C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


The Cast Away
City numb towards its disabled
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Even as the district administration has initiated steps to help the city’s physically challenged, the attitude of its residents remains a major impediment, feel those on the wheelchair.

Worse, families of the mentally challenged find it hard to get accommodation on rent. The administration has reserved space at parks and markets, but the parks have no entry points for wheelchairs and the shops in markets are built on high platforms. There is no facility for a ramp at these places.

A gate installed on one side of the park in Sectors 11-A and 11-B is locked by the Residents Association to shut out stray cattle. The second entrance has stairs. “No ramp is provided depriving people like me to visit the park,” said Gurbir Singh Kochchar, a sector resident.

“That is not all. Whenever I visit the British Library I cannot use the ramp provided by the library as vehicles are almost always parked by people bang in front of the ramp,” she says.

A majority of public utility buildings in the city have no arrangements to provide easy access to the disabled. The railing near the State Bank of India, the Punjab National Bank and the UTI at Bank Square in Sector 17 has made it impossible for them to reach the entrance direct from the parking area.

A board that announced reserved parking for the disabled near the main post office in Sector 17 has been removed and thrown away at a nearby park. The implementation of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is hardly visible in the new construction.

There are ramps at certain points in Sector 17, but toilets at the city’s main shopping complex remain inaccessible to the disabled. Entry to these are through stairs alone.

Landlords avoid renting out accommodation to the families of the mentally challenged, says Puja, president, SAMARTH, an NGO involved in the training and rehabilitation of the mentally challenged in the city.

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Mayors’ conference comes in way of flower show
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The municipal corporation’s annual chrysanthemum show seems to have run into rough weather with several winners of previous years and other participants saying they will be unable to take part this year.

The chrysanthemum show scheduled for December 8-9 has now been postponed to December 14-15. The coming mayors’ conference is being stated as the reason for the postponement. This has, however, not gone down well with the participants.

“We were looking forward to the show being held soon as the flowers were ready early this year,” said a participant.

Virinder Sharma, who has been taking part in the show for the last 15 years, said: “I don’t think I will take part this year as the season for the grooming of the flowers has already gone. Only 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the flowers are left. It is pointless taking part in the show this year.”

Sharma has the distinction of having bagged all 36 prizes in the 12 categories of the show in 2005.

Though MC officials deny any delay, staff working in the terraced garden of Sector 33, where the show is held every year, say there has been a delay of a few days. “Due to the coming mayors’ conference, there is a delay by a week which will effect the number of entries this year.”

Preparations are full swing to spruce up the garden. Fresh coats of paint have already been done.

The show last year was held in the first week of December. Municipal officials argue there is no fixed date for the show. The participants, however, argue that weather should be a major consideration while deciding the dates.

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2 die as bike rams into Army vehicle
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
Two persons, including a 21-year-old student of Sri Sukhmani Istitute of Enginseering and Technology (SSIET), Dera Bassi, were killed in a road accident on the Panchkula-Pinjore stretch of National Highway 22 here this evening.

A motor cycle driven by Dharminder Kumar (34) with Mukul Guptya on the pillion (21) rammed into an Army truck which took a sharp turn allegedly without signalling. While Mukul died on the spot, Dharminder employed with a Pinjore-based property dealer, died on his way to the Command Hospital.

An eye witness alleged that the Army truck suddenly took a sharp turn towards right without giving any indicator.

Two more persons riding another motorcycle also rammed into the truck and they have also been admitted to the Command Hospital.

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Deepika harried by mob
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Deepika Padukone at a jewellery store in Panchkula on Monday.
Deepika Padukone at a jewellery store in Panchkula on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, December 3
It was chaos and utter mismanagement as ‘Om Shanti Om’ actress Deepika Padukone arrived at the opening of PC Jewellers in Sector 14 here today.

Riding high on her recent success, the actress was taken aback by the unruly mob. The actress, who was here to unveil the new diamond collections, came at 2 pm and was greeted by a large number of fans, waiting since morning to catch a glimpse of the star.

The constant beat of the ‘dhol’ to welcome her added to the din of fans, and the chaos. Ardent fans, cell phones in hand, barged into the showroom to click her.

The showroom was jampacked which almost resulted in a stampede. The presence of 10 private security guards and a posse of police personnel was unable to control the mad rush.

The actress, dressed in a peach sari laden with diamond jewellery for the promotion of the showroom, patiently answered queries from the media.

The actress was escorted to the first floor of the shop with the mob trailing her. On her future projects, the actress said she had signed a Yash Raj project opposite Ranbir Kapoor.

On speculation regarding her affair with cricketer Mahinder Singh Dhoni, the actress refused comment.

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Probe ordered into fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Deputy Commissioner R.K. Rao today ordered an inquiry into the cause of the fire at Colony No. on Saturday.

SDM (South) Shurbir Singh will conduct a detailed probe to determine the cause of the fire. He will report within 15 days.

The district administration will give Rs 2,000 to all those whose hutments were gutted and Rs 5,000 to each of the injured.

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Slum dwellers to get flats on rental basis only
Permanent allotment scheme a failure
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Intense pressure from various quarters notwithstanding, the Chandigarh administration will stick to its original plan and give built-up one-room flats to slum-dwellers on rental basis and not hand over the property on a permanent basis by allotting it to the beneficiaries.

Also the Chandigarh Housing Board that is managing the rehabilitation scheme for slum-dwellers will continue to get police cases registered against slum-dwellers who try to sell-off their rented flats. More than a dozen such cases have been detected and the crime branch of the Chandigarh police is inquiring into the matter. All such allotments will be cancelled and new slum-dwellers will be given a chance to live in these flats, said CHB officials.

The formula to allot flats, that was followed in the past 25 years to rehabilitate slum-dwellers, has failed badly. It has scope for huge misuse as the land mafia has been “buying out” the rights of slum-dwellers. A report of the administration admits the scheme of permanently allotting built-up units or plots to slum-dwellers was a failure.

It was found that the slum-dwellers had no source of funding to buy the flats and banks would not give them loans. They normally took money at high interest rates from the unorganised sector. On being unable to repay, the land mafia moved in and took over, further selling the flats in the open market at a hefty premium and making lakhs on each sale.

Sources within the administration said such was the pressure that various lobbies had managed to get the procedure of giving the flats on rent questioned by the union urban development ministry. The ministry had wanted to know why the flats were being given on rent. It was explained that a survey was carried out and it found illegal sale of flats and the ministry relented and even sanctioned the same under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission Scheme. Rather urban planners from other cities have come visiting to Chandigarh to study the scheme.

The administration has, however, incorporated a provision that the flat can be allotted to a slum-dweller or his family after 20 years. The rent paid at Rs 800 per month will be adjusted in the final cost.

The CHB has strengthened its enforcement mechanism to such a length that a smart card has been provided to each family that has been given a flat on rent. This card has the thumb impression of the person and also his family photo. The same is checked when the beneficiary deposits the monthly installment.

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Road signs that do not show
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
A car was speeding down the Dakshin Marg and about to reach the Tribune rotary. Confused by the road sign near the rotary, it suddenly turned left and almost survived a hit by a speeding vehicle from behind.

"I didn't know I had to turn right," complained the gentleman behind the wheel. Wrongly placed sign boards are a driver’s nightmare on Chandigarh roads-the city where everything may be immaculately placed but for the sign boards.

Reason, the road signs to indicate directions are either wrongly placed or are not visible for the approaching traffic.

A survey of the city roads reveals that driving on the roads is quite an unpleasant experience for the outstation drivers. "I was driving from the PGI to a friend’s house in Sector 19. I had no clue that I had to turn right from a rotary on the Madhya Marg. The board indicating the sectors was almost covered by a tree and was located right near the rotary”, said GP Singh, who is on a visit to the city from Delhi.

It is not the problem of getting on a wrong road. Ignorant drivers fall a prey to the traffic police because of “hardly visible” road sings of ‘no U-turn’ or ‘speed limits’. The road signs should be placed a few metres ahead of a rotary and at right angles to increase their visibility. Despite the signboards, people can be seen asking for directions”, said JS Bhogal, a local industrialist.

Roads should have clear signals. Often these are hidden behind a tree cover. Lack of uniformity in design and colour also adds to the confusion.

While driving along the Dakshin Marg, one can hardly make out the name and direction of the name of a town on the overhead boards. Due to irregular pruning of trees, the names are hidden. At night, one is unable to locate the poles supporting the overhead boards as no illuminating paint is used to attract the attention of the road users.

A few years back, the Chandigarh Administration had put up signposts in black and yellow on each of the roundabouts. They are an eyesore. At places, the damaged signposts hav become rusted.

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Hawara’s allegation: Jathedar meets jail officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh of Takht Damdama Sahib, accompanied by Punjab’s minister for jails Hira Singh Gabria visited the Model Jail, Burail, here in the wake of publication of a letter, reportedly written by Jagtar Singh Hawara in a section of the press.

Hawara had alleged that Sikh tenets were not being followed in the jail with regard to placement of Guru Granth Sahib.

After the visit, the Jathedar alleged that the ‘maryada’ of the holy Guru Granth Sahib was not being properly followed on the jail premises. He alleged that Guru Granth Sahib was being kept in a cupboard in violation of the established norms for the placing of the holy book.

The Jathedar had come to the jail in the evening along with over 60 followers. The jail staff did not allow him to go inside saying that he had not got permission for entry. Jathedar Nandgarh told the officials to make arrangements for the permission on their own.

Meanwhile, Gabria also reached there and the Jathedar was permitted to go inside. The sangat accompanying Jathedar Nandgarh sat outside the jail and began reciting hymns.

The Jathedar claimed that after his objections, the jail authorities promised to make proper arrangements for the placing of the holy book, according to the Sikh tenets by tomorrow.

Hawara in his letter had alleged that disrespect was being shown to the Holy Scripture by not placing it on “sukh asan”. Earlier also he had taken up the issue, last year, that the holy book was kept in a small room in the jail. Following this, the jail authorities enlarged the room.

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Duplicate cells from China capture market
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
You name the cell phone model and you can have its Chinese version at one-fourth the price of the original one. That’s the latest rage in the market these days.

To top it all, shopkeepers, too, are happy selling these replicas. Reason: There is a hefty margin in these for them. Mobile market, the Attri market, Sector 22, is flooded with China-made mobile phones.

Have your pick on any model- Nokia N95, N72, Sony Erricson, Apple, Blackberry and O2 - all is available. “What more you can ask for, when you get N 95 at one-fourth the price of the original model. The N 95 is available for Rs 6,000 against its original price of Rs 24,000, N 72 for Rs 4,000, just half the price of its original version.

The common feature among these Chinese mobiles is symbols imprinted on the screen of the mobile, which compare with the original ones. These have also hit the sales of the branded original models. But the recognised dealers are not happy with the situation.

“The sale of the original ones has dropped considerably. People are buying duplicate models that is half or even less pricewise as compared to the original one and think that its worth it, but are they getting any guarantee?” said a shopkeeper.

Sanjeev Uppal, running a fast-food outlet in Sector 34, said, “Why waste Rs 20,000 to 25,000 when you can get the same for Rs 6,000. What’s wrong in saving money?”

Lakhminder Singh, a businessman, said, “I bought a duplicate Sony Erricson model 530i for Rs 7,300 and the original is available for Rs 14,000 and 16,000. I am satisfied by the cell I got”.

“It is like wasting your money as there is no guarantee for the duplicate models you get. Whom will you ask to replace them if later they start giving you a problem and, moreover, there is no resale value for these sets”, said a student.

These products have already become the first choice of city residents, particularly those from the middle and lower-middle class.

Though Chinese products do not have much durability, competitive pricing scores in their favour and they end up being the common man’s choice.

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No water supply for 3 weeks
Tribune News Service

Tanker supplying water to the Dera Bassi police station on Monday.
Tanker supplying water to the Dera Bassi police station on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Dera Bassi, December 3
The police station here has no water supply for the past three weeks. The public office and its staff has been managing with a water tanker that supplies water to the station every day. But the water supplied by the tanker say the staff is not potable.

The water supply to the police station was cut during the construction of the national highway and the national highway authority of India had to give the compensation for the damage to the municipal committee so that it could under take repairs.

The money was received some days ago and the repair work of the water supply pipes to the police station is expected to begin soon. Till then the police station has to do with tank water.

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70-yr-old gored to death by a bull
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 3
A stray bull gored to death a 70-year-old resident of Dufferpur village today. The victim, Joginder Singh, was an ex-serviceman. He was on his way to the fields when the incident took place.

Sukhvinder Singh Dhillon, a social worker in the village, said the stray bull had attacked several persons earlier too, including three women.The beast lurked around the village outskirts.

A woman, Maya Kaur, had fractured her arm two months ago when attacked by the bull.

“Panic has spread in the village and none dares to move out alone,” said Dhillon. The residents have demanded help from the administration to rehabilitate the bull at another place.

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NGO to launch micro-finance plan for poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
In order to improve the economic condition of poor at Janata Colony, Developing Indigenous Resources- India (DIR), a non-profit NGO, has planned to conduct a micro-finance project here.

Interacting with mediapersons, Dr Frederick Shaw said small loans would be made available to poorer people who otherwise were not able to get loans from other agencies.

These loans would be provided to start small businesses and would be available to those only who would have some sound business plan, submitted with the NGO, he said.

Moreover the loan would be free of interest. The first priority to provide the loan would be women, said Dr Shaw.

“Empowerment is the name of our programme and we provide the needy with the necessary knowledge and skills and they solve their own problems,” said a member of the NGO.

The groups would be formed with a membership of 20 women who would decide about the loanees and the recovery from the loanees would again be disbursed among others, said the member.

The money would be provided by the Rotary Club of Italy to the Rotary Club in India which would disburse the money to people recommended by the NGO.

Pujab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has also shown interest in the work carried out by the NGO and he wanted the organsation to adopt five villages in Muktsar district, said Shaw.

The Haryana Governor has also shown interest in the services rendered by the NGO, claimed Shaw.

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‘Rape’ victim alleges threat from Baba’s disciples
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
A Batala-based girl, who had levelled the allegation of rape against Baba Man Singh Pehowawale, today alleged that she and her family are getting threats from disciples of the Baba.

The victim, a 24-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother and Colonel (retd) GS Sandhu, chairman of Majha Ex-Servicemen Human Rights Front, today alleged that the followers of the Baba had been threatening them with dire consequences and had also tried to persuade her and her family to not pursue the complaint lodged against the Baba.

She further alleged that Batala-based Punjabi singer Rinku called her. She was taken to Kumarhatti in Himachal Pradesh to shoot an album. A cameraman from Jalandhar was also accompanying the troupe. There some unidentified persons were consuming smack, who tried to force themselves on her. The singer helped her in escaping from there. Her brother was also accompanying her.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued a notice to the Punjab government, SSP Jalandhar, under whose jurisdiction the alleged rape was committed, SHO of the police station of the area, Baba Man Singh Pehowawale and his follower, to file their reply on December 4.

The victim had alleged that the Baba had raped her in his dera in Dheena village in Jalandhar district on March 15, 2006. Harbans Singh, disciple of the Baba, was also involved in the crime. She alleged that it could be a part of conspiracy hatched by the Baba’s followers to eliminate her.

Addressing mediapersons during a press conference, the victim alleged that despite the fact that they had lodged two complaints with the Batala police on September 7 and 29 this year, nothing had been done to provide them a security cover.

Colonel Sandhu stated that he would meet the director-general of police, Punjab, to demand security cover for the victim and her family.

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Mohali to have state’s first IT tower
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 3
Mohali would soon boast of having Punjab’s first IT Tower. To be built on over eight acres of land in Sector 67, the IT Tower would offer over 8 lakh square feet of plug and play space to IT companies keen on coming to the state.

R.K. Verma MD Punjab Infotech Corporation Limited said the IT Tower would be the state’s signature building. “The tower would be a state of the art building. Built up space replete with commercial and residential component would be available for IT and ITES companies,” he said.

The setting up of the tower was given a nod by the board of directors of the corporation and the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) has been asked to take up the construction of the building with the help of a private partner.

“The state’s contribution to the building would be the 8.5 acres of land which is owned by the corporation,” said Dr R.K. Sangwan, executive Director, (Projects) Punjab Infotech.

PIDB had already requisitioned the services of Delhi based Feedback Ventures as a consultant to prepare the feasibility report. “The structure of the project would be defined by the consultants and soon we would be coming up with the expression of interest advertisements,” said Verma.

The Infotech complex in sector 67 which would house the IT Tower is about 15.5 acres out of which one acre each had been already leased out to seven IT companies. These are HCL, Sebiz, Dibon Software Limited, KMG, IDS and Competent. HCL and Sebiz have begun construction in the complex.

“What we are looking at is a Hi-Tech City Hyderabad like structure for Mohali. An FAR of two is already permitted to IT parks but we are trying to get FAR three approved for this project. We would have atleast 6 lakh square feet of space but this can go up to 9 lakh square feet also,” said Sangwan.

Other than the ready to use office space for the IT companies, the complex would also have a limited housing facility for the employees of the It companies which are housed in the complex. “This housing facility would be purely for those working in the complex. There would be guest houses and a commercial complex also,” said Sangwan.

The state has been facing an acute land crunch in the IT Sector with the government having no land to give to offer to companies who had shown interest in setting base in Punjab. “There are some leading IT companies of who have shown interest in setting up base in Punjab and the IT Tower should bring good news for them,” said Sangwan.

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Residents sore over power cuts
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 3
One usually hears of power cuts in summers but unannounced power cuts have plagued the town even as the winter is fast approaching.

Power remained disrupted for three hours today, from 8 am to 9:30 am and again from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. Residents are facing these power cuts for the past many days, the duration of which varied from 30 minutes to more than an hour.

The industrial sector has also not been spared from these unannounced power cuts. The industrial units have so far not been relieved from the weekly power off day (Saturday) as well.

Manmohan Kaur, a former municipal councillor, said the town had not faced such power cuts even during the summer months.

It is learnt that members of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) had met senior power board officials yesterday and made a request that information about the time and duration of powers cuts should be made available beforehand.

H.S. Bains, deputy chief engineer, said the residents could not be given prior information about the power cuts as these were imposed by the power controller based at Patiala and this information was received by the Mohali sub-stations only in the evening.

However, this information would be passed on to the MIA office in the evening so that industrial units could manage their affairs accordingly.

The agricultural sector was being given six hours of power supply daily as compared to four hours given last year.

Moreover, power was also to be provided to other states. He said the power crisis might get over in about a week’s time.

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Plea on bill dismissed; petitioner fined Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the petitioner, Ashok Sharma Nabhewala, as there was no merit in his plea.

A resident of Sector 45, Nabhewala alleged that the SDO (electricity), Sector 43, was raising bills on average basis despite the fact that the electricity meter was in order. He alleged that the SDO did not rectify the mistake even after repeated requests made by him. Nabhewala stated that he was being overcharged compared to his actual consumption and continued to receive bills on average.

On the contrary, the electricity department pointed out that the electricity meter was defective since December 2001 and required to be replaced immediately. The department stated that the petitioner didn’t allow their representatives to replace the meter in spite of repeated visits and reminders.

The department highlighted that the case was filed by Sukhpal Singh, through general power of attorney, Ashok Sharma Nabhewala. It was stated that since Sukhpal Singh had himself not filed the complaint, it was not maintainable. While Nabhewala argued that he was general attorney of Sukhpal and was residing in the house consuming electricity, he had the locus standi to file the complaint.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal stated: “The consumer was aware of this defect, but he didn’t make a reference to the electrical inspector. It appears he didn’t refer to the dispute because he was a gainer and was paying a lesser amount than the consumption, worth a higher amount. Instead the electricity department rather could not perform their duty of checking the meter, installing new meter and sending proper bills as the meter was slow.”

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23 vehicles challaned
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 3
As many as 23 vehicles were challaned by the district transport office here today.

The DTO Balbir Singh Dhol told the tribune that three nakas had been set up at various places on the national highway where vehicles were challaned for overloading, improper documentation, use of prohibited horns etc.

He said the national highway was under construction and this was the most sensitive and accident prone road in the district. “Drivers should be careful on this road,” he said.

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Anti-missile system 3 yrs away: expert
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
It would take about three years for the Armed Forces to have an anti-ballistic missile defence system that would form the foundation of a shield against hostile missiles.

A successful test launch to validate an indigenous “killer” missile was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) yesterday.

“A total of five tests are required before the system is considered ready for operational use,” DRDO’s chief controller (research and Development), Dr W.Selvamurthy told The Tribune during a visit to Chandigarh. “Another test is scheduled to be held this month and we expect the system to be ready in about three years,” he added. In November last year, a similar test was carried out by using a modified Prithvi missile to destroy an incoming missile.

The system would require putting into place an extensive command and control infrastructure, a comprehensive surveillance network and fixed or mobile missile launch pads. So far only the US, Russia and Israel have anti-missile defence capability.

There are different parameters to be validated for endo-atmospheric (up to about 20 km) and exo-atmospheric (beyond 20 km into space) interception of incoming ballistic missiles. Tests would also be conducted for joint endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric interception.

The interceptor missile is based upon the Prithvi ballistic missile, of which two versions, land versions for the Army and Air Force and a Naval version for launch from unstable platforms have been already been developed. While the land versions have been inducted into service, the naval version is undergoing trials.

Dr Selvamurthy said that the DRDO system is totally indigenous except for certain tracking equipment which has been procured from Israel. The project had been initiated about eight years ago and intense efforts had been made over the past four-five years.

The need for an anti-ballistic missile system was necessitated by the presence of hostile ballistic missile, with the possibility of them being armed with nuclear warheads, in India’s neighbourhood.

One of the prime components of an anti-ballistic missile system is surveillance, the ability to detect launch of a hostile missile and track it so as to give a suitable response time. The DRDO chief controller said that India possessed the capability to detect a ballistic missile launch in its neighbourhood.

The scientist, however, cautioned that destroying a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile before it reaches its intended target does not totally eradicate the effects of a nuclear blast. Depending upon the size and nature of the warhead and the altitude of the explosion, it could still have some effect on the area below, he said. “Destroying such a missile does not totally guarantee safety,” he remarked.

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Bhatti seeks ‘subsidy’ on heroin, cocaine
Tribune News Service

Jaspal Bhatti and members of the Nonsense Club during the “Punjab drug mela”, organised in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Jaspal Bhatti and members of the Nonsense Club during the “Punjab drug mela”, organised in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 3
Known for his satire on real life problems, Jaspal Bhatti, organised a “Punjab drug mela” in Sector 17 here today, where Bhatti and members of his “nonsense club” demanded from the Punjab government subsidy on heroin, cocaine and opium-like drugs.

In his speech, Bhatti said, “We should should all work to immerse Punjab totally in drugs.”

If the Punjab Government or influential leaders are incompetent to deal with the drug menace, they should join hands with the nonsense club so that drugs could be completed injected into the veins of youth.

Bhatti demanded that instead of subsiding electricity and water, the government should give subsidy to the trade of drugs so that drugs could be provided to the addicts at cheaper rates.

The government should stress on organic farming so that the best quality of opium is available to the youth.

For quality control of the drugs, honest officers of the health department should be selected so that unadulterated opium is made available. Adulterated drugs may be injurious to health, he warned.

The drug peddlers should be provided police protection so that they are not under any psychological duress.

Roadside dhabas on highways should get a special rebate on the sale of opium, charas, ganja, LSD, marijuana and other drugs. Any dhaba not having a drugs outlet should be shut down immediately.

He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to shift his focus from the nuclear deal to drugs deals.

New channels should be opened for free smuggling.The first of every month should be celebrated as “nasha lagao diwas” so that every salaried person can splurge his hard-earned money on the first day of the month.

A parody song based on the hit number “Mauja hi mauja” was sung by Brijesh Ahuja and Gurtej Tej. They were joined in chorus by students of Mad Arts, Jaspal Bhatti Film School.

Bhatti said his initiative was a move to highlight the growing menace of drugs. He cautioned the youth to take care of their health and stop Punjab's slide towards self-destruction.

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Letters
Check overspeeding

The number of accidents taking place due to overspeeding of vehicles is increasing day by day. It seems that the traffic cops are not doing anything to check overspeeding, particularly in Modern Residential Complex.

The roads here are so narrow that two buses/cars coming from the opposite directions can hardly cross each other. Youngsters driving at a high speed cause inconvenience, especially to senior citizens.

Frequent checks by the police will help in decreasing the number of accidents. I hope the police will take immediate action.

Tarlok Singh Mani Majra

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Man caught trying to cash stolen cheque
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Amandeep Singh of Phase II, Industrial Area, reported to the police, alleging Hayat Singh of Bageshwar district in Uttaranchal had been caught at Punjab National Bank in Phase II, Industrial Area, this morning while trying to withdraw Rs 20,000 on a cheque stolen from his factory. The police arrested Hayat Singh.

Purse stolen

Ravinder Kaur Gujral of Sector 35-C reported to the police that two boys in school uniform aged 15 stole her purse containing Rs 13,500 in cash, a mobile phone, and documents, from her car (CH-03 0-2829), which was parked near the petrol station in Sector 35 this afternoon. A case has been registered.

Cheating

Rakesh Kumar of Badsar of Himachal Pradesh lodged a complaint alleging that Deepak Arora and Dolly Sondhi of Sector 22 had taken from him Rs 1.15 lakh, promising to send him abroad. They had neither sent him abroad, nor returned his money. A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy has been registered by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the police.

Theft of vehicles

Sarwan Singh of Sector 30-B reported that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CHL-2908) was stolen from Sector 26 on Sunday. Sher Singh of Dadu Majrareported to the police that his three-wheeler (CH-19 (T)-0602) was stolen from his house on November 29.

Rajinder Kumar Rana of Sector 22 told the police that his scooter (CH-01-0221) was stolen from his residence on Sunday and Iqbal Singh of Dhanas filed a complaint alleging that his scooter (CH-01-C-6917) was stolen from MCM College in Sector 36 on November 29.

Four separate cases of theft have been registered in various police stations.

Gurpreet Singh of Daria village filed a complaint with the police alleging that two batteries of his tractors (UP-26-A-8297) and (HRQ-6231), parked outside his residence, were stolen during intervening night of December 1 and 2. A case of theft has been registered.

Man injured

A motorcyclist, Satpal of Mauli Jagran, suffered injuries after being his by a Tata Sumo (DL-4CR-6180) on Sunday. The victim was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The police has arrested the driver, Mohammad Tariq of Agar Nagar, New Delhi, on charges of causing injury due to rash and negligent driving.

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Thieves decamp with cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
Thieves broke into a house in Sector 16 here yesterday and decamped with cash and jewellery worth over Rs 70,000.

According to information available, the family had left for Patiala for a marriage around 10 am. However, when the family returned around 1 am they found the house locked from inside.

When the door was forced open it was found that valuables, including cash and jewellery, were taken away after ransacking the house, owner of the house Ashwani Kumar alleged. The police has started investigation.

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PHDCCI interacts with ex-Army men
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 3
Retired officers from defence services with valuable managerial and administrative resources can be a great human resource input for the industry today which, in spite of the boom, is looking for worthy professionals.

Ideas as this one formed the nucleus of wide ranging discussions and brainstorming session which marked the first ever proactive meet between top most industrial representatives and retired defence officers here.

Organised by the World Wide Immigration Consultancy Service Limited, WWICS, a global resettlement major at its Asian headquarters in Mohali today, the meeting attended by members of Mohali Industries Association and PHD Chambers representatives aimed at thrashing out a way to work out the possibilities of absorbing skilled and immensely experienced officials with a greater degree of demeanours and discipline in the civil industry.

Over 100 representatives from various industrial houses, business concerns and members of Mohali Industries Association and PHDCCI participated in this meet to interact with an equal number of retired defence personnel which included decorated retired officers from the ranks of Brigadier, Colonel, Lt Colonel and Major.

The interaction between both sections was held at length even as key speakers accosted to the participants the immense set skills that retired defence personnel possess.

Lt Col (Retd) B.S. Sandhu, chairman, WWICS, drew attention of the industrial brethren to the fact the in spite of their retirements, the defence personnel were still capable of undertaking monumental tasks.

Balbir Singh, former president, Mohali Industries Association, expressed his utmost willingness on behalf of his industrial fraternity to hire the valuable services of retired defence personnel.

Rupinder Sachdeva, another industrialist, felt that the experience and exposure of defence personnel to vagaries of war is an asset for the common civil operations.

Their valour, courage and determination to take up challenges is what makes them stand class apart.

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Pact on quality control to boost India, Pak trade
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The trade relations between India and Pakistan will soon go a step further with both the countries having proposed an agreement to recognise the quality-control certifications issued by the respective countries for various products.

“The certification procedures of both the countries are different. While in India we have the Bureau of Indian Standards, in Pakistan we have the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control. We are working towards ensuring that both of them recognised the respective certifications,” stated Minister (Trade) from the Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi Fazal Abbas Maken.

This, he said, would help increase trade and reduce delays. Terming it as a welcome move, some of the traders present there stated that such an agreement would go a long way in increasing the trade between the countries.

But the traders also stated that the two sides should relax formalities at the Customs on the border to increase trade between the two countries.

He announced this development at Pakistan Day celebrations at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) International Trade Fair -ITEX 2007, here today.

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‘ITEX 2007 good for potential investors’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Gen SF Rodrigues today visited the International Trade Exposition - ITEX 2007, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Accompanied by Jean Rodrigues, the Administrator went round the exhibition. Appreciating the effort of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, General Rodrigues said such events offer a great opportunity for sharing technology and expertise by the industrial giants and to expand and explore markets for potential investors.

During an interaction with the embassy officials of Pakistan, he said economic ties with Pakistan have already started improving and stressed on more cooperation in the field of agriculture, medicine and education, eliminating bottlenecks coming in the way.

Later in the day, the PHD Chamber celebrated Pakistan Day where a cultural programme was also presented. It was also discussed there that an exclusive tourism stall should also be set up at such exchanges.

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International fast-food outlet opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and leader of the opposition, today inaugurated “Subway”, an international fast-food chain in Sector 35 here.

The chain here has been launched by Australia-based NRIs Amandeep Dhaliwal, Durlabh Singh and Balbir Pawar. Talking to The Tribune, they stated that they would soon be opening more outlets in the region. “We are doing a survey and looking at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana as options,” stated Dhaliwal.

The trio already has a set up of Subways and 7-eleven stores in Sydney. “This is just an expansion of our work there. We soon hope to expand here,” stated Durlabh Singh.

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