C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

UT to lease out new school buildings
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Chandigarh Administration has decided to lease out fully constructed new school buildings to educational institutes on an annual charge of Rs 1 only. A decision in this regard has already been taken while the policy awaits a formal clearance from the UT Administrator. There are 10 school sites on the list and the Administration is finalising certain other sites.

The entire immovable property will be taken care off by the Administration like building, grounds, water and electricity, etc. The school management will take care of the movable property, including furniture, teaching and non-teaching staff salary and library, besides others.

The allottees will be decided by a committee comprising the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, PGI Director and certain other eminent personalities from different walks of life. No official of the Administration will interfere in the selection criteria. The decision is important because the Administration had to cancel its auction of school sites recently as there were no buyers due to very high reserve price.

A senior official of the Administration said, “ It was discovered that certain leading institutions, particularly convent schools and charitable institutions, besides others did not show interest in the auctions. After detailed discussion it was decided that we should encourage leading educational institutions to participate in this endeavour.”

The policy paper of the administration has clearly spelt out that each school allocated under this scheme will have to take care of certain social obligations with particular stress on education of the poor and the socially backward sections of society. Special reservation has been provided for the physically handicapped. The schools will have to work on special coaching facilities for the economically backward sections.

The school will be given on lease for 30 years to an educational society and it can be extended.



Wooing voters with ‘chai’, ‘coffee’
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
With less than a week to go for the Municipal Corporation elections, the candidates have intensified campaigning in the city. They are going all out to woo the voters with various “sops”.

Candidates standing humbly at your door with folded hands and asking for your vote is a common sight these days. However, there are certain “sops” offered by them that are not that easily visible to a common voter. While some are giving “parchis” for liquor, others are distributing CDs highlighting their achievements. A few of them can be seen being weighed against ladoos. The candidates are also not sparing any effort to familiarise the voters with their election symbols.

At many places, one can find liquor being distributed by candidates in “understanding” with those running various liquor vends. All that one needs is a “parchi” signed by the candidate concerned.

In Sector 20, whisky and beer are easily available in such a manner. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ram Bahadur, an employee at the Sector 20 Azad Market liquor vend, said around 100 persons were taking liquor in such a fashion every day. “We have been directed by our boss to honour the “parchi” and give the liquor,” he added.

The situation is similar at Mani Majra, Mauli Jagran and Bapu Dham. “Parchis” using “chai” and “coffee” as codes for liquor are easily available here. Besides free supply of liquor from vends, many of the enterprising candidates are not only holding lavish parties but also giving away liquor to their trustworthy workers from their “distribution centres”.

It goes without saying that liquor is the most used commodity during the last few days of campaign to win over voters. Interestingly, no candidate ever mentions expense on liquor in his election expenditure log.

The trend of getting weighed against ladoos is also gaining steam, so is the trend of being weighed against coins. Interestingly, while the coins are safely tucked back home, ladoos are distributed among the poor. According to the candidates, coins (usually in the denomination of Rs 5) worth around Rs 15,000 are need to weigh a candidate. These coins weighs around 60 kg. On the other hand, a minimum of 60 kg ladoos are distributed each time a candidate is weighed against these.

According to EC officials, the expenditure on ladoos and coins, if incurred by the candidate, will be required to be mentioned in the log of the candidate concerned.

Some candidates are trying to make maximum use of the technology. A CD listing achievements of Kamlesh from Ward No. 6 was released today by Mr Pawan Bansal.

Meanwhile, Ms Shyama Negi, Senior Deputy Mayor and Independent candidate from Ward No. 10, is distributing coconuts, her election symbol, among the voters. The aim is to familiarise the voters with her election symbol.

Phone calls asking people to vote for a particular candidate is another way of campaigning. In the end, all that matters is who wins, all sops, as a candidate puts it, are “just a means to an end”.



More councillors want MC chief to quit
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
The expose on horsetrading by dissident Congress councillors came as the first blow to MC president Manvir Gill. Now, seven more councillors of the party have jumped on to the protest bandwagon against Gill and demanded that she should step down from her post on moral grounds.

With most Congress councillors set against her, Manvir Gill today stands supported by only a handful of Congressmen and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) councillors and a few nominated ones despite her party’s majority in the House.

Congress councillors Jalmegaha Dahiya, Pawan Mittal, Randhir Bhadran, Om Prakash, Om Prakash, Naresh Rawal and Randir Malik today demanded that Gill must step down from her post and clear the air over the CD released by Tilak Raj Kataria, husband of Anjala Kataria, a councillor from Sector 20.

All of them had boycotted yesterday’s House meeting as well. Mr Randhir Bhadran said that if the CD were true, it was obligatory for Gill to step down as President. “If she is not guilty and believes the CD is doctored, she should come forward and contact various investigating agencies and the government top brass to clear her name,” he said.

Mr Pawan Mittal said the allegations that councillors had been “bought” by Gill’s husband had put their integrity under a cloud. “Let the truth of who was paid how much come out if the allegation is true. It is not right to cast aspersions on the other councillors when they are not at fault. Such statements have shown us in poor light and we want the matter resolved,” he added.

Mr S.S. Goel and Naresh Rawal, too, expressed their resentment over councillors’ names being bragged into the controversy. They too sought an early solution to the problem which had cropped up after the expose.

The city president of the Congress, Mr R.K. Kakkar, and Mr V.K. Kapoor, Anjala Kataria and others have raised the banner against Gill’s continuation and with today’s conference by Congress councillors, 12 councillors have jumped on to the bandwagon of protest against Gill. Repeated attempts to contact bore no fruit.



Public holiday on Dec 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
A public holiday will be observed on December 20 in all government offices/institutions/boards/ corporations in the city. A notification in this regard was issued yesterday by the UT Administration.

Meanwhile, no polling booth has been identified as sensitive for the municipal corporation and panchayat samiti elections. Mr V.K. Harit, joint state Election Commissioner, stated that the police had been asked to identify sensitive polling stations.

A total of 513 polling booths will be set up for the MCC elections. The maximum polling booths are in ward No 25 (29) while ward No 6 has the minimum (12). Twentyseven polling booths will be set up for the panchayat samiti elections and two for the elections of panch on December 20. Four counting centres will be set up on December 20.

List of counting centres

Ward Nos. 1-4 and 5-8 (Government Model Sr Sec School, Sector 23) Ward Nos. 9-12 and 13-16 (Government College for Girls, Sector 42) Ward Nos. 17-20, 21-23 and 24-26 (College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26) Panchayat samiti panch election Government Model Senior Sec School, Sector 10)

Total polling stations in different wards:

Ward 1 (16), Ward 2 (14), Ward 3 (15), Ward 4 (15), Ward 5 (22), Ward 6 (12), Ward 8 (27), Ward 9 (22), Ward 10 (27), Ward 11 (17), Ward 12 (20), Ward 13 (23), Ward 14 (24), Ward 15 (24), Ward 16 (24), Ward 17 (18), Ward 18 (23), Ward 19 (25), Ward 20 (24), Ward 21 (18), Ward 22 (15), Ward 23 (27), Ward 24 (18), Ward 25 (29) and Ward 26 (14).



Chandumajra plays anti-Cong, SAD card
Tribune News Service

President of Shiromani Akali Dal( Longowal) Prem Singh Chandumajra (second from right) at a party rally in Phase VIII, Mohali
President of Shiromani Akali Dal( Longowal) Prem Singh Chandumajra (second from right) at a party rally in Phase VIII, Mohali, on Friday.
— A Tribune photograph

Mohali, December 15
While criticising both Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal for ignoring the interest of the people of the state, Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) president Prem Singh Chandumajra today demanded that Chandigarh be made the capital of Punjab. He stated that the Central Government should provide financial aid to the debt-ridden farmers of the state and waive their loans.

He was addressing a rally at the Dasehra ground in Phase VIII here today. Later, Mr Chandumajra accompanied by party workers submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Punjab in the evening.

The Central had been neglecting poor farmers of the state while the farmers of others states, include Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, had been given financial aid, he said

Mr Chandumajra said Punjab was no where in the picture of the Central Government’s vision of development.

He said while students in the rural areas had been suffering due to non-availability of teachers, on the other hand unemployed BEd and ETT teachers had been protesting to get jobs.

The rally appeared to be a show of strength by Mr Chandumajra keeping in view the forthcoming elections in the state.



Bansal, HP minister campaign for Chhabra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The election campaign of the Congress candidate from Ward No 3, Mr Pradeep Chhabra, got a shot in the arm today with the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, and Mr Kaul Singh, a Himachal minister, addressing a rally in his support at the Sector 22 Shastri Market here.

Addressing the rally, Mr Bansal urged the electorate to vote for Congress candidates on the basis of the performance of the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) in the past five years.

Reiterating the commitment of the Congress-led UPA Government to make Chandigarh a world-class city, Mr Bansal claimed during the past five years major development projects had been undertaken in the city.

The Opposition, he alleged, was going into the election without any substantive issue.

Coming down heavily on the Sangh Parivar, Mr Kaul Singh alleged that the RSS and the BJP had always tried to divide the people to communal lines.He appealed to the electorate, particularly Himachalis, which formed a substantial vote bank in the city, to vote for the Congress as it was the only party which could provide a stable administration.

Mr Chhabra claimed that during his tenure a record number of projects had been completed in his ward comprising Sectors 17 and 22. He thanked Mr Bansal to generous grants under the MPLAD scheme for projects in his area. Bereft of any major issue, the BJP-SAD alliance was resorting to a “negative” campaign, he alleged.



CPI manifesto promises basic amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Communist Party of India today released its manifesto for the forthcoming MC elections. The party is fielding only one candidate Manjit Singh Tiwana from Ward 21.

The withdrawal of notices of violation to Housing Board residents and regularisation is one of the main focus of the manifesto. The ownership right for those who have purchased houses on general power of attorney stands second in their priorities. They also promised to ensure that unnecessary restrictions made in the freehold scheme would be deleted.

Community centres, arrangement of drinking water, toilets in parks, footpaths around the roads and improvement of sanitation, roads and streetlights are the other key issues on their agenda.

The party members assured that if their candidate wins the elections they would ensure that all their promises will be fulfilled.



Badal on campaign trail in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, campaigned for the BJP-SAD alliance candidates today. Campaigning in support of Ms Harjinder Kaur, BJP-SAD candidate from ward No. 15, in Sector 34 market, he stated that the Congress policies were anti-people.

“We will come to power,” he added. Stating that Ms Harjinder Kaur will make a hat-trick by winning from the ward, he stated that the BJP-SAD alliance would also win for the third time. He also campaigned for Mr Gurnam Singh from Ward No. 10 in Sector 41.




Ward No. 23

(SC reserved; Karsan Colony, Phase II Ramdarbar, Indira Awas Colony, Hallo Majra, Bair Majra, Faidan-Burail and Char-Taraf-Burail)

Satish Kumar — CongressSatish Kumar — Congress

He is 35-year-old and is contesting the MC elections for the first time. A class XII pass out, he owns a transport business. He has been associated with the Congress for 19 years. At present, he is the general secretary of the District Congress Committee (Urban II). If elected, he promises to reinstall the electricity wires in the area and ensure building up of community centres and cementing of roads.

Ram Pal — BJPRam Pal — BJP

This 56-year-old candidate is a labour contractor. He has been associated with the BJP for the past many years. At presently, he is the president of the Construction Labour Union. He says he will help the poor, solve the water problem and initiate new projects for the welfare of the people.

Harmohan Mehra — CVMHarmohan Mehra — CVM

This 36-year-old candidate is contesting the MC elections for the second time. Earlier, he fought as an Independent candidate. Now, he is associated with the CVM. He is a jewellery shop owner and is under-matric. Development projects will be undertaken in the area, if he gets elected, he says.

Ashok Kumar — NCPAshok Kumar — NCP

He is 24-year-old and is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He is a class VIII pass out and runs a shop. He has been associated with the NCP for the past few years. Employment for youth, repairing of roads and welfare of the poor will be the key areas that he will be focus on, if elected, he says.

Sattu — BSPSattu — BSP

This 31-year-old candidate is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He is a class V pass out and runs a business of screen printing. His association with the BSP is just 1-month-old. He promises to undertake development projects in the ward, if elected.


Hira Lal Kundra — BJSHira Lal Kundra — BJS

Hira Lal Kundra, 34, is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He is a law graduate. He practises at the district and high court. If elected, he promises to work for the development of the ward.

Ward No. 24

(Mauli Complex (Railway Colony), Ambedkar Avas Yojna, Mauli Complex (Charn Singh Colony), Bhagat Singh Colony, Vikas Nagar, Shivalik Enclave and Mauli Complex (Housing Board)

Mukesh Bassi — CongressMukesh Bassi — Congress

This 40-year-old graduate is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He is an industrialist and is also the president of the Chandigarh Club. He is associated with the Congress for the past 16 years and has held many positions in the party set-up. If elected, he promises to work for sewerage laying, making availability of ration cards easier and ensuring the welfare of the people.

Ram Lal — CVM

This 47-year-old candidate is contesting the MC elections for the second time. He is a class V pass out and is into the business of property dealing. He has a long association with the CVM. He says development of the ward would be his main aim, if he gets elected.

Ajay Verma — NCPAjay Verma — NCP

This 36-year-old postgraduate in marketing is working as a consultant and canteen contractor. He is contesting the MC elections for the first time. His association with party is just one-year-old. He says if he gets elected, he will work for the welfare of the poor and the underprivileged.

Shiv Kumar — BSPShiv Kumar — BSP

He is 36-year-old and is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He is a class XII pass out and owns a leather business. He has been associated with the party since he was only 18. If he gets elected, he will work for the rehabilitation of the poor.

Ward No. 25

(Old Mani Majra (NAC), Shanti Nagar, Mariwala Town, Thakur Dwara, Chandigarh Housing Board 1&2 (Modern Housing Complex) and Mohalla Govindpura)

Gurcharan Das Kala — BJP

This 52-year-old candidate is contesting the MC elections for the third time. He has remained the Mayor and the Senior Deputy Mayor of the city. A class IX pass out, he is a shop owner. Development of the people and solving their problems will be his aim, if he gets elected, he says.

Subhash Chander Sharma — CVMSubhash Chander Sharma — CVM

He is 36-year-old and is contesting the MC elections for the first time. He deals in real estate and is a graduate. He has been associated with the CVM for past five years. He says, if he gets elected, he will work for the development of the ward and solve the problems of the people residing in the ward.

Jaspal Singh — BSPJaspal Singh — BSP

This 42-year-old is contesting the MC elections for the second time. He has been in politics for many years. He is the Chief Editor of Jagrukta and also the president of many associations and welfare officer of the UNHRA. He joined the BSP recently. Welfare of the people of the ward will be his aim, if he gets elected, he said.

Ward No. 26

(Women reserved - Dhillon complex, Motor Market, Pocket No. 8, Darshani Bagh, Subhash Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Pipli wala Town, Gawala Colony, Indira Colony, Indira Colony (Rehabilitation), Old Indira Colony, Race Course and I.T. Park)

Sunita — BJPSunita — BJP

She is 34-year-old and is contesting the MC elections for the first time. She is a housewife and an under-matric. If elected, she promises to take up various development issues.

Inder Wati — CVM

This 41-year-old housewife is contesting the MC elections for the first time. She is class VIII pass out. She belongs to a family that has been associated with politics for a long time. Welfare of the people will be her main aim, if she gets elected, she says.



Ex-general from UT is Lt-Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Lieut-General Gen Bhopinder Singh (retd), a resident of Burail village in Chandigarh, has been appointed Lieut-Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“The warrant of appointment was signed by the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, last evening,” General Bhopinder told The Tribune from New Delhi, where he is on a visit. He, however, declined any further comment.

The General has served as the Director-General of Military Training at Army Headquarters. Prior to this, he had a stint at Rashtrapati Bhavan as the Military Secretary to the President, during which he worked with Mr K.R. Narayanan and then with Dr Abdul Kalam.

He was commissioned into the Rajput Regiment in 1965 and subsequently commanded 17 Rajput (Barhe Chalo), the battalion raised by Late Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa.

During his career spanning 36 years, he took part in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. He also served in Kargil and Kashmir. Besides holding a number of prestigious command, staff and instructional appointments, he had a diplomatic stint as the Military, Naval and Air Attaché in Ethiopia.

He also has the rare distinction of being the "Colonel" of three regiments of the Indian Army, the Rajput Regiment, the President’s Bodyguard and the Army Physical Training Corps.

A second-generation soldier he hails from a decorated and illustrious military family that has given this nation many soldiers and martyrs. General Bhopinder Singh is a prolific reader. His interests include security matters, geo-strategic affairs as well as adventure and sports.



SC restrains CBI in power theft case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Supreme Court has put the case pertaining to the role of seven officers of the BBMB and the UT Electricity Department for allegedly facilitating the theft of power by Bhushan Industries on hold, at least, for the next three months.

Acting on a petition filed by an employee of Bhushan Industries and the power department employees, the Supreme Court has restrained the CBI from continuing with the trial for 12 weeks.

In February this year, the CBI had framed charges against the accused 13 years after booking seven officers of the BBMB and the UT Electricity Department.

The CBI filed the chargesheet in February 2001 and the case was transferred to the CBI Special Court in November 2005.

On December 14, 1993, the CBI had booked the officers, V.K. Mahendru, XEN, UT Electricity Department, Mangat Pal Gaur, Junior Engineer, BBMB, Tarsem Lal Aggarwal, Junior Engineer, UT Electricity Department, Brij Bhushan Singhal, MD of Bhushan Industries, Harjinder Singh Brar, Assistant Executive Engineer, UT Electricity Department, Deepak Chopra, Commercial Engineer, UT Electricity Department and Jagir Singh, Sub Station Engineer, BBMB, under the Prevention of Corruption Act and various Sections of the Indian Electricity Act for causing loss to the government by allowing the Bhushan Industries to consume power through a feeder with the meter installed at the BBMB sub-station, Industrial Area.

The officials were also accused of not taking the proper meter reading thereby causing loss to the government.

While framing charges, the court had observed that the accused during the period- April 1985 to July 1988- connived with Brij Bhushan Singhal to do an illegal act by willfully and fraudulently preventing the meter from registering the correct reading and allowing theft of at least 11745096 units of electricity from D 3 feeder, BBMB sub-station, Sector 28, thereby causing loss of over Rs 3 crore to the UT Electricity Department and the HSEB.

The counsels for the accused are alleging that the CBI had proceeded on assumptions and presumptions. They said the theft of power from meter installed in the sub-station was not possible.



Youth dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Twentyeight-year-old Karamjit Singh of Manauli Surat village lost his life when his car rammed into a divider on a road separating Sectors 19 and 20 opposite Jama Masjid here late last night.

Giving details of the accident, Mr Sukhdev Bhullar, SHO of Sector 19 police station, said the accident occurred around 1.30 am when Karamjit was coming from bus stand towards the industrial area on his Ford Icon (CH03 P 5465).

"As the car hit the divider at a high speed, the steering wheel broke and pierced into the body of the driver. A PCR van took him to General Hospital, Sector 16, where he was declared brought dead", said Mr Bhullar.

The car caught fire after the driver was taken to the hospital as the engine and air-conditioned system got smashed in the accident. The front of the car was burnt.

Karamjeet is survived by wife, a two-year-old son and bedridden father. The postmortem was conducted today before handing over the body to the family.



Passing Through

Tell us something about Star Interactive Services.

We had initially started off by launching our short code 7827 — Star on your handset keypad, to enhance viewer and channel interactivity by offering instant participation in popular shows and contests of the Star bouquet of channels. Today it offers a variety of ringtones, wallpapers, cricket scores, mobisodes (episode summary on mobile), picture messages, games and host of interactive zones.

What are the changes you expect in mobile entertainment in times to come?

Today, the mobile entertainment industry in India is estimated to be over $ 150 million. As this new form of entertainment evolves further and mobile interactivity evolves from being restricted to ring tone and wall paper downloads, this will become one of the biggest sources of entertainment. We have seen that only 25 per cent of our users are from metros, 25 per cent from 21 cities and 51 per cent from small towns.

What show has seen the best mobile interactive response?

We have set new records with the hugely interactive KBC-2, which received 130 million calls and text messages.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Admn yet to wake up to parking woes in Industrial Area
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Chandigarh Administration appears to be unclear over change in parking areas of the Industrial Area in the wake of the conversion policy. It so appears that even after more than five months after a question regarding the parking place in a mall had been posed by an industrialist, there has been no reply from the Administration.

Only 29 industrialists in all have applied for the conversion in the industrial area one year after the policy was announced in 2005. The Administration had announced the preparation of a blueprint in July, which also had not arrived. The blueprint was to be prepared following inputs from the CII, Chandigarh Industrial Association, Estate Office, Engineering Department of the Administration and municipal corporation, besides others.

But official sources confirm that no blueprint or individual contributions from majority of the intended parties had arrived.

Vehicles could be seen parked on road berms in the Industrial Area, even today. The issue gains importance in the context that unless adequate parking place was given in front of malls, the area would become congested.

Mr H.S.Mamik, an industrialist, had posed the question to the Estate Office in July regarding the building plan of PASCO Motors, which had applied for conversion, particularly with respect to the parking plan.

The Central Public Information Officer of the Estate Office sent a letter to Uppal Housing Private Limited (they had purchased the plot from PASCO), saying that Mr Mamik had sought information regarding the building plan and the parking, so “give your consent within five days, failing which the said information will be supplied”.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Mamik said, “More than five months had elapsed, but to no avail. I have got no information, nor do I expect any because the authorities are themselves unclear on the project implementation. I have tried for the past six months to get information under the Right to Information Act and have requested the Administration to state as to who will be accountable if the Industrial Area becomes a mess, similar to the one that has been created in Delhi because of poor planning.”

It is also worth mentioning that the conversion policy in the original plan announced the conversion of those plots which were bigger than 4 acres. The Administration earlier this year also allowed conversion on smaller plots.

An industrialist pointed out that “smaller plots will mean lesser parking place, which could lead to more troubled times”.

Mr Mamik said “We have done a study at Fun Republic. On a rush day the place has 600-700 four- wheelers and about 200-300 two- wheelers. The numbers are an indication for the Administration to respond and plan. I am also very sure that the standard excuse of double basements will also be inadequate in case of big conversions.”

The beautification in the area is also yet to take off.



More rare animals to delight Chhat Bir zoo visitors
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
More rare animals will delight visitors to the Mahendra Choudhary Zoological Park at Chhat Bir, near here, from next week.

In fact, the conservation efforts of the Punjab Wildlife Department are set to get a boost with the zoo gearing up to receive some of endangered species from the zoos across the country. The exchange programme follows a formal approval from the Central Zoo Authority(CZA).

“The exchange programme basically aims at the conservation of the wildlife fauna and the education of the masses,” Dr Kuldeep Kumar, Punjab Conservator of Forests(Wildlife), told Tribune News Service here today.

Topping the list of the animals the zoo will get are two pairs of leopard cat from the Agartala (Tripura) zoo. An endangered species listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act,1972, the leopard cats will be exchanged with one pair of royal Bengal tiger from Tiger Safari at Ludhiana, Dr Kuldeep Kumar informed.

Similarly, a pair of tailed macaque(monkey) and a pair of civet(a category of cats) is also on its way to the zoo from the Agartala zoo. Currently, there is only one female macaque at the Chhat Bir zoo, Field Director Mr Dharminder Sharma added.

The exchange programme will go a long way in changing the bloodline and rule out the inbreeding in these particular zoos.The exchange programme had been initiated to restrict the inbreeding at the zoos and expose them to species from the other zoos to give a fillip to cross-breeding, the officials highlighted.

Yesterday, the zoo authorities got three bisons—one male and two females—from the Cham Rajendra Zoological Park, Mysore. The animals were received in exchange of the two female Himalayan Bears, it is learnt.

Meanwhile, Rustam, 23-year chimpanzee, which was acquired from the National Zoological Park, New Delhi, was released into the zoo today.



Army seeks details of JAG officers’ law degrees
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
In an unprecedented move, Army Headquarters is seeking to verify the authenticity of the professional law degrees of Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department officers.

This comes long after the officers have passed their JAG Department examination and have been undertaking regular department work.

A letter received by JAG officers a few days ago from MS-14, the section in the Military Secretary’s Branch at AHQ which deals with the cadre management of JAG officers, has directed them to furnish details of the Bachelor of Laws course pursued by them before seeking a transfer to the JAG Department.

Sources reveal that the letter (A/68501/IAST/MS-14/JAG) also sought details of the officers’ place of posting at the time they were supposed to have appeared in the examinations, along with “other complete details”.

Some officers have questioned the logic behind the move at this stage as it reflects not only on the functioning of the branches concerned at Army Headquarters, but can also have serious implications with regard to judicial matters within the service.

“Such a move, if mandated, should have been made before the officers concerned were allowed to handle department work, which includes rendering legal advice on various matters and conducting trials by court martial,” an officer remarked. “Supposing something amiss is now detected. It would put a big question mark on the courts martial and other work undertaken by the officer concerned,” he added.

Doubts had been raised earlier over the authenticity of degrees of certain senior JAG officers, including the department’s head, Maj-Gen Nilendra Kumar. It was alleged that some officers were posted far away from the place from where they undertook the course. Sources maintain that this chapter is now closed, with the government giving a clean chit to the General.

Meanwhile, another controversy has arisen in the JAG Department over an officer from a different corps being transferred to the department despite a ban imposed on him by the Army’s Discipline and Vigilance Directorate for alleged involvement in a scam concerning the hiring of civilian labourers.

The said officer’s former commanding officer, under whom he was serving at the time of the alleged scam, is at present facing trial by a general court martial.

It is learnt that the Deputy Judge Advocate General, Western Command, Brig A.K. Srivastava, had recently taken up the matter of the officer’s shifting to the JAG Department with Army Headquarters and the Judge Advocate General.



IT Dept holds language function

Chandigarh, December 15
The Income Tax Department organised the annual official language prize distribution function here today.

According to a press note issued here today, Mr Tilak Raj Sharma and Mr Rajesh Arora won the first prizes in Hindi work and Hindi typing. Mr Digvijay Narayan and Mr Trilok Singh Rawat were awarded for noting drafting and Hindi essay writing competition, respectively, at the function, which was presided over by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Ms SK Aulakh.

Mr Manoj Mishra, Commissioner of Income Tax-I, received the trophy for getting maximum work done in Hindi. Mr B.K. Singh, Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, and Mr Manjit Singh, Joint Commissioner, Mandi Gobindgarh, were awarded prizes in the income tax range category. Mr V.P. Kalia,Mr Ashok Khanna and Mr Ashok Gupta, all Income Tax Officers, won trophies for the maximum work done in Hindi. TNS



Christmas presents for underprivileged kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Children of three creche run for the underprivileged children at Dadumara, Dhanas and Hallomajra by the Durga Das Foundation were given presents today in connection with the forthcoming Christmas celebrations here.

Small cultural programmes were also organised at different venues. Mr Atul Khanna, Director of the foundation, said: “We try holding such sessions as frequently as possible. It is a very important confidence building programme of these children”.

Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of the UT Administrator, visited the schools and distributed sweaters and refreshments among the children.



Encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
The enforcement wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) removed over 100 temporary structures from Chhota Haripur village in Sector 11 here today.

With the removal of the structures, HUDA claimed to have cleared 14 kanals from unauthorised occupation. A team of the enforcement staff led by Executive Officer, HUDA, reached the spot and cleared the land of encroachments.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the displaced people met the HUDA Administrator who assured them saying that a proposal to rehabilitate them by allotting two marla plots could be considered, shortly.



Drug inspectors conduct special drive
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 15
During a special drive, a team of drug inspectors today found six chemists shops having objectionable drugs in Mohali and Ropar districts. The team headed by the Additional Drug Controller, Mr Ajay Singla, inspected 16 shops during the drive in Kharar, Kurali and Morinda.



3 held for stealing signal cable
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
Three teenagers were caught red-handed by the Government Railway Police while stealing the signal cable from the track near Bapu Dham colony here today. One of their “friends” fled the spot. A single round was also fired in the air to scare the culprits. The boys, all residents of Mauli Jagran, had been “eyeing” the cable for a fortnight and had carried out the preliminary exercise of cutting the iron pipes which encased the cable.

The boys led by Sonu, an expert in stealing cables, arrived with his friends, Papu and Suresh, under the railway bridge at 2:30 am yesterday, armed with saw, a torch, sharp blades, an iron rod and a push cart to take away the cable.

“The copper in the cable was worth Rs 12000 for us and we would have shared the money. I have done it once before and quick money was too much of a temptation to resist. We visited the site frequently to check if there was an extra vigil after we first tried to cut open the iron frame encasing the cable. We found nothing amiss and decided to make our final strike last night,” Sonu said.

The GRP, alerted by the cut discovered on the pipes a week ago, had set up special nakas to nab the thieves besides visiting the spot at odd hours to check if the cable was intact. “We heard the rustle of grass and slight movement around the track when we came around 5 am. On investigation, we found the cable missing. After a bit of searching the grass, we found the cable lying at some distance from the track and Sonu hiding in the tall grass,” ASI Sukhdev Raj said.

On interrogating the boy, he realised that two others were still hiding in the grass and the fourth one ran away even as the police fired one round in the air to scare the rest. The GRP personnel cordoned off the area and waited for break of day. Shortly, they found the other two boys in the grass.

Sonu said that they had planned to cut the cable into small pieces, load it on the push cart and take it away to the nearby jungle to burn the rubber surrounding the copper. All three boys were living in rented accommodation despite the fact that their families stay in the city. During the day they would sell fruit on push carts in various sectors.

The stolen cable was the signal cable used to pass on signals and communication to trains. In its absence, the control centre cannot make any contact with the approaching trains or those leaving the station. This cable was stolen in November as well after which the GRP had stepped up vigil.



Car stolen from PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Chandigarh police has registered three cases of theft on complaints lodged by city residents.

According to available information, Mr S.R. Mehra, a Panchkula resident, has complained that his Maruti car has been stolen from Panjab University. A case has been registered by the Sector 11 police station.

Rs 45,000 stolen

Capt Surinder Singh of Raipur Khurd reported to the police that Rs 45,000 were stolen from the dickey of his scooter on Thursday. The accused, according to him, had come on a scooter (CH01-W 9226). The scooter was parked in front of his house. A case has been registered.

Mobile theft

Mr Hemant Garg, resident of Sector 4, Panchkula, has complained to the police that Joginder Singh alias Soni and Karamjit Singh alias Bittu took his mobile and did not return it.


A scooterist, Mr Arun Mittal, resident of Sector 20, was hit by a HP Roadways bus near the Sector 32-46 crossing on Thursday. The bus driver sped away from the spot after the mishap.

Profusely bleeding, Mr Mittal was rushed to the Sector 32 hospital, where he was admitted. A case has been registered and the police is on the look out for the absconding driver.



3 held for thefts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Chandigarh police has recovered a video camera, five gas cylinders and two mobile phones following the arrest of three persons, namely, Dhira Kumar, Bhupinder Kumar and Surinder Shah.

The miscreants were apprehended by a party of Sector 34 police station during a naka put up at slip road of Sector 45 opposite Colony No. 5. During the investigation, at least six cases of theft and burglary have been solved.



Discounts jack up car sales
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
December is no longer a bleak month for car dealers. Thanks to the discounts offered by most car manufacturers and dealers, the year-end has become the best time for car business. Customers are flocking car dealers to get the best deals on cars.

If you are planning to buy a new car next year, just advance your decision and strike a perfect deal now, thanks to huge cash and value-addition discounts being offered by all major players in the small, medium and big-size car categories. Even if you are worried about losing money at the time of resale because of the car’s model, don’t think twice. The discounts offered now, ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh, could offset your loss that you may suffer at the time of resale.

Car manufacturers and local dealers of Maruti, Hyundai, Ford, Tata and Honda are all offering hefty discounts to jack up their sales. Most of the dealers say the sales are already up by 25 to 30 per cent. By the end of the year, they hope to see 50 to 80 per cent jump in sales.

Tata, Hyundai and Maruti are leading the pack by offering cash and value-addition discounts (free/ partly free insurance, MP3 player, leather interiors and other accessories) ranging from Rs 10,000 to 70,000 on various models.

Hyundai Sonata is available on a Rs 1. 50-lakh discount (some dealers are giving an additional loyalty discount of Rs 50,000 for the second Hyundai car).

“Till three years ago, sale of cars would plummet at the year-end, as people preferred to wait to buy a new model in the New Year. But this is no longer the case and it is a win-win situation for both manufacturers and customers. So, while the customers can ring in the New Year in their new cars available at a discounted price, the car manufacturers are also able to clear their stocks for this year, paving the way for improved versions to be launched next year,” says Mr Ranjiv Dahuja, Director, Berkeley Automobiles (Maruti dealers).

Mr Ritesh Lamba, a businessman, who is exchanging his Maruti Esteem for a Hyundai Accent, says: “With the companies offering such lucrative discounts, why wait for a new model. I have got a discount of Rs 55,000 on the car”. Mr Gaurav Misra, manager sales, Joshi Autozone (Tata dealers), says, “Through these discounts, we hope to see an increase of 50 per cent in sales.”



Centurion Elite launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Turning on the heat during the chilly weather, models sashayed down the ramp at The Taj during a fashion show organised by Centurion Bank of Punjab here tonight.

The occasion was the launch of Centurion Elite - a unique private banking initiative by the bank for its high net worth individuals. The bank had tied up with a Kolkata-based sister duo of Mona and Pali (of Monapali designers) for the show.

The show exhibited the Summer 2007 collection of the designer duo.



Biz Clips

Bank branches: The Oriental Bank of Commerce opened two new branches and an ATM on Friday. The two branches were opened at Phase XI, Mohali, and at Mullanpur Garibdas and an ATM was also inaugurated at Sector 28 here, by the bank's General Manager, Mr Atul Gautam. Now, the number of branches of the bank in the region reaches 47.

Kisan Loan Mela: The Morinda branch of the State Bank of Patiala organised a kisan loan mela at Sarhana village on Friday. Mr V.K. Kochchar, Assistant General Manager of Chandigarh region, disbursed loans worth RS 80 lakh. Mr I.C. Wadhawan, branch manager, said so far the branch had disbursed loans worth Rs 3. 50 crore in this fiscal.

Car won: Mr Raesh Dua of Hisar has won an Indica Xeta car in the scheme "Scratch Karo Ash Karo" organised by Bonn bread. The scheme began on December 5 and customers were entitled to free gifts on purchase of 400 grams or more of Bonn bread.



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