C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Molestation case
PU panel finds Prof guilty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University to look into the allegations of molestation levelled by a school girl who was taking tuitions from a PU Professor has found the Professor guilty. The girl, a student of DAV Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, has alleged that Prof N.K Sehgal of the Department of Evening Studies used to teach her at his house and had, on one occasion, tried to take advantage of the situation.

The report of the committee was tabled during the meeting of the Syndicate members held here today. The committee, headed by Dr G.S Grewal, also pointed out that the Professor was taking tuitions at home which was not allowed under the university rules.

Interestingly, while Syndicate members authorised the VC to take action against the Professor for taking tuitions, they felt that the university could not take any action against the teacher who is facing charges of molestation. They decided that action against Professor Sehgal should be left to the police since the girl’s father had already lodged a compliant.

Syndicate members also gave nod to holding of an entrance test for admission to M.Ed. Regarding the finalisation of syllabi of Home Science, it was decided that a Committee of subject experts would do the same. The Board of Studies had recommended some deletion in the syllabus which was not allowed by the Syndicate. The members also decided that the university would refund the fee it had collected from candidates who had filled forms for the OCET for one paper.

A committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor also found a history teacher guilty of negligence as he had allegedly awarded zero marks to a student of MA history. Syndicate members again authorised the Vice-Chancellor to take action against the teacher. The said teacher had awarded zero marks to a candidate who went in for reevaluation and was awarded 56 marks by another evaluator. The said teacher justified his action reportedly by saying that he had found the handwriting of the candidate illegible but according to the committee members the answer sheets were legible.



Night life
Need to tighten policing
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Shedding its earlier image of a “lifeless city”, Chandigarh now dons the mantle of a city with throbbing night life. Growing number of hit-and-run cases, rioting and brawls, thefts and burglaries, besides stray incidents of stab and shootouts between sun set and sun rise are all indicators of the changing requirements of policing in this Union Territory.

Though the police does not categorise hit-and-run cases, rioting and brawls under serious or heinous crime, these incidents claim a considerable number of lives in the city.

Shooting of Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy in the city some time back and stabbing of a trader at Sukhna Lake a few weeks ago may be stray incidents of the type but they certainly instil a sense of insecurity among morning and evening strollers.

Delayed arrival of PCR vehicle after a rickshaw-puller was fatally hit on Madhya Marg some weeks ago had exposed inadequacy of patrol vehicles.

The Chandigarh Tribune undertook a special survey on the changing pattern of crime between 9 pm and 9 am and realised nearly 40 or 60 per cent of total crime takes place during this period.

The data about heinous crime made available by the Chandigarh Police reveals that more than 44 per cent of the total cases occurred during the night time when the deployment of the police is not more than 25 per cent.

Quoting the figures, sources in the Police Department said between January 1 and October 31 this year, 196 cases of heinous crime were reported. Out of these 108 incidents took place between 9 am and 9 pm while the remaining cases were reported during the night hours.

At night, the deployment of the police is visibly far less. One seldom finds either any traffic police or constables and head constables at beat boxes placed throughout the length and breadth of the city. Not only that, even the Gypsies and motor cycles present at busy traffic intersections and roundabouts also move out when it gets dark.

Busy places like Inter-State Bus Terminus and the “restaurant street” have only skeletal police staff on duty. Even the police record reveals that approximately 25 per cent of manpower is deployed for night patrolling in the city where “drunken driving” has assuming a serious problem.

If one finds the traffic the number of police patrol vehicles stationed at vulnerable points, including traffic junctions, during the day time is more.

Availability of manpower at the police stations is also more during day hours than at night. This day time deployment is further supplemented by traffic police and the Home Guards at all major traffic intersections.

The PCR works in three shifts and deployment o the police force attached to it remains same round the clock. The police says at any given point of time 66 vehicles are manned by approximately 175-200 police personnel. In all there are 558 police personnel attached to the PCR.

They have been equipped with 30 gypsies and 35 motor cycles, including one trauma vehicle. To be continued



Height of ignorance: MC poll news for ’em
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The youth of the city seem to be least aware about the coming Municipal Corporation elections.

Many don’t even know who the candidate is from their ward or when are the elections going to be held. For the working class all that matters is that they will get a break mid-week from work.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ms Pratibha Kaushik, a resident of Sector 8 and Panjab University student, said it was a news that there were elections in the city.

She didn’t even know who the candidates were from her ward.

The same was the case for Mukul and Sidhant of Sector 11. Sipping coffee at Café Coffee Day, they had no idea what ails their city or what issues the councillors are fighting for. “We did see some activity today, but I have no idea what it is for”, they stated.

Surprisingly many residents have no clue about the functioning of the Municipal Corporation. Those who are aware seem to be the ones who are either related to candidates or live near their homes.

The candidates, too, don’t seem to bother about the youth concentrating more on the resident associations and market committees, which give them the maximum support. A market committee member says: “It is the councillor who has to get our work done, if we don’t support him now, he won’t support us later.”

Moreover, when the candidates campaign door to door they get to meet only the elders.

The youth, as a councillor states “is never home”. But, the issues, picked up by the councillors, also don’t directly effect the youth. Thus, explaining the youth’s lack of knowledge and the councillors’ lack of interest in involving them in the election process.



Women councillors smug in the shadow of ‘‘supportive’’ husbands
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 17
In a city pegged to be Haryana’s show window, most women councillors are tongue-tied when it comes to issuing statements or raising issues. While they may not be dumb dolls, their course of action and every step is decided by the men in their families, most of whom have become de facto councillors and are ruling the roost.

Living in the shadow of their husbands, these women are yet to emerge with an identity of their own, a fact true for rural women elected to panchayati raj institutions. While most husbands take care of the front office by doubling up as their wives’ public relations officers, women, on their part, are equally comfortable to playing a second fiddle. The fact became more evident after the release of the CD on horse trading.

While MC President Manvir Gill’s husband Kulwant Gill has been caught on the wrong foot on a number of occasions, questioning journalists about the ‘‘hows and whys’’ of news items published, there are other husbands who are ‘‘omnipresent’’.

Tilak Raj Kataria, who was responsible for the CD fiasco, was allegedly approached by Kulwant Gill for ‘‘buying support’’. His wife Anjala Kataria says, ‘‘I am a housewife and a councillor. Since I cannot manage both fronts, I have left the Ward affairs to my husband though I do listen to grievances of people. I was not involved at all in the CD release because my husband was approached by the president’s husband. It was only between the two of us’’. She, however, forgets that she is at the centre of the issue since Gill had approached Kataria to get her support.

The Vice-President of the Council, Ms Kuljit Waraich, who has not attended any Council meeting since Manvir Gill took over, faxed a statement on the CD revelations. This was done by her father-in-law who not only sent her statement but was also willing to comment on her behalf. z

‘‘I was busy elsewhere but I do meet people and redress their grievances. I have not attended the meeting of the Council for the past many months because I was apprehending trouble in their style of functioning. I don’t think it is right that families of councillors should manage the entire show,’’ she added.

At the press conference held to release the CD, councillor Sharda Gupta, whose name also figured in the conversation, was staunchly defended by her husband Kusum Gupta. In fact, it is her husband who answers the calls made at the number provided against her name in the list of councillors. ‘‘We have only one mobile phone. Whoever goes out carries it,’’ he justified. It’s another matter that when the landline number was dialled, she was not available for comment.

Councillor Renuka Rai Walia’s husband Deepak Rai Walia is among the ‘‘most seen husbands’’ while Saranjit Kaur, another councillor, states that husbands need to share the work burden and handle some of her work in the Ward occasionally. ‘‘We can’t go out at night if something happens. Obviously, the men have to take charge,’’ she clarified.

A woman with a voice in the MC, Jalmegaha Dahiya, rues, ‘‘We keep asking for 33 per cent reservation and then let men run the show. That is not justified as far as the voters go. I have always retaliated against any statement issued against me even though we belong to the older generation. I don’t understand why these women hide behind their husbands.’’



Chandigarh among 3 top police stations
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Altus Global Alliance Visitors Week - observed to evaluate police stations across the world and rate them on various parameters - has put three police stations in Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Andhra Pradesh among the top three in the country.

Rajasthan has got the highest ranking for physical and detention conditions, Andhra Pradesh for community orientation and equal treatment for the public, followed by Chandigarh, where police stations have won accolades for transparency and accountability.

Altus, a global alliance working across continents with a multicultural perspective to improve public safety and justice, has released its final report based on the perceptions of over 1,000 persons who visited 400 police stations across 24 countries.

Police Station Visitors Week was held last month to assess the quality of service delivered in the participating police departments to identify some of the best practices in use by the police.

A total of 105 police stations in India participated in the programme. Out of these Police Station, Shipra Path, Jaipur (East), and Ramganj, Jaipur (North), both in Rajasthan, secured the overall first and second positions.

The Punjab Police, which has always been in the news for the wrong reasons, managed to secure an overall third position for Police Station, Samrala, in Khanna police district.

Across India, 396 local citizens visited police stations in 46 cities and six rural areas. The citizens who evaluated the police stations were largely members of residents’ welfare associations, market association groups, NGOs, police-community partner groups and students, besides social activists and eminent citizens.

These visits were organised in India by Aide et Action, Hyderabad; the North-Eastern Institute of Development Studies, Shillong ; and Community Policing Resource Centres (CPRCs), Punjab, in cooperation with the state police, and coordinated by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC), Chandigarh.

The evaluators used special kits, following protocols that were the same for visits around the world. Immediately, after the visit, the visitors answered a series of questions about what they observed and their answers were collated over the Internet.

The Altus Global Alliance used the ratings supplied by visitors to calculate an overall score for each police station, as well as separate scores for five categories of services: community orientation, physical conditions, equal treatment for the public, transparency and accountability and detention conditions.

Police Station, Shipra Path, Jaipur (East), has excelled in terms of its record keeping. About this police station the report quoting a visitor reads, “The filing system in the racks is unbelievable. This was so well kept that any record and information was available in a few minutes”.

Punjab scored a rating of 65.46 per cent on various parameters and the visitors found the services on the five rated categories to be adequate. Seven districts of the state participated in Police Station Visitors Week and in these districts all police stations were visited. Some of the buildings are over 50 years old.

The SHO of an Amritsar police station was quoted as saying, “We are unable to compete with others as the physical conditions of the police stations in Amritsar are very bad in terms of building and furniture.

We do not have chairs for our officers not to speak of the public. But we will take a lead in terms of equal treatment and transparency”.



PGI technologists to work today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The PGI Medical Technologists Association (MTA) has postponed its decision of going on mass casual leave tomorrow.

Office-bearers of the association took the decision at a meeting with a five-member committee comprising Prof Amod Gupta, Sub-Dean, Prof Raj Bahadur, Additional Medical Superintendent, Prof Ashok Gupta, president of the Faculty Association, Prof B.D. Radotra and Prof S.K. Singh of the PGI.

The MTA general secretary, Mr Ashwani Munjal, said the decision was taken in the larger interest of patients and reputation of the institute. The association has appealed to all its members to join duty tomorrow.



UT generates power idea
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
In yet another attempt towards arranging an alternative source of power supply to the City Beautiful, the Chandigarh Administration has finalised a project report for a 50 MW solar power plant on the Patiala Ki Rao choe.

The UT had earlier this year attempted a tie-up with the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), a former UT Administrator, had floated the idea for a nuclear power plant in 2002.

The report for the solar power plant under consideration now has been compiled by Tata BP Consultancy, hired by the Administration. The project awaits a formal clearance from the Ministry of Non-Conventional Resources.

The issue of an alternative mode of power supply is important in the context that the UT has no power generation of its own and is dependent on purchase of power from the Bhakra Beas Management Board and Central generating stations. The UT faces 30 MW shortage on an average during the peak season in winter and summer.

In July this year, the Administration had hinted that it was contemplating to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with GAIL for piped gas supply for power generation, industrial use, domestic use and to run transport in the city.

The development came in context with possible linking of GAIL pipeline under way from Dadri to Nangal. A supply line from Doraha, near Khanna in Punjab, was under consideration.

During the inauguration of the Cactus Festival in April 2002, General Jacob had highlighted the need for nuclear power generation for future requirements of the UT.

The city has started facing regular power cuts, although small, during the peak seasons, particularly summers.

The Administration this year had sent an official list of a cut of two hours distributed equally among different parts of the city during summers.

The UT uses nearly 250 MW daily during the peak season. "The supply is about 30 MW less than the total requirement, which leads to power cuts," the official said.

The UT gets repeated warnings regarding penalty and even disruption of services for overdrawing power from the national grid as compared to its share.



Watch out

Balraj Singh Shergill, Secretary, Paragaon Educational Society, will be leading a 25-member delegation to South Korea beginning Monday under the mutual friendship and cultural exchange programme with Jeong Myung Girls Middle and High School and American Missionary Adventure Mokpo City South Korea. This is his fourth visit to South Korea. By introducing the educational exchange programme and mutual understanding among students at an international level and the signing of memorandum of understanding with the school of South Korea, Mr Shergill believes he has brought an over all development of relations between the two nations.



Passing Through

Why are more and more people becoming prone to diabetes?

A sedentary lifestyle and faulty eating habits are the main causes of diabetes. This disease usually occurs in obese patients, but can also be found in slim individuals.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Frequent urination, excessive thirst and marked fatigue. These should not be ignored, especially if combined with obesity or a family history of diabetes. If not managed well in time, diabetes can lead to impaired vision, even blindness, renal failure and peripheral vascular disorders. It also leads to high-risk pregnancies and increases the risk of abortion.

How does diabetes affect society?

Diabetes is the commonest cause of blindness and non-traumatic amputations in the West.

How many people in India are at the risk of becoming diabetics?

Going by the current rate, more than 75 million persons will suffer from diabetes by 2025 in the country against 330 million the world over.

— Bipin Bhardwaj



‘Rural Jatt Sikhs need uplift’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
A massive slump in the living standard of Jatt Sikhs, the hard working community of Punjab, was central to discussion at the first seminar on “Challenges before the Jatt Sikhs in the 21st Century” organised by the newly formed Jatt Sikh Welfare Association at the Law Bhavan, Sector 37, here today.

Speakers pointed out that owing to fragmentation of the land holdings with each successive generation, the condition of Jatt Sikhs, particularly in the rural sector, have been gradually deteriorating over the years. The race that gave the practical shape to the Green Revolution is today buried under the burden of arhtiyas and moneylender.

Mr N.S. Bhangoo, president of the association, said: “The issue needed to be understood in a larger perspective of Punjab. Incidents of rape, eve-teasing, kidnapping, unknown to the rural folk of the state, are creeping in. The rate of recruitment of Jatt Sikhs in the Defence forces has decreased.

“The issue is also important in the context of the contributions of the community in defending the borders of the country as was evident from the record”.

The speakers were of the view “tendency to incur heavy expenditure on ostentatious weddings was a cause of big concern. Over attraction to the western culture was another area of concern”.

Mr Hari Harpal S. Batth, general secretary, pointed out “the youth lacked direction and necessary centres of counselling. We wish to take initiatives on these fronts”.

Justice G.P.S. Chahal, Punjab and Haryana High Court, presided over the seminar. Lieut-Gen Harinder Singh (retd), a former Director-General, Defence and Research Organisation of the Ministry of Defence, Dr Gursham Singh, a former expert on agriculture at the UNO, Dr M.S. Bajwa, a former Director of Research at the PAU, Dr Jasbir Singh Bal, and Mr N.S. Sandhu, Resident Manager of Hotel Mount View, also spoke.

It was decided that an education society for welfare of the Jatt Sikhs would be constituted.

The association sought greater attention towards health facilities in villages, helping farmers to get out of uneconomical ventures and employ more profitable farming practices, reservation in jobs, check on unregulated growth of migrant labour and check on sale of land to outsiders on patter of states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir.



Statistical staff want top post filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Planning and Statistical Personnel, Punjab, today appealed to the state Finance Minister to fill the post of the Head of the Department lying vacant for a long time.

Mr Swatantar Bhanot, General Secretary of the JAC, said in a press statement that there was resentment among the employees in the Economic and Statistical Organisation, Punjab, Sector 17, as the post was lying vacant for a long time. It had been adversely affecting the functioning as the department was engaged in planning at the district and block levels and had been preparing statistical information besides working for the MPLAD scheme of MPs.

He further added that the charge of the Economic Advisor to the state government was always given to Special Secretary, Planning, who had no spare time to control the organisation because of his preoccupations. As the department was manned by highly qualified personnel, an IAS officer should be given independent charge of the department.

The state government should either fill the post by promoting the senior most director, who has experience of two years, or by appointing class-I officer having 10 years of experience in the line. The post may be filled by transfer or by direct recruitment in the interest of the department.



Housing Problems
Poor basic amenities ail Hem Vihar too
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 17
Residents of Zirakpur township, one of the fastest growing townships in Punjab, continue to be at the receiving end as far as basic amenities are concerned. Hem Vihar seems to be no exception as the alleged neglect on the part of the authorities concerned is rampant here too.

Power supply seems to be the main problem area for the residents with only one transformer catering to the needs of the several others colonies, including Highland Society, Yog Vihar and Vikas Nagar, besides the Hem Vihar.

With overloading being common, tripping is a routine affair that puts residents to a lot of inconvenience. And repeated representations to the authorities concerned have fallen on deaf ears, Mr Somnath, president of the residents' body, alleged.

The condition of the roads continued to be pathetic. In fact, with streetlighting being far from satisfactory, the area had become accident-prone particularly during night time.

Sewerage had been laid recently, several years after the colony came into being . The water supply system too is a cause of concern, Mr Somnath added.

Meanwhile, official sources said development of the township was being done in a phased manner and basic amenities were being provided in stages. As after putting sewerage in place now the work on carpeting of roads would also be taken up soon.



Bihar Govt to open office for migrants in Delhi
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
To safeguard the interests of Bihari migrants working in the agricultural and industrial sectors in the region, the Bihar Government will open a "labour and employment office" in New Delhi, the state Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Sushil Modi, said here today.

Decision on Laloo today

A special CBI court in Patna will deliver its judgement in the fodder scam involving Union Railway Minister Laloo Yadav tomorrow, Mr Sushil Modi, who was petitioner in the disproportionate assets case against Laloo Yadav, said here today.

Mr Modi, who was here to campaign for the BJP candidates for the December 20 elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, said any migrant, who had any grievance against the law enforcement agencies and the employers, could lodge a complaint at the office.

Meanwhile, the Bihar Government had decided to give a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of any migrant labourer who died in an accident in another state. There are over 50 lakh Biharis earning livelihood in other states in India, Mr Modi added.

Painting a rosy picture of the state during the past one year ever since the Chief Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, assumed office, migration from Bihar had gone down, Mr Modi claimed. A large number of engineers, doctors and other professionals had left Bihar for the fear of being kidnapped. However, in the past one year, with an improvement in the law and order situation, migration of professionals had come down, he claimed.

With the improvement in the law and order situation, big industrialists were returning to the state with the state Cabinet clearing investment proposal amounting to about Rs 36,000 crore during the past few months.

Mr Modi informed that with a view to accelerating development in the state the recently-formed Bihar Foundation would organise a three-day "global meet on resurgent Bihar" in which 500 Biharis from all parts of the world would take part.

On the crime front in the state considered to the "Mecca of kidnappers", the Deputy Chief Minister claimed that there had been about 5,000 convictions, including 1,500 life imprisonment, during the past one year under the speedy trial system adopted by the state.

Turning to the achievements of the Nitish government, he said Bihar was the only state in the country which had provided 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayats and local bodies. He said perhaps for the first time in the history of the country a state would be recruiting 2.35 lakh school teachers under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan project.

The Bihar Government was the only state which had decided to re-employ 5000 retired defence personnel in the state police force, he added. Likewise the government had also decided to re-employ retired CBI officials in the state Vigilance Bureau, he added.



Canvassing gathers steam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
With only two days left for the Municipal Corporation elections, candidates did intensive campaigning today. Almost all candidates took out car rallies and conducted door-to-door canvassing.

A visit around the city let one observe that the campaigning was more pronounced in the southern sectors compared to the northern sectors.

Candidates seem to go all out to show their might. The scooter and car rallies, though massive at some places, saw clear violations of the traffic rules, if not the election code of conduct.

Being a holiday, the candidates tried to take maximum advantage. Mr Bal Krishan Kapoor, BJP candidate for Ward No. 1, conducted a “pad yatra” in his ward.

Supporters of Ms Harjinder Kaur, SAD candidate for Ward No. 15, weighed her against laddoos. They also held scooter and bike rallies in Sectors 34, 35 and 44.

Mr Subhash Chawla, Congress candidate for Ward No. 4, was weighed against coins by the Akhil Jodo Sangathan. Its workers presented him with a cheque for Rs 51,000. Mr Jatinder Bhatia, CVM candidate for Ward No. 22, was also weighed against sweets and coins in Sector 47 and Sector 48. Mr Balwinder Singh, another candidate of the CVM from Ward No. 21 was weighed against laddoos by the residents of Sector 32. 



Bansal, Sidhu star campaigners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal and the cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh, have emerged star campaigners for the Congress and the BJP-SAD alliance, respectively, for the battle of votes for the December 20 Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh poll.

Even as the several other parties, including the BJP, the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party (BJSP) and the CPI, roped in senior national leaders for the campaign, the Congress mainly relied on Bansal and the CTCC president, B.B. Bahl.

Firebrand Sidhu today again displayed his oratory skills in several wards, including ward No 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 14, 16, 17 and 18. Mr Bansal, who addressed a rally in ward No 13, urged the electorate to vote for the Congress on the basis of its performance in the last five years.

And in Mauli Jagran, deputy chief of Bihar, Sushil Modi, wooed the voters belonging to Purvanchal claiming that the BJP was the only party which had fielded five candidates, who were originally from Purvanchal.

Sanghpriya Gautam and Vishawanath, vice-president and general secretary, respectively, of the BJSP, addressed a series of rallies in ward Nos 10, 13, 19, 20, 25 and 26.

Gautam called up the electorate to give the BJSP candidates a chance as the BJP and the Congress had failed to come to the expectations of the people.



Protest against LPG shortage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Residents of Ram Darbar today protested against the unavailability of LPG cylinders in the area. A large number of residents gathered outside the godown of an LPG agency, which caters for the area, in the morning to register their protest. They alleged that the agency did not give them requisition slips to get the cylinders from the godowns. Though I was given a slip for supplying cylinder on December 14, till today I had not received the cylinder, Suresh Kumar, a consumer complained.

Another consumer alleged that even the Sector 47 office of the gas agency did not issue any requisition slip for the cylinders. They were forced to shuttle between the godown at Ram Darbar and the agency office in Sector 47.

Meanwhile, Mr Raman Kumar, proprietor of the agency, refuted consumers’ allegations, claiming that there was shortage of gas on account of the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

He claimed that according to the rules, the gas cylinder was to be delivered at the doorstep of the consumer. However, since a substantial number of consumers in the area were having only one gas cylinder, they faced problems in case they ran out of the gas.



Committee wants wealth tax waived off

Chandigarh, December 17
The Pind Bachao Committee, Chandigarh, in a representation to the Prime Minister and the Union Minister of State for Finance, has sought waving of the wealth tax on land compensation paid to farmers.

The president of the committee, Mr Angrej Singh Badheri, said farmers' land in the UT was acquired by the Administration in the name of development. The compensation offered in lieu of the land was much below the market rate.

Citing an example, he said the Administration had sold around 5 acres in Mani Majra for over Rs 100 crore whereas the same had been acquired for Rs 10 lakh only.

While slum-dwellers were given alternative plots and illegal rehriwalas were given pucca sites, there was no rehabilitation plan for the displaced farmers. TNS



Two injured in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
A mini truck rammed into a liquor shop situated near the Poultry Farm Chowk at Hallo Majra village, here, tonight. Two persons reportedly sustained injuries in the mishap.

According to eyewitnesses, the mishap took place at around 10.30 pm when a mini truck rammed into the vend when its driver failed to negotiate a turn at the slip road.

The truck hit the stacks of liquor bottles. Bottles worth Rs 10,000 were smashed, alleged the salesman at the vend. Meanwhile persons rushed the victims, to hospital.

The police nabbed the two persons, including the driver, however, their third associate escaped.



3 car thieves arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The police today arrested three youngsters, who had allegedly come to the city to dispose of a stolen car, from road separating Sectors 32 and 33.

The accused have been identified as Sushil Kumar (27) of Kalka, Parmod Kumar (27) and Rakesh Kumar (18), both residents of Surajpur near Pinjore.

The police said the accused were coming to the city in two cars, including the one they wanted to sell. The police has impounded the vehicles.

The police said they had stolen a Maruti Zen car from Kalka on Saturday and had come to the city to sell it to junk dealers in Burail village. They have been booked under Section 411 of the IPC.



Florists make hay as business blooms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Christmas, New Year and the marriage season have meant a blooming sales graph for florists in the city. The moolah is flowing in at a rapid pace as colourful, sweet-scented flowers have become a hit with city folks.

Normally at this time of the year, the sale of different varieties of flowers goes up in the city and its satellite towns, said an employee of Shiv Florist in Phase 7, Mohali.

A survey of the florist shops today revealed that there was a shortage in supply of all varieties of flowers, especially the king of the flowers - rose. The supplies from Himachal Pradesh, Bangalore and Delhi are falling much short of the demand in the city.

But this increased demand has not lead to an increase in the prices, which have remained stable more or less. The florists informed that reasonably priced bouquets and flower sticks were a hit with the people. The prices of an average bouquet ranged between Rs 100 and Rs 250 and that of a flower stem between Rs 10 and Rs 25. A rose stem was available for anything between Rs 10 and Rs 15, depending upon the colour and quality of the petals.

Similarly there has not been any hike in the prices of gladioli, which, florists said, were supplied by the cultivator from around the city. A gladioli stick was selling for Rs 5.

Another favourite flower, tuberose, was available for anything between Rs 3 to Rs 6 per stem, depending upon the variety. Carnations, gerbra and chrysanthemums too were in demand.

It was not only the marriage season which pushes up the sales, according to florists the sale of flowers had picked up by about 30 per cent with the trend of observing days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Friendship Day, Chocolate Day, Grandparents’ Day, besides the Valentine’s Day, catching up in the city. The sale had also increased with more and more people preferring to present bouquets on occasions like marriages, marriage anniversaries and birthdays.

With fresh flowers available in plenty at this time of the year, the sale of bouquets made of artificial flowers has gone down. It is more in summers, said Shiv Florist.



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