C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Lapses in issuing occupation certificates
4 Estate Office men under scanner
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Serious violations of the building bylaws and misrepresentation of facts while issuing occupation certificates to a number of plots holders in the late nineties have come to light.

A probe ordered by the Chandigarh Administration into the conduct of certain officials of the Building Branch of the Estate Office has exposed that recommendations/decision of the Plan Approval Committee (PAC), Upper, was ignored while issuing “conditional occupation certificates”. The plot holders were never issued “regular occupation certificates.”

Active role of four officials, including two still posted in the Building Branch, has been exposed, said sources in the UT Vigilance Department. One of the official under the scanner, Mr B.S. Sidhu, a former SDO (Building), has retired long back and is learnt to have gone abroad.

The findings of the probe, which was ordered by the Finance Secretary-cum-Chief Administrator, have been sent to the UT Vigilance Department for necessary action.

The sources said on receiving similar complaints in at least 18 such cases, the Finance Secretary had directed the Estate Office to inquire into the matter. Since the names of erring officials were not pointed out in the original inquiry, conducted in December 1999, the Estate Officer had directed a HCS officer, Mr S.K. Setia, to hold a preliminary inquiry into the matter in December, 2005.

The sources confirmed that it had received a copy of the inquiry report. It is learnt that for the past few months, certain officials of the Building Branch have been frequenting the Vigilance Office. The Senior Superintendent (Operations), Mr Dinesh Bhatt, said he could comment only after going through the report.

Other officials who named have figured in the probe are Mr Vipin Gupta, presently posted in Raj Bhavan, Mr Ashok Verma and Mr Brij Mohan, both posted in the Building Branch. These officials were posted in the Building Branch when the irregularities were allegedly committed.

It is pertinent to mention that two years before the practice of issuing conditional occupation certificate was withdrawn by the Estate Office, hundreds of allottees of residential, commercial and industrial plots were issued conditional occupation certificate for a period ranging from three months to six months. Some housing societies had been occupied on the basis of conditional occupation certificate.

In April 2004, the then Finance Secretary in a letter written to the Estate Office had categorically stated that all such cases where conditional occupation certificate had been issued should be inspected within a specific time frame and a report be send to his office.

The lack of record of such plots has resulted in absence of information about the extent of violations of building bylaws, which otherwise would have been known at the time of inspection for a regular occupation certificate.

The aspect is covered under the Punjab Capital Act (Building Rules), 1952. The officials concerned were asked to maintain a register for all such cases. No conditional occupation certificate could be issued as there was no provision under the rules, the letter stated.

Till date neither there was any record of such cases, nor a register had been maintained for the purpose. Certain officials of the Building Branch who are said to be responsible for the errors have again found their way back into the same branch.

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‘Interest rate war’ among banks in tricity
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The deregulation of interest rates offered by the commercial banks on short terms deposits has led to an ‘interest war’ among banks which has adversely affected the deposit mobilization of most banks in the tricity.

Banks in the tricity are desperately competing with each other by offering the highest rates on short term deposits to retain or gain the cash-rich semi-government bodies (boards and corporations) two governments and Chandigarh Administration as their clients. Though the state government and UT Administration have their deposits with State Bank of India, State Bank of Patiala and Punjab National Bank, the boards and corporations of Punjab and Haryana have their deposits in the other banks.

Now, in order to woo these cash-rich clients, most of the banks are trying to woo them by offering interest at the rate of 10 per cent on short-term bulk deposits for one year. Recently, a leading public sector bank has offered 10. 25 per cent as rate of interest to one of the most cash rich board of Haryana, for a deposit of Rs 135 crore.

In this new era of deregulation, the fall-out of this ‘interest war’ is going to be significant since the tricity has the highest concentration of banks and the largest number of cash-rich semi-government bodies (boards and corporations), two governments and Chandigarh Administration.

These bodies and governments have huge cash that have to be deposited for short term thereby enabling these bodies to earn interest and augment their profits.

With the public sector banks feeling threatened, the private sector banks are now seeking permission from their Head Offices to offer higher rates of interest. Many private sector banks are offering 10 per cent and above rates of interest for a period of three months. As a result, the public sector banks are losing the bulk deposits, running into hundreds of crores, to these private banks.

In fact, now the government and semi-government bodies, in an effort to get the maximum benefit, are calling for bids from the various banks. Whosoever offers the highest rate of interest, gets the short term deposits of the body.

Bank officials say that these bodies, which have bulk deposits, include Haryana Urban Development Authority, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, Haryana Marketing Board, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Haryana Police Housing Corporation, etc.

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Panchkula constituency bifurcated
Rural pockets separated from the urban
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 16
With the delimitation process complete and final, Panchkula district is now officially a "divided" house with two constituencies, Panchkula and Kalka, to its credit. While most politicians have welcomed the decision to make the constituency more "manageable", the bifurcation is likely to throw up new faces in the election fray in the times to come.

Essentially a Congress stronghold with the district having returned Congress supremo, Mr Bhajan Lal's elder son, Chander Mohan, in the last four consecutive elections held since its formation, the carving of another constituency has raised the hopes of other aspirants as well while infusing new life into district units of other parties as well.

With the constituency's profile changed to an urban seat with the division, Panchkula, will have a population of nearly 2.56 lakh of which nearly 1.5 lakh are voters. The constituency will include the area under the municipal council, Saketri, Chandimandir, Bir Ghaggar, Barwala, Ramgarh, Batod and nearly 72 villages.

The Kalka constituency would include nearly 200 villages besides Morni, Raipur Rani, Doon and Raiten areas among others. In the present scenario, the seat would have nearly 1.10 lakh votes in a population of 2.11 lakh.

While sitting MLA and Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, would be allowed to take his pick from the two constituencies, among the other front runners, likely to be in the contest from the "other seat" are Om Prakash Devinanagar, the district president as also Varinder Bhau.

With the in the district, the BJP, too, is hopeful of securing its maiden win from the district and making in roads into the vote bank. While senior leader Gian Chand Gupta is a strong contender and would fight from Panchkula in all probability, Nardev Sharma, Harvilas Jindal and Sucha Singh are all active in the Kalka belt and would try their luck there. Shamlal Bansal, the BJP candidate from Panchkula, who has lost successive elections to Chander Mohan, before Gupta arrived on the scene, would be shifted out if he wants to contest.

In the Indian National Lok Dal, senior leader Pradeep Chaudhary, too, will have the option of making his choice between the seats of Panchkula and Kalka though there are aspirants for the party ticket from both places. With Gujjar settlements mushrooming in Kalka, it could well be his choice though he has contested from Panchkula in the past. District president Ram Gopal Mehta and Balwant Bhimkar from Pinjore and Manoj Aggarwal and Dilbagh Nain would also be in the race from Panchkula.

So, as the race hots up and prospective candidates warm up to the public, politicians across party lines maintain that the carving of a new constituency would lead to better management of resources and greater appeasement of the people.

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48 Squadron boasts of its women officers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
As the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, listed out a string of achievements by the IAF’s Chandigarh-based 48 Squadron after presenting the President’s Standard at Bhuj, one aspect of the squadron went largely unnoticed. With six women officers on its strength, it has perhaps the largest compliment of women officers in any transport squadron.

“Five women pilots and a women technical officer posted in the squadron at one point of time is no doubt a good number,” the squadron’s Commanding Officer, Gp Capt Parag Sharma, told The Tribune on the sidelines of the President’s Standard presentation ceremony at Bhuj yesterday.

The senior-most among women fliers in the squadron, also known as ‘Camels’, is Sqn Ldr Indu Nair, who is from the second batch of the IAF women pilots. Categorized as “Fully Ops”, denoting that she is qualified to undertake any operational task, she has logged 3,500 flying hours out of which 2,300 hours have been over the treacherous terrain in the northern region and the Siachen.

Two other women pilots from this squadron are qualified to fly in the mountainous terrain. The youngest among the women fliers is Flying Officer Shruti Chauhan, who joined the ‘Camels’ just about four months ago. Women officers were also present at the ceremony and took part in the parade.

In fact there have been numerous occasions when the pilot and co-pilot on a sortie have been women officers. “At the squadron we encourage women pilots to fly together and the Air Force too is keen on this,” Gp Capt Sharma said.

Another transport unit at Chandigarh, No.25 Squadron, has two women pilots and two technical officers. This squadron operates AN-32 as well as the heavy-lift IL-76 aircraft.

Though women are flying AN-32, Avro and Dornier transport aircraft, the IL-76 is still out of their reach.

Senior Air Force officers say that only pilots with a specified length of service, those who have qualified as flying instructors and have “master green” flying rating and category-A instrument rating can move on to the IL-76. Women pilots are yet to reach that sphere, with sources revealing that at present there is no woman-flying instructor in the IAF.

Unlike in the civil aviation sector, the IAF cannot boast of an all-women’s crew as yet because there are no women navigators in the force. Though the navigation branch is open to women aspirants, there have been none so far. There have been instances though of women pilots in the cockpit and women air traffic controllers manning the ground stations.

The IAF has about 50 women pilots, who fly light and medium transport aircraft and helicopters. With the exception of the Delhi-based Communications Squadron, responsible for VVIP transport, all fixed-wing transport squadrons of the IAF have women pilots.

The reason for the Communication Squadron, which has the largest number of officers in any IAF squadron, is that only senior pilots having specified professional rating and service are deputed to it.

With the term of engagement for women pilots being increased from 10 to 14 years, it may be possible for them to move on to IL-76 aircraft or the Communications Squadron, the sources said.

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UT Administration to model city on Delhi lines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The Chandigarh Administration wants to study the functioning of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission. A senior official said studying the success and failures of the Delhi Commission would enable the administration to model the commission for the city as per its needs and requirements.

Sources disclosed that the administration had written to the Delhi Government to get a feed back on the Delhi Commission. There were certain controversies related to the Delhi Commission.

Meanwhile, in its reply sent to the Union Government, the Chandigarh Administration has divided the projects in to five following categories:

Projects already finalised/ sanctioned

Equestrian academy, Sarangpur ; Tourist Bus Parking, Sanagpur; Sports Complex, Sector 52; 500 bed hospital, Sector 53; Business college of Commerce, Sector 50; Cattle village, Maloya; Aquatic Park near Sukhna Lake; Development of Industrial Area, Phase III; Steel yard, Daria second Transport Area, Sector 56 ; Bulk material Market, Sector 39; Multi Storied Parking, Sector 34; NCC Building, Sector 49; Financial Services Centre, Sector 34; re development of Grain Market, Sector 26; by pass from Chandigarh to Kharar, rehabilitation of street children in Maloya, State Judicial Academy and the District Judicial Complex

Projects where contractual obligations have been undertaken

Film city, Sarangpur; Amusement Park, Sarangpur; Educational City, Sarangpur; Milk Plant, Hallomajra; multi level parking, Sector 17; Nehru Centre for Performing Arts, Sector 34; Re development of Sub City centre, Sector 34; Raj Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park; route no. 2 to Panchkula; High Court lawyers Chambers; Development of Industrial Area, Phase I and II; Government institute of Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 31 and Centre for vocational Training, Sector 46.

Projects which form a part of the original character of Corbusier Master Plan

Eleven-storied building in Sector 17 and the museum of knowledge in the Capitol Complex

Projects approved by the ministries of the Government of India

Slum Rehabilitation scheme; terminal fruit and vegetable market; up gradation of the Chandigarh Airport and desiliting of Sukhna Lake (under consideration)

Projects that have been put on hold

Elevated highway from transport chowk to Fun republic; by pass to Industrial Area in Baddi; Late Beant Singh Memorial Convention Centre, Sector 42; construction of multi storied towers in Sub City Centre, Sector 34; exhibition and convention centre, Sector 31; second Gold Course near Maloya; Relaxation of building bylaws to regularise violations; Multi-storied housing complexes of CHB in Sector 63; Planetarium in Sector 53; Dental College, Sector 38; Cactus Garden, Sector 23 and Motor Sports, Maloya.

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Allow need-based changes: marla house owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Occupants of the marla houses have decried the double speak of the Chandigarh Administration.

While it is going all out to attract private investors for new projects, the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs to give one-time relaxation in the building bylaws in the marla houses had not been fully been implemented by the Chandigarh Administration, said association members.

The issue of general houses of the salaried class should be given priority as compared to multiplexes, IT and other development projects.

The relaxations which have been given were of little use to the occupants. Instead of deciding on the issue which has been pending for the last five years, the Administration has put the issue among the list of projects put on hold in light of the proposed Urban Arts Commission.

“The issue concerns houses of original inhabitants of the city. With growing families, there needs for space are also increasing. The Administration should be realistic in their approach, said Mr Surinder Chauhan, President of the Chandigarh Marlas/ Flats Residents Welfare Association.

Highlighting the issue, the welfare association lamented that despite a meeting of the Administration officials with the representatives of the marla houses, no need-based changes had been allowed.

On the issue of the building bylaws, the committee had pointed out the situation in the city had more or less arose in Delhi in the past after the courts passed orders to demolish the unauthorised structures. The Central Government stepped in and enacted a special legislation to give relief to the residents.

To avoid such a situation in the city, the Administration needed to have a practical look and come up with a new mechanism, keeping in mind the needs of expanding families, said the association while referring to the report of the Parliamentary Committee which had been tabled in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

“But, despite the assurance of the senior officials to have a liberal view, the Estate Office had been following a pick-and-choose policy while targeting the violations. Though 99 per cent of the house owners had committed building bylaw violations, yet only about 500 violators were being targeted. This had become a source of corruption, said the association.

Need-based rooms and toilets on the rear side of houses have led to demolitions and resumption notices to many a house owners”, said Mr Chauhan.

The association has also demanded that a survey of the entire city be conducted to find out the total need-based changes as about 99 per cent houses had violated the building bylaws. A uniform policy be framed to regularise need-based changes.

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Sector 7 roads: Society gets MC assurance
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 16
The Panchkula Estate Welfare Society, Sector 7, today, expressed its annoyance over the deteriorating conditions of the roads as compared to the roads of Sector 16 and Sector 17 which are recarpeted over and over again.

The General Secretary of the Society, Mr M L Sachdeva, said that in spite of meeting the authorities concerned, nothing had been done so far to redress their grievances.

Dr S K Chhabra, President Welfare Society, Sector 7, today, met Ms Manvir Kaur Gill, president of the municipal council and other officers, asking them to explain the reason for the "step-motherly treatment" to Sector 7. In their representation, they said that there were big potholes on the roads and only one non-functional light had been installed in a park.

Ms Gill assured the Welfare Society that all roads of Sector 7 would be recarpeted after the rains. She appreciated the efforts of the welfare society in pursuing their matters at a personal level by approaching the council.

Meanwhile, the president of the Panchkula Punjabi Sabha, Hemant Kinger, who sought details of works undertaken by the municipal council under the Right To Information Act, said that the amount of Rs 12 crore was too inflated.

He stated that in a survey conducted by the sabha, over 70 per cent of the roads still seemed to be crying for attention. He alleged that sub-standard material had been used for carpeting of roads.

Mr Kinger said that the MC should be asked to discontinue with the patch work to improve the condition of roads and an inquiry should be conducted into all the development works initiated in the city.

He said that the payments, if any, to the contractors should be stopped and in case they are found guilty, they should be asked to repair the roads again or recoveries should be made from them.

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Devotees throng Saketri temple on Mahashivratri
Tribune News Service

Devotees pay obeisance on the occasion of Shivratri at Pracheen Shiv Mandir in Sector 21, Chandigarh
Devotees pay obeisance on the occasion of Shivratri at Pracheen Shiv Mandir in Sector 21, Chandigarh, on Friday.
— Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Panchkula, February 16
As many as three lakh devotees from all over the region today gathered at the Sri Shiv Mandir, Mahadevpur, in Saketri, to pay obeisance on the occasion of Mahashivratri festival, here today.

As devotion spilled over to the roads, the entire temple premises resounded with slogans of "Om Namah Shivay". In fact, devotees began thronging the temple from 9 pm last night. As the doors of the ancient temple were thrown open at midnight, the devotees poured in to offer milk and fruit to the deity.

Since the wee hours, serpentine queues were witnessed outside the temple. No one complained even as they walked for over 3 km to reach the temple. Amidst reciting of shlokas and chants of ‘har har Mahadev’, people waited for over three to four hours for their turn to enter the shrine.

Other than the devotees, a large number of Kawarias, who bring the holy water of the Ganga and offer it to Lord Shiva, today converged at the temple, and offered it to the deity. A langar was organised by the Sri Shiv Mandir Nav Durga Charitable Trust, the Marble Traders Association and some other welfare organisations, on this occasion.

The district police had made security arrangements and at least five nakas had been set up at different points enroute the temple. A special counter for making announcements had been set up.

All along the way small shops had been set up, offering varied wares, including posters, trinkets, household items. Residents of Saketri village had set up kiosks along the route, where milk and fruits were being sold. The organisers of the Trust said nearly 30,000 litres of milk had been offered on the occasion.

The temple was decked up with flowers and colourful blinking lights to celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati during the Maha Shivratri. Prabhat pheris, havans, nagar kirtans and cultural programmes on Lord Shiva’s life were organised all over the city. As per tradition, different types of “rudrabhishek”, “bhasmabhishek” and “chatuperhari lingarchan” were also performed. Sweets were distributed among children, particularly those residing in the slums and colonies.

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Disabled engineer wins battle against electricity board
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Gurbir Singh Kochar
Gurbir Singh Kochar

Chandigarh, February 16
A severely-disabled engineer from the Punjab State Electricity Board has just managed to create history. Having suffered discrimination for long, he has successfully used the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD) to get from his employers what was his right.

But the road to justice has not been easy for Gurbir Singh Kochar, a patient of muscular dystrophy, who was promoted as senior XEN in 1999. He was, however, asked to join at Ropar Thermal Plant despite the fact that he was suffering from high degree of his disability.

“I could not join at Ropar because I am confined to a wheel chair and I am under treatment at the PGI. I made several representations to seniors but to no avail. Finally, I had to forego my promotion which meant I could not be considered for it over the next three years. Later, whereas the board relaxed the three-year condition for me, they did not protect my seniority. In the process, I was overtaken by 65 persons,” says Kochar, whose case was decided yesterday by the Disabilities Commissioner, Punjab.

Taking strict notice of the fact that the board did not take sympathetic view of Mr Kochar’s condition, the Disabilities Commissioner, Mr Harjit Singh, directed his employers to restore his seniority. The order was passed in the presence of Mr Kochar, his counsel and the representative of the board which was fighting against Mr Kochar on three grounds.

They said he wasn’t disabled when he joined the service, but Mr Kochar invoked legal provisions to prove that sections 46 and 47 of the PWD Act also provide protection to those who become disabled during the course of service. The Act clearly states “No establishment shall dispense with or reduce in rank an employee who acquires a disability during his service.”

Secondly, the Board maintained that Mr Kochar gave up his seniority on his own. But the truth was that he was forced to forego his promotion because he could not leave Chandigarh and join at Ropar due to his disability. Ironically, at the same time the post of a senior design engineer was lying vacant in the board’s hydel organization at Chandigarh where Mr Kochar was working. His requests to accommodate him against this post also fell on deaf ears.

Lastly, the board said it had promoted Mr Kochar by relaxing the “3-year cooling off period” which is applicable when officers forego their promotion. In doing so, however, the board did not protect Mr Kochar’s seniority which went down by 65 ranks. The Disabilities Commissioner, in his order, held that since the board was aware of Mr Kochar’s disability, it should have protected his seniority while offering him promotion. Otherwise, the whole meaning of promotion is lost.

With justice having been done, Mr Kochar can’t but feel relaxed. But, the fight has taken a toll on his health. He says, “It was very frustrating. It was like fighting two battles at a time - one against disability and the other against your own people. When I appeared before the mobile court conducted by the Chief Commissioner, Disability, in November last, I was shown meager hope. But I have managed to prove my point and I am happy,” says Mr Kochar, whose case will go a long way in inspiring others of his kind to battle for their rights.

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Speaking Out
Jagir issue has shaken confidence of public, feel residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Less than a month after the alleged incident of an attempt by a police Inspector, Mr Jagir Singh, to molest woman Sub-Inspector Paramjit Kaur Sekhon, hit headlines, the compromise-happy Chandigarh Police managed to convince both the warring cops to arrive at a compromise.

But, what has raised eyebrows is that the compromise formula was allowed to go ahead despite the fact that Inspector Jagir Singh apologised for his act.

If the cop was guilty, as acknowledged by him, why is the case not being pursued to a logical conclusion, wonder some prominent residents of the city? Here are some of the views.

Dr Surya ParkashDr Surya Parkash, Advocate, says that this is not the first instance of its kind as the episode reminds us of the infamous case of Rupan Deol Bajaj vs K.P.S. Gill. Such types of occurrences not only put question mark on the conduct and character of cops but also shake the confidence of general public in the police. If a woman police officer is not safe in police station, we can well imagine the plight of general public. In the case, admission of guilt by the police officer is something very serious but his immediate reinstatement after reaching compromise is more serious. Since the case involved the woman police officer, the FIR was promptly lodged. If an ordinary woman wants to complain against a police officer, the department would have dilly-dallied on the issue. A punishment of seven years is provided for this offence.

Dr D.N. JauharDr D.N. Jauhar, Professor of Law, Panjab University, says it is a matter pertaining to a disciplined force entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order. The message that has come out of this episode is that police officials are themselves indulging in unlawful activities, thereby lowering the image of the Chandigarh Police. The compromise may have served some purpose, but the damage to the image of the police can’t be undone. This incident has exposed the internal wrangling and groupism prevailing in the police department, which is totally uncalled for.

D.P. SinghMr D.P. Singh, former Principal, Government College, feels that this gave an poor impression of the police in the eyes of general public. If this is happening at this level in their (the police) own case then what people can expect from them. Restraint should have exercised instead of blowing up the issue. The compromise was on cards right from the very start. The authorities should have conducted proper inquiries before initiating any action.

Dr Yash Paul SharmaDr Yash Paul Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Cardiology, PGI, is of the view that to bring out the truth, some lie-detection tests should have conducted on both the officers involved in the case. It was not difficult for the police officers to get the facts had they showed some seriousness during the investigations. But it seemed the police was trying to make both the parties reach a compromise. The police department might be happy on the settlement of the case but it has tarnished the image of the Chandigarh Police, which is considered one of the best in the country. In my views, the judiciary should come forward on its own in such type of cases.

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Haryana objects to UT claim on land

Chandigarh, February 16
Despite claims of the Chandigarh Administration having solved its dispute with Haryana over the demarcation of inter-state boundary in Kishangarh village, officials of Haryana today again objected to UT claim over a part of land allotted to Parsvnath Developers for developing a residential colony.

The residential colony is part of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park being developed by Chandigarh Administration. Haryana has been claiming some part of the land which has been given to the private builder. Officials said that a joint demarcation exercise was started to demarcate the boundary. — TNS

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One held for abduction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Abduction: The Chandigarh Police has registered a case under sections 363/366 of the IPC at Manimajra police station against Sunny of Sector 20-A on the complaint of a lady resident of Mauli Jagran. In her complaint, she alleged that Sunny has abducted her daughter from her residence on December 26 from her residence. The police is investigating the case.

Fraud: The Sub-Inspector of the local CID branch, Shisha Singh lodged a complaint against a resident of Kaithal, Partap Singh at police station, Sector 26.

In his complaint he alleged that Partap Singh had taken Rs 3,30,000 from him on the pretext of sending his son abroad. But neither he sent his son abroad nor returned the money except Rs one lakh. The police has registered a case under section 420.

Gambling: The Special Investigation Cell of Chandigarh Police arrested Suresh Kumar of Sector 52 near a wine shop in the same sector yesterday for satta gambling at public place. The police recovered Rs 1065 from his possession. A case under sections 13 A/3/67 of Gambling Act has been registered at police station, Sector 36.

Stolen: Ms Bandna, a resident of Sector 38, reported that someone has stolen her Maruti car bearing number CH03B-7328 from Panjab University’s Library parking on February 13. The police has registered a case under section 379 of IPC at police station, Sector 11.

In another incident, Vikas Kumar of Sector 22 reported that two gold rings, one silver glass, two silver ‘pajebs’ two silver bangles, one ICD walkman and cash Rs 1000 were stolen from his residence yesterday after breaking the lock. The police has registered a case under sections 454/380 of IPC at police station, Sector 17.

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Two nabbed stealing streetlight wires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The staff of electric division of Municipal Corporation, working on V-3 road intersecting Sectors 29 and 31 under the supervision of JE incharge caught two miscreants red handed while they were stealing the street light electric wires from the existing street light system.

The staff also recovered pliers and wrench used for theft purpose from them. These miscreants were handed over to the police station, sector 31. Miscreants were also caught red handed on February 14 by the electrical staff at Madhya Marg near Durga nursery. They escaped forcibly but the bicycle and stolen items were recovered and handed over to the police control vehicle called on the spot.

The Municipal Corporation has ordered all the JE's and concerned staff to tighten the security on all roads and requested the police to apprehend such gangs/thieves who are frequently/regularly stealing the street light material in the city causing lot of public inconvenience by interrupting the street light.

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RBI launches electronic funds transfer
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced the National Electronics Funds Transfer (NEFT) to facilitate customers to transfer funds from one bank account to another in the country, within no time.

Unlike core banking, which allows for electronic transactions within the branches of a bank, this scheme will allow for inter- bank transactions also. This scheme would also reduce the time for ordinary money transfer clearance between two banks in different cities, from the present 10 days to two days.

The objective of the NEFT system is to establish an electronic funds transfer system to facilitate an efficient, secure, economical and expeditious system of funds transfer between banks in the banking sector, using SFMS messaging backbone. Though there is no upper value limit for putting through an individual NEFT transaction.

This system will be used only for transfer of Rs 1 lakh or above. RBI has said that for transactions below Rs 1 lakh, banks may encourage the customers to use other electronic methods of payment. NEFT transactions can also be made for amounts inclusive of the paisa component. Crores of bank customers across the country will benefit from this scheme.

RBI has approved the banks that can initiate this scheme, and only authorized branches can receive and send money under this scheme. A customer willing to avail the remittance facilities offered by a sending branch will have to submit an application form, authorizing the bank to debit the senders account and transfer funds to the beneficiary. The sender will just have to specify the date on which funds transfer should initiated.

Under this scheme, a bank may reject a customers request for funds if the customer has not placed funds at the disposal of the sending branch; or the funds placed is not adequate to cover the sum to be remitted and the service charge.

The remittance can also be rejected if the beneficiary details given by the sender are not adequate to identify the beneficiary by the bank. No service charges will be levied for inward funds transfers. However, the outward funds transfer will be charged at the rate of Rs 1. 50 per Rs 1,000 (the minimum service charge to be levied would be Rs 100 and maximum would be Rs 1,500).

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SBI to stress on customer service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The State Bank of India Officers' Association (Chandigarh Circle), which has 4,500 members spread over states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, is holding its Eighth General Council on February 18.

The Conference will be inaugurated by Mr O.P. Bhatt, Chairman of State Bank of India, while Mr T.S. Bhattacharya, Managing Director (C.B.) of SBI will be the Chief Guest.

Apart from top management functionaries of the SBI, top brass of Employees' and Officers' at all India level are also participating. Discussions will be held on retaining the banks number one position in the industry, with emphasis on customer service, improvement in service conditions of hospitals, emphasis on wage revision, merger and acquisition of banks etc.

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Defence-industry meet on Feb 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The defence production industry in India has traversed a long path from being reserved entirely for the public sector to moving towards greater participation from the private sector.

To create cross-linkages between the private sector and defence forces for long term benefit and to facilitate the indigenisation process of the Indian defence industry, the CII Chandigarh Council, is organising a defence-industry partnership meet on February 21 at the CII, Northern Region Headquarters, here. This was stated by Mr R M Khanna, Conference Chairman.

As many as 16 companies will be showcasing their core competencies in defence production at an exhibition being organised concurrently with the meet and the meet is envisaged to metamorphose into a major defence - industry interaction point in the years to come," Mr Khanna said.

Lt- Gen Daljeet Singh, General Officer, Commanding in Chief, Army Western Command, would be the guest of honour at the inaugural session and Mr T Ramachandru, Joint Secretary (Supplies), Ministry of Defence, Government of India will deliver the special address. The meet is being organised in association with the Ministry of Defence, Army Western Command and 3 Base Repair Depot, Indian Air Force.

Representatives from 65 companies from all over the country are expected to participate in the meet.

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