C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gang of mobike thieves busted
6 held, 21 stolen motorcycles recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Chandigarh police today claimed to have busted a six-member inter-state gang of motorcycle thieves, including a woman, all of whom were arrested, and recovered 21 stolen motorbikes from them.

It said two members of the gang were not only involved in forging documents for the stolen vehicles, but also preparing fake certificates, PAN cards and voter identity cards.

The cops seized several forged Punjab School Education Board certificates, voter identity cards, certificates of other educational institutions, registration certificates and facsimiles of insurance policies of several companies, besides a personal computer along with a scanner and a printer.

UT SSP SS Srivastava said a picket was laid in Sector 45 on Tuesday after the police received information that a man and a woman were on their way to sell a stolen motorcycle with fake documents.

The cops stopped a Bajaj Pulsar motorbike (PB65F-6815) and the verification of the vehicle’s documents revealed its registration number was a fake one.

The police apprehended the duo and later came to know that a case of theft of the motorcycle was registered on November 11.

The couple was identified as 25-year-old Roshan Sharma, alias Ravi, of Solan and 24-year-old Laxmi Pushpakar of Janta Colony, Naya Gaon.

Though not married, they had been living together at Naya Gaon and the woman hailed from Kolkata, Srivastava stated.

During interrogation, the duo disclosed the names of their accomplices, including Baljinder Kumar of Dadu Majra Colony and Hemant Kumar of Sector 20.

Both of them used to provide fake documents for the stolen vehicles in return for money.

“We recovered fake documents, a computer and other incriminating articles from them,” said DSP (South) Jaswant Singh Khaira.

Two other members of the gang, 24-year-old Sonu of Burail and 20-year-old Sanjay of Bilaspur, were apprehended later.

They used to steal motorcycles using master keys obtained in market places and from outside venues hosting wedding functions.

Khaira said Roshan was arrested three years ago for his involvement in several snatching incidents.

“He later moved to Bilaspur, where his brother worked as a mechanic. About a year back, he returned to the city and began stealing vehicles and selling those at Bilaspur, where he had built up his connections while working as a mechanic,” he added.

The police said Laxmi came in touch with Roshan about four months back and helped him in disposing of stolen motorcycles, with both masquerading as a couple in dire need of money.

The SSP said more recoveries of stolen vehicles and cases of use of forged certificates were likely to be solved during the sustained interrogation of the suspects.



Booksellers continue to bask in AIEEE sun
Three of four official centres in city run out of stock
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, appears to have given up as booksellers continue selling AIEEE forms on premium unchecked, with the last lot of forms being exhausted at three of the four centres in the city today.

While senior officials of the Syndicate Bank said they were constantly in touch with the CBSE office in New Delhi and had informed it of the shortage, the forms were expected to be available again from December 10 at Sector 17.

“We surprised how booksellers are managing to get these forms since the ones we are issuing are duly checked and properly stamped. We had told the CBSE office that we have run out of stock and have sold 2,200 forms. We were told by their office that the forms have gone for printing and a consignment will be sent to the CBSE office at Sector 5 of Panchkula overnight,” said Bhupinder Singh, senior manager, Syndicate Bank, Sector 17.

CBSE officials, on the other hand, blamed the students for encouraging these booksellers by buying forms from them on a premium.

“Why are students buying forms from these shops? It is hard to find how booksellers are managing to buy forms in bulk since the only way to get those is from the bank and other centres or getting an online copy. We are on the job and a batch of forms has been dispatched from here,” said JP Garg, CBSE assistant registrar, administration and accounts, New Delhi.

The officials also expressed their apprehension on the authenticity of the forms being sold freely in the market.

On being contacted, CBSE regional director DR Yadav said he was out of the city and would not be able to comment on the situation presently.

“I have asked the person concerned to look into the matter and find out more details,” he said.

Meanwhile, bank officials asked the students not to panic in such a situation as the last date for getting the forms was December 31.

“As soon as we get forms from New Delhi, we will distribute those,” said Bhupinder Singh.

Harrowing time

In response to the December 8 report on the availability of AIEEE forms in the market, this correspondent received telephone calls from parents throughout the day, describing their plight in search of forms.

“I had come from Ropar to get a form for my son. Forms were not available in Sector 17 and the staff asked us to read the notice board, which gave information about three other centres. When I visited the school in Sector 40 at 11:15 am, they had stopped giving forms and said they would resume it at 2:30pm. I went to the Sector 38 branch of Syndicate Bank and got a form,” said one of the parents.



Tribune Impact
20 BPL cards cancelled for fraudulent use
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
The scrutiny of below poverty line (BPL) cards begun by the district administration appears to have been paying dividends, with a total of 20 such cards being cancelled at Raipur Rani today.

Additional deputy commissioner Ashok Sangwan said there had been several complaints regarding people using these cards fraudulently and after looking into the matter, the allegations had been found to be correct.

In was on September 1 when TNS highlighted the fact that thousands of people from well-off families in the district had been holding BPL cards.

Following this, the district administration ordered an inquiry. However, the probe was delayed because of the onset of the Assembly election process.

A BPL cardholder is entitled to subsidies on foodgrains, free healthcare facilities, grants for construction of houses and free insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh on the death of the family breadwinner, among other benefits.



City records coldest day of season
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Chandigarh recorded the coldest day of the season today, with the maximum temperature being 22.2 degrees Celsius and the minimum 6 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal. Cold winds blew throughout the day and the sky was cloudy.

As per the Met department, the temperature would fall further in the next few days as there were chances of rainfall in the city. Officials stated that people would get relief from fog with the fall in temperature.

According to the forecast of the Met department, there would be generally cloudy sky, with the possibility of thundery development and light rain tomorrow.

There would be a rise in night temperature, with the maximum around 22 degrees and the minimum around 8 degrees. There were chances of a cold wave at night in the coming week.



Cold intensifies in Punjab, Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The cold intensified today in the northwestern areas of the country with Rohtak in Haryana recording the lowest temperature in the plains at 3.2 degrees Celsius while dense fog engulfed several parts of Punjab and Haryana. The minimum temperature slumped by 5 degrees C below normal in some parts of the region.

The minimum temperature in Ambala plummeted to 4.3 degrees C while Amritsar and Patiala in Punjab recorded analmost similar low temperature of 5.2 degree C, according to the meteorological department.

The minimum temperature hovered between one to 5 degrees C below normal in the plains of Punjab and Haryana, the Met said.

Karnal recorded a minimum temperature of 3.7 degrees C, 5 degrees below normal, followed by 6.6 degrees C in both Ludhiana and Bhiwani. Ambala woke up to a foggy morning with the visibility reduced to only 800 metres. The fog is expected continue to prevail during nights and early mornings for the next 48 hours in Punjab and Haryana, with changes in day temperatures, the weather office said.



Toothless MC - III
At mercy of parking contractors
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
By converting parking lots in various parts of the city into paid parking lots, the municipal corporation generates a decent amount as revenue annually, but the authorities have failed to provide relief in terms of systematic parking to the public.

Most parking lot contractors, in order to earn more, violate norms for parking, but if the authorities initiate any action against them, they simply withdraw by giving information.

In most sectors, paid parking contractors allow the maximum vehicles to be parked, may be in corridors or on road berms, so as to charge the fee from vehicle owners.

Interestingly, one can easily find a parking contractor employee near the illegal parking area to guide parking, but at the actual parking area, no employees are deployed to park vehicles systematically.

Vehicle owners are a miserable lot as they face the wrath of the traffic police, which sometime challan vehicle owners for wrong parking.

There have been a number of instances of vehicle owners having been booked by the traffic police for parking their vehicles at a place told to park by the contractor’s employees.

Though parking for two-wheelers and four-wheelers has been segregated, contractors feel that providing space is their sweet will and it does not matter if scooters are parked in the areas earmarked for cars.

As per parking norms, there should be at least one parking staff member available at a distance of 50 feet, but a visit to various parking areas shows that there are no employees deployed at such a distance at parking areas.

The contractors have been being challaned many a time for violating terms and conditions of the municipal corporation, including overcharging, less manpower, underage staff, excessive vehicles, staff without uniform and haphazard parking.

As the MC authorities fail to organise regular checking or take any regular follow-up action against the contractors, they indulge in norm violations frequently.

Though complaints of vehicle owners against parking contractors have been mounting, the corporation ends up with just having talks with them.

The authorities keep a check on paid parking areas, but it seems that they have hardly any time to go around to free parking lots, where most vehicles are parked unsystematically.

According to an official, they keep a close watch on parking lots, but contractors violate norms repeatedly and they are planning to take stringent action, including cancellation of contract or blacklisting, against them.


2 more screening centres for swine flu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
As the city grapples with swine flu, the Chandigarh administration has decided to increase the number of screening centres here.

A meeting to review the situation and preparedness to handle H1N1 influenza was held here today.

Health Secretary Ram Niwas, who headed the meeting, said: “The number of screening centres needs to be increased. Anybody with flu-like symptoms can go to the nearest screening centre and see a doctor.”

The new facilities will start at Community Health Centre, Sector 22, and Civil Hospital, Mani Majra.

To cope with the increase in the number of positive cases, it was also decided to explore the possibility of roping in the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, where the ICU facility is available.

Besides, private hospitals having ICU facility, including isolation ward and ventilators, will also be roped in for treating critical patients at affordable prices. Such hospitals can contact UT health officials.

The pandemic has so far claimed four lives in the city. As many as 617 suspected cases have been detected so far. Out of 190 cases, 111 have been confirmed from Chandigarh.

At least 56 cases have been reported from different schools. Out of these, 49 are from private schools.

He urged parents to ensure that they did not send their children to school if they had flu-like symptoms. Principals and class teachers had been asked to follow the guidelines of the health department so that further infection among other students was checked.

If parents failed to cooperate, the principal concerned mast take penal measures, including sending notice to the parents, he added.

He also appraised his counterparts from Punjab and Haryana about the situation and requested them to set up facilities at Patiala and Mohali (in Punjab) and Panchkula (in Haryana).

Representatives of the PGIMER-12, GMCH-32 and GMSH-16, Chandigarh, education department and private hospitals (INSCOL-34 and Mukat-34) were also present at the meeting.

Another death reported

The H1N1 influenza claimed one more life in the city today, taking the death toll to 12. The victim was from Punjab.

Meanwhile, six more cases, including a doctor from the PGI and a St Stephen’s student, have tested positive for H1N1 here.

According to UT health department, 55-year-old Surinder Kaur from Ropar succumbed to the virus at PGI today. The pandemic has so far claimed four lives in the city.

After the student of class V at St Stephen’s tested positive for swine flu, health officials directed the school authorities to suspend the respective class for a week.

The victim is a resident of Mohali, said health officials.

Other positive cases include a doctor from the internal medicine department of the PGI and a 42-year-old woman from Sector 19.

Two cases were reported from Haryana — one each from Panchkula and Kurukshetra — and one from Punjab — Jalandhar.



Walkathon on cancer awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Hundreds of people walked for the cancer awareness walkathon held by NGO Sahayta Sahyog to raise awareness on “know cancer to conquer it”.

Ace shooter and Olympian Abhinav Bindra flagged off the rally from Hotel Taj, here, while Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator led the entire team walking for the cause of creating awareness on cancer.

Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Dr Raj Bahadur, Director, GMCH-32, Savta Bhatti and Sanju Loria, vice-president, (global operations) Ys India Pvt. Ltd, also participated in the walkathon.

It was a mix of long-term survivors of cancer, youth groups, fitness groups, active retirement groups, esteemed members of the medical fraternity, leading oncologists, and high network individuals from the tricity.

Renu Saigal, president, Cancer Sahayta Sahyog, said that the walkathon was aimed at creating awareness on the disease and to mobilise broad-based community support for this important social cause.

Referring to the latest alarming data disclosed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sanju Loria said if the masses didn’t get aware of the disease soon, there was a strong possibility of more than 2 crore of the world’s population falling prey to this dreaded disease by end of 2030.

He added that the situation would be worse in India and other developing nations which didn’t have enough resources to tackle it.

Senior oncologist at Fortis Hospital Dr Rajiv Bedi read out a pledge to root out cancer from the region. The walkathon culminated at the Sector-17 plaza with the participants pledging their full support for the cause of society.



Pritam Singh re-elected IOSS chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Pritam Singh a retired bureaucrat has been unanimously re-elected as the President of Institute of Sikh Studies(IOSS), Chandigarh for 2010 at its general body meeting held at the IOSS headquarters on Monday.

His name was proposed by Baljit Kaur. The general body appreciated the hard work put in by the outgoing team lead by Pritam Singh which was evident from the excellent response to annual seminar on Sikhs in states outside Punjab, the history conference on Banda Singh Bahadur and the first Dr. Kharak Singh memorial lecture.



Chrysanthemum show from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The three-day annual chrysanthemum show at the Terraced Garden, Sector 33, will begin on December 11, which is being organised by the horticulture wing of the Municipal Corporation.

The flowers on display would be judged in three categories of individual amateurs, private and government agencies.

MC horticulture wing executive engineer Arun Kansal said the show would have flowers grown by the department to synchronies with the show and as many as 10,000 pots would be on display during the three-day show.

As many as 100 entry forms have been sold by the department till date and the last date to submit the entry forms is December 9.

He said last year the department had displayed 250 varieties of flowers and this year five more categories would be on display.

Iron railings and benches in the garden were given a fresh coat of paint, while the fountain was repaired to make it functional.

The show would conclude with a prize distribution function on December 13.

Meanwhile, the administration also asked the corporation to submit their pending proposals of green belts to them if they required grants for the same.



Recruitment Scam
Plaint registered against Home Secy, 2 top cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi, has registered a complaint forwarded by a local human rights activist against UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Senior Superintendent of Police SS Srivastva and Superintendent of Police (city) Madhur Verma alleging rampant corruption during the appointment of teachers in the Union Territory.

It had been alleged in the complaint that the matter was started by the Home Secretary, investigated by the SSP and hushed up by the SP in an abject manner.

It was further alleged that instead of handing over the matter involving Jolly, accused in the teacher recruitment scam, to the CBI, it was given to the UT police intentionally.

Meanwhile, in a communication by the commission, it has been stated that the complaint had been registered and forwarded to chief vigilance officer, ministry of home affairs, New Delhi.

The commission would obtain its report from the department in due course, it had been stated further.



DM issues prohibitory orders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
District Magistrate (DM) Brijendra Singh has issued several prohibitory orders in the city.

Through an order, the running of restaurants and dhabas on roadsides and public places between 1 am and 4.30 am in the city have be prohibited for a period of 60 days i.e. till February 7, 2010.

However, the order will not apply to coffee shops in hotels, hospitals, chemist shops and petrol stations.

Restaurants, discos and clubs have been allowed to stay open till 2 am on Saturdays and Sundays (except sale and service of liquor, which is governed separately by the Excise Law).

Cyber cafes will be allowed to stay open till 2 am on all days.

Besides, the Chandigarh administration has prohibited the sale of non-ISI mark helmets in the Union Territory till February 7.

Also, to maintain ecological balance in the silence zone of Sukhna Lake, the administration has prohibited the performing of religious ceremonies and rituals that can cause noise or water pollution at the lake and its surrounding areas.

The sale of correction fluids to minor children in the city has also been banned for 60 days i.e. from December 10 to February 7.

Through another order, the administration has issued directions for the installation of CCTVs in all hotels/ restaurants/ guest houses/ cinemas/ multiplexes.



Admn relieves Finance Joint Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Chandigarh administration has relieved Joint Secretary Finance Pirthi Chand to his parent state of Punjab.

Sandeep Hans has been given the charge of director, technical education, in his place.

Hans will also look after the work relating to the post of Joint Secretary Finance (in finance-I branch), urban planning, housing, engineering, technical education and head of department/Government College of Art.



Home Secy orders setting up of computer centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Home Secretary Ram Niwas today directed the director social welfare (DSW) to set up a computer centre for inmates of the Juvenile Justice Home, Sector 25, so that they could be initiated into computer learning.

The direction was issued by Ram Niwas during a visit to the home today.

Out of the total 21 inmates at the juvenile home, 15 have been lodged under crime pertaining to theft, while the rest for rape and murder. The Home Secretary also made a surprise visit to the Nari Niketan and interacted with inmates there.

He directed the warden to keep the library open for inmates and provide vocational training to them on a regular basis.

The Home Secretary also inspected the registration system of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, and found that computers and printers had been purchased to upgrade the registration system. He expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in installing the system, as during the last inspection he had directed that the system should be put in place immediately.

He directed SPIC officials to install 18 computers and printers by Monday.Yesterday, he had visited the Old Age Home in Sector 43. The inmates regretted that no meeting of the board of management had been held for the past four years.



HS for Delhi-type bus queue shelters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Home Secretary (HS) yesterday directed the Chief Architect to prepare the design of bus queue shelters in different sectors on the Delhi pattern.

The directions were issued at a review meeting between the Home Secretary and representatives of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, led by its chairman PC Sanghi. During the meeting, the municipal corporation Commissioner stated that the slaughter house for birds in Phase I, Industrial Area, would be completed by the end of December.

The Home Secretary directed the ADC to issue resumption notices to auto parts dealers in the Sector 21 market within a week as mechanics had been carrying out the unauthorised repairs of vehicles in connivance with the dealers.

The Home Secretary also directed the Chief Architect to examine the problems of houses of industrial workers in Sector 30-B within 15 days.

The Home Secretary also directed the ADC to examine the issue of conversion of cheap houses from leasehold to freehold at the earliest. Sanghi said the MC had taken no action regarding the cleaning and sweeping of service back lanes, maintenance of parks, cleaning of parks after functions and tackling of the stray dog menace.



Consumer Courts
Standard Chartered penalised Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The District Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum has directed Standard Chartered, Sector 9, to pay Rs 5,000 in compensation to a complainant for causing physical and mental harassment.

The complainant, Dinesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 45, and his wife were issued credit cards (Visa Gold) by the company but the same were not used even once.

However, the company sent a cheque for Rs 30,000 as loan in favour of the complainant, which was immediately returned through a letter dated May 19, 2005.

It was averred in the compliant that the company issued a statement of account on February 6, 2005 and thereafter did not issue any such statement till June, 2009.

It was also averred that on June 26, 2009 the complainant received a phone call stating that the company had lodged a complaint against him and his wife before JMIC, Jodhpur, where they had to appear on June 27, 2009.

He was also asked to contact company’s legal adviser Vashisht, who told the complainant that an amount of Rs 16,470 was due towards him on his credit card.

It was next averred that the complainant had to deposit the amount with the company.

However, the company did not supply him either the account statement or copies of the proceedings of the court.

In its reply, the company admitted the issuance of credit cards to the complainant and his wife.

It was stated that the facility on the credit cards was free only for the first year and not for life, as alleged.

The credit cards were available with the complainant and his wife for the purposes of usage as and when they liked and they never surrendered it and continued to enjoy the credit card facility.

It was also stated that since the complainant never surrendered the credit cards and availed of the facility thereof, he was liable to pay the charges accrued thereon, including charges of annual fee.

As regards the advancement of loan of Rs 30,000 to the complainant, it was submitted that the same was cancelled on the request of the complainant.

The complainant has been regularly issued monthly statements and the amount deposited by the complainant was under the statement issued to him with regard to availing facility of credit cards.



Tax Violation
Now, IT survey at CITCO office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
After Panjab University, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO) has come on the income tax department radar for allegedly violating rules pertaining to tax deducted at source.

Officials of the department swooped down on the head office of CITCO in Sector 17 this morning and started a detailed survey, which is likely to continue tomorrow. The survey was initiated under the supervision of IT Commissioner (TDS) Neeraj Vinay Bansal. According to IT sources, the CITCO authorities had not deducted tax at source on incentives that had been given to employees on Diwali. General manager (finance), CITCO, Abhimanyu Thapar termed the survey “routine” and said no discrepancies had been found so far.



Jail inmate creates ruckus, injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Sana Dhillon, an inmate of Burail Jail, created ruckus and reportedly injured herself on the jail premises here today.

She was sent to the jail on Tuesday after she was caught creating nuisance at the Sector-15 market.

According to sources, Sana of Gurdaspur, in her early twenties, appeared to be a drug-addict and mentally upset.

She started creating trouble in the barracks and turned violent. She reportedly asked a jail official to marry him.

When the latter asking her to behave properly, she smashed a glass on the floor and got herself injured in the process.

The jail staff brought the matter to the notice of the higher authorities and shifted her to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, for medical examination.

Police station-11 SHO said Sana was arrested yesterday afternoon from Sector 15 when she manhandled a woman. Onlookers came to the rescue of the woman.

The police called her mother, who said Sana was disturbed.

The police, taking preventive measures, arrested Sana and produced her before the SDM, who sent her to jail.

Sana had reportedly snatched a mobile phone from a woman in Sector 35 but the matter was hushed up.



Subzi Mandi
13 firms found violating rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
To check the evasion of market fees at the Subzi Mandi in Sector 26, an inspection was carried out by Prerna Puri Wasu, SDM(S)-cum-joint secretary, State Agricultural Marketing Board.

At least, 13 firms, M/s Himachal Tomato Agency, M/s New Phagwara Fruit Co, M/s Deepak Yograj & Co, M/s Bhagwan Dass Krishan Lal, M/s Sharda Fruit Agency, M/s New Patiala Fruit Agency, M/s KRC & Co, M/s Sethi & Co, M/s Delhi Punjab Trading Co, M/s Amritsar Fruit Company, M/s Pritam Singh Upkar Singh Co, M/s VMS and M/s Ahuja Brothers, were found to be violating provisions of the Punjab Agricultural Marketing Produce Act, 1961, which regulated the conduct of business at the mandi.

The firms were not found to be maintaining the proper record of arrivals at the ‘boli bahi’ register and in some cases, business was being being transacted by persons other than the licensees of the market committee. The unrecorded produce, 21 katta of onion and 9 katta of brinjal of M/s VMS & M/s Ahuja Brothers, respectively, were seized. These would be put to open auction. Show-cause notices would be issued to the errant firms.

Auction recorders of the market committee , who were responsible for the proper recording of agricultural produce, were found to be absent from duty. Departmental action was being contemplated against them. It was also found that the parking space allotted by the market committee adjoining M/s Jogindra Flour Mills was being used for parking of ‘rehris’ and ‘pharis’. Appropriate action would be taken against the defaulting contractor.



LIC opens premium collection centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
To provide better services to its clients, the LIC has opened its first commercial premium collection centre in Sector 32 C here today.

Senior divisional manager, Chandigarh, Raghupal Singh accompanied by marketing manager Rajender Kumar, manager (CLIA) Kapoor Singh and branch manager Ashwani Sharma inaugurated the centre.

Raghupal Singh said since all chief life insurance advisers (CLIA) were allowed to open such centres last year, it was for the first time that a centre was opened in a commercial area in the city.

LIC policyholders can deposit their premium installments and receive computerised receipts at these centres, he said.

Even new policies and income tax certificates against premiums paid during financial year would be available at these centres and that also without any charges, added SDM.



Harshingaar melange of music, drama
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 9
The ongoing Traditional Folk Theatre Festival presented yet another genre of folk theatre embellished with contemporary outlook.

The staging of play “Harshingaar” by Nirman Kala Manch Patna at the Tagore Theatre today was a step towards a complete theatre with elements of music, dance and drama eloquently pervasive in the production.

Written by Srikant Kishore with concept and direction by acclaimed thespian Sanjay Upadhyay, the play debated issues related to depraving of moral ethics, relationships especially between a man and a woman, governance and society in a convincing dramatic manner using the traditional nautanki style.

Structured in a royal rule of a king, the play is planned, built and brought on to the stage just in front of audience through the coordination of two sutradhars a nat and a nati. Titled after a flower “Harshingaar”, in the metaphoric sense for the flower, which blossoms only at night and withers the next morning. On demand the story of Harbisna and Harbisni both Dalits is enacted in an elegant theatre production. It begins with the commercial advantages to multinational companies guaranteed, as Harbisni picks up an argument with the buyer for purchasing bamboo baskets at a cheaper rate for her innocent husband Harbisna. Play progresses to depict how the king using his powers, establishes illicit relationship with a Dalit Harbisni and later plots the abortion of the baby to be born out of their relationships. The grave situations and issues are simultaneously debated by nat and nati with divergent views offered. The interesting ending of the play, which involved audience, was interesting. The live music remained the lifeline of the production.

Abhishek Sharma, Madhuri, Sharda Singh, Rajesh Sinha, Muskaan, Shubro Bhattacharjee, Divalakr Pande, Madhvi and Pappu Thakur were in lead roles.

UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas honoured the artistes.



Anti-encroachment drive launched in Baltana
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 9
The Zirakpur MC launched a drive to remove encroachments on the both sides of Baltana-Panchkula road in Baltana on today. They removed illegal sheds, signboards and around 15 steel boards which were lying on the roadside.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers alleged that the MC officials were adopting a pick-and-choose policy while removing the encroachments.

They alleged that the MC officials did not remove the hoardings of politicians, which they had put up along the busy road sections in Zirakpur. The department concerned turned blind eye to the issue, they added.

The MC officials stated that the road had been encroached by the shopkeepers. The boards, utensils and rehriwallahs occupied major part of the road. They had given prior information to the shopkeepers. Residents said that the road had shrunk by several feet leading to traffic jams every evening.

The MC officials also removed illegal sheds and encroachment on the old Kalka road yesterday.



NRI alleges foul play by bank
Says her fixed deposit of Rs 1 lakh was misused
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
An NRI has alleged that her money deposited with a bank had been misused resulting in huge loss to her. An amount of Rs 1 lakh was kept in a Sector 11 bank as a fixed deposit by Canada NRI Sonia Loria. In her complaint to the Panchkula SP, the money had been invested in an insurance policy by the bank. The value of insurance policy was assessed at Rs 60,000 in case the policy holder decided to encash it after a year, she alleged.

Following the complaint the Panchkula police as well as the bank both have begun separate inquiries.

Sonia, a resident of Sector 16, Panchkula, in her complaint said that she was a citizen of Canada. Last year, in December, when she was here in Panchkula, she decided to deposit the said in a bank situated in Sector 11.

The relationship manager of the bank, Prashant Sharma, who attended her in the bank, advised her to deposit the money in a fixed deposit scheme meant for NRIs and after she agreed to it he got many documents signed from her. After few days she left for Canada, said the complainant. Following this she did not get any communication from the bank, she claimed.

She again came back to India in October and inquired from the bank about her fixed deposit receipts and it was in for a shock when the officials in bank told that there was no fixed deposit in her name, she said. Instead, insurance with an annual premium of Rs 1 lakh for a term of 5 years had been issued in her name, she was told.

After going through the documents of the insurance policy it was detected that the relationship manger had filled up his own mobile phone number in the columns of the documents so that all inquiries to be made by the insurance company reached him and the NRI did not come to know about the foul play.

Bank manager Naresh Arora when contacted confirmed the incident and said he had already sent the complaint to the head office. Relationship manager Prashant Sharma had already left his job, he said.



Dog bites 12, on loose
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 9
A stray dog pressed the panic button at Baltana village near Zirakpur here today. More than 12 persons were bitten by the dog injuring residents of Ekta Vihar and Sada Shiv complex.

One of the injured was identified as Mamta, resident of Ekta Vihar.

While narrating the incident, one of the shopkeepers Shammi said the incident took place at 2 pm when the stray dog attacked a school student first. After that, a resident of Ekta Vihar who tried to shoo the dog away with stone but the dog attacked him and bit his leg.

When another shopkeeper came to rescue him with a stick, the dog also bit him and ran away from the market. The shopkeeper claimed that the dog bit more than 12 persons, including shopkeepers and residents of the area. The residents and shopkeepers had complained about the stray dog to Manisha Malik, MC councilor, Ward No 1. She immediately called the MC employees to catch the stray dog, but they were unable to find the dog. Malik said it was a serious issue and would it take up with MC officials tomorrow.



Tribune staffer bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Thakur Dalip Singh (90), father of Purshotam Lal, assistant manager, The Tribune, expired after brief illness at Panchkula on Wednesday. He retired as a senior foreman from Tribune in 1983. He is survived by three sons and a daughter.

The cremation would be held at the Manimajra cremation ground after 2:30 pm on Thursday.



Tribune contributor dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
RL Singal, a long-time contributor to The Tribune and former head of the department of English, Government College for Men, Sector 11, died yesterday. He was 83.

A scholar of English and Hindi with over 25 books to his credit, Singal wrote book reviews and contributed articles to The Tribune for several decades.

He was an orator par excellence. Singal’s cremation was largely attended.



Rs 4.5 lakh salary cap in UBS placements
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
In a bid to experiment with a new approach and encouraged by the positive trend in the current placement season, Panjab University’s University Business School has, for the first time, imposed a ceiling of Rs 4.5 lakh salary for companies to recruit its students.

This means only those firms that offer an annual salary package above this limit have been invited to participate in the UBS placement drive this time.

While experts agree that industry is still recovering from recession, UBS, which has long been one of the university’s most sought after departments, already claims to have crossed an average annual salary of Rs 7 lakh despite this ceiling being imposed.

“At present we’re the only department that has a 24-hour on-job placement cell. The students have been working day and night for inviting companies for placements with the support of our chairperson. A strong alumni base has eased the process for us, as they are putting in extra effort to bring companies here,” said UBS placement officer Sanjay Kaushik.

If one goes by the drift in the current UBS placement season, unlike the “multitasking ability” that was much in demand earlier, companies are now looking for MBA graduates who can excel in “specialised” job profiles.

Firms like Religare, HDFC, Vedanta, Citibank, Canara Bank, HSBC and Trident have already visited the UBS campus with many others waiting in the wings. Once a particular company selects a student he or she is not permitted to sit in the placement process of another firm.

In another change in the placement season, the process of taking the group discussion test prior to the psychometric test has begun by certain companies. Even the questions that are being asked by companies in the personal interview are quite different from last year’s.

“We were grilled more on our knowledge of the corporate sector. They also tested our attitude towards life and market information in general,” said Pallavi, a student.

A few firms also cited the cost factor. “According to some companies each psychometric test costs them about Rs 3,000 per head. Hence, they find it more economical to take the test at a secondary level”, said Kaushik.

UBS has also broken away from the convention of having a one-week placement session. Companies have now been invited to recruit students from December 4 to 13, 2009 and then later, in the second week of January 2010. As many as 36 out of 125 students have been placed in the first five days.



383 students get woollens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
To further partnerships with NGOs, UT administrator, General (retd) SF Rodrigues, visited AIE Centres at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, under the Partnership Initiative Programme.

The aim was to create awareness among masses for improving the quality of education and increase participation of “out of school” children into mainstream education.

General and Jean Rodrigues interacted with teachers and students and distributed sweaters to 383 students of Alternative Innovation Education (AIE).

He asked the NGOs as well as teaching staff to ensure cleanliness on the school campus and educate students about hygiene.

The administrator said Rs 40 lakh had been sanctioned by the UT administration to provide 100 per cent healthcare to all students and the programme would start soon.

Education secretary Ram Niwas, also said 56 NGOs, social welfare societies, and social activists had signed MoUs with administration for monitoring quality education at AIE Centres.

Prominent officials present on the occasion included Sanjay Kumar, finance secretary, Sunil Bhatia, DPI (S), DP Sharma, school principal, parents and NGOs.



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