C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘It’s rape of the law’
When those entrusted with the job of enforcing law break it, the faith of the common man in the system is shattered. The arrest of former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk has led to a similar crisis — a crisis of faith.
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

The arrest of former Punjab DGP has raised several questions. Was the manner of his arrest correct? Was there politics behind it? Are our officers becoming mere puppets in the hands of their political masters? The entire episode is a sad comment on our system.

S.R. Sharma, former DGP of Punjab said he did not know much about the case. “Though, allegations could be exaggerated, there must be some substance in these. As per the All-India Service Conduct Rules, an officer is not suppose to indulge in the sale-purchase of property,” he emphasised.

Advocate A.P.S. Shergill said the police force had been highly politicised. Virk had been appointed DGP by superseding other meritorious officers of the state carder. Now, with the change of government, he was at the receiving end.

“You can imagine the fate of the common man in the prevailing system of governance when a senior officer is treated thus,” he said.

Not only this, the government used officers like Virk as cannon-fodder to fight terrorism and allowed them unbridled powers to contain terrorism, by whatever means. Now they were being made accountable for their actions before the law.

Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, former advocate-general of Punjab, was of the opinion that till date no corruption case registered against anybody under such circumstances had reached its logical conclusion.” The prosecution often loses steam after arresting the person.

“Moreover, the norms on arresting a person outside the state were not followed in the present case. The Delhi Police was not informed about the arrest.”

President of Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee BB Bahl said it was a wrong precedent set by the ruling party to settle old scores with political rivals. “It is political vendetta. He is a decorated police officer who was awarded the Padam Bhushan for his services.”

Also, in violation of rules, the state police had not taken prior permission from Maharastra Police for arresting its senior officer.

Said S.L. Sharma, an educationist: “News reports point at a nexus between the police and politicians. The recovery of a dairy and some notes depicts the system in bad light. If the allegations of corruption and the officer’s role in militancy are true, it will damage the people’s faith in those governing us.”

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Show-cause notice to PCA Club
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 10
Show-cause notices have been issued to the PCA Club, Mohali Club and 10 marriage palaces for inadequate fire fighting arrangements on their premises .

In the notices issued by SDM Raghbir Kaur Khaira here today, the clubs and marriage palaces have been asked to respond within two days why satisfactory fire fighting arrangements had not been made.

Marriage palaces have also been asked to provide information whether these had been built with the approval of the government. If a reply is not furnished within the stipulated time, the marriage palaces will be sealed .

It has been stated that the assistant divisional fire officer, during checking carried out by his team, had not found the fire-fighting arrangements adequate.

The marriage palaces that have been issued notices are Jyotjee Palace , Shenai Palace, Celebration Palace, Dara Studio, Mehak Palace, Swaran Lodge Pearl Inn Palace , Bawa White House (all in Mohali) , Palki Palace, Shagun Palace and Manikaran Resorts (all in Balongi ). 

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PGI strike maims lab services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Services at diagnosis tests laboratories and x-ray units at the PGI were hit today with medical technologists going on leave en masse.The PGI authorities had to requisition the services of the UT health department to minimise inconvenience to patients.

The PGI Medical Technologists Association had decided to go on leave in protest against the “indifference” shown to their grievances.

There were long queues at the counters of sample collection at the new OPD as soon as the counters opened at 8 am. The staff seemed helpless in handling the rush. The hospital had asked students and other paramedic staff to collect samples, but they were obviously ill at ease in their new job.

At least 40 per cent staff was absent. Twentyfive technologists were sent to the PGI by the administration.

Balvider Kaur, a patient from Kharar, was able to give a sample at 10 am. She had to return home as the collection counter was closed by the time she reached there after breakfast for the second test. Similarly, Sanjeev, a patient from Saharanpur, was asked to come the next day for radiotherapy.

Yet the authorities claimed that no patient was returned without diagnosis tests. A total number of 4,391 patients visited the OPDs today. As many as 2,724 tests were already carried out in the hospital till 2.30 pm in comparison to nearly 3,000 everyday, claimed the authorities.

All operation theatres were functional and no surgery was postponed, claimed the authorities. On the demands of technologists, Dr K.K. Talwar, director, PGI addressing a press conference said an understanding on the demands of the association had already been reached.

The institute has decided to treat the employees on leave today as absent, said the director.

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Skeleton of 6-yr-old found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
The skeleton of a child aged six was found from the bushes near the telephone exchange in Mani Majra here this morning. The police said it appeared the death had occurred about three week ago. SHO of the Mani Majra police station inspector Hari Kumar said the incident came to light when a labourer of the PWD traced the source of the the stench to nearby bushes. To his utter shock, he noticed a skeleton and informed the police.

The police called experts from the Central Forensic Laboratory. A plastic bangle was found on one of the arms bones, suggesting the skeleton may be that of a girl child. The size of the bones indicated it was the skeleton of a six-year-old.The police has initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 of the CrPC.

On August 23, Ajay Verma, a labourer at Uppal Estate had lodged a complaint with the police on his five-year-old daughter, Rajni, going missing. 

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Indian troops’ exposure to CI ops more
than in West
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
The exposure of the Indian soldier to counter- insurgency (CI) environment is almost 11 times more than that of their counterparts in the armies of western countries.

A research paper on “Psychological Effect of Low- Intensity Conflict”, prepared by the Military Operations Directorate in the Integrated Headquarters of the ministry of defence, has revealed that the average length of service of the Indian soldier in CI operations is 10.87 years, while that of the western soldier is just about a year.

The paper has compared the deployment pattern of Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East with the deployment of soldiers from the western armies in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the past six years, 2,489 Indian soldiers, including 169 officers, have been killed in active operations. The average annual fatalities work out to be 28 for officers, 32 for JCOs and 355 for other ranks.

Continuous exposure to hazardous situations is increasing the mortality rates in the armed forces. According to the annual Health Report of the Armed Forces, the mortality rate in the Army rose from 0.74 per thousand in 2004 to 0.78 in 2005, from 0.72 to 0.94 in the Navy and from 0.99 to 1.1 in the Air Force for the same period.

Increased operational commitments have resulted in increased stress, reduced peace tenures, higher frequency of transfers and unusual working hours. Increased separation from family, turbulence and disruption of children’s education are other fallouts.

Increased stress, according to a research paper on psychological effect of low-intensity conflict operations, leads to higher instances of depression, alcohol abuse, distress and psychiatric disorders. Psychiatric breakdowns remain one of the most costly items of war when expressed in human terms.

The synthesised opinion of civilian psychologists in hospitals in Delhi and Noida is that effect of stress purely due to the intangible disadvantages of military service is “moderately high”. This opinion has been incorporated in the recommendations sent by the service headquarters to the Sixth Pay Commission.

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IAF aircraft collides with trolley
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
An Avro transport aircraft of the IAF was damaged when it collided with a ground trolley at the Chandigarh Air Force Station here today. According to sources, the aircraft has suffered “substantial” damage, though there have been no causalities.

The incident occurred when the aircraft was manoeuvring on the dispersal bay. The aircraft propeller and wing have sustained damage. The aircraft has been grounded and a court of inquiry (CoI) ordered. The CoI is being presided over by a Group Captain.

IAF officers say Avro aircraft routinely come to Chandigarh for official purposes. A light transport aircraft, they are mainly used for ferrying VIPs, communication duties and training. They were inducted into the IAF and the few remaining aircraft are in for an upgrade.

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Notice to UT over PIL on agitations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today issued notices to the Chandigarh Administration and Punjab and Haryana governments on a PIL seeking recovery of loss caused to public property from the agitators and their “ring leaders” during strikes and bandhs.

The petitioner, H.C. Arora, averred that the loss should be recovered from these people by filing civil suits against them. He referred to recent incidents of damage and destruction of public property during strikes and bandhs.

Arora stressed that the loss of public property was the loss of the tax payers and the government cannot be permitted to sit silently over the menace. After hearing the arguments, the Bench issued notice of motion to respondents for December 11. 

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Internet TV service in city next year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Television viewing is going to get much personalised and interactive with the launch of Internet protocol television, said G.D. Singh, chief operating officer, HFCL Infotel Limited, while addressing members of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh here today.

Instead of being bombarded with hundreds of channels, one would be able to customise the content one wants to see and interact, participate in game shows using the remote and set-top box and even play high quality network games with someone in other city, he said.

With broadband becoming common place with fibre optical backbone in place in most parts of the country, including Punjab and Chandigarh, the digital television content can easily be delivered to TV homes for superior entertainment experience.

Already the companies like Connect are delivering broadband and telephone i.e. voice and data through broadband and now digital television would be another add-on with extensive interactivity and freedom to select video content on demand.

HFCL is rolling out the Internet protocol television service in Punjab and Chandigarh by early next year with an investment of Rs 25 crore, to which the viewers can subscribe and require a set-top box costing not more than Rs 2,500 with a remote to enable interactivity, he added. 

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AC plant blast at Raj Bhavan
Man succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Vikram Singh, a 25-year-old man, who was injured in a blast while repairing an air conditioner plant at Punjab Governor’s house on September 5, today succumbed to his injuries at the PGI.

The other injured involved in the incident was discharged after administering first-aid.

Surprisingly, even as five days have passed since the incident took place, SHO of Sector 3 police station Ram Gopal feigned ignorance about the issue saying he had not even heard about it.

On the other hand, talking to TNS at the PGI, the victim’s family stated that the incident took place on Wednesday.

Sunita, Vikram’s mother, stated: “My son was employed with Sant Enterprises at Badheri village in Sector 41. His employer deputed him to repair an air conditioner plant at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday. It was in late evening when I was informed about the accident.”

She further informed that the police reached PGI the same day but did not record any statement. A policeman told her that the doctors had declared Vikram unfit to record his statement. After that no one came to inquire about the matter and her son succumbed to his injuries today.

Some officials of the Public Health Department, including Rajnish Sharma, SDO, visited the hospital today to inquire about the victim’s condition. However, they left the premises in haste after learning that the victim had died, alleged the hapless mother.

She said the hospital staff, soon after the death, told them to take away the body. 
Confirming that he had visited the hospital to inquire about Vikram’s health, the SDO refused to make any comments on the incident.

Vikram is survived by his wife, a two-year-old son and a four-month-old daughter.

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Tribune employees donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
More than 150 employees of the Tribune group of newspapers, donated blood at a camp organised by the Tribune Employees’ Union on the occasion of the 109th death anniversary of the founder of The Tribune Trust, Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia, on The Tribune premises here today.

A team of doctors from PGI, led by the head of the blood transfusion department, Dr Usha Rao, conducted the camp.

More than 100 employees donated blood for the fifteenth time.

Addressing the donors, Jagtar Singh Sidhu, president, Tribune Employees’ Union, said the union had set an example for other unions by starting blood donation camps for the cause of the masses twenty years ago. The employees have donated more than 8000 units of blood till now, added the president.

Others who spoke on the occasion included general secretary Anil Gupta and former president of the union Balbir Singh Jandu.

Among those who donated blood more than 25 times included Arun Kaushal (69), Rajan Rekhy (40), Vinod (39), Raj Kumar (35) Ashok Kumar (34), Satinder Bedi (33), Surinder Singh (32), Anil Kumar Gupta (32), S.S. Pathania (32), Omvir (31), Puran (30), Dharamvir (30), Shamsher Verma (30), Tara Chand (28), Arvind Saini (28), Sukhvinderjit Singh (25), Vijay Saini (25).

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New SSP to focus on basic policing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Sudhanshu S. Srivastva, a 1994 Punjab cadre IPS officer, today took charge as SSP, Chandigarh.

Talking to mediapersons, the SSP said his main focus would be on basic policing, which includes detection, and prevention of crime, nabbing of wanted criminals and maintaining law and order.

Sharing his past experiences, he said it was the teamwork coupled with public coordination which always gives desired results. Before coming to the city, he was remained posted as SSP, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Mansa.

He was on UN mission in Kosovo for one year and was recently posted as AIG (special branch) Punjab. 

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Saketri water sample fails test
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 10
One of the five water samples, collected from Saketri village after the outbreak of diarrhoea last week, failed the purity test today. The failed sample had ecoli bacteria which is responsible for spread of gastroenteritis.

Dr M.L. Garg, under whose supervision the water sample tests were conducted, confirmed that one of the samples collected from the public health supply near the health sub-centre in the area had failed the test.

Garg added that this supply could have been responsible for the widespread cases of diarrhoea reported from the village.

Last week, the Public Health authorities had declared that six water samples, collected from the village, were clear and there was no sign of any bacteria.

In fact, the department officials, in an attempt to absolve themselves of any responsibility, had maintained from the beginning that they had adequately medicated the water supply to the village and the spread of diarrohea could have been due to factors other than “contaminated water supply”.

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Plan for Navratra fair in place
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 10
A meeting to review the arrangements for the coming Navratra fair from October 12 to 20 was held here today. Officers of the district administration and the Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board met under the leadership of deputy commissioner R.K. Kataria to prepare a blueprint of the fair which sees thousands of devotees flock to the shrine.

Kataria said adequate arrangements would be made to facilitate pilgrims. Special buses would be launched for the pilgrims from Chandigarh, Pinjore, Kalka and other surrounding areas.

The board would also made arrangements that include availability of drinking water, toilets, sanitation and parking. Vehicles would be restricted from entering the shrine complex. Moreover, separate parking lots had been earmarked for vehicles near the Haryana Urban Development Authority’s shopping complex.

To meet the drinking water requirement of the devotees, the board would arrange three water tankers and make arrangement of accommodation for the devotees from far-flung areas in the temple dharmashala and guest house.

The Health Department was directed to provide round-the-clock health facilities and run a dispensary.

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Cop hits student
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 10
A student of Bhaddal Engineering College, Ropar, alleged that a policeman hit a cane on his head, resulting in the severe head injury here today. The student Ramandeep, a resident of Baltana, was admitted to General Hospital.

According to Ajmer Singh, father of the injured, said Ramandeep was returning home with a friend on motor cycle from the college when a policeman, near Amartex Chowk, came on the road suddenly and hit his son on head.

Ramandeep, along with Anant, another student of the college from Harmilap Nagar, used the motorcycle to board their college bus at the road dividing Sectors 11 and 15 and parked their vehicle at a nearby gurdwara, said Ravider Kaur, mother of Ramandeep. The parents demnded that the policeman should be identified and arrested.

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Rotary’s gift of life to Pakistan boy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
It was a second birth for Tauseef Ahmed from Pakistan when Rotary Club, Chandigarh, came forward to get him treated even after doctors had told the family that his surgery was not possible in India or abroad.

“Tauseef now has a heart which is half Pakistani and half Indian,” said Dr Devi Shetty who, along with Dr Shekhar Rao and a team, performed a successful nine-hour-long surgery of total correction using a pulmonary valve homograft and reconstructed the boy’s heart at Narayana Hridayalaya, Bangalore.

Tauseef , suffering from a critical cardiac condition of not having the aorta (main valve), half heart and one lung, reached here two months back on July 10 under a project of Rotary Club, Chandigarh, to provide free cardiac surgery to children, under which 185 children have been treated since 1998, including 15 from Pakistan.

After the initial check up at PGI, Muhammed Siddique, father of the child, was told that he could not be operated here due to unusual cardiac problem for which normal heart surgery was not possible anywhere in the country or abroad.

However, Rotary Club decided to consult other hospitals as well. Former world president of Rotary International and member of Rotary Club, Chandigarh, Rajendra K. Saboo, discussed the possibilities with Dr Devi Shetty at Narayana Hridayalaya, Bangalore, who cited the risk in surgery but emphasised that it needed to be done urgently.

“It was a case of pulmonary artresia with the main valve of the heart, called pulmonary valve, missing along with absent blood circulation to the left side of the lung, making him dependent on only one lung”, informed the club members.

In addition to it, there were other constraints as well. The Pakistani father-son had visa for a limited period and only for Chandigarh and Delhi.

Rotary in Delhi helped the family get permission to visit Bangalore with an extension in the visa period through the home ministry, Government of India.

Then Tauseef, along with his father, was flown to Bangalore on August 18 where he was successfully operated after three days. The boy will return to Pakistan tomorrow, via Amritsar.

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Evening of devotional music at Kala Bhavan

Chandigarh, September 10
The local chapter of the Art of Living Foundation organised a spiritual music soiree - Aradhna - at Punjab Kala Bhavan open-air theatre here yesterday.

Over three hundred devotees of the celebrated spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shanker attended the soiree in calm contemplation.

Lead vocalist Anil Sagar, with 500 musical concerts to his credit, commenced the soiree with a soulful bhajan ‘Achtam Keshvam’ and doled out other devotional compositions like aungi bankar jogan, ram naraynam, shivoham, sanch preet and many more.

Sagar, supported by an orchestra, delved in all octaves, enrapturing the inquisitive devotees with his melodious voice and invoked the blessings of their revered mentor and guru Sri Sri Ravishanker.

Malkit Singh, Satish Kumar and Vinod Grover provided the vocal support.

Chief guest professor R.C. Sobti exhorted the audience to follow and imbibe the ideals of the guru in their lives.

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Farewell to temple builders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Mr P.V. Sudhakaran, Deputy General Manager (Marketing), Punjab Tractors Limited, who played a major role in the setting up of the Sree Ayyappa temple in Sector 47 was given a warm farewell by Sree Ayyappa Samajam at the Press Club on Sunday evening.

He is leaving for Kerala after 30 years of stay in Chandigarh later this month. There was hardly any Malayali activity in the tricity in which he did not have an active involvement. He was the chairman of the Land and Building Committee of the Kerala Bhavan, which has come up in Mohali.

Representatives from a spectrum of Malayali and Tamil organisations recalled his services to the community in various capacities. Mr N.S. Radhakrishnan, former vice-president of Sree Ayyappa Samajam, who retired from the same company, was also given a farewell on the occasion.

Dr John V. George, Additional Director-General of Police, Haryana, presented a memento Mr Sudhakaran and his wife. Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune, presented a similar memento to Mr Radhakrishnan and his wife.

Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Radhakrishnan recalled several instances when they received full cooperation from the people in all that they did to the community.

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Letters
A bit for poor children

Despite the government ban on employing children below 14 years of age, they continue to serve at roadside eateries, auto repair shops and other small-scale industries in the country. And our city is no exception. We come across many such children . In the absence of rehabilitation programmes, it does not seem practical to abolish child labour.

We accept their service since we have no other option. Few people say that the petty jobs they do, at least help them survive. But unfortunately, we don’t reflect upon it though we ought to. As the ban had not been able to help them get rid of the curse, we can share a bit of a responsibility of doing something that could help them.

Treating them well is the answer. Be polite. Don’t humiliate them, at least. I agree that such an act of our will not bring the hapless children out of the misery, but it can surely help them bear it with a bit less difficulty.

Harbinder 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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Student assaulted by batchmates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A group of youngster, including students of Sector 31 Kendriya Vidyalaya, allegedly assaulted another student of the school and his cousin with sharp-edged weapons. The victims were rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, from where they were discharged after administering first-aid.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Himanshu, a victim and student of Class XI, alleged that three students of his school along with some outsiders assaulted him and his cousin, Rishu.

Himashu suffered injuries on the head and bruises on arms.

Himanshu alleged that a Class XII student of his school had been harassing him for the past few days.

Arvind Puri, Himanshu’s father, said he took up the issue with the vice-principal and the student was reprimanded for his action.

Enraged over it, he called his friends and allegedly assaulted Himanshu.

The police said a case has been registered.

Meanwhile, principal S. Shergill said she was aware of the matter. 

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Man held for stealing mobile phone

Chandigarh, September 10
The police has arrested a Ferozepur resident on charges of stealing a mobile phone. The police said the suspect was arrested on the complaint of Puja Saxena of Sector 20-B. The suspect has been identified as Manpreet Singh.

Chain snatched

Vandna of Surajpur in Panchkula has reported that two motorists snatched her chain from the Mansa Devi road on Sunday night.

Theft

Shelly of Sector 45-A lodged a complaint that her purse was stolen from her scooter’s boot on Sunday from the Sector 33 parking. In another incident, K.S. Brar has reported that a computer was stolen from his office on Monday.

Vehicles stolen

S.P. Sood of Mohali has reported that his Santro car was stolen from Sector 21-A on Sunday. In another incident, Sanjiv Sharma of Pinjore reported that his Hero Honda Splendor motorcycle was stolen from Sector 9 on September 7.

Eve-teasing

The police on Monday arrested Barkat Ali and Kamal, both residents of Sector 46, for allegedly indulging in eve-teasing. — TNS

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Companies cashing in on VIP mobiles numbers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Mobile companies are cashing in on the craze of Punjabis for the VIP and vanity numbers.

Taking a cue from Airtel, at least two major mobile players - Spice and BSNL - have started the auction of select numbers through auction.

Though the mobile companies may be right in awarding the numbers to the highest bidders, the decision may run counter to the guidelines of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“On popular demand from Spice subscribers, we have decided to allocate select numbers to our subscribers through auction. To create a sense of fairness among our subscribers, we auction certain numbers to the highest bidders. The most favoured of these numbers include the penta 0 series ie 99---00000, or the auspicious number like 99---786. However, the highest response which is traditionally received is for the 99---00001 number,” a Spice spokesman said today.

“To make the process more convenient, we soon plan to make the auction process online,” he said.

However, the subscribers are not impressed by the launch of such schemes. Instead of coming up with new value-added services, the mobile companies should improve basic connectivity and redress subscribers’ problems on priority, Randhir Verma, president, Chandigarh Telephone Subscribers Association, said.

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Pvt players threatening milk co-ops: Minister
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 10
Multinational companies are entering the dairy market but their sole objective is to earn profit while the cooperatives are aimed at serving people, according to state co-operation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

He said this at a function orgainsed at the taking over of Parminder Singh Chalaki as Mohali milk plant’s new chairman.

“The milk cooperative societies were faced with the biggest challenge from multinational companies and for this they had to start earning profits,” he said.

Fresh directions were being given by the authorities concerned in this regard, he added.

“Farmers need to be encouraged to sell milk to cooperative societies. Currently, only 43 per cent of the unions are linked to the milk plant.”

The staff involved in the purchase of milk had been asked to send a report on the quantity of milk being collected from a particular zone. There was a need to purchase maximum quantity of milk so that overhead expenses could be reduced, 
he added.

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