C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Student poll strictly by Lyngdoh code
Gayatri Rajwade
TNS

  • Rs 5,000 limit on election expenses
  • No printed posters
  • Elections to be held on a yearly basis
  • No funds from any other source than voluntary contribution
  • The upper age limit of the candidate is 28 years for research students

Chandigarh, August 9
Panjab University has decided to implement the Lyngdoh committee recommendations for the coming student council elections on the campus. This will finally put to rest the muscle might on display between various student unions in the run-up to the elections which are a month away.

Yesterday, the NSUI had released a press note in which they had “protested” against “an arbitrary rule” by the university which stated that no candidate put up by a political party would be allowed to contest the election.

The vice-chancellor said today that legal opinion had been sought on the matter from university counsel Anupam Gupta. He said no person who was not on the rolls of the university would be permitted to part in the election process in any capacity.

Reiterating the point, he explained that while no political party may field candidates, “where ever the word student appears in the case of parties, they will be allowed to compete in the elections.”

He said the Lyngdoh recommendations would be implemented with certain modifications.

There would be a grievance committee, disciplinary committee and security committee to ensure fair and peaceful elections.

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Security up

Chandigarh, August 9
In an effort to step up security on campus, the university has taken some stringent measures which will be put to effect on August 16.

Stickers have been issued to all employees for their vehicles. Security personnel deployed at the gates will check all in-coming vehicles and entry will be on the basis of a token.

The VC plans to speak to the administration regarding the passage of CTU buses through the university, which provide free access to outsiders.

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Ministry asks for DC’s safai
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 9
Deputy commissioner H.I.S Garewal has been asked by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis ( NCSK), ministry of social justice and empowerment, to send a detailed report on safai karamcharis of the local municipal council working unauthorisedly in offices and residences of senior functionaries and not in areas assigned to them.

Five safai karamcharis of the civic body were unauthorisedly working in the office of the DC and two at his residence.One was made to work in the office of the SSP, while another was working at the residence of a senior official of the vigilance department.

As many as nine safai karamcharis were working in the office of the director, local government, Punjab, at the court premises, in the office of the vigilance department in Phase VIII and the residence of a former SDM. Some were made to do the work of drivers. Others were allegedly working in the houses of politicians. It is reported that some of the safai sewaks have now been called back by the civic body.

In a letter to Garewal on August 3 , Kalpana Amar , secretary of the commission, said that the Safai Karamchari Majdoor Union had alleged that more than 60 safai karamcharis were “working outside the municipal council at the residences of state functionaries.”

A complaint was also received by the commission that the city was suffering from shortage of civic amenities because MC karamcharis were working elsewhere.

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Hawara to contest death penalty
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Jagtar Singh Hawara, convicted in the Beant Singh assassination case, has given his assent to his lawyers to make an appeal in the High Court against his death sentence. His lawyers intend to file an appeal in a week’s time.

Defence lawyers -S.S. Bawa, Arvind Thakur and Dhiraj Parihar- visited him in the Model Jail, Burail, today.They alleged that they faced several impediments in meeting their client and had to approach IG (Prison) Dinesh Bhatt to be able to do so.

S.S. Bawa said Hawara had requested them not to move a mercy petition.

He, however, wanted the counsel to fight his case up to the highest level.

“When we were talking to Hawara, jail personnel were also present.We pointed out to them that guidelines by the Supreme Court stated that they could only observe and not overhear our conversation,” said Arvind Thakur.

Regarding some vernacular dailies reporting a scuffle between Balwant Singh, also awarded the death sentence in the Beant Singh assassination case, and Hawara, who it was reported was not well, the lawyers said the reports were not true.

“He is regular with his exercise and has no health problems,” Bawa said.

Meanwhile, the hearing in the jailbreak case, where the defence has sought that Hawara be allowed to attend the proceedings at the district courts, has been deferred to August 13.

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Canal water diversion
Punjab moves Himachal HC to vacate interim order
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
On the face of it, it looks like an ordinary plea seeking diversion of canal water to prevent damages to a private land. But, according to Punjab, if the plea is accepted it will not only endanger many lives but also lead to loss of valuable water to Pakistan. Importantly, Rajasthan will be deprived of much-needed water, leading to an inter-state crisis.

The plea filed before Himachal High Court by Harbhajan Singh, resident of Mohtli village in Himachal Pradesh, submits that Punjab be directed to divert the water of Madhupur Beas Link Canal (MB link canal) entering Himachal to the territory of Punjab (into Nalwa Nallah) so as to restrain the flow of the said water through Mohtli and Majra villages in Kangra district.

The petitioner also sought that Punjab should compensate him and other affected persons for the damages and inconvenience caused to them due to the said water inflow with effect from the year 1967 till date.

Even as the plea has serious repercussions on inter-state water management, Himachal High Court passed an ex-parte interim order on July 9. The order stated that water of MB link canal should not be released into the natural creek (Chakki Khad) in Himachal Pradesh, so as to cause any danger or loss to the property of the petitioner and other affected persons.

Also, Punjab was directed to ensure that first the water was released into the Nalwa Nallah and only the excess water, thereafter, shall be released into Himachal in the manner validated by the court.

Aggrieved at the interim order, Punjab moved an application before the high court seeking to vacate the order and strongly contested the averments made in Harbhajan Singh’s plea.

Advocate-General H.S. Mattewal appeared in the court on August 7 and vehemently argued that if the water was not released into the natural creek in Himachal, then same would have to be released downstream Madhopur Head Works into the river Ravi and would finally flow into Pakistan.

“The release of water to Pakistan would be a national loss of valuable water,” Mattewal pleaded.

Significantly, Mattewal highlighted that the said water goes to Rajasthan also which needed every drop of it for irrigation purposes. The stoppage of this water would cause its acute shortage in Rajasthan.

He also focused on the point that it was not practically possible to divert water of MB Link Canal into Nalwa Nallah as the Nallah lacked the capacity to carry the discharge of such huge quantity of water. The Nallah would overflow and submerge surrounding areas, thus, endangering lives.

Incidentally, the natural creek in Himachal,where Harbhajan’s land is located, has been existing and carrying the inflow of water for decades.

Following Punjab’s submissions, the high court has constituted a special bench to hear the issue on August 23. Also, the Bhakra Beas Management Board and Rajasthan too have moved applications to be impleaded as a party. The court has directed the two to be ready with their reply by August 17.

What makes the matter interesting is that Himachal Pradesh had never got any problem with the MB Link Canal water inflow into the creek. The petitioner was more worried, according to Punjab’s application, about his stone-crushing and mining business he carried on his land located in the creek.

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Dolly, Kamal bask under ‘Blue Umbrella’
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj makes a winning combination with Chandigarh-based actor couple Dolly and Kamal Tewari. The last time this team was in news was when Dolly bagged the Filmfare award for best costumes in Vishal’s “Omkara”. This time, it’s about “Blue Umbrella”, adjudged the best children’s film at the national film awards ceremony. Both Kamal and Dolly feature in the film in important roles.

“There’s something masterful about Vishal's works. He weaved magic with “Omkara”; he repeats it in “Blue Umbrella”, which is all about human emotions. And Vishal knows emotions too well to falter,” says Dolly, who also did costumes for the film, which will be released tomorrow.

For Dolly, “Blue Umbrella” was a challenge - one, because it was a cinematic adaptation of Ruskin Bond’s classic short story of the same name; two, because it had children in important roles.

“I have done one children’s film with Viren Saini earlier, but this one outclasses all.Vishal shot the film in a small village in Chamba, but wanted his characters to appear universal as the theme itself. To drape actors in traditional, yet, contemporary ways was difficult,” Dolly said.

These days, she moves between Chandigarh and New Delhi, where she takes guest lectures at the National School of Drama.

Interestingly, “Blue Umbrella” is Dolly and husband Kamal Tewari’s first film with Vishal.

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Rehabilitation farce since 30 yrs
Over 60 per cent tenements sold

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
A scam, involving the illegal sale of dwelling units allotted under different rehabilitation schemes, has been going on with impunity for the past 30 years.

Over 60 per cent of the tenements or sites leased out to slum-dwellers have been disposed of.

Officials admit that it’s the sheer greed of the slum-dwellers that is driving them to avail of highly subsidised housing schemes and then return to slums. Most of the slum-dwellers hail from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In the survey carried out by the estate office about two years ago, officials stumbled upon startling facts that revealed that there was a large-scale sale and purchase of plots. Though the record was never compiled for the reasons best known to the officials concerned, some cases were got registered against the violators.

In some cases, the allotments were cancelled on paper but the physical possession was never taken.

In 2002, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), during a survey of EWS houses in Mauli Jagran, found that a majority of the dwelling units had been sold.

“But the data was never compiled and no case was got registered,” said an official.

Figures with Chandigarh Tribune revealed that from 1974 to 2005, nearly 35,796 dwelling units/bare sites/plinth sites/ EWS houses were allotted at 25 different sites on a rental basis by the estate office, the CHB and the Municipal Corporation. However, some allotments were under a higher purchase basis. This means that an allottee could sell his plot after making the full payment.

“The recent expose of flats being sold in Sector 56 is nothing new. It has been continuing since the first scheme was introduced,” said an official.

In 2003, the National Minorities Commission had asked the administration to stop “aimless rehabilitation” as it was affecting the demographic profile of the area.

Certain social organisations have also demanded that the scheme should be stopped.

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Haryana employees stage rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Commuters faced a lot of inconvenience today due to a massive rally organised by the Sarav Karamchari Sangh Haryana (SKSH) at Sector 25 in support of their demands. Traffic jams were witnessed on the busy Madhya Marg as hundreds of protestors marched from the railway station to the rally ground.

Thousands of Haryana government employees from various organisations participated in the rally, which went on till late afternoon. Protesters holding placards kept on pouring into the rally venue till the end.

The police remained on its toes throughout the day, making arrangements and regulating traffic. Officiating SSP Dinesh Bhatt directed the police stations to send their force to the rally venue.

The protestors were adamant to hand over their memorandum to the Haryana Chief Minister. Their demands included recruitment to one lakh vacant posts in government departments and boards, regularisation of part-time and contractual employees, jobs on compassionate grounds, abolition of privatisation, scrapping of the contact system and outsourcing, reemployment of the retrenched employees and 33 per cent reservation for women.

Condemning the anti-people policies of the government, representatives of the protesting employees said the present government led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was only continuing with the anti-employees policies of the previous Om Prakash Chautala government.

Punam Chand Rati, president of the SKSH, threatened to intensify the stir if the government does not fulfill its promises.

Flaying the state government, R.C. Jagga, general secretary of the SKSH, said it was the lackadaisical attitude of the state government towards the genuine demands of the employees that forced them to take to the streets. It was only after two-and-a-half years of long wait that the employee unions ran out of their patience and waged a battle against the callous authorities. He warned that the employees would be forced to go on a strike.

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Sibling’s Death
Health officials take water samples
Tribune News Service

Health officials collect water samples from Shahi Majra village in Mohali
Health officials collect water samples from Shahi Majra village in Mohali on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, August 9
The death of two siblings here under mysterious circumstances yesterday had the entire health department on the doorstep of the victim’s family this morning.

The two children had died within hours of one another. While Chander Bhan (10) died at the civil hospital, Phase VI here, under the care of doctors, his sister Pinky (4) reportedly died minutes after she had a glass of juice at home.

Since the incident happened close on the heels of diarrhoea outbreak at Madanpur village, where three children had died before the outbreak was detected, the deaths were attributed to diarrhoea.

Fearing yet another outbreak, the team of health officials conducted a door-to-door survey and collected water samples from the area.

However, no signs of the disease were found at the village and the hospital officials asked the family of the two children to get their autopsies conducted to ascertain the cause of the deaths. However, children’s father Dhyanh Singh, a migrant labourer, refused to do so and went ahead with their cremation.

The team of doctors led by the civil surgeon M.S. Toor and district health officer Surinder Singh conducted a survey of 400 houses in the village and collected water samples from four places.

Dr Bhatia, pediatrician at the civil hospital, said other than a child from Sector 55, who is suffering from diarrhoea and admitted to the hospital, no case of diarrhoea had been reported from Shahi Majra.

Meanwhile, the mystery of the death of the two children deepened when sources in the hospital said all was fine with Chander Bhan after he was admitted to the hospital.

He was brought in after he started vomiting. The boy was at the hospital throughout the day and the sister too remained there.

In the evening, Chander Bhan died and when they took the body home, pinky too fell unconscious and was taken to a private hospital where she was declared dead.

The bodies of the boy had reportedly turned blue and doctors said the boy did not die of dehydration following diarrhoea.

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Death Wish
Destitute refuses treatment, awaits demise
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Kalu Ram
Kalu Ram

Panchkula, August 9
Seventy-six-year old Kalu Ram, a destitute who spent the last three months living at a bus stop, yearns to be free - of life, illness and poverty.

He lives each day in the hope that he has inched closer to death and eagerly awaits his exit from the world.

With agony writ large on his face, Kalu Ram says: “I want no treatment. I want to die. I have nobody to call family.”

Recently brought to the General Hospital, Sector 6, in pitiable condition by Rotary Club president Parveen Goel, Kalu Ram was bathed by the hospital staff and given fresh clothes to wear.

These lie soiled, so does his hospital bed. The staff in the ward does not know what to do with the patient, who has refused treatment and food.

Ailing and weak, he is suspected to be suffering from gastroenteritis but has refused medication altogether.

The doctors on duty have even tried putting him on glucose but he seems disinterested.

Besides, he does not eat and very rarely does he get up to take a sip of water. “I don’t want treatment. I want to go back from where I came-- the bus stop. That has been my only home for many weeks now,” he murmurs.

While he can recall the address of his native village, he is quick to add that he has no family there. “There will be nobody to cry over my body when I die. It doesn’t matter where I die and death is inevitable. I have been only eating what people used to leave for me at the bus stop. I don’t feel hungry any more and have neither taste nor desire to eat,” he says, doubled up on the bed.

His ward-mates say he seldom speaks to others and does not inform doctors of any problems or symptoms when they come for a round.

While the hospital authorities are doing their bit to get him to stand on his feet, he is unmoved by all efforts. “I don’t want any help or sympathy. I just want to die,” he repeats in response to every query.

The big question before the hospital authorities is how to treat him and where to send him after the treatment.

Though there is no “official” destitute home in the district, deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar has made arrangements for the same at the Red Cross Bhavan in Sector 15. For the first time in the district, there is a place to house destitutes.

“We will send him to the bhavan where senior citizens are staying once he recovers. Once he is there, we will try and locate his family in the village and contact them to take him away,” she said.

Kalu Ram’s fate is uncertain but it sure is a race against time.

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Ambala highway
NHAI gets instalment of Rs 26.21 crore
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) today received Rs 26.213 crore as negative grant for the second year from the concessionaire M/s GMR Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway Pvt. Ltd.

As per a statement, NHAI Chairman Jivtesh Singh Maini received the cheque from GMR Group Director G. Subba Rao in the presence of senior officials

The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 298 crore and the concession period is 20 years, including the construction period of 30 months. As of date the progress is 45 per cent and the project is likely to be completed by November 2008.

The contract for four-laning of 35-km-long Ambala-Zirakpur section on NH-22 and 21 was awarded to M/s GMR Infrastructure Ltd. in June 2005 at a negative grant of Rs 105.858 crore (Net Present Value).

As per the concession agreement, the concessionaire will pay negative grant of Rs 174.752 crore to NHAI in 13 years. Out of this, the concessionaire has already paid grant of Rs 29.708 crore to NHAI due on first year. The cheque for grant of Rs 26.213 crore due for the second year was handed over today.

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Protesters flout smoking ban
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 9
All efforts of the administration to keep the city “smoke free” went up in smoke by members of the Sarav Karmchari Sangh, Haryana, during the rally.

A large number of protesters were seen not only smoking openly but also consuming liquor.

The protesters were violating the ban despite the presence of many police officials.

“I am not aware of the smoke-free status of the city,” said Jairam from Hisar.

“You can see that there is no proper arrangement for water here. So there is no option left for us instead of having beer in the scorching heat,” said Muni Lal from Yamunanagar, who was standing outside a 
liquor shop near the rally venue.

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Governor inspects ISBT
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 9
Multi-language electronic display boards to apprise the commuters of the location of buses and bus routes, more water coolers and proper security arrangements will come up soon at the ISBT, Sector 17.

These instructions were issued by Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, administrator, during his visit to the bus stand today.

Besides giving directions to the authorities regarding the facelift of the terminus, the Governor also ordered to provide state-of-the-art facilities.

During the visit, the Governor inspected shopping stalls, CITCO’s transit accommodation, restaurant, guest rooms, information boards, washing rooms and toilets.

He asked the director, transport, and the MD, CITCO, to commission a study for introducing innovative changes as per standardised specifications. To get first-hand knowledge about the problems of the commuters, the Governor interacted with passengers.

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Six to get police medals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The administration has decided to confer Administrator’s Police Medal for distinguished/meritorious services on six personnel of the police on the eve of Independence Day.

The administration had constituted a screening committee under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary. The IGP, the Deputy Commissioner, the SSP and the joint secretary (personnel) were the members of the committee to selection of persons.

The awardees included sub-inpsector Sheesh Pal (distinguished services), inspector Ram Gopal (meritorious services), sub-inspector Sita Devi (meritorious services), head constable Sudarshan Kumar (meritorious services), constable Balbir Singh (meritorious services) and constable Jai Narain Tiwari (meritorious services).

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Zila parishad meeting on August 21

Panchkula, August 9
A meeting of the zila parishad has been convened on August 21 to elect a new president. Deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar said notices had been issued to all parishad members. In May, parishad chief Varinder Singh Bhau was voted out following a no-confidence motion moved by seven members amidst tension and heavy police deployment at the district secretariat.

The election of the new president, however, was stayed after Bhau moved the Sessions Court and got a stay in the matter. High drama prevailed at the venue as seven of the 10 members - Umesh Sood, Rajender Singh, Pankho Devi, Kamla Devi, Tripti Devi, Poonam Devi and vice-president Ram Singh - arrived amidst 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 parishad, was also present during the voting that took place by way of secret ballot. — TNS

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Excise laws violation: Raid on liquor shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Officials of the weights and measures department today conducted raids on two liquor shops in the city and seized some IMFL bottles which were being sold without adhering to packaging commodities rules.

The officials checked the packaging of some popular brands and challaned a liquor shop in Sector 22.

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142 motorists challaned

Chandigarh, August 9
The police booked 142 motorists for violating traffic rules, here today. The police collected Rs 10,200 as fines from the offenders and impounded seven vehicles. It also booked 87 motorists for over-speeding.

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Letters

Separate lane for emergency

A few days ago, while travelling from Mohali to Ropar, I noticed a Fortis hospital ambulance stuck at the Kurali toll tax plaza for almost 10 minutes. Delaying medical assistance by 10 minutes can cause serious damage to the life of a patient. Authorities should make a separate lane for emergency services, so that ambulances and fire-fighting vehicles are not made to wait and precious time is not wasted.

Sukhdev Singh Minhas
Mohali

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

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Alert driver foils robbery by Muradabadi gang
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
An alert car driver yesterday thwarted a robbery bid of the nefarious Muradabadi Gang, which tried to decamp with two bags from his car in Sector 22, this afternoon.

However, the three gang members managed to give him the slip and sped away in an auto-rickshaw, which is also presumed to belong to them.

The gang has been active in the city for over a month now and has already targeted four persons, including three women. The modus operandi of today’s incident was similar to that of the Muradabadi gang, the police said.

According to eyewitnesses, a Honda CRV SUV (DL-4CAB-9927) stopped outside Hotel Piccadilly in Sector 22 at around 4 pm. Its occupants went inside the hotel with three bags, while their driver waited for them outside the car. There were two bags in the vehicle. A man soon came near the car and dropped a few currency notes, drawing the driver’s attention towards them.

When the driver reportedly bent to pick up the notes, another man decamped with the bags lying inside the car. The driver did not initially say anything misunderstanding him to be a staff of the hotel. It was only when he saw the man going in the opposite direction that the driver realized what had happened and raised an alarm. On seeing this, the robbers dropped the bags and fled in an auto-rickshaw.

The police soon reached the spot. Sub-inspector Charanjit Singh, in charge of the Sector 22 police post, said Prashant Gupta of Delhi, the vehicle’s owner, didn’t lodge a complaint, saying that he did not suffer any loss.

A daily diary report has been recorded in this regard.

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Sec-37 resident assaulted in market
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 9
A resident of Sector 37, Gurnaib Singh, was beaten up by a group of people at the Phase V market this afternoon after he roughed up Gagandeep Singh, who had gone there to have food.

Police sources said Gagandeep was coming out of a shop around 4.30 pm when Gurnaib Singh allegedly roughed him up.

Onlookers thought Gurnaib was trying to snatch Gagandeep’s cash and bashed him. Gurnaib was reportedly severely injured, as onlookers had a free-for-all.

Malkeet Singh Khalsa, owner of the shop, said Gurnaib had threatened them with dire consequences when they tried to save Gagandeep.

Suicide

A 28-year-old resident of Uttar Pradesh, working as house help here, allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Phase I late last night.

Om Prakash’s body was found hanging from the fan hook with a cloth by his friends this morning.

The police said Om Prakash worked as house help with Amarjit Singh Walia and lived in the annex.

He had been under depression ever since his wife left him 15 days ago, taking along their one-year-old child.

The police said Om Prakash had worked with Walia two years ago and had returned to work with him a couple of months ago.

The police has started inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

The body has been shifted to the civil hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Theft

A sum of Rs 1 lakh was stolen from a car parked outside a Phase I here today. The thieves smashed the car’s window and escaped with the money.

Complainant Teja Singh, a resident of Mullanpur Garibdass, told the police that he had withdrawn the money from Centurion Bank in Phase I and gone to visit at a relative nearby.

He parked his car and took a glass of water at their house. On return, he found the car’s window broken and the money missing.

Eyewitnesses said two scooter-borne youths had smashed the window and escaped with the cash.

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80-year-old dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Sat Narayan, an eighty-year-old man, lost his life after being hit by a speeding car near Colony No. 5, here, this morning. The police said the accident took place when the old man was crossing the road. He suffered multiple injuries and was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The police has arrested Hardial Singh of Phase XI, Mohali, for causing death due to rash and negligent driving. In another incident, the police arrested motorcyclist Rajwinder Singh of Sector 23 from the traffic lights point of Sectors 16 and 17 on Wednesday.

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One held for rash driving

Chandigarh, August 9
A Burail resident was booked for rash and negligent driving after his Toyota Qualis collided with the official vehicle of the UT home secretary in Sector 9 today. No one was reportedly hurt in the mishap. The home secretary was not sitting in the vehicle at that time.

The police arrested Narinder Singh, the driver of the Qualis. — TNS

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Excise figures hint at industrial revival in J&K
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The central excise collection figures for the April-June (first quarter of 2007-08) may sound music to the ears of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad. Even the collections fail to make much headway in other industrially-advanced centres of the Chandigarh Zone, the troubled state has registered a growth of about 185% in the excise collections over the corresponding period last year.

The revenue jumped from Rs 79 crore to Rs 224 crore from the first quarter last year to the first quarter this year in the Jammu and Kashmir region of the Chandigarh zone. This is creditable in the wake of the total figures for the financial year 2006-07, which were reported to be mere 183 crore.

In fact, the other industrial areas like Chandigarh and the Jalandhar regions have registered a negative growth rate of 32% and 52%, respectively. The share of Chandigarh and Jalandhar region was reported to be 86 crore and 11 crore of the total collections of Rs 411 crore till June 2007. On the other hand, Ludhiana registered a substantial increase from Rs 70 crore to Rs 90 crore showing an increase of about 30%.

"The rapid industrialisation sparked off by sops offered by the central and state governments, including tax holiday, was the main contributory factor pushing up the number of central excise assesses and the revenue, D.S. Sra, chief commissioner of central excise and customs, Chandigarh zone, told The Tribune here today.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh zone reported handsome excise revenue figures of Rs 1465 crore for the year 2006-07. As far as customs collections were concerned, Amritsar, the only customs region in the Chandigarh, showed an increase of about 13 crore from Rs 130 crore from the first quarter of last year to Rs 143 crore in the first quarter of 2007-08.

However, on the service tax front, Chandigarh region led all the way clocking an increase of 53% (from Rs 38 crore to Rs 58 crore) in the first quarter of this year as compared to the same period last year. The Jalandhar region showed a hike of over Rs 6 crore from previous year's figures of Rs 9.4 crore.

The Chandigarh region with an increase of about 53% in the service tax collections in the first quarter of this year over the same period last year leads in the service tax collections in the Chandigarh zone. A significant portion of this kitty has come as a way of service tax from the telecommunication companies because of high density of telephones in the region, sources added.

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