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Liquor to cost more from April 1
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
With the administration allegedly succumbing to pressure from a powerful liquor lobby in Punjab by raising VAT on liquor from 4 per cent to 12.5 per cent, having drinks with your friends will cost you more from April 1 onwards.

  • VAT goes up from 4 to 12.5 pc
  • Hike in fee for temporary liquor vends
  • Increase in VAT to bring in more revenue
  • To check liquor smuggling from city

The 2009-10 excise policy, which was reportedly cleared by UT Administrator SF Rodrigues today, had spelled bad news for the tipplers at a time when the country is reeling under severe recession. There will be an overall increase of about 15 per cent in the liquor prices in Chandigarh, Sat Pal, a prominent liquor contractor, said. Till now, it was a virtual bonanza for the tipplers in Chandigarh as prices were one of the lowest in the country here.

However, official sources claimed that the increased VAT, besides netting more revenue for the administration, would go a long way in checking liquor smuggling to the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal. In fact, Punjab and Himachal, where the VAT rate was 4 per cent and 12.5 per cent had recently urged Chandigarh to hike VAT in the backdrop of large-scale liquor smuggling to these states from the city.

Last year, then Excise and Taxation Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, had initiated a move to raise VAT to 12.5 per cent directly to the Administrator without routing it through the finance department. At that time, it was alleged that Sunkaria had tried to favour the Punjab liquor lobby midway the financial year. Now, life seems to have come full circle for the administration top brass with Sunkaria's stand being vindicated in the new policy.

While the administration brags about the check in smuggling due to the VAT hike, Sat Pal expressed doubts about it. Till the administration fixed a liquor quota in Chandigarh, the smuggling would continue unabated, Sat Pal alleged.

Sources said under the new policy, efforts were being made to "discourage" the temporary liquor vends functioning from the sheds as there was substantial increase in the vend fee. Permanent liqour shop owners had been crying hoarse at the unfair competition by these liquor vends as the former paid huge rents for their premises.

The IMFL consumption in Chandigarh, which was reportedly about 21 lakh proof litres per person per annum, was 20 times higher than Punjab, Haryana and Himachal. This clearly hinted at the large-scale smuggling from Chandigarh, which even the authorities admitted.

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Purchase of property by IAS, IPS officers
Amendments needed in rules: Court
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court is obviously in favour of bureaucrats seeking permission from competent authority before purchasing property.

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today verbally observed in an open court that some amendments were required to be made in the rules for making it mandatory for the bureaucrats to seek permission.

The observations came on a petition filed by a human rights organisation for CBI probe into the illegal acquisition of property by bureaucrats and politicians in Kansal village area in Chandigarh.

Taking up the petition, the Bench verbally observed that prime land was going to the IAS and IPS officers not only in Chandigarh, but in other places as well. Sellers don’t find anyone else than IAS and IPS officers, the Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta questioned.

Speaking for the Bench, Chief Justice Thakur asserted that it was painful to see the officers using their authority for such purposes. Quoting an example, the Chief Justice observed that 32-kanal was sold for a paltry sum of Rs 4 lakh.

The Bench was also of the opinion that the purchase of land by the IAS or IPS officers was in itself not an indicator of wrong doing. Just because the land has been purchased by an IAS or an IPS officer, it cannot be said the provisions of law have been violated, the Chief Justice observed. “It cannot be based on a hunch. There has to be some basis,” the Chief Justice orally observed. Chief Justice Thakur added that the affected parties were not before the Bench. Some of the persons had pocketed the money and now wanted a CBI inquiry into the matter. A private complaint could be filed, even an FIR could be sought to be registered, he said, while stressing on the need for proper remedy.

The state counsel also told the court that there was no violation of the statutory provisions. In an attempt to substantiate his contentions, the counsel referred to 224 sale deeds, details of which were on the record of the high court.

After hearing the arguments in the matter, the Bench fixed Monday as the next date of hearing. Another matter, in which details of properties purchased by senior functionaries have been sought, will also come up for hearing.

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Clash on PU campus
Car with swords seized

Tribune News Service


The swords in a vehicle that were allegedly used in the clash on the PU campus on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 26
There was commotion on the Panjab University campus this afternoon following a report of a “gunshot” being fired in a group clash outside the English auditorium. Though bloodstains were found on the spot, no one came forward to lodge the complaint with the police.

The police has impounded a black Skoda car (CH-03-U-8055) from the spot and seized swords and other sharp-edged weapons.

ASP (central) Madur Verma said a clash was avoided when supporters of a group gathered in a large number forcing the other party, the occupants of the car, to flee the spot leaving their vehicle behind. The police has registered a case under the provisions of the Arms Act against the occupants of the car later identified as Gurtej Singh Pannu and Karan.

The ASP said the car belonged to Pannu’s father. Pannu, an activist of PUSU, was a former student of the university and had an old dispute with SOPU activists. He had already been in two-three criminal cases.

The police said no one was seriously injured in the clash, thus no formal report of assault was lodged with the police. Sources said the injured could be Harpreet Singh Multani, who had an old enmity with the rival party. As his entry was banned on the campus, thus he had not lodged the complaint. Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti told TNS that they had received the footage at 2:37 pm showing the vehicle passed through gate number 2 without checking. Four guards posted at the entry point had been placed under suspension. If any student was named in the case, he would be suspended immediately. From tomorrow, the entry of outsiders would be allowed from only one gate and modalities are being worked out for the same.

When asked about any formal complaint lodged by the university authorities about the incident, he said the DSW might have lodged one.

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Alchemist promoter surrenders Rs 22 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Promoter of Alchemist Hospital, Panchkula, K.D. Singh has surrendered unaccounted income of Rs 22 crore following surveys by the Income Tax sleuths on his 11 business establishments conducted yesterday.

Commissioner, Income Tax (Range I), G.S. Randhawa said: “A total of 11 premises were covered in the survey.” He said the survey was conducted at K.D. Singh’s flower unit at Derabassi, food processing unit at Ropar, electric complex and biotechnology unit at Solan, Republic of Chicken at Sector 8, Chandigarh, and manufacturing unit of steel wire at Ropar.

According to senior officials of the Income Tax department, this was the highest surrender in the region ever. Officials said, the survey had revealed the group was investing in land in Shimla and Jagadhari, which was unexplained to the department and sleuths also found unaccounted cash of Rs 5.5 crore during the survey.

The group had also made income worth Rs 2 crore from other sources, said Randhawa. The IT sleuths found evidence of advance cash payments for land in Faridkoat and Baddi from unaccounted sources.

The IT sleuths had carried out inspection of books of account, computer data, bank accounts, sale and purchase records, stocks of raw material and finished goods, as also of previous I-T returns of this group.

In yet another case, the Income Tax department has unearthed unaccounted income to the tune of Rs 2.65 crore. Survey was conducted on the business premises of manufacturer of CR tubes and strips - Hansa Tubes Pvt Ltd and Hansa Metallinc. “Eight premises were covered during the survey,” said Yogesh Kumar Verma, Additional Commissioner, Income Tax, Range I.

Officials said that the department had found various discrepancies in the survey.

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Gurdwara Row
Role of govt officials under scanner
Probe on to discover passports made on the gurdwara address
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The functioning of the UT Food and Supplies Department has come under scanner following registration of a forgery case against Baba Sarup Singh and Baba Gurdeep Singh of Gurdwara Santsar Sahib, Sector 38.

The duo has allegedly facilitated an alleged terrorist, Gurbej Singh Sonu, in getting a passport issued to him by furnishing fake documents. Besides, the police is also probing the number of passports made on the gurdwara address in a similar fashion.

Sonu was arrested by Jagraon police last year with his accomplice Manjit Singh Mika with 24 kg of explosives.

Sources in the police said the investigating officers today sent a communication to the immigration wing of the Union government seeking details about the foreign trips of Baba Sarup Singh. The police had procured a copy of Baba Sarup Singh’s passport to get details about his foreign trips. The police is trying to find out motives behind the trips.

The investigating officers have procured copy of a ration card submitted for the passport for Gurbej Singh Sonu, attested by a private secretary of the Director General of Police, Punjab. Sources said the police was scrutinising its records to find out police inquiry reports required for the passport verification. The police today released a lookout notice for Baba across the country, though the police had already flashed a message in this regard minutes after registration of a case against Baba Sarup Singh, Baba Gurdeep Singh and Sonu.

The verification of the documents submitted for the passport of Sonu also revealed that constable Ranbir Singh of the Chandigarh Police, who was already arrested for assaulting the enforcement staff and Chandigarh Police on January 30 while opposing the demolition drive at the gurdwara, had shown himself as “close associate” of Sonu.

As per the documents, Ranbir Singh was supposed to be informed about the passport holder in case of any emergency. It is learnt that the police had sent a questionnaire to the Food and Supplies Department seeking details about addition of name in the ration card. The police found certain discrepancies committed to prepare ration card in which Sonu’s name was included as a cousin of Baba Gurdeep Singh.

The scrutiny of documents revealed that after a few days of procuring the ration card, Sonu applied for the passport while as per the rule, the applicant is required to stay at the given address for over a year. Such glaring discrepancies indicated involvement of various government officials in the entire process of issuing passport to Sonu, said a senior police officer.

It is also learnt that the gurdwara authorities had submitted their claims on the land to Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

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‘Nominal taxes, grants make life comfortable’
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
With world-class amenities and nominal taxes, Chandigarh is a pampered city. With UT status, apart from being capital to Punjab and Haryana, the city seems to be a perfect abode for a cross-section of residents, including the politicians, serving and retired civil and military officers, businessmen, professionals and the NRIs.

The presence of a large number of "influential residents" ensures that the city remains pampered with nominal taxes, making it an envy of other cities in the country. With abundant funds from the grants-in-aid and other sources like the auction of prime commercial and residential property, the taxes remain light on the pockets of the residents, while the standards of civic amenities remains high.

"We feel like poor cousins of Chandigarh when we compare the basic amenities, particularly power and water supply," says BK Sanghi, president of the Haryana Group Housing Federation and a resident of Panchkula. The fact of property prices still ruling high in the city, even in recession, points to the fact that the city scores on the living standards front, he adds.

A quick survey reveals that 3 per cent tax on the commercial property is one of the lowest in the country. Not only that, the water and electricity charges are much more affordable than rest of the country, while the supply position is much better.

Interestingly, it is one of the last Indian cities to levy nominal parking fee about a decade back. In fact, same is the situation for the other levies, including sewerage cess and property tax.

The resident-friendly design of the city by master-architect Le Corbusier and his team, coupled with the maintenance of hundreds of gardens and parks by the Municipal Corporation and other tourist attractions, make the city a residents’ paradise, says Santosh Singh, an IT professional, who has shifted from Bangalore to the city in the backdrop of better living conditions.

Officials say the efforts are being made to maintain the “beautiful” character of the city. In fact, money for city's development has not been a problem as the Central government doles out liberal grants, particularly for the maintenance of the tourist spots, officials point out.

The officials credit less taxes on the awakened citizens and powerful lobbies. Politicians have to cater to various lobbies, including slum dwellers, powerful citizens, comprising professionals, businessmen and salaried class, with the result that the administration ends up levying less taxes, the officials add. When you have adequate resources, there is no need to levy new taxes, sources inform. The current election scenario seems to be least-suitable for the levy of taxes.

The Delhi Finance Commission may recommend the levy of new taxes in the city, such as house tax, there is no possibility of another tax in the city in near future in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the sources add.

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Getting SC certificate tough task
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Getting a Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate for a Dalit, migrated to or born in Chandigarh, is a strenuous task and the impact is on over 18 per cent of the total population of the city, which is being devoid of their reservation benefits.

A chaos has arisen about the issuance of SC certificates in the city, regardless of the orders issued by the Deputy Commissioner office to the authorities of the UT administration.

Home Secretary-cum-Secretary, Social Welfare, Ram Niwas, agreed about this peculiar problem but assured to sort out the matter on priority.

Nevertheless, The Tribune is in possession of an official orders dated October 10, 2008, where DC RK Rao has issued clarifications to all SDMs (sub-divisional magistrates) to issue SC certificates to those persons who have migrated from other states or to those born in the city on the basis of caste certificates of their father or mother.

Prerna Puri, SDM (South) and Inderjit Singh Sandhu, SDM (Central), said the official orders were being complied in true letter and spirit and no discrimination was being done while issuing the certificates.

Despite this, the applications of Pahal Singh, Raju, Subhash, Suresh Kumar, Raj Kumar and many others belonging to the Balmiki community, and having SC certificates in their names, have been rejected, when they approached the SDMs for making certificates in the name of their children.

National Confederation of Dalit Organization (Nacdor) secretary BR Tisawar claimed that the authorities refused to entertain them by putting irrelevant objections and thus depriving over a lakh people of the city of their constitutional rights.

“Even the political parties too befooled us on the pretext of implementing the SC policy in the city just to grab votes”, said Mukesh Kumar, Chandigarh SC Welfare Association.

Now, questions are being raised that if the orders are being implemented then where does the problem persist?

Legal experts said the matter has been stuck in the red tapism of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Environment.

A section of SC migrant population never got any caste certificate from their state of origin at the initial stage of their migration. Now, when they have settled in Chandigarh for more than 30 years, they are unable to get proof of residence from their state of origin as they have severed links with it for such a long time. Consequently, they were unable to furnish proof of residence at Chandigarh, required to be on or before November 1, 1966.

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Mayor presents Rs 590-cr budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Mayor Kamlesh today presented the budget with a deficit of Rs 70.55 for the year 2009-10 amidst opposition’s drama. Though she opened her budget speech saying that the budget is neither deficit nor any new taxes are being levied, with little juggling of figures, and with opening balance, effort was made to hide the deficiency.

In the house meeting held today, a budget totalling of Rs 591.70 crore was presented for the upcoming fiscal year. Out of this, Rs 256.19 crore are in the plan budget and the remaining Rs 175.12 crore are allocated in the non-plan budget whereas from its own resources, MC is expected to earn Rs 160.39 crore. Surprisingly, in the house the budget was estimated at Rs 591.70 crore while the expenditure to be incurred was estimated at Rs 662.50 crore.

For the ongoing fiscal year, the MC had sent Rs 533.21 crore worth estimated plans to the administration. The figures presented today in the budget reflected that only Rs 242.63 crore actually were given. Apart from this MC was expected to receive a grant of Rs 157.48 crore in plan and non-plan expenditure but actually it received only Rs 45.65 crore. After receiving fewer amounts from administration from the expected, the total budget came down to Rs 367.76 crore only. Even this time it is expected that it can be repeated. It must be mentioned here that this time, a total of Rs 606 crore worth interim has come in the lap of UT administration after the same was passed in the parliament.

In the budget presented today, MCC has shown Rs 160.39 crore as its income from its own sources. Out of this, Rs 31.12 crore have been shown through property whereas in the present fiscal year, Rs 41.40 crore were expected through auctions but due to recession, MC has not been able to cash in on this.

Surprisingly, the alleged juggling of figures in the budget was also caught by Congress councillors. Congress councillor, Chandramukhi Sharma, revealed that in the budget re-carpeting of roads, widening of roads, laying of pipes and tubewells was mentioned under separate heads. Also, the budget mentions Rs 250 crore for disaster management whereas the same doesn’t fall in MCC jurisdiction. 

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City to host Audi Quattro Cup
Our Golf Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
The stage is set for the Audi Quattro Cup 2009 Amateur Golf Championship that tees off on the par-72 greens of the Chandigarh Golf Club here on Saturday.

This will be the first of five tournaments to be held at five centres in India culminating in the all-India finals in October.

The one-day contest to be held in March and April will see more than 500 golf enthusiasts battling it out to make it to the finals. After the one-day contest in the city, the scene will shift to Poona Golf Course in March.

The remaining three Audi India events will be played in April in the following order:

Willingdon Golf Club, Mumbai (April 4), Delhi Golf Club (April 6) and Eagleton Golf Resort, Bangalore (April 11).

Three top teams from each of these five cities will take part in the final. The team that wins the Audi India tournament will head to New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney, Australia, for the 19th Audi Quattro Cup world finals to be held from December 14 to18.

Jeev bows out

Jeev Milkha Singh was knocked out by Englishman Ian Poulter in round one of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Matchplay Championship on Wednesday.

Jeev lost 4 and 3 to Poulter at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Dove Mountain - Marana, Arizona.

The Chandiarh golf icon lost holes 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8 to be five down at the turn. On the back nine, he managed to win holes 10 and 13 but lost out to Poulter on the 12th.

Poulter wrapped up the match after the two players halved the 15th hole. At that stage Poulter was four up with three holes to go.

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Thunderbolt rally from March 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The St John’s Old Boys’ Association (SJOBA) will be conducting its 22nd Annual SJOBA Thunderbolt Rally, a FMSCI recognised event, from March 20 to 22.

Apart from the “Challenge rally”, the SJOBA is also organising the “Endurance trial”, which will be based on time, speed, distance (TSD) format. The rally carries total prize money of Rs 1,80,000 and is open to jeeps/gypsies, cars and bikes. Entries are now open and entry forms and rules and regulations are available at www.sjobarally.com. http://www.sjobarally.com.

Standard entries close on March 10, while late entries will be accepted till March 17. The challenge rally is open to jeeps/cars/bikes and is spread over three days. The participants will be required to cover approximately 250 km per day on Day 2 and 3 of the event. The route is a challenging and adventurous one covering Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The entry fee for the event:

Challenge rally: Car/Jeep: Rs 6,000 for driver and co-driver (both compulsory); motorbikes: Rs 3,000 for rider and Rs 1,500 for co-rider (if any). Endurance trial: Rs 9,000 for driver and co-driver (both compulsory); Rs 4,500 per extra person up to a maximum of four persons in the car, including driver and co-driver. The prize money for the various categories:

Challenge rally: Car/Jeep: First Rs 25,000, Second: Rs 15,000, Third: Rs 10,000; Motorbikes: First: Rs 20,000, Second: Rs 10,000, Third: Rs 7,500.

Endurance trial: First: Rs 20,000, Second: Rs 15,000, Third: Rs 7,500.

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Oppn stages walkout in MC
Smriti Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
High drama was witnessed today in the MC when members of the opposition and nominated councillors staged a walkout the moment the meeting began today.

It all started with Congress councillor Manjit Singh Chauhan’s speech wherein he gave all credit to Pawan Kumar Bansal for allowing second floor in houses in rehabilitation colonies. Following this, the nominated councillors and opposition members got irked and stated that this was a decision that came through by the efforts of the UT Administrator and not Bansal’s. Nominated councillors said the house was not a political platform to sing praises of their leader.

The house was thereafter adjourned for half an hour. In the same breath, the councillors who staged a walkout also took up the issue of the Mayor’s intervention in a property dispute in Hallomajra. The issue rocked the house with the councillors raising anti-Mayor slogans. So much so that the Mayor even called marshals to take these councillors out.

Meanwhile, while all this was happening, the Mayor started reading her budget speech and kept reading it despite the fact that nobody was able to listen to it.

Later, Sham Lal, BJP councillor, said the Mayor should not have gone on February 21 to the property dispute site in Hallomajra. She held a responsible seat and should not act irresponsibly. 

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Employer accused of hitting labourer to death
Tribune News Service


Residents gather outside the Industrial Area police station after the death of a labourer in Chandigarh on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 26
Mystery shrouds the death of a 45-year-old labourer, Madan Lal, who died at the Sector-16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital yesterday. Though the police is waiting for the autopsy report to initiate any action, the deceased’s colleagues allege that he was hit by his employer, yesterday.

Residents of the Colony No. 4 led by local leaders protested outside the Industrial Area Police Station alleging that Madan was hit by his employer Darshan Kumar on Wednesday evening, which led to his death. On the other hand, SHO of the police station, inspector Yashpal Sharma, said he inquired the matter and nothing of the sort had come out, so far. He added that the deceased’s family in Uttar Pradesh had been informed about the incident and the autopsy would be conducted after the arrival of his family members to ascertain the exact cause of death.

The protestors alleged that Madan complained of uneasiness after finishing his work and Darshan told other employees, Sanjay and Ansari, to take him to the hospital. He died later during the treatment at the hospital.

Talking to media, Darshan said he had employed Madan last month. He said Madan was not keeping well, he was suffering from some disease and was even trembling. Seeing his condition two other employees took him to the hospital.

The SHO said they had initiated inquest proceedings into the matter so far. He added that he had discussed the matter with both the parties and no one alleged any foul play behind the death.

However, the police would record the statement of the deceased’s family before taking any action.

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Bees attack Orissa cricketers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Close on the heels of a bee attack at GMSSS-33 yesterday, bees stung three cricket players from Orissa during a match at DAV College, Sector 10, today.

The injured have been identified as D.C Pradhan, B.K. Das and B.B.C.C. Mahapatra when the ball hit the branch where the beehive was located.

The injured were rushed to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, where they were given first-aid.

While Das and Mahapatra were discharged within half-an-hour, Pradhan was kept under observation till late evening.

“We were on field when suddenly bees attacked us.

The match was disrupted and we were brought to this hospital by the college authorities,” said Pradhan.

While college principal B.C. Josan expressed ignorance about the incident, students revealed that hive had been there since long.

It may be noted that in the MC House meeting held today, it has been decided that the civic body will write to the Education Department to intimidate them about the hives in educational institutions.

“We can act only if we receive any complaint as at times if we take action or burn hives, people oppose it.

However if anybody approaches us, we will take necessary action,” said Dr Diwan, MOH, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.

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Water rationing in Mohali from March 1
Residents to get water on alternate days
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 26
To meet the shortage of water in Mohali in the coming months, the water supply and sanitation wing of the Department of Public Health has decided to go in for rationing of water supply which will begin from March 1.

In most parts of the town, residents will be given water supply to fill their overhead tanks on alternate days. This is being done to meet the shortage of water which begins with the onset of summer. Areas linked with the water works in Phase VI have been divided into two zones and water at full pressure will be supplied on every alternate night to fill the overhead tanks. Zone I will cover Phases I, VI, III B-2 and V, while Phases II, III A, III B-1, IV and VII will be covered under Zone II.

The ageing water supply system of Mohali is not able to cater to the needs of the residents of the expanding town, who faced nearly eight months of water rationing last year and were likely to face a tough time once again this year. The shortage of water has forced the authorities concerned to advance the date of rationing by 10 days. The water rationing last year began on March 11 and went on till early November.

However, Phases IX to XI and Sectors 70 , 71 and part of Sector 48 which get their water supply from the water works in Sector 57 are not covered under the zoning plan and will continue to get water supply as usual.

Inderjit Singh Kang, executive engineer of the Department of Public Health, said Mohali was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and the rest of it was got from tubewells. He said 39 more tubewells were needed to meet the water shortage and the Municipal Council had been asked to get these installed at the earliest. He said he had been writing to the civic body every week in this regard for the past two months but had failed to get any response. He said the areas which faced acute shortage of water were Phases III A , VII , Sector 70 and Shahimajra and Matour villages.

President of the council Rajinder Singh Rana said estimates for seven tubewells were cleared by the House after which funds for installing two tubewells in the Phase IX industrial area were deposited with the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board about six months back. But no work had been done by the board so far.

He said the council planned to install 16 tubewells but the higher authorities were asking the civic body to get the work done from the sewerage board which had even failed to install two tubewells in an area which faced acute water problem. He said the council was in a fix and did not know how to go ahead with the sinking of new tubewells to meet water shortage. Moreover, the council would not be able to sink 39 tubewells as it faced shortage of funds, added Rana.

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Spurious milk was packed in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
The seizure of substandard milk pouches resembling the Verka milk packets from Panchkula and Zirakpur could be a tip of the iceberg.

The probe by Milkfed following seizure of around 130 litres of the substandard milk revealed that that apart from being simple toned milk, it did not fulfil the quality content.

The milk was packed at Bhagat Dairy, Rahon road, Ludhiana, indicating the manner in which substandard milk was being manufactured right under the nose of the health authorities.

“Since the cooperative does not have enforcing powers, it has brought the case to the notice of the health authorities,” Managing Director of Milkfed VK Singh.

A test of the seized milk by the Punjab public analyst has revealed that that the fat content was 0.1 per cent and SNF was 4.7 percent, violating the PFA standards.

Two persons have already been arrested in this connection. The Milkfed is pursuing a separate case against the violators who had tried to copy the colour pattern registered by the cooperative. The seized packets of ‘Vedeka’ did not have batch number, bar coding and details about the manufacturer.

Chairman of Verka plant at Mohali Parminder Singh said Verka was trying to further improve its standard. He clarified that milk purchased directly from producers was instantly chilled in bulk milk coolers installed at the village level. He said there would be no shortage of milk in the coming season. Even on Shivratri, around 3,49,000 litres of milk was supplied to Chandigarh and its satellite towns. 

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Dulari Bai enthrals audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 26
An uproarious and breezy delineation of the greedy empire of Dulari Bai was effectively brought to the stage by artistes of the HAFED employees’ club at Tagore theatre here yesterday. The classic situational comedy play, sculpted by Mani Madhukar, was subjected to certain modifications to infuse freshness into the old play under the direction of thespian film actor, Kuldip Sharma. It was invigorating for the veteran actors, Parvesh Sethi, Vijay Saxena and Kuldip himself, playing multiple roles.

Contemptuously labelled as the most greed-incarnate woman, Dulari Bai, lives up to her reputation. So much so that she does not discard her worn-out shoes made some hundred years back for her ancestor. Barring a few instances, when the actors were a bit loud in delivery of dialogues, the play sustained the interest of viewers till the end, as Dulari Bai succumbs to the “chakravyu” of her greedy empire, and realisation comes to her. While Bhavna stole the limelight with portrayal of Dulari Bai and Kuldip Sharma playing diverse roles, and so were Parvesh Sethi, Satish Grover, Vijay Sexena.

The chief guest, Dharam Vir, Chief Secretary, Haryana, honoured director Kuldip Sharma and actors.

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Infotech plots: Allottees decry enhanced rate
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
The allottees of Punjab Infotech plots in the Industrial Area, phase 9 here, have sought the enhanced compensation demanded by Punjab Infotech be withdrawn. In a communication to the principal secretary, Industries and commerce, director (Industries) and MD, Punjab Infotech, the allottees have pointed out that they had been allotted plots to set up small-scale industry in 1998.

But now the department had demanded enhanced compensation without any justification. After the demand of money by the allotting department, the allottees went to the Punjab and Haryana High court, which directed the later to represent their case to the MD of Infotech.

After the allottees failed to get a satisfactory reply from Infotech, they approached the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) under the Right to Information Act seeking details about the calculation of rates being charged from them. The PSIEC revealed that the enhanced compensation had been taken in to account while fixing the allotment price and compensation was awarded about a decade ago.

The Punjab Infotech officials delayed the payment of enhanced compensation for more than 15 years due to which it incurred the interest more than one crore.

The PSIEC has already earned huge profit by allotting the plots at a rate of Rs 700 per sq yard against the cost of land calculated at a rate of Rs 216 per sq yard.

Now, the allottees have decided to approach the High Court.

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Buses impounded for Cong rally
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 26
Hundreds of buses of the region have allegedly been impounded by the transport authorities to carry Congress workers to Panipat tomorrow for attending a rally being organised by the party.

The vehicles had been taken into “possession” and had already been sent to Ambala from where these would be taken to Panipat. In most of the cases, the consent of the operators had allegedly been obtained forcibly.

Bus operators alleged that the Congress government was promising a corruption-free, responsive and able administration but its action remained contrary to it.

SL Verma of Adhunik School said the transport authorities stopped the school bus when it was on the way to drop children at their homes in the afternoon. The papers of the vehicles were taken from the driver and he was asked to report at Regional Transport Office at 3 pm. The driver and conductor were ordered to take the bus to Ambala from where they have to move to Panipat, he said.

The same was the story of many other schools and private transporters.

When efforts were made to contact Jogpal, RTO, the phone was picked up by Naveen, driver of the RTO. “RTO is at Ambala and I am at Panchkula for some work and he has handed over his phone to me,” said Naveen.

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Police procures pollution-check instruments
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, February 26
To catch the polluting vehicles, the UT traffic police has procured four pollution-check instruments from the UT administration, which would be used for issuing challans.

Though the police is already using pollution-check instruments, but these are reportedly not working in appropriate condition, thus it was necessary to install new equipment.

While giving the information, a senior police officer said within a short time, the instruments would be put in service to deal with pollution.

“We got four pollution check instruments last week from the administration. It is a good step to make the environment clean by issuing challans to the violators,” SP (traffic and security) HS Doon said. The need of procuring the instruments was felt time and again, as the old instruments were not working well, he added.

Corroborating the fact, a traffic police official said, “To use the old instrument is not practical as it is very difficult to check the accurate pollution, but the new instrument will help a lot. On the other hand, these new instruments will do the work speedily.”

The SP further said two instruments would be used to check the pollution of gas and petrol running vehicles and other two would be used for diesel vehicles.

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Adulterated Food
Flour-mill owner seeks relief
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Flour-mill owner, whose food sample was seized on grounds of adulterated food but later acquitted by the court due to the fake degree of the Food Inspector, filed a case seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakh against the Director Health Services.

The issue of the unqualified Food Inspectors has always been in news, as they are not qualified, the shops from where adulterated food samples that had been seized were given a clean chit by the courts. There are around 55 such cases where the court has acquitted the shop owners, while a lot of money must have been invested on carrying out tests to verify the adulteration of the food sample. The plaintiff is running Kushan Floor Mill in Dhanas and the Food Inspectors of the Health Department took samples from a shop on June 15, 2001. The plaintiff stated in the plea that in the process he suffered mentally and had to face loss in business and also sought compensation for it.

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Prashar is officiating P’kula SP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
Mahinder Prashar, Additional Superintendent of Police, Ambala, has taken over as officiating Superintendent of Police, Panchkula, here yesterday.

Prashar who joined the Haryana police as a constable 39 years ago in 1970 has represented the country in pole vault three times at the international-level competitions and was honoured with the state award, which was later christened as the Bheem Award.

It was learnt that SK Jadhav, who was to join as SP, Panchkula, after the transfer of former SP Sandip Khirwar, crime (headquarters), last week, has gone on long leaves.

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Jolt for SAD in plan board poll
Tribune News Service


Newly elected members of the District Planning Board, Mohali. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, February 26
For the first time, the election of members of the District Planning Board, Mohali, was held at the MC bhavan here today.

While the election of seven members from the Zila Parishad was held unanimously, there was tough a competition between the councillors of various civic bodies for the five posts.

The SAD workers were defeated in the posts reserved for councillors. Gurdhayan Singh, a Congress nominee from Nayagoan, was only to win. The others, who won, were: Amrik Singh Somal, Kamal Kishore Sharma, Nachitar Singh, Natar Muni Gautam.

Phool Raj, an elected nominee of the Mohali MC, said none of the major parties had fielded a woman candidate. Three members are to be nominated by the government.

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Allahabad Bank opens branch
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 26
A branch of the Allahabad Bank was inaugurated by Prabhjot Singh Mand, Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, at the Royal Estate on Zirakpur-Ambala highway here yesterday.

Joginder Kaur, director, Allahabad Bank, D Chakraborty, general manager, field office (north) and LN Chaudhary, deputy general manager, Ludhiana zone, were also present.

Mand hoped that with the opening of the branch in the area, the bank would be able to effectively cater to the needs of small-scale units on the Dera Bassi-Zirakpur belt.

Chakraborty said the bank would open 10 more branches in Punjab by the end of the current fiscal year.

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Doc dies mysteriously

Chandigarh, February 26
A 37-year-old doctor, Sandeep, a resident of Sector 20, died under mysterious circumstances at his residence. The victim was brought declared dead at GMCH, Sector 32.

A police official disclosed that the deceased used to work at GMCH, Sector 32. For the past two days, he was regularly consuming alcohol. When his condition deteriorated, he was taken to the hospital. The police did not confirm whether the victim died of excessive drinking or he allegedly committed suicide. — TNS

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EDUCATION
 

PU Notes
Science congress begins
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
The 3rd Chandigarh Science Congress (CHASCON-2009) began at the Panjab University Auditorium here today . Dr AR Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, presided over. He expressed his satisfaction that the city had emerged as a centre of education with Panjab University as a focal point. He also released a souvenir and a CD of abstracts of research articles.

Vice-Chancellor, RC Sobti, informed that the aim was to make a strong base of scientifically and technically qualified youngsters and also to increase the accessibility to higher education. He also informed that the university was planning to start an Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science, Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism and an Education Media Centre soon.

Discussion

The Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension in collaboration with department of Sanskrit organised a two-day Interface with students on ‘Media and Cultural Values’.

Prof Kiran Preet Kaur, department of sociology, inaugurated the discussion and said youth was the foundation of the society and no social transformation was possible without guiding them. There is a need to generate cultural and moral values in their lifestyle, which would help them to maintain the balance between development, transition and achievements.

Workshop

A five-day workshop on ‘Soft Skills’ was inaugurated by Vice-Chancellor, RC Sobti, in the ICSSR Complex Panjab University, here today.

Sobti suggested that such workshops should be held regularly, as they help the students to make them employable and also sensitise them to be responsive to the changing needs of the society.

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