C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Periphery Control Act
CJ Bench to hear all cases
Mannish Chhibber

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain has ordered that all cases connected to the constitutionality of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952, be listed before it.

According to sources, there are over one dozen petitions pending before various Benches in which the constitutionality of the Periphery Act has been challenged.

A majority of these petitions have been filed by those whose land falls within the lal dora or is being acquired by the Chandigarh Administration.

In almost all cases, the petitioners have questioned the validity of the provisions of the Act, which they say stood outdated and were “anti-development.”

In 2005, the High Court had issued notice on a petition seeking quashing of the notification dated September 5, 1953, by which villages on the periphery of Chandigarh had been declared controlled areas as per Section 3 of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1953.

The petitioners have sought directions to the respondents, including the UT Administration, from interfering in the lives of the petitioners residing in the controlled areas for the past many decades.

Saying that the purpose of declaring large tracts of areas on the periphery of Chandigarh as controlled areas was to regulate development around the periphery, the petitioners have stated that the same virtually ended in 1966 when Chandigarh was declared Union Territory.

In another pending petition, the petitioners have claimed that the Periphery Act provided unbridled powers to the UT Administration without any guidelines. They have also pointed out that with the passage of time, several relaxations have been allowed in the Act, including coming up of Panchkula and Mohali townships. Similarly, the lal dora, which has had to be extended periodically keeping in view the population growth, has not been extended for the past over 50 years.

In 2003, Punjab Assembly’s committee on subordinate legislation had also recommended repealing of the Periphery Act, saying that it had become redundant and obsolete piece of legislation in view of the fresh pieces of legislation enacted in 1995.

At that time, it had been said that if the Act was annulled, it could provide relief to inhabitants of over 300 villages in the Punjab area on the periphery of Chandigarh.

Incidentally, the constitutionality of the Act is under challenge in some appeals pending in the Supreme Court. These include special leave petitions filed by the Punjab government against the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Anandgarh case.

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Tata move may zoom property rates 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Tata Housing Development Company (THDC) has bought about 22 acres of land in Kansal for Rs 106 crore from the Punjab MLAs Housing Society. As many as 139 MLAs are members of this society and each members has been promised Rs 82.5 lakh in cash and a four bedroom apartment worth approximately Rs 96 lakh by the Tata group.The investment per kanal per MLA was Rs 16 lakh when the land was bought almost 10 years ago.

The list of members of the ociety include both Congress and Akalis MLAs. The Badal family, BJP minister Tikshan Sud, Congress MP Preneet Kaur, Satpal Gosain, Tejpratap Singh, Jagir Kaur and many others are among the beneficiaries.

Charanjit Singh Attwal, deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha, said the Tatas were buying more land in the area and wished to colonise a large piece of land. “But I have no idea if the Tata project will require a change of land use since the area falls within Kansal village, which now forms a part of the Nayagaon NAC.”

While the MLAs have allegedly already received Rs 15 lakh as token money, the rest of the amount would be paid in installments. However, there’s a rider in the MoU and the draft proposal signed - that the MLAs would not be able to sell the flats to a third party and in case they have to, then the option available would be to sell it back to the Tatas.

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Mob attacks house of suspect teacher
Case transferred to crime branch
Tribune News Service

Sunil in Uttarakhand?

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune from Jagadhari, Sunil’s mother Phoolwati, said she had received a phone from someone claiming to be an assistant sub-inspector in the Uttarakhand police. He asked for Sunil’s description and his car number.

Phoolwati maintained that if her son had committed the crime, he should be publicly shot dead. 

Chandigarh, March 11
Enraged over alleged police inaction, families of two kidnapped schoolgirls, along with a crowd of more than hundred, stormed the Sector 19 residence of suspect Sunil Kumar.

For over two hours it was free for all with no policeman arriving at the site.The protesters smashed windowpanes and broke open the door of the house located at the first floor of the Officer’s Transit Flats. Thereafter, they marched toward the Sector 17 police station and staged a dharna there for more than two hours. At least six women collapsed during the protest.

In an attempt to pacify the mob, the senior superintendent of police ordered the transfer of the case to the crime branch. DSP Randhawa held a meeting with victims’ families.

The protesters, including children, holding placards, raised against the Chandigarh and Punjab Police. They assembled at the Sector 23 residence of Chamanpreet Kaur, one of the victims, from where they took out a procession and reached Sunil Kumar’s residence.

Chamanpreet’s father, Satwant Singh, his mother Pritam Kaur, wife Bhupinder Kaur and Keshav Ram Sharma, father of Nisha who was abducted from Nayagaon, demanded the arrest of Sunil Kumar, his wife Bhavna and others involved in the crime.

The mob barged into compound of the apartments and raised slogans against the accusedas well as his father and the police. At around 11:25 am, a police team reached there. However, it did nothing.The agitators threatened to stage a protest outside the Sector 22 Government Senior Secondary School.

Talking to mediapersons, Pritam Kaur alleged that five days had passed since the girls were kidnapped, but the stock reply of the police was: “We are investigating the matter.”

SHO Sukhdev Singh Bhullar of the 19 police station reached the spot at 11:40 am. He threatened the protesters that they would be booked for vandalism and asked his men to “capture the protestors on the video.”

The police today questioned two acquaintances of Sunil Kumar, Puneet, a student in a private institute, and Arvind Chandel, a swimming coach in a private school. 

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Fun Republic Case
I only obeyed orders: AE
Eyes now on big fish
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
On the plea for further probe on vital information disclosed by Assistant Engineer Brij Mohan in the case relating to building violations at Fun Republic, Mani Majra, the CBI today secured a two-day police remand.

The special court directed the CBI to again produce the AE on March 13. During arguments, the defence counsel argued that the AE was cooperating with the investigating agency.The CBI stated that further probing was required to know the way in which the wrong building plan was sanctioned, with or without the consent of senior officials.

The noting recorded by the AE to regularise the sanction plan was put on record before the special judge. While reading out his notings, the AE told the court that he had only obeyed orders of the Finance Secretary. The CBI officials said it was to be ascertained whether the facts about the violations had been put on record by the building branch while getting the building plans sanctioned.

The court asked the CBI sleuths about the delay in arresting SDO (building) TP Singh named in the FIR when the AE had already been arrested. The CBI said this would be done at the right time.

The officials believe that at some stage of the investigation, the role of top officials would come forth as certain approvals could be given on orders from the top alone.

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News Effect 
FIR in hand, SHO visits Bishu’s family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Less than a day after the plight of four-year-old Bishu, a road accident victim, was highlighted in these columns, the local police today handed over the FIR registered in the case to the victim’s family.

SHO Mani Ram Kadiyan of the Sector 26 police station Mani Ram Kadiyan paid a visit to the family and handed over the report to them.The police also assured assistance to the family. The SHo told the family that efforts were on to trace the errant driver. The vehicle was registered in the name of one Pushpa Rani of Sector 43, who was now living in Gurgaon.

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Suicide by jobless youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
An unemployed youth allegedly committed suicide while in another incident a 35-year-old rickshaw-puller set himself afire in Mani Majra late last night. Giving details of the suicide, sources in the Sector 11 police station said 21-year-old Sukhwinder hanged himself to death at his residence in Dhanas village here this afternoon. His mother saw him hanging at around 3 pm and raised an alarm. He was taken to Sector 16 General Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. He was unmarried.

In another incident, rickshaw-puller Suresh Kumar allegedly set himself afire following a dispute with his wife at their residence in Mauli Jagran. The incident took place at around 2 am. He poured kerosene on him and was threatening to burn himself. In the process, he lit a match which fell on him and he was engulfed in flames. He suffered 20 per cent burns and was taken to the hospital.

A case of attempt to suicide has been registered against him, said the police.

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Punjab, Haryana chapter of APJA constituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain today called upon the legal fraternity to be ready to face new challenges.
Addressing judges and lawyers after inaugurating the Punjab and Haryana Chapter of the Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA) here, Chief Justice Jain called upon the judges and lawyers to spare their time for saving the environment.Citing various landmark judgments of the Supreme Court,the Chief Justice stressed the need to protect the environment in view of the fact that India was a developing country.

“In the coming decade, the need to protect environment will be much more in the states of Punjab and Haryana on account of various commercial and multi-national companies investing in this region,” he argued, adding that the present generation should keep in mind the question as to what it could do for the generations to come.

“Everybody is aware of the problem of environment pollution and degradation. However, on the individual level, we are doing nothing. Environment awareness, enforcement of related laws and protection of environment are issues that can’t be simply left for government agencies.It is high time, each of us understood his or her responsibility in this respect,” he added.

Talking about the other objects of the association, Chief Justice Jain said these were alternative disputes redressal mechanism and intellectual property rights protection in India.

“Arbitration system is prevalent in India since time immemorial. Our jurisprudence too is better than any other country’s. So why do our companies agree to get matters arbitrated by foreigners? Our judges and lawyers are very competent.Therefore, we need to educate multinational companies doing business with our people that any arbitration should be held here and not some third country,” he said.

He also asked the judges and lawyers to gear up for changes in the legal system.“In the next 10 years, many new issues will crop up, awaiting judicial intervention. Also, multinational companies will launch an onslaught on our existing laws. We have to be ready for that,” he told the gathering.

Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Justice Surya Kant, who was appointed president of the Punjab and Haryana chapter of APJA, stressed the need to spread the movement in the region.

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Bank comes forward to help Masol village
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A spring in her step, a smile on her face, seven-year-old Kiran jumped around as she excitedly showed off her new possessions to her friends - a new school bag, shoes and uniform.

Her seventyfive-year-old grandfather is, however, worried. “Where will she study after class V? I can’t send her nine miles every day through the rivulet to study.

It’s too far and unsafe,” he laments. “Tell the government to make us a road. I have toiled a lifetime in this village. I want to see a better fate for my grandchildren,” he tell us.

This was the echo of every resident of Masol village who gathered today at a function organised by the State Bank of Patiala in the village today morning.

The Tribune had highlighted the plight of the village last month. Masol is only 10 km from Chandigarh, the state capital. However, the last 5 km stretch that leads to the village passes through hilly terrain and a rivulet, which closes whenever it rains.

Senior bank officials after reading the story published in The Tribune last month, decided to help the residents by doing whatever they can.

It may be mentioned here that reading the same report a UK based NRI has committed to construct the houses in this village apart from providing a tubewell for water. The bank provided benches and blackboard for the school and uniforms for the students.

The bank also organised a free medical check-up for the residents.

The officials also set up two self-help groups and opened free bank accounts for the residents.

“Our bank frequently takes such initiatives. We are glad we could do something for this village which needs such urgent help,” stated Vinod Kochhar, Assistant General Manager of the bank.

A doctor who checked the residents was surprised that there was no dispensary in the village , which was so urgently needed. “I have brought a first aid box with me, which I will leave here,” he informed. “All the residents are suffering from scabies apart from various other ailments,” he stated.

“We have lost villagers due to the lack of timely help. This is the first time a doctor has ever come to our village,” stated Gyan Kaur, with tears in her eyes.

The residents finally have a ray of hope. “This is for the first time that such an initiative has been taken for our village,” stated Harbans Kaur.

The resident though happy and thankful with all the help that has poured in for them is concerned about the inaccessibility of their village.

“Till when will this help us? We are grateful for everything, but when will our government help us,” questions Mata Singh, husband of the village sarpanch.

The villagers are, however, hopeful that maybe the new Akali government will do what the last government didn’t do for them.

“I hope the next person who enters our village is Ujagar Singh Badali who has won from our constituency,” states Harbans Kaur.

The bank officials on their part too have promised to return soon with a dentist, an eye specialist and a general physician to check up the residents, apart from helping them out with anything else they can. 

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Night throws light on city’s dark face
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
It seems the Chandigarh administration has not learnt lessons from the past. Despite repeated warnings from intelligence agencies to provide a foolproof security system, nothing is happening on the ground.

Streetlights, a part of the security arrangements, are the casualty at the local bus stand. Taking advantage of the non-functional streetlights, unscrupulous elements have a field day as soon as darkness sets in.

This has made the bus stand unsafe, especially for women commuters. After dusk, it virtually turns into a haven for eve-teasers, thieves and pick-pockets.

Four tall poles with six sodium halogens lamps each have been installed there. There are more than five other halogen lamps on the roof of the bus stand building. But, most of these lamps are non-functional.

Only two lamps on the roof are operational, but these hardly serve any purpose. Even the entry and exit points of the bus stand are engulfed in darkness. Buses ply from the bus stand till 10 pm, while the one to the railway station carries passengers throughout the night.

A commuter, Tilak Raj, is surprised over the absence of any security measure. “Like the ISBT in Delhi, a provision should be made to check passengers and their luggage with metal detectors.”

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French architects soak in Corbusier’s charms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
For French architects Alain Taves and Rober Rebutato, Chandigarh is a place for worship.All Le Corbusian cities are. But of them all, Chandigarh is special with its range of architectural styles that best describe Corbusier - the man, the modernist planner and the poet.

No wonder, the friends keep busy exploring the city all day.They prefer walking through its spaces, which are not as open as Corbusier’s plans describe them to be.Nor is the concrete as pleasing as it was when the city was still young.

For Taves, the trip was long overdue. Not only because Chandigarh is the finest city his mentor Corbusier has designed, but also because it is home to the Open Hand, on whose plans Taves worked with his master.“I was part of the team that evolved the design for the Hand. But the actual structure is different. So is the city when I compare it with the original,” Taves said in 
an interview.

He was particularly disturbed by the maze of barbed wires that dominate the Capitol Complex. “These wires are so unwelcoming. They are against the spirit of the city which Corbusier designed in the likeness of humans. Also the single pedestrian plaza that was to be part of the Capitol is amiss. Breakages have made home at many places,” Taves said.

As member of the Le Corbusier Foundation in France, Rebutato raised concerns about Chandigarh’s heritage status. “Though buildings are in good shape, unmindful alterations in original designs might hamper the city’s chances of making it to UNESCO’s world heritage list,” he said, referring to haphazard growth of urban structures and the desecration of the city’s periphery.

The problem, he said, was political and must be dealt with through resolutions. “There is no way to stop people from residing in cities because cities are meant to grow. But you can always conserve the past while building the future,” said Taves, who worked with Corbusier from 1959 to 1965.

Together, the two have been touring Corbusier’s cities every year to get insights into the life of the legend. “These trips are like annual pilgrimages,” they said after visiting principal buildings like the Assembly Hall, the High Court, the Colleges of Architecture and Art.

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Long way to go in N-field: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Stating that India has been led up the garden path by the USA in the Indo-US nuclear deal,noted strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney said the country needed to build greater negotiating leverages to offset the disadvantage in which the nuclear establishment has been put into.

The only success story in India,he said had become the subject matter of negotiations in which India stood to lose a lot more that it would gain. Speaking at a seminar on the “Indo-US Nuclear Deal : How far will it offset our energy shortfall and its impact on the sovereignty of our nation”, organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security here today,Chellaney said though “we have come a long way in the nuclear field and look upon our achievements in the nuclear field with pride, there was still a long way to go”.

“Over 33 years after our first nuclear test and a decade after we became an overt nuclear power, we do not have even a minimal deterrence capability against China, which is our principal challenge,” he said.

Stating that the deal was signed by people who had no background in nuclear diplomacy,he said the deal was simply packaging issues involved in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which India had been refusing to sign, in a different, India-specific form.

The deal does not treat India as an equal with other nuclear powers.In fact,it has opened allout nuclear facilities to international inspection and our capability to produce weapons-grade material is being cut by one-third, he said.“It is in areas of dual-use technology where we would be hurt the most and it would affect our missile and space programmes,” he added.

The political mood in the country has changed since the deal was signed in 2005, with majority of the parliamentarians expressing their opinion against the deal, which has divided the country like no other issue since Independence, he said.

“By being labelled as a responsible nuclear power, we have already gained what we could have under the deal.What it offers at the end is the right to import reactors which would help the economy and industry of other nations,” he said.

The first Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Forces Command, Air Marshal T.M. Asthana (retd) said with a revolution in strategic affairs, power equations are shifting from geo-political to geo-economic forces, with the emerging world order trying to move away from the USA.

The deal, he said, would generate business worth about $ 80 billion for US industry.He was of the opinion that the deal was good for India because it catapulted the country into the big league.India ceased to be a target, invited foreign exchange and helped deal with energy uncertainty in a growing economy.

Stating that the country was short on energy resources, he said that we must build up our comprehensive national power, which included economic as well as military strength to ensure that we are a force to reckon with internationally.

Former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, Dr P.K Iyengar said that by the deal, the USA was bent upon curbing India’s nuclear technology and energy generation.

He said Indian nuclear technology was relatively less expensive. The nation had the ability to develop technology when denied by other powers. The talk of technology transfer to India, he said, was meaningless. Former High Commissioner to Pakistan,G. Parthasarathy, said as long as the execution of the deal met the assurances made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament recently, the deal would not have adverse affects on national security.He said that while there was nothing objectionable in the deal signed by the Prime Minister and US President George Bush, it was the subsequent US legislation which is objectionable.

He said the clause on carrying out explosions and tests contained in the deal was not acceptable. He added that the USA was also known for backing out of deals, and there should be an alternative to ensure that our interests did not suffer on this account.

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High postage rates in Pak hamper literary exchange across border
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Aizaz Ahmad Azer Chandigarh, March 11
At a time when radicalism is on the rise in Pakistan,the World Punjabi Congress has decided to rededicate itself to Sufism. Last year,the Congress celebrated the message of peace given by Waris Shah and Shah Hussain.This year, it is planning to dedicate a festival to Baba Farid, whose verses continue to be relevant in a strife-torn world.

In Punjab to meet Indian members of Congress, Aizaz Ahmad Azer, additional secretary-general of the body, said a lot needed to be done before the Congress could realise its objectives. The body is still working on its main agenda, which is the removal/relaxation of the visa regime. Besides, it is concerned about the exorbitant cost of posting books and literary material across the border.

“The postage rates fixed by Pakistan government are very high. We have to spend Rs 350 extra to transport a book that costs Rs 200. It is a disincentive that is hampering literary exchange,” Azer said.

On the visa front, he said the Congress was pressing hard for multiple visas and removal of city-specific visas. Arriving in Chandigarh today after attending an international peace conference on love and religion held in Jalandhar, Azer said: “Delegates discussed the purpose of religion and the distortion it is facing in the name of God.” Attributing the rise of fanaticism in Pakistan to poverty and unemployment, Azer said it was time to frame policies that brought about development in the real sense of the word. He was reacting to terrorism, the growing disempowerment of Muslim women across the world and to the fact that symbols of faith like “hijab” were now being used as political tools against those who don’t wear them.

The example is that of Pakistan’s social welfare minister Zile Huma Usman, who was killed on February 20. A 37-year-old mother of two, she was shot in Gujranwala. “Her killer, who had a track record of killing other women, was happy after executing the task,” said Azer, referring to the need of democracy to secure people and their rights.

“Restoration of democracy in Pakistan is our main objective.We have organised 14 conferences and in each one we have stressed the need for freedom. Even cultural exchange across the border helps the cause of democracy as it builds opinions and creates an atmosphere for talks.We have exchanged some literature and music. Now we are concentrating on fine art,” Azer said.

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Flyover costs commuters dear
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 11
It is a bumpy ride for thousands of motorists and travellers on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur road every day. The construction of the flyover here is proving to be a nightmare for the motorists as the make-shift service roads along both sides of the road are dotted with potholes putting the travellers to a lot of inconvenience.

In fact, traffic jams are a routine affair on the narrow service lanes wasting commuters' precious time. The recent rains have further played havoc with the motorists as breakdown of the vehicles has become a regular feature.

Not only this, the internal roads are also in bad shape putting the residents to double disadvantage. Satbir Singh, who commutes between Chandigarh and Zirakpur daily, alleges that his car was damaged twice in the past six months due to the knee-deep potholes.

The condition of the service lane leading to Zirakpur from Chandigarh is worse as the traffic headed for Panchkula from Ambala was also diverted to this stretch. The pressure of the heavy vehicular traffic only added to the problems of the motorists.

Official sources said the people would have to bear with the bad roads till the completion of the flyover. As the main Chandigarh-Ambala highway was closed for facilitating the construction of the flyover, the narrow service lanes could not been closed for repairs.

The four-laning project was slated to be completed by later next year. Although efforts were made to streamline the traffic on the busy service lanes the people should use alternative routes for commuting till the four-laning project was completed, an official said.

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Springfest concludes on joyous note
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
The town park of Sector 5 here was full of life as Springfest concluded amid celebrations, here today. The crowd increased gradually and, by the afternoon, troupes of artistes were all over the garden. Visitors were seen dancing to the beat of bands playing at the venue.

While the cultural programme entertained elders, the children also had their share of fun at the best-out-of-waste contest organised in Yavnika, the open-air theatre. Earlier, a baby show was also organised at the venue, besides folk dances by school students.

The two-day celebrations concluded with a prize distribution function. The chief guest, chief secretary Prem Prashant and his wife Saroj Prashant, gave away prizes to the winners of various contests held during the festival. Deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar, superintendent of police Balbir Singh and HUDA administrator Neelam Pradeep Kasni, were among those present at the function.

The results of the various competitions are as follows :

Healthy Baby Show: Six months to one year: Bhoomika first, Arnav and Hazel Garg second.

One and a half to three years: Pranaya Chugh first, Mehar and Navya Noor Singh second.

Three to four years: Tanvi Pandhi first, Moon Bansal and Saumaya Katoch second.

Solo Dance: Below 10 years: Monarch first and Mehak second.

Above 10 years: Meenakshi first and Shruti second.

Kite-flying contest: Above 12 years: Yogesh Sai and Ramandeep first, Jayant Dixit and Ankur Gupta second.

Best-out-of-waste contest:

Six to 12 years: Anjali Jhangra first, Manisha Siwach and Harman second.

12 to 16 years: Deeksha Sood first, Priyanka Gupta and Saksha Nagpal second. 

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Dr Poonam Gupta drives to glory
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
A city ophthalmologist with a clinic in Mohali’s Phase VII today drove all the way to glory. With an eye on victory, Dr Poonam Gupta bagged the first position in the SantaBanta.com Women’s Car Rally.

In all, 27 women from across the region participated in the gala event that took off from the Lake Club, Chandigarh, at 8.30 this morning and terminated at Kiarighat on the Kalka-Shimla highway in the afternoon. Along with other participants, Dr Gupta covered a distance of 120 km to fame.

For the eye-specialist putting up in Sector 35, it all started with an advertisement her doctor husband saw. Aware of her driving skills, he encouraged her to get behind the wheel for the journey to recognition and she drove up to his expectations.

The other event, “1st North Colours Vintage and Classic Car Rally”, was flagged off simultaneously by Punjab Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal. He too drove away in a classic car after giving the green signal to other vehicles.

Driving a 1966 Toyota Carona belonging to Sector 21 advocate Arundeep Walia, Rajender Kumar bagged the first position. But it was Bhallinder Sangha who stole the show not just by rolling in an original Ford 1942-Jeep that saw action in World-War Two, but also by dressing up like an army officer.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune soon after the event, he said the Jeep, purchased from a friend in Rajasthan, was the only one in the country that had seen action in World War. Spares, he said, were not a problem as there were “clubs” in Europe and America for these.

The third prize went to Jaswant Singh, who drove a 1936 Chevrolet. The winners were felicitated at a prize distribution ceremony, which was followed by a “Rally Ball”. The winners of first prize in bothrallies got return air tickets of Indus Air on the Chandigarh-Mumbai sector. The second and the third prize winners got TV sets and microwave ovens.

The event was approved by the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India and was conducted by the Himalayan Motorsports Association of the Raid de Himalaya fame. Renowned motoring journalist H. Kishie Singh and Brig J S Phooka (Retd.) of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of Chandigarh overlooked the arrangements.

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State-level minorities panel soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Core Group on Minorities Welfare constituted by the UT Administrator met yesterday to discuss future initiatives and programmes. The core group discussed the provisions of the Prime Minister’s new 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities.

A state-level committee for the implementation of this programme will be constituted shortly under the chairmanship of the advisor to the administrator. The committee will have representatives from reputed NGOs along with heads of the departments dealing with these programmes.

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Punjabi magazine released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayar released a Punjabi magazine, G-Asia Worldwide, at Chandigarh Press Club, Sector 27, here, today. Gurpreet Sekhon, editor-in-chief of the magazine, said their aim was to root out social evils from society. He said it was a non-political magazine oriented towards education and recreation which would strive to address the day-to-day problems of the common man.

Nayar, who is also the patron-in-chief of the magazine, said there was a need to promote Punjabi language. Sham Singh, former news editor of Punjabi Tribune, also addressed the gathering. 

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Two vehicles stolen

Chandigarh, March 11
Gurcharan Singh of Sector 37-D reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-03-L-6093) was stolen from Rose Garden, Sector 16, this afternoon. In another incident, T.R. Sharma of Sector 33 lodged a complaint with the police that his Scorpio (CH-03-Y-3391) was stolen from his residence on the intervening night of March 9 and 10. — TNS

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Banks told to focus on weaker sections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The fourth triennial conference of the Union Bank Officers Association was held here today. Delegates from all over Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh participated in the conference.

Minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest. M.C. Mittal, deputy general manager, Union Bank of India, Chandigarh region, was the guest of honour. Senior trade union leader and general secretary, All India Union Bank Officers Federation, P.K. Sarkar was the key speaker.

Sarkar stressed on the need for a level playing field for nationalised banks so that a healthy competition was initiated with private banks. He requested the minister to consider their long-pending demand for offering the option of pension for the benefit of all bank employees.

Bansal highlighted the government policies pertaining to the economy of the country. He stressed the need for financial inclusion of the weaker section by the banks. On nationalisation aspect, he said the government had not proposed to dilute government equity below 51 per cent in public sector banks.

General secretary of the Chandigarh unit M.R. Rana presented the achievements of the association during the past three years. Later, the general body meeting of the association was held and Anil Malhotra was unanimously elected as president.

Other office-bearers are M.R. Rana, general secretary, J.P. Singh and R.K. Sharma - vice-presidents, S.K. Brar, deputy general secretary, and Inderjit Gupta, treasurer of the body.

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Maloya villagers get general credit cards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal distributed PNB general credit cards to eight of the 300 villagers of Maloya during the three-day Bharat nirman public information campaign organised by the Press Information Bureau here yesterday.

Valid for three years, the credit card does not require guarantee or security and provides relief to the beneficiaries from the clutches of private moneylenders.

MC deputy mayor Manjit Singh, PIB director Kanchan Prasad Mandlaus were also present.

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Biz Clips

Chandigarh
Interest rate:
The Union Bank of India has increased the annual rate of interest for 400-days deposits to 9.5 per cent from the existing interest rate of 9 per cent. The rate of interest applicable to senior citizens for 400 days will correspondingly increase to 10 per cent from the existing 9.5 per cent. There is no lock-in period and no minimum deposit amount stipulated by the bank. — TNS

HP launches PC: To strengthen its presence in the Indian market, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has introduced the HP Pavilion tx1000 Entertainment Notebook PC with 'twist and touch' screen to offer a whole new world of exciting digital entertainment and mobile lifestyle. Announcing the launch here today, HP head (marketing) Shuchi Sarkar said the lightweight Pavilion tx1000 series was the ideal for young professionals, entrepreneurs, who have frequent meetings and presentations with clients and the PC would allow one to enjoy the freedom of wireless mobility, movies and music on the go. The company also showcased the new wide screen monitor with integrated speaker - VP 17 monitor for its desk top computers. — TNS

Inauguration: The Centurion Bank of Punjab inaugurated its new office premises in Sector 38 Chandigarh and in Sector 8, Panchkula on Friday. Harpreet Singh, business director - Wealth Management, Distribution & Loans, Centurion Bank of Punjab, inaugurated the new office premises. — TNS

LIC premium: Life Insurance Corporation of India has introduced a new mode of premium payment for customers. Through the online collection of premium through UTI bank network from March 9, the policyholders can pay their renewal premium through 500 bank branches/extension counters of UTI Bank by using bank cheques or cash for in-force non-ULIP policies only. — TNS

Inaugurated: V.K. Dhingra, general manager, north zone, Union Bank of India, recently inaugurated the bank’s new branch at Sector 32-C. The bank is equipped with an in-house ATM. M.C. Mittal, deputy general manager, Chandigarh, was also present. — TNS

Opened: A new wing for engineering aspirants has been opened at Akash Institute, Sector 9. The wing was inaugurated by institute director J.C. Chaudhary. — TNS 

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