Sunday, February 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Anandgarh will be the city of the future
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — The process of acquisition of land for Anandgarh, the city of the future, will commence next month with issuance of notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act for 10,000 to 15,000 acres of land.

Securing a loan of Rs 3,000 crore from HUDCO to facilitate land acquisition and finalisation of the Master Plan within next two months are the other two major objectives on agenda for the New Town Planning and Development Authority for Anandgarh to accomplish by end of March this year.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune here this afternoon, Mr A.K. Dubey, Principal Secretary, Urban Planning and Development and Vice-Chairman, PUDA; and Ms Vini Mahajan, Chief Executive Officer of the Anandgarh Authority, said that among the immediate tasks are funding, appointment of financial controllers, architects and town planners for this 15,000-acre town.

Planned according to the latest concept of keeping the development outside the government budgetary mode, Anandgarh is to be a pollution free, neat, clean city which will be developed as a town of convention, health care, information technology, higher education, recreation and entertainment.

“Ultimately, it will be spread over an area of 15,000 acres of land starting immediately from the periphery of Chandigarh. There is no idea of leaving any area or belt between Chandigarh and new city as it will witness unplanned and haphazard growth. When developed, Anandgarh will cater to a population of 10 lakh,” Mr Dubey says.

The Anandgarh Authority, he said, would exercise all powers of PUDA. He does not foresee any problem in raising funds for this self-sustaining project.

To appoint architects, planners and designers, says Mr Dubey, the Authority proposes to hold a competition for top planners, both individuals and institutions. “We want to have the best of designers and planners. We only want to give them the concept of building a city of the future.

The proposed area to be included in Anandgarh has a population of about 30,000. “We want to carry the people with us. The people whose land we are acquiring are being approached. We will talk to them, take appropriate steps to meet their demands and requirements by creating employment and job opportunities for them. In case they want their abadis to be protected, we will do that also.

“We will be encouraging people to set up noise and pollution-free quiet industrial units. Another area of focus would be to set up industrial training institutes and training institutions.

“Anandgarh will not depend upon any subsidies. It will be a self- financing town. We intend to have big institutions in education, health care, recreation, conventions and entertainment. The old concept of government developing the town is now fading out. The new concept is partnership between the government and the private sector. This is what we are trying to do here keeping Anandgarh out of government budgetary controls.

“This will be a state-of-art town and we expect good response from Non-Resident Indians. It is going to be internationally first exercise of its kind. It will be a city with a difference. It will be developed on a time-bound schedule,” they add.

“There have been e-mails from NRIs enquiring about the possibility of acquiring a plot or a flat in the new town. We are getting these e-mails on the Anandpur Sahib website where we plan to add a page on Anandgarh till we get a separate website for the new city,” says Ms Vini Mahajan.

Talking about other problems, they maintain that water may not be a much of problem. Once the infrastructure is developed, there are new techniques of water harvesting. Our focus has been on its location, making it environmental friendly, pollution-free town free from flooding with a proper drainage system with good transport facilities.

Talking about the possible impact recession in general and real estate in particular that this new town may have, they claimed that real estate in Punjab and Chandigarh has mostly remained free from recession compared to other towns like Mumbai and Delhi.

“We are also capitalising on the Punjabi enterprise, especially that of NRIs to own a good, big house in a ultra modern town with all facilities, including 24-hour malls, convention centre, entertainment and golf clubs with facilities for latest health care techniques”.

“The response to PUDA schemes at SAS Nagar and Ludhiana is an indication that real estate is free from recession”, they add, maintaining that since new city will be of international standards, it would manifest itself.

Mr Dubey said that even a company with whom a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for the SAS Nagar Software Park, the demand for land in the new city has been received. The new city will be a service driven city whose main economic drivers will be largely private and service sectors.

“The new city will be different from Chandigarh. It will be a happening city which will offer lot of opportunities for various types of activities related to health, education and even recreational sector.

“It will develop as people’s movement and with people’s ideas,” adds Mr Dubey.Back


3 arrested for circulating fake US dollars
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR Jan 5 — Close on the heels of the seizure of fake Indian currency notes worth over Rs 1.02 lakh by Customs officials at Amritsar, the local Police has laid its hand on three persons, including a Nigerian national, for circulating counterfeit American dollars. At least 7 US currency notes of hundred dollars each had been seized from them.

In what could only be a tip of the iceberg of a well-connected network of circulation of fake currency notes, the police suspects that further investigation could reveal more information. For conducting a thorough probe the Director (Revenue), Intelligence, at Jalandhar had been intimated about it. A team from the Directorate (Revenue), intelligence, was expected to reach the town in a day or two.

A police team of the Phase 1 police station got a whiff of the illegal trade when Vikas Bhalla, a resident of Panchkula, tipped them that he was in possession of a US currency note of 100 dollar denomination. He reportedly told the police that he had been given the note by an SAS Nagar based Nigerian national, Lambart (30), and a PCO owner in Phase 3B 1 here. He said that he had been promised Rs 500 commission for circulating the note.

Tracking the persons behind the activity, the Station House Officer (SHO) of Phase 1 Police Station, Mr R.S.Sohal, arrested a father son duo, Harminder Singh and Tarandeep, who were running a PCO in Phase 3B 1 here. Further questioning led to seizure of at least six more US currency notes of 100 dollar denomination each. The Nigerian national was living on rent in Phase 7 here had earlier been arrested by Fatehgarh police in connection with a case of narcotics.

Giving details about the background of the Nigerian the Superintendent of Police, Mr B.S.Randhawa, said the suspect had studied different courses at Chandigarh and Patna. Presently he was pursuing a Diploma in Business Administration from Chandigarh. The Nigerian Embassy at Delhi had been intimated about the arrest of its national.

Mr Randhawa said the currency notes had been got verified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Meanwhile a case under 420, 489 B/C of the IPC and under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA). Back


Judge seeks discharge in corruption case
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — An application of the Bathinda Civil Judge, M.S. Walia, seeking discharge in the corruption case, will come up for reply and consideration before the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge for the Central Bureau of Investigation Cases, Mr S.S. Lamba, on February 22.

Claiming the challan to be non-maintainable, the counsel for the accused today stated that the "method adopted for taking the sanction through the Punjab and Haryana High Court was illegal as it was apparent that the Governor would grant sanction even if wrong request or wrong draft of sanction was forwarded".

The sanction order submitted before the court had earlier stated that the Governor of Punjab, being the authority competent to remove M.S. Walia from his office, after "fully and carefully" examining the facts and having applied mind to the facts and circumstances of the case, was satisfied that a prima facie case under Section 13 (1) (e) read with 13 (2) of the PC Act, 1998, was made out against M.S. Walia.

The Civil Judge was booked by the Chandigarh police under the Prevention of Corruption Act on a complaint of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Registrar.

It was alleged that the Civil Judge, after opening a fixed deposit account, had "deposited Rs 50,000 in his own name, Rs 50,000 each in the names of his wife, son and daughters, on November 18, 1996".

It was also said that the Judge, along with his family, "had obtained six banker's cheques on account of encashment on six FDRs of Rs 50,000 each, totalling Rs 3 lakh plus interest".Back

Hands off the script: court tells Babbar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — Restraining cine star Raj Babbar and five other defendants, including the producer and director of the movie Shaheed Udham Singh "from reproducing or translating the script into any other language than Punjabi" till further orders, the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.S. Bedi, today issued a notice for March 10 on an application moved by the author of the martyr's biography, Professor Sikander Singh.

Claiming the movie to be "entirely" based on his "well-researched book", Prof Sikander stated that the defendants had neither obtained copyrights from him, nor had his written consent.

Seeking directions to the defendants against screening the movie, besides Rs 5 lakh as damages, the plaintiff stated that to his astonishment, neither his name was mentioned in the "introduction part of the film", nor was any reference made to his book in the brochure handed over to him. His name, he said, was not even mentioned on the posters displayed throughout Punjab.

He stated that "the material collected by him had been extensively used". The "details, description, dialogues and the presentation of facts" were as per the "the description given in his book", he said.

The impact on the minds of the viewers, his counsel said, was "created as a result of the extensive research carried out by the plaintiff and the material collected by him over 14 years".

Raj Babbar, the counsel added, had initially stated that the film was based on the biography of the martyr written by Professor Singh, but had later "started telling people that three research scholars had been put on the job".Back


The common man is apprehensive about the Budget
By Sonoo Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — Hike in essential commodities. Rise in petrol prices. No reduction in taxation rates. Come February and one can already feel such ripples of apprehension and anxiety looming large over the common man’s face much before the announcement of the country’s Budget.

The TNS team spoke to a cross-section of people in the city to get their views on the soon-to-be-announced Budget by the Union Finance Minster, Mr Yashwant Sinha. With most of the citizens wanting a more “friendly Budget” that would not hit the personal income tax in any way, it was not surprising that most of these people were more concerned about the hike in the prices of essential commodities than anything else.

“With the kind of rising prices today, even those who earn something like Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month fall in the category of middle class. The government now needs to come out with a policy that will not directly hit the middle class, but increase the reduction in the taxation rates. Being a working woman, I would want some more benefits for women employees”, said Ms Urmil Sharma, Principal of the Dev Samaj Junior Model School, Sector 21.

A businessman, Mr Puneet Arora, who runs his travel agency in Sector 9, said that some benefits need to be extended to all the self-employed since the taxes took away everything that one earned.Interestingly, though the citizens did express their worries about how the new budget would affect each of them individually, there were some who also looked towards larger benefits that would reach out to the masses. “Besides raising the standard deductions to at least Rs 40,000, as a doctor I would like that a greater Budget is released for health this year. The government had earlier come up with ‘Health for All by 2000’ but the goal is far from achieved. Also proposals like free health facilities for the senior citizens should be considered”, said Dr Randeep Singh Mann, a dentist practising at the Polyclinic Sector 22.

Mrs Neelam Malhotra, a school teacher in a government school has asked for benefits especially for women in the coming budget. “Just like Dr Manmohan Singh had given further reduction in the salaries of women, so this Budget could also take care of the same. In fact since women have to work both at work and also at home, larger benefits should certainly find their way to working women”, she said.

“Yes”, says Mr Satinder Singh Kohli, a chartered accountant in Sector 11, who added that tax holidays for the projects solely promoted by a women entrepreneur should be encouraged. He further added that the least that this Budget could give to the common man this year was to remove the 10 per cent surcharge introduced in the previous year. Mrs Bharati Singla, a housewife, said: “All that I can hope from the new Budget this year is that the salaried class is not burdened further. Each time it is this class that has to bear heavy taxes and rising prices. Also, I fear that petrol prices would again touch the sky which would definitely translate into higher value of commodities yet once again. You tell me, what is the value of even a Rs 500 note today? Almost nothing? The government needs to take care of that”.

Another fear lurking in the minds of the people is that a ‘Kargil tax’ might be levied on them in order to provide for more infrastructure to our Army. Said Mr Rajiv Walia, a shopkeeper in Sector 17: “The obvious thing that a common man is looking towards is that prices are not raised to such a level that whatever earnings are there all of them get lost in the taxes. Also, rumours are in the air that a cess would be levied on us because of the Kargil thing, and we certainly do not want the same to happen”.Back


Skydiver strays, lands in school compound
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — A skydiver created a ruckus in Sector 22 after he strayed off-course and landed in the compound of a model school instead of the nearby Sector 16 Cricket Stadium today.

The skydiver was part of an IAF team rehearsing for a skydiving show, scheduled to be part of the closing ceremony of the 6th National Adventure Festival tomorrow. The incident occurred in the evening.

A large number of local residents surged towards the school to get a glimpse of the blue-dungaree clad sky diver amidst rumours of the skydiver’s parachute failing to deploy properly. This was, however, denied by the Air Force authorities.

While police sources say that the skydiver made a safe landing and that there was no report of any injury except for minor bruises, eyewitnesses say that he appeared to have hurt his knee.

Police sources add that he had already left by the time the police reached the spot to take stock of the situation.

Three eyewitnesses, Ms Ridhama Kaur, Ms Sonal Srivastava and Ms Mannat Arora, all Carmel Convent students, who happened to be at the site while returning back from a picnic, even managed to click a picture of the skydiver as he was making his way out of the compound and brought it to The Tribune office.

‘‘He had his parachute rolled up. He climbed over the compound wall and got into a white Maruti van’’, said Ridhama.

‘‘Our car was just ahead and we saw him throwing his parachute into the back of the van and getting in. He was tall and had a moustache,’’ recalled Sonal.

‘‘A huge crowd had gathered and there was a lot of chaos around the school, holding up the traffic. The skydiver got out of the van to make his way on foot but got back again after traffic started moving,’’ added Mannat.Back


Authorities turn blind eye to blocked sewers
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, Feb 5 — A row of 16-marla houses in Phase XI here has been facing a problem of blocked sewerage for more than a week with the authorities concerned ignoring the plight of the residents.

Residents of house numbers 2484 to 2502 said the problem was a recurrent one and the department concerned had failed to find a permanent solution over the years. Complaints had been made to officials, but to no avail.

They said seepage had affected certain houses and they feared that disease might break out if matters were not put right.Back


Professor’s complaint
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 5 — A visiting Professor of Panjab University, Dr Surinder Jathaul, in a press note here today said that his 64-year-old brother Jaggit Singh had gone missing since February 3.

“The missing person is in a state of acute depression and is unable to look after himself. He is wearing only a half sleeved shirt. He needed immediate medical help”, Dr Jathaul said.

A complaint has also been lodged in the police station, Sector 19. Jaggit Singh, who had a pea-sized mole on his chin and was nearly toothless, had earlier travelled down to Ahmedabad from where he was transported back nearly after an year-and-a-half.Back


Complainant laments police failure
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Feb 5 — The complainant in a case of cheating registered by the police at Nayagaon has lamented that the police had failed to arrest the four suspects in a case of cheating and fraud registered a month ago for allegedly transferring a plot at Karoran village in their name.

The suspects, Surindera Nidra, Devinder, Bhaj Singh — all residents of Nayagaon — and Narata Singh, a resident of Dhanas in Chandigarh, had been booked under Sections 420, 467, 471, 506 and 120-B of the IPC on a complaint filed by Mr Sarabjit Singh.

The complainant said an anticipatory bail application moved by the suspects in the court of the Session Judge, Ropar, Mr Maghar Khan, on last Friday had been rejected. But the police had failed to arrest them.

Ex-serviceman’s grouse: Ex-serviceman Jaswant Singh, a resident of Kumbhara village, has alleged that the local police had failed to take any action against the persons who had seriously bashed up him and his wife over the property dispute in December last year. He claimed that though an anticipatory bail application was moved by the suspects in a court, the police had failed to take any action. The Rashtriya Raksha Dal has also criticised the role of the police in the case.


Theft: Mr Jaswinder, a resident of Sector 22, today reported to the police that burglars stole two gutterhole covers from his house on Saturday.Back

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