C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

CVM joins hands with BJP, SAD
Tribune News Service

Poll code in Ward No. 7

The state Election Commission has enforced the model code of conduct in the entire area falling in Ward 7 of the Municipal Corporation. The Chandigarh Administration has also directed all administrative secretaries, heads of the departments/ offices/institutions/boards/corporations to comply with the order in letter and spirit. The code shall remain in force up to the declaration of result of the election on January 16.

Chandigarh, January 4
What they couldn’t do before the elections, they finally managed it later. Setting their personal differences aside, the BJP, the SAD and the CVM came together today and announced to jointly fight the Congress in the upcoming election in Ward No. 7 and the election of the Mayor.

Addressing a joint press conference at the BJP office, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, president, Chandigarh Vikas Manch, said they were keen to keep the anti-Congress mandate together and would not like to do anything to jeopardise it. “The verdict of the people should be respected, they have voted in large numbers against the Congress and it is clear that they want a change”.

The CVM chief said they would now support BJP candidate Sachin Lohtiya from Ward No. 7 along with the BJP and the SAD. Keeping mum about the candidates for the post of Mayor, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar of the SAD said they would all go together to file the papers day after and would jointly declare our candidate. According to Mr Dhawan, their main aim was that the vote support of the opposition parties was not divided.

Interestingly, the usually ‘vocal’ Mr Satya Pal Jain did not utter even a single word throughout the press conference. While some attributed his studied silence to his displeasure at the announcement of the alliance, Mr Jain said it was due to a bad throat. “I have been asked by the doctor to take it easy for a week, as I have a sore throat,” he said.

Party workers present there, however, said things were not too ‘cordial’, as earlier the alliance announced between the CVM-SAD-BJP before the elections did not last for even more than a week. Apprehensions were expressed if the same would happen now over the Mayor’s election issue.

Sources, however, said Ms Harjinder Kaur of the SAD was being proposed as the Mayoral candidate, while Mr Jatinder Bhatia of the CVM is being considered for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor and Mr Gurcharan Das Kala for the post of Deputy Mayor.



Photo I-card must for Assembly poll
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 4
No one will be allowed to cast his vote in the Assembly elections being held next month if he does not carry his elector photo identity card as per the directions of the Election Commission.

Mr Tejveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner, SAS Nagar, said at a meeting here today with officials put on poll duty and representatives of political parties. He said the last phase of preparing photo identity cards was on and people should avail of the opportunity so that they could make use of their constitutional right.

Laying stress on following the code of conduct enforced in connection with the Assembly elections, Mr Tejveer Singh asked political party representatives to get their banners and hoardings removed at their own level failing which the administration would have to act and the expenses incurred in this regard would have to be borne by the political parties concerned. 



More fingers pointed at Pandher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Parents of two minor girls, who had been missing since June 2005 from the Mansa Devi Complex, today came to the Sector 27 residence of Moninder Singh Pandher suspecting their daughters might have become his prey.

Shibu Yadav and his wife Gudiari Devi from Bihar along with another person Mithun Mandal came to Pandher’s residence here this afternoon suspecting that their daughters might have met the same fate as the children of Nathari village in Noida whose skeletons were dug up from outside the residence of Pandher.

Talking to The Tribune outside Pandher’s house, Shibu and Mithun said they lost their daughters, Geeta (8) and Moni (7), from the Mansa Devi Temple on June 11, 2005. They had come to the temple all the way from Bihar to pay obeisance.

Mithun, holding his four-year-old son, said his wife had died long ago and now his daughter had gone missing. He lodged a joint complaint along with Shibu at the Mansa Devi Complex police post. The police had given them a daily diary report (DDR) on July 2, 2005, and did nothing to trace their missing daughter. Whenever they approached the police, they were told that the efforts were being made to trace them. All these years they had running around to get help, but in vain.

“As we have spent whatever we had with us, now we are forced to live in corridors outside showrooms. We beg to eat and do not want to go back to our native villages without our daughters hoping that one day we may find them”, said Gudiari Devi with tears in her eyes.

Asked what brought them to Pandher’s residence, Shibu said after reading news about the local connection of Pandher they met Mr Mansa Ram Ahuja at whose charitable institution their children studies. Mr Ahuja brought them to Pandher’s house to highlight their issue.

Shibu said they came there to see if someone could help them in tracing their missing daughters.

He, however, expressed fear that if the girls had fallen prey to Pandher, there was a remote chance of their being alive now.

Mr Ahuja said as Shibu and Mithun had been requesting him for the past three-four days, he decided to bring there to Sector 27. Earlier also, a retired Chandigarh Police constable, whose 17-year-old son had gone missing in 2000, came to Pandher’s residence suspecting that Pandher might have kidnapped and killed his son. 



Demat accounts freezed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Thousands of demat accounts and trading accounts of investors in the tricity have been frozen, on the directions of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). This has brought the trading business in the region to a standstill.

The accounts, which are governed by National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL) and Central Securities Depository Ltd. (CSDL), have been frozen after the account holders failed to provide their PAN (Permanent Account Numbers) for trading, before the December 31 deadline set by SEBI.

Brokers across the tri-city said that this has led to more than Rs 150 crore of investments by the investors here, being blocked. Rough estimates put the number of demat accounts frozen to around 18,000 and about 20,000 trading accounts. “There are around 75,000 demat accounts and about 80,000 trading accounts in the tricity. Nearly 40 per cent of the demat accounts and 30 per cent of trading accounts have been de-activated for failure to provide the PAN number,” said Mr V K Joshi, Director, Vikson Commodities, Finance and Investments.

Brokers say that in North India, including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, nearly 80,000 demat accounts have been frozen, leading to a blockage of nearly Rs 1000 crore. Says Mr Abhinav Aggarwal of Paras Ram Holdings, “Till the time these defaulting demat account holders do not furnish their PAN numbers and thee are registered by the exchange, these investors cannot trade through any other accounts. If a broker allows them to trade through another account, he will be fined Rs 1000 per transaction”.

Brokers say that they had in fact given several reminders to their demat account holders to furnish the PAN number in time, but to no avail. “Generally, a number of people invest either unaccounted for money (black money), or they want to hide the money invested in share trading from their families. This is the reason that they did not furnish the PAN number in time. Now, just as the market is looking up, providing investors a perfect opportunity to sell their stocks, they will not be able to do so,” said another prominent broker in the city.

In fact, inquires at the Income Tax Department revealed that there is no serious pendancy in issuing of PAN cards. These are issued within a fortnight of applying for the number. “But it could take a week to ten days for the defaulting account holders to get their accounts operational again,” said Mr Aggarwal.

Meanwhile, traders in the city feel that this freezing of demat accounts by SEBI could give a further push to the market, as it would create a shortfall in liquidity flow. With the quarter three results to be declared now, the market could rise 300- 400 points. 



Police moves Punjab Govt on Jaswal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
A day after booking Brig J.S. Jaswal (retd), Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, on the allegations of criminal intimidation and insulting the modesty of a woman on a complaint lodged by Ms Raj Kaur, the Chandigarh police today asked the Punjab Government to conduct a departmental fact-finding inquiry into the matter and communicate its findings.

The police stated that the case of alleged sexual harassment was based on the statement given by the complainant without corroborative evidence or support of independent witness.

The case was registered in order to set the criminal law into motion so that a proper investigation into the allegations could be conducted to find out the truth.

A statement issued by the Chandigarh police asserted that during the fact-finding inquiry of DSP (CID) Devinder Singh Thakur, the version of the complainant had not been supported by any witness except subedar Balbir Singh.

A large number of witnesses had deposed in favour of Brigadier Jaswal.



CTP licence ‘racket’ now under scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Taking a serious note of the alleged irregularities being committed at the Children Traffic Park (CTP), Sector 23, while conducting driving tests for licences, Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) A.S. Ahlawat today ordered an inquiry into the matter.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh traffic police said the SSP entrusted the inquiry to inspector, administrator, traffic, Mr B.S. Negi.

He was directed to check all records pertaining to driving tests conducted by the CTP and submit a report within three days.

Officials made it clear that stern action would be taken against those found guilty.

The Chandigarh traffic police also organised a workshop in Sector 29 for police control room staff and traffic police personnel, imparting training to them about handling road accident victims.

A workshop was conducted at the CTP for rickshaw-pullers to educate them about traffic rules and regulations.



In Town

Leading actress of Bollywood, Mahima Chaudhary will be in the city on Friday in connection with the launch of an exclusive diamond jewellery store. From being a model to her role as the quintessential "good Indian girl" opposite Shahrukh Khan in ‘Pardes’ shot Mahima straight to fame. Born in Delhi, her real name is Ritu Choudhary. She won the ‘Lux Zee Award’ in 1997 for ‘Best Female Debutant’ and ‘Face of the Year’ in 1997 from Lux. She has many hits to her name like ‘Dhadkan’, ‘Dil Kya Kare, ‘Khiladi 420’, ‘Daag’ etc.



Passing Thru

Yuki Bhambari
Yuki Bhambari, Delhi- based young tennis player

What inspired you to take on the game?

Actually my sisters, Sana Bhambari and Ankita Bhambari, are well-known tennis players. I used to accompany them during their tournaments. Their wins always inspired me and gradually, I developed interest in the sport. Now I have decided to it my career. My cousins, Prateek and Prerna also play tennis.

What is your current ITF ranking?

For the past two years, I could not play due to some reasons. This year I started playing again so at the moment it is just like a fresh start. However, I have reached to the semifinal of ongoing ITF Grade 3 tournament at CLTA, Chandigarh, beating many senior players.

Who is your favourite player and why?

Rafel Nadal is my favourite player. I am fascinated by his on-field agility, reach, offensive game and style. I too, like to be top world-class player like him.

Besides tennis, do you play other games?

Yes, I like cricket and swimming.

— Akash Ghai



Admn gives raw deal to retirees

Chandigarh, January 4
The Chandigarh Administration is at it again.This time several retirees of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) are allegedly at the receiving end and are moving from pillar to post for the past several months to get their pensionary benefits.

Even as "letter war" between the administration and the office of the Accountant General(AG) over the settlement of the pensionary benefits continues, the retirees' wait for pension continues.

Mr Baldev Singh, a former Meter Inspector with the MCC, who retired on September 30,2005, is a case in point. Despite making repeated representations to the authorities concerned, Mr Baldev Singh's monthly pension is yet to start as the administration had reportedly failed to "clarify" on certain objections raised by the AG on the "deputation status" of the MCC employees.

This was despite an official communication from the Department of Personnel of the Chandigarh Administration to the AG. Responding to a letter of the AG,the department said the "Government of India, vide notification dated November 10,2005, has inserted the proviso in Rule 2 of the Conditions of Service of Union Territory of Chandigarh Employees Rules,1992, making it clear that all charges on account of retirement benefits such as pension, gratuity and provident fund to the employees transferred from the administration to the MCC by virtue of Clause(h) of Sub Section(2) of Section 428-A of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1994, as may be applicable would be borne by the administration.

"The employees working with the MCC are the employees of the administration. The pension cases of such employees, who have retired/are retiring are, therefore, to be dealt with and finalised as is done in the case of other employees ," the letter added.

However, the AG Office is not convinced by administration’s logic as has been borne out by the delay in start of monthly pensions. As both agencies work at cross-purpose, the harassed retirees are put to inconvenience.

The UT Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, who also heads the Personnel Department, could not be reached for comments. However, Mr Onkar Nath, AG(A and E), Punjab and Union Territory of Chandigarh, sought to put the blame on the administration.

The administration was yet to clarify on certain objections raised by our office regarding the deputation status of the MC employees. Mr Onkar Nath claimed. Since the MCC employees did not fit into the definition of the government employees as per the rules, the pensionery benefits to such employees could not be released, the AG added. TNS



Zirakpur-Parwanoo bypass to be completed in 30 months: Hooda
Tribune News Service

Much to the embarrassment of the organisers of the Gujjar Sabha, Faridabad MP Avtar Singh Badhana refused to address the gathering, claiming he had a sore throat. On his refusal, one of his supporters in the crowd got up and shouted at the organisers for not presenting him a turban as a mark of respect when the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister had been given turbans.

Panchkula, January 4
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said today that the 29 km long Zirakpur-Parwanoo bypass would be constructed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and completed in 30 months after the commencement of the project.

The Chief Minister was replying to a question by mediapersons after inaugurating a community health centre upgraded under the Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS) at Kalka.

To be constructed at a cost of Rs 315 crore, he said the tenders for the construction of the bypass from Zirakpur to Parwanoo had already been floated. He added that the construction of the bypass would ease congestion on this National Highway.

Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the Swasthya Bhavan constructed at a cost of about Rs 1.13 crore within the complex of the General Hospital in Sector 6. The new four-storey building is spread over an area of 15,000 sq. feet and would house the office of the Haryana Directorate of Health Services.

The Chief Minister also gave away vouchers to seven beneficiaries under the Janani Suvidha Yojna, a new scheme introduced by the state Health Department to make easily available ante-natal, natal and postnatal services to the people living below the poverty line in urban slums of the state. These vouchers would enable the beneficiaries to avail health services from private health care providers.

He also laid the foundation stones of three projects of Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Complex involving an investment of Rs 4 crore. These included a ceremonial entrance gate known as Mata Mansa Dwar to be constructed on the entrance road near T-point of Sector 5, Mansa Devi Complex.

The other projects for which he laid the foundation stones were of the construction of a dharamshala in the shrine complex and staff quarters. While the dharamshala would be known as Luxmi Bhavan, the staff colony would be known as Shanti Kunj.

After laying the foundation stone of the Gujjar Samaj Kalyan Parishad in Sector 10, Mr Hooda was presented a turban as mark of respect by the Gujjar community.

Mr Hooda stressed the need to give priority to education of children so as to enable them to compete globally. Announcing a grant of Rs 11 lakh for the construction of the Gujjar Bhavan, Mr Hooda hoped all communities would blossom in the state.



Chain fast enters second day

Chandigarh, January 4
The chain fast of the members of the PGI Employees Union, entered its second day with Mr Bhupinder Singh and Mr Govind Ram, propaganda secretary and an executive member of the union, respectively, replacing Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Kanhaiya Lal, here today.

The union members today called a meeting to decide future course of action. A discussion was also held as to whether to extend the chain fast till the Republic Day or to resort to one-day mass casual leave. A list containing 32 demands and grievances of the non-faculty staff of the PGI was also released by the union. TNS



Sofosh donates blankets to widows

Chandigarh, January 4
The Society for Social Health (Sofosh) distributed blankets among 50 poor widows of Colony No 4 here today. Mrs Lalit Joshi, chairperson of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, who was the chief guest on the occasion, appreciated the efforts of the society, said Mrs Kamaljeet Saini, president of the society.

The society director, Dr Nareshanand, said Sofosh had been distributing blankets and extending other helps to the poor every now and then. As part of its programme, the society would distribute blankets among the poor and the needy residents of colony No. 5 next week. TNS



Panel on youth programme meets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 4
The District Advisory Committee on Youth Programme held its meeting under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner R.K. Rao here today.
He emphasised on effective participation of youths and adolescents in recreational activities.

He congratulated the Nehru Yuva Kendra for conducting the programmes successfully.

ADC Inderjit Singh Sandhu asked for suggestions from members for effective participation of the youth.



Gurpurb celebrations
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, January 4
The newly formed committee of the new gurdwara in Badal Colony, Zirakpur will celebrate the birth day of Guru Gobind Singh on January 7 in the colony. All are invited. After the bhog of Akand Path, langar will be served.



War memorial tank case: youth booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The police today booked Aman of Sector 15, who had rammed his car into the fencing around the tank in front of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, for negligent driving.

Sector 3 police station SHO Ram Gopal today said Aman was booked under section 279 of the Indian Penal Code and his Maruti car (CH-01-X-6016) impounded.

Snatching case: Ms Prem Mittal of Sector 21 lodged a complaint with the police that two unidentified youngsters riding a motor cycle snatched her purse, containing Rs 8000, a mobile phone, a gold bangle and some artificial jewellery, from Sector 20 on Wednesday. A case was registered.

Bag stolen: Ms Rekha Jalota of Sector 41 reported to the police that her bag, containing a gold chain and other articles, was stolen from her scooter, parked at the Government School, Sector 41, on Wednesday. A case was registered.

Car stolen: Mr Jaspal Singh of Sector 22 filed a complaint with the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-C-9077) was stolen from his house on Sunday. A case of theft was registered.

Assault case: Mr Raghubir Singh, inspector, sanitary, municipal corporation, reported to the police that Manoj Kumar and his wife Shama of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, running a dhaba in the area, assaulted him and members of his team when they were seizing their unauthorised articles on Wednesday. A case was registered.



Rs 4.30 lakh ‘stolen’ from car
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 4
A sum of Rs 4.30 lakh was allegedly stolen from a Scorpio in Phase VII here today.
Police officials reached the scene to investigate the matter but were not convinced by the statements made by the complainant.

Mr H.S. Cheema told Chandigarh Tribune that his cousin, Mr Taranjeet Singh, had withdrawn Rs 4.30 lakh from the HDFC bank branch in Phase VII at 2.38 p.m. He kept the money in the Scorpio and later he went to the UTI bank to withdraw another Rs 1.70 lakh . The amount from the UTI bank was withdrawn at 2.52 p.m. But to his shock when he returned he found Rs 4.30 lakh missing from his vehicle. The amount was removed without breaking the windows.

Mr Cheema said the money was withdrawn as Mr Taranjeet Singh had to make a payment of Rs 10 lakh tomorrow in connection with a land deal made at Hoshiarpur. The amount was withdrawn today as there was a holiday tomorrow.

Mr Varinder Pal Singh, SP (City), said it was not clear how the money could be stolen from the vehicle without breaking the windows or the locks. 



Bank ombudsman launches awareness drive
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The office of Banking Ombudsman has launched a major awareness campaign in order to popularise the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and redress grievances of bank customers.

Senior officials in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) informed TNS here today that they had started a major advertisement campaign on the radio, through print media and online, in order to popularise themselves as the forum to redress complaints related to banking. The awareness campaign is being done not just in Hindi, but also in regional languages. Other than advertisements, phone-in complaint programmes with the Banking Ombudsman are also being organised on radio.

“This awareness campaign has already started yielding results. Initially, the number of complaints being received from Himchal were minimal. But with media awareness, the number of complaints and their redressal has increased manifold. In fact, the number of complaints received under this scheme last year have increased by over three times as compared to year 2005,” said a top official in the RBI office here. The official also said that the maximum number of complaints were being received from the three cities of Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana - which have the maximum economic activity in the region. It may be noted that the scope of The Banking Ombudsman Scheme was enhanced last year and since January 2006, customer complaints on credit cards and deficiency in providing promised services by banks or their sales agents, were included in this scheme. This scheme is applicable to all commercial banks, regional rural banks and scheduled primary cooperative banks.



SVRTP institutes IT award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Swami Vivekanand Research and Technology Park (SVRTP), Chandigarh, today announced the institution of the "SVRTP IT Award of the Year" that will be given to two IT Companies-an Indian company and a foreign-based one, annually. SVRTP is the first organisation to start such an award in the country.

Chief Executive Officer, SVRTP, Mr Manmohan Garg said, SVIET is the first private institute in the region which has ventured into IT revolution by establishing the Swami Vivekanand Research and Technology Park (SVRTP).

This year’s award will be given to Dr IT Planet Ltd., Chandigarh and Outline System Inc., New Jersey, USA, which have been promoted by Chandigarh-based Mr M.K. Mahajan and Anil Sharma, respectively.



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