C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fire razes Mohali rehri market
Our Correspondent

Sobbing family members of the shopkeepers, whose shops were destroyed in the fire.
Sobbing family members of the shopkeepers, whose shops were destroyed in the fire. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, June 1
A devastating fire broke out in the Janta Rehri Market in Phase 3 BI, here, this morning, reducing property worth crores of rupees to ashes and hitting the livelihood of hundreds. There was no loss of life.

The fire, which was said to have started at about 5.45 am at the rear of the market, spread quickly, taking in its destructive sweep more than 350-odd khokhas in the 25-year-old market. Dark clouds of smoke billowed out of the area as the raging flames threatened to engulf even the adjoining buildings of a mandir and a gurdwara.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal met the affected shopkeepers here. He said a magisterial inquiry had been ordered and officials had been asked to assess the loss within the next two days. Compensation would be given after seven days.

  • Loss in crores
  • Probe ordered
  • Badal meets traders
  • MLA announces Rs 10-lakh relief
  • Sabotage feared

Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, leader of the opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, also met shopkeepers of the rehri market and demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for each affected person.

Though no loss of life has been reported, it is learnt that some shopkeepers sustained burn injuries on their hands and arms while trying to save their property from the devastating fire.

While the cause of the fire could not be ascertained, many shopkeepers suspected foul play and alleged that the fire had been caused by some persons whose name did not figure in the survey list prepared by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for allotting pucca booths. The draw is to be conducted on June 15.
Shopkeepers try to salvage goods from the fire which gutted the Janta Market in Phase 3-B-1 in Mohali
Shopkeepers try to salvage goods from the fire which gutted the Janta Market in Phase 3-B-1 in Mohali; and (below) sobbing family members of traders. — Tribune photos by Vicky Gharu
Sobbing family members of traders.

Panic-stricken khokha owners and members of their families, many of whom had rushed straight from home in the morning to the area to save their property, looked on in disbelief at the leaping flames wreaking havoc. But they were in for another shock when they saw that one of two fire engines of the local fire brigade despatched to the scene was reportedly only “half full” of water while the tank of the other was “empty”.

Officials of the fire brigade, however, denied the charge.

No emergency hydrant point could be located in the area. Later, fire engines from Chandigarh, the Air Force station, Ropar Thermal Plant and Ranbaxy arrived, but it was too late, for by then most of the market had turned into heaps of burnt materials and twisted metal.

Many affected persons were seen crying over the loss as they had failed to save their belongings. Heaps of goods could be seen lying on the roadside which some shopkeepers managed to retrieve.

Affected khokha owners vent their anger at the deputy commissioner, H.I.S. Grewal, who reached the scene around 7.45 am, hurling abuses at him for coming “too late”. He was accompanied by the SDM, Jaspal Mittal.

Varinder Pal Singh, SP City, who had been supervising operations since morning, tried to pacify the agitated khokha owners. Slogans were raised against the district administration.

The deputy commissioner was also targeted by Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu who said GMADA and the local administration were responsible for the tragedy. He demanded action against officials who reached two hours after the fire had started. He announced a relief of Rs 10 lakh for the affected shopkeepers at the personal level.

S.K. Behal, general manager, Liaison & Administration, Ranbaxy, said as there was no fire hydrant in the area, 25 fire tenders were refilled at Ranbaxy.

An ambulance was also pressed into service to provide first aid to injured persons. Nearly 20 members of the core group of the company helped in fighting the flames at the market.

PUDA (now GMADA) had constructed 137 pucca booths near the rehri market to rehabilitate shopkeepers from the khokha market. More than Rs 3 crore was spent on the construction carried out about four years ago but the allotment had still not been done.

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Mohali fire brigade fails badly

The local fire brigade which caters to the entire SAS Nagar district has been facing staff shortage over the years.

Only one sub fire officer, one leading fireman, two firemen on contract basis and one driver were on duty when the fire broke out in the rehri market.

Out of the four vehicles that it possesses one is more than 20 years old and two are about 11 to 13 years old. One mini fire tender was purchased in 2000.

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Miraculous escape for firefighters

Two firefighters of the Chandigarh fire brigade had a miraculous escape when someone allegedly deliberately turned off the water being used to douse the flames. Firefighters Naresh and Kuldip Singh suffered some minor injuries as fire officer Jagtar Singh rushed to their rescue.

The two were inside an inflamed shop when the water being pumped in the pipes was stopped. Chandigarh Fire Department Officials confided that a fireman from Mohali turned off the water.

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City rehri markets sitting on powder keg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
With the municipal corporation and the district administration “choosing” to ignore fire safety standards in city rehri markets, these markets have virtually become a deathtrap because of overhanging electricity cables and stacking of material in corridors.

This can spark a major fire anytime as officials of the MC have failed to implement preventive measures. A survey of Sadar Bazar and Palika Bazar in Sector 19, Shastri Market and the Bajwara rehri market in Sector 22, besides other rehri markets in Sectors 15 and 20 reveals that the implementation of the guidelines has remained on paper only.

Last time, the municipal commissioner had launched a drive against such encroachments. However, there has been no follow-up. “The encroachments are back, due to political interference,” said an official.

A senior fire official said shopkeepers in the rehri markets had been repeatedly told to adhere to fire safety norms. During the fire safety week, shopkeepers were given training to control fire.

The fire department does not have challaning powers. The Sector 19 rehri market was gutted twice in fires in 1981 and 1993.

Booths have been built in Sector 19 and other parts of the city, but owners are not cooperating with the administration. Even the parking place for the vehicles has been encroached upon. The Sector 19 and 22 rehri markets are a virtual deathtrap in case of a fire.

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Resumption dropped
Sec 17 SCOs allowed extra floor
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
In a major relief to the owners of shop-cum-offices (SCOs) in Sector 17, the Estate Office has allowed an extra floor which had been added in addition to the permitted four floors.

Sources in the Estate Office revealed that there were around 80 such buildings -- both 2-bay and 3-bay showrooms -- where the additional floor would now be regularised.

Following the decision, the resumption proceedings initiated against around 80 such buildings would be dropped. Earlier, the Estate Office had shot off notices to the owners, directing each of them to pay around Rs 1 crore as compounding fee for an extra floor.

The compounding fee has been calculated at the current market price on the basis of the last three auctions, attracting protest from the owners of the commercial property. The issue was also raised at a meeting between the UT Administrator and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.

The Estate Officer, RK Rao, confirmed that the issue had been resolved following a legal opinion. The relief would, however, would be applicable in those cases wherein the building plans had been passed or the completion certificate/ sewer connection obtained prior to 1981. “The 1981 notification was not applicable in these cases. Accordingly, the resumption notices have been dropped,” he added.

The relief would also apply to those who apply for revised building plans.

The notices were issued when some owners approached the Estate Office for issuing of occupation certificate. “As a result of the dispute over the exorbitant compounding fee, the transfer of ownership of such prime properties was not possible as the necessary document like completion certificate and occupation certificate was not being issued by the Estate Office,” said JS Kalra, owner of an SCF in Sector 17.

Allotments in 60s

Inquiries reveal that most of the SCO sites were sold in the late sixties and the allottees got the building plans approved as per the then existing architectural control. Apart from four permitted floors, a mezzanine floor between the ground floor and the first floor was added by the traders. This was mostly occupied by the tenants who were giving nominal rent. In most of the cases, the tenants and allottees were in litigation and it was not possible to recover the exorbitant compounding fee from the tenants.

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Demands of teachers met
SVIET, staff reach compromise
Tribune News Service

Banur, June 1
The two-day strike of faculty members of the Swami Vivekanada Institute of Engineering and Technology ended here today following a compromise reached at between the faculty members and the management officials.

The college teachers had resigned en masse yesterday in protest against the alleged bashing up of an administrative officer of the college, Diwan Kanwar.

While the day began with the lecturers and students blocking traffic for over an hour on the Patiala-Zirakpur highway, by the evening the lecturers who had been camping in the college since yesterday left in a celebratory mood.

Addressing media persons outside the college gates this afternoon, Diwan Kanwar levelled serious allegations against the management officials, including the CEO Manmohan Garg. He alleged that they had bashed him up and forced him to drink liquor. He even said they made him sign an undertaking that he had borrowed large amounts of cash from the college, which he had to pay.

Director of the institute IK Kataria refused comment on these allegations.

The management officials maintained a silence even when the lecturers complained about the management’s attitude and behaviour towards them. The teachers alleged that the management made it very difficult for them to leave the college and at least five faculty members wanted to leave but could not because of the management. On conditions of anonymity, the teachers said the officials were rude to them and one of the officials even threw files and paper on their faces.

Chairmen of other colleges in the periphery, including Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, and Rayat and Bahra colleges also came to the college and helped the two parties reach a compromise.

The DSP Banur Bhupinder Singh told mediapersons in the evening that CEO Manmohan Garg (who had not come to the college since last evening) came and apologised to the faculty, regretting what had happened.

The management also accepted various demands put forth by the teachers. These included withdrawal of all cases against Diwan, termination of three persons who had allegedly bashed up Diwan, return of original certificates of the faculty members, immediate release of all the faculty members who had given one-month notice for resignation and formulation of policies for the working conditions of the employees.

Bhupinder Singh added that the complaint which Diwan had given at the police station yesterday relating to the incident would be looked into independently of the compromise.

SVIET students too have grouse

Alleging that the SVIET management wrangled money from them, students of the college told media persons that they were forced to pay fine for virtually everything. Use of mobile phone on the campus had cost a student Rs 10000, said a student showing the notice issued by the college. As much as Rs 500 was charged in case they were 15 minutes late to the college, said another student.

Students who had been given a scholarship by the college on the basis of class XII examinations were asked to return the scholarship to the institute if they had a reappear in any semester, they added. Showing another notice board in the college, they further alleged that the college demanded Rs 5000 for a first year training module, which is supposed to be included in the fee.

Students were also up in arms against the canteen contractor who they alleged was a close relative of a management official. They alleged that food items were sold on rates more than the printed MRP and a tea cup cost Rs 10. Some students even alleged that they all were paying varying amounts of tuition fee to the college. They said the college prospectus claimed hat the college has a swimming pool, playing grounds and sports facilities when actually there were no such facilities in the college.

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COMMUNITY
 

Helpline for UT children: 99150-23456
Model child protection programme gets going
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
It’s a strange coincidence. A day after a man abandoned his infant daughter at the Sector 23 Mother Teresa Home, Chandigarh woke up to children’s safety.

At the UT guesthouse, where the Chandigarh Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues, launched the ambitious child protection programme today, the air was laden with nervous excitement. Topping it up was the Administrator’s earnest appeal that stirred the emotions of those who listened.

“Let’s come together in this effort to create a safe and child-friendly society. Let’s help those who are in need of help. For once, let’s think of giving rather than taking,” he said, as the gathering of teachers, activists and bureaucrats listened in rapt attention.

Major initiatives by UT

  • Family composition survey ordered to assess gender disparity
  • Plan to document case studies on child abuse
  • Campaign against verbal abuse of children
  • Micro-plans to be ready by June 21
  • School to have mothers’ clubs, parent volunteers
  • Child-friendly police stations

Until today, the city’s child helpline, run by the PGI, had received over 64,000 distress calls from children between 2001 and 2007. Out of these, interventions had been arranged in 12, 594 cases - an indicator of the fact that people are willing to help. All they need is structured support, which the protection programme proposes to set up through public-private partnership.

To begin with, the administration today launched Chandigarh Child Protection Programme helpline 99150-23456, the fourth in the series of helplines in the city. The other three are PGI Childline 1098, police helpline 1091 and GMCH-32 helpline 2676044. The new mobile helpline will soon be toll-free.

Besides building support systems, the programme promises counselling for teachers so that they can handle students’ fears, envisages fortnightly speak-out sessions in schools so that children can vent out frustrations, seeks to set the law enforcement agencies into motion by making them aware of the laws that exist.

Safe Kids, Happy Kids
Safe Kids, Happy Kids

For example, hardly anyone knows that all police stations of the city have child desks on the lines of women desks. The police claim that in 2007, they registered eight cases where children were complainants. The point is this message of child-friendly police, which needs to get across and the protection programme plans to address the issue.

The rot to be stemmed is in fact tremendous, with cases of emotional, physical and sexual abuse against children mounting. PGI helpline confirms that children continue to endure corporal punishment, bullying, verbal and sexual assault. Add to that the burden of abandoned children, who number 70, as per the report Chandigarh child welfare committee earlier submitted to the administration.

The programme is thus welcome, with its commitment to provide rehabilitative facility for distressed children, child-friendly police stations, child-safe crèches even for slum populations and day-care centres in residential areas. Schools have been told to pitch in by promoting child-friendly practices. This is part of the treatment protocol, one of the programme planks, as reiterated today by special secretary finance, UT, Raji. P. Shrivastava. She put the plan together under the guidance of Jean Rodrigues, programme’s chairperson.

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Workshop for slum kids on water conservation begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
A seven-day summer workshop titled ‘Gandhi Darshan’ on the issue of water conservation was started today for slum children of Bapu Dham Colony by Yuvsatta in association with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi, the education department, Chandigarh, and the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh.

Giving information about the programme, Parmod Sharma, coordinator of Yuvsatta, said in this one week youngsters would be told about the need for water conservation, rainwater harvesting, water-borne diseases and an innovative ‘hand washing campaign’, which would also be launched in the colony.

On completion of the workshop, ideas and projects that emerge would be put together by the children in the form of a wallpaper for greater dissemination of ideas.

The workshop began with representatives of Childline, PGI, speaking about their helpline 1098, which could be contacted in case any child needed help.

Veena Sharma, director, Human Rights Law Network, Chandigarh Chapter, spoke to the youngsters about adolescence, the rights of children such as education, proper nutrition, freedom to play, right to cleanliness, right to protection from harmful influences and exploitation like abuse, child labour, right to be heard and right to participate in family and society.

Well-known artist Ravinder Sharma taught children the art of making collages and posters depicting social messages.

For many participants, this was the first opportunity to be in such a workshop which not only showcased their talent but also helped to assert their right as important members of society.

A point reiterated by Vikramjit Singh, co-coordinator of Yuvsatta, who said children in slum areas had difficult lives not just because of poverty but also because of the barriers and negative attitude existing in society.

The programme is aimed at creating an atmosphere of acceptance and ensuring equal participation of all members of society, regardless of their social situation, in the hope of supporting integration of children from marginalised families into society, said Parmod Sharma.

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Hafed, Markfed enter into contract farming
Rope in Punjab, Haryana farmers to grow paddy
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (Markfed) and Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation, Haryana (Hafed) have roped in hundreds of farmers in Punjab and Haryana for contract farming of basmati and sharbati varieties of paddy, on 22,000 acres across 16 districts in the two states.

Punjab has decided to increase the area under contract farming from 16,000 hectares to 20,000 hectares, across 13 districts of Amritsar, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar, Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Patiala and Ropar. On the other hand, Haryana, which had started contract farming of paddy on 800 acres last year, will now be bringing 2000 hectares in Karnal, Kurukshetra and Kaithal, under contract farming this year.

While Punjab is going in for contract farming of both basmati and non-basmati varieties like PB1, PB1121, super basmati, and HBC 19, Haryana is going in for contract farming of only basmati varieties.

Officials in the two state cooperatives told TNS that both state cooperatives would enter into contracts with farmers directly, and buy back the produce from them. Last year, while Hafed had entered into contract farming directly, Markfed had acted as facilitator between the farmers and some private firms for contract farming of paddy. However, after the private firms offered less rates to the farmers as compared to the market rates at the time of procurement, this year Markfed has decided to go on its own and buy back the produce.

Last year, contract farming in Punjab was done at pre-determined parameters of quality, price and trade. However, this year the contracts are being signed with farmers and are linked to the market price at the time of harvest.

Hafed, too, is signing contracts by offering farmers model prices as listed in the two mandis of Tarawari and Thanesar. These initiatives will ensure that the farmers in the two states get more than the market price and are not at a loss. The farmers will get certified seeds from the state cooperatives and also be provided with subsidy on inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, and insecticides. Free advisory services will also be provided to the farmers in the two states. While Hafed has hired a private consultant for the purpose, Markfed is making use of the state resources for providing technical guidance to farmers. The aim is to enhance produce and its quality so that both farmers and buyers stand benefited.

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Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission
Scheme extended to Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 1
The Planning Commission of India has agreed to the proposal of the Punjab government to extend the scheme of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) to Mohali for the overall development of the town on the pattern of Ludhiana and Amritsar. Funds in thousands of crores would be spent on the development of the town under the scheme.

This was stated by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the foundation laying ceremony of Mohali Hills, India’s first integrated township on the Landran-Banur road here today. He said he had urged the Planning Commission to include Mohali under the scheme.

He said Emmar-MGF was investing Rs 5,000 crore in Punjab and the maximum amount would be invested in Mohali. The company would not only develop residential colonies but also create an infrastructure, including facilities for healthcare, education, sanitation, besides commercial and retail, hospitality, special economic zones (SEZs) and IT parks.

Dispelling misconceptions and fears from the minds of the prospective investors, Badal said his government would not stop any of the projects cleared by the former Congress government, instead give more incentives as compared to the former government.

The SAD-BJP government was committed to encourage industrialisation in a big way as the agricultural profession was no more profitable due to diminishing returns on produce as compared to high cost of agricultural inputs, he said, adding that the propaganda made by the previous regime that SAD-BJP coming to power would scrap the entire mega projects had been belied.

Badal made it clear that the state government would create an investor-friendly climate to woo the investors not only from the country but abroad as well.

The CM said the government would soon come up with a new land acquisition policy under the land pooling scheme for commercial, housing and industrial purposes. He said there would be two most important aspects in the new policy; firstly, no land would be acquired without the consent of the farmers and secondly, the farmers would be given an option of either getting adequate compensation or fixed share of developed land out of the total chunk of land acquired for any specified purpose.

Badal said public schools would be set up in the rural areas to impart education to the economically under privileged so that poverty could be rooted out. He also said the government would soon open skill upgradation centers to provide vocational training to the youth for gainful employment.

Speaking on the occasion, cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the SAD-BJP government had infused a sense of confidence and security amongst the entrepreneurs and the state would soon herald an industrial revolution in the near future.

Among those who spoke on the occassion included food and supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, water supply & sanitation and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia and executive vice-chairman & MD of Emaar MGF Shravan Gupta.

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Sher-e-Punjab completes 50 yrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The golden jubilee celebrations of the Sher-e-Punjab Bomb Disposal Unit commenced somewhere in the Western sector, today. The celebrations began with a prayer meeting, which was followed by a special Sainik Sammelan addressed by Lt Gen Noble Thamburaj, General Officer Commanding 11 Corps. This was followed by tea and a commemorative group photograph.

Col S.K. Sharma, Officer Commanding during the 1971 Indo-Pak war along with several ex-officers of the unit and sappers participated in the festivities. The highlight of the celebrations was the participation of Rajeshwari Rane, wife of Major R.R Rane, who had raised the unit as its first Officer Commanding, a statement issued here said.

The three-day celebration would include a demonstration and equipment display followed by a blood donation camp and a basketball match between Bombay Sappers officers and the JCOs. A Barakhana and Pagal Gymkhana program are also planned.

The Sher-e-Punjab Bomb Disposal Family was raised at Khadki, Pune, on June 1, 1957. It has the honour of being the second oldest bomb disposal company of Indian Army. While at Pune, the unit was involved in a wide range of tasks ranging from disposal of un-exploded bombs in operations and aid to civil authorities.

Noteworthy operational achievements during this short period at Pune were active commitment in 1961 Goa Operations. The unit's glorious past includes participation in Operation Rakshak, Operation Rhino, Operation Rakshak (J&K) and Operation Parakram.

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This kidney patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Dhirender (23), a labourer from a village in Jharkhand, has been recuperating in the male surgical ward of the PGI after a renal surgery.

A kidney donated by his mother and monetary help from donors in the city made it possible. However, the huge post-operative treatment expenses have again put him in a tight spot. The PGI authorities said Dhirender needed at least Rs 1 lakh for post-operative treatment.

The poverty of the family has already forced his mother and other relatives attending on him to go to their village, leaving him with his wife and nine-month-old child to take care of themselves.

Dhirender reached here along with his wife and son five months ago when he was told by doctors at a hospital in Ranchi that both his kidneys were damaged.

The poor family of Balvalla village in Girdih district of Jharkhand sold the small landholding for Rs 40,000 and village panchayat helped them by collecting Rs 10,000. With the money, Dhirender, with his wife, son, mother and two cousins, reached the PGI, only to find himself short of money as doctors told him to arrange Rs 2 lakh for the treatment.

His plight was highlighted in these columns, which got him sufficient money for the surgery, but he still needs money for the post-operative treatment.

“My mother has left for the village along with my relatives as we were left with no money even for board and lodging,” said Dhirender.

Donors can contact the PGI authorities on phone number 0172-2756003 or send cheques in the name of the director, PGI, Chandigarh, with the name of the patient on the reverse side.

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Overflowing sewers make life hell for residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Overflowing sewers and stagnation of stinking water at several places in Dadu Majra Colony has led to pathogens breeding in the area, posing a threat of an epidemic outbreak in the locality.

Residents of the colony and the surrounding areas are forced to walk through stinking sewage water.

Narinder Choudhary, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association of the locality, lamented that the sewerage in the area often got blocked. He said despite repeated requests to the authorities concerned, nothing was done in time.

He said sewer lines passed through houses and at time sewage water entered these. He said though the corporation had deputed a contractor and three sweepers to attend to any such situation, but the contractor seldom visited the area and the sweepers were reluctant to work.

The corporation, however, denied any laxity on behalf of officials of the civic body, and maintained that the problem would be solved soon.

Pedestrians, including students, women and labourers, are the worst sufferers.

Claiming that they had complained to the corporation a number of times, the residents alleged that their complaints were not paid heed to. The residents said they had been facing the problem for the past many months.

President of the association Rajesh Bhoad said they had even complained to the area councillor several times but to no avail. “Every time we complain to the authorities, employees come and clean the pit with a stick. However, the next day it is the same old story,” he said.

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Nature camp begins at Nepli
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 1
Everyday, 50 students will be participating in the five-day nature camp being organised by the Department of Environment and Forests, UT Administration. The camp, which started today, is being organised in the Nepli forest, part of the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

As many as 250 students will benefit from the event which seeks to familiarise them with wildlife management, eco-tourism, soil and moisture conservation measures in the sanctuary.

Their day begins with a nature trek. During the rest of the day, composition on clay modelling and on-the-spot painting on the theme of nature.

Today 50 students from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 32, participated in the camp. Literature on wildlife and medicinal plants was distributed among students who were also shown check dams, water bodies and flora, fauna during their trek.

On June 5, the department plans to hold a function in the Nepli forest, to commemorate World Environment Day.

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Govt urged to abolish octroi on power
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 1
The Consumers Protection Forum has urged the Punjab Chief Minister to abolish octroi on power consumption as the levy had already been abolished on other things.

In a letter to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the forum said octroi had been abolished in Punjab in September 2006, but it was still being levied on power consumption. The abolition of octroi had not benefited consumers at all because businessmen were not prepared to reduce their rates. Residents could get some relief if octroi on power consumption was abolished. It said earlier many requests had been made in this regard but to no avail.

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Annual bhandara on June 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The 33rd annual function and bhandra of Shri Sidh Baba Balak Nath Sewa Mandal Mandir, Sector 29-A, Chandigarh, is being organised on June 3.

According to Ram Piara Chhokar, president of Baba Balak Nath Mandir, various religious gurus, including Baba Bal Ji Maharaj, Swami Ramdass, Swami Buaditta, Sankirtanacharya Jammu wale, Jogi Roop Nath and Harbhajan and party of Shivam Jagran Mandal will participate.

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Letters
Streetlights not functioning

No streetlight in the public parking area in front of the Canadian Consulate and the Income Tax office in Sector 17-A has been functioning for the past six months. There are eight poles with mercury vapour lamps in the parking area but none of these are in working order. Whenever I leave my office late in the evening, it is so pitch dark that reaching my car becomes a difficulty. A number of complaints have been lodged and the SDO of the area had been requested a number of times to get the lights fixed, but to no avail.

A DO letter was written to K.B. Sharma, chief engineer, municipal corporation, Chandigarh, to this effect, vide No. 75, dated February 2, 2007, but even then no action has been taken.

Ashwani Sabharwal, Chandigarh

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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CRIME

CBI nabs 2 more cops for taking bribe
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The CBI today nabbed two Chandigarh police personnel on charges of demanding and accepting bribe from local residents. This is the third week, when the sleuths of the bureau have swooped on local policemen on the same charges.

The bureau nabbed sub-inspector Ashok Kumar and his brother Surinder Singh, a traffic constable, while accepting Rs 5000 from Pravesh Kumar, a private typist, operating outside the DC’s office.

Giving details of the operation at the Sector 36 police station, SP R. Upasak said that SI Ashok Kumar, who was posted at Industrial Area police station, had threatened Parvesh that he (Parvesh) had signed as a witness on a fake power of attorney that was got made by one Khariati Lal in the favour of Parveen Narang for a plot in Industrial Area.

SI threatened Pravesh that he would be implicated in the case if he did not give money.

According to the sources, the accused demanded Rs 20,000 to let him go scot-free. However, Pravesh decided to report the matter to the CBI, which asked him to strike a deal with the accused persons. It was learnt that the accused conceded to receive Rs 5000 as gratification.

Pravesh Kumar called the sub-inspector this morning and asked him to get the money from him. The sub-inspector, instead, told him to meet him at the Sector 42 market this evening. The CBI laid a trap around the market and when the accused arrived along with his brother on a motorbike and pocketed the money, the sleuths caught the duo red-handedly. Both the accused were taken to Sector 36 police station for interrogation.

A case under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the duo.

The CBI had arrested Inspector Bishi Ram (SHO Manimajra), SI Sukdweep Singh and Head Constable Iqbal Singh (Sector 34 P S) for accepting bribe on May 26 and May 18, respectively.

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Cop succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Umed Singh, a head constable with the Chandigarh police, yesterday succumbed to his injuries at the PGI. He was seriously injured in a road accident on Tuesday night. In another incident, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony died at the PGI yesterday. He had consumed a poisonous substance on Wednesday.

The police said 42-year-old Umed Singh, posted at the Bapu Dham police post, was on his way home on his motorcycle that fateful night. As he reached near the Tansport Chowk lights point, a Scorpio SUV (HP 12 B 4200) hit his motorcycle. As a result of the mishap, he suffered serious injuries and was admitted to the PGI, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Umed Singh is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. The police had arrested Ranjit Singh, the driver of the Scorpio, on a charge of causing death due to rash and negligent driving. He was later released on bail.

In another incident, 20-year-old Shiv Raj of Bapu Dham Colony died at the PGI yesterdat. He had consumed a poisonous substance at his residence on Wednesday afternoon. The police said the reason behind the extreme step could not be ascertained as yet.

The police said Shiv Raj, a balloon seller, was married two months ago. His family told the police that they did not notice anything amiss with him.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection.

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Client robbed at slimming centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
A sector 40 resident, Dr Taranjit Kaur, has complained to the police that her gold chain and locket was stolen from a leading slimming centre in the city here this evening.

According to the police, Dr Taranjit said she had gone for a face massage to the centre this evening and had removed the chain and locket.

However, she was asked to go out of the room for a few minutes for cleaning the room. When she returned, her chain was missing.

The police was called and the matter is being investigated.

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BUSINESS
 

Verka bags top productivity award
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 1
Verka Milk Plant Mohali of Milkfed, Punjab, has bagged the prestigious National Productivity Council Award in the national-level competition in the field of dairy processing industries, conducted by the National Productivity Council of India, New Delhi.

The best productivity performance award for 2004-05 and certificate of merit of productivity award for 2005-06 was presented by Dr Akhilesh Prasad Singh, minister of state for agriculture, to Vijoy Kumar Singh, MD, Milkfed, H.S. Grewal, GM of the milk plant, and Udham Singh, in charge production of the plant, at a function held at New Delhi recently.

Grewal said a massive programme of clean milk production was being implemented at the village-level to produce quality milk. In order to make the system more transparent and speedy, 275 automatic milk collection units had been installed and 179 electronic milko testers had been provided to the village societies, he added.

“Besides, 47 bulk milk coolers have been provided to the village societies so as to improve the quality of raw milk.

To improve the productivity of milch animals by way of improving the breed of the animals, artificial insemination programme is being implemented at the village level.

In the financial year 2006-07, a total of 55,522 animals were inseminated under this programme.”

Grewal added in the field of quality, this plant had initiated remarkable steps so as to reach quality products at the doorsteps of the consumers.

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Industry unites over Admin ‘insensitivity’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Accusing the Chandigarh Administration of adopting a stepmotherly treatment towards industry, the newly formed Joint Forum of three industrial associations of Chandigarh has said that the administration is promoting trade in the Industrial Area at the cost of industry.

Addressing media persons here today, the Joint Forum, comprising representatives of the Industries Association of Chandigarh, Federation of Small-Scale Industries and Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, said in the past couple of months, the administration had become insensitive towards issues concerning the industry.

“It is thus that we have joined hands to take up the industry issues with the administration,” said Rajiv Gupta, general secretary, Federation of Small-Scale Industries.

They alleged that while the administration was granting all benefits to the commercial establishments coming up in the Industrial Area, there were a number of restrictions on the industry. “The floor area ratio (FAR) allowed to the industry is 1, though the commercial buildings (malls) have been allowed an FAR of 2 in Industrial Area. After the conversion policy in Industrial Area, commercial units are being granted higher FAR. While the administration is not increasing the electricity load for the existing industrial units or entertaining applications for fresh loads, these malls are being granted huge power loads,” said Pawan Kumar Aggarwal, general secretary of the Industries Association.

He also pointed out that while a time frame of two years is granted for completion of the construction of industrial units, commercial establishments have been granted three years’ time. The industrialists also demanded that transfer of property in the industrial area be allowed and decried the administration for its “irrational zoning in the Industrial Area for fixation of rateable value of property tax.

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Emaar MGF to invest $12 b
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Leading real estate developer, Emaar MGF, plans to invest $12 billion for their various real estate ventures across India in the coming four years. Operating on six levels - integrated townships, special economic zones, commercial and retail, hospitality, education and healthcare, the company will be having a major presence in Punjab.

This was stated by Shravan Gupta, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Emaar MGF, during a media interaction organised here today. The first ‘project to come up in the region will be Mohali Hills and The Views, Mohali, which are residential projects.

He said these projects would include independent villas, apartments, schools, healthcare facilities and would be self-sustainable townships.

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‘Good leadership key to success’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
A leader and his group of followers can shake the world. Thus transforming leadership is important for success.

This was stated by D.P.S. Sandhu, director, Prime Minister’s Office, while delivering a lecture at the 24th Management Research and Development Programme for senior executives of banks organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

“It is imperative that we distinguish between a good and a bad leader, as a good leader not just exudes power, but provides his followers with a sense of purpose, motive and gives visionary direction,” he said.

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Essar Telecom offer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
For those with a penchant for luxury cars and the latest mobile gizmos, a treat is in store. For Essar Telecom Retail Limited flagged off the “Rock with Rolls” to promote the MobileStore brand, which is powered by Essar and Virgin on Thursday.

The car will move from one town to another on a pre-defined route. It will steer its way through 11 cities beginning with Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

Anyone who would purchase anything at the MobileStore during the period the Rolls is in the city can fill a lucky draw coupon and get a chance to win a ‘Lunch ‘n’ Ride’ with the Rolls.

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Biz Clip

Chandigarh
PROFITS INCREASE: The gross profit of the Punjab and Sind Bank has increased by 76. 55 per cent in the last financial year. Declaring the results, it was pointed out that the gross profits had increased from Rs 267.60 crore to 472.44 crore while the net profit has more than doubled from Rs 108.32 crore to 218.53 crore. The cash recovery has enabled the bank to bring down its gross NPAs to 2.43 per cent from 9.61 per cent and net NPAs to 0.66 per cent from 2.43 per cent. The total business of the bank has reached Rs 31,267 crore, while deposits have increased by 14.15 per cent and net advances by 28.88 per cent. TNS

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