C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Road mechanics’ hope for sites dashed
Estate Office returns money sans interest after 5 years 
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The hope of hundreds of road mechanics to get sites at reasonable prices in the rehabilitated motor markets has been shattered.

Five years after inviting applications from the interested parties, the Estate Office has returned the application amount ranging between Rs 1.40 lakh and Rs 36,000 without paying any interest on the amount. “The application amount in the form of bank drafts was with the Estate Office for over five years and suddenly the draft reached my house on July 18,” said Mr Manmohan Kaushik.

Inquiries reveal that the Estate Office recently returned about 120 applications along with the collective application amount running into several lakhs. The applications had been invited in 2001 under “The Allotment of Sites on Leasehold Basis to Auto Spare Part Dealers and Auto repair mechanics in Chandigarh Scheme 1999” scheme.

For Mr Sumel Deep, an unemployed youth who had also applied with a hope of earning a livelihood, the world has come to an end. “I used to work as a road mechanic in Sector 40. I intended to start my business, but all is lost now,” he lamented.

Mr Narayan Dass, former vice-president of the Sector 48 Market Association, said about 40 sites were still lying vacant in Sectors 38 and 48. The Administration should allot the sites to needy persons at reasonable rates instead of auctioning. A number of applicants complained that till the last moment they were made to believe that vacant sites would be allotted in the next phase.

The Estate Office has returned the money, stating that the claim of allotment had been rejected by the screening committee after a gap of over five years, said the affected persons.

All displaced persons should be rehabilitated as a number of shops lying unallotted in the motor markets.



8-year girl takes Lake Club to court
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Eight-year-old Sahiba Joshi has taken the governing body of the Lake Sport Complex here to court.

Acting on her complaint, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) Y.S. Rathore has issued a notice of appearance to the Secretary, Sports, Mr S.K. Sandhu, the Director, Sports, Mr I.S. Sandhu, and the Lake Sport Complex general manager, Mr Reet Mohinder Singh.

Sahiba had filed a civil suit against the governing body, alleging that the general manager of the complex had terminated her membership on the grounds of misconduct, misbehaviour and using unparliamentary language.

In her application, she had pleaded that the termination of her membership was illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional.

A student of Class III at the Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, Sahiba and her father Anurag Joshi were granted membership of the swimming pool on June 3 last.

On July 16, when Sahiba and her father went to the swimming pool, they were denied entry by the attendant.

When they approached the general manager to know the reason, he told them to change their timings of availing themselves of the service as that period had been blocked.

Mr Joshi said they received a letter dated July 18, informing them that their swimming pool cards, numbered 1363 and 1364, had been cancelled with immediate effect on the grounds of misconduct, misbehaviour and using unparliamentary language with complex officials.

The amount for the remaining period till the expiry of their cards — October 31 next — was refunded vide cheque 004209, dated July 18, for Rs 2070.

“How can an eight-year-old student of a good school misbehave and use unparliamentary language”, he asked.

“I had no option but to move court against the fictitious and frivolous grounds on which the memberships were terminated”, he said.

Despite repeated attempts, Mr Reet Mohinder Singh could not be contacted for comments.



All set for Mohali civic poll
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 29
All is set for the municipal elections here tomorrow in which the fate of 125 contestants will be decided for 31 seats in the prestigious civic body.

The polling will start at 8 am and continue till 4 pm. The counting of votes will be done soon after the polling ends. The name of the winning candidates will be announced tomorrow evening.

The polling staff reached the 100 booths set up in 32 polling stations all over the town today carrying the ballot papers and other election materials. A list of documents has been given to the polling parties to be relied upon in case of any dispute about the identity of a voter.

The security arrangements involving more than 500 police personnel are also in place to enable the 91,837 voters to exercise their franchise. As many as 42 videography teams will record the ongoing polling.

Supporters of the candidates have also set up their booths outside the polling stations.

The SDM-cum- Electoral Registration Officer, Mr Sandeep Hans, told mediapersons at a press conference here this evening that no banners, poll symbols or the name of the candidate would be allowed to put up on the booths set up by the supporters of the candidate. These booths could only be set up at a distance of 100 metres from the polling station. The voter’s slip had to be given to the voter on a simple piece of paper.

While Mr Hans had declared only four wards as “sensitive”, the police said 13 wards were sensitive out of which three were highly sensitive. The 10 wards declared “sensitive” by the police were numbers 2 , 3 ,8 ,10 , 19, 21, 22, 23, 27 and 30 and the three “super- sensitive” wards were 6, 20 and 26.

The short period of campaigning given to the contestants, which ended last evening, remained peaceful and the authorities do not expect any untoward incident during the polling tomorrow.

Supporters of candidates remained busy today going from door-to-door of residents with folded hands seeking votes and distributing poll slips in their respective wards. Last minute efforts were made in certain wards to woo voters by hosting small parties.

Liqour, too, is playing a role in the civic body elections.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, appealed to all candidates, their supporters and voters to cooperate with the district administration in ensuring free and fair elections. He warned that any person found indulging in any activity prejudicial to the conduct of an impartial poll would be dealt with sternly. He also exhorted the polling staff and the police personnel on duty to discharge their responsibilities without fear or favour.



Major business centre nobody’s baby
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 29
Almost five years after it was incorporated into the local Notified Area Committee (NAC), a major business centre—the godown area on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur road at Pabhat village here—seems to be nobody’s baby.

This despite the fact that the godown area, from where about 300 top national and MNCs operate, contributes about Rs 200 crore annually by way of sales tax and central sales tax to the state exchequer. The NAC Zirakpur also earns about Rs 1 crore from the area through octroi, development charges and house tax.

However, what has irked the commercial property owners is the fact that repeated representations to the NAC authorities had not elicited any response so far, alleged Mr F.S. Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association of the Godown Area.

A visit to the area, particularly during the Monsoons, could be a nightmare as was experienced by this correspondent today. With virtually no sewerage and drainage system in place, several parts of the area resembled ponds several days after the city and adjoining areas experienced heavy rain, giving rise to the risk of water-borne diseases.

Besides, there is no arrangement for the potable drinking water and the groundwater is unfit for drinking purposes, alleged owners. The less said about streetlights and the roads the better.

In fact, the large-scale construction activity, including the multi-storeyed flats, threaten to deliver a death blow to the already-fragile infrastructure in the area, which is at a stone’s throw from the Chandigarh Civil Airport.

The strategic location and proximity to Chandigarh had worked in favour of the godown area to emerge as major business centre. However, keeping in mind its commercial importance, a special package by the Punjab Government could save it from slow death.

The private colonisers may make provision for water supply and internal development in their complexes. However, what about sewerage and drainage system which is the responsibility of the civic body, asks Mr Nagra, alleging that the area had already emerged as an urban slum.



Airport junction accident prone
Poor traffic lights a bane of commuters
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Non-functional traffic lights and the absence of traffic signals at certain crucial road junctions pose a threat for the unaware travellers, particularly visitors from outstation on the city roads.

Shattered glasspanes of vehicles are a common sight on these points and the problem is grave during the rush hour of offices on all working days in a week.

One of the most peculiar locations of the non-functional traffic lights is at the turn towards the airport from the Dakshin Marg.

Mr S.M.Gopal, a daily traveller, said “I have never seen the lights function properly, particularly during the morning office rush hours and the in the evening return hours from the past several months”.

The turn is located on the main road for the traffic travelling to Ambala and further to the national Capital. “I have seen a number of accidents at the spot. It is a very common sight to see broken glass splinters of the car shields at the venue. Without proper signboards and proper visibility for the vehicles on the lanes from the opposite direction, the spot is dangerous. It needs proper signboard markings and even paint on the road,” Mr Raj Kamal Sharma, a resident of Behlana village, said.

The absence of a traffic signal on the road crossing in Sector 38 (West) while coming from Mohali is another spot which witnesses frequent accidents. When one comes from Mohali, a traveller reaches the traffic lights after which the problem spot comes about 200 yards on the straight run.

Mrs Bhupinder Kaur, a resident of Mani Majra, said, “Those driving on the inner sector road from the market to the MIG flats are often caught unawares by the speeding vehicles on the main road which enters the city from Punjab. The road bends are not visible to the drivers on the inner sector and main roads, as well. I had a bad accident on the road intersection last month when a van which was going to the PGI on the main road hit my car which was crossing over to the MIG flats on the inner sector road from the side of the market.”

Mr Ajay Sharma, a resident, said, “There are no signboards showing the sudden turn into the sector. A traveller is caught unawares.”

Another venue of frequent accidents is near the left turn that one has to take from the Dakshin Marg while entering Sector 39 and 38 (West) driving down from Ambala. The cross road of the turn from the main road and Sector 38-38(West) road has no traffic signal and no road signs to show the pathways.

“The road divider needs a proper marking, particularly for the first-time travellers,” Mrs Saroj Rani, a resident, said.



Python in temple causes panic
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 29
Panic gripped at Mata Mansa Devi Temple premises after a 8-foot long python reached the temple of Sati Mata and entered the altar here this afternoon.

Scavengers of the temple noticed the reptile when they were sweeping places around the idols and they subsequently raised an alarm.

Priests and other employees of the temple assembled at the site to have a look at the “wild devotee.” The python wrapped around a puppy, an eyewitness said.

A team of the Haryana Forest and Wildlife Department reached the spot and managed to capture and released the python in the nearby forests. 



Drive to curb illegal immigration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Association of Professional Immigration and Education Consultants (APIEC) of India, a non-profit making body, has initiated an awareness drive to curb unethical and illegal immigration. This was stated by the Chairman of the APIEC, Lt. Col. B.S. Sandhu, (retd.) CMD -WICS, during a press conference at Press Club, here today.

On this occasion, Lt. Col. J.S. Batth (retd.), president of the APIEC, and CMD CanAsia, said “Immigration is a business of trust, where a client places his entire future in the hands of an immigration consultant. Yet, some fly-by-night operators have befooled many innocent people. We need to accentuate that immigration entails responsibility and ethics in much larger measure than perhaps any other business.”

Lt. Col. Batth said all members of the APIEC were also members of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC). Only the members of the CSIC were authorised to represent the case, give immigration advice for a fee and contact with citizenship and immigration authorities of Canada.



Dera, farmers in land dispute
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 29
Tension prevailed near the premises of the Radha Soami Satsang dera in Sector 76 here today following a dispute over the possession of a few acres of land.

The land under dispute was in the possession of certain farmers. Land around that stretch had been purchased by Radha Soamis but a kutcha approach road (gauhar) to that area existed. The farmers who were cultivating the piece of land were reportedly not allowed to enter it through the approach road.

It is alleged that some followers of the dera started the work of levelling that piece of land belonging to the farmers.

The farmers said that they had got a stay from a court on the acquisition of that piece of land and as such nobody could carry out any activity on it. However, the dera management reportedly told the farmers that the land in question had been allotted to it by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).



Lensman assaulted

Chandigarh, July 29
Pradeep Sharma, a cameraman working with a private channel, was allegedly assaulted by certain advocates in front of the district courts here today.

Later, a compromise was reached at between the two parties later. TNS



Man held for making fake currency
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 29
The CIA staff of the district police has arrested a Sector 4 resident for allegedly printing fake currency notes.

The police has recovered fake currency notes worth Rs 5600 and seized a computer, a scanner, and some other important documents from the house of the suspect.

Acting on a tipoff, a team led by Inspector Surjit Singh raided the house of Rajiv Sukhija, after nabbing him from the Sector 16 market while he was allegedly trying to circulate two fake notes of Rs 1000 each.

During questioning he admitted to have scanned them at his house and then trying to circulate in the market.

Rajiv Sukhija belongs to a Karnal-based well-to-do family and is putting up in Panchkula with his relatives. He is pursuing BA from Panjab University, Chandigarh, through correspondence.

He has also allegedly made transaction worth lakhs of rupees through a bank in the names of his mother and sister. The police suspect the involvement of a bank employee in the case.



CII opposes quota in private sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) yesterday said that though they were opposed to reservation of Scheduled Castes/ Backward Classes in the private sector, but would work for greater inclusiveness of these classes through concrete steps on affirmative action.

This was stated by Mr R Seshasayee, President of CII, after the CII- ASSOCHAM Task Force report was presented before the National Council of CII. The report emphasizes that a cohesive and integrated society will foster inclusive development, growth and competitiveness.

He said that the main initiative by the industry would include following a code of conduct to encourage greater participation of SC/ ST in employment, massive training for better employability as well as mentoring for creating entrepreneurs belonging to SC/ STs.

The report, prepared under the chairmanship of DrJ.JIrani, Director, Tata Sons and Past President of the CII, says that the private sector companies have historically been caste neutral in the employment policies. “The industry recognizes that these socially and economically underpriveleged have not been able to realize their full potential owing to social discrimination. A concerted action is required for their upliftment, but the industry is against any legislation that would express its freedom of choice in employment,” said Mr R. Seshasayee.



Seven firms vie for Theme Park

Chandigarh, July 29
As many as seven companies yesterday made presentations for the proposed Theme Park to be set up at Sarangpur village, an official press release said here. The committee was chaired by the Home Secretary, Mr Krishna.

The companies that made the presentation included Appu Ghar Limited, EMMAR/MGF Limited, Unitech Limited, Pantaloon Limited, Parsavnath Limited, Writers and Publishers Limited and DLF Limited. Detailed presentations about the profile of the companies and activities proposed to be held in the Theme Park were made. TNS



Post Office open today for IT returns
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 29
The Postal Department of Haryana, has decided to keep the Sector 8 Main Post Office open on Sunday so that people could file their income tax returns. According to Mr Y. K. Bhushan, Postmaster, the post office will remain open from 9 am to 5 pm.



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