C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S




ASI shoots himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Swaran Singh, an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) with the Chandigarh police allegedly shot himself with his .9 mm service revolver at his government accommodation in the Sector 42-C Police Colony here this morning. He was 50.

He is the second police officer in the city to have shot himself. Exactly a month ago, assistant inspector-general of the Punjab police Vivek Mishra allegedly killed himself at his official residence with his service revolver in the Sector 39 Gazetted Officers’ Colony on May 20.

In the absence of any suicide note, the police is yet to ascertain the reason behind the extreme step. However, sources in the police said Swaran Singh was under stress due to work pressure. He was promoted from the rank of head constable to ASI about a month and a half ago and was posted at the Sector 39 police station.

He joined as a constable in 1978 and served during most part of his service on non-policing jobs, and was reportedly facing problems while working in a police station.

SHO of the Sector 36 police station Ishwar Singh Mann said the incident took place at around 7.25 am.

The deceased’s wife told the police that she did not notice anything amiss with her husband. He looked normal and woke up their son asking him to study. He then went to his room and they heard a noise of firing of a shot. At this, they rushed to his room and found him lying in a pool of blood.

Shocked at this, they rushed to their neighbours’ place and informed the police. A police control room (PCR) vehicle reached there and shifted Swaran Singh to the PGI, where doctors declared him brought dead.

A police officer said Swaran Singh fired a shot on the right side of his temple. The bullet pierced through his head and hit the wall.

Quoting the deceased’s wife, the police said Swaran told her that he wanted to go on duty early. Last night he came home at around 10.30 pm and was pacing up and down in front of his house late in the night.

Swaran Singh is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. His body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem late this afternoon. He was cremated later in the evening at his native village near Kharar.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection.

Sources said Swaran joined the Sector 39 police station in February. As he did not have much knowledge about investigations, he was given “easy jobs”. Nowadays, he was posted at the Punjab assembly, where the budget session is in progress. He was to go on duty at 7.45 am.

During most part of his service, he served in the mounted staff, CID, and the band unit of the police, considered non-policing jobs. He was an introvert.

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Admin plan falls flat
*
Prime land out of periphery Act purview
* Owners, revenue staff strike gold
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Land owners and revenue officials have struck a goldmine with hundreds of acres of prime agricultural land in five UT villages being taken out of the purview of the Periphery Control Act.

While the land owners are getting higher land rates, certain revenue officials had facilitated land deals, assuring that change of land use was allowed under municipal bylaws of the villages.


The area in yellow is part of agricultural land in Maloya village which has come out of the purview of the Periphery Act

Flashback — 2006

The Chandigarh administration had plans to regularise a majority of constructions in the pherni of villages, Lalit Sharma, adviser to the UT administrator, had said while addressing a press conference. Adequate land would be exempted from the Periphery Control Act for planning of growth up to 2021.

The adviser had said not all constructions would be regularised. An environment shield would be developed around villages to mark the area beyond which no construction would be allowed. Satellite and ground-level surveys of all existing properties had been jointly carried out by the corporation and the administration to prevent speculative purchase of property.

Though it is yet to be seen whether the change of land use will be permitted, some unsuspecting purchasers have invested crores in land deals.

A few months ago, the entire revenue estate of Maloya, Palsora, Kajehri, Dadu Majra and Hallo Majra villages was transferred to the municipal corporation.

As a result, unplanned constructions are coming up in the periphery of the villages with no government agency to regulate the same. While the land acquisition office is unable to pursue cases under the periphery Act, the municipal corporation is restricting itself to check violations within the village phernis.

Due to the ambiguity over the control and enforcement, haphazard construction has started. It is contrary to the stand of the Chandigarh administration on constructions on the periphery of UT villages.

Sources said while extending the provisions of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, to the vast chunks of agricultural and inhabited land, the UT finance department notified the entire revenue estate of the five villages before transferring the same to the municipal corporation.

While announcing a move to regularise constructions in the pherni of villages, the administration had last year specified that adequate land would be exempted from the Periphery Control Act for planning of growth up to 2021. But it was said that the pockets having up to 50 per cent constructed/ plotted area would be included in the MC limit by law of extended abadi.

Accordingly, the khasra numbers of the plotted area were surveyed and sent to the finance department for notification. Instead, the finance department notified the entire revenue area (indicating a scam). However, officials deny it, saying that it could be an inadvertent error.

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Ram Kumar Murder Case
Prime accused held, weapon recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
The police today arrested 24-year-old Jai Bhagwan, a resident of Ladwa, the prime accused in the Ram Kumar murder case, and recovered the weapon used in the crime.

The police is also likely to arrest the former girlfriend of the deceased, a resident of Garhi village, on charges of hatching a conspiracy with her cousin Jai Bhagwan.

In his statement to the police, Jai Bhagwan admitted to the murder, saying he had only taken revenge for the betrayal of his sister.

Police sources said the youth told him them that his cousin, a minor, had an affair with Ram Kumar before he began seeing Ekta, another girl from the same village.

On discovering the affair, his sister became furious and wrote a letter to Ram Chander, professing her love from him.

In the letter, now in the possession of the police, she also maintained that she wanted him to be happy with Ekta and that she would have left him without a word if he had been bold enough to admit that he no longer loved her.

The letter also stated that she could not see him with any other girl and would now live with his memories. The affair ended with that.

However, nearly a week ago, when Jai Bhagwan, a mason, came to stay at his aunt’s place, his cousin narrated her story and sought revenge from the man who had betrayed her for another girl and had been blackmailing her on the basis of her letter written to him.

The two decided to murder him and Jai Bhagwan bought a saw, used to prune trees, from Raipur Rani.

The girl called up Ram Kumar and asked him to meet her one last time.

She fixed a place and asked him to come alone at 10 pm when, usually, there is a power cut in the village.

On his arrival, the youth was attacked by Jai Bhagwan, who was hiding in the nearby bushes.

The accused single-handedly murdered and buried him while the power was still out.

He burnt his blood-soaked clothes in a field, hid the weapon and returned home.

The police has recovered the burnt clothes he was wearing at the time of the murder and the weapon used in the crime. He will be produced in the court tomorrow.

DSP Abhai S. Rao confirmed the arrest of the accused and said the police would take the girl into custody for planning the murder.

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Golden Forests
Garment showroom sealed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
In compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders, a team led by former Delhi High Court judge R.N. Aggarwal sealed two floors of a showroom in Sector 11 and gave 10 days to the garment store to remove its items here today.

Confusion prevailed as the team, which comprised tehsildar Satish Singla, naib tehsildar Chander Mohan and two advocates, arrived at the market and announced the sealing of the showroom, which had been a property of the Golden Forests till 1998.

Stating that they had orders of the court to seal and attach all property of Golden Forests which was sold after June 1998, the team members said the money from the sale would be used to repay investors.

While the team sealed the first and second floor of the showroom where a number of offices were running, on repeated requests of the owners of the garment store, the team gave them 10 days to shift out their items against one month they were asking for.

Owner of the company Shiv Rattan Goyal said they had taken the showroom on rent from Anil Kakaria, who had bought it from Golden Forests. The showroom was rented on March 18, 2006, for nine years at a rent of Rs 80,000 per month. They had also paid a security of Rs 2.40 lakh. Under the terms of agreement, the rent was to be hiked by five percent every year.

“Moving out and getting a new showroom will take us nearly four months and we will suffer a loss of over Rs 1 crore. However, we have no choice but to bear the loss and move everything out of the showroom before it is sealed,” Goyal stated.

Meanwhile, members of the team explained to the tenants that all property transactions after June 1998 were termed as illegal by the court.

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Violation of Act
GMADA set to demolish hostel
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 20
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to demolish a hostel building constructed in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act by the Rayat and Bahra Group of Institutes in Sahora village near Kharar.

The institute is allegedly carrying out construction without getting the building plans approved, and had also not deposited the required amount with GMADA for getting the use of land changed from agricultural purposes to educational use. It had to deposit Rs 3,79,42,266 with GMADA for getting the use of land changed for 84 bighas and 7 biswas (17.574 acres).

According to sources, GMADA had given six-week time to the institute to demolish the construction carried out in violation of the Act failing which the demolition would be done by GMADA itself. The time ends on June 24.

Sources said GMADA had issued an order on May 14 to the Rayat and Bahra Group of Institutes in which it had been stated that the hostel building was being constructed in violation of sections 5 and 11 (1) of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952. As such the illegal construction should be demolished and the land occupied be brought back to its original shape within six weeks of the issuance of the order.

It was further stated that if the demolition was not carried out within the specified time, the authorities concerned would have to look for other measures, including demolishing the structure at the government level. The expenses incurred in this regard would be claimed by GMADA.

Earlier, on January 22 the institute was also issued a show-cause notice by GMADA in which it had been stated why action should not be taken against the institute under section 12 of the Act for allegedly indulging in violations. Even though the notice was received by the director, administration, nobody from the institute appeared before the authorities concerned on the specified date to give a reply.

The sources said even the department of housing and urban development, Punjab, had asked the chief administrator, GMADA, in a letter dated June 5, to direct the institute to immediately deposit Rs 3,79,42,266 and to halt the construction activity which should be carried out only after getting the building plans approved from the competent authority.

K.L. Manuja, one of the directors of the Rayat and Bahra Group of Institutes, had written to the additional chief administrator, GMADA, on April 25 that change for land use on which the hostel building was to be constructed had been obtained from the government and building plans had been submitted for approval. The hostel building would be constructed only after building plans were approved by the competent authority.

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Stamp duty waived
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
In an important decision, the Chandigarh administration has waived stamp duty on the transfer of property within the family. The sub-registrar has been asked to ensure that the exemption was given only to eligible persons. The existing stamp duty on property transaction is 5 per cent.

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COMMUNITY
 

Info on selection criteria for judges sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Another application under the Right to Information Act has been filed with the Public Information Officer-cum-Registrar, Punjab and Haryana High Court, whereby information, amongst other things, is sought on the criteria for selection as a high court judge.

The application, dated June 14, submitted by Yadvinder Saini, a lawyer, is the second in the series as earlier G.K.S Taank, Central government’s standing counsel, had filed a similar application with the Registrar of the high court.

Saini wants to know the rules regarding the selection criteria, procedure adopted for the selection of the judges, decisions of the high court regarding the matter, panels prepared for the selection of judges and reasons cited against the advocate not recommended.

The information is sought for the period spanning 20 years starting from June 15,1987, to June 14, 2007.

The application seeks information, apart from the ones mentioned above, on qualification prescribed for the selection of judges, experience and age prescribed for selection of judges, proceedings for selection of judges of the high court, correspondence from the high court to respective governments or to the Supreme Court of India and vice-versa.

Other important questions are whether the high court seeks or sought application for the selection of a judge, whether the high court suo motu prepares the panel for the selection of the judge, who constitute the collegium or selection committee from among the high court judges and yardsticks adopted for the same.

The applicant wants to know as to what are the qualifications, experience, standing at Bar and number of cases fought before the Supreme Court, high court and other lower courts by the seven advocates recommended by the high court during the year 2007.

Another query is that whether the recommended advocates are paying income tax as an advocate and if so what is their PAN number and details of income tax paid during their respective practising period or during government service, if any.

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PSIEC staff stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Members of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) Staff Association today staged a protest rally in front of Udyog Bhawan in Sector 17 here demanding that their long-pending demands be met.

The agitating employees said they wanted to draw the attention of the authorities toward the pitiable condition of daily wage work charge employees, besides restoration of house rent and conveyance allowance with effect from June 1, 2006, and filling of vacant posts by promotion and employment on compassionate grounds.

Serving an ultimatum on the authorities, they threatened that in the event of non-fulfilment of their demands, 101 workers would sit on 24-hour hunger strike on July 5.

Representatives of the association said there were 425 daily wage and 80 work charge employees on the rolls of the corporation working for the past 20-25 years. They were getting a salary of 2,000-2,500.

They added that some daily wage workers had retired and many others were on the brink of retirement without being regularised by the corporation. These employees were the worst hit as they were not covered under any service rules.

G.S. Oberoi, chairman of the association, demanded that the employees who had put in 10 years of service should be regularised. Besides, vacant posts should be filled to decrease the workload.

The leader of the association informed that the board of directors of the PSIEC had created 161 posts of work charge employees of which 80 were vacant which they demanded should be filled from among daily wage workers. They also demanded interim relief and medical allowance of the work charge employees.

The rally was addressed by leaders of various other employee organisations, who assured their full support for the demands of the employees of the corporation.

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Vegetable Market
Rodrigues anguished at filthy conditions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues today visited the grain market, Sector 26, and expressed his anguish over the filthy and unhygienic conditions at the vegetable market.

Asking trades to ensure cleanliness and maintenance while pursuing their trade and business activity, the administrator said the administration would facilitate the marketing process but traders should show their concern to check encroachment and growth of illegal structures in front of their business sheds and allow free flow of loaded carriage vehicles.

Offering a partnership by signing of an MoU with the trading community of Sector 26, he directed the home secretary and deputy commissioner to prepare a holistic and time-bound action plan to improve the infrastructure and service delivery systems in the market.

He said the administration had implemented the infrastructure improvement plans in major markets of the city, including Sector 17.

He asked senior officers of the administration to identify specific requirements of traders, customers and market users, in terms of services and other necessary facilities, by taking a broader view of economic and environmental aspects.

General Rodrigues also called for active participation and involvement of traders and business community in the upcoming modern terminal market for fruits and vegetables near Maloya.

He was accompanied by home secretary Krishna Mohan, deputy commissioner R.K. Rao, Market Committee chairman and representatives of traders.

Another meeting between the administrator and traders will be held tomorrow.

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Protest outside DC office
Tribune News Service

Members of various organisations stage a protest outside the DC office, Sector 1, Panchkula, on Wednesday.
Members of various organisations stage a protest outside the DC office, Sector 1, Panchkula, on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, June 20
A rally to press for a hike in charges of cattle feed was organised under the banner of Haryana Punjab Mahasabha and the All-India Hindu Suraksha Samiti. Starting from Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, the rally reached the DC office, where the members sat on a dharna.

A deputation led by Hemant Kinger, president, Haryana Punjab Mahasabha, met the DC and handed over a copy of the memorandum which said the present charges of Rs 11 per day per cow were insufficient and the municipal council should enhance these at the earliest.

Kuldeep Garg, president, welfare association, Sector 9, said the government should give land for a cattle pond.

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Jhuggis demolished
Our Correspondent

A JCB that got stuck in loose earth during a demolition drive in Mohali on Wednesday.
A JCB that got stuck in loose earth during a demolition drive in Mohali on Wednesday.
— Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, June 20
The enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) demolished jhuggis which had illegally come up on government land.

The drive could not be completed as the JCB machine got stuck in loose earth. The rest of the jhuggis will be removed tomorrow.

About 200 jhuggis had been removed from this stretch of land earlier in April, but the GMADA staff had failed to keep the area free from encroachments.

M.S. Narang, additional chief administrator, GMADA, said the area would now be fenced so that encroachments did not take place in the future. He said police security would be needed to carry out the fencing work.

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Tips for safe driving
Safety

Over 90% of accidents are caused by errors in driving. Anybody can make a mistake, which means you or the other road user. So be alert at all times and aware of what is happening around you. More so if you are a new driver. Statistics show that drivers in the 17 to 25 year-old age group are more likely to be involved in fatal or serious accidents. There’s no such thing as a perfect driver.

Speed thrills but kills. Always drive at a safe speed taking into account road and traffic conditions. In narrow residential areas drive particularly slow (less than 30 kmph) to avoid collisions with vehicles emerging from junctions, vehicles moving off, car doors opening and pedestrians/animals running out from between parked cars.

Being prepared for the unexpected improves your safety. A pedestrian on the road may be looking the other way and about to run onto the road, there may be a road block.

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma

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Letters
Check illegal trolleys

Various tractor trolleys are plying on Chandigarh roads day and night without valid documents.

Most of these tractors, which are registered for agricultural purposes only, bring sand from the adjoining areas of Punjab like Mullanpur. The owners of these tractors neither pay commercial road tax nor do they adhere to various road safety rules as prescribed under the Motor Vehicles Act. These tractors do not even have their registration papers and insurance papers with them. Even their number plates and headlights and brakes are not in proper condition.

Drivers of these tractors are usually migrant labourers and they do not carry valid driving licences. They drive the tractors rashly with loud music. They break almost all traffic rules. No action is taken by the traffic police, especially by the Dhanas police station personnel, because it is common knowledge that these police personnel are paid by the tractor owners.

The authorities concerned should look into the matter and put up permanent check posts at all entry points to the city to check this illegal activity for the safety and welfare of the city residents as well as to curb financial loss to the government.

Ranjot Singh, 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
 

Youths snatch gold chain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Two unidentified motorcyclists snatched a gold chain of a woman in Sector 27 today.

Anita Arora of Sector 27 reported to the police that two youngsters riding a motorcycle snatched her gold chain around 8.55 am near her residence.

A case has been registered in the police station, Sector 26.

Theft

Amarjit Singh of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, reported to the police that a water meter was stolen from his residence last night. A case of theft has been registered.

Caught stealing

Anil Kumar of Sector 22 filed a complaint with the police alleging that Gurparminder of Phase III-B-2, Mohali, was caught red-handed stealing his mobile phone from his shop yesterday.

The accused was handed over to the police. A case has been registered in the police station, Sector 17.

Vehicle stolen

Jagjit Singh of Sector 44 B reported to the police that his Scorpio (CH 03 P 5433) was stolen from his residence. A case of theft has been registered in the police station, Sector 34.

Cheating

Anil Kumar of New Indira Colony, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police that Vinay Kumar of Phase X, Mohali, had duped him of Rs 3.2 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

He said the accused neither sent him abroad nor return the money.

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Junior assistant nabbed for graft

Chandigarh, June 20
Sleuths of the CBI nabbed a junior assistant at the UT state transport authority, Sector 18, while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 from a taxi driver here yesterday.

CBI sources said Sunil Beri had been demanding financial favours from Shiv Narayan Singh of Sector 45 for issuing road worthiness certificate for Tavera. He had been delaying the matter on one pretext or the other. He first demanded Rs 5,000 for completing the formalities and later settled the deal for Rs 4,000. The complainant, however, reported the matter to the CBI.

CBI officials stated that Shiv Narayan had purchased his vehicle around six months ago and the registration of the vehicle got delayed. Beri demanded illegal gratification to pass his vehicle.

The CBI team reached the STA building yesterday morning and laid a trap. — TNS

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Car stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 20
A Maruti 800 car (CH 01 U 826) was reported stolen from the Sector 9 market. Sanjiv Jindal, a resident of Mansa Devi Complex, said he parked his car in the parking area and went to buy a few things from the market. On coming back, he found his car missing. A case has been registered.

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BUSINESS
 

Paid channels off CITCO hotels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
CITCO today announced that it would provide only free-to-air channels in its hotels till the fee of paid channels was structured reasonably.

The step has been taken in light of exorbitant fee being charged by paid channels.

“Hotels are under pressure from lobby of TV channels broadcasting agencies, which have been exerting undue pressure on the hotel establishments to pay exorbitant fee fixed arbitrarily per channel for paid channels like Star, Zee, Sony, ESPN,” said a CITCO official.

Individual charges per channel also vary per connection, hence big hotel establishments like Hotel Mountview of CITCO, which has over 150 rooms, have decided to discontinue the paid channel services and henceforth shall provide select free-to-air channels to their guests.

The hotel industry through its Apex body Federation of Hotel and Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI) is taking up the matter in the Supreme Court to rationalise the paid fee structure for these channels so as to enable the authorised distributors and entertainment networks to be reasonable in their services.

CITCO MD Jasbir Singh Bir said till such time the fee of paid channels was structured reasonably, CITCO would continue to provide free-to-air channels in their hotels - Hotel Mountview, Hotel Shivalikview and Hotel Parkview.

Reputed hotels in Mumbai have already started discouraging use of paid channels in their hotels and have resorted to free-to-air channel network.

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Budget: Industry disappointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
With less than 1 per cent allocation of the plan outlay for the industrial sector, the Punjab budget has disappointed captains of industry in the state, said R.S. Sachdeva, co-chairman, Punjab Committee, PHDCCI.

He said the PHD Chamber had submitted detailed recommendations suggesting various measures for promotion of industry but no consideration had apparently been given to these recommendations.

He further stated that the PHDCCI had recommended reduction in electricity duty from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, which again had been ignored. Another suggestion on power for abolishing octroi had been sidelined.

To help the steel industry in Punjab regain competitiveness, it had been suggested to reduce sales tax from 2 per cent to 1 per cent, said Amarjit Goyal, member, managing committee, PHDCCI. The budget has disappointed the industry even on this front.

Rajiv Bali, chairman, Punjab Committee, PHDCCI, welcomed the higher allocation of resources for the energy sector though much more could have been done for industry.

The budget has allocated over 20 per cent of capital outlay towards generation and distribution of power - the most important resource for industry.

He added that reduction in stamp duty from six to five per cent would help set up new industrial units in the state.

Lower stamp duty would help eradicate evasion of government revenue, he added.

Meanwhile, the CII has welcomed the budget. “The budget has laid renewed emphasis on improving the fiscal situation of the state through additional resource mobilisation, better and efficient management of state taxes, controlling unproductive non-plan expenditure, etc,” said a press note of the CII.

The state government has taken strong cognizance of the CII recommendation to diversify crops that were agro-climatically more sustainable as well as economically more remunerative.

The state has promised to focus on the need to modernise marketing of agricultural produce and proposed to set up four modern terminal markets for fruits and vegetables at Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Muktsar, it added.

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Biz Clips

CHANDIGARH
CAMP: UTI Bank will conduct a one-day camp for exchange of coins and currency notes of Rs 10 denomination on Thursday for general public at SCO 343, 344, Sector 35-B, from 10 am to 3.30 pm. — TNS

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