C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Nominated councillors interview Anu, Harjinder
Resentment in many quarters
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
It seems that the nine nominated councillors of the Municipal Corporation have taken it upon themselves to choose the next Mayor of the city. The nine nominated by the UT Administration to assist the MC general house to carry out different activities are taking their vote for the post of Mayor ‘too seriously’.

They held interviews of the candidates for the post of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor today. The purpose of the interview was to assess the ‘elected’ councillors of the MCC.

Ex-Mayors Anu Chatrath and Harjinder Kaur, along with the rest of their panel, today had to give a brief account of their profile, agenda and party manifesto to all nine nominated councillors. The interview session, which was held at the residence of nominated councillor Dr Amrit Bolaria, was followed by lunch, but not for those interviewed.

According to reliable sources, the nominated councillors later discussed the ‘eligibility of the candidates’ and tried to reach a common consensus.

With the house being divided between the Congress and the alliance, the nominated councillors, it seems, are fully aware the power their vote holds. The elected councillors, too, are wooing the nominated councillors with dinners. However, the interview session seems to have taken things too far, feel many elected councillors.

“It seems that a ‘third party’ has come into being in the Municipal Corporation. The elected seem to be puppets in their hands, especially with the house evenly divided between the Congress and the BJP-SAD-CVM alliance, the party of nominated councillors,” stated a senior councillor not wanting to be quoted.

Shocked at today’s events, many councillors, ex-councillors and ex-nominated councillors are not wishing to come on record, as they fear that it might affect the chances of their party member to win the Mayor’s seat. They have, however, not taken the interview session well. They state that such an act is not only legally but also ethically and morally incorrect.

“The nominated councillors are equal to other councillors. Moreover, they are nominated and not elected. They have a voting right like all others,” states a senior councillor not wanting to be named. “They have misused the authority given to them. They seem to think they are above the rest. Calling such senior councillors and interviewing them is an unheard of practice,” stated an ex-nominated councillor.

However, what everybody is keen to know is that will this be a standard practice followed every year the Mayor’s term comes to an end?



Short tenure inhibits Mayors from occupying official house
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
While all eyes are on who would be the next Mayor of the City Beautiful, nobody seems to be bothered about the Mayor’s official residence, which is mostly being misused.

The red-bricked 1-kanal corner house in Sector 24 has an official chowkidar living there who, along with taking care of the manicured lawns, lets his family use the visitors’ room too.

A visit to the house saw the chowkidar’s family basking in the sun in the rear lawn, with clothes drying in the backdrop, while his daughter-in-law was busy washing clothes in the washing machine in the visitors’ bathroom.

Talking to TNS, she also informed that she would frequently visit and wash her clothes here.

The Mayor’s residence has until now been officially used only twice. Once by ex-Mayor Kewal Kishan Adiwal in 1999 and by ex-Mayor Kamlesh in 2004. Fully furnished, the house, according to officials, comes with an office, driveway and even an attendant apart from chowkidar. While officials state that the chowkidar stays in the house itself, the attendant is attached with the Mayor wherever he stays.

It is learnt that it is the short span of one year that keeps away the various elected mayors from occupying the house. Moreover, with mayors already residing in the city, they are not too keen to shift. The Municipal Corporation, however, continues to bear the expenses for this official residence, which has to be provided as per the provisions of the Municipal Corporation Act.

According to MC officials, a proposal had come that the house should be converted into a guesthouse. However, it was never taken up seriously. But with no Mayor keen to shift in because of the one-year term, it is pertinent for the MC to think what better use it can put this prime property to.



Result delay not under Consumer Act: Forum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 9
The Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ruled that cases related to examinations and delay in results do not come within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and there is no remedy of students seeking relief on such account under the Act.

Taking up a set of appeals filed by Panjab University, the commission set aside orders issued by the Ferozepore’s consumer forum wherein the university was asked to pay a compensation of Rs 1.15 lakh to some candidates whose results had been declared late.

According to university’s counsel Suvir Sehgal, the commission accepted the appeals filed by the university against the district forum’s orders and held that in case of delay in declaration of result, students did not have any remedy under the Consumer Act.

“Commission ordered that the matters pertaining to declaration of result and holding of examination by educational institutions will not come within the purview of the Act and the remedy before the district forum to such aggrieved students is not available,” said Mr Sehgal.

While coming to this conclusion, the commission relied upon a recent decision of the National Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission in a matter arising from the Haryana State Consumer Redressal Commission in the case Deputy Registrar (Colleges) versus Ruchika Jain, he said.

The elaborate judgment of the National Commission running into 22 pages stated: “Performance of statutory duties by a college or a university in laying down criteria/rules/regulations for conducting examinations, eligibly criteria for permitting these students to appear in examinations or declaration of the result of a student who appeared in the examination and other such activities, cannot be considered to be hiring of service for fee. Those are statutory functions not depending upon the contract between the parties. The services that are to be rendered on the basis of the statutory provisions by the university/education institutions cannot be construed as rendering of service for consideration in the form of fee.”



Rs 35,000 stolen from car in parking lot
Tribune News Service

Even though thieves have been escaping with valuables after damaging vehicles at regular intervals, the Chandigarh Police has failed to make the parking lot in front of the Leisure Valley secure.

Visitors say the mater has been brought to the notice of the police more than once, yet senior functionaries have failed to hold surveillance in the lot to ensure the safety of vehicles.

Chandigarh, January 9
Pick up your belongings before leaving your vehicle in the parking lot in front of the Leisure Valley in Sector 10 lest you should return to find the rear side glass removed or shattered and the stuff missing.

This is what happened this morning to Delhi businessman R.C. Gupta and his family. The family returned to the lot after spending less than half an hour at CITCO’s fast food joint only to discover their purse containing Rs 35,000 missing from the car.

The thieves also took away garments and other belongings after removing the side glass of their Tata Indica (DL-7C-C-2865).

The entire operation was carried out with the help of a screw driver, evident from the marks left behind by the thieves.

Visibly upset, his wife said they had come to the city to deposit the fee of their daughter admitted to the Government Arts College.

As the process had taken some time, they decided to have a quick snack.

“We had gone for less than half an hour. During this time, the thieves did their job,” she said.

“There was no way we could have apprehended such an occurrence in the broad daylight in such a crowded place.”

Sources in the Chandigarh Police said this was not the first time thieves had struck in this fashion.

Similar occurrences had been reported to the police at least thrice before. In all cases, the police failed to nab the culprits.

On the modus operandi, the sources said thieves normally arrived in a group and surrounded the vehicle to prevent detection.

Instead of opening the door with the help of a foot rule or master key, they removed or broke the side glass, thus preventing the activation of the car alarm.



Sec 17 multiplex by year-end
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
It will take another year before the first multiplex-cum-shopping mall, adjoining the General Post Office (GPO) building, is opened to the public in Sector 17, the commercial hub of the city. Currently, the only existing shopping mall and multiplex in the city is Fun Republic at Mani Majra.

However, work on the second multiplex, scheduled to come up at the demolished site of KC Theatre, is yet to start as the promoter is waiting for the approval of the building plans.

A visit to the TDI Multiplex and shopping mall, coming up at the site of Jagat Cinema, revealed that work was going at fast pace. After the excavation work, the RCC structures were coming up.

Claiming the multiplex to be a state-of-the-art complex designed to have a central leisure area with beautifully landscaped plaza, Mr Amit Batra, Regional Head of Taneja Developers and Infrastructure Ltd, said, “We plan to open the mall by September this year. There would be at least 80 shops and two floors for car parking. There would provision for parking of 350 cars”.

Mr Batra said big brand names had already booked space. A food court would be an added attraction.

“ We hope that with the coming of the two malls, the area would become a happening place as compared to the central Piazza”, said Ms Veena, who runs a shoe shop adjoining the upcoming TDI multiplex.

The company claims to be first in providing lift-operated car parking, an escalator, four theatres with a total capacity of 600 seats. “ We have tried to keep the façade of the multiplex the same as it used to exist in the case of Jagat Theatre. There would a total of six floors, including two levels of parking”.

The Chandigarh Administration has allowed 92,000 sq ft of covered area and total height of the building would come to 27 metres, including eight metres from the plinth to the ground level. More floor area ratio (FAR) has been allowed at the first floor.

Mr Ashok Mahajan, who has submitted his plans for raising a multiplex and a shopping mall, said he was eager to start the work after getting the clearances. “ The multiplex would have four malls and shops.” The arch shaped structure of KC Theatre has already been demolished to make way for the multiplex.



Chandigarh Calling

The Swami Vivekanand Research and Technology Park (SVRTP), IT arm of the Swami Vivekanand Group of Companies, recently honoured two young entrepreneurs, one of them an NRI, for showing excellence in the field of information technology (IT) by presenting them with the "SVRTP IT Award of the Year 2006".

Mr Anil Sharma, Vice-President, Outline System Inc, New Jersey (USA), and Ms Deepti Mahajan, Executive Director, Dr IT Planet Limited, Chandigarh, were the ones presented with the award.

Outline Systems Inc (OUTLINE) is a software development and services company dedicated to bridging the communication gap between business and the IT. Headquartered in New Jersey, Outline has its offshore offices in Gurgaon and Chandigarh.

Credited with bringing IT revolution in Chandigarh, Dr IT Planet is a company involved in software development, research and BPO business. It has centres in Noida, Jaipur and Chandigarh and its recent foray into the IT sector is the IT parks in Sector 67 of Mohali and Banur.

Mangoes ripening in winter!

Despite the mercury plummeting to zero, there comes the news of mangoes ripening at Ms Kamaljeet Kaur’s house in Sector 44, Chandigarh. She has been savouring these sweet mangoes in winters for the past 14 years and using them in making pickles and chutney for her family and neighbours. Though the mangoes weigh a little less as compared to their summer brethren, they are no less delicious, quips Ms Kamaljeet. To top it, passers-by are really amused to see a fully loaded mango tree in harsh winters and often inquire about the miracle.

Good Samaritan conned

A Sector 7-based service station owner, Mr Harbhajan Singh, was taken for a ride by a conman posing as a doctor practising in Sector 32, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

Mr Singh said a fair-complexioned man having grey hair approached him on Monday afternoon introducing himself as Dr Raman Sharma, a tenant living in House Number 546, Sector 8-B belonging to Col Bedi.

He told Mr Singh that he had ran short of Rs 620 while purchasing household goods and demanded money promising to return it in three-four hours “positively”.

At this, Mr Singh asked his salesman, Raminder Singh, to lend the money to the man. The man went away after taking the sum.

After that an idea of checking the credential of the man crossed Mr Singh’s mind and he rang up Mr Bedi only to realise that the man had left the Mr Bedi’s residence about a month ago and his real name was Simon.

Harried organisers

At a recent function to lay the foundation stone of the Gujjar Bhawan in Sector 10, Chandigarh, the BSP MLA from Chhichhroli, Mr Arjun Singh, provided some light moments in a programme soaked in praise of the Haryana Government.

With a long list of speakers to accommodate in a short programme, the organisers would nudge the speaker after he had spoken for two minutes, urging him to conclude.

They applied the same tactic to Mr Arjun Singh who refused to acknowledge the nudge and went well above the two minutes alloted to him.

The desperate organisers nudged him repeatedly and gave chits asking him to conclude. Irritated by their gesture, he turned around angrily and told them, in chaste Haryanvi, that he didn't wish to speak and they could take over much to the embarrassment of the organisers. As a reward, he was allowed to continue for as long as he wanted.

— Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Pankaj Sharma, Ramanjeet Singh and Geetanjali.



Passing Thru

Godrej is a late entrant in the microwave segment. How do you perceive its growth?

It is true we have entered the microwave market only last year. But microwaves, being one of the fastest growing FMCG products with growth of 60 per cent, are expected to give us a good share of the market. We have nine products in all ranges and we expect to double our growth to 10 per cent in 2007-08.

What is the size of the microwave market and what are the projections for the next fiscal?

The microwave market in the country is somewhere around Rs 400-500 crore. In volumes, the market is about 7. 5 lakh microwaves and by the next fiscal, it is expected to increase to 10 lakh.

How is the Godrej Microsteam Oven different from other microwaves?

We have just launched this oven which is a unique cooking appliance as it comes in three cooking modes-steaming, grilling and convection. This is the only product that offers steamed cooking, which is the best and most nutritious form of cooking. This also has 24 recipes programmed in it and is competitively priced as Rs 14,990.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Leisure Valley problems persist
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Leisure Valley is again in news - this time not so much over the stinking Leisure Valley stream as over the authorities’ interest in developing a certain area around it.

For a beginning they have chosen the spot opposite Government Museum and Government College of Art in Sector 10. Digging work has begun and the plan reportedly is to make pathways around the area still marked by wild growth and stench emanating from pollutants that rest conveniently in storm water drain flowing past the area.

Though the first step should have involved levelling of the area, cleaning of the stream and prevention of water logging, it seems to have been missed. Digging work has started in an attempt to landscape the area, which visitors hope will serve a purpose and restore the belt’s glory. As yet, the area is suffering from stench and mess created by backfilling which is routine.

Prof Ravindra Sharma from Art College is, however, all praise for the plan to make walkways. He says, “Walkways serve to bring man closer to nature. Once they are in place, it will be easy to view the beautiful sculptures that lie wasted in the belt.”

There are eight sculptures in the Leisure Valley opposite Art College. Some of these are from artists as celebrated as SL Prasher, former Art College Principal, Avratjit Dhanjal, a famous UK-based sculptor and Shiv Singh. For years, these sculptures lived in neglect. Now is their chance of revival - that is if the authorities maintain the area after developing it.

And while they do that, some artists feel a water feature should also be developed in the belt. Sharma says, “World over, garden sculptures are a rage. Water features in sculptures are even more in fashion. Where there is no water, authorities divert water and use it for enhancing the beauty of garden sculptures. And here we have a natural stream, but it has not been used to enhance aesthetics of the valley. We should have at least one water sculpture in this belt.”

Suggestions apart, not everyone feels the current plan to make pathways will solve a purpose. Sawan, an Art College student says, “This area is marked by indiscipline. Boys from nearby areas camp in the Leisure Valley parking all day long, creating trouble. They love blowing dust with their speeding vehicles. I have witnessed many accidents due to this practice. We need some police deployment here.”

There are others who say youngsters use the area for shady activities. The reading room, lying dilapidated near the stage of the Leisure Valley, is another blot on the face of the green belt. Once a lively place where people used to gather for the daily dose of newspaper reading, it now lies in a shambles. Glass panes have long been broken and inside of the room sports empty liquor bottles, cigarette butts etc - an indication of what goes on there.

Come to think of it, the newspaper business is booming in the city and people can’t have enough of choices. But the reading room, originally constructed for visitors to the Leisure Valley stretch in Sector 10, does not have a single newspaper. What to talk of newspapers, it does not even have windows or panes.

The Administration would do well to care for existing structures before it embarks on new projects, people feel.



BJP demands CBI probe in horse-trading case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
The Bharatiya Janta Party, today, organised a march to demand the resignation of the Municipal Council President, Ms Manvir Gill. A handful of activists, raising slogans, began the procession from the party office in Sector 2 and went to the District Secretariat to submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

Led by the BJP state Vice-President, Mr Gian Chand Gupta, and the District President, Mr Ravinder Sehgal, the activists said a CBI probe should be ordered into the case where a CD shows the MC President’s husband indulging in horse-trading to win support for his wife’s candidature.

The activists demanded that the CBI identify all councillors who have taken money from Gill in lieu of their support, where the money came from and the role of the Deputy Chief Minister in the entire episode.

However, when the activists reached the Secretariat, none of the officers of the District Administration were there to receive the memorandum. While the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, is on leave, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, the SDM, the City Magistrate and the Tehsildar were not in office. The BJP activists had to make do with handing over their memorandum to the Naib Tehsildar, Mr Chander Mohan.



Election office
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 9
The Municipal Council office building in Sector 68 here will house the election office for Kharar constitutency for the Punjab Assembly elections being held on February 13.

The election related work could not be carried out in the office of the SDM-cum-Electoral Registration Officer in Phase I due to shortage of space.

According to the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India for the elections to the Punjab Legislative Assembly, issue of notification will be done on January 18 . The last date for filing nominations is January 25 while scrutiny of nominations will be done on January 27 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is January 29. Poll will be conducted on February 13 and counting of votes will be done on February 27. The election process will be completed by March 2.

The office of the District Magistrate , SAS Nagar, has imposed restrictions on printing and publication of election pamphlets, posters, etc. According to the order issued yesterday no election pamphlets, posters, banners, hoardings, etc shall be printed without clearly indicating in the print line the name and the address of the printer and publisher. No election related material shall be published without taking a declaration in writing from the publisher in duplicate as required under Section 127-A (2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A copy of the declaration along with four copies of the printed material was to be sent to the office of the District Magistrate by the printer.

Stern action will be taken in case of violations.



Jaswal case: War widows seek NCW’s help

New Delhi, January 9
Two war widows from Punjab today brought their complaints of sexual harassment against a retired army official to the National Commission for Women (NCW) here, a charge he strongly denied.

38-year-old Raj Kaur, widow of Sena Medal awardee Havildar Gurmail Singh, who died during an Army operation in Assam, and Margaret Gill met NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas and submitted a memorandum alleging that retired Brigadier J.S. Jaswal repeatedly harassed them sexually at their work place in the Sainik Board office in Chandigarh and Bhatinda respectively.

Kaur alleged that on many occasions Jaswal, the Director of Sainik Board, Chandigarh, ushered her into his chamber and showed her pornographic material. On her refusal to give in to his advances, he gave her an adverse career report and blocked discretionary benefits, forcing her to seek transfer to Ropar, which was granted.

She accused Jaswal’s personal assistant of “threatening” her on several occasions in this connection.

Gill, a Class IV employee in the Sainik Board’s Bhatinda office, alleged she and her daughter were also victims of Jaswal’s sexual advances.

However, when contacted by PTI in Chandigarh over phone, Jaswal denied the charges saying he “has done nothing wrong.”

“An inquiry conducted against Raj Kaur by the SC/ST Commission on allegations that she used rascist abuses against my PA, had found her guilty.

“She was never directly working under me. I have never made any sexual advances towards her and these allegations have been levelled to scuttle departmental action after the commission report,” Jaswal said.

On Gill, Jaswal said she “is implicated in a case of forgery and has been suspended by the department three to four times.”

Chairman of the Anti-terror Front and Congress leader M.S. Bitta, who accompanied the widows to the commission, said Vyas assured the delegation of prompt action.

“Vyas said a committee of four to five persons will be despatched to Punjab to look into the allegations,” Bitta said.

Jaswal said Bitta was making false allegations against him to gain publicity ahead of the Punjab elections.

The Chandigarh Police on January 3 had registered a sexual harassment case against Jaswal under Section 506/509 of the IPC on Kaur’s complaint. — PTI



Tribune Impact
Cops register case on ‘humanitarian grounds’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Finally, the Chandigarh Police has registered a theft case on the complaint of a Mohali resident, who was shuttling between the Mohali and the city police regarding the registration of the case of his stolen motor cycle for the past over four months.

The plight of the Mohali resident, Mr Jagdeep Singh Saini, was highlighted in these columns on Monday in the news report “City, Mohali cops dilly-dally on FIR”.

Confirming the development, the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Gaurav Yadav, said the action had been initiated after taking a “broader view” of the situation and the plight of the complainant. He said the case was registered late on Monday night.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station till Monday night continued with his earlier stand that the matter did not pertain to them and the Mohali police should register the case.

He, however, then added that they would register the case only on “humanitarian grounds”.

On the other hand, Jagdeep, today expressed ignorance about the case. He said he kept on waiting for the action on his complaint in the Sector 34 police station till late in the night and went back home disappointed as no case was registered then.



Turning taxi into private vehicle costlier now
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Converting a vehicle registered as taxi into a privately registered vehicle with the Chandigarh Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) has become costlier now.

In fresh guidelines issued by the Secretary, Transport, the applicants would now have to pay Rs 1000 as the conversion fee.

Sources in the administration revealed that the owner of a vehicle would have to submit “No Objection Certificate” from the Central Excise Department.

The earlier condition of paying the additional registration fee and non-refunding of the permit fee and passenger tax have been retained in the new guidelines.

As per the existing practice, permit is issued for a period of nine years, first for a period of five years and then another four years.

Conversion of a vehicle in a privately registered vehicle is allowed after a period of five years. Those vehicles on which no rebate in the excise duty has been taken, the conversion can be done even before the specified period.



Live with stress and not be affected by it
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
He was like any other college-going student until one day a seminar on ‘Simple Living, High Thinking’, organised by ISKCON, took place in his college. It was only after the seminar that Kamal Lochan, now known as H. G. Kamal Lochan Prabhu, went on to read the ‘Prabhupad Gita’ and after two months, his life was completely changed. From being a student at The Marine Engineering College, Kolkata, he worked as an officer in the merchant navy for three years to finally give it up for the love of Lord Krishna. After battling with a bundle of problems and arguing with disciples and devotees, it took him more than a year to accept the ‘Prabhupad Gita’ as the absolute solution to all the troubles of human life.

H. G. Kamal Lochan, who was instrumental in setting up the ISKCON Youth Forum (IYF) wing in Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36, is in the city to conduct six sessions on the Bhagwad Gita for beginners. He explains its practical applications in day-to-day life and conducts various stress-management and mind-control workshops for corporates, students, businessmen and professionals.

On being asked if there is any technique to control the ever-wandering human mind, he smiled and said, “ Techniques are secondary, its values that are of utmost importance.” Commenting on the increasing stress in the lives of people these days, he believes that in this fast-moving age, it is a farce to claim that stress can be reduced or lived without. The trick is to maintain stress, that is, to live with stress and at the same time not be affected by it.

Summing it up, Kamal Lochan feels Krishna consciousness is a way of living life with complete satisfaction.



Salary hike for Haryana Roadways staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In an effort to placate the protesting employees of the Chandigarh depot of the Haryana Roadways, the first conciliation meeting was held here between the members of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh and the General Manager, Haryana Roadways, Mr Kulwant Kalson, today.

Accepting the demand of the employees, the Haryana Transport Department has agreed to regularise 141 conductors and 9 drivers while a few others have been promoted to a higher scale. Besides this, the department has also approved the hike in salary for the employees.

Mr Kalson added that genuine demands of the employees would be met as and when these were brought up.

The General Manager told the gathering of representatives of employees that he had sent estimates for construction of a restroom and washroom for the employees.

Praising the employees for giving their best to the depot, he said that the Chandigarh depot had earned Rs 60 lakh more than the last year.



Checks to curb power theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The field officers and Enforcement Cell of the electricity wing of the UT Engineering Department carried out random checks at various residential, commercial and industrial areas to curb the menace of power theft. The process was aimed at detecting consumers who unauthorisedly use electricity which causes loss to the department.

A spokesman of the administration said that in checks carried out in October and November 2006, 269 consumers were found using excess unauthorised load. 69 theft cases were detected and penalties amounting to Rs 35.99 lakh was imposed on the offenders.

The Chandigarh Administration has requested consumers to get their unauthorised electricity load regularised and to inform the department about persons indulging in power theft. 



1,35,757 children immunised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Over 1,35,757 children in the age group of 0-5 years were given polio drops during the three-day campaign which concluded here today. As many as 1,32,615 children were administered polio drops during last round conducted in November 2006.

About 1969 personnel from various departments were involved in this exercise. The employees of the Health, Education, Police and various other departments actively participated in the campaign.



Stone for multipurpose hall laid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Adviser to Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, laid the foundation stone of a multipurpose hall at Lake Club, here today.

The hall will have two badminton courts, a volleyball court, table tennis and judo enclosures and an exclusive gymnasium. The hall is likely to be completed in the next nine months.

“The need for the multipurpose hall was felt at Lake Sports Complex to provide more sports facilities to the members because the badminton and volleyball courts and multigym facilities were not available here,” said Reet Mahinder Singh, General Manager, Lake Sports Complex.



Woman dies of burns in PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A 45-year-old mother of two, Sia Rani, who got burnt while she was boiling milk on stove at the night of January 1, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI last night. She was admitted to the hospital with 90 per cent burns.

The police ruling out the possibility of foul play, said it was an accidental death. The victim’s body was today handed over to the family after the postmortem. Meanwhile, the police has started investigating the matter.



Three arrested for eve-teasing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Chandigarh Police arrested three youngsters for allegedly eve teasing in Sector 35, here this afternoon.

The police said Swinder Singh of Sector 47, Dharampal of Sector 46 and Satminder Singh of Moga were arrested from various places for eve-teasing. Three separate cases have been registered in the Sector 36 police station.

Motor cycle stolen

Mr Navdeep Hooda of Sector 34 reported to the police alleging that his motor cycle (HR-12-F-2502) was stolen from his residence on Sunday night. A case of theft has been registered.


Mr Hari Chand Pawar of Adarsh Nagar, Pipliwala Town, Mani Majra lodged a complaint alleging that two gold bangles and one gold ring went missing from his residence on Monday. A case of theft has been registered in the Mani Majra police station.


An unidentified cyclist was hurt after being hit by a car (CH-03-J-9883) at the turn to Sectors 4 and 9 on Monday. He was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital in a critical condition. The police has arrested the car driver, Suresh Kumar of Badal Colony, Zirakpur on charges of causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving.



Man roughs up wife’s lawyer
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 9
A resident of Kurukshetra manhandled a lawyer from Chandigarh at the court complex in Phase III B2, here today.

According to the police, Shalender Kaushal had come to the court in connection with a marital dispute case. It is alleged that he manhandled Mr Gaurav Kathuria, a lawyer from Chandigarh, who is his wife’s attorney.

The police said that the situation worsened when Shalender Kaushal, accompanied by three friends, allegedly took out a baseball bat from his car to attack the lawyer. Lawyers from the complex intervened and the police was also called. The police rounded up Shalender and his friend while two others managed to escape.

The two were kept in lock up for a while in the court complex.

When the police was taking the two out of the lock up, a photographer of a vernacular daily, Mr Vishal Shankar, was clicking photographs. But he was stopped from doing his duty by an ASI, Kuldeep Chand, who blocked his camera.

This heated up journalists who gathered at the office of the SSP. The ASI who was called there apologised for his actions.

The police has registered a case.



We are moving from information to innovation Age: Kokje
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Successful businesses inevitably place great emphasis on managing quality control. Customers may come for cost, but stay for quality. These views were expressed by Justice V.S. Kokje, Governor of Himachal Pradesh while speaking at the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Ceremony organised by the CII - L M Thapar Centre for Competitiveness, at the CII Northern Region Headquarters here today. He was the chief guest on the occasion.

He impressed upon the fact that in the changing face of the world economy, India is poised to play a major role internationally and for sustainable development and technological growth, the importance of quality tools cannot be undermined. He appreciated the efforts of the CII in this regard and spoke of Himachal Pradesh as an upcoming industrial hub, attracting huge foreign investments.

Mr S.C. Agarwal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, said industries could not become rich just by buying technologies or by having joint ventures. They had to generate their own technologies and cost-effective methodology.” We are moving from the 'Information Age' to the 'Innovation Age', he added.

Realising this need of the hour, CII - L M Thapar Centre for Competitiveness had organised a five-module training programme on Six Sigma, spread over six months. Mr Ram Narayan, a master Six Sigma Black Belt, was the faculty for the programme.

Apart from 33 participants from companies such as Vidula Consultancy Services Ltd, Bharti Teletech Ltd, Gilard Electronics P Ltd, Frick India Ltd, GNA Group, Honda Motorcyle & Scooter India P Ltd, Hitach Metglas(I)Pvt Ltd, Ind Sphinx Precision Products, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Summit Engineering Pvt Ltd, Titan Industries and Orthotics Ltd, Pricol Limited, the programme was also attended by senior representatives from select industry in this region.



Ontario minister for greater emphasis on industry
Nirmal Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Mr Harinder Jeet Singh Takhar , a minister in Canada’s Ontario province, moves around freely without the usual ministerial baggage - so familiar a sight here. In Delhi to participate in the Parvasi Bharatiya Divas on Monday, he was offered policemen to escort him around, but he declined.

When he walked into The Tribune office on Tuesday afternoon without any battalion of gunmen, he evoked first surprise, then admiration. His simplicity, matter-of-fact ways and rustic Punjabi and fluent English endeared him to everyone he met.

One obvious question he was asked was: what is the striking difference between the way things are done here and there? “For the ordinary citizen in Canada work gets done if it is genuine and you don’t need to know anyone influential”.

One area he feels strongly about is roads and safety. Which is quite natural since he has been a transport minister too. Ontario’s roads, he claims, are among the safest in North America. Roads have intelligence chips which tell drivers of car speed, time to be taken for reaching the destination, whether there is any accident or congestion ahead and alternative routes available.

Cameras are installed on roads and accidents are swiftly detected. Cops reach the spot to clear the road in no time, says Mr Takhar. To cut oil wastage, car-pooling is encouraged.

Hailing from Jalandhar district, Harinder Jeet did MA in economics from Doaba College in 1972 and worked in Punjab and Sind Bank before leaving for Canada in 1976. There he studied finance for six years and took up business, which flourished.

His exceptional community service drove him to politics and he first became a Liberal MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament equivalent to MLA here) in 2003 and was made a minister- first of transport and is now of small business enterprises and entrepreneurship.

That Indians are active in Canadian politics is known, but not many reach the ministerial level - Ujjal Dosanjh’s achievement notwithstanding. Indians in Canada are mostly in transportation, construction and land-owners though there are doctors, engineers and scientists too.

Mr Takhar represents Mississauga in Ontario, the state which has 40 per cent of the country’s population, most of the industries and contributes 40 per cent of the GDP while the unemployment rate is just 6.4 per cent.

Eighty languages are spoken in Ontario and there are facilities for the teaching of Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil and several other Indian languages up to Class 12. Ontario has entered into tie-ups with certain educational institutions in Punjab to award common degrees.

Asked to comment on the state of affairs in Punjab, he avoids fault-finding. A politician after all, he says: “There should be greater emphasis on industry here and, of course, infrastructure everywhere requires attention”.



Wheat insurance covers more districts
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) has enlarged the scope of the wheat insurance scheme for this rabi season in Punjab and Haryana, by adding three new districts and including insurance cover against unseasonal rainfall.

Official sources informed TNS here today that the wheat insurance scheme would now cover Jalandhar in Punjab and Hisar and Bhiwani in Haryana. With this, the number of districts covered under the wheat insurance scheme in these two states would be eight. As many as 22 blocks in Haryana and 30 blocks in Punjab will be covered under this scheme.

Last year, AIC had pilot tested this wheat insurance scheme in Ambala and Karnal in Haryana, and in Bathinda, Ferozepore and Kapurthala districts of Punjab. However, the wheat insurance covered only crop vigour/biomass insurance and temperature insurance. “The crop vigour is estimated in terms of Normalised Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI), through satellite imagery. The NDVI is measured in February, at the peak of crop vigour stage, providing indication of crop health and serves as an effective risk management aid to farmers suffering from poor crop growth caused by natural factors. The temperature insurance provides cover for loss in wheat production resulting from high temperature in March. We have now decided to add the component of insurance against unseasonal rainfall (during March 1 and April 15), if it is higher than the specified trigger level,” informed a senior official at AIC.

He said wheat insurance was a unique technology-based and scientifically-designed product, which not only afforded protection to wheat farmers against yield losses caused by natural factors, high temperature and un-seasonal rainfall but also a collateral for crop loan lending agencies, thus protecting the interests of farmers and banks. The claims are automated as farmers do not have to lodge claims or prove loss of yield, which helps in speedy settlement before actual harvesting of crops. The maximum payout is Rs 8000 per acre (Rs 3000 each for crop vigour and temperature and Rs 2000 for unseasonal rainfall).

Meanwhile, officials said that though the wheat insurance scheme was getting popular and banks were supporting this scheme, banks in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have failed to insure farmers for crop damage/ failure, under the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme. The data available from AIC, shows that of the 180 nodal banks of Haryana, only 23 have submitted proposals for crop insurance to AIC. In Himachal Pradesh, only nine of the 113 nodal banks have submitted proposals for farmers having availed loans from them, while only three of the 36 banks in Jammu and Kashmir have insured farmers under this scheme.



Global investors’ conference on January 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The International Punjabi Chamber for Service Industry (IPCSI) will organise a global investors’ conference for infrastructure development in North India here on January 11.

The aim of the conference is to strategically channel NRI resources, bring FII and domestic resources for the overall development of the service industry, which will ultimately lead to infrastructure and economic development as also employment generation, Dr Gulshan Sharma, IPCSI secretary-general, told a press conference here today.

North Indian states will make presentations on investment opportunities for infrastructure development and service industry-related projects, with focus on attracting investments from the Indian diaspora, which has more than 8 million NRIs of North-Indian origin with their enormous wealth and knowledge, Dr Sharma claimed.

The event aims at highlighting the potential and problems for developing infrastructure in North India and how various state governments can synergise their efforts with public and private resources for taking the region on a higher economic trajectory, he said.

The topics to be taken up at the conference include education, tourism, hospitality, aviation, health, media and entertainment, retail, housing and real estate, with emphasis on making retailing as an organised sector, he added.



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