C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Inter-state scam unearthed
Use of bogus ‘C’ forms to evade Central sales tax to tune of Rs 1 cr
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 25
An inter-state scam involving the use of bogus ‘C’ forms to evade the central sales tax (CST) to the tune of over Rs 1 crore from the sales tax departments of Punjab and Chandigarh has come to light.

The mastermind of the scam, Dharamveer Singh, proprietor of Dee Pee Agencies, Industrial Area, Phase 1, Chandigarh, not only used bogus ‘C’ forms of the UT Sales Tax Department, he also took officials at the Mohali-based plant of Godrej and Boyce Mfg Co Ltd for a ride by procuring different types of locks worth lakhs of rupees on the basis of bogus ‘C’ forms issued by the UT Sales Tax Department. The dealer was using the bogus forms for the past two-three years but remained unnoticed. When the scam was detected, he went missing.

The scam was detected by officials of Godrej who, on noticing the ‘C’ forms got suspicious, and tipped the UT Sales Tax Department. The Mohali Police also swung into action after the company lodged a complaint with the Mohali SSP regarding the cheating being done by Dharamveer Singh. The Branch Commercial Manager of Godrej, Majaz Khan, confirmed that a complaint had been lodged with the Mohali police for the registration of FIR. But the police have not lodged an FIR.

DSP, City-I, Sharanjit Singh, said, “The case was under investigation and certain queries were pending. The case would be registered soon.” The erring dealer, who was registered with he UT Sales Tax Department, had been buying locks from Godrej for the past many years.

On the other hand, the UT Sales Tax Department has sealed the premises of the dealer in Industrial Area, Phase 1, and is lodging a complaint with the Chandigarh Police for using bogus ‘C’ forms and some genuine ‘C’ forms that had been issued to other dealers. “ Since his registration number had been cancelled by the UT Sales Tax Department, he kept on dealing with Godrej on the basis of bogus and stolen ‘C’ forms,” said sources in the UT Sales Tax Department.

Not limiting to it, the dealer while selling the goods to sub-dealers and retailers charged full sales tax from them, but never deposited the same with the department. Some gullible sub-dealers, who were taking credit on the basis of tax deposited with Deep Pee, Agencies are also in trouble. The sources said the ‘C’ forms are issued quarterly. The erring dealer used to purchase goods from Godrej at concessional rate of 2 per cent on the basis of the ‘C’ form, as otherwise the tax liability comes to prevailing local VAT, 13.75 per cent in case of Punjab.



2 policemen found taking bribe, 1 held
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, February 25
In what comes as yet another blot on the face of the UT Police, two officials of the much-acclaimed proclaimed offender special investigation team were found taking bribe of Rs 3,000. While head constable Vajinder Singh was nabbed by the CBI , ASI Desh Raj, who was the key player, manged to flee.

Vajinder Singh was sent to 14 days’ judicial remand.

The CBI got a complaint from one Rupesh Tangri, who is a proclaimed offender in a cheque-bounce case. Tangri alleged that ASI Desh Raj had offered to give him time to get bailed out by delaying his arrest for Rs 4,000. Acting on a tip-off, the CBI asked him to “negotiate” and the deal was struck for Rs 3,000, which he was asked to deliver at the Sector 17 bus stand.

According to CBI officials, it was Vajinder Singh who landed up to collect the money, but Tangri insisted on giving it to Desh Raj. Following his insistence, Vajinder took him to Tangri’s house in Sector 46, from where he was nabbed, while Desh Raj managed to flee. “We are on the lookout for Desh Raj and will nab him soon,” said a senior official of the CBI.

It may be noted that Desh Raj is retiring on February 29.

What has raised many eyebrows is the fact that Desh Raj had applied for a 10-day leave, which was even approved but he never went for it. Prior to this, Desh Raj had recently also applied for such leaves, once for a month and once for 10 days, but never availed the same.

“Taking leave but not going ahead on them repeatedly seems to be fishy and hints at such deals being properly organised. We will be grilling Vajinder and try to find out if some more POs had been given advantage for money,” added CBI officials.



Adviser pulls up dept heads
Failure to use annual budget expenditure for current fiscal
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
UT Adviser KK Sharma today pulled up heads of different departments (HoDs) of the Chandigarh Administration, who are yet to exhaust their annual budget expenditure (plan), fixed for the current fiscal.

A special meeting, headed by Sharma, was held today to review the status of unutilised budgets by various departments.

The Plan budget is meant for the proposed projects of any department and if the department fails to consume the budget in the given fiscal, the remaining amount has to be surrendered to the administration, for which the administration has to explain the reasons to the Central Government.

This year, the UT’s target budget expenditure (plan) was Rs 661 crore.

“On an average, 72 per cent of the total planned expenditure has been exhausted by the UT departments so far,” said a senior official of the UT Administration, adding that there were still some departments that were yet to consume a major part of their budget expenditure.

The Adviser has issued clear instructions to the “defaulting” departments to achieve their targets with immediate effect, he added.

Notably, till January 31 more than 20 departments of the Chandigarh Administration had spent less than 50 per cent of their respective budget (plan) for this fiscal. A report in this regard was also published in these columns on February 7.

“Now the situation has improved. We hope that most of the departments would able to achieve their targets before the end of this fiscal,” said the officials.



Amit Garg, mother’s death case
Ambala police to grill DSP, SHO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The Ambala police has decided to question DSP (PCR and Communications) Roshal Lal and Industrial Area SHO Malkeet Singh with regard to the recent suicide by Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology (SVIET) faculty member Amit Garg.

The UT Police has marked an inquiry against the duo as they, despite being informed and having met Amit, did not take his mother’s body into custody or informed the Ambala police, which eventually drove him to commit suicide.

The team from Ambala will question the two policemen on the statements given by Amit to them in addition to quizzing them about the reason of not informing them about the case.

Garg was found dead at a Mohra-based hotel, while his mother’s body lay in his car. It was later revealed that he had come to the city carrying his mother’s body and claimed that she had committed suicide. He ran from one police station to another seeking justice and at last was put to the DSP and SHO concerned by the Tribune team.

The duo, though well informed, not only failed to take the body in their custody but let Amit go to Ambala alone.



Youth fails to identify mother’s killers
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The UT Police, investigating the murder case of 45-year-old Bhanuvati who was stabbed to death in Charan Singh Colony in Mauli Jagran on September 25, 2011, received a major setback when two key witnesses, including her son, turned hostile in a local court here today.

During the trial of the murder case in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge SS Sahni, Bhanuvati’s son Bheem and her brother-in-law Nanku turned hostile.

Sources added that in the earlier given statement to the police, the accused had identified six accused who had stabbed Bhanuvati to death, but today in the court they failed to identify the accused, who were present in the courtroom. The public prosecutor said both witnesses turned hostile, but the complainant was yet to record his statement.

The victim and her son were attacked at their residence. Bhanuvati was declared brought dead at a hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula.

According to the prosecution, accused Surinder Singh, Cheeku, Rajiv, Barista, Muniya and one more accused had attacked Nanku, Bheem and Bhanuvati with sharp-edged weapons. The prosecution had claimed that there was old rivalry between the accused and Nanku, which had resulted in the clash. 



cop’s stabbing
Life term for murder
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 25
Additional district and session Judge, Kanchan Mahi, today, awarded life imprisonment to a vehicle lifter in connection with murder of the Panchkula police constable. The case dates back to August 2010.

Public Prosecutor, Dharampal, said that the court awarded life term to Teja, a resident of Solan, who had stabbed constable Suresh Kumar to death. The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the accused, he added.

The court on Friday had convicted main accused, Teja, and had deferred the hearing for quantum of sentence acquitted another accused Shashi Bhushan.

There were three accused in the case Teja, a resident of Solan, Shashi Bhushan, a resident of Kalka, and the juvenile.

On January 26 this year, the constable, Suresh Kumar (posthumously), was awarded with the President’s Police medal for gallantry.

It was on August 24, 2010 when the Kalka police station SHO, Mukesh Kumar, got information that the two vehicle lifters of Kalka were going to Sector 5, Panchkula, to sell a stolen motorcycle. The SHO, constable Suresh and two other policemen reached Yavnika Garden in Sector 5, Panchkula.

Around 10 in the morning, the two vehicle lifters, Teja and Raju (minor’s name changed), reached there on a motorcycle. The policemen caught both of them immediately, but somehow Teja managed to free himself and tried to run away.

When Suresh overpowered him, Teja stabbed Suresh leaving him in a pool of blood.

The injured Suresh was taken to the General Hospital, Panchkula, after the incident but the doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead.

The Panchkula police had arrested the minor on the spot, whereas, it arrested Teja and Shashi Bhushan later.


Goods worth over Rs 45 lakh gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Goods worth lakhs were destroyed when fire broke out in three shops situated in Industrial Area at Ram Darbar here late night. It took three hours and three fire tenders in controlling flames.

The loss was estimated at over Rs 45 lakh, said owners of the property. An electric short circuit was suspected to be reason behind the incident.

Around 3 pm, the fire was noticed in the showrooms at plot 123. Three fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot and the fire was controlled by 6 am.

While one of the shops dealt in air-conditioners, the other sold electronics goods and the third traded in chemicals. Goods worth over Rs 45 lakh were gutted, said Sunil Sharma, one of the owners.



Cold nights back
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
People shivered as cold conditions prevailed in many areas of the region today. The night temperature fell following fresh snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir parts of Himachal Pradesh yesterday.

The minimum temperature plummeted by about three degrees in the region, bringing in chill during the morning and late-evening hours. The night temperature fell by about three degrees to 7.7 degree Celsius, two degrees below normal.

There was no major change in the maximum temperature, which was recorded at 21.3 degree Celsius, four notches below normal. The maximum relative humidity was 68 per cent and the minimum 38 per cent.

The weather office predicted a mainly clear sky, with mist or haze during morning and evening hours. There would be no major change in day and night temperatures.

The maximum temperature on Sunday would be around 22 degree Celsius and the minimum on Monday around 8 degree Celsius.

The sky would be partly cloudy in Punjab and Haryana, with mist or haze occurring during the morning and evening.



Kite-flying competition draws crowds
Tribune News Service

Dancers present a Haryanvi folk dance during the Rose Festival in Chandigarh on Saturday
(Above) Dancers present a Haryanvi folk dance during the Rose Festival in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune Photo: S Chandan
(below) Amrinder Gill performs at the Leisure Valley in Sector 10 of Chandigarh on Saturday evening. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, February 25
Ojas and Navya were declared Rose Prince and Rose Princess, respectively, in the age category of between one year and one year and-a-half at the Rose Festival here today. Of the 476 contestants, 248 were girls.

The second day of the festival started with the contest. All participants were given soft toys and the official crowning would be held during the closing ceremony tomorrow.

Another major attraction was the kite-flying contest, where participants from as far as Ahmedabad, besides 200 from the tricity, took part.

After a photography competition, a photography exhibition was organised, with photographs of gardens, roundabouts and trees.

A total of 155 entries were received in the professional category and 570 photographs in the amateur category.

Results: Rose Prince (1 year to 18 months): Ojas, runner-up: Harsukhman; Rose Princess: Navya, runner-up: Yashita; Rose Prince (18 months to 2 years): Vardhky, runner-up Shreyaank; Rose Princess: Gurjot, runner-up: Samya; Rose Prince (2 years to 3 years): Suvrat, runner-up: Digvijay; Rose Princess: Nitya, runner-up: Staisha. Photography results: professional category: Sachin Sharma- 1, Shubhmohan Singh- 2, Ashok Kumar Saini- 3, Vicky Gharu, Suresh Kumar and Arvinder Singh- consolation prize; amateur category: Nipun Tantia- 1, Nishi- 2, Sukhbir Singh- 3, Harshita Sazena, Naman Garg and SK Aggarwal- consolation prize.

Rose quiz results: college category: Annie Rana and Yati Khanna (Government College of Education, Sector 20) 1, Aradhna Thakur and Navjot Kaur (Government Home Science College, Sector 10) 2; school category: Arshdeep and Taranjeet Kaur (Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16) 1, Tanish Modi and Samarat Sardana (St John’s High School, Sector 26) 2.

Delay and commotion

The Rose Prince and Rose Princess contest led to commotion as the chief guest did not turn up, leading to delay in the announcement of names of winners. While the contest concluded at 1 pm, the organisers asked parents to wait till 2 pm for the announcement. The names were to be announced in the presence of Local Bodies Secretary Satya Gopal, who was the chief guest. He failed to turn up and the organisers kept requesting the parents to wait for his arrival. The parents, who were at the venue with their children since 9 am, objected to the wait and insisted that the names be announced immediately. The organisers ultimately requested Municipal Commissioner Prerna Puri, who reached the venue at 2.30 pm, to give away the crowns, which pacified the parents.



Boys’ hostel inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 25
SS Prasad, Financial Commissioner, today, inaugurated the boys’ hostel at Government College, Sector 1, Panchkula. There are 33 rooms, one Mess, area for playing and others facilities on the hostel premises.

A student said that the inauguration of the hostel was a good news for them as there was no facility for the boys to stay in Panchkula.

Earlier, the hostel was proposed for girls. But as there was low response from the girl students, it was converted into boys’ hostel.



Zen’s number turns out to be auto’s
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 25
During the investigation of gunpoint robbery of Rs 6 lakh, it has been revealed that the number of white zen car, used in the crime, was found to be fake. The number (CH-04-L-9126) is of an auto-rickshaw’s number, which was running in Chandigarh.

It is worth mentioning here that in 2008 as well when the zen gang had committed a robbery in Panchkula and the number of their car was that of the Punjab police, DIG’s vehicle.

Meanwhile, the police had called the owner, Naveen Gupta, and recorded his statement. Sources said that so far the police had failed to collect the CCTV footage of the HDFC bank.

Haryana treasurer, Gian Chand Gupta, in a statement issued, today, showed concern over the rising crime graph in Panchkula. He said with the daylight robberies; it seemed that there was no fear of law among the criminals.



Misappropriation charge against Wembley Co-operative House Building Society
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 25
Deputy registrar, cooperative societies, Punjab, Naresh Kumar Goyal, after the complete inspection of the Wembley Co-operative House Building Society records, has pointed out that the society mis-appropriated funds to the tune of Rs 12 crore. The management committee of the Sector 91 based society has already been suspended by the registrar.

The deputy registrar in his orders has pointed out anomalies in form of incomplete audits, misuse of member’s funds, showing unnecessary monetary losses, illegal manipulation of society record, working against the bylaws of society and working as a private builder.

The petitions of the members, Sandeep Karwal and Darbara Singh, have been accepted by the deputy registrar.

The petitioners had stated that the names of Sandeep Karwal and Darbara Singh should be included in the list of first 62 members (as only the 62 flats had been constructed so far) and they were not liable to pay any extra charges on top of the full payment of the flat. They had contended that the management committee had never informed any of the members beforehand about the floor wise extra cost to be charged to the members.

It had been lamented that the members, who had paid full amount of flat in year 2008, were being replaced by those members, who paid the full amount in year 2010. The cost of flats was escalated by the management committee as the funds for the construction of flats were misused. The management committee always kept telling members that the cost of flats is “tentative” but there was no clause in the agreement between and the society and the contractor that the cost was “tentative”. Only a hand written line was mentioned that only in the case of hike in price of bricks, cement and the steel, contractor would be paid extra money.

The deputy registrar, cooperative societies, Punjab, had annulled the point base criteria for the allotment of flats prepared by the management committee and ordered that the new list of members should be prepared who have made the full payment of flat before December 31, 2011 and according to the instructions given by registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, under Sections 1(iv), 2(i) and 2(3), the list of registered members should be prepared according to the seniority in letter dated December 24, 2007.

The allotment of the flats should be done according to the seniority of the registered members. If the share of any old member had been transferred to the new member, the seniority of the old member should sustain for the new member. Approval and occupancy certificate must be taken from the competent authority of the department before the draw can be held, the registrar pointed out.



Judge inspects Burail Model Jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Justice Alok Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, also Administrative Judge, Chandigarh Sessions Division, made a surprise inspection of the Model Jail at Burail here today.

He was accompanied by District and Sessions Judge SK Goel and Chief Judicial Magistrate JS Sidhu. Alok Kumar, Inspector-General, Prisons, and Balbir Singh Dhol, Additional IG, Prisons, also Jail Superintendent, were present during the inspection.

Justice Alok Singh took a round of the jail and heard the grievances of inmates. Some undertrials lodged in the jail requested medical treatment at the jail.

Directions were issued to the Jail Superintendent and the Medical Officer for their immediate treatment.

Life convict Raj Pal, who appeared before the Judge, stated that orders regarding premature release had been passed by the Administration, but he was not able to furnish surety.

Directions for sending his case to the District and Sessions Judge for consideration were issued to the jail authorities.



Restaurant owner told to pay Rs 75 lakh
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The Chandigarh district court has directed the proprietor of Moti Mahal restaurant to pay Rs 75,88,000 to the owner of the building where the restaurant was running.

The directions were passed, on the recovery suit filed by the building owners, as the proprietor was not paying rent for the past many years.

The restaurant, which was located on the ground floor at Sector 17, was shut last year.

Divanshu Jain, counsel for the applicant, said in 2010, the court had asked Sonia Ahuja, owner of restaurant Moti Mahal, to vacate the premises as she had failed to pay the rent for the past two years. Despite the orders, it was in January 2011 that she left the premises. Now the court has passed the orders in their favour, he added.



City scan

Young English learners’ test

The British Council of India (BCI) organised a test of Young learners of English, YLE, at The British School, Chandigarh, here today. The test aimed at helping a child learn English. As many as 70 students took the test.

Blood donation camp at PU

A blood donation camp was organised today by Late Dr GC Mishra Memorial Education and Charitable Trust at University Institute Of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University. The Camp was a part of the ongoing UICET's annual fest, Cynaide-2012. The students and the staff of the UICET donated blood.

Gold medallist

Sachin Malhotra, a student of Post Graduate Government College, Sector 46, has bagged gold medal in B.Com Honours (Business Economics) examination held in 2011 conducted by Panjab University. Sachin would be honored with a gold medal at the academic function of the university on March 4.

Excursion trip

An excursion trip was organised for the students of special training centre (STC) of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 21.The studetns were shown a movie by the NGO, Youth Innovative Society. Seminar on nanotechnology

Seminar on nanotechnology

Professor Rajneesh Arora, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, while inaugurating the seminar on “Nanotechnology-Emerging Opportunities and Challenges”, said, “Innovation is the key to academic excellence” at the Doaba Group of Colleges, Kharar Campus. On the occasion, the vice-chancellor also awarded medals for academic excellence to 10 topmost the DGC students of various streams in engi-neering and management. — Tribune Reporters



Full marks? No problem!
CBSE to upload best class-XII answer scripts on website
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Scoring full marks in class XII will not be hard for students now. With the aim to equip students with techniques of attempting a question paper, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will shortly upload on its website best answer scripts of students who have appeared in the examination.

The CBSE has decided to upload quality answer scripts from previous years on its website, which will give students the opportunity to gain an insight into the examiner’s mind and score the maximum marks.

According to CBSE officials, answer scripts in major class-XII subjects will be uploaded in a couple of days, which will serve as examples of presentation, writing, creativity and reasoning.

The answer sheets may not belong to candidates who have scored full marks, but will help students gauge what makes an ideal answer script.

A similar initiative was taken by the CBSE in 2008, when it had uploaded answer scripts of students who had obtained full marks in various subjects.

Making a change this year, the CBSE had decided that answer sheets to be displayed on the website would not be limited to those of toppers, but would include answer scripts of students who had attempted well.

“Any student who has answered questions well, but is not on the toppers’ list will also be made accessible online. The overall quality of answer sheets will be assessed,” officials stated.

Rohit Singh, a class-XII student, said the CBSE move would help them sail through the board examination with ease, adding that they were looking forward to online answer scripts, that could teach them how to improve their skills.

A government-school principal said it was a wonderful idea, that would set the benchmark for students, adding that it would help students self-evaluate themselves and learn on how to include main points in their answers.



Over 300 students take part in ‘Tech Zeal’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The department of computer applications at the Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, today organised ‘Tech Zeal’, a kaleidoscope of inter-college competitions.

The campus was abuzz throughout the day, with the participation of more than 300 students from over 20 colleges of the region.

Dr KM Rastogi, director, NITTTR, Sector 26, was the chief guest. Addressing the students, he said India was a web-world market and people should come forward to adopt the profession.

The day witnessed events like the ‘70 mm’, which was a movie-making talent contest. ‘Dance Mashup’, the dance competition, was enjoyed by the gathering.

The participants danced to foot-tapping numbers. In ‘Gamesmanship’, participants were made to cross mental and physical obstacles to reach the final level.

‘Code Arena’ tested programming skills through problem-solving, critical analysis and quick thinking. As the day progressed, the fest witnessed events like ‘Mind Explorer’ a quiz.

The ‘Web Createx’ contest tested creative skills of students for website development. Many social issues were taken up through ‘Nukkad Nautanki’, the street-play competition.

The issues raised through street plays included corruption, female foeticide, political situation and the lack of nationalistic spirit among the youth.

An innovative event called ‘Colour Your Expression’, a face-painting competition, was also organised to see the creativity of contestants.

Achila Dogra, college principal, distributed prizes among winners. She said technical skills of students would make them successful in the career options of their choice.



Job fair for college students
Tribune News Service

Students visit a counter at the MCMDAV College in Sector 36 of Chandigarh on Saturday
Students visit a counter at the MCMDAV College in Sector 36 of Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, February 25
The MCMDAV College today organised a job fair for students, that also witnessed the participation of students of the DAV College, Sector 10. Persons from various multi-national companies visited the campus.

The endeavour to support professional aspirations of students witnessed the participation of 45 companies like Mahindra Holidays, ING Vyasa, Star Health, Met Life, Bajaj Capital and Karox.

The competitive spirit of students came to fore as a large number of participants came to appear for interviews.

The event had more than 1,100 aspirants, who showcased their knowledge and talent to secure a start to their careers.

A total of 200 candidates bagged themselves job offer calls and 400 were shortlisted by various companies for the final round of interviews.

College principal Puneet Bedi emphasised the importance of making use of such opportunities. College student Anjali said the job fest provided a platform for students to have a taste of corporate employability.

“I am grateful to be a part of this job fest. It was a platform to experience the process of job selection,” said Kuljeet Singh, MBE student, DAV College, Sector 10.



Guest lecture on android applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The first guest lecture on android applications was organised at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, here today.

Dr Vipin Bhatnagar, assistant professor, department of physics, Panjab University, apprised the students of MSc (information technology), BSc (computer science), PGDCA and BCA on how the android had overpowered the mobile industry.

He also gave an insight into the development of android applications after giving a detailed background of various operating systems for smart phones.

Android operating systems provided a useful, powerful and friendly mobile user interface, with most applications free, he said.

He also demonstrated the working of one such android application for the students.



Sikh pilgrimage train to take time
File yet to be cleared by Railway Board
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The special Sikh pilgrimage train connecting the five Takhts (temporal seats) of the Sikhs is likely to hit a roadblock as the proposed project is yet to clear administrative hurdles in New Delhi.

According to sources, the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had submitted the detailed project report to the Railway Board for approval about four weeks ago, but the file was yet to be cleared by the board, resulting in the delay in introduction of the train.

The sources further said the train had been planned keeping NRI Sikhs who visited the country during winters in mind.

The delay in approval was likely to result in a lukewarm response as the number went down from April due to the severe heat conditions, the sources added.

The pilgrimage train was to be launched by the IRCTC in association with the Punjab Heritage And Tourism Promotion Board the previous month.

The train was to be launched to woo NRI Sikhs aspiring to visit Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Nanded and Patna in nine days.

IRCTC chief regional manager RK Sondh said they had submitted the detailed project to the higher authorities and were hopeful that the board would give its approval soon so that they could run the train as early as possible.

The people of Punjab had demanded a train to connect the five Takhts. A few years ago, Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal had floated the proposal for a similar trip and deposited the state’s share, but the Centre did not respond.

Passengers were to be taken in air-conditioned buses from the railway stations to the respective religious places.

This tour was to offer them free meals, accommodation and other facilities.



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