C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Deported youths name city agent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Thirtysix persons hailing from Punjab and Haryana, who had gone to Dubai in search of greener pastures, were deported from Dubai on Monday night after they were caught travelling with fake visas.

According to information, the workers had revealed that they had obtained work visas for Dubai on April 22 through a Chandigarh-based travel agent.They were caught by the authorities at the Dubai airport.

Sources said the immigration authorities sent them back to Delhi after charging the Indian airline on which they had travelled a fine of 510 dirham for each illegal passenger. Expressing surprise, the authorities said it was the first time that so many people had been found travelling on fake visas on a single flight.

Disagreeing that the lapse was on a part of its staff, the airline, however was yet to give its official version. It held that the 36 passengers could fly out of Delhi only after immigration check by officials at the Delhi airport.

But sources in the ministry of external affairs said the airline was at fault. It should have verified the credentials of these passengers before issuing them tickets.

SHO of the Sector 34 police station Prem Kumar Chauhan said he had learnt about the incident from sources, but had no official word on it as yet.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) KIP Singh said so far no agency, including the Delhi police, had approached them in this connection. 

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Hotels, malls get no space in Phase III
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Chandigarh administration today announced that in the Phase III of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, no land would be allotted to any hotel or shopping mall or for residential use, unlike Phase I and Phase II.

Land owners of Kishangarh village had alleged that the administration made huge profit by selling land for commercial and residential activity in the IT Park, without passing on the benefit to the farmers.

Land owners of Kishangarh village had alleged that the administration by selling land for commercial and residential activity made huge profit, without passing on the benefit to the farmers.

A spokesman of the administration said keeping in view the needs of the IT industry as also the interest shown by major IT companies, a tentative plan had been drawn for the development of Phase III of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

The whole of Phase III of, covering 270 acres, would be used for IT industry and there would be no space for any ancillary/adjunct activities.

Out of the total area of 270 acres, it is estimated that 110 acres (40 per cent of the total area) would have to be earmarked for roads, green belts and parking, leaving 160 acres for the IT industry.

Taking into consideration that high-end quality companies had approached the administration, three sites of 30 acres each and three of 10 acres each would be earmarked for IT companies eligible for main campus sites as per the Chandigarh Technology Park Rules, 2006.

Similarly, four sites of five acres each had been earmarked for small campus sites and the remaining area for BTS sites.

Power stations (220 KV and 66 KV) in the park would be further augmented by installing high-end environment-friendly transformers for quality power. The cost of providing infrastructure in Phase III would be Rs 30 to 35 crore. 

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New SAD office coming up in Sec 28
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is all set to shift to a new complex, spread over two acres, in Sector 28.

Finishing touches are being given to the new office of the party.

Party sources said inauguration of the first phase of the ultra-modern WiFi-enabled office was expected by next month.

Once operational, the party leadership will have direct connectivity with its district offices across the state - a facility currently not available in party head offices of either the Congress and the BJP in the city.

Vishal Singh, who has been associated with the planning of the building, told Chandigarh Tribune that stress had been laid on giving blue and yellow texture to parts of the building, keeping in line with the party colour.

In the first phase, a conference hall, rooms for the president and the senior vice-president, administrative wing and mediapersons have been built.

Amrik Singh Mohali, a senior party worker who has been overseeing the construction work at the site, said the work had started around three years ago.

A three-member committee, comprising Sukhbir Singh Badal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Tota Singh, had been responsible for monitoring the progress of the project.

After being allotted the land in 1985, the party failed to take possession as the site was said to be located far away from the Vidhan Sabha.

As a result, the site was resumed by estate office and finally restored in 2003. A sum of Rs 1.5 crore has so far been spent on the project.

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MP Bansal’s speech does it  
Cong withdraws no-trust motion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
In an anti-climax, the Congress today decided to withdraw the no- confidence motion against mayor Harjinder Kaur after 75 minutes of discussion.

The collective decision of the Congress councillors came after a well-worded speech by union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. Ending the commotion in the house, the minister said Chandigarh was made Union Territory through the Punjab Reorganization Act of 1966 that was passed by Parliament.

He said only an appropriate amendment in this Act could lead to Chandigarh’s merger with Punjab. “Till that time, Chandigarh would remain a UT,” the minister said. The statement by the minister saved the Congress and the mayor from embarrasement with no voting took place.

The special meeting on no-confidence motion started at 10 am. It was attended by a full house, except one of the nominated councillors. The Congress councillors condemned the mayor for having issued a statement regarding UT’s merger with Punjab. The Congress men demanded that the mayor be removed as she had failed to safeguard the interests of the UT residents.

Uproar gripped the house with the councillors shouting to make their point. Repeated requests by the mayor failed to calm them down. The house questioned whether the corporation had any role to play regarding the UT’s merger. The discussion soon deviated and the councillors started to debate development issues. However, after Pawan Kumar Bansal’s address, order was restored in the house.

Following this, senior nominated councillors ought that the mayor should clarify whether she had issued any statement regarding the UT merger. They said in case the mayor had been misquoted in the media, there was no issue to be discussed.

As the mayor categorically denied having issued any such statement, the Congress councillors withdrew the motion. However, they claimed that they had “ won the motion in favour of Chandigarh people.”

The nominated councillors had refused to vote on the issue. 

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Recounting of votes deferred
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 24
The case relating to the recounting of votes from where former president of the municipal council Kulwant Singh was defeated last year was today adjourned till May 8.

Counsels for both Kulwant Singh and his opponent Gurnam Bindra Singh presented their arguments in the court. After hearing their arguments, the deputy commissioner finally adjourned the case.

Kulwant had filed an election petition stating that most of the votes that had been allegedly rejected by the counting staff were polled in his favour. 

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Saini Vihar sans amenities
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 24
Residents of Phase V of the Saini Vihar, Baltana, near here, have virtually been living without amenities.

The residents alleged that even though they had paid development charges worth lakhs of rupees to the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat yet basic amenities had been eluding them. Repeated representations to the civic body seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

With no proper roads, it is a bumpy ride for the residents and visitors to the colony. With most of the streetlights non-functional, darkness prevails in the colony making it an "accident-prone" area, alleged Vijay Sharma, a resident.

As elsewhere in the township, the water supply and sewerage are in shambles. In fact, with mercury rising, residents are gearing up for a "dry summer".

Since the power supply in the state is in a sorry state, long and unscheduled power cuts make the lives of the residents even more miserable.

Official sources, on the other hand, claimed that the provision of basic amenities was being undertaken in a phased manner. As the township had grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, the provision of the basic amenities has failed to keep pace with the growing population, the sources added.

However, efforts were being made to take up development works on a priority basis, particularly in those colonies where the amenities were in a very bad shape, the sources added.

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Anti-encroachment drive
Building material removed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Chandigarh police and anti-encroachment wing of the municipal corporation removed building material from roads in Attawa late this evening.

The SHO of police station, Sector 36, said joint teams of the police and 20 employees of the anti-encroachment wing, under the supervision of an inspector, removed the encroachments.

They impound two mini trucks, a tempo, and two trucks laden with bricks.

He said the drive was launched following complaints by residents of area regarding blockade of roads due to heaps of sand and gravel.

The residents rued that certain traders dealing in building material had virtually encroached upon roads by keeping their material on these.

He added that the drive would continue in the coming days.

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Multiplex plan

Chandigarh, April 24
The Chandigarh administration has come up with a fresh scheme for multiplex theatres and conversion of cinemas into multiplex theatres, replacing the previous policy which lapsed on March 31.

A spokesman said this had been done to meet the needs of the multiplex industry and to increase entertainment avenues for the citizens and tourists.

The policy allows additional coverage up to 50 per cent of the exercising FAR on payment of conversion charges. The proposal for multiplexes shall conform to the building rules, fire safety rules and the Punjab Cinemas Regulation Act. — TNS

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CCTV in 11 city police stations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
UT administrator Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd) today inaugurated closed-circuit television (CCTV) network at the police station, Sector 17.

The Chandigarh police has installed CCTV in all 11 police stations of the city, enabling senior officials to keep an eye on the happening there. Cameras have been installed in the SHO’s room, munshi’s room, lockup and at the entrance.

Terming the installation of the network an initiative of the Chandigarh police towards transparency and delivery of quality services to citizens, the administrator called for community partnership and active involvement of people in improving services.

UT inspector general of police (IGP) S.K. Jain, while giving a brief account of the new system, said the network would serve as a double-check mechanism on the police as well as citizens.

Any complaint of misbehaviour or delayed response can now be looked into by the inquiry officer in a more objective manner since recording will be available for a period of one month.

It will be easier to zero in on the defaulting police officials or point out the fault of concerned citizen, if any.

He added that the Chandigarh police was introducing innovative systems for giving new face to the force by equipping it with modern infrastructure and improving human resource development by training the police in different fields of endeavour.

He asserted that they were working on a proposal to install CCTV at four trafficlights to capture the footage of violators.

It will help reduce the chances of violators escaping from law with the connivance of police officials.

Senior police officers, including senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gaurav Yadav, SSP (operation) Dinesh Bhatt, and SSP (traffic) A.S. Ahlawat, were present.

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Cosmopolitan Chandigarh
Adaptability is their principle
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Though belonging to the Sindh province in Pakistan, Sindhis have some similarities in language, faith and customs with Punjabis. Adaptable by nature, the community no doubt has adjusted itself to Chandigarh’s cosmopolitan culture, yet members of the community have maintained their own identity and preserved their cultural traditions.

The closely-knit community has around 50 families residing in the city. The first Sindhi family to have migrated to the city was that of Manohar Lal Mulwani in 1953. Belonging to Sukkar in Sindh, he is currently the president of the Sindh Welfare Association, Chandigarh, established in 1970. Since the province borders with Rajasthan and Gujarat, so most of the Sindhis are settled there but those who came via Multan are settled in the city, informs Mulwani.

Sindhis celebrate their New Year at the commencement of Navratras with celebrations of Chetichand and Jhulelal. Believed to be the incarnation of Varun God, Jhulelal was born in Nassarpur, Sindh, a thousand years ago. Known for his courage, Jhulelal raised his voice against the tyrant mughal rulers and warned them so as not to oppress the masses and treat them equally irrespective of their religion. He is even worshipped by Muslims and is referred to as ‘Zinda Pir’.

Primarily, Sindhis were engaged in various businesses, including confectionary, bakery, moneylending etc, but now most of them have taken up jobs.

When it comes to food, members of the community are absolute food lovers. Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian, Sindhis have their own way of cooking for certain food items like Sindhi curry, a preparation without curd unlike Punjabi curry. Spinach dish and tedali are two of the specialities of the Sindhi cuisine.

Sindhis all over the world are a mixed bunch of Punjabis, Muslims and Hindus. Like Punjabis, they believe in the teachings of Baba Nanak. In metros like Delhi and Mumbai, there are Sindhi temples and even Gurudwaras where people from all walks of life pray together.

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Army provides limbs to Lebanese bomb victims
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Indian Army contingent deployed in Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission has provided artificial limbs to over 130 local victims of mine and cluster bomb accidents. The project concluded at Ebel Es Saqi, where the Indian contingent is headquartered, today.

The project involved the free medical examination and the fitting of the indigenous artificial limb called Jaipur Foot 130 Lebanese nationals affected who had been identified by a team from 15 Punjab Infantry Battalion Group over the past about three months. The project was funded by Arab Finance House, as a result of which all victims were provided this facility totally free of cost.

Commander 10 Brigade Lebanese Armed Forces Brig-Gen Charles Shikhani, Mr Ali Oserain, Mr Mataraji of the Arab Finance House, Mayors of towns in the area of operations of 15 Punjab, also known as INDBATT-9 and prominent citizens of the area were among those who were present at the function organised to mark the project’s conclusion. The guests of honour were the persons who had been provided the Jaipur Foot and had been invited for the function, sources said.

Jaipur Foot is an artificial limb developed and manufactured by a Jaipur-based trust, Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti (BMVSS), It is reasonably priced as compared to other such models available in the market. It is lighter in weight and very comfortable for the user. In 2006, 22 persons from South Lebanon who had lost their limbs due to injuries sustained during mine/cluster bomb incidents were provided artificial limbs from Jaipur.

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Sculptures turned to ash
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 24
Fire broke out in the Industrial Area here today in which a large number of sculptures were destroyed.

Two fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames which took about half an hour to bring the situation under control.

Thick billows of smoke engulfed the area . The information about the fire was given to the fire brigade about half an hour after the incident.

Balwant Singh, an artist, said he had been working for the past 60 years making sculptures and with the fire his hard labour had been reduced to heaps of ash. Asked about the financial loss suffered, he said it was over Rs 1 crore. He used fibre silicon for making sculptures and the cost of the material was Rs 250 a kg. He said he was not aware about the cause of the fire which had broken out when he had gone home for lunch. He rushed back when told about the fire. His sculptures and dyes had been lying in the open due to shortage of space. He had made a number of garden sculptures and those related to Sikh history.

He said he wanted to set up a Sikh museum whenever he got a chance and as such had prepared a number of items for the museum. Efforts were made to save some of the items.

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Wheat destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, April 24
Harvested wheat on several acres of land was destroyed in a fire, apparently caused by a short-circuit, at Togapur village, near here, today.

According the police, the produce belonged to Gurpal Singh, Gursharan Singh and Gurcharan Singh. Fire engines from Dera Bassi were pressed into service and doused the blaze, preventing damage to more produce.

The affected farmers have demanded compensation from the Punjab Government.

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Do not be rigid: Yuva Club

Chandigarh, April 24
A meeting of the Yuva Democratic Club, Mani Majra, was held here today under the presidentship of Ishan Tayal. He appreciated the government policy to close private schools in the residential areas and demanded from the Chandigarh administration to implement this policy in its true letter and spirit and not rigidly. According to Ishan Tayal, Vedic Putri Pathshala, which has better building, other equipments and staff in comparison to government schools, should not be closed due to the rigid attitude of the government. — TNS

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Letters
Relief to students

Apropos the news ”Admn to print NCERT books”, I must compliment your reporter for taking up the issue and forcing the authorities to act. The announcement that the administration has taken upon itself the task of printing NCERT books has come as a relief to both parents and their wards. It is even more heartening to know that the authorities will try to get these books published at rates lower than those of the NCERT.

Last year the students suffered immensely on account of non-availability of books. Hope the remedial measures will not be for this academic session alone.

Gurmukh Singh
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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5 vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Five vehicles, including two cars and a jeep, were reportedly stolen from various parts of the city.

Gurpreet Singh of Phase X, Mohali, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Maruti car (PB 65 A 3160) was stolen near the football ground, Sector 17, this afternoon.

In another incident, Daljit Singh of Sector 18 reported that his Indica car (CH 03 Z 0918) was stolen from his residence last night.

Similarly, constable Davinder Singh filed a complaint alleging that his Mahindra Bolero jeep was stolen from Sector 33 last night.

Also, Abbal Singh of Sector 23 reported to the police alleging that his LML Vespa scooter (CH 03 8140) was stolen from Sector 22 this morning.

Vipin Sahu of Sector 15 reported to the police alleging that his scooter (CH 03 E 8229) was stolen from the grain market, Sector 26, on Sunday.

Five cases of theft have been registered in various police station of the city.

Assaulted

Raj Kumar of Shashtri Nagar, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Deepak and Gulab, both residents of the same locality, assaulted him on April 20. He suffered injuries and was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

The police has arrested both the accused under Sections 324 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Smack seized

The special crime investigation cell of the Chandigarh police arrested Seema of Sector 25 on allegations of carrying 19 gram of smack on yesterday. A case under Section 19 of the NDPS Act has been registered in the police station, Sector 11.

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Cash, jewellery worth Rs 8.75 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
Thieves broke into two houses of the city and decamped with cash and jewelry worth Rs 8.75 lakh. The thefts came to light today when the occupants of both houses returned from their outstation visits.

Three theft cases in two days at Panchkula

In Sector 7, a house opposite a naka was burgled. Owner of the house R.B. Malik and his wife Raj Rani were out of town. He said he left the city for Ludhiana a week ago in connection with his wife’s treatment.

His son, a resident of Sector 2, informed him about the theft. The thieves had gained entry into the house through the backyard and ransacked three bedrooms. Malik said they entered the house after breaking open the bathroom grill.

Pegging the loss at nearly Rs 5 lakh, he said that included cash to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh and jewellery.

In another incident, Vivek, a yoga teacher, also reported a theft from his Sector 12-A residence. He said he was away for two days and arrived last night. He found the entire house ransacked when he returned home. Cash worth Rs 25,000 was missing along with jewellery worth Rs 3.5 lakh, two expensive writ watches and a video camera.

This is the third theft in two days. However, refusing to shoulder the blame, the police said the public was to blame for such incidents since they did not inform the police before leaving station.

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Held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The UT vigilance department today caught a lineman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) red-handed while allegedly accepting a bribe for replacing a faulty electricity meter.

Sources in the department said a trap was laid to nab the accused, Mangal Singh, a lineman with the PSEB, Zirakpur, following a complaint and was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000.

The complainant, Preeti of Sector 22 C, had lodged a complaint with the department alleging that the accused had been demanding financial gratification from her to replace a faulty meter installed at her residence in Dhakauli village, near here.

He was arrested when he reached the rendezvous point on a motor cycle.

An electricity meter was also seized from him. A case has been registered.

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Woman held

Chandigarh, April 24
The Chandigarh Police brought on production warrants a woman from Mumbai on allegations of duping a city resident of Rs 8.50 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

Sources said Saneha of Mumbai was brought on a two-day transit remand from Mumbai by the local police. Her brother, Sanjay, a co-accused, gave the slip to the raiding party.

She was produced before a local court on Monday which remanded her to police custody.

She was today sent to Burail jail. A case had been registered on April 11 on a complaint by Varinder of Mani Majra, who alleged that he had paid Rs 8.50 lakh to Sanjay and Sneha. — TNS

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Hit & Run
BSNL lineman killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Fifty-year-old Gurdial Singh of Sector 27 was run over by an unidentified vehicle late on Monday night.

The victim was working as a lineman with the BSNL. His head was crushed under the wheels of the vehicle and he died on the spot, said the police.

Gurdial Singh, a widower, hailed from Jalandhar and was living alone in the city. He is survived by a son and a daughter, who are married.

A case has been registered. His body was handed over to the family.

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Big brands woo franchise entrepreneurs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The two-day “Franchise and Retail Opportunities 2007” show ended here today with many national and international brands getting an opportunity to get in touch with local entrepreneurs to have their presence in Chandigarh and Punjab.

The “Knowledge Day” involved workshop sessions with some of the leading CEOs of various companies sharing their experiences and expertise with participating delegates on how to choose the right brand for their franchise operations.

Tony White, an international management consultant and regional director of Gloria Jeans Coffees and director on the Franchise India Holdings Limited, advised the entrepreneurs to have well-defined goals, be focussed, manage time, and travel the extra mile to achieve success.

Over-promising, under-capitalisation, poor systems are some of the reasons that the franchise businesses failed, which required commitment from both franchisor and franchisee, said Sachin Marya, CEO of Franchise India Holdings Limited (FIHL).

Maj K.V. Rajan, executive director of VETA from Chennai, said more and more women and ex-servicemen were finding it profitable to take to the franchise road in setting up their own enterprise because of the successful knowledge bank and marketing support they could get from their franchisors.

A session on mall culture provided interesting insight for entrepreneurs who felt that malls were the next big thing. Around 45 malls are planned in Punjab alone.

Ajay Khanna, executive director, DLF Universal, said malls located outside the city had their own advantages of easy parking and a complete relaxing weekend experience for the entire family.

Mayur Toshniwal, however, was skeptical about the consumers making overnight changes in their shopping habits.

However, Sanjay Sachdeva, vice-president, Advance India Projects Ltd, felt that foreign direct investment in malls would help popularise the concept because of their professional expertise in mall management, better retail and brand mix.

The two-day show showcased 90 world-class brands looking for entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the show yesterday, Sachin Marya said franchising was a Rs 100,000-crore business that encompassed almost the entire range of the services sector, including retailing, education and other segments.

He said retail segment alone was pegged at Rs 90,000 crore out of which 50 per cent of the business adopted the franchise route, which reflected the opportunities available for entrepreneurs.

Amit Sabharwal, country head of Office 1 Superstore, said he was looking at newer territories to one-stop stationery shop concept, which has been a success so far in every metro they have set it up.

On the risks in the franchise sector, J.S. Jolly, senior vice-president, Fun Republic, said even though around 3,000 franchise opportunities were available at any given time, two-thirds of the business failed in five to 12 years of their commencements. This necessitated the need for considering factors like a fair franchise agreement, growth opportunity, compatibility, commitment and a clear vision.

Others who had spoken were Deepta Gupta, business head, Bikanervala; Vikas Kapoor, national sales manager, Eureka Forbes Limited and Aquasure; and Mohit Dhanjal, business manger-retail & OOH, Hindustan Lever.

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Banker sold expired BSNL card
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
A senior manager with Oriental Bank of Commerce was allegedly cheated by a book seller. The latter sold the manager a BSNL card, which had already reached its expiry date.

When I came home and opened the packet containing the card, I realised that it was expired as the last date for activation of the card was November 7, 2006. The card was sold to me five months after the last date of activation. 

Prem Rattan Ahuja said he had bought the BSNL card with a value of Rs 200 for making an ISD call. The card was bought from a stationery shop in Phase VII, Mohali, on April 17 for Rs 207.

“However, when I came home and opened the card, I realised that it was expired as the last date for activation of the card was November 7, 2006. The card was sold to me five months after the last date of activation.

“When I tried to make an ISD call with the card, I heard the computerised voice claiming that the limit of the card had exhausted,” he said.

Ahuja said he took the card back to the shopkeeper, but he refused to exchange the card or refund the money. “The BSNL should take back all old cards, which have expired validity, from their sales agents, so that people are not cheated,” he said.

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News Effect
CII to be issued notice: DC
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Deputy Commissioner R.K. Rao today said the Chandigarh administration had decided to issue a notice to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for misuse of building. A decision in this regard has been taken following a report, confirming the misuse, submitted by a special team of the Estate Office which was sent to inspect the site. 

Misuse of building confirmed by Estate Office team that inspected the site on Tuesday. Spokesperson for the CII refuses comment.

The development comes following a report published in the Chandigarh Tribune today. The Deputy Commissioner said the new Land Acquisition Officer had assumed office recently. She would take charge within two days. The notice would be issued within a week.

It has been pointed out that instead of the primary objective of educating industry in business, the venue was being used as an elite exhibition ground. Instead of promoting products of local and regional manufacturers, the venue mainly hosted big companies.

A spokesperson of the CII said:" We have no comment on the issue.The administration has not issued us any notice at the moment. It is, however, pertinent to mention that the CII organises a sizeable number of workshops and training programes for regional and local producers by way of educating them, throughout the year."

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