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Thursday, August 13, 1998
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Brigadier hurt in explosion
Tribune News Service and PTI

SRINAGAR, Aug 12 — A Brigadier and a Lieutenant were among 12 persons injured when an IED (improvised explosive device) went off near Degree College, Sopore, Baramulla district, at 11.50 a.m. today.

A defence spokesman said Brig M.P. Bajwa, Commander 192 Brigade received, multiple splinter injuries. A Lieutenant was also injured in the incident.

The blast was heard in a radius of 3 km at the site, a large crater was formed. This sparked a panic in the township as people ran helter-skelter and shopkeepers abandoned their shops.

Troops immediately sealed off the site and launched a hunt for the militants responsible for the blast.

Two foreign militants and a security force official were killed in a fierce encounter at Lilam in Kupwara district yesterday. Two AK-assault rifles and five magazines were recovered from the encounter site. A civilian was injured and a house damaged as a result of the heavy exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces.

Another jawan was killed in an encounter with the militants at Dakshingali Gool in Udhampur district. A labourer was injured in the exchange of fire.

Militants hurled a grenade on a security picket near Cement Bridge, Baramulla, last evening. The grenade missed the target and exploded on the road. No damage was caused, a police spokesman here said today.

Militants hurled a grenade at a security picket at Parimpora here last evening, which missed the target and exploded on the road. No one was injured. Another grenade was hurled at a security picket at Baripora, Nowakadal, Srinagar, this afternoon. No damage was caused.

The house of Ghulam Mohammad Ganai in Kalaroos, Kupwara district, was set ablaze by suspected militants, who also fired upon the house of Habibulla in Handwara. The house was damaged

Troops destroyed three militant hideouts at Chontipora and Natnus in Kupwara and Lasipora in Baramulla district, according to a PTI report. A rocket projectile gun, a remote-control load device, an improvised explosive device, a pistol and ammunition were recovered.

Meanwhile, the police and security forces have been put on alert in Jammu region following intelligence reports that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) may create disturbances on the eve of Independence Day, official source said here today.

The authorities have alerted all District Commissioners and police chiefs to gear up security system in sensitive areas of their respective districts.

Nakas have been strengthened and night patrolling and checking of vehicles has been increased in towns, including the winter capital of the state.

The security forces have also been alerted along the Line of Control (LoC) and international border to thwart infiltration attempts by militants. Joint operations are being carried out in militancy-affected districts of Rajouri, Poonch, Doda and Udhampur.

Inter-state night bus service from Jammu has been suspended till August 15 as a precautionary measure.back


CHB playing truant with societies?
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Aug 12 — Several crores of rupees , deposited by members of cooperative housing societies for development of their land, is lying blocked with the Chandigarh Housing Board while the societies are being asked to shell out money to carry out development work in sectors 48 and 49.

Nearly Rs 8 crore meant for development of land is lying with the CHB while hundreds are running from pillar to post to seek justice and get development work done from the government agencies. On the other hand, the engineering department which was to complete the development on behalf of the CHB, has completed the "development " .

In reality even less than 10 per cent of the land was developed while the money for developing the entire land was never used, and now the societies are up in arms. They want their money back or want the Chandigarh Administration to intervene and take up the development job. No one is bothered to listen and sort out the matter of development, which is adding up on to the costs of the allottees, alleged a member of a society.

So where is the money and where and when was it used ? Documents available with The Tribune show that the money was with the CHB. A month ago a confidential note was put up within the CHB, asking what was to be done with the money, sources confirmed. Efforts by The Tribune to contact the chairperson of the CHB, Mrs Meenakshi Dutta Ghosh, for her version were futile. A questionnaire faxed to her on the morning of August 11 also did not elicit any response.

Around three years ago a collective sum of Rs 10. 21 crore was deposited by housing societies with the CHB for development of around 105 acres. ( an acre is equal to 4840 sq yards). This was at the rate of Rs 210 per sq yard. The CHB was also paid Rs 40 per sq yard as administrative charges by the societies and this is not calculated in the sum of Rs 10.21 crore.

The land was given to the CHB by the Estate Office at the rate of Rs 500 per sq yard. However, the societies paid Rs 750 per sq yard after calculating the development charges and administrative charges. The CHB passed on a sum of Rs 2.31 crore to the engineering department to develop an area of 9.5 acres. However, the balance amount was never used and only 9.5 acres of land have been developed so far .

Now vast chunks of "undeveloped land" is within the portions of land allotted to the societies. A president of a society in Sector 48-A says:" either the CHB should return the money with penal interest or carry out the entire development like connecting of sewerage, water supply lines , internal roads and street lights."

The attitude of the CHB is worse than that of a private builder, he added while requesting anonymity. How could a government agency fleece members of the public ? he asked.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that the CHB has not received any request from the engineering wing, asking for the balance amount. Members of housing societies opine they have been harassed from day one but this episode is too much. The CHB must have an answer.

To rub salt into the wounds of the cooperative societies, the CHB is charging ground rent from the societies for even the area under roads , parks and other common services. Whereas, the Finance Secretary in his letter of May , 17 , 1994, had clarified that the CHB will not pay ground rent for areas covered under such categories.

The letter had further clarified that the CHB would not collect any ground rent from societies on this account. Sources pointed out that the CHB was collecting the ground rent from the societies after calculating the same at the rate of Rs 750 per sq yard. However, the CHB was paying to the Estate Office at the rate of Rs 500 per sq yard.

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