C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land Acquisitions
More by whim than reason
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Official stand

Many owners purchased plots after the notification for acquisition. Exemption of these scattered structures would derail acquisition when compensation in crores has been paid.

Chandigarh, April 12
It seems the Chandigarh administration has not adopted a uniform policy while deciding on which land is to be exempted from acquisition and which is not. Ditto for relocation of encroachers on public land.

While the sword of demolition or forcible land acquisition hangs on the head of hundreds of residents in different pockets in Mani Majra and Deep Complex in Hallo Majra, the administration has in the past exempted about 40 acres under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act in Mani Majra.

At the time of acquisition, dense construction existed on the land. Around five acres was exempted in pocket No.6 of Mani Majra, as religious structures stood on the land.

Similarly, 4.5 acres in pocket No.8 (Darshani Bagh) was exempted from acquisition in 2003. Sources said a similar logic was given for exempting 30 acres in different pockets. However, the sparsely constructed area around these pocket were not exempted from acquisition.

Over the years, hundreds of structures have come up in the sparsely constructed area as the acquisitions were challenged by the affected persons. Most of the houses have been built on plots measuring less than five marlas. The land in these cases have been transferred to the Municipal Corporation.

Last year, a case of relocating 50 structures in pocket No.7 was moved by the administration. But it has not been cleared. On the pattern of Darshni Bagh case, at least 200 families of Shastri Nagar have been demanding relocation.

Residents of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, lament that they have been fighting a lonely battle for exemption of 30 acres from acquisition. “The administration cannot adopt a similar yardstick for treating the case of farmhouse owners in Kishangarh and those who have had houses constructed from their meagre resources,” said BS Rawat.

On relocation, a different yardstick is being adopted for those who have encroached public land. In its effort to get encroached land vacated from slum dwellers, the administration is spending crores on rehabilitating 22, 000 persons after acquiring additional land.

On the other hand, it refuses to relocate those who have built houses from their meagre income.

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Tribune Special
Ex-servicemen’s plea rebuffed
No respite, says General
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

The whole purpose of acquisition is to ensure that instead of trying to preserve the lifestyle that suits only a few well-to-do people, we create job opportunities for those who have been casualties of our economic advance.

Chandigarh, April 12
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator General SF Rodrigues (Retd) has categorically refused respite to those expecting exemption from acquisition of land in the city’s periphery.

In a strongly worded response to a request by Brig KP Singh Deo, chairman of the ex-servicemen department, All-India Congress Committee, to reconsider the acquisition plans, General Rodrigues has lambasted the stand of the land owners.

Brig Deo had written to the UT Administrator, requesting consideration of the demand of ex-servicemen, who own large chunks of land in Kishangarh, that their land be exempted from acquisition.

Incidentally, these landowners in their letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi had claimed that the administration was trying to oust them from their land that they had bought with savings from their meagre earnings.

The General refused to buy the story of the landowners, many of who had undertaken illegal construction on their land and one of them is reported to have entered into an agreement with a leading coloniser to develop his land.

The Administrator said: “The whole purpose of acquisition is to ensure that instead of trying to preserve the lifestyle that suits only a few well-to-do people, we create job opportunities for those who have been causalities of our economic advance, or who have been marginalised because they are poor and illiterate.”

“Since the land is acquired to complete the final phase of development of Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, we should be more concerned about planned development of the city without giving undue importance to certain persons who have vested interests and have acted in violation of the law.”

The administrator also said the green cover would not be allowed to be affected in any way.

“The Forest Survey of India in its report has acknowledged that forest cover in the city has increased from 23.5 per cent in 1995 to 35.7 per cent in 2006. In the process of planned development of the city, 13,833 trees were felled and 22 lakh planted. Therefore, their argument of ecological imbalance on account of acquisition is obviously motivated.

“We also have an affidavit filed by a local developer in the High Court that claims Rs 1 crore was paid as advance payment to one of the groups. They proposed to construct a night club multiplex and a mall, presumably for the migratory birds!”

He also clarified that farmhouses were not permitted in any part of the city. “Only mali huts, cattle-sheds and tubewells are permitted on farmland, within a very limited prescribed area. Construction of any other type of structure is illegal and in violation of provisions of the Periphery Control Act and the offence invites punitive action, which includes demolition of unauthorised buildings and also imprisonment which may extend up to three years.”

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NOT FAIR
Why single out Yadav, ask officers
Tribune News Service

T.P.S.Phulka, Estate Officer of Patiala, Hargunjit Kaur, GA(Mohali), and Parminder Pal Singh( GA, Fatehgarh Sahib), today joined the Chandigarh administration on deputation from the Punjab Civil Services cadre. The postings will be announced later.

Chandigarh, April 12
In the offices of the Chandigarh administration and the police headquarters the sole issue of discussion today was the official comment of adviser to the UT Administrator Lalit Sharma on the file seeking another extension for Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav.

The adviser, in response to the home department asking him whether it should ask the Punjab Government for another extension for Yadav had said that seeking extension had “ almost become a soap opera with the administrative system not quite covered with glory."

Yadav has already availed of five extensions. The ministry of home affairs had agreed to allow him to serve in the present post for one last and final time.

A senior officer of the Punjab cadre said: "Ethically, an officer should go back to his parent state after three years. It is sad that this has not been the case.

There are certain officers who have served long in the UT, holding different offices. In that context, it is unfair to single out Yadav".

" Home Secretary Krishna Mohan is set to get an extension. He had earlier served as deputy commissioner. deputy commissioner R.K.Rao had earlier served as SDM. This time, his term as DC was extended. director public relations Vivek Atray from the HCS served as director, information technology, for six years and also DPR prior to his current assignment."

Another senior officer said: "Atray had taken over as director, IT, when the process to establish the IT Park had just begun. It needed an officer of immense energy and dedication to lead the team".

It was pointed out that Additional Deputy Commissioner I. S. Sandhu has had a long stint in the UT.

It is felt that officers from Punjab, as compared to officers from Haryana, are given less importance. Arun Sekhri of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking was repatriated to his parent cadre of Punjab, recently. O.P.Popli (PCS), additional commissioner of the municipal corporation, was also repatriated.

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Quarrel leads to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
A quarrel between two shopkeepers in Sector 34 took a deadly turn this morning, when one of the shopkeepers, 58-year-old Lal Chand Gupta, collapsed. He was taken to hospital, where he was declared dead.

The victim’s family alleged that the victim was manhandled by Pradeep Bansal, president of the Sector 34 market association, who pushed the old man, following which he collapsed and died. The family said they had filed a complaint against Bansal for hooliganism, following which he reached a compromise with them after an apology. Despite efforts Pradeep Bansal was not available for comment.

SHO of the Sector 34 police station inspector Prem Kumar Chauhan said inquest proceedings had been initiated in this regard.

The victim’s family had given a complaint, and the matter was being looked into. Further action would be initiated after the cause of death was established.

Meanwhile, the doctors have reserved their opinion and sent samples for chemical examination.

Talking to the TNS at the Sector 16 General Hospital, Pankaj Gupta, the victim’s younger son said at 11 am Pradeep’s brother Narinder began poking fun at his father, to harass him. His brother Neeraj objected to this. At this Narinder hurled abuses at their father. A verbal dual ensued during which Pradeep pushed his father who collapsed.

“We have lodged a complaint with the police against Pradeep Bansal, Narinder Bansal and Gurmail Singh,” he said.

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Sports Bond
Home, away from home
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Bonding beyond boundaries through sports, perhaps, best describes the team of seven foreign tennis players selected under the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) project. They will stay together for five years and share their cultures and customs.

Under the project, seven budding tennis players from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Brunei, will stay in India and get training in sports.

The players, four boys and three girls, are in the age group of 11-13 and are lodged at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Academy (CLTA) hostel, Sector 10, here. Their academic and sports schedule has already begun.

The visitors, who reached here last week, are Zian Abdul Rasheed and Mariam Ridha Ebrahim (the Maldives), Tausif Amin Khan and Mumitu Jannut Mou (Bangladesh), Madhushani Rajendra and Harsha Dilenka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Mohammad Aiman Bin Abdullah from Brunei Darussallem.

Excited about the new chapter in their lives, the visitors spoke to this corresponden. Mariam Ridha said: “We feel great to be here. It’s really a unique experience to live with others who hail from completely different backgrounds and cultures”.

Mariam, who was fascinated by the local multiplex, secured the third place in the under-12 (girls) national and doubles runners-up category in the Maldives.

Her country fellow Zian, a national champion in the U-12 (boys) category, has other priorities on mind. “Here in the city, the standard of education is higher than in our country. Thanks to the CYP programme, I finally have a chance to study here.”

For 12-year-old Mimitu, visiting a local temple was a great experience. “I visited the temple for the first time. I was impressed to see the idols but the idol of ‘Vidyadevi Saraswati’ attracted me the most.”

The other Bangladeshi visitor, Tausif’s, aim is to be a great tennis player. “In our country, cricket is the most popular game, but I want to make a mark in tennis.”

Thirteen-year-old Rodger Federer fan, Harsha de Silva from Sri Lanka, hopes to match up to his ideal. “High standards of coaching and tennis infrastructure in the city will help me realise my goal.”

Madhushanti, also from Sri Lanka, wants to earn a name in tennis. “To realise my dream, I decided to stay away from my family for five years.”

Popularising tennis in his country is the aim of Mohammad Aiman, the under-14 champion of Brunei. “In our country, people like football the most. I want to popularise tennis.”

Away from their families, the special visitors already have friends in Chandigarh. Hostel warden Anju Singh and security officer Anil Kumar are their best pals, right now.

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Scholars speak of returning to teachings of great Gurus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
It was an august gathering that came together for the release of the Hindi translation of Roopinder Singh’s ‘Guru Nanak: His Life and Teachings’ by UT Administrator Gen S F Rodrigues (retd) today at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.

In the presence of scholars and city stalwarts, the honoured guests on the dais spoke of the urgent need to return to the teachings of our great masters.

“We must take joy in the fact that we are uniquely Indian and the time has come for us to get back to the values that evolved from our own culture because we are truly a special people,” said Gen Rodrigues.

Stressing on the need to get involved in “the revolution of a new resurgent India”, he went on to explain that it was imperative to introspect and search within ourselves and give practical shape to the ideologies of the great saints like Guru Nanak Dev.

Guru Granth Sahib, he said, contained more seminal truth, spiritual value and humanism than any other book in the world and that needed to be imbibed.

Also speaking on the occasion, Mr H K Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune group of publications and also the guest of honour at the function, underlined the importance of tradition. “Every parent passes a message to their child. The message speaks of love, of humanity. But as one grows older, it is not the message which loses its relevance, it is we who forget it and cannot rise above our egos, individual or collective.”

The message, he emphasised, was simple but it is we who complicate our lives. “Guru Nanak Dev never went to any university but he gave us the greatest truth and the book released today is significant for that. It does not belong to any one religion and we need to realise that.”

The historical relevance of books like these came from eminent city-based historian, Dr B N Goswami who highlighted the importance of the visuals in the book. “The principle source of our information, visually, is the Janam Sakhis because faith is greater than history,” he said.

It is not the quotations that will come out when you talk to people about Guru Nanak Dev, but the stories and that is valuable. It is a visual documentation and Roopinder’s book brings a large number of images to the common man which help in making the simple message of Guru Nanak Dev accessible to people, he reiterated.

Overwhelmed by the spontaneous response to the book, Roopinder Singh said he was “very grateful” and the “release of the book came with a lot of emotion”.

And taking note of Mr Dua’s suggestion of bringing the book out in more languages, he said that a Punjabi translation was being worked upon.

The morning had a special piety to it for the legacy of love that Guru Nanak Dev spread so long ago seemed to come back and envelope the gathering, as it continues to do for those who live the faith.

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Admn asked to lay down fresh guidelines
Mayor blames it on vague norms

Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Ward Committee Row

Reacting on the issue, a spokesperson for the Chandigarh administration today clarified that the administration had constituted ward committees under strict provisions of Section 41-A of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 and bylaw 3 of Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, 2005. “Due consideration was given to the recommendations made by the elected councillors,” the spokesperson said. It was also clarified that the committees had been constituted keeping in view the interest of the city by giving due representation to eminent citizens belonging to various sections of society having impeccable credentials.

Chandigarh, April 12
Chandigarh municipal corporation mayor Harjinder Kaur today blamed vague guidelines for the controversy that had arisen out of the refusal by the UT administration to include the names of people recommended for the ward committees.

She said these guidelines had been laid down on the recommendation of elected councillors. “Unclear guidelines were responsible for the controversy,” she said.

Seeking fresh guidelines from the administration on whose name can be recommended, the mayor said only fresh guidelines could prevent discontent among councillors in the future.

The move comes after Congress councillors objected to the “non-inclusion” of names suggested by them in the list of ward committees.

Congress councillors had yesterday written to UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) demanding review of the ward committee notification.

In a letter, the councillors had stated that strong resentment prevailed among elected representatives over the issue. Some of them were even contemplating resignation from these ward committees to register their protest, it added.

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune, the mayor said she got in touch with the UT administration today and suggested the laying down of specific guidelines on the issue.

However, some Congress councillors, on the condition of anonymity, said names of only those candidates who had either lost in the last municipal elections or had no role to play in the development of the wards had been rejected by the administration.

They said some councillors who had recommended “relevant” names had received a positive response from the administration, as their recommendations had been accepted.

Sources in the corporation said no set of guidelines regarding whose name could be recommended by councillors to ward committees had been laid down so far.

The mayor maintained that confusion prevailed only because there were no guidelines.

“Once the guidelines are in place, it will be a lot easier for all to work,” she said.

Meanwhile, BJP councillors have also condemned the administration’s notification on ward committees.

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Cosmopolitan Chandigarh
Away from roots, yet at home
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Himachalis settled here have blended perfectly with the people, culture and ethos of Chandigarh. They have made the city their abode for getting work or seeking higher education.

While their mild and friendly nature has ensured that they have become a part of Chandigarh’s cosmopolitan culture, yet they have maintained their own identity and preserved their customs and traditions. Though the obvious reason for the maximum concentration of Himachalis here is the city’s geographical proximity to the hill state, but well-educated Himachalis come here for job avenues. There are people who have been residing here for the past several decades and have carved a niche for themselves among the city’s diaspora. From having received acclaim in professions like medicine and law to making it big as traders and businessmen, the Himachalis in the city have moved ahead with the times while retaining their own culture.

It is perhaps the most widespread community in Chandigarh. Hundreds of students from the hill state are studying in various city colleges and Panjab University. Currently, there are over 1100 Himachali students in the university and they are tied together by the Himachal Pradesh Students Union. The students hold their own cultural festival each year in the university showcasing their culture. Vikram Singh from Una, who did graduation from DAV College, here, and is currently pursuing master’s in history from PU, is completely in love with the city. “Even my family wants to come and settle here,” he said. President of the union Rajeev Chauhan belonging to Simla is also pursuing master’s here. The founder president of the union Deepak Rawat has been in the university for the past seven years and is doing Ph.D.

The community here is grouped through various unions and bodies such as the Himachali Maha Sabha, Himachal Welfare Association, and Himachal Mahasu Association etc.

Rajeev Nayyar, a city-based cricketer, who has played 97 matches, including Ranji, Duleep and Challenger trophies, belongs to Chamba. He came to the city in 1990 for better sports facilities and opportunities available here. “After completing MBA, I took a job here only because Chandigarh is a centrally located place, much closer to places like Delhi and has better facilities for sportspersons.”

Yashpal Sharma, an interventional cardiologist at the PGI, shares the same viewpoint. Hailing from Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, he migrated to the city during the early 80s. “After finishing MBBS, I decided to take up a job here in the city for better career opportunities in health sector.”

But then there are others who would gladly go back to their roots if things improve in their native state. N.D. Badhan, deputy director, information and public relations, who is working in the city for almost 12 years now, says, although the city provides excellent prospects for growth and the quality of life here is better, the increasing rate of crime is making it unsafe to live here. “In smaller cities, people are more satisfied with their lives and they share joys and sorrows with the people of their own community unlike here,” he rues.

V.K. Sandal, a city-based bank employee belonging to the hill state, opines, “No doubt the city has a metropolitan culture but Himachal has cleaner and pollution-free environs to stay”.

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X-ray machine makers flout AERB specifications
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Throwing safety norms formulated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to winds, certain x-ray machine manufacturers are virtually playing with human lives in supplying "non-specified" x-rays machines to hospitals.

In fact, a Mohali-based x-ray machine manufacturer is in the eye of a storm for allegedly supplying x-ray machines which did not conform to the AERB's safety code on "medical diagnostic x-ray equipment and installation". The safety code has been formulated for ensuring safety in the operation of the x-ray machines and the compliance with the statutory provisions was the responsibility of the owner and employer of the medical x-ray installation, sources said here today.

When energised, the x-ray machines emit ionizing radiation.The AERB is the competent authority for enforcing rules and regulations and ensuring that the presence of ionzing radiation does not cause "unacceptable" impact on the health of workers, general public and environment.

According to statutory guidelines for the safe operation of the x-ray machines by hospitals, only that x-ray machines, which are approved by the AERB, shall be installed for use. However, a perusal of the website of the AERB shows that the Mohali unit does not fulfil certain specifications for an advanced type of x-ray machine--800 ma line frequency--used by the hospitals.

This was despite the fact that the unit had recently supplied this particular model of x-ray machines to certain hospitals at Banur in Punjab, Nagpur in Maharashtra and Jammu in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Allengers Medical Systems Limited, one of the largest x-ray machine manufacturers in India, has shot off a representation to the AERB, Mumbai, for appropriate action against manufacturers not conforming to the safety norms.

"It is very painful and unfortunate that the manufacturers of the x-ray equipment are not following the rules and regulations framed by the AERB from time to time. This being unethical business practice, which if encouraged, will de-motivate the other manufacturers that are dedicatedly following all standards and regulations of the AERB," RK Narang, GM(sales) of the company, said.

Inspite of the non-availability of the AERB certification of this particular model, the medical colleges had installed the machines and got the required registrations done, the letter said, demanding strict action against the "non-conforming" firms.

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Childline India planning special helpline for Baddi child labour
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Alarmed by the rising incidence of trafficking of children for labour and sex, Childline India Foundation is planning special interventions for Himachal Pradesh. Already on top priority of the foundation which offers care and support to children in distress, Himachal will shortly have an additional childline service (1098), besides the one at Shimla.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Gargi Saha, senior programme coordinator, who is touring the region to monitor the progress of the toll-free service, said the special helpline service was being planned for Baddi. Initial surveys in the industrial township hadrevealed a huge extent of child labour, banned under the law.

“The problem at Baddi is chronic. Our information is that the numbers of child labourers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Nepal is high. The helpline at Baddi will specifically target this group. For greater effect, we will link it with Shimla,” said Saha, who has led many rescue operations of girl children trapped in red light areas of Delhi.

Recently, Childline, which has presence in 74 cities, secured conviction for the British nationals charged with the sexual abuse of children sheltered at Anchorage homes in Maharashtra. “It took us six years to fight the case. It was a tricky one, with some of the abused children turning hostile. They were confused about the implications of such abuse. But some of the victims held their ground. In the history of child rights movement in India, this judgment is a landmark,” Saha said.

Recently the foundation was awarded mother NGO status by the ministry of women and child development. Its members are also involved in the framing of the draft bill for the Offences against Children Act, to be tabled in Parliament soon. Besides, it is moving away from its traditional role as an emergency controller and looking at holistic child protection by reaching out to collaborators and building their capacities.

“The biggest challenge is physical and sexual abuse of children. In northern India, substance abuse is a huge concern. We get many calls from children addicted to lizard poison which they derive from scorched lizard skin. In Himachal, substance abuse is chronic so is abuse of children working in tourism sector,” said Saha.

At another front, the foundation is monitoring the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, which remains weak. In most districts, child welfares committees are either defunct or manned by officers who hardly have time.

Another sector where the foundation is helping the ministry concerns corruption in government-run shelter homes for children. The foundation recently exposed malpractices at many such homes in Delhi. “We found some boys’ shelter homes placing orders for girls’ underclothes. That’s the extent of corruption we are dealing with,” Saha said.

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Woman sets herself ablaze, rescued
Tribune News Service

Raveena’s mother told the police that her daughter had been suffering from depression. Raveena had divorced her husband, who lives in Assam, around three months ago. Her two-year-old daughter lives with her father.

Chandigarh, April 12
A divorced woman in her mid-20s allegedly set herself ablaze at her mother’s residence in Palsora this morning.

She suffered 70 per cent burns. Her mother told the police that her daughter had been suffering from depression.

The police said Raveena, mother of a two-year-old daughter, reportedly locked herself in a room of her mother’s house in the colony and set herself ablaze after pouring kerosene. The incident took place around 10 am.

Hearing the cries, her mother, who was sitting outside, went in and found the room locked.

After frantic knocking, Raveena finally opened the door. She was found engulfed in flames and crying.

A neighbour, Haider Ali, came to their rescue and doused the flames.

The police was informed, which shifted the victim to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

The doctors referred her to the PGI, said Jaswinder Kaur, in charge of the Palsora police post.

The police said Raveena told her mother that she took the step following depression.

Haider Ali, who suffered burns on the face and hands while rescuing the woman, was administered first aid and discharged from the hospital.

A case of attempt to suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal code has been registered.

Raveena had divorced her husband, who lives in Assam, around three months ago. Her two-year-old daughter lives with her father.

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Admn complex a distant dream
Kulwinder Sangha

The foundation stone of the Mohali district administrative complex one year after it was laid by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Mohali
The foundation stone of the Mohali district administrative complex one year after it was laid by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Mohali. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, April 12
There is no sign of the district administrative complex even after a year the foundation stone of which was laid by former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The stone has been vandalised by miscreants.

The offices of the district administration were to function from the complex, planned on a 3.5-acre plot allotted by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in Sector 62.

After laying the foundation stone on April 14, the then Chief Minister had said the complex would be constructed on a priority basis. All offices would be housed in one building so that the residents did not have to face the problem while meeting officials of different departments.

Even after a year have passed, one finds the area lying in a state of neglect. It is reported that some persons had even tried to encroach on a part of the land. Officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority said today that the complex was an old topic and nobody ever discussed the issue.

A senior official said all he knew about the complex was that the building had to be constructed by the PWD (B&R).

The offices of the senior district-level officials are functioning from the PUDA building in Phase I, allotted on a temporary basis. Offices of other officials lie scattered in the town.

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Works worth Rs 2 cr stayed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 12
Development in the town comes to a grinding halt for maintenance works worth over Rs 2 crore have been stayed by the department of local government.

The proposed estimates for maintenance works in various areas of the town were cleared by the House at a meeting of the Municipal Council on March 22. The council was to carry out maintenance works related to roads, footpaths, streetlight, etc. Roads in various parts of the town are in bad shape.

Sources say that deputy director, local government, Patiala, has been asked to inquire into the matter.

It is learnt that proposed estimates for development works, cleared by the civic body, were stayed after 12 councillors of the opposition group lodged a complaint with the authorities concerned. They have stated that the ruling group was indulging in discrimination and works of their wards were not put on the agenda of the meeting.

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Info Act
Estate office director penalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Holding the director estates, UT estate office, responsible for not supplying information to a Sector 22 resident under the Right to Information Act (RTI), chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has directed the deputy commissioner, Chandigarh, to recover penalty of Rs 25,000 with a maximum penalty of Rs 250 a day from the date the information was due.

While hearing a plea of Sector-22 resident Vinod Sharma, the central information commissioner directed to recover the penalty from the salary of the director estates in two installments.

The penalty has been imposed due to delay in provision of the information by the SDO (enforcement), estate office. The information was to be supplied through the director estate. Earlier, the commission also served a show-cause notice on the erring official.

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Workshop organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
A Hindi workshop was organised yesterday by the Bhakra Beas Management Board for the purpose of simplifying the use of official language in government working here.

U.C. Misra, Chaiman, BBMB, lauded efforts of the staff for using Hindi. He said it was because of the sincere efforts of the staff that progress of Hindi was maximum at the BBMB among all public sector undertakings in the ministry of power.

He emphasised the implementation of Hindi to begin from the top and said that the official language could not flourish without the initiative of our senior officers.

He said it was a matter of regret that we had to organise Hindi Day, Hindi Fortnight, workshops and seminars to make it our official language.

He hoped that a day would come when we won't need to organise such days. Anil Arora, member, irrigation, BBMB, assured to accelerate the implementation of Hindi in the BBMB.

Madhav Kaushik, a renowned litterateur, highlighted the increasing importance of Hindi while V.P. Sharma, joint director, public relations, gave a brief account of the “progressive use of Hindi in the department.”

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Art of Living camp from May 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Art of Living Foundation is hosting a three-day ‘Pranayam Dhyan Shivir’ to be conducted by its founder guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, at the Dusshera grounds in Kullu from May 2-6 this year.

While an estimated 25,000 persons are expected to take part, at least 1,500 persons from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula are expected to attend the event.

‘Experiential’ in form, Art of Living endeavours to bring people back to the faith. “Faith, however, is not defined as religion here but as a connection of one’s self to one’s intrinsic value system,” explained the chairman of the foundation, Rajendra Dhawan, who was in the city to speak about the event.

In fact, spirituality is the only way one can grow, insists the region’s chairman, Ashok Khanna, who said while material gains did seem to provide happiness, it would be transitory in nature if contentment did not come from within.

While the maha satsang by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to be held on May 3 at 5.30 pm will be free for all, the course itself will have a token charge. An advanced course will also be held from May 2- 5.

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Sushma is district public relation officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The District Governor of Lions Club, H.J.S. Khera, has appointed Sushma Malhotra as the district public relation officer of district 321-F for 2007-08. Ashok Singla and Naresh Goyal have also been appointed cabinet secretary and district treasurer, respectively.

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Couple booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The local police booked a Sector 29 resident and his wife for duping a man of Rs 2 lakh on the pretext of selling a house which did not belong to them.

The police said the house owned by the UT administration was given to Kashmiri families under the rehabilitation scheme and it could not be transferred or sold by the residents.

Sources in the Industrial Area police station said Mohammad Sadique of Sector 39 lodged a complaint alleging that Avtar Singh and his wife Renu of Sector 29 had taken Rs 2,23,600 from him in November last year to sell their house to him. A case has been registered.

Misappropriation

Rajesh Bansal, the centre superintendent of Sanjay Public School, Sector 44, reported to the police that a student, Kamajit Singh, ran away with his answer sheet from the examination centre of the school on Wednesday. A case of misappropriation under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered.

Stolen

Kanchan Nayyar of Sector 38 reported to the police that her Hyundai Santro (CH-03-W-4060) was stolen from DAV College, Sector 15, on Wednesday.

Deepak Bansal of Sector 49 reported to the police that his Ford Fiesta (CH-03-X-0082) was stolen from his residence on the night of April 8. Similarly, Jatinder Gahlawat of Sonepat lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Maruti Alto (HR-61-AX-8697-T) was stolen from Sector 26 on Tuesday. In another incident, Neeraj Punj of Sector 16, Panchkula, reported that his Hero Honda motorcycle was stolen from Sector 22 on Tuesday.

Four cases have been registered at various police stations.

Theft

D.S. Bishnoi of Sector 17, Panchkula, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his mobile phone was stolen from a restaurant in Sector 17 on Wednesday. A case of theft has been registered.

Satpal of Bank Colony, Mani Majra reported to the police that clothes were stolen from his shop in Janta Rehri Market in Mani Majra last night. A case has been registered.

Gambling

The local police arrested Bittu of Mauli Jagran for gambling near the kerosene pump this evening and recovered Rs 1,035 from him. In another incident, the Special Crime Investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested Mohan Lal of Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, from Sector 7 on Wednesday for gambling in a public place. The police recovered Rs 1,415 from him.

Two separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered.

Injured

A cyclist, Raju of Janata colony suffered injuries after being hit by a tractor-trolley (CH-01-G-1-1756) near the cremation ground in Sector 25 yesterday morning. He was admitted to the PGI.

In another mishap, scooterist Onkar Singh of Kishangarh was hurt after being hit by a truck near the Transport Area traffic lights point on Tuesday evening. He was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The police has arrested the truck driver, Gurdev Singh of Kurukshetra. Two cases of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving have been registered in various police stations.

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Mohali man held for harassing French woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The local police arrested Mohali resident Rajinder Chauhan for harassing a French woman on the road dividing Sectors 43 and 44 on late Wednesday night. He was reportedly caught by the traffic police.

Sources at the Sector 34 police station said the incident took place at 11.30 pm when the woman, a teacher at Alliance Francaise, Sector 36, was walking back home to Sector 44. Chauhan, who runs a travel agency in Chandigarh, was in his Indica car. He allegedly stopped the woman and tried to block her way.

Gurnam Singh, coordinator of the Chandigarh traffic marshals said they were conducting a special drive when they heard a woman’s cries for help. They found Chauhan harassing the woman and nabbed him.

SHO of the Sector 34 police station inspector Prem Kumar Chauhan said a case under Section 341 of the Indian Penal Code had been registered. The accused was let out on bail.

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