C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Lock-in period to be cut
Reprieve for GPA-holders
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
In a major relief to those holding the general power of attorney (GPA) of group housing societies, the Chandigarh administration proposes to reduce the mandatory five-year lock-in period for the sale of flats.

Aimed to benefit hundreds of GPA-holders, who have no say in the managing committees of the cooperative societies, the administration is reportedly going in a for a major amendment in the provisions of the Cooperative Act which govern the sale and purchase of flats.

A formal decision is expected soon, said a senior official.

The allottee will now be able to sell their dwelling units after five years from the date of allotment of land. This would reduce the lock-in period by at least two years.

Registrar of Cooperative Societies RK Rao said a proposal in this regard had been forwarded to the secretary, cooperation.

“Those persons who have purchased flats on GPA after 2003 will be the major beneficiaries,” said a member of the managing committee of a house building society.

After the increase in prices, some members sold their flats on GPA. As a result, a number of complaints and problems emerged in the working of the cooperative house building societies. The working of the office of registrar was also affected. The GPA-holders living in the flats had little say whereas the original allottee ran the affairs of the societies. 

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Chhat Bir waits for April cub
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The staff of the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhat Bir is agog with excitement. Eight-year-old Shanti is expecting in mid-April, She is marked for special treatment. Shanti, the Royal Bengal tigress, is being bred in captivity.

"We are taking no chances as this would be first captive breeding in the zoo since 2004-05," field director Dharminder Sharma said today.

The zoo last year lost three white tigers, including two female, to some blood infection. To make up for the loss, the zoo got one male and one female white tiger from the National Zoological Park, New Delhi, under an exchange programme.

Acting on the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority(CZA), the authorities had stopped inbreeding a few years back.The zoo authorities went in for mass sterilisation of the white tigers.

Zoo officials informed that Guddu and Shanti were mated in the last week of December 2006. The gestation period varies from three months to four months. “The zoo should get the newborn by mid-April,”said Sharma, underling the steps taken to make the delivery of the animal comfortable.

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For UT, local talent is dispensable
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The engineering, medical and architecture branches of the Chandigarh administration are full of outsiders (read deputationists), with local talent finding little or no place. The administration blames it on the long tedious procedure involved in such appointments.

“ The administration makes every effort to get UT-cadre officers. However, the process of recruitment through the UPSC is very long. In case we send a demand, the UPSC responds after about eight months. In routine, an objection is raised and it takes another year to finally agree to the post".

Critics say this is a lame excuse. Even the Punjab and Haryana governments are following the same procedure for recruitment. Any senior official is well aware of the number of persons retiring in his department and can initiate action accordingly.

An official said:" In order to save public from inconvenience, we often go in for deputation from states of Punjab and Haryana".

Arun Kumar, son of a government official said: " The engineering and medical branches of the administration and the municipal corporation are full of deputationists from Punjab and Haryana. Many like me are born, brought up and educated here and have not sought any benefit in the cadre states of our parents."

In important services like education, the Union Territory has gone in for contractual appointments. A senior official said: " We face major problems in getting an appointment through the UPSC. The process takes more than six months. So we resort to appointments on deputation."

To make matters worse, the administration has initiated the process of outsourcing a number of services in the city like cleaning of premises, horticulture, housekeeping and transport and maintenance of buildings.

"How can the administration outsource basic amenities? It is likely to result in lesser salaries to engineers and doctors, which is tantamount to exploitation,” Dinesh Sharma, a school teacher said.

At the junior level, including the engineering wing, the UT has a number of deputationists. Since 1970, the UT has recruited only 16 SDEs (buildings and roads) through the UPSC, 10 SDEs (public health) and six SDEs (electricity).

While youngsters from the UT are seeking a greater share in the local administration, the state governments of Punjab and Haryana do not want the ratio of 60:40 to be disturbed. A crucial meeting in this regard earlier this week was postponed by the Centre.

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Deepika, Sangeeta top Class VIII exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Education Department of Chandigarh declared the results of the Class VIII examination (2006-07) here today.

Deepika Sharma of Manav Mangal Model High School, Sector 21, topped in the model schools category, securing 669 marks out of 700. Her father is a manager with the State Bank of India, Poanta Sahib. Deepika wants to be join the civil services.

In the other category, Sangeeta Kumari, daughter of a labourer and student of Government High School, Sector 7, bagged the top position with 642 marks. Coming from a humble family, Sangita is a state-level gold medallist in boxing and wants to be a mathematics teacher.

According to school headmaster Sanjay Walia, Sangeeta has always excelled in all spheres, be it academic, sports or extra- curricular activities. “She has instrumental in the school clinching the winners’ trophy in the science fair for the last three years,” he said.

The second place in the model schools category went to Sakshi Mehta of Shishu Niketan, Sector 21. She secured 668 marks. The third place was shared by Sheena Gupta of Manav Mangal School-21 and Shishu Niketan’s Prashant. Both secured 667 marks.

According to results, the pass percentage in the non-model schools is 67.22 per cent while the model schools showed a pass percentage of 87.30 per cent. Private schools had an edge over government schools and bagged the first eight positions. The ninth place went to Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, whose Priyanka Gariana got 662 marks.

In the private schools category, Nancy, who reportedly appeared as private candidate, topped the list by securing 633 marks while the second place went to Sushil Kumar Yadav of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8 who secured 630 marks.

Registrar of examination Chanchal Singh said: “The results will be sent to respective schools at 10 am. Students may contact their schools after 10 am.”

The gazette will be available at GMSSS- 23, GMSSS-16, GMSSS-19, GMSSS-40, GMSSS-33, GMSSS, Karsan, GSSS-38 (West) and GMSSS, Mani Majra Complex.

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HC gives stay on dispossession
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the dispossession of laid some landowners of Kishangarh. The land was being acquired by the Chandigarh Administration for Phase III of the Information Technology Park.

During the hearing of a petition filed by Hardayal Singh Johl and others, challenging the legality of the decision of the administration to acquire their agricultural land, the court directed the respondents not to dispossess the landowners of their land till further orders. The next date of hearing is May 8.

In their petition, Johl and others stated that despite repeatedly applying to the administration for allowing them a small farmhouse for agriculture purposes, their requests had yielded no results.

They also stated that acquisitions and construction in the area, especially in the light of the fact that the land was “very close to the Sukhna Lake and adjacent to the Sukhna choe and has been declared reserved forest,” would degrade the habitat and disturb thousands of migratory birds.

The petitioners also challenged the constitutionality of the Periphery Act.

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Depression snuffs out two lives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Two cases of suicide were reported in the city today. A man, said to be a drug addict, jumped from the fifth floor of the research block of the PGI. In the second incident, a 26-year-old housewife, Saroj, hanged herself to death at her parent’s residence in Sector 22.

Though, Saroj left no suicide note, the police, quoting her parents, said she had been suffering from depression ever since her miscarriage early this year.

Fortyeight-year-old Gurdeep Singh of Saharanpur had come to the city for treatment. He had left home about 20 years ago and was reportedly living in the corridors of the Sector 16 market.

He reached the research block of the PGI at 10.30 am and told the watchman there that he had come to collect reports. He went to the fifth floor and jumped. He suffered a broken skull and multiple fractures on his legs and feet. He was rushed to the emergency, where he was declared “brought dead”.

The police informed Gurdeep’s brother, Tejinder Singh of Zirakpur, about the death. Tejinder told the police that Gurdeep was a bachelor and had been living away from his parents for the past over 20 due to his addiction to drugs and liquor.

About the woman, the police said, Saroj was found hanging from the hook of a ceiling fan by her brother at around 10 am. Saroj was married to Ishwar Singh Malik of Rohtak, a lecturer , about a year ago.

Her father, Ishwar Singh Seokand, deputy director in Higher Education Department, Haryana, told the police that he went to see his wife admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital, leaving Saroj at home. His son, Ravinder, found her hanging from a fan after he returned from a visit to his mother in the hospital.

Sources at the Sector 22 police post said the family had requested that a post-mortem was held only after her husband’s statement was recorded. Saroj’s parents suspected no foul play and the suicide spot had been inspected by the SDM.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings.

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Getting student visa to UK may become faster
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Getting a student visa to the UK or permanent residency there is expected to become faster. The British High Commission has now signed an MoU with Singapore-based IntegraScreen, for verification of visa applications, so as to speed up the processing work.

The high commission and IntegraScreen, an international provider of document and information verification services, have announced this voluntary scheme to expedite the processing of visas for travellers to the UK. The UK visa departments in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata will give priority to applications which are supported by documents which have been verified by IntegraScreen.

Talking to TNS here today, Yogesh Bhura, managing director of IntegraScreen, said this was the first of its kind initiative for outsourcing of the verification process for visa applications.

“We expect that by the end of this year, almost 100 per cent of verification for visa applications will be processed by us. Our immigration screening experience across the globe has helped us create a world class system of document and information verification. Forged documentation is an area of concern for the immigration departments of governments worldwide".

Last year, 97,000 visa applications were received by the British High Commission from India, of which 19,000 applications were received in the Delhi visa office (from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi). Because of the huge rush, the applicants have to wait for months to get the verification done.

Mandy Ivemy, director of UK Visa Services for India, said, "The partnership with IntegraScreen offers customers a way to demonstrate that their visa application is supported by genuine documents, screened by an independent third party.

Our visa departments will be confident that documents are genuine, which means that we can process their applications quicker”.

She said they had also entered into this partnership because of the rise in the number of agents who charged exorbitant fees and made unrealistic claims, including guarantees of visa issues. “Some of these agents persuade applicants to buy false documents. These visas are always refused and the applicants lose all their money. In addition, both the applicants and the agents could face criminal prosecution," she said.

Under the new scheme, the applicants who want to get the verification done through IntegraScreen will have to submit their applications to the nearest VFS Collection Centre- British High Commission's commercial partner, who collect and dispatch visa applications for the UK. For customers who wish to go to the UK on a temporary basis (students, or applicants under Highly Skilled Migrant Programme), the verification fee is Rs 5,900.

For customers who wish to live permanently in the UK, the fee is Rs 10,800. These fees are in addition to the visa fee and are not refundable.

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They return with fond memories
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
A frail-looking Khalina stood up from the chair, took out a piece of paper, unfolded it and read out “Mujhe khuda ne janam Pakistan mein diya, zindagi Hindustan ne di. Hindustan zindabad, Pakistan zindabad”. Nine-year-old Khalina, a student of Class II, who was neatly dressed and wearing colourful bangles, was more than happy on being successfully operated upon.

As such she was all praise for the Fortis Hospital and the Rotary Club, which had jointly given her a new lease of life. She suffered from a recurring RTI. She was diagnosed to have a PDA, a tube-like structure connecting the two major blood vessels. It increases the blood flow in the lungs.

Apart from Khalina, there were four more Pakistani children who suffered from complicated heart ailments. They, too, were successfully operated upon and are going back home tomorrow. These five children were admitted to Fortis under the aegis of a Fortis-Rotary collaborative project for under-privileged children. The surgeries were performed by Dr T.S. Mahant, executive director, cadio thoracic surgery.

Nawaz, a three-year-old boy, suffered from recurrent respiratory tract infections. The child was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect, which led to an increased blood flow into the lungs. Eight-year-old Kabiruudin was found to have a tetralogy of fallot, wherein he had a big ventricular septal defect and decreased pulmonary blood flow into the lungs.

Farhana, who was 16-year-old, was diagnosed with a moderate ventricular septal defect with infundibular hypertrophy, resulting in compromised blood flow to the lungs.

Thirteen-year-old Umair Tazi suffered from a complicated ailment since birth. The child was diagnosed with a single ventricle physiology with decreased blood flow into the lungs with malpossed great vessels.

President of the Rotary Club Manmohan Singh said here today that this was a great step in establishing a good rapport between the two neighbouring nations and to send across a message. Nobody else could be a better ambassador than these children. The funds for the operations were generated by the Rotarians themselves.

He said the Rotary Heartline project was a sequel to the Gift of Life project of the club in Chandigarh. The project was conceived in 1999 by the former world president of the Rotary International Rajendra K. Saboo to save the lives of underprivileged children suffering from congenital cardiac diseases.

The club had so far performed 140 such surgeries, he added. Fortis had arranged for stay of the parents of the children here.

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Ghaggar bridge to be opened soon
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, March 29
The Ghaggar bridge near Bhankharpur village is likely to be opened to the heavy vehicular traffic soon.

According to sources, the administration was toying with the idea of opening the bridge to heavy vehicular traffic, including buses and mini-buses. However, trucks would not be allowed on the bridge, the sources added.

The repair work being undertaken by the GMR Expressways is likely to be completed in a few days.

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Admn Apathy
Nothing right with this Sector
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
The Residents Welfare Association, Sector 67, has complained to the authorities concerned that sanitation is in a state of neglect there and the area lacks basic amenities.

Senior vice-president of the association Brij Singh said no safai karamchari had been deployed in the area. Despite assurances by the deputy commissioner, basic amenities in the area remained a distant dream. The matter was also brought to the notice of the additional chief administrator.

Maintenance of parks, roads and streetlights had not been carried out for long. Water supplied by the municipal corporation carried sand particles.

The authorities concerned had failed to implement provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, and Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992, in the sector despite it being brought to their notice that only 8 per cent of the milk supply to the town was found to be unadulterated.

The residents demand a shopping complex, leisure valley and community centre in the area.

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Rules on MRP flouted
Who pays for wrong practices? YOU
Saurabh Malik /Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Check the maximum retail price (MRP) on the product before buying it, lest you pay a price for gullibility. Even departmental store owners in the city are charging you for your unwariness, asking you to pay over and above the MRP.

If it frustrates the intention behind awareness campaigns by the weights and measures department on the electronic media and is tantamount to committing an offence, these sellers are just not bothered.

To a credulous buyer, it may sound incredible. But the fear of the law is the last thing on their minds as they even issue “retail invoices” mentioning the enhanced price of the product.

Recently, a Sector 18 resident picked up a 250 ml bottle of a mouthwash from Peshawari Supermarkets (P) in Sector 19, only to discover he had been overcharged.

Though the bottle clearly mentions Rs 65 as the MRP, inclusive of all taxes, the price sticker on the container reads Rs 68.50.

To top it all, the same price of Rs 68.50 is mentioned in the “retail invoice” or the bill. The bottle and the sticker price along with the bill are in The Tribune’s possession.

Gagan, an executive with Peshawari Supermarket admits that there has been an error on their part . “The new batch must have been priced at Rs 68.50, leading to confusion . We will get the stock checked and rectify the problem”.

A survey of the city, meanwhile, reveals some more stores in Sector 17 and other places are indulging in similar practices, though the rules prohibit the same.

In fact, MRP is the maximum retail price that can be charged for a product being sold at the retail level anywhere in the country. 

Sellers are free to offer the product at a price below the MRP as it includes profits and commissions that can be passed onto the consumer. But not above it .In any case, charging in excess of the MRP is an offence.

— Lawyer Ajay Jagga


Selling a product over and above the MRP amounts to deficiency in service and exploitation of the consumer. An aggrieved person can challenge the action of such overcharging in the Consumer Court.

— Justice K.C. Gupta

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Bansal bats for Deep Complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal has urged the UT Administrator to sympathetically view the problem of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra.

In a letter written to the Administrator, the minister has said there is a need to strike a balance between the imperative of urbanisation, necessitating more housing as a result of increase in population, and the need to strengthen the stipulated character of the city.

“Since the CRPF had already been allotted the land, the land on which the complex had come up was no more required. These structures need to be exempt from acquisition and developed appropriately to give an aesthetic look to the area by levying some development charges,” he said.

“So far, the compensation for the same has not been paid and no mutation was ever effected in the name of the administration or any other authority.”

The minister pointed out that there was a move to take possession of the land though the originally stated purpose no longer subsisted.

“Technically, it may have violated the provisions of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952. But, in the absence of even a modicum of enforcement of this Act even since the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, there is no dearth of such cases around Chandigarh.”

“If a strict watch is kept even now, all unauthorised construction can be checked in future. The existing one can then be integrated in the plan,” Bansal has said.

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Workshop on child abuse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
President of the Indian Council of Social Welfare Jean Rodrigues today called for forming residents’ societies to check child sexual abuse.

She was addressing participants at an interactive and experimental workshop on child sexual abuse organised by the ICSW to sensitise teachers about the problem. The workshop was organised at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18.

Admitting that such cases were on the rise, Rodrigues said children were increasingly feeling insecure and hesitant about discussing problems of this nature with families, friends and teachers.

She said teachers and mothers would have to initiate discussions on this sensitive issue with children, especially with girls, and prepare them to fight such crimes.

The administrator’s wife also urged teachers to take up cudgels against those who indulge in such heinous activities. “After their parents, children can only confide in you. You need to inspire trust in children,” she said while assuring them the wholehearted support of the administration to curb the problem.

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Letters
‘Bloody’ signal

The report on cell phone “deaths’’ in Punjab needs greater research. For instance, you should have asked a knowledgeable software expert whether some prankster, familiar with mobile phone technology, can produce an electromagnetic wave matching the frequency of the operator’s signal by imposing an electric pulse on it. The prankster, in these times of improved and easily accessible software, can also generate his own CLIP (caller line identification protocol) number that allegedly appears on the victims’ screens.

In my view, the red dot that is believed to appear on mobile will show only in monochromatic order on the black and white screen. That makes it doubly dangerous. Such a signal can, as far as I can think, reach the user by riding on the basic electro-magnetic wave of the operator’s signal. But such a possibility exists only if the prankster is located within the locality where, for instance, the alleged deaths took place and from where the mobile company’s hub operates. The mischief-maker is probably turning his transmitter on and deliberately targeting people by calling them. An ex-insider or unhappy insider’s job? The police must get cracking to bare the goings-on.

— Ajaypal, Mohali

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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City roads in state of disrepair
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Irrespective of whosoever is responsible for their maintenance and upkeep, most of the city roads offer potholes or at best a bumpy ride to motorists.

Motorists have been facing inconvenience for the past several months due to the laxity of the administration in repairing the roads.

While officials blame incessant rains for the bad shape of roads, they also leave no opportunity to pass the buck of their upkeep to each other.

Daily commuters are the worst sufferers of all, for they use these roads every day to reach their destination.

Krishan Khanna, a resident of Sector 38, who travels on the Dakshin Marg and the Purb Marg every day, says he has been forced to take the bumpy ride for the past two months.

“It is difficult to drive on these roads, especially the one from Kisan Bhavan to Sector 34 traffic lights. It has been in bad shape for many months but no repair has been carried out.”

The condition of slow carriageways and slip roads in many Sectors is no different. At many places, new slip roads have been carved out but these have been lying unused for the want of asphalt carpeting.

The new slip roads at the Sector 32-33-30-20 roundabout are nothing but mud trails.

The slow carriage roads of many Sectors on the Madhya Marg are also in urgent need of repair.

Many roads under the municipal corporation were re-carpeted in earnest ahead of the corporation elections in December. However, those coming under the UT administration still need repairs.

Officials of the corporation claim that all roads under their jurisdiction have been taken care of.

“The corporation has met its target. The roads that were last carpeted in 2001 will be carpeted this year. We re-carpet roads every five years.”

Talking to the TNS, chief engineer V.K. Bharadwaj said the UT administration re-carpeted its roads every six years. “All city roads are in good shape,” he stated.

However, he agreed that some of the roads needed repairs, which would be completed by June.

“Slow carriageways and some other roads need repairs. We will do that soon.”

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AG’s report tabled in Assembly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (civil, revenue receipts and commercial) for the year ending March 31, 2006, containing audit comments and observations on the accounts and transactions pertaining to the activities of the Punjab government, was laid on the table of the state legislature today.

This was stated by R.P. Singh, accountant general, here today.

The report depicted the financial health of the state, fiscal and budgetary control exercised over expenditure and financial viability of the government companies.

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Bhiwani resident held for theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The local police today arrested a Bhiwani resident on charge of stealing Rs 1 lakh from his employer’s shop on March 28.

The police said the accused, 22-year-old Ranbir Sharma, was arrested near his village in Bhiwani district.

The police recovered Rs 98,600 from his possession.

His employer, Ashok Goel of Sector 38, had lodged a complaint alleging that Ranbir had stolen Rs 1 lakh from his marble shop at Sarangpur village yesterday. A case had been registered in this connection.

Theft

Ajay Singla of Sector 5, Panchkula, reported to the police that Rajinder Singh of Indira Colony was caught red-handed while stealing his mobile phone from his car parked in Rajiv Vihar in Mani Majra yesterday.

A case has been registered.

Cheating

Three persons have been booked for cheating a Mohali resident on account of sending him abroad.

Vijay Kumar of Phase X, Mohali, reported to the police that Raj Kumar Garg, Sonali Garg and Seervi of Bombay Enterprises, Sector 34, had taken Rs 5.96 lakh from his on the pretext of sending him abroad. They neither sent him abroad nor return his money.

A case of cheating under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 24 of the Immigration Act has been registered.

Purse stolen

Swaran Sharma of Sector 38 lodged a complaint with the police claiming that her purse containing a necklace, a pair of earrings, a gold ring, two gold bangles and Rs 250 was stolen from Sector-22 market yesterday.

A case has been registered at the police station, Sector 17.

Mobile snatched

Amit Julka of Sector 46 filed a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified youths riding a black Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle snatched his mobile phone near his residence yesterday.

A case has been registered.

Scooter stolen

Sudhir Batra of Sector 41 reported to the police claiming that his scooter (CH 01 V 0823) was stolen from his residence last night.

A case has been registered at the police station, Sector 39.

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Car, motor cycle stolen
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
A car and a motor cycle were stolen from the town. Rajbir Singh, a resident of Phase I, complained to the police that he had parked his Maruti car outside his house last night but the vehicle was found missing this morning. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

In another incident thieves stole a Bullet motor cycle from Phase II.

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IT Habitat not allotted land yet

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh Housing Board has not been able to give around 1.25 acres of land to the private developer of the IT Habitat, a residential and commercial area being developed near the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP).

The land had fallen short during a joint inter-state boundary demarcation with Haryana. The issue has become a point of standoff between the CHB and the private builder, Parsavnath Developers.

Yesterday, CHB authorities assured the local representative of the company that additional land would be allotted within a week. — TNS

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Mall Game
4 in race to catch buyers
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
After the race for “location” to set up a mall in the city, the next race for time has begun. The four malls coming up in the city are now vying with each other to get the “first person advantage” by opening their doors first.

DLF, Uppal’s Centra Mall, TDI Mall and City Emporio are in a neck-and-neck race to finish their construction and open doors to customers. All four developers claim that they will be ready to open the malls by the end of the year, though DLF mall in IT Park, Chandigarh, will be the first to open shops by mid-July.

Both Centra Mall and TDI plan to open shops by September, while City Emporio plans to open shops by December this year.

Though the USP of the malls are different - if it is the architecture in one mall, it is the roping in of international fashion brands in the other.

All four malls will offer similar facilities and retail outlets on approximately two lakh square feet area, international food courts and three to four screen multiplexes. These malls are also offering huge parking in their basements.

Though the developers claim that they will be able to change the shopping trends in the city, sceptics feel otherwise. The latter claim that though malls get many footfalls, they may not be the best place for business.

Opines Mohit Sharma, an IT professional, who has just shifted to the city from Gurgaon: “The mall bubble will burst soon as people visit these malls just for fun as is the case in Gurgaon, but will continue to shop in ‘mom and pop’ stores. With no business being generated, these malls will not be a success.

However, the mall developers disagree. Says Rohit Malhotra, CEO, Realtech Group (promoters of City Emporio that is coming up in the Industrial Area): “People in Chandigarh have high purchasing power and they will not mind shopping for international brands in malls. This explains why many international retail outlets like Tommy Hilfiger or Tag Huer have done so well.

”Malhotra adds that they plan to open Tony, Guy, Lacoste and Tag Huer showrooms in their mall, besides many other national and international retailers.

His views are supported by officials at DLF Mall that is coming up in IT Park. “Chandigarh is certainly a niche market. Brand-conscious residents, with a fondness for living it up, will ensure the mall business growth,” he says.

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Coming to Khadi Gram Udyog’s aid
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
Panja durries, designed by an assistant professor, were exhibited at the Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology (NIIFT) here today.

The Khadi Gram Udyog has given a project of redesigning durries to NIIFT.

Shweta Sharma, who had undertaken the project, said the Khadi Gram Udyog wanted her to provide them with solutions in terms of new colours, designs, and most importantly a new look to these durries. Those were predominantly very low cost but at the same time had no value for the upper end of the market.

The durries were made of 100 per cent handspun cotton and were woven by women. These women were made aware of important aspects in durry-making, she added.

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RBI directive to banks
Extend working hours to meet closing rush
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
As the financial year draws to a close, all public and private sector banks conducting government business have been asked to extend their working hours.

In a circular issued to the banks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked the banks to take special measures to meet the expected rush of taxpayers towards the end of the year.

These banks - State Bank of India and its associate banks, all public sector banks, IDBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, UTI Bank and Jammu and Kashmir Bank - have been asked to suitably extend their working hours.

It may be noted that transactions worth Rs 400 to 500 crore take place daily in various banks in the tricity through around 65,000 cheques per day.

Sources in the banking sector told Chandigarh Tribune that during the last week of March, just before the end of the financial year, transactions increased manifold.

Most of the transactions were carried out by government agencies, which rose by 10 per cent from the normal, said B.N. Gupta, chief manager, Punjab National Bank, MICR branch.

The RBI has asked banks to keep their counters open for conducting all government business, besides payment of advance income tax, service tax, central excise duty, fringe benefit tax in the banks.

Banks have been asked to stay open for transactions till March 31 to facilitate receipt of taxes.

The regional office of the RBI and other banks have also been asked to keep their counters open on March 31, which is otherwise a declared holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act on account of Mahavir Jayanti.

Special clearing (with return clearing) will be conducted in the evening and intervening night of March 30 and 31, so that the clearing instruments received from members of public are realised and credited to government account by March 31.

Meanwhile, the RBI has also asked all banks to ensure that payments, and revenue and tax collections (direct and indirect taxes) made on behalf of the government, towards the end of March, are accounted for in the current financial year as “March 2007 residual transactions”.

The date of closure for these transactions has been fixed as April 16.

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