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Voters shun polls in Kalka, Panchkula
Arun Sharma and Hemant Kumar
Tribune news Service

Highlights

n Polling was delayed at booths set up at New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, Chaman Lal DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 11, and Saketri in Panchkula as the electronic voting machines developed a snag as soon as the polling started at 7 am. However, the machines were replaced soon. Similar reports were received from three places in Kalka.
n Many people had to return without casting their votes vote after they found their names missing in the voters’ list even as they were carrying voters’ cars. Dr Shakuntal Lavasa, a resident of Sector 9 was sent back by the election staff saying that her name was not mentioned in the voters’ list. Her son Harsh, who came from Delhi only to cast his vote for the first time, also got the same reply. The husband and mother-in-law of Dr Lavasa, however, were able to cast their votes.
n The posh areas in the town witnessed a low turnout, while the voters in rural areas were enthusiastic. 

Panchkula/Kalka, May 7
In contrast to various campaigns like the “Jago re”, aimed at bringing out voters in large numbers, boycotts marred polling in several areas of Kalka and Panchkula (Ambala constituency) with Khol Mollah village on the Baddi-Chandigarh road creating history of sorts with none of the 225 registered voters casting their votes.

Local issues and grievances took over the battle of the ballot during polling, which otherwise passed off peacefully with residents of HMT colony, Chowki village and Kalka shopkeepers opting to refrain from voting. The empty polling booths in these areas bore a testimony to the anger of the voters.

While residents of Khol Mollah village boycotted did not cast their vote in protest against non-supply of drinking water, the residents of HMT colony decided not to vote over delay in announcement of any economic package to revive the HMT factory facing financial crisis. Out of the 2,036 votes registered at two booths, only seven votes were polled, while no voter turned up at the third booth.

Similarly, three votes were polled at a booth in Chokki village. The villagers are demanding a bridge over Ghaggar river. The villagers alleged that though HUDA had acquired the land for the purpose, no politician came to their rescue.

At least 20 shopkeepers at Kalka used Form 17-A to reject all candidates. A total of 16 forms were received at booth No. 30 and three forms at booth No. 43 while one at booth No. 44.

At Kalka, only 55 per cent polling was recorded while at Panchkula the figure reach 58.5 per cent.

Shopkeepers fail to cast vote

A pall of gloom descended on Kalka bazaar following the death of the son of former vice-president of Kalka Municipal Committee in a road accident. Vineet Kumar Verma, who had gone to attend a wedding party at Zirakpur, was run over buy a vehicle on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway near Apsara Banquet Hall in Zirakpur. As most of the shopkeepers rushed to Zirakpur, they could not cast their votes. 

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Manimajra traders to follow suit
G.S.Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Taking a cue from Kalka shopkeepers, a section of traders of Manimajra today joined hands to teach political parties a lesson for their indifferent attitude towards them. They have been the “victim of neglect” by the area councillor and the authorities concerned.

Exercise their rights under Section 40-O of the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, these traders have decided to submit their dissent through Form No 17-A boycotting all political parties.

Nonetheless, the location is called “NAC 61.23 acre”! Hard to recognise! Certainly, even the Area Councillor Anil Dubey and a BJP leader, too could not recollect the site although the area falls under his jurisdiction. Astonishingly, this is the only market in Chandigarh which still has no name.

The traders here have been living in miserable conditions for the last seven years.

The traders said they were forced to carry out the construction of shops in a jungle-like surroundings with a stinky nullah flowing aside. There is no provision for basic facilities like drinking water, street lights or sanitation. The traders said they had to rely either on adjoining bank or Fun Republic to fetch drinking water.

Till date, not even a single political party turned up in their market to monitor the pitiable conditions. “With what face, they will come to us? I called up our area councillor Anil Dubey. But he had no words to justify his indifferent attitude”, said KD Singh, a trader. 

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Trader’s Murder
Business rivalry possible reason: Cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Even after 48 hours, the police is groping in the dark to establish the motive behind the sensational murder of Amarjit Singh, owner of Sham Fashion Mall, who was gunned down outside his residence in Sector 35 on Tuesday by unidentified motorcyclists. However, the police said the circumstantial evidence suggested that the motive of the assailants was to eliminate the businessman.

Sources say investigators are looking into the close circle of Amarjit Singh’s associates, who could be involved in some financial dispute or some other issue relating to his business, which ultimately led to the killing.

A police officer said the way six shots were fired indicated that the assailants wanted to eliminate the businessman. “Had the assailants been robbers, they would not have wasted their time in murdering him, but made efforts to decamp with his valuables. In this case, apparently no attempt was made to take away the belongings of the victim”, said a police officer.

A senior police officer said in the absence of robbery being a motive, the financial disputes and business rivalry emerged as possible reasons behind the killing. Thus, the investigators were monitoring the persons who were closely associated with Amarjit Singh.

The police is also puzzled on the point as to why did the assailants smashed the windscreen, which appeared to be a futile exercise. A police officer said experts of the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) during the preliminary inspection of the vehicle said the first shot was possibly fired at the windscreen of Skoda Octavia car, in which the victim was sitting. 

The bullet rebounded from the screen and could not be traced. Then, the direction of the other five shots indicated that they were fired from the right windowpane, which was shattered with the impact.

Out of the six shots, CFSL scientists recovered three leads of bullets from the car. Out of the two bullets, which lodged in the victim’s body, only one was extracted while the other one could not be located. The sixth lead might have lost outside the residence of the victim, said one of the officials investigating the case.

UT SSP SS Srivastva said they were working on various theories and several angles had emerged. He added that they would soon be able to crack the case. 

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Bunny defies EC, hops in polling booths 
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 7
Rules are only for the common man, so it seems as despite clear instructions of the Election Commission, chairman of Punjab Cooperative Bank and son of late Kanwaljit Singh, Jasjit Singh Bunny, entered different polling stations in Derabassi and surrounding areas without any restriction.

No one right from the polling station in charge to the cops dared to stop him and his supporters from entering polling stations and booths in and around Derabassi.

“It is not fair. By going inside the polling booths, the voters can be influenced,” observed an election official.

At around noon, Jasjit freely moved in and out of the polling booths. When The Tribune lensman tried to capture his picture, he tried to hide his face.

Incidentally, he is registered as a voter at Chatt village. Besides, another SAD leader and Zirakpur MC president N.K. Sharma was also seen moving close to the polling booths in Lohgarh. Though SAD leaders denied, Congress leaders claimed he did go inside the polling booths.

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Jeweller ripped off Rs 6-lakh diamonds
Tribune News Service

A CCTV grab of alleged conmen in a jewellery shop.
A CCTV grab of alleged conmen in a jewellery shop.

Chandigarh, May 7
Two well-suited persons, speaking fluent English, duped a Sector 35-based jeweller of diamonds worth Rs 6 lakh by posing as NRIs.

According to the police, jeweller Rajesh Gupta, owner of AG Diamonds, reported that two persons, attired in cream colour suits, visited his shop around 4 pm and asked him to show diamonds.

He was taking lunch that time and told his wife to attend the customers. She showed them various diamonds and then the men went away after seeing these. Before leaving, they handed over Rs 500 to his wife as earnest money. It was a ploy of the swindlers to win their trust.

It was only later when he checked his stock that he found a bagful of small diamonds worth Rs 6 lakh missing. Shocked at the loss he called the police.

The SHO said CCTV cameras were not installed in the shop and the swindlers had taken advantage of the missing security gadgets and targeted the shop. 

The police immediately swung into action and found that the conmen visited a popular jeweller in Sector 22, where they were captured on CCTV cameras. But the swindlers did not make any attempt to steal anything fearing that they would be caught in act on cameras. 

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Transport Policy
CTU staff blame authorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Chandigarh’s transport policy has come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s scanner, with the CTU Workers’ Union blaming the authorities concerned for succumbing to the pressure exerted by the Punjab Chief Minister.

The petitioner claimed that the entire exercise was “tainted by malafides” and was motivated with so many transport companies owned and controlled by the Chief Minister’s family.

The matter is now before the bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta, which will first decide the worker union’s locus standi to file such a petition in the high court in public interest.

In the petition against the administration and 37 other respondents, including transport companies, the union has sought directions for quashing Chandigarh stage carriage permit (first amendment) scheme, 2001.

Directions have also been sought for quashing not just the reciprocal agreement dated June 4, 2008, executed between the state of Punjab and the UT, but also all the inter-state permits granted to private operators for plying AC stage carriages from district headquarters and important towns from Punjab to UT.

Elaborating, it was alleged “The UT published its transport policy and succumbed to the pressure exerted by the Punjab Chief Minister. It executed a reciprocal agreement with Punjab so as to permit entry of the private operators of Punjab into Chandigarh.

The reciprocal arrangement could not have been made, “Since the same flies into the face of the transport schemes of Punjab, as well as the UT”.

There was an embargo for the grant of permits to ply AC stage carriages on the inter-state routes from district headquarters and important towns in Punjab to UT, it was added.

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UT gears up to tackle swine flu 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
With three isolation wards, one each in the PGI, GMCH-32 and GMSH-16, and a round-the-clock control room, the UT claims to have made all necessary preparations to deal with the threat of swine flu, even though no case has yet been reported in India.

This decision was taken today at a high-level meeting of health officials to assess the preparedness of swine flu in the city. The meeting, chaired by Health Secretary Ram Niwas, decided to set up a 24x7 control room at GMSH-16.

Talking to The Tribune, HC Gera, state nodal officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, said besides providing necessary information related to swine flu, the control room would also collect the reports of suspected cases from the city hospitals and dispensaries and send rapid response team of the UT. “They will further send to Delhi,” said Gera.

According Dr Vipin Kaushal, Medical Superintendent of GMCH-32, 10 beds had been earmarked for the isolation ward and the hospital was equipped with disposable respiratory masks and gloves to deal with any situation. A similar facility had been created at the GMSH-16 where four beds have been kept for suspected cases.

Rajesh Kumar, nodal officer for the flu at the PGI, said, “The hospital has laid down guidelines to prevent infection and an isolation ward already exists. Samples will be collected by the virology department and sent to the designated lab at the NICD, Delhi, as there was no arrangement for their diagnosis in the city.”

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Civil Services
Mohali girl gets 143 rank
Our Correspondent

Harpreet Kaur
Harpreet Kaur

Mohali, May 7
A Mohali girl makes it to the IAS by getting 143 rank in the civil services examination, result of which was declared on Monday.

Harpreet Kaur, who cleared the IAS in her fourth attempt, was in Delhi and came back from there today to her brother’s house at Phase IX here, where the family had a small get together to celebrate her success.

Daughter of Joginder Singh, a retired head teacher, Harpreet said getting into the IAS was her “childhood dream”. She hails from Alkara village in Barnala district, where she did her matriculation in Punjabi medium, and later completed her education in Chandigarh, changing her medium to English. She worked as a chartered accountant for some time but later devoted her time pursuing her ambition.

She said she used to devote about 10 hours daily to her studies, but during the examination, increased her study time to about 15 hours. She was likely to get IPS depending on her rank.

She wanted to join the IAS because she wanted to improve a lot of the people as she had seen life at the grassroots level in the village, where she had spent her childhood, added Harpreet.

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Negligent driving
Insurance firm, driver told to pay up Rs 1.49 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
In an unprecedented order, the Motor Accidental Claims Tribunal of Raj Shekhar Attri has termed the case as “contributory negligence” and directed the driver of the vehicle and the insurance company to jointly pay the compensation to the victim.

The court held that claimant Pritpal Singh, a resident of Jalandhar, is entitled to receiving compensation of Rs 1,49,705 from the date of filing the complaint.

The court stated, “Out of the total amount awarded, 50 per cent shall be deposited with a nationalised bank of the claimant’s choice in the shape of fixed deposits for a period of three years for the welfare of the claimant. The left put share of 50 per cent be disbursed to the claimant in cash through his individual savings bank accounts.”

On May 23, 2005, the claimant was coming from Zirakpur side at about 5:30 pm driving a car along with other occupants, namely Paramjit Singh, Gurdeep Kaur and

Tarandeep Singh on his left side. When the car reached near the Tribune Chowk, a tanker bearing registration number HR-68-3838, was moving ahead the car in a zig zag manner. Driver of the tanker Kulwant Sharma, without giving any signal or light, suddenly applied the brakes of the truck which stopped the tanker at once.

The claimant applied the brakes to the car immediately but it still hit the tanker, and thus, the accident took place due to negligent driving of the respondent.

Pritpal was 37-year-old at the time of the accident and was an authorised agent of the Western Union Money Transfer, Jalandhar, and was earning Rs 15,000 per month.

Due to the accident, he suffered multiple injuries, including fracture on the left hand, leg, and injury on head.

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Hi-tech ambulances for GH-32
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
To provide pre-hospital care in trauma cases, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, has procured the state-of-the-art ambulances, which are meant for ferrying critically ill patients, whose treatment can be started in the ambulance.

Dr Raj Bahadur, director principal of GMCH-32, said the ambulance were equipped with advance life support which included ventilator, defibrillator, monitor, resuscitation kit, suction spine board, stretcher-cum-trolley, intubations kit, syringe infusion pump. He said ambulance was fully air-conditioned.

Besides, the trained technicians are also required, who understand, identify and interpret the seriousness of the situation, said experts.

According to the hospital administration, they had requested the Health Ministry to permit such course at GMCH-32. “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is sending a team to inspect the infrastructure, if everything goes well, the course will start from coming session,” said Dr Raj Bahadur.

However, Director General, Health Services (DGHS), has agreed to fund this certificate course. Following the approval, GMCH envisages to start this course for 20 students, having 10+2 with science and biology qualifications with 60 per cent marks. This certificate course is of nine months duration and will be approved by the Ministry of Health.

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Handy reading device for visually impaired
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
What could prove to be a boon for not only the visually impaired but also the illiterates, the CSIO has developed a new handy portable reading device that can scan and read out text from books and magazines without the usual paraphernalia of computers. However, the initial price tag of Rs 50,000 for the device may work out expensive for many.

According to CSIO scientists, the device has two scanners to pick up text from either books or the column format from magazines and software that converts text to audio files.

The scientists expect to market it for Rs 50,000 or less. The machine’s inventor, Dr H K Sardana, said, “The device can be held with ease by a visually impaired person as the text is scanned by the two cameras. And as the text is scanned, one can listen to it at the same time.”

Dr Sardana said the device weighs about one kg, and a visually impaired person just needs to hold the machine vertically, place it on a book and move it as per the text. The cameras scan the text as the device moves on paper. “The device has additional features, including shut down, help etc,” added Dr Sardana.

According to scientists, the device can at present read English and Hindi, though work is on to make it adaptable to regional languages too. Interestingly, the scientists are also developing a version to read “Indian accent English,” as the feedback received says “pure English accent” is a little difficult to understand.

“We conducted first-phase trials at the St Zavier Research Centre for Blind, Mumbai, and the results were satisfactory,” Sardana said. “We will conduct trial at the Institute of Blind in Sector 26 here soon,” he added.

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Singapore, Malaysia favourite destinations
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Destinations like Nainital and Mussoorie seems to have become a passé with more and more city residents opting for Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok when it comes to escape from the scorching heat.

Encouraged by the inexpensive international packages, most of the residents, these days, are heading for holiday at exotic places abroad as nearby holiday resorts fail to attract them.

While the demand for Star Cruise packages is high as usual, the attractive yet inexpensive packages for places like Singapore and Bangkok have an edge over the domestic tourist destinations.

For Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 (per head) one can easily choose between Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai for the holiday. Bangkok is another hot spot with the lowest package of all for Rs 25,000 for four nights, five days package.

From airfare to accommodation, airport transfers and daily breakfast, the holiday seekers could not have asked for more with such packages. Kapil Malhotra of Ekido Travels said: “The demand for international packages is on rise. Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok are the most favoured destinations. Star cruise is also most favourite on the chart.”

Rohit Badhwar of Airpack Travels adds, “The domestic packages like the one for Darjiling worth Rs 18,000 and Andaman Nicobar for Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 the residents are obviously opting for economical international packages.”

Despite recession the travel season this summer is expected to remain unaffected by the meltdown, as the soaring temperature is compelling the city residents to look for cooler options to hangout.

“The destinations like Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangkok are receiving fantastic response despite recession. Within the country, hoteliers are not ready to reduce the prices which is not the case for international hotels, so good packages can be offered for destinations abroad,” adds Rohit.

With heavy tourist influx for international tours, a word of caution for the holiday seekers is to be careful about the extra taxes and other charges that are mentioned in the advertisements and opt for their holiday agent only after proper scrutiny.

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Quitting ICL crucial decision: Madal Lal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Former Indian cricketer and Delhi Giants coach Madan Lal was here today for a ‘Titan of the Day’ contest organised by Titan at its Sector-17 showroom.

He did not open the card whether he would stick to the Indian Cricket League or not. “Its upto the ICL to decide, I cannot say anything right now and will be able to tell the exact situation after a day or two,” Madan said.

Speaking about the BCCI’s decision, he said, “It will be a crucial decision for players and I hope whatever they choose, is good for them. If they leave the ICL, it will be a big loss for the league also.”

However, he termed the ICC’s decision of not hosting the 2010 World Cup from Pakistan due to the recent terror attack hasty. “The decision was taken in a hurry and the ICC should have taken time to decide as the situation might get better by 2010,” Madan quipped.

Speaking about his political stint, he said: “I had got the ticket for the Hamirpur constituency elections, however, I withdrew due to health constraints.” 

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71 pc polling in Dera Bassi, Zirakpur, Lalru

Zirakpur, May 7
Around 71 per cent polling was recorded in Dera Bassi, Zirakpur and Lalru under the Patiala Lok Sabha seat.

According to the district administration, the polling process passed off peacefully. The voters preferred to cast their vote between 7 am and 12.30 pm as 40 per cent votes were cast during this period.

SDM, Dera Bassi, Puneet Goyal said the sub-division was divided into 14 sectors.

Police said that in Lohgarh village at Zirakpur a drunkard man created ruckus as he started hurling stones at workers. He also smashed windowpanes of the car. He was later arrested by the police. Interestingly, the residents of Zirakpur had to go without power for more than four hours. — TNS

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Cong a govt of scams: Cheema
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 7
An SAD-BJP combine candidate Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said money making was the only agenda of Congress leaders when their party came to power and they did nothing for development works. Addressing a rally organised by Harmanpreet Singh Prince, senior vice-president of Municipal Council, Mohali, late last evening said scandals and scams were the only achievements of the Congress.

He said the Congress never tried its hand on development works but instead washed away the work done by earlier governments. He said this was evident from the performance of Amarinder Singh led.

He said during his tenure, Ludhiana City Centre scam and Amritsar Improvement Trust scam were his major achievements.

He said the Congress always established a system in which the poor were burdened under inflation.

He said apart from peasantry, urban citizens suffered due to non-performance of the Congress governments, which failed to generate a single unit of power, failed to provide jobs, and did nothing for women.

On the other hand, the SAD-BJP government was working for the betterment of people by installing three mega power plants, with construction of various roads and even planned revamp the road transport.

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‘Manmohan has just N-deal to his credit’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
“Every seven minutes, a farmer in India commits suicide, corruption was at its peak in the UPA regime with hordes of money stacked in Swiss bank accounts, youth of India are trying to fight a futile battle with unemployment, and inflation touching all-time high and still the Congress echoes, “Jai Ho”, says Sharad Yadav, Janta Dal (United) president and NDA convener, lashing it out on UPA’s government at the Centre.

Refusing to acknowledge Rahul Gandhi’s recent overtures to various parties, including the Left, Yadav stated that for one those remarks were for Jayalalitha, Chandra Babu Naidu, Nitish Kumar and the Left, and were “one of those political war of words, which generally take place during elections and bear little meaning”.

Sharad was in the city today for garnering support for his party’s candidate BV Goswami though he was smitten by Chandigarh’s greenery and well-lined mango trees and was all praises for the creator of the city, he seemed to have little clue about the issues engulfing the city.

For when confronted on the major poll issue of the city, which pertained to land acquisition, his reply was anything, but satisfactory. “ There should be unified land acquisition policy. Why should the fertile land be acquired for setting up industries? 

In any case, there has been no SEZ developed so far in the country, it has only turned out to be an exercise to benefit the real estate mafia”, he said.

On a query regarding his earlier visit to the city, when he came for BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain and now after two months he had come to garner support for his own party candidate, he said his party was in alliance with the NDA and was confident about its victory in UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. “ Rest we have fielded our own candidates in Gujarat, MP, Andhra, Rajasthan and other states”.

As for fielding his own candidate, he said, “ Chandigarh’s politics has become monotonous with only the Congress and the BJP candidates battling it out. We are trying to break the monotony”, he added.

Confident about his candidate’s victory in Chandigarh, despite being aware of the tough contest, he said, “ It was Socrates alone who made the difference. Our candidate will win with a remarkable margin”, he averred beaming with confidence.

Coming to the national political scenario, he claimed that it was the NDA, which was going to come up with the largest alliance and would be forming the government at the Centre while at the same time, he counted the Congress failure in all other aspects except the nuclear deal.

“ The only thing that Manmohan Singh has to his credit is the nuclear deal, barring that, the UPA government was a total failure”, he said, while adding that already the UPA and allies were running helter-skelter even before the polling.

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Sharad targets Cong, BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
It was “thumkas” on some Bhojpuri numbers doled out by singer Guddu Rangeela for garnering support for Janta Dal (U) candidate BV Goswami during a rally organised at Sector 25 here today.

The rally was addressed by JD (U) president and NDA convener Sharad Yadav. There had been a little over hundred supporters present on the occasion.

Using the podium to lash it out at both the Congress and the BJP, he said both the parties were like “Saas (mother-in-law) and Bahu (daughter-in-law)” and their candidates have been winning and losing on the lone seat of the city, little bothered about the problems of the city.

Targeting the Congress, he said while the Congress had been in power here, still the problems and the issues of the city had remained as such while referring to lack of basic facilities in colonies and land acquisition etc.

Though his address lasted not more than a few minutes, it is worth mentioning that the sword presented to him by party workers and candidate Goswami particularly became an embarrassment when two people had to pull it in opposite directions to open it.

Family canvasses for Bansal

The entire family of Congress nominee Pawan Kumar Bansal hit the roads of Chandigarh today to canvass for him. Children and ladies of the family went on one-to-one contact programme with the residents starting from Sector 28-C.

In another area, covering over 1,600 residential houses in various sectors, Bansal’s family distributed pamphlets and brochures in the area, which enlisted the achievements of the Congress nominee.

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RJD releases manifesto
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Promising moons for people belonging to rural and urban areas, the local unit of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) today launched its party manifesto for Chandigarh constituency here today.

While releasing the manifesto, RJD’s national general secretary Qamaar Aalam said the manifesto had been drafted keeping in mind the basic needs of the common people.

“In the rural area, a need is felt to upgrade the basic facilities like drinking water, electricity, school and health facilities etc,” party president Ravinder Krishan said.

Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq, the RJD candidate from Chandigarh, said, “We propose that one member from every family of the village will be provided employment under the Grameen Rozgaar Yojna, provide them with affordable 
houses.”

Haq also said since a major chunk of city population came from other states like Bihar, UP, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the community centres would be built up in the city to facilitate them for holding their functions.

“Special ration stores will be opened in colonies, which will sell basic commodities like flour, cereals, soap, oil etc at cheap rates. The senior citizens will be provided old-age pension and the administration will be made to make their senior citizen cards conveniently. Government officials will go door to door to disseminate old-age pensions. Establishment of the drug control and rehabilitation centres in the colony areas will be on my priority,” he said.

The party would initiate special plans for the all-round development of Chandigarh, like establishment of Metro, flyovers and subways to ease traffic congestion on roads, and to expedite construction of airport meeting international standards,” he added.

For traders, the RJD has thought for implementing balanced rent act, amending building byelaws according to need-based changes, streamlining parking facilities, regularising General Power of Attorney policy for all categories of houses.

It would also implement compulsory computer education from primary level.

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Once jewel in the crown, HMT has now lost sheen
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 7
Once the market leader in machine tools and industrial equipment, public sector HMT Limited is today plagued with manpower problems, inefficiency and declining production.

Official documents state that due to lack of foresightedness and unimaginative handling of emerging situations, the HMT kept yielding its ground to competitors in the private sector.

Established in 1953 with a view to meet machine- tool requirements and manufacture of high precision watches for the domestic and international market, HMT achieved its objectives for five decades and earned the title “jewel in the crown”.

HMT also contributed significantly to the national exchequer with its profits and made forays into diverse fields of production and manufacturing, serving critical and strategic areas like defence, railways, aerospace, nuclear science, automobiles and general engineering.

A parliamentary fact finding committee found earlier this year that with the setting in of liberalisation in 1990, HMT units faced a lot of problems, which included lack of upgradation of plants and machinery, problems in marketing of products and excess manpower.

Further, lack of orders and non-adherence to time schedule, coupled with the inability of the company to acclimatise itself quickly in accordance with the new economic environment, led to the decline in the fortunes of the company.

Besides, vertically integrated and widespread manufacturing plants have also contributed significantly to the current position of the organisation. Other factors like increase in social overhead costs and high interests have added considerably to the erosion of the company’s worth.

The committee observed that in view of the stiff competition from the market following liberalisation, the company became unviable, with its products being uncompetitive and non-remunerative. In this state of affairs, it became increasingly difficult to attract fresh talent.

HMT, at present, has a work force of 8,873 regular and 1,700 contractual employees, but the problems being faced by it are having a direct bearing upon the workforce. Problems faced by workers include poor industrial relations to low wages and inhospitable working conditions.

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Working of defence accounts office to be reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), Bulbul Ghosh, today arrived at Chandigarh on a two-day official visit to review the functioning of the office of Principal Controller of the Defence Accounts (Western Command).

The focus area of her visit is the execution of e-payments and the status of construction works being undertaken by the Defence Accounts Department.

Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Western Command), Nita Kapoor, apprised Ghosh about the status of various ongoing as well as proposed construction works being undertaken to improve the working environment and facilities in residential accommodation.

The CGDA was also apprised about the functional status of the single-window clearance system, which had been launched recently for the purpose of facilitating smooth and quick processing of claims relating to release of pay and allowances as well as other payments relating to supply and services. 

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Seminar on e-resources
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Dr Tulsi Das Library at PGI organised a one-day seminar on usage of e- resources here yesterday. Prof Vinay Sakhuja was the chief guest. There were three technical sessions, which were chaired by Prof HR Chopra, Dr RP Kumar and Dr VK Anand, respectively.

Many companies like Elsevier Science, S Karger, Springer, BMJ and Wiley Inter-Science gave presentations of their products, followed by a discussion by the participants.

A panel discussion was also held on the theme “Accessing e-Resources”, which was convened by Prof HR Chopra. Other panelists were Dr RP Kumar, Dr VK Anand and Prof Meenu Singh, who represented the vendors, practising librarians and the users’ community of e-resources. Various delegates, faculty members and library professionals also participated in the deliberations.

AK Gupta, deputy director, PGI, addressed the valedictory function.

He appreciated the deliberations of the seminar.

He also emphasised on the need for organising workshops, training facilities and users’ education programmes for the faculty members to use the e-resources for updating their knowledge and skills.

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Katoch Shield: Rahul to lead Fatehgarh Sahib 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Fatehgarh Sahib District Cricket Association (affiliated to the Punjab Cricket Association) today announced a 15-member team that will take part in the forthcoming Punjab Minor District Cricket Tournament for Katoch Shield.

The Fatehgarh Sahib District Cricket Association secretary Sanjeev Aggarwal said the teams have been divided into two zones. Zone A will consist of Sangrur, Barnala, Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepur. For Zone B it’s Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala.

Top team in both the zones will qualify for the main draw of the tournament starting from May 18.

Team: Rahul Chabra (captain), Saurabh Kumar, Sukhpal Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Jitender Singh, Suraj Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Dilraj Kumar, Munish Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Gurpinder Singh (wk), Rahul Kumar, Mehak Moudgil, Varun Taman, Prabhsimar Singh and Sachin Chandel, coach-cum-manager.

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