C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Congress intra-party feud gets dirty
Zila parishad chief voted out
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 30
Zila Parishad chief Varinder Singh Bhau was ousted following a no-confidence motion amidst tension and heavy police deployment at the district secretariat here today.

Election of the new president, however, was stayed after Bhau moved the sessions court and obtained a stay. There was high drama as seven of the 10 members-Umesh Sood, Rajender Singh, Pankho Devi, Kamla Devi, Tripti Devi, Poonam Devi and vice- president Ram Singh, arrived amid police protection for the meeting conducted in the presence of district development and panchayat officer Monica Malik.

Naraingarh MLA and parliamentary secretary Ram Kishen, an ex-officio member of the parishad, was present during the voting, which took place by way of secret ballot.

Bhau also arrived to participate in the meeting. However, he was out in a few minutes, maintaining that Umesh Sood, a member of the rival group, had used unparliamentary language.

Once outside, Bhau and his supporters alleged that the no-trust motion was at the behest of the Haryana government and the rebel group was being backed by the parliamentary secretary. Bhau did not get a single vote-all seven members voted against him while the other two failed to show up.

Speaking to the media, vice-president Ram Singh alleged that Bhau did not take parishad members into confidence while taking decisions. “We were given no grants for our areas and most of the money was pumped into his area,” he stated.

Sood said he had nothing personal against Bhau. “We belong to the same party and he is like my elder brother. Today, there was no tension between us and I did not say anything unparliamentary.”

Bhau’s supporters raised slogans while Urmila, mother-in-law of parishad member Poonam came charging to the secretariat, even as police women tried to stop her.

She submitted a representation to DC Neerja Shekhar and police chief Balbir Singh, stating that Sood had “picked up” her daughter-in-law, her husband Sanjay and four-year-old child at the behest of Naraingarh MLA a fortnight back.

She said her daughter-in-law was forced to support Sood because her husband and child were in “their custody”. Later in the day, Poonam returned home. Her relative Naresh Sharma alleged that Sood had threatened him with a revolver. His supporters have complained to the DSP.

The Faridabad police present at the meeting in connection with a firing and kidnapping case against Bhau, returned after getting a copy of the interim bail granted to him.

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Ankit 6th, Ravneet 9th in JEE merit list
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Ankit Garg and Ravneet Singh from the city are among the first ten toppers in the All-India Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Ankit has secured the sixth position and Ravneet is placed ninth. The JEE result was declared today.

Ankit is away to Mumbai to participate in the Maths Olympiad jointly by Homi Baba Centre for Science and Education (HBCSE) and the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

Originally from Bhatinda, Ankit has taken coaching classes in Chandigarh.He has been a topper throughout and had scored 95 per cent marks in matriculation. He has been granted National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) scholarship.

His father Devinder Pal Garg, senior executive engineer with Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda, said: “Ankit is clear in his preferences. He is keen on doing computer science from the IIT in Delhi since it has the best computer science department.” Ankit’s mother, Urmila Devi Garg, is a teacher.

Ankit loves cricket, swimming and table tennis. He has played district-level table tennis tournaments.

Ravneet’s father Dr Jaspal Singh is lecturer in physics at Malwa College in Ludhiana district and mother Jasjeet Kaur is a swimming coach with the Sector 23 swimming pool. Ravneet likes football and has played various inter-school football tournaments.”

Chirag Sethi and Kanav Goal were placed 30th and 38th positions while Sandeep Kumar and Himanshu Bhaman came 40 and 73, respectively. Sahil Singla (81), Rohit Bhatia (95), Shamit Monga (112), Joginder Pal (161) and Vipul Kumar (187) are some other achievers of the city.

2 Ambala lads also make it

Ambala, May 30
Two local students have cleared the IIT entrance examination. Gaurav Gupta of DAV Public School, Ambala cantonment, has secured the 1,225 position while Vinay Mohan Dhasmana is ranked 1,536.

Gaurav Gupta gave credit to his teachers for the success. — TNS

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Environment studies lose sheen
Teaching hours cut
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Panjab University has reduced the teaching hours for environment studies in its affiliated colleges and undergraduate departments from 25 to 10.

The decision was given the nod by the senate at it last meeting. The university’s move to reduce the number of teaching hours is important in the light of the fact that the UGC has laid down that undergraduate students be taught the subject for at least 50 hours.

A compulsory course in environment studies was introduced in colleges almost a decade ago following directions of the Supreme Court.The UGC came up with a syllabus for the same and the requisite number of teaching hours. Panjab University was among the first in the country to adopt the syllabus. Sources pointed out that teaching of the course had become a mere exercise. In most PU colleges the course is taught by teachers of other subjects who complete the requisite number of teaching hours in a few sittings. Most colleges do not employ teachers trained in environment studies. Only government colleges in Chandigarh appoint teachers on contract for the subject.

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HC halts allotment of booths in Sec-15
Aditi Tandon/Tribune News service

Chandigarh, May 30
The administration’s move to rehabilitate sellers of old books in Sector 15 has caused resentment as it contravenes the city’s master plan and zoning plan, which prohibit provision of commercial spaces in green belts.

Hearing a petition in this regard, the High Court has restrained the administration from allotting booths till August 13 when the administration’s reply is expected.

The petition raises issues like provision of kiosks in the green belt.The site plan of the area indicates its special character, which will be ruined if booths come up there. The UT Administrator had inaugurated the booths on May 14.

Another major point in the petition relates to sectors meant to rehabilitate owners of unauthorised shops. Chandigarh Lease Hold of Sites and Building Rules, 1973, state that people running such shops shall be rehabilitated in Sectors 32, 47 or 34-C. Rules add that booth allotment shall be made in Sectors 7, 29, 30 and 35 but Sector 15 does not figure in the rules.

The market to rehabilitate book-sellers in Sector 15 threatens to deface the area’s landscape and create a traffic chaos as it has no attached parking, the petition states.

It asks the administration to clarify if a commercial area can be permitted in an overcrowded residential area like Sector 15-B; if it can come up in a green patch where on both sides of the road adjacent to Madhya Marg land has been allotted only for institutional buildings.

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Driver found murdered

Panchkula, May 30
Twentyeight-year-old Narinder, a resident of Phase VII, Mohali, was found murdered at White House in Pinjore here today. A driver, Narinder had stayed for the night at the house of his employer where two families of servants permanently stay.

He was found in a pool of blood with deep cuts on his head this morning by one of the servants. The two servants said that Narinder, who used to commute from Mohali daily, had decided to stay back after he injured his eye.

DSP Manvir Singh said the police had registered a case and rounded up the servants. Narinder began working at White House six months back. He is survived by his wife and two children, who reside in Mohali. — TNS

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No Tobacco Day Today
Tobacco adds lung cancer patients every minute
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
India coughs up lung cancer patients every minute. It may leave you short of breath, but statistics show over 19 patients are diagnosed with cancer of lungs and bronchi every 60 minutes in the country. In fact, on an average over 90,000 men and 79,000 women are diagnosed with the problem every year.

The situation is slightly better in this part of the region, especially Punjab, due to comparatively less number of smokers. But it continues to be grim with traditional stoves or chullas contributing to air pollution and resultant problem. Yet the much-required dosage of awareness essential to prevent, if not cure, the dreaded disease remains low.

Even as the country gets ready to hold seminars and conferences on World No Tobacco Day falling on Thursday, concrete steps to combat the problem have just not been initiated.

“It is evident from the fact that policies on generating anti-tobacco awareness are not being implemented with the same vigour as other programmes on problems like HIV/AIDS and even tuberculosis,” says Hardeep Singh of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association.

Though pharmaceutical giants, Roche for one, have introduced novel therapies like Tarceva for patients after the failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen, initiative on part of the government leaves much desired.

“Every year over a million cases of cancer are reported in the country, yet not much attention is being paid to the malady,” says J.S. Sekhon of Ludhiana-based Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.

“The problem is more pronounced in case of lung cancer, may be because of a powerful lobby that wants to promote tobacco”.

So much so, even the ban imposed across the state on smoking in public places has gone up in flames.

“It’s more of lip service,” adds Hardeep Singh. “Despite apex court orders on ban on smoking at public places, even now you see people picking up cigarettes and smoking in front of so many road-side kiosks”.

He adds: “Even if the government cannot curtail the operations of tobacco manufacturing companies, it should at least minimise the harmful effect of tobacco use by strictly imposing the ban. And for the purpose, the authorities concerned have to grant greater responsibility to the health authorities, like in the case of pre-natal tests”.

Back to the malady, Rajeev Bedi of Fortis Multi-specialty Hospital says: “Smoking is the prime cause of lung cancer. Rather, the habit is associated with nine out of 10 lung cancer cases. The level of risk directly depends on the duration and quantity a person has smoked.

Even the passive smokers are at a risk. People exposed to smoke at work have an increased risk of about 17 per cent, while the likelihood increases by 25 per cent in spouses of smokers. Other risk factors include: exposure to asbestos and radon gas, scarring from previous lung disease like tuberculosis. Outdoor air pollution has also been implicated, but it is difficult to predict how many cases are attributed to this.

Bedi concludes by saying the future is not so encouraging with increased levels of air pollution, but even now the situation can be redeemed by discouraging school-going children from taking up smoking.

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MC meeting likely to be stormy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Councillors are likely to lock horns with senior officials of the corporation during the house meeting tomorrow to register their protest against the ‘adamant attitude’ of MC officials, who allegedly do not pay heed to issues raised by the elected representatives.

Besides, the house is all set for some heated arguments over certain items listed in the supplementary schedule that were even discussed today during a pre-house meeting that was called by mayor Harjinder Kaur. The pre-house meeting was attended by chairmen of various committees, besides BJP, SAD and CVM councillors. Congressmen kept away from the meeting. Most of the councillors expressed discontent over the attitude of the officials at today’s meeting. They said in case the house deferred certain agenda, officials threatened to get the agenda items passed from the administration by invoking section 405 of the municipal bylaws. The councillors contended that the said section could only be used in case of a suspended house.

According to sources in the corporation, even nominated councillors have joined hands with the elected representatives on the issue.

Besides, the supplementary agenda, which is to be moved tomorrow in the house, was also discussed during the meeting. The agenda includes ex-India leave for the councillors and auction of taxi stands in the city. Meanwhile, Congressmen are gearing up to raise the issue of appointment of ‘corrupt officials’ in the corporation. The Congressmen are against the appointment of Harsh Kumar as SE in the corporation. Pardeep Chhabra, a senior Congress councillor, said the party would also take up the issue of taxi stands during the house meeting.

Though the F and CC had passed the auction of the taxi stands, later the mayor showed reluctance to finalise the auction. Chhabra contended that the new taxi services in the city were being provided free parking places, but nobody thought about the taxi owners who had been doing business in the city for the past 40 years.

He said these taxi owners could not be dislodged from the present locations and the Congress would oppose any move to auction the taxi stands. Even some BJP councillors echoed the same views during the pre-house meeting with the mayor.

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MC officials remove illegal dhaba
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 30
The enforcement wing of the local Municipal Council got an encroachment from a green belt removed in Phase VII of the Industrial Area here today even when it had to face a strong protest.

When the team of the civic body went to the industrial area it had to face brick bats. The encroacher also tried to throw red chillies and hot sugar syrup on council employees. It is learnt that two employees sustained minor injuries in the clash.

J.S.Thind, executive officer, said a migrant was running a dhaba in the green belt for the past many years.

Thind said police force had been demanded for carrying out the drive but it was not provided. The police reached the scene only after a clash had taken place. However, the council managed to vacate the land.

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Obsolete radars guide IAF
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Over 10 years after its surveillance radars became obsolete, the IAF is still awaiting new radars for its airfields. Considerable delay in acquisition of critical air surveillance radars worth about Rs 585 crore has placed the IAF at an operational disadvantage.

Further, 10 such radars procured by the IAF last year at a cost of Rs 251 crore could not be installed long after they were received as the necessary infrastructure was not completed as scheduled.

“Critical replacement of radars was delayed due to the failure of the IAF to project its requirements on time and also due to avoidable delays in contracting the purchase,” the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has observed in its latest report.

In March 2000, the defence ministry had issued a request for proposal (RFP) to 15 vendors for procuring 20 radars, 19 of which were to replace earlier radars. The acquisition was considered to be critical as most of the existing radars had become obsolete by 1996.

Two foreign vendors were shortlisted in June 2002. A month later, however, the ministry decided to issue fresh RFPs on the plea that the validity of the commercial bids had expired and there was also a need to change the scope of the supply.

Financial approval for the deal was accorded by the government in March 2003 and a contract was also signed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to which technology was to be transferred by the foreign firm. The delivery of radars was staggered between December 2004 and May 2008.

IAF was required to place orders of work services on BEL 15 months prior to the commencement of installation of equipment to ensure that the site was fully ready by the time the radar equipment was received. However, approval for work services was delayed by 13-18 months in respect of all 10 sites for which radars had already been delivered.

While the 10 systems were delivered between March 2005 and August 2006, orders for works at these sites were issued only between June 2005 and June 2006. BEL required a lead time of 6-9 months to complete work services after the placement of orders.

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Army takes J&K kids on tour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
As a part of the ongoing efforts to win the hearts and minds of the locals, 30 Rashtriya Rifles had organised a tour, “Wadi ki Sair” for students of Rajwar, Rambal and Qaziabad regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

During the tour, students visited the museum at B.B.Cantonment, Dal Lake, Shankaracharya Temple, Chasme Sahi and Pari Mahal in Srinagar.

The aim of the tour, which concluded yesterday, was to expose these students to the world outside their native place, providing opportunities for interacting with people thereby enabling them to identify with their fellow country men.

As many as 20 students, including seven girls, along with six teachers took part in the tour. Commander 7 Sector Rashtriya Rifles Brig S.S. Jadhav, Commanding Officer 30 Rashtriya Rifles Col I.S. Bhalla and civilians MLA from Langait S.D. Sariq and Handwara SP Haseeb Mughal were present during the flag-off ceremony.

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Medi City
Take us into confidence, say villagers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Reacting to the proposed move by the administration to set up a medi city in Makhan Majra village, sarpanches of villages have asserted that the administration should take farm land owners into confidence before planning any project.

They have demanded that villagers should be made part of the committee studying the need for and effect of such a project on the people, infrastructure and the environment of the area.

Jyoti Subramanian of the Pind Bachao Committee said 22 acres had been acquired in Makhan Majra village for a gaushala three years ago. However, the land was still lying unused and it should be returned to the original owners.

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Goods worth Rs 25 lakh gutted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 30
Goods worth Rs 25 lakh were gutted in a fire that broke out in three shops of scrap dealers at Maddawala in Pinjore, here, today. The three shops were the main players in the scrap business and got scrap from all industries in Baddi, HMT, Baritiwala, Panchkula and Chandigarh.

Though the exact cause of fire in not known, it took as many as 12 fire brigades and five hours to bring the fire under control. One of the shop owners, Subhash Chand, who suffered the maximum loss of over Rs 10 lakh in the fire, said by the time they got information of the fire, most of their scrap had gutted.

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Firing on Gujjars condemned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The Gujjar Samaj Kalyan Parishad, at a meeting held at Gujjar Bhavan, Sector 28, here today, condemned the action of the Rajasthan police against the peaceful agitation by members of the community. It was resolved that the parishad would send Rs 1 lakh as help to the victims of police brutality.

Meanwhile, the CPI has also condemned yesterday’s police firing on members of the Gujjar community.

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Collector rates revised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The UT deputy commissioner-cum-collector has revised the collector rates which came into force on May 28.

The revised rate for rural area agricultural land (for the purpose of stamp duty) is now Rs 12.20 lakh per 2 kanals. Earlier, it was Rs 11.70 lakh per 2 kanals.

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Letters

Remove encroachments

The market of Sector 7, Panchkula, is a hub of activity in the evenings, especially on weekends. But it is sad that most of the verandahs (corridors) built for the convenience of the public are taken over by the shopkeepers. These corridors are so clustered that pedestrians cannot pass through them. What adds to the problem is that it seems as though the shopkeepers are encroaching with the consent of the police and the lawmakers. I request the Panchkula Administration to look into the matter and remove all the encroachments.

S.K. Mittal
Panchkula

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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Three killed in road accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 30
Three persons died in two separate accidents in the city today. While two motorcycle-borne youth died after a tanker hit them on the highway from Chandimandir to Panchkula, an 83-years-old man died after he failed to properly grip the handle of a seat while trying to get on a bus.

Surajpur resident Yadvinder and Manakpur Nanak Kalan resident Gurcharan were on their way from Pinjore to Panchkula when a tanker (HR 68 2085), hit their Bullet motorcycle. Both of them fell on the road and died on the spot.

In another accident at Chandimandir, Dadu Majra resident Hazoora Singh was trying to get on to a CTU bus (CH-01 G 5866) when the bus stopped to pick up passengers. However, he failed to grip the handle while climbing up and fell on to the road. He received head injuries and was rushed to Command Hospital where he died.

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Employee dupes petrol station of Rs 70,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
An accountant of a Sector 44-based petrol station has allegedly duped his employer of Rs 70,000.

The police said A. Kumar Verma, manager of Shiva Filling Station, Sector 44, lodged a complaint alleging that Paras Jain, an accountant working at the petrol station, took away Rs 70,000 which he had recovered from a customer on May 16.

The fraud came to light when the petrol station contacted the Punjab Tubewell Corporation and Planning Board, a regular customer at the filling station, which told them that it had paid the amount outstanding against it to their accountant.

Car stolen

Dheeraj Mehta of Sector 42 reported to the police that his Wagon-R car (HR-99-4895-(T)) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of May 27 and 28. A case of theft has been registered.

Chain snatched

Sheetal Sood of Sector 5, Rohini, New Delhi, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified motorcyclists snatched her gold chain in Sector 37-D on Tuesday. A case under sections 356 and 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.

Injured

A motorcyclist, Karam Singh of Sector 45-B, suffered injuries after being hit by a Santro car (HR-27-H-0069) on the road dividing Sectors 18 and 21 on Tuesday. The car driver reportedly sped away after the mishap.

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Mining officer held for graft
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 30
Mining officer Ajay Godara was caught red-handed while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 at his office in Nahan Kothi, here, today. He was nabbed by officials of the flying squad of the DGP, led by DSP Rajesh Duggal.

Sources said the arrest came following a complaint by Avtar Singh, a resident of Surajpur, to the Vigilance cell at the DGP office. Avtar Singh, who owns land in Surajpur near the Ghaggar riverbed, used to take out stones from the land that belonged to him.

The mining officer objected to this and asked him to either take permission from the department for the same or pay him some money to save himself from trouble. Avtar complained to the police after which he was given Rs 20,000 to hand over to the officer. Soon after the transaction, the police team raided the office and nabbed the accused along with the cash. A case has been registered against Godara.

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Lawyer booked for kidnapping girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The local police booked a junior advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court on allegations of kidnapping a girl from Sector 22.

The victim’s father had lodged a complaint yesterday, alleging that Himmat Singh had kidnapped his daughter. A case had been registered in the Sector 17 police station. The girl is said to be in early twenties.

The girl’s father told the police that his daughter, a MA (final) student of physical education, had given her final exams. Himmat Singh had been stalking her. Once he was caught by the family and was let off with a written apology.

The police said the girl was kidnapped on Monday. The accused was living in Hostel No. 4 of Panjab University. He was a resident of Kaithal.

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Drunk officer detained
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Diwan Kanwar, administrative officer with the Swami Vivekananda Institute of Engineering and Technology, Banur, was detained by the Patiala police following allegations of disruptive and unruly behaviour by the college authorities.

According to Tiwari, IG, Patiala Zone, the college authorities contacted the police this evening complaining that Diwan was drunk and was misbehaving with other employees of the college.

The IG added that Diwan was taken for a medical test and it was confirmed that he was drunk.

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Sub-inspector surrenders

Chandigarh, May 30
Absconding sub-inspector Sukhdweep Singh of the Chandigarh police surrendered before the CBI late this evening.

Sukhdweep Singh had been absconding for almost two weeks after the CBI registered a case against him on a charge of taking a bribe of Rs 12,000 from a Sector 34-based travel agency.

He had been charged along with head constable Iqbal Singh who had been arrested then. Both police personnel were posted at the Sector 34 police station.

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Hafed to market ‘desi’ wheat
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Trying to cash in on the craze for ‘desi’ wheat (C-306) amongst the health conscious, Hafed has for the first time entered into contract farming of ‘desi’ wheat. It will market this wheat under the Hafed brand name.

Officials in Hafed said from May 31 onwards they would be ready to market the ‘desi’ wheat through their own retail outlets in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panchkula and Taraori.

“Since Delhi and its satellite cities have a huge market for this wheat because of its high nutritional content and better taste, we have decided to market this at our select outlets there,” said Sudhir Rajpal, managing director, Hafed.

As against a market price of about Rs 2,000 a quintal, the ‘desi” wheat will be available in the market at Rs 1,750 per quintal. The wheat will be available in 25-kg packing and will be sold as ready-for-flouring by the customers.

Rajpal said that as per the contract with the farmers, Hafed had agreed to pay them Rs 300 per quintal over and above the MSP of wheat or 10 per cent more than the specified average modal rate - whichever is the highest.

“By considering the average modal rate of Rs 1,250 per quintal, we decided to pay the farmers Rs 1,320 per quintal,” he said.

Hafed had last year invited farmers of Gurgaon, Mewat, Jhajjar, Rewari and Narnaul districts for contract farming of ‘desi’ wheat.

Since these districts are traditionally ‘desi’ wheat-growing areas, Hafed was able to rope in 136 farmers and ‘desi’ wheat cultivation was carried on 621 acres.

In certain areas like Jhajjar, districts wooed farmers for contract farming by offering them weather insurance, where 50 per cent of premium was paid by Hafed.

The farmers, who entered into contract farming with Hafed, were provided with certified seeds from Haryana Seed Development Corporation, so as to ensure a good yield.

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Australia wants stronger trade ties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
India is on the path of becoming a major economic power and Australia recognises and accords a special focus on Indian economy.

This was stated by Michael Carter, trade commissioner, Australian Trade Commission, while addressing industry representatives at an interactive session on "Indo-Australian Business Forum" organised by CII, Northern Region, here today.

Acknowledging the consistent external economic policy of the Indian government, he said, "India is galvanising its economic greatness through irreversible economic reforms process and Australia is keen on strengthening business ties with India. The complementing economies of the two countries and the geographical proximity provides the basis to take bilateral trade to the next level."

Highlighting the robust economy of Australia, the trade commissioner said no single industry dominated the economic landscape and Australia continued to broaden its economic base with exciting new investments. "Tapping into important emerging markets like India is a key part of our international strategy," he added.

He said trade between the two countries was valued at over $10 billion in 2006, with India being Australia's fastest-growing merchandise export market over the past six years. Australia was India's eighth largest overseas investor and at the end of 2005, the total investment was valued at $1.1 billion.

Further showcasing the Australian capability, Carter said India should recognise the value of collaborating with Australia in the area of agriculture and agri business services, food processing, advanced manufacturing and auto components and education sectors.

He also called for serious consideration on mutual exchanges in the areas of science and technology and research and development.

Emphasising on other potential areas of mutual interest, he mentioned that Australia could also offer a lot in the area of services and tourism. He also acknowledged North India as the potential market for Australian companies to showcase their products.

He also offered Australian assistance in the area of agri and food processing, consumer goods, IT and telecommunications, entertainment, tourism and education with specific reference to Punjab and Haryana.

Among others present on the occasion were Krishan Goyal, past chairman, CII, Chandigarh Council, and Vikram Hans, managing director, Multi Overseas India Pvt Ltd.

A number of representatives from various industries and institutions based in Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh participated in the session.

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