C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Two in Vigilance net for kerosene fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The UT Vigilance Department today arrested a partner of the kerosene pump in Sector 35 here along with his accomplice for selling oil on the black market.
During stock inspection, the sleuths found kerosene less by 5,916 litres than the figures entered in the records maintained by the owner.

Giving details, inspector Kulwant Singh Pannu said the kerosene pump, Braham Sarup and Sons, was jointly owned by Mr Braham Sarup and his son Abhey Kumar.

The raiding officials said the accused had also indulged in overcharging as they displayed a rate of Rs 9.20 per litre in place of the control rate of Rs 9.02 per litre.

Abhey and Kailash Nath Tiwari, a roadside tea vendor, were arrested in this connection.

The inspector said a raid was conducted by the Vigilance sleuths and officials of the Food and Civil Supplies Department following a tipoff that Tiwari indulged in black marketing of kerosene.

During preliminary questioning, the sleuths recovered 19 ration cards and 30 litres of kerosene from Tiwari, which was more than the allotted quota of 10 litres per ration card.

Following his revelations, the officials raided the kerosene pump.

They also called the officers from Weight and Measures Department to check the stock.

It was found that 5,916 litres of kerosene was less in stock than the entries made in the register.

They also took samples of kerosene to check adulteration.

Out of the two tanks at the kerosene pump, one was sealed by the team.

Sources in the Vigilance Department said the accused used to charge Rs 25 per bottle (750 ml) of kerosene on the black market.

The roadside tea sellers and other hawkers were their clients.

As per rules, kerosene was given to ration card holders.

A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act was registered in this regard.

Residents of the area said people used to protest at the kerosene pump for the past over two months for short supplies.

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PU Dept in timetable mess
Tribune News Service

The Panjab University syndicate agenda has a new look.A change that seems to have come in after decades of following the same old design. The agenda papers of the university have been bound smartly. Each agenda item is separately flagged for convenience and the contents are brief and to the point.

Chandigarh, January 15
A Panjab University report has found that the preparation of a new timetable for the faculty of the Department of Evening Studies last year was "illegal". The report has, in the process, laid bare the erratic functioning of the department due to inter- faculty intrigues.

The report was prepared to look into a demand made by Prof Vijay Chopra, a faculty member of the department, that one entire session be declared “zero” session since the department was not following UGC norms in terms of its timetable and working days.

Interestingly, Prof Vijay Chopra himself is facing an enquiry following serious allegations of absenteeism.

A former head of the department, Dr Santosh Gupta, had in a complaint to the Vice-Chancellor pointed out that Prof Vijay Chopra had not taken classes and was regularly absenting himself from his work for many years. The enquiry committee constituted in 2002 is yet to file its report.

Prof Chopra, claiming to be the convener of the timetable committee, came up with a new timetable for the department which was ordered to be implemented from December 1, 2005. However, a large section of the department faculty objected to the new timetable following which the then VC, Prof K.N. Pathak, ordered that the old timetable be followed till the new was formed. In response to this, Mr Chopra had, in a letter to Prof Pathak, strongly put forth that the department was not following the UGC norms and the number of working days were also not in accordance with the UGC guidelines.

He had termed the VC’s decision ‘mind boggling’ ‘confusing’, ‘doubtful’ and would lead to ‘legitimising academic perversion’

Lambasting the observations made by Prof Vijay Chopra in his letter to the VC, the report states that since Mr Chopra “was not a member of the academic committee of the department and as a result he could not have been the member, much less the convener of the timetable-making sub-committee. The very formation of the timetable-making sub-committee as a part of the administrative committee is illegal and needs to be brought to the notice of all concerned,” states the report.

The report was prepared and submitted by given Prof Varinder Kumar in March last year but was kept in the cold store. It will now be tabled in the forthcoming meeting of the Syndicate on January 20.

The committee members also jibed that since the department was not following the UGC norms as far as the timetable and working days was concerned since 1985, going by Prof Chopra’s logic all its sessions beginning from that year should be declared null and void!

The report has further recommended that the timetable (framed by the said sub-committee illegally) be considered by the academic committee of the department; the academic committee be broad based; the department should consider the implementation of six-day a week to ensure a minimum of 180 working days as laid down by the UGC.

The report further states that Prof Chopra be asked to explain his role in light of the fact that the committee he was convening was illegal and also the use of inappropriate language by him. It also suggests that in resolving issues, members of the teaching faculty should act with extreme circumspection.

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MCC all set for panel scramble
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The first meeting of the Municipal Corporation House will be conducted on January 25. All eyes are now set on who would be part of the various committees of the MCC.

With the elected members of the House evenly divided between the Congress and the Opposition, a lot of friction is expected between the members to be in the various committees, especially the Finance and Contract committee.

This committee constitutes of five members who are elected from within the House and two ex-officio members, which is the Mayor and the MC Commissioner.

Members for seven other committees have also to be decided which include water supply and sewerage disposal, road, city beautification and environment, sanitation, electricity, fire services, and house tax assessment committees.

Each committee has nine members and elections are held for the post of chairman and vice-chairman of the committee. If there is a unanimous decision on who will be the chairman and vice-chairman, elections are not held.

Till now, the House always had one party in majority. The committees were therefore comfortably and unanimously selected.

However, speculations are rife that the members’ selection for these committees will not be easy now. The Congress now has a majority with 14 members, which includes MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, the BJP has six, CVM four, SAD two and the BSP has one, while there are also nine nominated members. 

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Keep manifesto promises, Bansal asks Mayor 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Buoyed by the Congress' success in Ward No 7, the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, today asked the BJP-SAD alliance Mayor, Ms Harjinder Kaur, to scrap the parking fee and property tax as promised in the alliance's poll manifesto.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Bansal urged the alliance to bring an agenda to this effect in the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC). The Congress would support such a resolution, he added.

Reiterating the commitment of his party to city's development, Mr Bansal said though the Congress was in a majority yet the party would avoid such situations under which the development could suffer.

However, he made it clear that the Congress would not bring a no-confidence notice and extended issue-based support to the Mayor.

On the controversy surrounding the closure of some schools in colonies and villages, including Mani Majra, Mr Bansal said the Mayor should bring an agenda on this issue soon.

The Congress would support the agenda which addressed the needs of the students, teachers and the managements.

Asking the alliance to fulfill various promises made in the election manifesto, the Minister said the Congress would extend "constructive" support to the Mayor on various issues like the regularisation of alterations in the marla houses, proprietary rights for Type-13 allottees and the issuance of identity cards to footpath workers.

Answering a question, Mr Bansal said the issue of the release of bonus and pension to the UT employees was under the active consideration of the Central Government.

Claiming that an additional grant worth Rs 81 crore had been released during his tenure as the minister, he said the expansion of the airport was his major achievement.

He further asked the Mayor to clarify her position on the status of Chandigarh.

While attributing the defeat of party's Mayoral candidate to the lack of support from the nominated councillors, Mr Bansal, however, favoured voting rights to them.

He, however, was of the view that their number, nine, was on the higher side with the result that they had a deciding voice in a house where no party was in absolute majority.

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Chill: Parents want schools’ closure for another week
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
With temperatures dropping noticeably and cold wave sweeping the region for the past several days, the schoolchildren have to brave the chill and fog to reach their schools. Some of them cycle to their schools in dense fog, which may cause accidents.

The Education Department has cold shouldered the demand of the parents for the closure of schools for at least one week so that the children could get respite from the biting cold. Though the department has extended the timings of all schools from 8 am to 8.30 am, it does not make any difference in terms of mitigated chill.

Ms Ravinder Kaur, a parent, whose two children aged nine and six study in a local private school, says it is very difficult to send the small children to the school in such chilly conditions. “The school commences at 8.30 am. As the school is quite far from our place, the school van comes at 7.30 am. It is difficult to get the children ready by this time. I did not send them for the past two days. Now, I have received a rejoinder from the school authorities for explanation in this regard. We are helpless”.

Another parent, Asha Kukreja, whose son studies in U KG, says his son cries while going to the school, but ultimately he has realised that he has no choice. “Though I make him wear a plenty of woollen clothes, still he feels cold”.

“I go to the school daily in these chilly conditions, but what can be done. I suffered from cold, cough and fever. I have to take leave from the school for three days. I cannot afford to miss classes anymore. My mom sent me today because she feared that other children will outscore me,” rues10-year-old Karan.

“Look at me, I am so thin. I am wearing two sweaters and a jacket with the school bag being the usual load. I have to walk two kilometres from my house in the chilly weather to reach school. Please ask the authorities what difference will it make if schools are closed for another week,” says Kanhaiya, a Class VI student of a government school located on the outskirts of the city.

“My father is a businessman. He prefers not to open the shop early morning nowadays because of the cold. But I have no choice, I have to get up at 6 am to get ready for the school,” says Uma Shankar, a Class VII student of GMHS-33.

The window panes of a majority of the government schools are either broken or missing. “We keep shivering as most of window panes in our school are broken. The school authorities hardly do any thing”, complained some students.

However, a teacher of a reputed school opines that if the school authorities declared more holidays the students of higher classes would suffer in studies. “The board exams are approaching and the syllabus has to be completed before time”.

Mrs Kamla Bains, District Education Officer, says if schools are closed for one more week higher classes will certainly suffer as their examinations are commencing from February. However, we can think about the students of primary classes. The timings for nursery and pre-nursery classes have already been fixed as 9 am to 11 am. She further assures that she will talk to the DPI (S), Mr Ashwini Kumar, tomorrow about primary classes.

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Passing Thru

Ankush Arora
Ankush Arora, vice-president, Sales, Marketing and After Sales, General Motors, India.

What is the growth rate of General Motors and what is the growth you are expecting next year?

We are growing at a very healthy pace. As against a 7 per cent growth in 2005, we are now expecting a growth of between 12 and 14 per cent this year. Since we have launched a two-box hutchback, Aveo U-VA, we are expecting a substantial increase in the growth rate. The car has been well received and there is a 30-day waiting period for the car.

What are the expectations of the car industry from the next Budget?

We are expecting that this year, more emphasis will be given to infrastructure and the government will invest more on infrastructure growth of the country.

When is the new General Motors plant expected to go into commercial production?

General Motors has a plant with a capacity of 85,000 cars near Baroda. We are now coming up with a new plant near Pune, which will have a caacity of 1.40 lakh cars. This plant will become operational by mid-2008.

Are you expanding your dealership network and service outlets?

Yes, we will expand our sales outlets from 94 last year to 114 this year and our service outlets from 98 last year to 121 this year. In Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the focus will be on increasing service centres. We will have new centres at Mandi, Panchkula, Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Yamunanagar and Hisar.

— Ruchika M. Khanna

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No need to dissolve House: Cong chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
The President of the City Congress Committee and councillor, Mr RK Kakkar, today said that the Municipal Act did not provide for dissolving the Municipal Council when a term of less than a year remains.

In a statement, issued here, he termed the idea as a "political stunt" which has no base. "We have fulfilled all the promises made in our manifesto. Dissolving the House is not one of them and it will not happen," he said.

Alleging that the Municipal Council had become a den for corruption, he said the MC President had the support of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) councillors despite the fact that a CD alleging horse trading had been made public.

He added that the Congress was committed to carrying out the development agenda in the district and would continue to weed out corruption as it had done in the past. 

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Govt intervenes to prevent sugar prices from falling further
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The high production of sugar across the country during this season has failed to substantially bring down retail prices of sugar. Though the wholesale price of sugar has come down by Rs 4000 per tonne (Rs 4 per kg) during the past two months, retail prices have remained static at Rs 18-19 a kg.

Highly-placed sources informed TNS that in order to save the sugar industry and the cane growers from losses, the government has fixed the release order for sugar at a lower level than the total sugar demand. It is learnt that the government has fixed 42 lakh tons as the release order of sugar for the first three months of the year. The release order for January itself has been fixed at 14.84 lakh tons, of which 1.84 lakh tonnes would be allocated under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

As against this, the average monthly consumption of sugar in the country is 15. 83 lakh tonnes. Sources said that by controlling the release order of sugar in the open market as also under the PDS, the government will ensure that the sugar prices remain stable.

It is learnt that the total sugar production in this season (2006-07) is expected to be 230 lakh tonnes. Against this, the total consumption of sugar in the country is about 190 lakh tonnes. Sources also informed TNS that the carry forward stock of sugar as on October 1, 2006 was 49 lakh tons, which means that the total sugar availability in the market would be 279 lakh tonnes.

“The government has now lifted the ban on sugar export and allowed 20 lakh tonnes of sugar to be exported. This means that the total availability as carry forward stocks for the next season, or the surplus sugar would be about 69 lakh tonnes,” said a senior official in the Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills, Haryana, while adding that this has brought down the wholesale prices of sugar from Rs 19,500 per tonne to Rs 15,500 a tonne now. Comparatively, the retail price of sugar has come down from RS 22 a kg two months ago to Rs 19 a kg now.

Sources said since the cost of sugar production had gone up substantially in the past one year, and most sugar mills were increasing their cane-crushing capacities, the fall in prices had to be controlled to save the cane growers as also the sugar industry from losses. In the wake of a higher global production of sugar (according to International Sugar Organisation, global sugar production is higher by 58 lakh tonnes), it would be economically unviable to have more sugar for exports. 

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IAF to buy US special mission aircraft 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

A file photo of C-130J aircraft
A file photo of C-130J aircraft

Chandigarh, January 15
In what would be the first purchase of military aircraft from the United States in about five decades, the Indian Air Force will be procuring six C-130J Super Hercules special mission aircraft.

“The aircraft will be modified to some extent to meet out requirements,” Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, told The Tribune during his visit here. “We hope to sign the deal this year,” he added.

Built by the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the “J” is the Hercules latest version of the 4-engined turbo-prop transport, and is used by several countries for special missions. They are also armed with different types of machineguns and cannons.

A demonstration was given by Lockheed to the IAF at Leh and in the North-east a few months ago. Requests for Proposals and Letter of Intent have already been issued by the Union Government. It could take three or four years after the deal has been signed for the aircraft to join the IAF.

Post-independence, military aircraft of the US origin operated by the IAF include the B-24 bomber, Dakota and Packet transport aircraft. The only US-made aircraft in the IAF inventory today is the Boeing 737, which are unarmed and used solely for VVIP transport.

Sources say that the C-130J, which is also being used at present in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, is a versatile machine and an ideal platform for para-drop operations by special forces.

At present, the AN-32 is the mainstay of para drop operations, but it can carry about 40 para troopers. The C-130 on the other hand can para-drop 80-90 soldiers. They can also operate from unpaved airstrips, undertake short take-off and landings and are capable of aerial refuelling.

The AN-32, which is the workhorse of the IAF transport fleet is also ageing and is undergoing life extension programmes. “We propose to go in for the Indo-Russian Medium-Lift Tactical Aircraft (MLTA) and have projected an initial requirement of 45--50 such aircraft,” Air Chief Marshal Tyagi said.

The MLTA, which is still in the design stage, would be in the same class as the C-130, with a pay load capacity of about 20-25 tonnes. It will also fill in the much needed gap between the AN-32 limited capacity of 7000 kg and the IL-76’s capacity of 45 tonnes. The IAF finds the 20-25 tonne aircraft most suitable for its needs, but this capability came to an end with the phasing out of the AN-12 aircraft in 1993.

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Inter-active session on Indo-Pak dialogue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
A crucial two-day interactive session on the future course of India-Pakistan dialogue will be held in Chandigarh on January 20 and 21. To be organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development the session will have participants from both nations.

The participants are likely to review many of the current ideas of composite dialogue between the two nations and identify the possible focus areas for discussions when the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, pays his expected visit to Pakistan.

The session will see the participation of Mr Salman Haider, General VP Malik (retd), General Talat Masood (retd) and Lt-Gen Vijay Oberai, Dr Siddiq Wahid, Prof Noor Ahmed Baba, Mr Kuldip Nayar,, Mr Bharat Bhushan, Mr PC Dogra, Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Dr Ellora Puri, Mr Sajjad Lone and Mr MJ Akbar among others.

The “out of the box’ ideas put forth by President Pervez Musharraf about Kashmir will be the main focus of the two-day session. The four- point solution envisaged by Musharraf, including maintenance of existing borders, gradual withdrawal of troops, self-governance for Kashmir and a joint supervision mechanism will be the four key points of discussion.

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Cops not bothered about Supreme Court guidelines on arrest 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Over 10 years have lapsed since the Supreme Court of India laid down "specific guidelines" for making arrests while delivering verdict in D.K. Basu Vs State of West Bengal case, yet the cops are still not complying with the directions.

Nothing else can explain the "abduction" of two youngsters from the Sector-15 market by the Delhi Police.

Sources in the local police headquarters assert that this is not the first time the directions have been violated. Earlier, the Haryana Police "picked up" protesting employees from Sector 17 without informing the local police.

In the Sector-15 case also, the local police or the relatives of the youngsters were not taken into confidence even though the judgement clearly says: "The police officer carrying out the arrest shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo shall be attested by at least one witness.”

The witness "may be either a member of the family of the arrestee or a respectable person of the locality from where the arrest is made. It shall also be counter signed by the arrestee and shall contain the time and date of arrest".

This is not all. The "time, place of arrest and venue of custody" has to be notified by the police "where the next friend or relative of the arrestee lives outside the district or town".

The information has to be passed on "through the Legal Aid Organisation in the district and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of eight to 12 hours after the arrest”.

In the current case, the Chandigarh Police was forced to take cognizance of the matter as the Delhi Police informed it of the action against the two boys late in the evening.

Giving details of other violations, the sources assert the identity of the Delhi cops was not "clear", even though the judgement says: "The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags with their designations. The particulars of all such police personnel, who handle interrogation of the arrestee must be recorded in a register.”

Quoting the judgement, legal experts in the city assert: “A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock up, shall be entitled to have one friend or relative or other person known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable.”

A senior Chandigarh Police officer says they are looking into the matter and will take up the issue with their counterparts in Delhi. "Efforts are on to prevent the repetition of such incidents," he adds. 

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Additional bridge to come up over bridge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 15
The Chandigarh Administration is all set to construct an additional bridge over the natural choe crossing NH-21 between Sectors 42 and 53.
The NH-21 passing through Chandigarh is an important link between the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. There is existing a four-lane minor bridge over the natural choe, which caters to the present traffic volume, a press note said here today.

Traffic studies indicate that the present bridge is not adequate to cater to the increased traffic volume and is resulting in traffic congestion on this stretch of road. Moreover, the existing bridge is also not in harmony with the six-lane carriageway.

To combat this problem, the Administration took up the matter with the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways of the Union Government, which accorded its administrative approval. Tenders had been invited and the work would start soon.

The project will cost around Rs 3.42 crore and the construction shall be carried out by the Engineering Department. The project shall be completed in one year.

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Pizza outlet in hair trouble 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
“Order a pizza and get a bunch of hair free”, seems to be a new scheme introduced by a leading Pizza chain in the city. A Sector-22 based computer trader, who had ordered a four pizzas from Domino’s, a Sector 34 located pizza eating joint, was shocked when he found hair in a pizza cake this afternoon.

Mr Dilmohan Singh, a customer, raised objection after finding human hair in a pizza he had ordered.

Instead of apologising, the employees of the local management of the company allegedly tried to please him with another pizza. Irked at the attitude of the company, Mr Dilmohan Singh made a complaint to the UT Health Department.

Taking a note of the complaint, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Food Inspector, along with his team, reached the eating joint and took samples from the kitchen of the joint. He also issued a challan to the company.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Sukhwinder Singh said samples were taken from Domino’s Pizza on the complaint of Mr Dilmohan Singh. The samples would be sent to the Punjab Food and Dung Laboratory, Sector 11, tomorrow. Officials of the Domino’s Pizza were not available for comments. 

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Fauji Beat
Police, Army defaulters must be punished

In a recent incident, two army officers who allegedly misbehaved with women at a hotel in Kolkata, were put in the police lock-up. When the news about this reached their unit, 3 Madras, 20 men under a Lieut-Col stormed the police station and rescued their officers.

This unfortunate incident falls in line with several such happenings in the past where either of the two or both, the police and the Army, had thrown discipline to the winds. Two samples of such incidents are brought out here. In the late-70s, the cops manhandled a Lieutenant of 1 Para by taking him out of a restaurant at the Agra cantonment. No sooner did news of the incident reach his unit than an armed platoon came to the police station and stormed it.

In October 1992, Lieut-Col Ravi Vats, who was on leave in Chandigarh, was beaten up by the SSP, Chandigarh. When the former protested against it, he was detained by the police. The police did not inform the Army about the detention of the officer.

There are very clear instructions from the Central Government to all the states and Union Territories that whenever a military man is taken in custody by the police, the nearest military unit should be immediately informed about it. More often than not, the police does not comply with these instructions. Incidentally, in all the three cases i.e. of Kolkata, Agra and Chandigarh, the police did not inform the Army.

Had the duty officer at the Headquarters Eastern Command, Kolkata and the Headquarters Para Brigade, Agra, been informed by the police, the Army would have taken over its personnel from the police and the subsequent ugly events would have been avoided.

As has always happened in the past, the Army, undoubtedly, will award strict punishment to the defaulters in the Kolkata case. It did the same in the Agra case. But in the Chandigarh case, the defaulter SSP, Chandigarh, instead of being punished got his promotion.

Legal battle: When you are denied justice, you knock at the court’s door. This is what the officers, Captains to Brigadiers, who were in service on January 1, 1986, have decided to do to get the arrears of their pay. Their battle is against the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which has denied their dues to them.

The case in brief is that on the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission, the government had granted the rank pay to the officers from the rank of Captain to Brigadier and equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force with effect from January 1, 1986. But while fixing the pay, the rank pay was omitted from their integrated pay.

It was Maj A.K. Dhanapalan (now retired) who had won the case in the Kerala High Court. Thereafter, the Union of India filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, which was dismissed on July 10, 2005. As a result of this, Maj Dhanapalan had got the arrears of rank pay. This has set a precedence for other effected officers to claim the arrears of their rank pay.

Earlier, the MoD had denied this benefit to the effected officers by saying that they should have taken up the issue while they were in service. Now, the MoD has decided to fight a legal battle against the officers who are claiming this benefit. “We are getting more and more evidence every day that justice can only come through courts”, say the effected officers.

A unique war memorial: Dedicated to the nation by the President A.P.J Abdul Kalam on August 17, 2006, the war memorial in Sector 3 Chandigarh in the Bougainvillea Garden is unique in its design and structure. A walk around the memorial with a row of boards displaying the names of the warriors, who laid down their lives in the country’s wars from 1947 to 1971, virtually transports you to the world of serenity. At least, for once, you start realising that you are living in peace today because of their supreme sacrifice.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Illegal rehris removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Estate Office today removed over 50 encroachments from Sector 46 here.
According to sources, the illegal rehris near the Sector 46 Rehri Market were removed by the enforcement staff of the Estate Office. The rehri owners had reportedly encroached upon public land for the past over several years.

It may be recalled that the authorities had rehabilitated the rehri owners, whose shops were gutted in a fire a few years ago. While a majority of the rehri owners were found eligible for rehabilitation, certain rehri owners started operating from the area adjoining the permanent rehri market.

These rehri owners had reportedly obtained stay orders from the court, which were vacated recently. Following the vacation of the stay, the enforcement staff swung into action and removed the encroachments. Though there was a mild resistance from the shopkeepers, the operation passed off peacefully.

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Shergill is new UT Transport Director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 15
The Chandigarh Administration today ordered the new posting/transfers of PCS officers with immediate effect.
Mr P.S. Shergill, Director, Industries-cum-General Manager, District Industries Centre, and also Secretary, STA and Controller, Weights and Measures has been posted as Divisional Manager, Chandigarh Transport Undertaking and Director, Transport. He will also hold the additional charges presently handled by him.

Mr Arun Sekhari, Divisional Manager, CTU and Director, Transport, has been made the Controller, Printing and Stationery, and Superintendent, Model Jails, and Additional IG of Prisons relieving O.P Popli of the charges.

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An old hand in snatching nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 15
A 32-year-old carpenter, who robbed off women, has been nabbed here. The police claims the man has admitted to have been involved in 21 cases of snatching in Mohali and Chandigarh.

Six cases of snatching registered with the police had now been solved with the arrest of the Phase II resident.

Satnam Singh ( 32) was arrested from Phase III-A where he was moving about on a scooter to target some women. Two gold chains and four mobiles were recovered from him.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, said at a press conference here today that Satnam Singh had allegedly taken to snatching about two-and-a-half years ago.

Since then he had allegedly been involved in 21 incidents of snatching. He mostly targeted women walking alone or travelling in rickshaws.

The first snatching was done in Chandigarh. Once he had allegedly snatched a gold chain near Mansa Devi temple when he was coming back from the Nada Sahib gurdwara. Later, he started snatching gold chains and purses in Mohali itself.

The SSP said Satnam Singh used to give a part of the gold to his wife, Kamaljit Kaur, and the rest he used to sell to Gurmeet Singh who had a jewellery shop in the Phase IV market. Raids were being conducted to arrest the jeweller. Action against his wife would be taken only after the investigations were completed.

Mr Dhillon further said Satnam Singh was earlier rounded up by the police under Section 109 of the IPC some months ago following a compliant that an attempt was made by him to snatch her chain.

He was, however, let off by the police without properly carrying out the investigation. Satnam Singh got involved in five cases of snatching after he was let off.

He said he had asked Mr Swaran Singh, DSP (D), to enquire into the matter and if it was found out that the SHO concerned had let off Satnam Singh without carrying out thorough investigation, action would be taken against the official.

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Two scooters stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Two scooters were stolen from various parts of the city in the past 24 hours.
Mr Narinder Kumar of Sector 40 reported to the police alleging that his scooter was stolen from Sector 22 market. In another incident, Mr Navjot Singh of Sector 70, Mohali, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his scooter was stolen from Sector 17.Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Eve-teasing: The police today arrested Kuldeep Singh of Mohali from Sector 9 on the allegations of indulging in eve teasing. A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered.

Injured:  Mr Amit Kumar of the PGI was hurt after a car collided with his scooter near the PGI Chowk on Sunday. He was rushed to the PGI while the car driver reportedly sped away from the spot. A case of causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the unidentified car driver.

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Adopt practical methods to conserve oil and gas: IG 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The inaugural function of the Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight (OGCF)-2007, was organised at the Baba Makhan Shah Lobaba Bhawan in Sector 30-A, here today. The program was convened by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) as the state-level coordinator, UT Administration, on behalf of the oil industry. The UT Inspector General of Police (IGP), S. K. Jain was the chief guest on the occasion.

The IGP called upon the public to adopt practical applications of various oil and gas conservation techniques in our daily life, save our foreign exchange, protect our environment and contribute to the national cause.

Mr V. K. Yadav, Senior Regional Manager of HPCL, Chandigarh, conveyed that the OGCF has been celebrated every year since 1991 by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to spread the message of conservation among all sections of the society.

He stressed upon the need of the use of Ethanol-blended petrol and Jatropha-based bio-diesel, which are being promoted vigorously and are bound to have an impact on the consumption of fossil fuels.

The IGP also flagged off two vans displaying messages of oil and gas conservation. The officials of UT Administration, prominent citizens, journalists, industrialists, transporters, teachers and retail outlet dealers were also present. Students of various schools also participated in the function.

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SBI to become customer friendly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The State Bank Of India, Chandigarh Circle, is becoming more customer centric and a number of initiatives have been rolled out to make banking a pleasant experience for its customers.

This was stated by the Chief General Manager of the bank, Mr Hemant Contractor, while addressing a press conference here on Friday. Commenting on the performance of the Chandigarh Circle, he stated that the period had been very challenging for the circle. He said by December 2006, 312 branches had been migrated to core banking solutions (CBS) and 83 per cent of the circle business was on core. Mr Contractor said BPR initiatives have been rolled out in the circle for improving the delivery channels. Grahak Mitra, relationship manager, multi product sales force has been posted at important centres to cover the needs of customers."With centralised credit processing, credit delivery is faster and better asset quality is ensured. We have one Centralised Pension Processing Centre at Chandigarh (CPPC) to process and pay the pensions to pensioners of 61 branches. All pension paying branches are to be covered by this CPPC in due course,” he added.

He also said 217 ATMs were operational and there were more than 10 lakh ATM cardholders in this Chandigarh circle. We are to install 34 ATMs at important railway stations in our area of operations during the current year, he said.

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Biz Clips
Airtel auction

Mr Sumit Aggarwal of Panipat has won a Homda Civic car in the bumper prize in the "Airtel Ulta Pulta Auction". The Airtel Ulta Pulta Auction was open for all Airtel prepaid and postpaid customers all over India and all a customer needed to do was call 64640 and place his bid for the Honda Civic. TNS

HDFC Gold Card: HDFC Bank, in association with MasterCard International, today launched 'HDFC Bank Gold Business Card' for self employed and small businesses. The new Card will give serious value-addition to their business through business relevant features. TNS

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