C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Varsity students to pay more
Affiliated colleges spared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Panjab University syndicate members today approved a 10 per cent across-the-board hike in fee for all regular courses offered by the university. The fee hike will not be applicable to students persuing self-financing courses on the campus.

According to the vice-chancellor Dr RC Sobti, the hike in fee is not applicable to students studying in university’s affiliated colleges. Members of various student organisations in the university had earlier in the day staged protests outside the administrative block of the university and handed over memoranda to syndicate members as they arrived for the meeting.

The syndicate decided that the amount earned from the hike in fee would be used only on the welfare of students. “We will be earning Rs 73 lakh from the hike, 25 per cent of which will be set aside for granting scholarships to needy students and the rest will be added to the fund being utilised for improvement of infrastructure for students,” said Prof Sobti.

In another decision, the syndicate decided that the recommendations of the Lyngdow Committee regarding conduct of student elections in the university and colleges be reviewed. A university committee had studied the recommendations and theses were put up for consideration of the members today.

It was felt that a “practical view’ view be taken of the proposals of the Lyngdow Committee, specially those related to expenses in elections and qualification of candidates. Another committee was formed to re-examine the recommendations.

Another committee was constituted to look into a proposal that MBA students be given two chances to clear a supplementary or reappear examination instead of the present provision of only one chance. The proposal was moved by senators Mukesh Arora and Satish Sharma.

Syndicate members approved the proceedings of the last meeting of the board of finance, including the annual budget.

Students’ stir

PU student leaders have planned an agitation against the hike in fee. President of the Panjab University Students council (PUSU) Abhishek Puri said they would stage a dharna tomorrow. President of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) Harpreet Multani said they would meet the VC tomorrow and 
take a decision after the meeting.

New courses

The Syndicate approved the introduction of a two-year course in MA in Human Rights and Duties and another two-year course in Masters in Social Work.

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Beer cost may get high
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Beer may lose some fizz this summer, with a marginal increase in its prices.

To avoid a tussle with UT’s excise department over fixing the ex-brewery price (EBP), new brands of beer are expected to hit the market in the peak season.

In the current financial year ending March 31, the standoff between the administration and the breweries over the EBP had resulted in the latter going to the Supreme Court. However, the stand of the administration was vindicated.

“We would allow a nominal increase in prices. But the companies will not be allowed any drastic increase in prices,” said a senior official. An increase of up to Rs 5 per bottle was expected from June onwards as the traders would by then have exhausted the old stock, said a local trader.

On the other hand, the prices of liquor could register a marginal fall with the increase in the number of players, especially in periphery and slum areas.

With the new excise policy becoming effective from April 1, the price war among liquor traders is set to shift to the periphery and slum areas of the city. This is the outcome of the removal of the cap on the location and grant of new licences in commercial areas of sectors, industrial areas and rehabilitation colonies.

More applicants have shown interest in country liquor vends as compared to the IMFL vends, said sources. At least 135-old and 40 new applicants have applied. Since there is no deadline for applying, more applications are expected as the year progresses.

Against last year’s allotment of 178 vends and that too in three phases, the excise department hopes to cross the 200 mark. “We are expecting a revenue of around Rs 113 crore against last financial year’s target of Rs 94 crore,” said an official.

It may be mentioned that the administration has made a tactical move in announcing that if the number of vends exceed last year’s figure of 215, it will take a decision to limit the number of vends for reasons of public health and public order.

With just 10 days left for the beginning of the new financial year, the department will start issuing permission letters to the applicants from tomorrow.

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Finish bank work right away
7-day ‘recess’ from March 27
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Do not wait for the last week of March to complete your banking transactions or pay your taxes in preparation for the end of this financial year.

Come March 27 and all public sector banks will remain closed for at least seven days, thanks to a three-day “strategic strike call” given by the All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation, a bank holiday and two Sundays.

The long break for bank officials begins on March 25, a Sunday. March 27 is a holiday on account of Ram Navmi and the bank strike will begin from March 28. This means, no bank transactions will take place during this period, barring March 26.

It being the last day of the financial year, banks will remain closed for customers on March 31. The banks will only reopen on April 3, as April 1 is a Sunday and April 2 a bank holiday. The only working day in between will be March 26. But even if a cheque is put for clearance on March 26, it will be cleared only after April 2.

This long “recess” for bank employees is expected to adversely affect banking operations. A daily clearing of around Rs 150 to 200 crore takes place through 240-odd bank branches in the city and its vicinity.

With the fiscal year drawing to a close, the volume of transactions is very high because of government’s financial closing, tax collections and bank’s own financial closing.

Besides clearing operations, cash withdrawals from ATMs will be affected. Even if ATMs are filled with cash on March 26, it will only last for a few days.

Even bank treasury work will be affected during this period.

It is advised to withdraw money before the seven-day “recess” for bank employees, who will not get salary for the strike period.

It is also advised to pay income tax, service tax, central excise duty and fringe benefit tax in banks at least 10 days ahead of the March 31 deadline.

While the government is making efforts to resolve the issue of strike, bank unions are adamant. They are protesting against outsourcing of banking services, withdrawal of appointments on compassionate grounds scheme and absence of pension benefits.

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3 power pacts, but cuts to stay this summer
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh Administration today signed agreements for power supply with three projects. But city residents are unlikely to see respite from power cuts this summer as the agreements are for the year 2010-2011. So, don’t be surprised if you have to sweat it out during routine power cuts these coming months.

Cautioned V.K.Bhardwaj, chief engineer:"Residents should not be surprised if there are minor power cuts."

"We are making efforts to ensure minimum discomfort. However, cuts should not come as a surprise. The administration has signed an agreement with Power Trading Corporation for power supply during May and June this year.

"Under the agreement, the city will get 10 mw during peak hours and 15 mw during off-peak hours.”

The power requirement in the city on account of development and population growth has touched 52 lakh units per day. The peak demand of 272 mw recorded last year was 272 mw as against the entitlement of 248/200 mw.

Agreement

The Chandigarh Administration today signed a power purchase agreement with National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC). The projects are expected to be commissioned in 2010-11 and the UT has claimed 45 mw of power from these stations.

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Now, March's hottest day

Chandigarh, March 20
The month of March this year has sprung some surprises. First, it recorded the highest-ever rainfall, crossing the 123.7 mm mark on March 13, then it recorded a severe hailstorm, the first of its kind in March.

And, today the temperature jumped many degrees to make March 20 the hottest day of the month. High humidity and low wind intensity contributed to today’s sweltering heat, which officials said was “temporary” and a degree above normal.

Within a week, the day temperature has risen by 7.4 degree. Today, it touched the 30 degree mark. Even the night temperature of 19 degree recorded today is the highest for March. — TNS

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Light & Sound
Free entry for 2 weekends

Chandigarh, March 20
Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO) has announced free weekend entertainment bonanza for residents and visitors at the Sound and Light Show during the coming two weekends.

According to J.S. Bir, managing director, CITCO: "Free entry to the Sound and Light Show for the first three days will be from March 23 to 25 at Museum and Art Gallery Complex.” — TNS

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J&K sex scandal
Indictment likely today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
With the local court concluding arguments, a decision on framing of charges against all accused in the Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal is expected tomorrow.

The court has granted permission to the CBI to place additional evidence on record.

Recently, the investigating agency had sought permission to place on record the evidence of age of the rape victim. The CBI has been contesting the claim of the accused that there was no proof of age.

It may be mentioned that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the CBI to supply a complete set of coded statements of the witnesses in Urdu.

The application of the accused was allowed after their defence counsel apprehended changes in the original charge sheet.

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Harassed, NRI family turns to Badal
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 20
An NRI has complained to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that three persons allegedly sold her house in Phase X when the family was out of the country.

In a letter sent to the Chief Minister, Ranjeet Walia has requested him to look into the matter so that the faith of the NRIs in the Punjab Government remains intact.

The police has booked Narinder Goel, Inderjit Singh and Jasdeep in under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of the IPC on a complaint of Ranjeet.

Walia has stated that the family had purchased a piece of land in Phase X in 1988 on which a house was constructed later. Since she and her husband Tarlochan Singh Walia were NRIs, an acquaintance was authorised to give the house on rent in their absence. The house was given on rent from October, 2005, for a period of 11 months to Narinder Goel.

When they came to India on December 3 last year, they found Goel had not vacated the house. He was asked to vacate it at the earliest. The keys of the house were given to them only on March 16.

After her family had shifted into the house, Jasdeep Singh, a property dealer, told them that the house had been sold to Inderjit Singh, from whom he had further purchased it.

Ranjeet added that her family had come to India only in December, 2005, after their visit in 1999. As such, someone had allegedly prepared fake registration documents to sell their house.

She said they were called to the police station following a compliant was made against her family by Goel. Many police officials visited the house and recorded the statements of her relatives and neighbours. Ownership documents were shown to them, but despite all that a case was registered against them.

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Paid parking set to draw flak
MC house takes up issue today
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Municipal Corporation at its upcoming house meeting on March 21 plans to bring the issue of paid parking up for discussion in spite of the fact that the corporation has no jurisdiction in the matter and has no authority to remove it.

Interestingly, not only is the house considering this issue, it is also planning to discuss the new terms and conditions for allotment of paid parking.

The issue, which is coming up for discussion at the insistence of the SAD-BJP alliance, is set to see heated debate in the house meeting scheduled for the day after tomorrow.

The alliance had taken up the issue of removal of paid parking in its manifesto and in pursuance of their outstanding demand in a letter written to the corporation had demanded that the issue should come up for debate.

Interestingly, after much speculation on the matter with some councillors in favour of the debate and some against it, the legal officer of the corporation was asked to submit his opinion on the matter.

He clearly stated in his reply that it would not be legally sustainable to withdraw the system of paid parking without the orders of the UT administration as well as seeking orders from the High Court for modifications and directions on this matter.

The legal officer in his opinion also stated that “any action of the municipal corporation on this issue shall be in contradiction with the orders and directions issued by the High Court and the UT administration”.

The legal officer also suggested that the matter needed to be taken up first with the UT administration on the administrative side “to sort out the issue involved especially when the orders passed by the High Court are involved in the matter of the discussion of the house”.

In spite of the legal opinion, the matter will come up for discussion, which has led to wide resentment among councillors, who see this as a waste of time.

Talking to the TNS, councillor Arshad Khan said: “The discussion on paid parking does not merit a discussion because there is a High Court decision order on the matter. This is becoming a political issue, which is being politicised for personal gains.”

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Isolated, they form panel

Chandigarh, March 20
Unhappy with political parties for their constant opposition to their voting right, nominated councillors of the Chandigarh municipal corporation have formed a core committee that will seek to redress the issue with parties and request them to make their position clear on the issue.

Sources said the nominated councillors were feeling that their presence in the house was unwelcome by political parties, who had been talking about withdrawing their voting rights. Consequently, the nominated councillors decided to take up the issue seriously and form a committee.

The committee has already started meeting leaders of various political parties to know their stand on the issue.

It was also learnt that the nominated councillors were keen on settling the issue once for all and had even asked the leaders to give an assurance in writing.

The nominated councillors also wanted the BJP to withdraw its petition filed in the court as an assurance of their support on the issue.

Though none of the political parties has agreed to come on record, they do maintain that it is a debatable issue. — TNS

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Humble farmer hatches a rags-to-riches story
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
It is a real life rags-to-riches story worth about Rs 1,400 crore. And the architect of this astounding success story is a humble farmer from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, B. Soundararajan, Managing Director of the Suguna Group, which currently has one of the largest presence in the poultry industry in the country.

In fact, the Suguna Group, which made its entry in Punjab in the wake of the mega project policy of the previous Capt Amrinder Singh government in 2004, is planning it big for the state, known for its people's penchant for non-vegetarian food."The new SAD-BJP government should continue the mega projects policy and allay investors' fears on law and order front,"Soundararajan told The Tribune here today.

Soundararajan's success saga started in1984 when his family ventured into the largely unorganised poultry business."With agricultural background, we had nothing else to do except take up poultry farming.

However, deviating from the normal we took to contract poultry farming with 500 birds per week our success story just happened," he said However, for the next 15 years consolidation rather than expansion was group's mantra with firm having 100 farmers under its wings in 2000.

The post-2000 period saw the group grow by leaps and bounds.

The year 2002 was watershed in the growth of group when the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu invited the group to his state to be partner in progress, informed Soundararajan.

There has been no looking back since then.The year 2003 saw the group expand its operations to Maharashtra and the following year saw the group establish a strong foothold in West Bengal, Orissa and Punjab." We collaborate with 12,000 farmers in about 8,000 villages and account for about 17 per cent of the total share of the poultry products," added the Managing Director proudly.

Claiming that the group did not want any incentives in Punjab, he said the group wanted the new SAD-BJP government to provide congenial atmosphere, particularly on the law and order front.

In fact, besides farmer prosperity, we committed to our social responsibility by collaborating with the government agencies and NGOs in welfare activities, he asserted.

"Usually farmers are very enterprising as far as production is concerned but face working capital shortage and lack marketing skills.The Suguna bridges that gap to breed trust and grow together with farmers," he added, crediting his sucess to hard work and dedication.

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Office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Office-bearers: The following have been elected office-bearers of the Chandigarh unit of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front: President-Rajesh Sharma; senior vice-presidents-Pradeep Rattan and Satish Sharma; vice-presidents-Ashwani Pandu, Pramod Khaneja, Hemant Khanna, Vishal Dhand, Anil Datta, Hans Raj Hansa, Pushkar Kaul, Mukesh Sharma, Sukhpal Singh, Ashish Makkar and Navendu Sharma; spokesman-Yadvindra Salwan; general secretaries-Satish Katyal, Umang Datta, Asit Manchanda, Surinder Sharma, Abhinandan Soni, Harinderjit Singh Bhinder, Yadvinder Singh, S.S. Bhardwaj and Sanjiv Kumar Behal; and secretaries-Bhupinder Singh, Ashok Sharma, Vinod Kumar, Deepak Sandhu, Sumit Kumar Dhariwal, Subhash Chander, Lalit Mohan and Navdeep Bandhu. 

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Seminar on plant sciences tomorrow

Chandigarh, March 20
A one-day national symposium on “New Trends in Plant Sciences” will be convened by Prof Harvinder Cheema in the department of botany, Panjab University, here on March 22. Eminent scientist from different parts of the country are expected to participate and deliberate on different aspects of plant sciences. Special emphasis will be laid on herbal drugs derived from medicinal plants located at different altitudes in the country and the social and environmental impact of these.

Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU, will inaugurate the function. Prof S. K. Kulkarni, dean university instructions, PU, will deliver a lecture on issues and challenges in the development of herbal drugs. — TNS

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Driving skills of cops tested

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh traffic police held a two-day training-cum-orientation workshop for drivers of various units of the Chandigarh police in Children Traffic Park (CTP), Sector 23, here on March 18 to 19.

64 drivers participated in the workshop where their driving skills were examined. The cops had to undergo a written test of 75 marks on the LCD projector which was connected with a computer at the lecture hall of the CTP. Besides this, they were asked to drive Gypsies and motor cycles to judge their manoeuvring skills. — TNS

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Parishad holds ‘parivar milan’
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, March 20
A “parivar milan” function was the highlight of the Samvatsar 2064 celebrations by the Bharat Vikas Parishad here last night.

President of the local municipal council Amritpal Singh, who was the chief guest, called upon the parishad to launch a crusade against drug addiction. While Sushil Vyas was administered oath as the president of the local unit, Sushil Talib and Shivinder Vaishnav were administered oath as the secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Meanwhile, 451 patients were examined at a medical camp organised by the parishad.

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Fauji Beat
Base selection on merit, not caste

IN his recent article “Scheduled for recruitment?” in an English daily, Omar Khalidi has tried to justify reservations for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Armed Forces. His statement that there is a consensus among Dalit politicians and the intelligantsia for reservations in the Armed Forces does not carry conviction.

He says the SCs and the STs are well represented as jawans in the Mahar Regiment, the Bihar Regiment and the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment. But officers in these regiments, he contends, are not necessarily members of the two communities. He should know that no one-class regiments such as Dogras, Jats, Rajputs, Gorkhas, etc. have officers from the same class as troops. Caste or religion of the officers is not taken into consideration while posting them to regiments/units. The present Army Chief, General J.J. Singh, is not from the Mahar Regiment, as Mr Khalidi thinks. He is instead from the Maratha Light Infantry.

Mr Khalidi says the central government has always argued: “Any attempt to introduce reservation for any class or community cannot but impair the fighting efficiency of the Army.” He talks about the emergence of a Chamar Regiment during World War II, which he says was disbanded in 1946. He should know that after the 1962 war, Chamars from Punjab had represented to the then defence minister, Babu Jagjivan Ram, that their regiment should be raised. On checking up the record from the historical section of the ministry of defence, it was discovered that a Chamar battalion raised before World War I, had mutinied during the war and killed all its officers.

Do we want to present a weak front to the enemy?If not, then selection for soldiering should continue to be on marit. For, any concessions to the weakling to prop them up in the name of reservation will cost us dearly in war.

Be compassionate

In a recent letter to the chief ministers of all state, defence minister A.K. Antony has requested the civil authorities to pay prompt attention to soldiers’ problems. He has pointed out that inadequate response from district and authorities drives soldiers to frustration, which gets accentuated with hard service conditions. This, he says, ultimately affects the morale of the entire force, which “you would agree, we can ill-afford”.

He has also said in the letter that during their short leave, soldiers, most of whom come from rural background, cannot attend to the domestic problems such as land and property disputes, etc. A mechanism, the defence minister has suggested, should be put in place to monitor redress of grievances of soldiers and their families.

During the British Raj, soldiers’problems were not only prompt attended to but also solved without any delay. Why can’t it be done now? Because chief ministers show little concern, if any, for soldiers and their families.

Kit stores

Army officers used to purchase various items of their uniform from officers’ shops during the British time. With the closing down of these shops, the officers started purchasing olive green (OG) cloth and other items from the market, which varied in quality, shade and pattern. To bring in uniformity, the Army planned in 2005 to open 10 personnel kit stores (PKS) at various military stations across the country.

These stores will stock OG uniform (garments and fabric), combat uniform (fabric), mufti trousers, shirts, service dress OG (fabric), head gear, footwear and a limited range of accouterements, etc. The rates of the stores in the PKS will be about 20 per cent less than the market rates.

The stores have already become functional at Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bathinda, Chandi Mandir and Udhampur.

— Pritam Bhullar 

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3-day youth convention ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The three-day state-level convention of National Service volunteers and ‘Yuva Sathees’ organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan in Punjab and Chandigarh ended here today. More than 250 youths participated in the convention.The objective of the convention was to commemorate the 150th anniversary of India’s freedom struggle of 1857. “Yuva Kriti”, an exhibition on handicrafts was another feature of this convention.

R.K. Mishra, regional director, Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre, inaugurated the convention. V.K. Shukla briefed the audience about various youth development schemes run by the government. He also highlighted the important events of 1857. H.S. Dhanoa from Government College, Sector 11, highlighted the pre-independence period of Indian history.

V.P Batra imparted training on attitude, behaviour, self-respect, self-development and handling of various situations to become good youth leaders. Dr Kesar Singh, associate professor, CRRID, discussed various aspects of the Panchayati Raj system in Punjab and the empowerment of gram sabhas.

Dr Renu Gandhi from Panjab University stressed on making the people aware about female foeticide and to promote awareness to save the girl child. B.S. Khosa, regional coordinator, Punjab and Chandigarh, stressed on the need to improve oneself and also to have a sense of responsibility towards the society.

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Plumbing tool kits distributed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Jan Shikshan Sansthan with support from social workers distributed tool kits to persons, who completed their 6-month course in plumbing, in a function organised at its premises in Sector 38, here today.

Arjun Kamboj, director, Jan Shikshan Sansthan, said that these candidates, who reside in Sector 25 labour colony, used to polish shoes for a living. Later, the trainees presented a cultural programme and shared their experiences.

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Award for PWD employee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Bharti Kaushik, an employee in the office of chief engineer, Haryana PWD, B&R, Chandigarh, was presented with Rashtriya Gaurav Award Certificate of Excellence at a seminar on “Economic Growth and National Integration” at New Delhi recently.

Bharti, a degree-holder in architecture, was honoured for her meritorious services and remarkable social service like designing houses for the underprivileged section.

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Media directory released

Chandigarh, March 20
Panjab University is ready to collaborate with the Indian Media Centre (IMC) and the Chandigarh Journalists Association to bring media studies and media professionals together, PU vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti said while releasing the Chandigarh media directory at Chandigarh Press Club here today.

The general body meeting of the local chapter of the IMC was held. P.C. Dogra and Balbir Jandu were elected chairman and general secretary, respectively, of the IMC chapter. — TNS

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One held for duping war widow
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 20
The main suspect in a case of alleged duping of a war widow of her land has been rounded up by the Mohali police.

According to the police, Vijay Pal Singh, alias Dimpi, was detained near Delhi.

A war widow, Mohinder Kaur, had complained to the police that she had been duped of 30 kanals near here which the state government had allotted to her after her husband Amar Singh, an Army man, was killed in action.

Inspector General of Police S.K. Sharma had directed the SSP to register an FIR against those involved in the case.

It was alleged that members of a land mafia, including certain property dealers who were backed by influential persons, had duped the widow.

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4 booked for fraud on businessman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh police has booked four persons on the allegations of cheating and forgery by duping a Hoshiarpur resident on false claims that he took a loan of Rs 50 lakh from them.

One of the accused, Mahinder Alag of Yamuna Nagar, has been arrested in this connection, while the other three are at large, said the police.

Sources in the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh police said businessman Kamal Kant Puri of Unique Cottage, Civil Lines, Hoshiarpur, lodged a complaint alleging that his partner Gurjit Singh, in connivance with other persons - Navpreet Kaur, Narinder Pal and Mahinder Alag - forged documents to show that he (Puri) had taken a loan of Rs 50 lakh from them.

Investigating officer sub-inspector Devinderpal Singh told the TNS that Puri complained that he was in partnership with Gurjit Singh in a company, RN Highway Private Limited, in Sector 34-A. The two were directors of the company.

However in 2004, he went abroad and handed over three blank cheques to Gurjit to ensure that work did not suffer in his absence.

Puri also claimed that he had another company, RNCC, in his name.

Also, Mahinder Alag, a friend of Gurjit, had two companies - M/s Hardyal Enterprises and Arjan Gas Limited - in his name.

In 2006, differences developed between Gurjit and Puri.

Puri alleged that Gurjit in connivance with Alag withdrew Rs 50 lakh from Hardyal Enterprises (Alag’s company) and deposited the amount in RNCC (Puri’s company) on July 14, 2006.

However, one of Gurjit’s employee, Narinderpal, withdrew the amount from the account the same day using one of the blank cheques handed over by Puri.

He alleged that the accused hatched a plan to show that he (Puri) had taken a loan from Alag. Later, they produced blank cheques in his account, which were dishonoured by the bank due to insufficient funds.

Thereafter, Mahinder Alag reportedly filed civil suits against Puri in Yamuna Nagar and Chandigarh.

Realising the fraud being committed on him, Puri lodged a complaint with the local police.

The police said though no monetary loss had come on record so far, the accused had forged Puri’s signatures, as banks demanded declaration singed by the account holder in case the amount to be withdrawn exceeded Rs 10 lakh.

Narinderpal had forged Puri’s signatures in that declaration. Their intension was to dupe the complainant by showing a loan against him, he alleged.

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Servant decamps with Rs 1.20 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A servant and his accomplice allegedly decamped with cash and jewellery from a house in Sector 21.

Satish Kumar of Sector 21 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his servant Anil Kumar of Pynthan district in Nepal and one Raja, whose address is not known, had stolen Rs 1.20 lakh, a gold kara, gold bangles and other articles from his residence on March 17. He was out of station at the time of the theft. A case has been registered in the Sector 19 police station.

Vehicles stolen

Sonu Sharma of Subhash Nagar, Mani Majra, reported to the police that his Mahindra Bolero (DL-3C-0110) was stolen from his residence on Sunday night. In another incident, Davinder Singh of Mullanpur village filed a complaint alleging that his Hero Honda Passion motorcycle (CH-03-K-7956) was stolen from Sector 26 on Monday.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Hit-and-run case

A rickshaw-puller, Ram Bihari of Gonda district in Bihar, suffered injuries after being hit by a scooter (CH-01-Z-7068) near the Sector 40 and 41 crossing on Monday. He has been admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh. The scooterist sped away after the mishap. A case of causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving has been registered.

Gambling

The Special Crime Investigation Cell of Chandigarh police arrested a shopkeeper, Surinder Singh of Mori Gate, Mani Majra, from his shop for gambling. The police recovered Rs 2,260 from him. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered.

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Cyclist crushed

Chandigarh, March 20
A cyclist was crushed to death when a speeding truck hit him near the Tribune chowk on the Chandigarh-Ambala road around 10 pm last evening.

According to sources, the victim was in his mid-20s. He was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector , where he was declared brought dead.

The police found two addresses, including that of a transporter, on the person of the diseased. After hitting the cyclist, the truck driver sped away. A case has been registered. — TNS

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‘Land of opportunities’ bowls them over
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
For these 11 young achievers from Commonwealth countries across the globe, India has truly been an “overwhelming” experience.

Here in the city, as part of the Commonwealth study conference hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi, this group is part of 185 delegates from across 53 Commonwealth nations visiting India for an intensive sharing and learning process.

Delegates visit PU

Eleven delegates from different Commonwealth countries visited PU today. The delegates are in the city to participate in the Commonwealth Study Conference hosted by CII. They interacted with vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti. They also visited University Business School where they interacted with the faculty and students.

The conference, first started in 1956 by the Duke of Edinburgh, is in a sense a global conclave of dynamic go-getters wanting to change their world around them through their experiences and that sense of expectancy and hope was evident in each of them while they attended a dinner hosted in their honour by the UT administration represented by tourism director Vivek Attray at Rock Garden.

The group is on a whirlwind tour of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana to delve into the intricacies of textile and agriculture in this region.

And in spite of their diverse backdrops, ranging from entrepreneurs doing development work to IT professionals to civil servants and even trade unionists, it did not prevent them from coming together to enjoy one of the city’s most picturesque tourist spots.

For Syed Tawqir Husain, a stockbroker from Bangladesh, this conference is a stepping stone to becoming an international investment banker in the near future.

“This conference is about working together for inclusive growth and development and that is the key for me. I hope to take back some of the experiences of this rapidly developing country and apply them.”

Michelle Macleod, a prosecuting lawyer for the government from Edinburgh, Scotland, was pleasantly surprised by Chandigarh.

“It is like a European city, well planned and green and even though the whole experience has been overwhelming, I know it will be a tremendous personal learning experience of different styles of leadership.”

While the growth rate had them all surprised, the polarisation, the extremes between the haves and have-nots was more than what most imagined it to be.

Notwithstanding the disparity, Tom Savage, a social development entrepreneur from the UK (he has started a charity organisation working on conservation and a website focusing saving the planet amongst other things), called India the “land of huge opportunity” but had a word of caution when he urged people not to focus on status and money but to extend that helping hand to each other.

“In the country that had someone like Mahatma Gandhi I am surprised people have not followed his principle.”

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Investment way to green card
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A city-based immigration consultancy group has decided to publicise the US EB-5 visa immigrant investor programme targeted at investors wishing to acquire a green card.

According to its chief: “With Indian industrial groups acquiring businesses outside of India, Indian entrepreneurs are being looked upon favorably. This is the time for even middle-level professionals, businessmen, even farmers, to take advantage and invest in the US through their investor programme and get back good dividends.”

The programme gives an opportunity to those with the ability to invest at least US $ 5 lakh of legally acquired funds in US government-approved projects located in the US to get a conditional green card, which is reviewed after two years, along with 4 to 5 per cent return on investment when the project became operational.

“This investment is passive, wherein the investor does not have to bother about the supervision of the project and can settle down with the family anywhere in the country and not necessarily in the place where the project is situated.”

The EB-5 Visa allows investor to work anywhere in the US, set up a private enterprise or lead a retired life.

While there were 5,000 such visas available per annum for investors from all over the world, these were largely availed of by people from Taiwan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong, with only 2 per cent Indians making use of the opportunity between 1992 and 2004. 

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Stamp duty: Property dealers favour two rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Property Consultants Association of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, have asked for distinction in rates of rented and vacant properties fixed for the levy of stamp duty.

In a letter to the UT finance secretary, association members have written that the rates of urban and rural property in Chandigarh are fixed by the registrar. Stamp duty is charged by treating the value so fixed as the minimum value of a particular property.

But distinction is not made between the rented and vacant property while fixing the rates. This is despite the fact that the sale price of vacant property is almost double the price of rented property.

According to association chairman Mahavir Sharma, president Tirlok Singh and general secretary Sanjeev Kumar, the situation has only worsened with the declaration of rent notification as null and void by the Supreme Court.

Now rented property is available at even less than 50 per cent of the market value, be it commercial, industrial or residential. As such the matter may be considered “dispassionately” and the rates of the rented property for the charge of stamp duty may be fixed at half the rates of vacant property, they said.

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