C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Anu Chatrath elected Mayor unopposed
Posts of Sr Dy Mayor, Dy Mayor also go to Cong
BJP-SAD candidate Harjinder Kaur withdraws
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Congress councillor Anu Chatrath was elected unopposed as the 16th mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today after the Opposition alliance of BJP-SAD candidate Harjinder Kaur withdrew from the elections.

With this, the Congress has swept the corporation mayoral poll for the third consecutive time by winning all three posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

This is the first time in the history of the MC that any mayoral candidate has withdrawn from the elections and the mayor has been elected unopposed.

While Bhupinder Singh Bhadheri was elected Senior Deputy Mayor, Sheela Devi was chosen as Deputy Mayor of the corporation. All four BSP councillors abstained from voting in the mayoral elections as decided earlier by the party.

As the proceedings of the mayoral elections commenced in the morning by presiding officer Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri, Harjinder Kaur submitted her withdrawal from the election and Anu Chatrath was elected mayor unopposed.

Addressing the House, Chatrath said her focus would be to maintain the character of the city and work in cooperation with the councillors, rising above party lines, for the development of the city.

The election to the post of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor was presided over by newly elected Mayor Anu Chatrath. Out of 32 votes polled for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor election, Congress candidate Bhupinder Singh Bhadheri got 18 votes, while BJP-SAD candidate Anil Kumar Dubey got 13 votes indicating cross-voting by a section of councillors and one vote was found invalid.

Congress candidate Sheela Devi defeated BJP-SAD candidate Sunita Choudhary by a margin of nine votes for the post of Deputy Mayor. While Sheela Devi polled 20 votes, BJP-SAD candidate Sunita Choudhary could manage only 11 votes and one vote was found invalid.

With the completion of election process, there were jubilations in the Congress camp. Union Minister and local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, councillors and local leaders greeted Anu Chatrath who was accompanied by her father Gopal Krishan Chatrath.

Later, addressing a press conference, Chatrath said she would focus on formulating a uniform policy for the respective wings of the corporation. She remarked that most of the divisions under the same wing were following different policies for development works in the city. She stated that no new taxes would be levied in the city, as the corporation has enough funds in the kitty to carry out the projects.

Chatrath said she would introduce revenue-generating projects like construction of marriage palaces and community centres, which would be rented to the public on nominal charges.

On the question of the garbage processing plant controversy, she said the execution is in the hands of the MC Commissioner. But she would look into the status of the projects and take necessary steps.

Free-for-all in the House

As the election process of the mayoral elections was going on inside the assembly hall, hundreds of visitors thronged the House without permission. It is clearly laid down in the rules that the visitors who sit 
in the House during its proceedings have to take prior permission from the authorities and get the visitor’s pass also.

A notice board at the entrance of the assembly hall reads that the visitors, after taking due permission, can sit inside to watch the proceedings of the House, but cannot disturb the House by making noise or raising slogans.

However, unruly scenes were witnessed inside the House today. Not only were the visitors shouting, they were also taking pictures inside the House and recording the proceedings against the rules. There was no checking at the entrance of the assembly hall where the elections were held.

Babla vote

As the police team accompanied Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla to vote in the mayoral elections, Anu Chatrath objected that they could not sit in the House with him, as only members had the power to enter and sit in the House. Union Minister and local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal asked if the police officer had any written orders to sit in the House. If not, they could depute their officers on the gates of the House and visitors gallery also.



Ruchika’s ‘expulsion’ from school
Statements of Anand, Madhu Prakash recorded
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Taking its fact-finding inquiry regarding the alleged forced expulsion of Ruchika Girhotra by the Sacred Heart School authorities, Sector 26, to the next level, the UT administration today recorded the statements of Anand and Madhu Prakash along with Ruchika’s father Subhash Girhotra.

The trio was reportedly questioned on the school’s claims of not having expelled Ruchika and raising apprehensions that the parents might have voluntarily withdrawn the girl under circumstances. The school had maintained that as per its records, Ruchika had not paid her fee for six months and, thus, her name was not carried on rolls.

According to sources, the trio has rubbished all claims in its written statements. “Ruchika’s father has outrightly denied the claim of delaying her fee even for a day. All three of them have in their written statement asserted that the school authorities were lying and to justify it, they have attached a copy of letter used by Rathore to evade an FIR in which it was claimed that she was expelled from school on moral grounds,” revealed sources close to them.

Meanwhile, the school authorities under the supervision of Sr Maria, Superior, Sacred Hearts, has handed over all records pertaining to Ruchika to the inquiry committee. The principal is, however, yet to come back from her holiday and join her inquiry.

“Yes, we have inspected the records and taken the statements of the complainants. The inquiry is in the final stages and will be complete once the principal comes back,” said an official concerned.

When questioned about her not returning till date, Father Thomas, the official spokesperson for Sacred Heart, maintained that her train was late and she might be back in a day or two.



Mysterious death of constable Manmohan Singh Mohni in 2005
CBI books four cops
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Paramjit Kaur, wife of Manmohan Singh Mohni, shows her husband’s photograph in Chandigarh.
Paramjit Kaur, wife of Manmohan Singh Mohni, shows her husband’s photograph in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh, January 1
After a lapse of over four years since a Chandigarh Police constable Manmohan Singh Mohni died a mysterious death, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case of murder and criminal conspiracy against his four colleagues, including a sub-inspector, and two other persons.

It is perhaps the first time that four police officials of the Chandigarh police have been booked in a case of murder. More heads of senior police officials associated with the crime branch, where the victim was posted then, are likely to roll in the case at later stage of investigation.

Constable Mohni (38) was found dead on September 3, 2005, under mysterious circumstances at the UT police headquarters in Sector 9 here. The Chandigarh Police had been claiming since day one that Mohni had committed suicide, but his family suspected a foul play and demanded a CBI inquiry into the death.

Sources told TNS that four policemen, including sub-inspector Sukhdweep Singh, constable Rajinder Singh, Munshi Des Raj (now assistant sub-inspector), head constable Balbir Singh, and two other Narinder Singh of Mohali and Balwan were booked in the case on December 30 following the Supreme Court’s direction dated December 17, 2009. Sukhdweep is presently facing a trial in a corruption case prosecuted by the CBI.

Mohni’s wife Paramjit Kaur had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 20, 2005, demanding registration of a case of murder against the accused.

She alleged that the UT police had arrested two persons and seized 245 boxes of liquor from the Panchkula residence of an IAS officer on August 24, 2005, on her husband’s information. She further asserted that Mohni Sukhdweep called Mohni on August 23, asking him to come to report at office at 3 am for conducting a raid. Paramjit held that since several officials were associated with the accused, they started issuing threats to her husband Mohni to eliminate him.

Recalling the sequence of events on that fateful day, she said Mohni left home around 11 am to deliver cards of his mother’s “bhog ceremony” to his friends at the headquarters. He was scheduled to go to the crime branch later to get his salary. However, around 2 pm, she received information about his sudden death.

Acting on her petition the high court on April 28, 2008, directed the crime branch of the Panchkula police to “look into the cause of death of Manmohan Singh and do the needful within three months”. Meanwhile, the UT administration preferred a special leave petition in the Supreme Court on which the apex court directed the CBI to probe the matter setting aside the high court direction.

DIG CBI Mahesh Aggarwal told TNS that the case was registered on the basis of the allegation made by the victim’s wife in her complaint. The role of the police officials into the death, if any, would be ascertained after the probe is completed.



City shivers at 1.2° C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
With the mercury plummeting further to the lowest of the season at 1.2 degrees Celsius today, the city residents woke up to a thick fog cover and icy cold winds on the first day of the New Year.

Normal life was paralysed as road, rail and air traffic remained disrupted today, with cold wave conditions showing no signs of relenting.

A thick cover of fog reduced the normal visibility range to 200m, staying that way till 11 am. “The fog persisted today despite the strong winds, which is an unusual condition for the tricity, making it chiller. Visibility conditions were affected till 11 am due to this,” a senior official of the Met Department said.

Sources in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said during the last night, the region remained engulfed by thick fog, which reduced visibility for landing of flights to zero at Chandigarh airport.

Jet Airways cancelled its to and fro flights from Chandigarh, while all incoming and outgoing flights of Kingfisher, GoAir Airlines and Indian Airlines from Chandigarh were also cancelled in the afternoon.

During the past four days, just one flight has taken off from here.

Rail traffic across the region was adversely hit due to fog as several trains were running late between 45 minutes and 3.30 hours.

Among the trains arriving late were the Shatabdi Express, which reached here at 11.50 am, nearly 45 minutes behind schedule. The Sadbhavna Express (Lucknow-Chandigarh), which was late by about two hours, arrived at 12.30 pm. The Unchahar train was also late by three hours and a half.

The weatherman predicts that foggy conditions will persist for the next couple of days, but with a “progressive decrease” in intensity and duration. The Met Department forecast says the maximum and minimum temperatures for tomorrow will be around 20 and 4 degrees Celsius.

Reports said vehicular traffic along the national and state highways was also thrown out of gear due to poor visibility. Most vehicles were seen with their headlights on in the morning. 



Gangster in PC Jewellers heist arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
The Panchkula police got a major success when a team of the CIA staff, led by Inspector Kul Bhushan, arrested dreaded gangster Sandeep Dahiya, member of the Badri gang, from Jhanda village of Sonepat last evening.

He was declared a proclaimed offender, along with another gangster Rajesh, alias Badri. Other accomplices of his gang Amit Yadav, Rohit Khasa, Pawan Saini, Surinder, Sunder, alias Kala, have already been arrested by the Panchkula police. He is allegedly involved in many cases of dacoity, murder and ransom in Haryana and other neighbouring states.

Sandeep, who was involved in the PC Jewellers heist in the town, was produced in the court from where he was sent to police custody till January 5.


Bansal upset over ‘interference’ by Admn in Babla issue
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Chandigarh Administration's attempts to "interfere" in the affairs of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) on the Babla issue through seeking of legal opinion of the UT Senior Standing Counsel has earned the ire of Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Bansal.

Taking potshots at the administration, Bansal termed legal opinion by senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta as the "arrogant efforts" to meddle in the affairs of the municipal corporation.

"The conduct of the proceedings inside the House of any elected body is the prerogative of the chairman and what we have got through the legal opinion were lectures in morality, which is undesirable," Bansal quipped.

Taking strong exception to the expression such as "tampering" with the minutes of the House meeting in the legal opinion, Bansal said efforts should be made to strenghten the democratic institutions.

In his legal opinion, Gupta had yesterday said that "regardless of the legality or illegality, or the propriety or impropriety, of any decision taken by the Municipal House, it is absolutely imperative that the proceedings of the House be truthfully and faithfully recorded."

"Any attempt or effort by either the Mayor of the bureaucracy of the corporation to erase any part of the actual proceedings from the minutes, or to 'soften' or water down any observations made by any councillor or , generally to 'sanitise' the minutes for any self-serving reason, would be clearly wrong, unprincipled, undemocratic and illegal. The Mayor's attempts to 'sanitise' the minutes of the meeting dated 30.11.2009 cannot but be condemned," Gupta had said. On the Babla issue, Bansal refuted allegations that the Congress had pressurised any agency in the case regarding the involvement of Congress councillor Babla in the illegal allotment of sheds at the Sector 26 grain market. 



UT to outsource gardens’ upkeep
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
In an important development, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to outsource the horticulture and maintenance of the gardens in the city. In the first phase, the administration will hand out the upkeep of Bougainvillea, Terraced Garden, Bamboo Gardens, Topiary Park and Hibiscus Garden, besides certain others.

Confirming the development, Sanjay Kumar, the Finance Secretary, said, “We are short on staff for the maintenance assignments in different gardens all over the city. Although, majority of the gardens are very well spruced, however, due to paucity of staff we often feel helpless.”

The Finance Secretary said, “We will make payments to the qualified parties identified for the job. Rough work on potential work parties has been carried out and the project details are being finalised”.

It is worth mentioning that the greenery of the city, including parks, is among the finest in the entire country. Certain prominent garden features of the City Beautiful include the Botanical Gardens, Rose Garden, Terraced Garden, Fitness Trail and Flower Garden, Bougainvillea Park, Smriti Upvan and Shanti Kunj, besides the Topiary Park, Rajendra Park and Hibiscus Garden.

The maintenance work for different gardens in the city has been divided largely among the administration and the municipal authorities. Details of the outsourcing will be based on availability of the workforce.

It is worth mentioning that besides the big gardens, the city houses green parks in majority of sectors.

A number of parks, all over the city, within the residential quarters are being ignored. Waste papers and overgrown grass is a common sight in these parks.



Municipal Corporation moots revision of Advertisement Act
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
In order to tighten the noose around violators, who advertise their products by pasting them on walls without the permission of the authorities concerned, the municipal corporation has decided to revise the Advertisement Control Act 2009.

Sources said the Chandigarh administration had directed the corporation to prepare the revised draft of the Chandigarh Advertisement Control Act 2009 to make provisions of imposing heavy penalty and charging double rates from companies concerned for violating the act.

The existing Advertisement Control Act 1954, which is being followed in the city, has a number of loopholes due to which the authorities are unable to take any stringent action against violators.

The MC officials alleged that violators paid no heed to the notices issued by the corporation and there was no provision to impose any financial penalty on them for violation of the act.

They did not have a separate cell to deal with violators of the act. The administration directed the corporation to revise the act and table it before the committee constituted under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

As per the new proposed draft, applicant’s advertisement file will be approved by the chief architect of the Chandigarh administration and then the corporation will permit applicants to display their advertisements.

The proposal also covers the advertisement vans of the companies.

Under the revised act, vehicles will not be allowed to park at any particular place in the city and will have to ply in permitted areas only.



Enforcement drives failed to check road mishaps
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Strict enforcement drives against traffic violations failed to bring down deaths caused due to road accidents in the city in 2009. The traffic police realised over Rs 4 crore in terms of fines from traffic offenders, while the city recorded over 10 per cent rise in road accidents.

According to sources in the accident cell of the Chandigarh traffic police, road mishaps claimed around 163 lives this year against 147 in 2008.

Though the city witnessed a rise in fatalities, the number of persons getting injured in road mishaps declined.

In 2009, around 314 persons were injured, against 435 last year.

Even the number of cases registered this year was 417 against 479 last year.

“We have studied the pattern of road accidents and causes behind the rising number of fatalities in the mishaps. The study has shown that victims falling prey to fatal mishaps were mostly two-wheeler riders, who were found to be either not wearing helmets at the time of mishaps or wearing poor quality helmets.

Thus to discourage the fatal trends, we have launched special drives against those driving without helmets or wearing non-ISI mark helmets,” asserted DSP (traffic) Vijay Kumar. The traffic police has realised Rs 4,01,82,900 after issuing 1,50,211 challans. The police had collected Rs 3,78,02,090 from 1,56,100 violators in 2008.

The traffic police booked 28,306 two-wheeler riders for not wearing helmets while driving and another 20,531 two-wheeler riders were booked for not wearing ISI mark helmets. The DSP added that apart from not wearing helmets, drunken driving, using black and darker films beyond the permissible limits and driving with high beam were factors responsible for serious road accidents.

This year, around 10,412 motorists were caught for driving with high beam against 6,000 in 2008. The police booked 802 offenders for using darker and black films.

Interestingly, the police turned a blind eye to the similar violations committed by the VIP vehicles with curtains on the windowpanes and having black films. Such vehicles were seen moving on the city roads with impunity throughout the year.

The police worked hard to improve its poor record of enforcement drives against drunken driving in 2008.

In 2008, around 27 violators were booked for the offence, while in 2009, the police has rounded up nearly 350 drivers in ‘high spirits”. 



Road safety week inaugurated
Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, January 1
UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas today inaugurated the 21st National Road Safety Week at Children Traffic Park, Sector 23.

This year the road safety week is based on the theme of “Life is safe if driving is safe”. The week is observed every year in the first week of January. A blood donation camp and a painting competition, in which students from various schools participated, was organised on the occasion. 

The chief guest visited the road safety exhibition. Students of DAV School, Sector 15, presented a cultural programme.

A puppet show, based on road safety, was also organised. Among others, DIG (headquarters) Mahabir Singh, UT SP (traffic) HS Doon, SP (operations) RS Ghumman and SP (city) Madur Verma were present on the occasion. 



VC’s comments draw flak
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The New Year tea party hosted by the PU Vice-Chancellor has landed him in a fresh trouble.The party was actually hosted to celebrate the outcome of the UGC Fund Deficit Committee, which visited the PU recently, but the VC’s comments left members of the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) fuming.

Sobti reportedly questioned the PUTA members on the need to insist upon the Central status, when the university was already getting all facilities.

“He said there was no need to ask for the Central status, as he will get us all facilities. We know that the Vice-Chancellor is really working hard, but we want structural reforms. Panjab University is an excellent varsity and what we are getting as gifts should come right to us,” said Prof Akshay, general secretary of the association.

President Manjit Singh said it was, however, his act of calling PUTA a big hurdle in the way of development, which irked many. Meanwhile, RC Sobti maintained that he had not hurt anybody. He said, “Though we may not have the Central status, still all facilities will be provided to the varsity.”



Sufi singer mesmerises audience
SD Sharma 

Chandigarh, January 1
After eighteen music concerts in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, young, versatile and promising Punjabi folk and Sufiana singer Satinder Sartaaj gave his solo recital at the Tagore Theatre here today. The programme titled “Mehfil- E- Sartaaj” was organised by the Sea Bird Educational Organisation of Mohali.

The inimitable style in which Sartaaj took the centre stage, amidst applause, was an apparent revelation of the adroit mastery and confidence that he had seemingly gained during his formative years as a learner, performer and a teacher. Supported by eight musicians, Sartaaj commenced the recital with a Sufiana invocatory “saiyan veh, ishq-e-da nasha bhi..” weaved in a sermon like lyricism. He interspersed his gayaki with couplets exuding stray brilliance, but established an instant rapport with audience, who clapped and sung along in his impressive song “motia chameli bela ketki…”. 

He went on to dole out more numbers like “ajje ghada akal da …” and “dil pehlan jeha reha ni kathor ho gya…”. His gayaki bore the impress of the mysticism of Sufi saint poets and pristine folk of Malwa and Doaba. Holding a doctorate in Sufiana genre, Sartaaj has won many awards at the university level.Gifted with a quality voice, a poetic mind, the avid and brilliant performer, Sartaaj kept the crowd swayed through out the concert, which continued beyond the scheduled time.



SBI donates 3-wheeler to theatre group
Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, January 1 
SK Sehgal, chief general manager of the State bank of India, today donated a Piaggio three-wheeler to The Theatre Age, a group working for slum children.

Zulfiqar, president of the theatre group, said the vehicle would be used for collecting newspapers and other waste. “Around 1930 girls have been adopted by the bank under a special scheme,” Sehgal added.



PNB Document Storage Centre inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
Ashok Kumar Loomba, circle head of Punjab National Bank, inaugurated the PNB Document Storage Centre here recently for centralisation of all document activity for the entire circle. The centre has been set up in collaboration with Capital Business Systems Limited, New Delhi.

This endeavor is a major milestone, since it is for the first time in the country that a public sector entity has decided to go in for total record management solution at par with the best in management industry.

Besides Loomba , the opening ceremony was attended by assistant general manager PS Bedi , and chief manager RK Goel.



Rs10 lakh grant for farmers
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 1
There is a need to set up fruit and vegetable markets having international standards for bringing about an improvement in the financial position of farmers.

This was stated by Sucha Singh Langah, minister for agriculture, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here today.

He said such vegetable markets would also have the facility of a cold storage so that vegetables and fruits that remained unsold could be stored and saved from rotting.

At present, farmers were dependent on wheat and rice produce, which was not very profitable. They would have to be encouraged to shift to more profitable ventures and try producing vegetables and fruits.

The minister said these modern markets would be used to export vegetables and fruits to other countries so that farmers could get better prices for their products.

Farmers, who wanted to make a switch from traditional crops to producing vegetables and fruits, would be given subsidies by the government and help would also be provided in exporting these products.

He said the government had decided to set up green houses for this purpose and the old ones would also be repaired under the plan.

Subsidies and loans would be provided to farmers, who stepped out of the traditional system and preferred to have orchards of kinnows.

He said that agro centres were also being set up in the state to make small farmers financially independent.

A grant of Rs 10 lakh would be provided under the plan so that farmers could purchase tractors and other implements and the government was also providing 33 per cent subsidy in this regard.

The government was also contemplating on getting the sugarcane production increased and farmers would be given good price for their produce.

Profits could also be earned by producing bananas and the government would give subsidy on the purchase of banana seed, Langah added.



Bhutani takes charge as NIPER head

Mohali, January 1
Prof KK Bhutani has taken over the charge of the Director of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali. He succeeds Prof. P Rama Rao, who held the office from July 2004 to 
December 2009.

Bhutani did his Ph.D. from Panjab University, Chandigarh, in 1977, and worked as the Assistant Director, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu (Formerly known as Regional Research Laboratory) and served in various pharma industries. He joined the Department of Natural Products of NIPER since its inception in the year 1994. Bhutani also served as the Dean of NIPER for two terms from year 2002 to 2008.

After taking over the charge, Bhutani addressed students and staff of the institute. He said, “I will take the institute to new heights. The activities would be reinforced further and efforts will be made to elevate the institute’s criterion.He appealed the NIPERites for collaborative support and cooperation. — OC



School Fees
Education secys get notice
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, January 1
A local Human Rights Association yesterday served a legal-cum-demand notice upon the education secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and UT, along with their private school associations against taking advance fee on quarterly basis.

Insisting that parents were paid on monthly basis, the chairman of the association asserted that it was diificult for those parents who had more than one kid studying in private school.



CBI filed 55 chargesheets last year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The CBI, Chandigarh Zone, today said it had filed 55 charge-sheets last year, including several high-profile cases.

The agency said it had registered cases of corruption and misuse of official position against high-ranking officials of the Army, the BSNL, the FCI, the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Railways and public sector banks in 2009.

Among the high-profile cases, the CBI trapped the zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh, SK Sekhri, for allegedly demanding Rs 5 lakh graft, while threatening a pharmaceutical factory owner to implicate him in a case. He was nabbed while taking Rs 2 lakh from the complainant.

Pursuing its policy of completing investigation within one year, the zone has filed charge-sheets in 55 cases, including Fun Republic case, the Progressive House Building Society case, in which SDO Building, assistant engineer, three junior engineers of the SDO Building Estate Office, of UT were involved.

DIG CBI Mahesh Aggarwal said while securing 80 per cent conviction rate during the previous year, the case of S.S.Bhardwaj, Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh, ended in conviction, in which he had demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 7 lakh. Besides, Dr R.S. Dhaliwal, Professor, PGI, was convicted of fraud, cheating and corrupt practices by cheating the patients treated by him. He, in connivance with Surinder Singh Uppal and others, misused his official position and compelled patients to purchase artificial heart valves at exorbitant prices.

Captain Sudhir Deopujari was convicted of cheating the CDA, Chandigarh, to the tune of Rs 2,83,055 by submitting fictitious bills of various ordnance items. Major D.K. Rai was convicted for entering into criminal conspiracy and in furtherance of the same cheated the controller of defence accounts.

R.D. Joshi, Executive Engineer, Chandigarh, was convicted in a disproportionate assets case for amassing assets disproportionate to his known source of income.



Area under wheat in Punjab, Haryana declines

Chandigarh, Januay 1
With the Rabi sowing season getting almost over, Punjab and Haryana have seen a marginal dip in area under cultivation of wheat, although both the states aims to achieve over 260 lakh MT of wheat output.

Punjab has brought an area of 35.21 lakh hectares under wheat crop this season, which is 5,000 hectares less than the area brought under wheat last year, a senior official of Punjab Agriculture Department said.

“Sowing of wheat in the state has completed with an area of 35.21 lakh hectares against last year's area of 35.26 lakh hectares," he said.

Haryana has anticipated an area of 24.55 lakh hectares, which will fall short of last year's area of 24.62 lakh hectares. “Till December 29, we have brought 24.50 lakh hectares under wheat and within a week, the final area under the crop should touch 24.55 lakh hectares," an official of Haryana Agriculture Department said.

In spite of marginal shortfall in area under wheat, state farm officials were confident of achieving targeted production in the wake of sowing of high yielding wheat seeds varieties by farmers.

Punjab and Haryana have set a target to achieve wheat output of 146.60 lakh MT and 114.62 lakh MT respectively in the coming Rabi season.

Besides, Punjab is eyeing 43 quintals per hectare as wheat yield in Haryana will strive to achieve highest ever yield of 46.50 quintals a hectare. Haryana last year has achieved highest wheat yield of 46.14 quintals.

Among other Rabi crops, Haryana has seen major jump in area under cultivation of mustard crop during this season.

However, Haryana saw area diminishing under barley and grams crops. Area under barley fell to 46,000 hectares from 53,000 hectares in last year and in case of grams, the area reduced to 1.14 lakh hectares from 1.23 lakh hectares of last season. — PTI



Census 2011 to form national identity base
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The National Population Register (NPR), which would contain information on specified data items for each individual would form a comprehensive identity database in the country and would be a unique feature of the 2011 Census.

Preparations for the census have began and in Punjab the local government, department has been designated as the nodal department to coordinate the Census activities on behalf of the state government, according to a statement issued here.

The field hierarchy has also been established by notifying all deputy commissioners and commissioners of municipal corporations as principal census officers (PCOs) in their respective districts and corporation jurisdiction. The PCOs will be assisted by ADCs, ACs, SDOs, EOs and tahsildars, who have been designated as Census officers at different levels.

As in the past, census 2011 would be conducted in two phases, the first being house listing and housing census and the second being population enumeration. The first phase in Punjab would be undertaken during May 1 to June 15 this year.



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