C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops checkmate cupid’s caravan
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Youngsters did not hop on the bandwagon of affection for zipping down the fast track of emotions in their cars decked up with balloons and roses on St Valentine’s Day. Blame the weather, the cops or parental restrictions for it, there was no outburst of sentiments on the geri route at least in the morning hours.

Even Panjab University’s Student Centre and grounds in different colleges were without the cloak of red balloons fluttering in the air to herald the “once-upon-a-time” big day. In fact, there were more cops than lovers on the streets and campuses.

But, the ‘flowers of love’ did bloom under camouflage of bushes in gardens across the city with Shanti Kunj and Rose Garden taking the lead. Besides this, feelings steamed out of coffee cups in cafés. High-spirited close dancing also followed rounds of Vodka and other drinks in some of the discotheques. But that’s it. Nothing more! Nothing less!

Everyone bred on Valentine’s spirit waited for the celebrations to gain momentum. “We reached the geri route early, hoping to catch some action, but found only the cops and a couple of forlorn balloon sellers patrolling the streets,” said college student Harneet Singh. “I and my friends have been hanging around the Arts College since then for things to get started. But I guess the weather has thrown a wet blanket over the celebrations”.

Leaving nothing to chance, the cops barricaded the entrance and exit points at Sector 10 market. “If the residents were put to inconvenience and the business of shopkeepers suffered, because of their action, then they seemed to be least bothered about it,” said Anil Pal Singh Shergill, an advocate and a resident of Sector 10. “In any case, the cops realised the futility of the entire operation and lifted the barricades by afternoon. Still, nothing happened”.

On the varsity grounds, the youngsters realised that love doesn’t live on the campus, anymore. “The couples are too busy with themselves. Others are either too bored or too scared of the men-in-khaki,” said two students from the English Department. “To make the matters worse, rumours about the presence of activists belonging to a political party too scared the guys away”.

Elaborating upon the grapevine, they said: Anyone caught giving roses to a girl would be married off to her. It may sound incredible but it actually made the youngsters apprehensive about their safety and freedom.

The scene was not very different in and around the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Government College and Sector 10 DAV College. It was cops all the way, stopping vehicles and throwing a spanner in the celebrations.

In Leisure Valley and some other green belts across the city, the situation turned ugly as some self-styled social workers indulged in “moral policing”. Some of the couples, whispering sweet nothings over the cacophony of affection alleged that they were forced to leave the place. At the Sukhna Lake, however, it was serene love as couples enjoyed each other’s company, away from the maddening crowd.

It was only in discotheques in the evening that tearing excitement broke loose. Soon after the cops left the scene and sun pushed the clouds away, enthusiastic revellers rushed out in wildly honking semi-limousines with music blaring at full volume.

At “X-Over”, “Blue Ice”, “Antidote” and “The Taj, Chandigarh”, it was excitement all the way as the youngsters cut foot loose to the thumping beats of reverberating music. For the not so young, the Taj, Chandigarh, had made special arrangements as the hotel played host to the senior citizens.

RANG MEIN BAJRANG: Marry or move
9 activists held for creating nuisance

The local police today arrested nine activists of the Bajrang Dal for forcing couples sitting in gardens to either marry or stop the ‘indecent’ display of affection at public places. The activists were also carrying garlands and havan-kund along with them to solmenise the ‘marriages’.

The activists were seen moving around the favourite hangouts of lovebirds, like parks, Leisure Valley, Panjab University and in Sector 17, Plaza. In Sector 17 they even purchased flowers and balloons from the shops and burnt them in order to register their protest.

Sources in Sector 36 police station said nine activists of the Bajrang Dal were rounded up this morning from a park on the charges of disturbing people and creating nuisance. It was alleged that they were forcing couples to leave the place by asking them to marry if they loved each other. Later, they were arrested under Sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal procedure Code for breach of peace as a preventive measure. They were released by the court later in the day.

The activists told TNS that they were protesting against the western invasion of Indian culture. They said if the Administration did not curb this menace next year then they would target gift shops and other places too.

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Bed and breakfast scheme for tourists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The Chandigarh Administration would launch bed and breakfast scheme for accommodating tourists in the city. This was decided at a meeting conducted by the Tourism Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan.

As per the government scheme, the Department of Tourism would seek applications shortly from interested house owners for accommodating tourists under the scheme.

The tourists and visitors will have a low-cost option to stay overnight in Chandigarh. Most of such visitors will leave after breakfast for other destinations. House owners with sufficient space and parking facility would be considered for the scheme.

The scheme will be different from the Paying Guest accommodation scheme, which provides for long-term and medium-term stay. Rental will be fixed by the Department of Tourism as per norms specified for the scheme by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. This would provide the requisite necessary additional facility towards making Chandigarh a tourist destination.

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PU grants golden chance on diamond jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
It’s raining “golden chances” on the occasion of the diamond jubilee celebrations of Panjab University here. The university has decided to allow candidates having compartment from 1989 onwards a special chance to pass their degree and all candidates from 1980 onwards to improve their marks in various graduate and postgraduate examinations.

According to PU Controller of Examinations, the university has granted one special chance to all those students who were placed under compartment in BA/BSc/BCom/BBA/BCA/Prak Shastri/Shastri/BSc (Home Science) examinations but could not clear the compartment examination between April, 1989, and April, 2006.

A special chance has also been granted to all those candidates who reappeared in MA examinations but could not clear the exam between April, 1989, and April, 2006.

According to the Controller, all such students can appear in the compartment/reappear examinations either in April, 2007, or September, 2007. The candidate will have to appear in the examination according to the latest syllabi and the chance has been granted to all such students irrespective of the fact whether they had earlier availed themselves of a chance and/or special chance if any already granted by the university.

The examination fee for the special chance is Rs 3,000 per examination and the last date for the receipt of the examination form along with examination fee of Rs 3,000 for April examination is fixed as March 5, 2007.

No admission form for the special chance will be allowed after March 5, as the candidates can avail themselves of the chance either in April, 2007, or September, 2007. The last date for the September examination will be the same as the common examination schedule for the year 2007 already circulated by the university.

Students who have already submitted their examination forms along with normal examination fee for private candidates for appearing in the full subjects examination and are now interested to appear in the compartment subject by availing themselves of the special chance are required to fill in the fresh examination form with the fee.

The university has also decided to grant a special chance to students to improve their performance of BA/BSc/BCom/MA/MSc in April, 2007, or April, 2008, examination. The chance is for those students who had passed their respective examination between April, 1980, and April, 2005, irrespective of the fact that whether those candidates had already availed themselves of the admissible chances and/or special chance already given by the university for the improvement of performance.

Such students will have to appear in the examination according to the latest syllabi applicable in April, 2007, or April, 2008, examination as the case may be.

In case the subjects/papers are not available in the April, 2007, or April, 2008, scheme of examination and syllabi, the candidate can repeat the entire examination in 2007 or 2008.

The examination fee for this chance will be the same as the compartment examination and the last date for the receipt of application form is also the same.

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Ex-student held for defrauding college
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
A former student of Shri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, was arrested on the allegations of defrauding the college of over Rs 40 lakh by withdrawing the money forging signatures of college Principal.

The accused, Rajneesh Ranjan (29) of Kansal village, was arrested on Tuesday night after a case of cheating and forgery was registered against him. He was produced before a local court today which sent him to two-day police remand.

Sources in the Economic Offences Wing of the Chandigarh Police said the accused has admitted to his crime. He told the officials that he had used the entire amount. Hailing from Bihar, he passed out of the college in 1998. He was married about five years ago and has a son. He was working as an online share broker.

He purchased a Maruti Zen, a house worth about Rs 24 lakh and other things with the amount. The cheque book used by him to withdraw the money was issued in 2002, said a police officer.

Sources said the records of the State Bank of India, Sector 7 branch of which the college is a customer, were also being checked.

The connivance of the certain bank officials and also of college staff could not be ruled out in the fraud as no one ever raised questions over the way the amount was withdrawn and where it was going, he said.

About the bank the police said they did not check before making payments on old cheques while new cheque books were issued to the college. The college on its part did not check where the large amount has been going over the past many years.

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Higher education pressing need of nation, says expert
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
“Higher education is the most pressing need of a nation whose 25 per cent of the population is below 15 years of age,” said Mr Amarjit Singh Sodhi, Chairman of the Sikh Human Development Foundation, USA today.

A former bureaucrat and a consultant with the World Bank, Mr Sodhi is in the city to generate awareness about the education scholarships offered by his foundation. “The Sikh Human Development Foundation is a non-profit organisation and was started in 1999 by a set of like-minded persons from different fields and professions. We are solely focused on granting scholarships to needy but talented and deserving Indian students for pursuing higher education,” he said.

The foundation began with 24 students in 2001 and this year the number of students who have been given these scholarships has gone up to about 150.

“We aim to increase this number to at least 500 in the coming few years and the long-term plan is to take it up to a thousand,” said Mr Sodhi.

The foundation is now being registered in India so that the local community can also be involved to raise funds for the endowment fund created from where these scholarships are granted.

“The amounts that are collected as part of the fund are used only for scholarships. The travelling and other expenses of the members, including myself, are not taken out of the fund,” he added.

The foundation has helped many students to become doctors, engineers, nurses etc. “We believe that there are thousands of children out there who are talented and bright but cannot afford to take admission in good engineering and medical colleges. We are trying to bridge that gap,” he said.

The foundation has tied up with Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, for identifying such needy students. “The Vice-Chancellors have high-powered committees working under them to screen applications for these scholarships and recommend the most deserving of cases. We are generally able to accommodate most of them but only after a screening is done at our stage,” explained Mr Sodhi.

Other than these universities the foundation has an understanding with the Nishkaam Sikh Welfare Organisation, New Delhi, to screen applications and recommend cases.

Mr Sodhi also pointed out that the foundation was not working only for Sikh students but every needy student regardless of caste creed religion.

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MC approves budget estimates of Rs 215.70 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, at its meeting held here today approved the budget estimates for 2007-08 of Rs. 215.70 crore under plan head and Rs. 204.69 crore under the non-plan head.

The House of the corporation at its next meeting will deliberate on the budget.

The budget provides a quantum jump in allocations on plan side against the current financial year estimates of Rs. 187.54 crore under the plan head. The proposal for the next financial year is Rs. 215.70 crore. Thus there is an increase of 15.02 per cent.

In order to execute the various plans, the budgetary support in the shape of grant- in-aid to the tune of Rs. 172.98 crore is anticipated from the UT Administration during 2006-07.

On the other hand increase in the non-plan budget over current is 12.95 per cent with estimated provisions of Rs. 204.69 crore against last years Rs. 181.22 crore. Another noteworthy feature of the budget proposals is that no additional levies or increase in the rate of existing levies has been proposed in the budget and the citizens have not been burdened with any additional liability. The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Ms. Harjinder Kaur, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr. P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and other members of all the committee, including Mr. M.P.S. Chawla, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, Mr. Rajesh Kumar, Mr. Kuldip Singh, Mrs. Kamlesh and other officers of the Municipal Corporation also attended the meeting.

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Student staged kidnapping to avoid exam
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
It was a mobile phone that got Sector 26 St John’s School student Kunaldeep Singh in trouble. Instead of proving to be an asset, the record of calls made from it has now established that the student staged the kidnapping to avoid social studies paper.

Sharing details of the probe, the sources in the police said the investigating officials procured call details of the mobile phone used by the boy on the day he was allegedly kidnapped. A scrutiny of the call details revealed that a call was made from the phone to a social study teacher of the St John’s School.

Talking to TNS, the teacher, preferring anonymity, stated that someone claiming to be father of Kunaldeep approached him that day from a mobile phone asking him for a favour. The caller told him that his child could not prepare for the forthcoming social study exam and was afraid of it. The caller further asked him to reveal the question paper to help the child.

The teacher asserted that he outrightly refused the request and told the caller that it was unethical and he could not do anything in this regard.

Sources in the police said they contacted the teacher after they saw his number in the record. In fact, the police got all the more suspicious after the alleged victim’s classmates said the boy did not appear in science paper earlier also. After learning this, the police traced the teacher and procured a written statement from him about the entire episode.

The police said it might recommend the cancellation of the kidnapping case registered against unknown persons if the facts about his staging the abduction were established in the probe. There was no eyewitness to the alleged kidnapping, which took place in the busy Sector 22 market that too around 8 pm, is also surprising the investigating officers. The police said the boy could not provide any details about the description of his alleged kidnappers and also make of the car in which he was carried.

Talking to TNS, the victim’s mother said no police officer had visited them to record the statement of the boy. She said the boy was puzzled and they did not ask him anything about the incident so far.

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Record voting at Kharar
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
Voters in the Kharar Assembly constituency threw surprises on the polling day yesterday by recording a turnout of 69.54 per cent which is said to be the highest as compared to previous years.

Out of a total of 2,44,587 voters registered in the Kharar constituency , as many as 1,70,085 voted yesterday. As many as 80,237 women voted in the constituency.

The percentage of voting in the rural areas of the constituency was higher as compared to that in Mohali and Kharar. As many as 84,021 votes were cast in the rural areas out of a total of 1,05,590 putting the percentage at 79.57. In Mohali and Kharar 86,064 persons cast their votes out of a total of 1,38,997 and the percentage of voting in the two towns was 61.92.

The highest polling in the Kharar constituency was recorded at booth number 80 set up in Government Elementary School, Maujpur, which stood at 90.79 per cent while the lowest polling was recorded at booth number 182-D set up in Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 68, Mohali, which was only 44.53 per cent.

Other booths which recorded quite a high percentage of voting were located in Government Elementary School Majatri (88.37) , Government Elementary School, Machhipur, (88. 18), Government Elementray School, Jhugian, (88.07) and Government Elementary School, Rurki Pukhta, (87.73).

The booths where polling remained very low comparatively were set up in Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71 , Mohali (44.87), Government Elementary School, Mundi Kharar, (50.88), Office of the PUDA nursery in Phase IX, Mohali, (51.20) and Housefed Complex, Phase X, Mohali (51.68).

The voter turnout was higher in Kharar as compared to that in Mohali. In Kharar 78.21 per cent voting was recorded at a booth located in Arya Kanya Mahavidyalaya while the highest percentage of voting in Mohali stood only at 73.46 at a booth located in Government School, Phase XI. In Kharar the voting percentage varied between 78.21 and 50.88 while in Mohali it varied between 73.46 and 44. 53.

However, an interesting fact that came to light was that at some polling booths located in Mohali and Kharar women voters had outnumbered male voters.

In Mohali more women had cast their votes at 13 booths as compared to men. At a booth set up in PUDA nursery in Phase IX 317 women had exercised their fundamental right while only 281 men had cast their votes. Similarly, 391 women had cast their votes at a booth in Mohali Public School, Phase X, while only 367 men exercised their franchise there.

In Kharar women-voter turnout was more at five booths. As many as 418 women cast their votes at a booth set up in the BDPO’s office while only 372 men exercised their voting right there .

At two polling booths located in Kharar and Mohali the number of male and female voters was equal. While 392 votes each were cast by members of both the sexes at a booth in the BDPO’s office in Kharar, 259 votes each were cast at a booth set up in Shishu Niketan Public School, Sector 66, Mohali.

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EVMs under 3-tier security
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
The vote-counting centre for the Kharar Assembly constituency set up in Shivalik Public School here has been provided a three-tier security.

The inner security cover is being provided by the Central Industrial Security Force ( CISF) while police personnel from the district were providing two outer security rings.

As many as 13 jawans of the CISF, headed by an Inspector, were on internal security duty while one platoon, comprising 30 personnel, headed by an Inspector, were deployed to maintain the outer security cover. The force has been equipped with wireless sets .

The fate of 12 contestants from the Kharar Assembly constituency lies in the electronic voting machines which were kept in a strong room in the counting centre late last night after the polling came to an end in the constituency.

The counting of votes will take place on February 27.

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I-cards must in cyber cafes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The District Magistrate, Chandigarh Administration, has prohibited the use of Internet in cyber cafes by unknown person whose identification will not be established by owner of the café.

Cyber cafe owners have been asked to maintain a register for identity of visitor/user by making their entry.

The visitor will make entry in his handwriting, along with address, telephone number and identity proof and sign the register kept for this purpose. 

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Villagers seek extension of lal dora limits
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
Villagers of 30 panchayats led by president of the Ilaka Bachao Sangharsh Samiti Swaran Singh and secretary of the samiti Bhag Singh, members of the panchyats submitted a seven-point memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

They held that while Chandigarh and Punjab had extended the lal dora limits in view of the manifold increase in population, Haryana had not done so despite a constant demand from the public.

They also sought an immediate end to the frequent notices received from the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) which, they claimed, was unjustified. They also threatened to launch a stir if their demand was not accepted.

They added that separate representations had been handed over to the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, the local Member of Parliament, Ms Selja, and other officers of the department concerned.

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Shiv Sainiks break hearts on V-Day
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
If rain played spoilsport on Valentine's Day, forcing lovers to take shelter indoors, Shiv Sainiks "cracked the whip" for the adventurous few, who dared to step into the gardens to enjoy romance under the overcast sky today.

Activists of the Shiv Sena (Hindustan) and the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), led by their local leaders, made rounds of all gardens to give lessons of the Indian culture to couples.

Everywhere they went, from the Cactus Garden to the City Centre, from Yavnika to the Sector 10 market, they had just one lesson to teach -- the youth must resist the temptation to adopt the Western culture as the Indian culture did not provide such an open show of love.

While some coy couple just eased themselves out of the "sticky" situation and left for another haunt away from the "maddening crowds", some others, particularly girls, challenged the Shiv Sainiks.

"We have come to see the garden. What is wrong with that? Have you caught us in a compromising position? Why giving us all this lecture on morality and culture? What authority do you have to carry out this moral policing," the girls asked even as the stunned Sainiks beat a retreat.

In open gypsies, raising slogans, they covered the entire city even as cops did little to stop this "show of strength", before the Sainiks of the Thackeray group reached Sector 10.

It was here that the police caught up with them and arrested three persons, Suresh Chaudhary, a resident of Sector 18 and the president of the group, Chandigarh resident Sanjay Darjee and Hari Sharma of Sector 10. They were booked for wrongly parking their vehicles in the middle of the road and were subsequently arrested. 

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Book on hospital designing released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
“Step by Step - Hospital Designing,” a book jointly authored by two city architects, Mr Sangeet Sharma and Ms Purima Sharma, was released at the annual meeting of A3 Foundation, a body promoting research in sustainable art and architecture, here yesterday.

The authors are also the founder directors of the foundation and continuously pursue sustainable designs in their projects.

The book elaborately illustrates as it has an articulated data for reference for planning of clinics, small and large hospitals.

The book also includes chapters on alternative healing methods besides planning principles of all disciplines of services that make a successful hospital. The authors have a first-hand experience in designing of multispeciality hospitals in the region.

The book has been published by Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (Pvt) Ltd and supplemented by a CD of the book.

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Jean Rodrigues visits Rajasthan crafts fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of UT Administrator Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd), was a surprise visitor at the ongoing Rajasthan crafts fair at Rajasthan Bhavan in Sector 33 today. Ms Rodrigues, who hails from Mt. Abu, praised the handicraft items on display at the exhibition. She purchased Jaipuri quilts and a Rajasthani lehenga from the stalls.

Besides traditional handicrafts on display at the exhibition, typical Rajasthani cuisine was the speciality of the day and was appreciated by the large number of city residents visiting the fair.

Mr Mukesh Manot, a chef from Jodhpur, along with his team of 10 cooks, laid out a rich fare of traditional dishes, including 'ghatta ki khichadi' with 'besan ke gatte', which were a blend of conventional herbs and condiments cooked in mustard oil, served with meethi chutney, arhar dal , besan badi and mixed green vegetables.

The sumptuous meal was followed by the traditional dessert 'binaaz', sweetened rice cooked in pure ghee with dry fruits.

Meanwhile, on the fourth day of the festival, folk dancers from Bikaner danced their way into the hearts of the people with their colourful costumes and touching folklore of the desert state.

The love saga of 'Moomal and Mahender' was beautifully showcased in the dance kacchi ghori in which the performer uses a horse model as a prop.

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Man dies of excessive drinking
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
A resident of Raipur Khurd village died after allegedly consuming excess liquor.

According to reports, Swarn Singh (35), who worked as a mason, was found lying dead by his mother yesterday. It is alleged that he was consuming excess liquor for the past many days as it was being distributed by various candidates in connection with the Assembly elections.

Mr Gurmel Singh, sarpanch of the village, said even though the authorities had banned the distribution of liquor to win over voters, it was freely distributed by certain candidates.

He said the wife of the deceased had died about a year ago and now Swarn Singh had left behind two daughters and two sons. He demanded a compensation for the children who had become orphans.

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Man found dead in Sec 41

Chandigarh, February 14
A 50-year-old unidentified man was found dead near a taxi stand in Sector 41 this morning. Ruling out possibility of any foul play behind the death the police said the man probably died of cold.

The police said they received information at around 10 am from the taxi stand operators informing them that a man wrapped in a blanket was lying dead near their stand. No visible injury mark was found on the body.

The body has been shifted to the sector 16 General hospital. The police said the exact cause of death would be ascertained after the post mortem. — TNS

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Indo-Rama superstore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Indo-Rama Retail Holdings today announced the launch of its first Office1Superstore in Sector 34 today. This will be the first franchisee Office1 Superstore to be launched in the country as the other stores are company-owned.

This Office1Superstore will be a one-stop solution for all home, school, office and institutional needs. This concept will redefine the otherwise unorganised office supplies market in the city and region, said Mr Vishal Lohia, Director, Indo Rama Retail Holdings.

“Office1Superstore being an international brand would offer the customers superior quality products and convenience of one stop shopping. It would offer over 3000 items in over 20 product categories and more than 100 local, private labels and international brands,” he said.

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Biz Clips

Loan Mela: A home loan mela will be organised by the State Bank of Patiala at its main branch in Kalka on February 17. Mr S.C Dhall, Branch Manager, said for this mela the bank will charge only 9.25 per cent interest for a loan up to five years and 9.5 per cent interest for a loan for a period between five to15 years. These are the lowest interest rates being offered in the market, he said. — TNS

Allahabad Bank scheme: Allahabad Bank has launched a new scheme called the Champion Deposit Scheme, which will provide customers higher interest income on term deposits. This scheme provides an interest of 9.10 per cent for a period of three years. The annual yield under the scheme works out to be 10.33 per cent, informed Mr V.K Chawla, Deputy General Manager, Chandigarh Zone. — TNS

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