship in 1965. Besides that, I won a bronze medal in Asian and Commonwealth Games in 1966. I got Arjuna Award for my achievements.

What should be done to improve the sport in India?

At present, we are in the first eight teams of the world so the position of badminton is much better than the other sports in the country. But there is still a lot to be done. We have talent but there is need to nurture it. Common camps should be held regularly for shuttlers at one place to improve coordination among them and team spirit as well. Till class IX, we can see a lot of talented players but after that their focus shifts to studies. In the process, we lose many talented players.

How do you find the badminton infrastructure in the city?

I am impressed with the sports paraphernalia provided by the administration here. But the government should ensure better job opportunities for sportspersons to create potential players who can make a mark at the international level.

— Akash Ghai



Chandigarh Calling

Dinner diplomacy: Journalists are always in demand.With elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) round the clock, reporters covering political beats have suddenly become the most sought-after species.

In fact even as the mercury dips, the city is warming up to the dinner diplomacy. Every other day, the reporters have invitations for cocktails by different parties, including, the Congress and the BJP-SAD alliance, for dinner, which is exclusively for the members of the Fourth Estate and a few confidants of the prospective councillors.

While the Congress seems to have taken fancy for a popular Sector 22 hotel, the alliance has an obliging host and the owner of a Sector 26 banquet hall, who also happens to be one of BJP candidates.

Though the battle of votes is slated for December 20,many a political fortune is made or marred at the cocktails, where praises are showered on reporters for their “qualities” for head and heart.

And some of the “enterprising” scribes have virtually turned into media advisers, guiding the candidates about the “strategy” to be adopted for winning the battle royale. That’s another matter that the “strategy” remains or the same for different candidates!

Complete misfits: The medical camp at Balloti village in Morni block came as a blessing for the villagers starved for quality health care. It also proved to be a meeting ground for wives of IAS officers who came all dressed for the function which was to be inaugurated by the Chief Secretary, Mr Prem Prashant.

In stark contrast to the surroundings where the camp was held, they seemed complete misfits. In the crowd of villagers who came to get themselves examined at the camp, the wives, dressed in trendy sarees and snazzy suits, seemed very much out of place. After the customary welcome, they sipped a glass of juice in the company of the CS and went away in their ‘high-end’ cars right after the chief guest left.

— Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Geetanjali Gayatri



Mercury dips, but their business soars
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The mercury may go down further.
As the city shivered today with maximum recorded at 20.4°C (three degrees below normal) and the minimum at 7.4°C (one degree below normal), people preferred to remain indoors.

“The western disturbances have moved eastwards, leading to the fall in temperature. In the next two days we expect the minimum temperature to go down to five degrees,” informed a Met official.

But not all is bleak because of the weather. “This weather is boom time for us. On an average we are filling 250-300 quilts a day at Bajwara market, Sector 22,” said Santro.

These workers say they are now making anything between Rs 300-Rs 500 a day.

They charge anything between Rs 40-Rs 100 for stitching a quilt and each of them manage to fill and stitch at least five quilts a day.

Even the sale of heaters has picked up substantially over the past week. Mr Ravinder Singh, director of Surindra Vision, Sector 35, said on an average they sell two to three heaters/ blowers a day. “However, this year, the oil-based heaters are very popular because they do not suck the oxygen and are more power efficient than the halogen rod heaters and normal blowers. We expect to sell about 25-30 of these in a month,” he said.

There is a wide range of heaters to choose from this year.

While the oil-based heaters are available for Rs 3,500-Rs 6,000, the halogen rod heaters and blowers are available for anything between Rs 500-Rs 2,000. “Even in blowers, the manufacturers have added new features like remote controlled blowers and ones with auto swing,” said Mr S.K. Goyal of Calcutta Electrical Company, Sector 22. Even sale of groundnuts, jaggery and gachak have picked up in the past one week. “I am able to make a neat profit by selling almost 5-6 kg of groundnut daily,” said Asha Rani and her husband Vijay, who sell groundnut in Sector 16, Panchkula. 



If not connivance, what else ?
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Now Senior Superintendent of Chandigarh Police Gaurav Yadav just cannot claim ignorance about the problem caused due to illegal parking of vehicles. As he got out of an official car (CH-01-G1-6004) this morning, the traffic came to a standstill on the narrow road cramped with illegally parked vehicles in front of Mehfil restaurant. What other proof does the Chandigarh Police require to establish the existence of the problem?

Chandigarh, December 11
Connivance---nothing else can explain the failure of the Chandigarh Police to move against a parking lot contractor for obstructing the free flow of traffic in the city’s downtown.

Even though the parking lot opposite Mehfil restaurant in Sector 17 lot is demarcated exclusively for two-wheelers, the contractor is illegally allowing motorists to leave behind their four-wheelers right under the “vigilant” eyes of so many cops on duty in the area.

If in the process the residents are subjected to constant inconvenience due to traffic bottlenecks, and the state exchequer is suffering a loss running into lakhs, the cops are just not bothered about it.

The sources in the police headquarters confirm that hardly any four-wheeler has so far been towed away from the lot, even though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the authorities concerned to ensure the free flow of vehicles in the traffic regulation and pollution control case.

The agreement between the cops and the contractor is also evident from the fact that the attendants guarantee four-wheeler drivers complete immunity from the cops if you pay them the parking fee.

In any case, the police have allowed the problem to persist since almost one year despite the presence of clear-cut documentary evidence.

Go to the lot and you will find the attendants actually issuing printed parking tickets to the four-wheeler drivers leaving behind their vehicles in the two-wheeler lot.

This is not the end of the illegality. The terms and conditions of the contract clearly mention that the contractors have to specify the location of the parking lot on the tickets. Yet, the receipts issued by the Mehfil parking lot contractor have no such information.

Interestingly, the matter has been brought to the notice of senior Chandigarh Police functionaries more than once through newspaper reports carried in these columns.

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has also made its stand clear in the matter.

Senior corporation officers have told the police that the onus of initiating action against the motorists and the contractor is on them as the parking lot is meant only for two-wheelers.

Otherwise also, the police control room was informed about the illegality by a harassed two-wheeler rider on Friday last.

A police vehicle and several cops, including a Sub-Inspector, were present at the spot. But instead of calling the tow-truck for taking away the wrongly parked cars, they started lifting two-wheelers left behind on a footpath. The Sub-Inspector in clear terms said there were no instructions “from the top” to drag away the four-wheelers.

"Residents thought things would alter with the change in the top brass, but so far even the new Inspector-General of Police has not done anything in this regard," says a city resident, unwilling to be quoted.

In the absence of action, the result is there for all to see.

The parking of vehicles on the narrow strip is resulting in mishaps due to creation of bottlenecks and subsequent traffic jams. In fact traffic jams are witnessed every time a vehicle stops on the road either to pick or drop someone, or else to accommodate vehicles pulling in and out of the lot. The situation is worse during the lunch hour, and again in the evening.



Fauji Beat
What brought early end to 1971 war?

By capturing Mymensingh town with a small force in the erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on December 1,,1971, Brig Sant Singh accomplished the task that was allotted to him. Meanwhile, he learnt that 95 Infantry Brigade, which was to capture Madhupur, 46 km south east of Mymensingh was held up at Jamalpur. Knowing this, he chased the enemy by personally leading the advance to Madhupur and capturing it on December 12.

For routing two infantry battalions and capturing Madhupur, Brig Sant Singh was awarded a Bar to the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), which he had won in the 1965 war in J&K.

Brig Sant Singh’s action convinced his General Officer Commanding (GOC) Major Gen G.V.S. Nagra that by placing more forces under him, he should launch a new approach on to Dhaka. The moment the new plant was given to him, Brig Sant Singh with his force advanced quickly and secured Mirpur bridge before the enemy could destroy it.

After Dhaka defences were contacted at 2.30 am on December 16, the process of surrender was set in motion. Thus the first one to enter Dhaka with his troops was Brig Sant Singh. It was his daring and swift advance to Dhaka that brought the 1971 war to an end at least a day earlier than what was expected.

A lasting bond

Jat Regiment officers and ladies held a luncheon get-together on December 8, at Shivalik Officers’ Institute, Chandimandir. it was a largely attended gathering where the retired officers relieved their days to yore and got the current news of the regiment. The ladies too, reminisced the good old days when they were together.

Kanwar Nirmal Singh, who retired on October 31, as Director General of Police (DGP) Haryana, and his wife were the special guests. He was commissioned into 1 Jat (Light Infantry) in March 1968, when the unit was in the thick of countering militancy in the Mizo Hills (now Mizoram). It was there that he got his grounding to become a tough and disciplined soldier.

Though he came to the IPS in 1973, he had not lost his moorings with the unit, which has been redesignated as 2 Mechanised Infantry 1 Jat (LI). He attends all get-togethers of Jat Regiment officers regularly. He also visited Royal Jats (a title bestowed on 1 Jat by the British), in the first week of December.

Many people have big purses but not big hearts. kanwar Nirmal Singh has a big heart too, as he has recently donated Rs 25 lakh to 1 Jat (LI) for the welfare of troops and families. To acknowledge his long associations with the regiment, Kanwar Nirmal Singh was presented with a memento by the officers at the get-together on December 8.

Today, when most in authority look away from corruption, Kanwar Nirmal Singh, during his tenure as DGP, tried to root out corruption from the Haryana Police. Needless to say that he succeeded to a large extent in his mission.

Disability pension benefit

The government issued orders on August 30,2006, for the grant of service element for full service rendered by the Short Service Commissioned Officers (SSCOs) and Emergency Commissioned Officers (ECOs) whose disabilities are attributable to or aggravated by the military services.

These orders will cover all past cases except those whose disabilities were held as aggravated by military service. This is for this reason that they were entitled to terminal gratuity in lieu of service element of disability pension in addition to the disability elements. But from the date of issue of the government orders on August 30, all past cases whose disabilities were aggravated by military service will start getting the financial benefit of service element for full service rendered by them.

— Pritam Bhullar



Following RTI their own way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Officials at the UT Estate Office have devised their own set of rules for answering queries under the Right to Information Act (RTI). To write a four-line letter to a resident of Sector 22, Mr Vinod Sharma, who had sought information as regards the misuse of SCFs for running coaching centres, the Estate Office took over a month.

“Some of the information sought by me did not require any effort. There are rules already notified and do not require any tabulation”, he said. Irritated over the attitude of the Estate Office, he has written to the Central Information Commissioner, New Delhi.

He said he had sought information whether residential houses could be used for running coaching centres.

Going further, he had sought information about how many notices of misuse of premises and resumption notices had been issued by the Estate Office to the violators. The Estate Office, in its reply sent on December 5, has said since the information sought is vast, it will be supplied in week. 



Woman falls off hotel parapet, dies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
A 28-year-old woman, Abha, died after falling off from the terrace of a hotel in Kalka yesterday. Ruling out foul play, the police said her father told the inquiry office that she was making a phone call when she lost balance and fell down from the terrance. She died on the spot.

She and her family had arrived a couple of days ago from Rajasthan in connection with her wedding. Abha was to get married to Dr Ravi Nath, working as an ophghalmologist at the PGI.

The hotel staff said the boy’s family hailing from Pinjore spent the entire evening at the hotel where the shagun ceremony was performed.

“Everything seemed to be fine and the girl and her family were very happy,” a staff of the hotel said.

Immediately afterwards, they completed all formalities and left for Sikkar in Rajasthan where she will be cremated. The boy and his family, too, has accompanied them”, he added.



Parliamentary Secy’s office gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
A major fire broke out in office of the Punjab Government’s Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Harbans Lal, on the fourh floor of the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat Building here this afternoon.

The office was completely gutted. Just one room away is the office of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, which was recently renovated by spending around Rs 3 crore.

Four fire tenders of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation brought the fire under control after around 30 minutes. A couple of portable fire extinguishers installed on the fourth floor of the building did not function and the security men had to run downstairs to fetch more fire extinguishers. The fire broke out around 1.50 pm. As it was lunch time, only a few persons were present there at that time. A short-circuit is said to be the cause of fire.

A hydraulic ladder was used to reach the fire area and douse the flames effectively.

Later in the day, the General Administration branch of the Punjab Government moved a file to the Chief Secretary suggesting that an inquiry be conducted into the incident. Preliminary enquiries revealed that no important file of the government was in the office at the time of the fire.



Tourist info centre functional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Adviser to UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, today inaugurated a tourist information centre at the Sector 17 Plaza here today.
The centre would provide information about various tourists places.

The centre will remain open from 9 am to 8 pm daily. Literature, CDs, pamphlets and brochures will also be available. There would be information about North India tourism packages. 



2 dead, 3 injured in accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
Two people are dead, and three have been seriously injured in separate accidents in the district, here, today.
While Sanjay, a rickshaw-puller from Sujjanpur died late last night after being hit by an unidentified vehicle in Bhanu, the body of an aged beggar was found in the market adjoining the Mansa Devi Shrine.

Rohtash Kumar, a retired superintendent from the office of Director-General, Health (Haryana), and Niranjan Singh, a head clerk at the General Hospital, Sector 6, were seriously injured after their scooter was hit by an unidentified vehicle in Sector 6 this afternoon. Niranjan Singh's condition is stated to be serious.

Meanwhile, in another incident, Dikshga, a student of Class V, was injured while her mother escaped unhurt, when their scooter was hit by another scooterist who was trying to evade being fined at one of the ‘nakas’ set up by the police to rope in traffic offenders. Separate cases have been registered by the police.



Proclaimed offender arrested

Chandigarh, December 11
The Chandigarh police today arrested a proclaimed offender involved in several cases of theft.
The police said Bhupinder Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib was arrested from the city on the basis of secret information. He was wanted in several cases of theft committed in the city in 2004. He was remanded in judicial custody by a court. TNS



SBP raises FD interest rate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The State Bank of Patiala (SBP) has increased the rate of interest on fixed deposits by 0.25 per cent. Mr S.C. Dhall, branch head of the bank's Kalka branch, said customers could avail 8 per cent rate of interest per annum while senior citizens could get 8.50 per cent for deposits for a period of more than five years.

The rate of interest for one-year fixed deposit would be 7.25 per cent while for senior citizens it would be 7.75 per cent.

The bank had launched a deposit mobilisation drive that would conclude on December 31. A team had been set up for creating awareness about banking facilities in the rural areas.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |