C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IT raids on Hot Millions, UT Builders
Tax evasion worth several crores detected
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In a major crackdown on tax evaders, officials of the income tax department today conducted raids on more than 10 outlets and two residential premises of fast food chain Hot Millions. The outlets include those in the city, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Ambala. Raids were also conducted on the business and residential premises of UT Builders and Promoters, owned by a former income tax lawyer, Prem Lal Midha. Evasion worth several crores of rupees has been reportedly detected from the two companies.

The scrutiny of documents at Hot Millions was continuing till the filing of the report and was expected to be completed only by tomorrow. While officials claimed that this could well be the "biggest haul" in the city so far, an evasion of Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore has been detected from UT Builders and Promoters, which reportedly has four major ongoing projects of residential flats and plots, including Green Estates, in Dera Bassi and Mohali.

The IT officials descended on the business premises of the two groups in the morning and carried out a detailed inspection of account books, IT returns for the past three years, documents relating to sale and purchase and physical verification of stocks. Sleuths from the IT department also raided the hotelier’s residence at Sector 9 and Sector 36, Chandigarh.

Deputy director, income tax (investigation), Praveen Sidhartha, said the raids were part of a major operation conducted by the department at various places. Income tax officials have detected tax evasion worth several crores of rupees during the raid conducted on both groups.

Several teams of the IT department, comprising more than 100 officials and supporting staff, conducted the raids under the supervision of MP Singh, director of income tax (investigation). Additional director of income tax (investigation) RK Choubey was also present.

The raiding teams were reported to have questioned partners and directors of the business houses and some of the key staff members. During the raids, which were continuing till the filing of this report, there was a restriction on the entry and exit from the premises and telephone calls too were barred. Cops were also posted outside the residential premises.

While the officials refused to say anything about the details of the raids, sources in the department revealed that these were initiated on the basis of specific information that these business groups were reportedly fudging accounts and filing returns which were grossly disproportionate to their sources of income.

It was learnt that IT officials had seized a large number of incriminating documents, details of financial transactions, computer data and account books of these business houses, which were still being processed to arrive at the amount of concealed income so that additional tax liability and penalty, if warranted, could be raised against the defaulting firms.



Woman, child receive burns; husband booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 17
A 26-year-old woman received burn injuries after her drunk husband tried to set her afire following an altercation here today. A three-year-old son of the woman, identified as Anjali, a resident of Sector 7, also suffered burn injuries during the incident.

Anjali who was shifted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, by neighbours, said her husband, Ravinder, came home around midnight and started hurling abuses at her. He was badly drunk at that time.

Around 4 am when she was preparing food for him, he threw kerosene stove on her, injuring her badly. On seeing the fire engulf the room, Ravinder fled the scene. However, neighbours came to the rescue of the woman and her son, Madhur.

Before leaving the room, Ravinder picked up their younger son, Kartik, in the lap and left him outside. As Anjali cried for help, neighbours reached the scene and helped her get out of room along with Madhur.

The police said Ravinder had also suffered burn injuries in the incident and was admitted to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

The police has registered a case under Section 307 of the IPC against the husband, said Sector 5 SHO Ajaib Singh.



Vehicle Thefts
Police to seal sectors during night
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In an attempt to curb the rising incidents of motor vehicle thefts, the Chandigarh police has devised a strategy to seal one sector in each subdivision to keep a record of the vehicles driven out of the sector during nighttime. There are three subdivisions in the city.

Expressing concern over vehicle thefts and burglaries in the city, UT SSP SS Srivastva said he had given directions to his officials to devise methods to curb the crime. Admitting that the city had seen a rise of about 50 per cent in motor vehicle thefts this year, the SSP disclosed that 756 vehicles had been stolen till August 31 this year against 505 in the corresponding period last year. Similarly, 173 incidents of robberies were reported this year in the same period against 122 in 2007.

The SSP said the police would seal all the entry points of a sector during night time and keep a record of the persons going out of the sector along with the vehicles, registration number and if need be its engine and chassis number. He added it would be a massive exercise requiring public cooperation. In the first step, the police had identified 24 entry points in Sector 22, as it would be difficult to man all points. Some of them would be sealed.

The police is also planning to install close-circuit TV cameras at border points in the city, which would monitor the vehicles and people entering the city. The police has also got sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for installation of TV cameras at vital places in the city. Besides this, the police is also holding meetings with the market associations, asking them to install cameras at their own expense in order to improve the security of their areas.

About the security threat to the city, the SSP maintained that though there was no specific information about terrorist threats, the police was on alert and search operations were being conducted regularly at vulnerable places. The police was in regular touch with the public call offices and cyber café operators in the city.



‘Trigger-Happy’ City
Arms licence numbers shoot up
Vijay Mohan & G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
There has been a fivefold increase in the number of arms licences issued by the UT administration in the past seven years. From 71 licences in 2000, the figure shot up to 366 by the end of 2006.

While pistols seem to be the favoured weapon of arms buyers, there has been a spurt in the purchase of rifles.

Data reflected in the statistical abstract released this month by the administration showed that just eight rifle licences were issued in 2000, while the number went up to 131 in 2006.

The number of pistol licences issued increased from 26 to 171 in the same period. The increase in the number of licences issued for shotguns was marginal.

Though the trend in the issue of licences showed a general increase every year, there was a significant jump for pistols and rifles in 2006 over the past year - from 62 to 171 and from 15 to 131, respectively.

“There has no doubt been an increase in the sale of weapons over the past year,” said Gurpreet Bhandari, who manages an ancestral firearm business along with her husband in Sector 22.

“We get around 50-60 enquiries from prospective buyers every month,” she added.

A large number of people looking to buy weapons are from the rural areas, through a separate procedure has to be followed if non-UT residents want to purchase weapons from Chandigarh.

Rural folk and people from hill areas prefer shotguns and at times rifles, while the well-heeled generally opt for handguns as these are easy to carry.

Interestingly, buyers from the rural areas have shown more awareness about weapon specifications and costs than their urban counterparts. “For some, weapons are a means of investment, as the cost of an imported non-prohibited bore weapon increases significantly over time,” Gurpreet said. “An estimated 50 per cent weapon buyers in the country fall in this category,” she opined.

Since import of weapons is prohibited, only existing weapons are changing hands, which adds to the cost.

Various models of Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Webley handguns can fetch anywhere between Rs 2 and 7 lakh.

There were some models known to command a price as high as Rs 14 lakh, said another gun dealer. Rifles from Mauser, Springfield and Winchester armoury are also in demand and can cost anywhere up to Rs 7 lakh. Sandhu also pointed out that there were instances where a licence has been issued but the holder has not purchased any weapon for whatever reason.


Blueprint of new parking policy ready
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In the backdrop of Chandigarh having the highest per capita of vehicles in the country, the administration is planning to chalk out a comprehensive parking policy for utilizing the parking spaces in a proper manner.

In fact, blueprint of the new policy lays emphasis on the rationalisation of norms for the benefits of the residents keeping in view their peculiar parking problems. The endeavour was to create more parking spaces for the general public in view of the limited area of the Union Territory and entry of the corporate sector and the multinational companies in a big way, official sources said here today.

Under the new policy, the requirements of the different commercial buildings and visitors had been taken into account while working out equal car space norms. For instance, if one takes into account chaos for parking in the wake of the opening of Centra Mall in the Industrial Area recently, a 25 sq metre equal car space has been made mandatory for the multiplexes-cum-shopping malls. The norms for shopping malls spread over 1 acre would be 50 sq metre of equal car space.

For group housing societies and integrated townships the equal car space would be 1.8 sq metre. Similarly, the nursing homes would have to provide parking space for at least three cars for 1 kanal.

Taking into account the anticipated rush of vehicles in the proposed marriage palace to be developed in Chandigarh shortly, a provision of 130 cars per acre would be mandatory for the developers. The hotel owners would have to provide one car parking space for every three rooms besides fulfilling parking norms for restaurants and banquet halls.

The sources said the new policy had been necessitated due to the liberalisation of bylaws for the commercial buildings and coming up of the shopping malls and office spaces in the Industrial Area following the conversion policy.

The city is in the process of transforming itself from the city of the retired people to the destination next for the corporate world. This policy is aimed at addressing the parking concerns of the burgeoning population, the sources added.



More showers in coming days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
As the heat gave a way to cool breeze, followed by rain, in the city today evening, the Met department has said, the rainy weather will continue for more two or three days.

“The city will witness rainfall for few more days due to upper cyclonic circulation,” said officials of the department. The thundershowers brought respite to the residents from the humidity and led to a pleasant evening. Several city residents thronged the Sukhna Lake for a walk. The Met department recorded 5 mm of rainfall.

“The rainfall came as a relief for the city residents who were reeling under high temperature along steadily climbing with humidity,” said Anurag Gupta, one of the residents of Sector-35.

The rain resulted in a little drop in the temperature of the day. The maximum temperature was recorded to be 22.4, whereas, the minimum temperature hovered around 25.1.



Dengue: Health dept confirms 3 more cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The number of dengue cases in the city rose to 11 today, with the Health Department confirming three more cases. According to district health officer Dr M.S. Bains, at least 46 more persons are suspected to be suffering from this disease.

A few patients have been admitted to various hospitals in the city. The preliminary reports and clinical tests suggest that they are suffering from the dengue fever. The Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, has admitted at least 30 to 40 suspected dengue cases so far. Of them, 20 per cent are from near by places, including Panchkula and Mohali. The PGI has also admitted 30 to 40 suspected cases during the past four days. Most of them hail from various districts in Punjab.

The Health Department, meanwhile, started an awareness campaign in the city to caution residents against mosquito bites, as this period is crucial. “Dengue cases often rises after the monsoon as the conditions are conducive for the breeding of Aedes mosquito,” said emergency medical officer at GMCH-16.

Experts say the number of cases may even rise further. But, a lot depends on the type of strain, they add. There are four strains in dengue and Den II and III are considered to be more virulent. In 2006, 182 cases were reported. But, the cases were limited last year. In 2007, we registered 99 cases and most of them were reported during this period, said a doctor.

Those who have had dengue once, doctors’ say, should be very careful. If a person had dengue due to Den II strain then he or she develops antibodies for that particular strain. So if the same strain is seen the next year, possibilities are that it won’t affect him. ‘‘But if there is a new strain, then the risk of fatality increases as that person is susceptible to developing dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome,” said an assistant professor of the community medicine in the PGI.



4 more cases in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 17
Four patients of dengue have reached the PGI, Chandigarh, from Panchkula. With this the number of dengue cases reported from different parts of the district reached 20 today.

During the last two days, 10 cases were reported at Panchkula hospital, while one patient of dengue from the town died on Friday.

District malaria officer Anil Allahabadi said the PGI authorites had confirmed that four patients from the town were admitted there for the treatment of dengue.



Another suicide bid in police custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In yet another case, a theft accused attempted suicide at the Sector 31 police station yesterday. Two months ago, a man had hanged himself at the Industrial Area police station.

According to the police, ASI Pritam Singh had arrested the accused, Suresh Kumar of Phase II, Ram Darbar, in connection with a theft case yesterday.

A stolen gold chain was recovered from the accused. As the police official was going through the paper work at the police station, the accused tried to slit himself with a shape-edged object.

A case of attempted suicide under Section 309 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

SHO Bhupinder Singh said Pritam the ASI was questioning the accused at his office when the accused picked up a measuring tape from the table and inflicted injury upon himself.

He was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, from where he was discharged after first-aid.

UT SSP S.S. Srivastava said he had not received any report from the DSP (south) about the incident.

On negligence on part of the police, he said action would be taken against those found guilty on the basis of a report submitted by the DSP.

Meanwhile, the SHO said the accused was out of danger and was produced before a court, which remanded him in police custody for two days.



Senate Polls
Candidature of teacher on deputation questioned
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 17
Eyebrows are being raised over the candidature of a teacher on deputation from Haryana who is contesting from the constituency of teachers of affiliated colleges of Panjab University in the last phase of the senate polls scheduled for September 21.

According to sources, one of the lawyers from Panchkula has written to the returning officer, Prof S S Bari, and has raised certain questions pertaining to the eligibility of candidates who are serving the UT but are on deputation from Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

In his letter, he has pointed out that deputationists are governed by the service rules of their parent states and are thus not treated equally as regular UT employees. Henceforth, they cannot claim privileges that are available to UT employees.

Also according to Panjab University’s calendar, it is clearly mentioned that either the candidate should represent the state of Punjab or UT.

According to sources, the form that are filled in at the time of nominations has no column pertaining to this and so it cannot be made clear at that stage.

Questions are being raised that what would happen to the senate seat if the candidate after getting elected is called back to his parent state. Also, whether some one from Haryana or Himachal Pradesh can sit in the governing body and participate in decision-making of Panjab University and its 176 affiliated colleges especially when no colleges of these states are affiliated to PU?

At the same time, it cannot be denied that many teachers who are teaching in UT colleges are on deputation from neighbouring states and have been serving here for many years now. In that case, shouldn’t there be clear-cut rules for them so as that they can contest without a hitch?

When contacted, Professor S S Bari said, “As long as he (the candidate) is performing duties in UT, it is fine. If he gets elected and is called back to his parent state, he will definitely lose his seat.”



PU declares senate results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The results for the professors’ as well as readers’ and lecturers’ constituency on campus for the senate elections were declared today.

Prof N.K. Ohja, from the Arts faculty, won by defeating Prof V.K. Mahajan getting 72 votes after the final round and Prof Rupinder Tiwari from the department of biotechnology (Science faculty) won, by defeating other two contestants, Prof A.S Ahluwalia and K.P. Singh by getting 68 votes after the final round. The elections were held on September 15. Both Prof Tiwari and Prof Ohja are first timers in the senate and have secured a seat for themselves in the senate for the coming four years.

In the readers’ and the lecturers’ constituency, Kamaljeet Singh, of the department of Botany retained his seat after getting 147 votes and defeating his rival, Sunita Shrivastava, who got 112 votes after the final round. It was Karamjeet Singh, reader, UBS who won by maximum votes. 147 votes were polled in his favour and he defeated sitting senator, Devi Sirohi, who got 90 votes after the final round.



Candidates’ selection: PUSU leaders bash each other
Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Panjab University students’ elections might have passed off peacefully but the anger, which was brewing among students, finally came out today when two PUSU (Panjab University Students’ Union) leaders Tejpal Cheema, president, and Sunbir Singh ‘Bhaoo’, vice-president, entered into a brawl outside their department at around noon. Cheema was accompanied with five of his friends. Both of them are IIIrd year student of the Law Department.

According to sources, today’s incident goes back to the declaration of PUSU’s candidates for the elections. While Tejpal Cheema had nominated Jashandeep Randhawa for the post of president, Sunbir Singh was in favour of Simranjit Dhillon. This difference of opinion led to today’s spat.

According to an eyewitness, after attending the class Cheema allegedly caught Sunbir from his shirt and punched him outside the department. During the scuffle, Sunbir’s turban fell on the floor. Sunbir left the spot in his friend’s car within few minutes.

“Both started arguing with each other in the parking lot of the department after Cheema came out of the class. Cheema along with his friends had come prepared for the fight,” the eyewitness added.

When contacted, both groups were not ready to disclose anything. However, the police has not registered any case against them. “The matter is not in my knowledge, and nobody has complained to me, so I can’t comment,” said S.K.Sharma, chairman of department.



US varsities for education fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Representatives of more than 30 American Universities are in city to tell the students about the study aspects at their institutions. They are taking part in an educational fair, hosted by Linden Educational Services, at hotel Mount View, tomorrow.

The universities participating in the fair include Columbia College, Fairleigh Dickenson University, Indiana University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of San Francisco, and University of Kansas.

Besides Chandigarh, the representatives of these universities are visiting Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin and Chennai.



Students from Ladakh, Batalik visit Chandi Mandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
As a part of the ongoing operation Sadbhavana, a group of girl students, from Batalik area of Ladakh visited places of importance in the Western Command and interacted with army officers here. The tour is being sponsored by the Army.

The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen T.K. Sapru encouraged the young girls to grow up with open minds and actively participate in the process of nation building.

Such visits and interaction, with the larger cross section of the society, have enabled the Army to bring about a significant attitudinal change amongst a vast majority of population, wherein, there is a yearning for peace and development.

The Army in Jammu and Kashmir, has been undertaking operation Sadbhavana, as part of its people friendly civic action in remote areas where the pace of development is slow. Projects have been undertaken by the Army to provide basic facilities in remote areas and in turn uplift the education and living standards of civilian population.



Shortage of nurses at PGI
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In the PGI's male medical ward, one nurse takes care of 27 patients. At the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), one nurse works on a shift for six beds. These figures are indicative of the acute shortage of nurses in north India’s premier medical institution, the PGI.

Not only this, just two nurses work for the 60-bed urology department and six to eight nurses manage the 28-bed Neonatal Surgical ICU in the advanced Pediatric Centre. For the 13 incubators in the NICU, against the need of at least 15 nurses per shift, just nine nurses manage the work.

"If we go by the medical standards, the required ratio for nurses is 1:3 in the general wards (one nurse for every three beds) and 1:1 for the emergency wards and the ICUs. By these standards, nursing staff is very less. But we have no choice but to manage things with the existing staff," said a senior nurse.

At the PGI, where the nursing staff sanctioned posts are about 1,664, officials said the shortage was as high as a whopping 30-40 per cent because of various reasons. "We have recently filled some of the posts lying vacant, but if we go by the specified standards, we require double the strength that we currently have," admitted an official.

According to sources, almost 10-20 per cent nursing staff are on maternity leave. In addition to the new mothers, on an average, 30 are on medical leave daily. “The PGI has been functioning without a nursing superintendent for the past four and a half years," revealed a senior nurse.

Some of them are preparing for the Nursing License Exam to avail opportunities abroad as foreign countries provide lucrative salary package and better work facility. A senior nurse admitted that almost 50 nurses go abroad each year.

Low pay structure is a major reason behind the migration. "While we begin at Rs 18,000, the starting salary of doctors is more than us," said a PGI nursing staff on a condition of anonymity. No doubt, they are more qualified than us but we work equally hard, she added. As compared, salaries are quite high in foreign countries. "In the US, nurses start with $42,000- $ 45,000 annually," said nurse Sunaina, who recently got a call from there.

A.K. Gupta, deputy director, administration, said recruitment process was going on and almost 200 post would be filled soon.



PU, PGI sign MoU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the university here today between the PGIMER, Chandigarh, and the Panjab University (PU), for enrolment/registration of candidates pursuing PhD in various departments of Basic Medical Sciences, PU.

The chief supervisor would be appointed from the parent university teaching department and co-supervisor from the PGIMER and vice versa.

If a candidate gets enrolled for PhD in a department at the PGIMER, the chief supervisor/guide would be from the PGIMER, and co-supervisor/co-guide from the collaborating department of the Panjab University.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Dr K.K. Talwar, director, PGIMER, and Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU.



Neerja Bhanot Award for Mumbai woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust yesterday announced it would confer the Neerja Bhanot Award 2008 on Chanda Asani of Mumbai.

A specially constituted jury comprising director (tourism), Chandigarh, Vivek Atray, journalist Vijaya Pushkarna and educationist R.K. Thaman took the decision. The award comprises Rs 1.5 lakh, a citation and a trophy.

The award is given in the memory of Neerja Bhanot, a 23-year-old senior purser of Pan Am World Airways, who gave up her life while saving others during a Pan Am plane hijack at Karachi in 1986.



Giving shape to many dreams
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Give me just 30 minutes a day of your child and I would help him master the art of concentration and self-potential.

That’s what Dr Amit Bhattacharjee claimed while talking about a special programme he had designed for the children. A doctorate in Sports Psychology and Management, Dr Bhattacharjee believes in effective goal setting, be it in sports or academics.

The programme, known as Psydynamic Training Programme (PTP), helps maintain a precise balance between the mental and physical output of a child. It has been bifurcated into two segments- “Pre-rehabilitation programme” for children between the age group of 6-12 years and “Rehabilitation programme” for 12 to 18 years old children.

Some of his prominent students include Satvika Saboo (national-level tennis player and 80 per cent scorer in +2); Vikram Garg (golfer and 88 per cent scorer in +2); Corina ( shooter, now in Luxemberg), Upjeet ( a Ranji player and now doing animal husbandry course in the US), and not to forget ace shooter and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra.

When asked about his future plans, Dr Bhattacharjee said he would submit his programme with the Chandigarh Administration for the government school children, that too free of cost.

When contacted, S.K. Setia, DPI (Schools), sounded positive.

“We would definitely like to adopt this programme. I would personally talk to the home secretary to introduce this programme in government schools,” he said.



Dharna by admn, MC staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Employees of the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation staged a dharna in support of their demands at the Sector 27 and 28 traffic lights today.

The dharna was staged on a call given by the co-ordination committee of government and MC employees.

Coordination committee convener Rakesh Kumar said the employees and workers would march to Punjab Raj Bhavan on October 7 if the Administrator failed to intervene in the matter.



3-day national camp on muscular dystrophy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Indian Association of muscular dystrophy had its three-day national camp recently at Indira Holiday Home, Sector 24, here. More than 400 persons, including 105 muscular dystrophy patients, from across the country attended the camp. Kartari Devi, Health Minister, of Haryana was the chief guest.

Dr G.R. Chandak, scientist and medical geneticist, CCMB, Hyderabad gave a genetic counselling to the patients. Dr Sumit Singh, neurologist from AIIMS, Delhi, gave the latest information regarding stem cell treatment and use of steroids. Dr Goswamy, physiotherapist, from PGI came with his team of physiotherapists and gave useful tips regarding physiotherapy to each patient as physiotherapy is the only tool for the management of muscular dystrophy. Dr Raj Bahadur, director principal, GMCH, Sector-32, Chandigarh and Dr Kulhara, HOD-Psychiatry, PGI, Chandigarh gave useful information about the management of muscular dystrophy. Veena Sharma, from Human Rights Law Network, gave useful information regarding rights of disabled persons, as contained in the Persons with Disability, Act 1995.

Joginder Mukherjee, Psychology professor, came with her team of psychologists and did counselling sessions with the patients. Many students from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, joined the camp as volunteers and did marvelous job in making the camp a success.

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder. The muscle fibres are gradually replaced by fatty tissue and the normal function of the muscle is impaired. There is a gradual degeneration of muscles. There are many types of M.D. It can affect people of all ages. Although some forms first become apparent in infancy or childhood, the others may not appear until the middle age or later. One of the severest types is duchenne MD. The patient needs a wheelchair at a tender age of about 10. There is no known cure of MD anywhere in the world.

The three-day camp was not limited to medical sessions only. All the patients along with their family members staying at Indira Holiday Home (camp venue) were made to wake-up early in the morning for yoga and pranayama sessions.

Special games for the disabled were organised and everyone participated. The most enjoyable was singing and dancing session.



Hindi month at BEL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Hindi month is being celebrated at Bharat Electronics Limited, Panchkula. Inaugurating the event, Suresh Katyal, officiating general manager stressed upon the need of using Hindi as a medium of communication in the organisation. He appealed all officers and employees to comply with the official languages rules and facilitate the members of Hindi in day-to-day job. Sudhir Bajaj, deputy general manager congratulated all the employees at BEL for receiving the first prize in 2006-07 for official language implementation.



Play on agony of riot-affected

Chandigarh, September 17
The agony of any terrorism and riot-affected people is too deep for words but actor director Anita Shabdeesh relived the saga of their sufferings through the immaculate staging of the Punjabi play “ Agli dastak hon ton pehlan” at the Randhawa auditorium here today. The captivating play written by Pali Bhupinder and staged on the second day of Gursharan Singh Naat Utsav juxtaposed the reckless aims of the opportunists, prompted by religious radicalism and inspired by political adventurism with scant respect for the moral values and society they live in. Supported by North Zone Cultural Centre, PAC and DPR, Chandigarh, the Suchetak Rang Manch lived up to their resolve of nurturing the theatre for social change and awareness.

The play, in fact, is an account of happenings from the pages of the daily diary of the protagonist woman portrayed with excellence by Anita Shabdeesh. It delineates the predicament of womanhood through well-marked stages of her life, subjugated always as a helpless victim of oppressive forces. While a woman lends a heavenly radiance to life as a daughter, sister, wife and mother she always remains a sufferer after loosing her son or husband. The play offers a dig on the social evils, which are rooted so deeply in the soil, that a complete revolution is necessary for reformation. The communalism plunging the innocent masses into endless misery, caste prejudices, and politics designed for vote bank, degeneration of system and relationships find illustration in the play weaved in otherwise romantic fervor. The play attains climax as father kills her daughter to safeguard her honour and later protagonist is forcibly tortured for sexual gratification and while she finds her son revolting to be a terrorist.

Manbhavan, Sukhman, Malkit Rauni and child actor Abhineet, who was very natural and impressive, as also the musical renditions by Surinder Manik, supported Anita Shabdeesh. Rajpal Singh, secretary general, PAC, complimented the artistes.



Consumer Courts
ICICI Lombard fined Rs 1 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today directed ICICI Lombard to pay punitive damages of Rs 25,000 to a Panchkula resident for repudiating his claim. The forum also directed the insurance company to Rs 75,000 as punitive damages to the State Legal Services Authority. The company was asked to pay the claim to the petitioner.

The petitioner, Nishchai Trehan, stated that he had made a payment of Rs 22,850 towards insurance of his car. The vehicle met with an accident on January 17, 2006. The complainant got the vehicle repaired after making a payment of Rs 41,409. The complainant submitted the claim but it was repudiated.

Replying to the claim, the company argued that it had offered to pay the amount of Rs 25,204 as assessed by the surveyor but the complainant refused to accept the amount.



Medicines worth Rs 50 cr recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 17
Within a fortnight of arrest of seven members of a gang involved in looting of medicines on September 4, the local police has claimed to have recovered medicines worth Rs 52 crore from the dacoits here today.

The medicines were stolen from a godown of Ranbaxy situated at the Industrial Area prior to April 4, when a complaint regarding it was lodged at the local police station. In fact the company was considering it a case of missing stock till the Panchkula police arrested Sagar Chauhan, Sandip Dahiya, Amit Gudha, Krishan Kumar, Bajrang, Bhola and Praveen for alleged looting of a canter of a transport company from Chandigarh loaded with goods, including medicines, and kidnapped the driver and cleaner on August 6.Later, they reportedly killed the driver, but the cleaner managed to escape.



Two youths ‘kidnapped’ from Sec-49 society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
High drama was witnessed at Pushpak Society, Sector 49, this evening when a group of persons travelling in two cars “kidnapped” two youngsters from the locality.

According to Balwinder Kaur, a neighbour of the victims, around 8.30 pm two persons knocked at their door to enquire about Kulwinder Singh and Manav, living in a rented accommodation.

They were trying to contact a number on their mobile phones, but failed. They then asked for Kulwinder’s telephone number from her, which she gave. They called Kulwinder and went downstairs.

As soon as Kulwinder and Manav, who work with a private insurance company, reached the scene, the group bundled them into a Toyota Innova and sped away.

Another group accompanying them in a Hyundai Santro car followed them.

Soni, another eyewitness, told mediapersons that he saw two occupants in the Santro car. However, other residents of the locality expressed ignorance about the incident.

The police was informed and it reached the scene. DSP (south) Jaswant Singh Khaira said preliminary investigation pointed at some dispute between two groups, as both sides were apparently known to one another.

He added that the persons already had telephone number of one of the youths. He, however, said it was unlikely that the youths were kidnapped.

No case was registered till the filing of the report.



MC panel for Gosai as chief fire officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The fire and emergency committee of the municipal corporation has recommended the name of S.K. Gosai, substation officer, for appointment as chief fire officer (CFO), Chandigarh. The post has been lying vacant for a ong time.

At a meeting, the members expressed concern at the delay in filling the post, which was adversely affecting the working of the department.

They urged the authorities to fill the post at the earliest.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of M.P.S. Chawla.

MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria said the appointment of the CFO would be made according to the norms.

Meanwhile, the committee has recommended the installation of global positioning system (GPS) in fire service vehicles of the city to track the position of vehicles through a screen fixed at the central control room.

The members also decided to start an awareness programme on fire safety through a specialised agency for owners of buildings, markets, rehri markets, petrol pumps, gas agencies, hotels, cinema halls, etc.

During the programme, they will be trained in the use of fire-fighting equipment before the arrival of the fire and emergency services at the scene.

The committee also decided to conduct a fire safety survey at rehri markets.

The members discussed encroachments along the walls of shops at various rehri markets, thus hampering the movement of fire-tenders. They decided to ask the enforcement wing of the MC to get tough with defaulters.

The committee accorded approval to various important agenda items, including induction of one big and one small recovery van in the existing fleet to cope with increasing workload and purchase of five thermal-imaging cameras to meet any exigency caused by a devastating fire.

In addition, the committee also approved tour of four committee members and two fire officers to study fire services at Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi, which are equipped with modern fire-fighting equipment.



Terror threat

On Saturday when the national capital was reeling under the shock of serial blasts, which killed several people, security and intelligence agencies were apprehensive about the threat perception looming large on the city as stated by the SSP Chandigarh.

Undoubtedly, Chandigarh police is making all efforts to thwart terrorists attempt as the entire force had been alerted in the wake of the blasts in Delhi.

Still, in view of the coming festival seasons, the police should have the added duties to instill a sense of security among people to deal with the current situation.

There should be a focus on making people feel safe. There is a greater need to educate people by holding meetings. Police and security agencies should not be complacent by thinking that the terror threat is over with the passage of time.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

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PU Notes
Students given chance to reappear
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
At the culmination of diamond jubilee celebrations, PU has granted one special chance to students to clear reappear/ compartments, in all the courses. The candidates can avail of this special chance in September, 2008; April 2009 or September 2009.

One chance will also be given to those students who have missed one paper due to medical/service exigencies in April 2008 examinations. Those candidates who have already submitted their examination forms for supplementary examinations (September 2008) but were declared ineligible will have to pay the balance fee and also submit their original DMCs by September 23 in case they wish to avail of the special chance in September 2008.

It is incumbent upon such candidates to collect their PUPIN/Roll Nos. on the spot personally from the university administrative office during working hours on September 24.

In case of the candidates, whose applications have been rejected due to one reason or the other but are, otherwise, eligible under the special chance category, can submit their examination forms with requisite fee up to September 23 in case they wish to appear in September 2008 examinations.

Awareness programme

As a part of the industry activities awareness programme, the placement cell of the department of Chemistry has started a lecture series for research fellows and M.Sc. (H.S.) students. Under this programme, Satish Mohan Goel, deputy director, department of Industries, Punjab delivered a talk entitled ‘Entrepreneurship as a Career’ in the department today.

He discussed various opportunities available for students after postgraduation. Goel highlighted that women make very good entrepreneurs such as Indira Nooye, Kiran Majumdar, Anupama Arya, Sehnaz Hussain, Vandana Luthra to name a few.

Various small-scale steps for setting up industry units, government support system and role of non-government organisations for the promotion of industries were also discussed.



From Colleges
Short-story writing workshop at GCG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
English department of GCG-11 organised a two-day workshop on short-story writing in collaboration with the college magazine, ABHA, on college campus. As many as 50 students participated in the workshop, who were provided with the study material along with practical inputs in the craft of short-story writing.

Check-up: The medical and science committee of the MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, held a bone densitometry test for the non-teaching and teaching staff members of the college. The check-up was conducted by Dr. Vandana and her team of technical experts.

Extended benefits: The Sikh Educational Society (SES), governing body of both SGGS College and GGS College for Women, Sector 26, Chandigarh, at a meeting of its executive committee has extended the benefits of deduction of CPF @ 10 per cent of total salary and encashment of unutilised earned leave, as per PU calendar rules.



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