Tuesday, March 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Who received kickbacks?
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — It is not that the government authorities do not know about the racket being run by those who received benefits under the rehabilitation scheme of the Chandigarh Administration.

Sources said the Estate office authorities, as well as senior officials, are aware how crores have been spent in the wrong direction to rehabilitate migrants from UP and Bihar by allotting free plots or sites. At various high-level meetings it has been discussed before senior functionaries to apprise them of building violations being carried out in 700-odd cheap houses, the sale of plots allotted for free or on nominal rents.

The cheap houses built more than 45 years ago were allotted to poor sections of society. Now these houses are two-storeyed high buildings, making the structures prone to risk, as the foundations are weak and cannot hold such a volume of weight, said a source. The construction carries on despite violation notices issued by the competent authority.

Within official circles it is on record that a survey conducted in Mauli Jagran a couple of months ago showed more than 50 per cent of the 5919 families, who were allotted plots or built-up sites, have sold out their allotment letters on a premium. Several of the allottees have violated the terms and conditions of the scheme, while almost 400 cases are pending in various courts or before various appellant authorities relating to old and new rehabilitation schemes.

Close to 1000 families have carried out major violations. Another 1200 sites are lying vacant , probably the allottees waiting for the premium to go up. More than 100 plots meant for residential purposes are being used as shops. However, the administration is still thinking about the nature of action that can be taken against the violators.

A large number of slum dwellers of Sector 31 were rehabilitated under this scheme. Two days ago The Tribune highlighted the story how the migrants moved into the newly set up colony in Mauli Jagran, while the slums were left as they were in Sector 31. This resulted in several of the huts being reoccupied, and the re-opening of several kiosks all along the road dividing Sector 31 and the Industrial Area Phase II. Today most of these huts are available on rent from the original encroachers of government land.

The third big problem faced by the Administration is to allot booths to people plying unauthorised rehris. A large number of rehris have been shifted to be housed in pucca booths. However, despite the largesse more than 250 cases are pending before the courts for allotment of booths.

Sources said action was slow in coming, thus allowing the slum dwellers, allottees of cheap houses and allottees of booths to sell off their allotments. In a large number of cases the Administration has no record of the building plans, the sale letters or the owners and allottees.Back


Wet dredging of Sukhna still far cry
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — With just 18 days to go for the current financial year , the work on wet dredging of Sukhna Lake still remains a distant reality.

Though the Department of Forests and Environment has given a “conditional go-ahead” to the Engineering Department with the proposed wet dredging, the work has been delayed for want of identification of the silted area to be dredged.

The Department of Environment, according to informed sources, has maintained that it would have no objection to “wet dredging” provided an equal piece of land is transferred to the Forest Department for afforestation at a suitable place, subject to approval by the Union Government’s Department of Environment.

It may be mentioned here that last year, the Administration had earmarked a token amount of Rs 0.10 lakh in 1997-98 of Rs 1 lakh for the Ninth Plan.

Subsequently in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, substantial funds were earmarked for the maintenance and upkeep of Sukhna Lake. In 1998-99, the amount earmarked was Rs 2 crore, of which Rs 1.2 crore was to be spent on wet dredging alone. Last year before the financial year came to a close, the money was transferred to the Engineering Department which invited bids from government-owned agencies to undertake the work of wet dredging of the lake.

The Dredging Corporation of India was the only organisation to respond and the Administration held negotiations with its team of officials before deciding to award the work to it.

Since the Sukhna and its adjoining area had been declared a wetland and is covered under the National Lake Conservation Plan, a comprehensive plan prepared by the Administration and sent to the Government was approved.

The total cost of the project was estimated at Rs 3871 lakh, which includes both dry and wet dredging, soil conservation measures in Sukhna catchment, development of adjoining areas, studies to generate data on physio-chemical and biological waste management and public awareness and training.

The National Lake Conservation Plan is a centrally-sponsored scheme on 50 per cent sharing basis. the comprehensive action plan is spread over five years’ period of which Rs 1940 lakh is to be provided by the Central Government and an equal amount by the Chandigarh Administration.

Two years have virtually lapsed in getting over the initial hurdles and getting necessary clearances.

The thinking in the Department of Environment has been that even after desiltation, the lake will remain a wetland and as such would remain an integral part of protected wildlife and forestry.

In addition, the Department would get additional land for forestry for the area to be transferred from the lake for wet dredging to restore the water body to its original shape.

Dredging Corporation officials want to make two bundhs within the lake to facilitate wet dredging. Though one of the bundhs proposed is to come up in the water body, the second would have required some vegetation that has come up in the silted portion of the lake.

The Engineering Department of the Administration has already got conducted a survey of the silted portion of the lake which would be required for wet dredging, both directly and indirectly. A report of the survey has already been sent to the Union Government.

The Engineering Department would, subject to clearance from the Ministry of Environment, offer a piece of land equal to the area to be desilted to the Forest Department before the actual work gets under way.Back


Plan to set up IT industry in Sector 67
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 13 — Sector 67 here measuring over 130 acres in the southern part of the town, has been replanned to attract Information Technology (IT) industry as part of special incentives being offered by the State Government to bring Punjab on the IT map and software exports.

The planning of the Sector 67 has been done in a way to provide a noise and pollution free environment to software technology professionals and away from the industrial zones here. The sector is located along a 300-foot-wide dual carriageway proposed to connect the Zirakpur- Patiala highway with the Chandigarh- Ludhiana highway and the SAS Nagar - Landhran road.

Sources in the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) said earlier the sector was planned for residential purposes. A site measuring about 15 acres had already been reserved for the software technology park being set up under a joint venture between the Mahindra and Mahindra and the Electronic Development and Production Corporation (ECP), Punjab. PUDA had also become a partner in the joint venture, said the sources.

The software technology park would make available about 10 lakh sq feet space for software industry. The Punjab Government had also planned e-commerce facilities in the zone. A five acres of land had also been offered to the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation to set its corporate office and for online commodities exchange centre. Sources said the tentative rate of land allotment in the sector would be around Rs 1800 per sq yard.

Infosys company has already signed an MOU to set up its base in the town. Sources said the company had been given 22,000 sq ft of covered airconditioned area in Industrial Area here. A state-of-the-art training institute offering graduate courses in computer sciences and an institute of information technology were also being planned in the town.

Besides, AUDOCOMP Computer Systems, a Canada-based company, had also decided to launch a new software development office here. It was, however, yet to be ascertained whether the promoters of all IT projects would set up their infrastructure in the sector or elsewhere. Sources in the government said some of the entrants were interested for area to be declared as an export promotion zone.

Meanwhile, to woo IT industry, the PUDA had earmarked at least 16 sites measuring between 1 and 2 acres for commercial and corporate purposes. A seasonal rivulet flowing through the sector and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in the sector would be channelised and the area reclaimed would be developed as a green belt.Back


Bal Sadan inmates long for good old days
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 13 — Unhappy with the developments and morose about the future, inmates of Bal Sadan carry on with their daily chores, awaiting the arrival of their loved ones who are still at daggers drawn with each other and the solution is not in sight.

Nearly a fortnight ago, trouble erupted among the members over the laying of the foundation stone and the programme had to be cancelled even though all preparations had been made and invitation cards distributed to the invitees. Since then, the sadan has not had any visits from them and complete gloom prevails on the premises.

The children were in high spirits and preparing for the dance item to be staged at the foundation-laying ceremony. A phone call that the programme stood cancelled sent their hopes crashing and their enthusiasm plummeted to new lows. They contend that they are still trying to come to terms with the change of events and the gravity of the situation is beginning to sink in.

Nisha, a Class II student, residing at the sadan, says, "All of us got to know the same night and the members created quite a scene by screaming on the top of their voices. Ultimately, they left us and have not returned even to inquire about our welfare.''

The smile from the aminated faces of the vivacious children vanishes when they talk of the fateful night which changed their lives. Some of them do not hesitate to cry and express anguish while stating that they were rebuked for interfering in the talk of the elders when they were "sorting out matters'' and working out "essentials'' in the "interest of the children''.

The eldest inmate, Tripta Rani, studying in Class IX, contends, "All of us want the members to live in harmony with each other. Also, we want our 'Sir' to return to our home and take as much interest in work as he used to. We haven't even spoken to him since then and he hasn't called.'' The children insist on meeting Mr A. K. Ummat, the patron, who said that he no longer wanted to be associated with the organisation.

With the examination season on, the children add that they are unable to concentrate on their studies and are awaiting news from the front of the elders. Lovely, a Class III student, informs, "We want to go back to the fun-filled days when there was nothing to worry about. These strained relations among the members are taking their toll on our happiness.''

Gaurav and Vandana gathered information of the quarrel from the "seniors'' in their room. They rue that the infighting will not benefit anybody and things will return to normal once their 'Sir' decides to come back. "All of us keep crying when we sit down and talk of the days 'that were'. We keep looking back on them and pray for happiness to return,'' they add.

Meanwhile, commenting on allegations that Mr Ummat lashed out at children, all of them stated in unison that he would hit them only when they did something very mischievous and only in their interest. There was nothing deliberate about the attempt and that they wanted him back in spite of everything.Back


Ex-Chairman’s bail plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — The anticipatory bail plea moved by former Chairman of the Haryana Public Service Commission, Mr L.D. Kataria, accused of demanding money from a candidate, was today dismissed by the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.S. Bedi.

Kataria was apprehending arrest in a cheating and forgery case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 477-A and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, registered by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau at Rohtak.

Claiming the “committing of large number of serious irregularities” during the examinations for the Haryana Civil Services in 1993, the prosecution had earlier stated that the applicant “through a business partner” had asked for Rs 10,00,000 from candidate Kuldip Kumar for selection in the competition.

According to the prosecution, the applicant had initially demanded Rs 4,00,000 in advance and rest after the selection. The prosecution had added that Rs 2,00,000 were paid by Kuldip’s father to the partner “for onward payment to the applicant”. It was further alleged that Rs 2,00,000 were paid by the father directly to the applicant in the business partner’s presence.Back


Senior officers discuss city problems
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — A meeting of councillors and senior police officers to discuss various problems in the city was chaired by Mr S.K. Singh, IGP, at the police headquarters here this evening.

Twentyone councillors, besides the SSP, Mr Parag Jain, and the SDPOs attended the meeting.

The issues discussed included the proliferation of rickshaws in the city, increasing encroachments in the city and in the general passage of markets, rising number of accidents in southern sectors and the need for increasing patrolling in that area.

The councillors also emphasised the need for a joint meeting of officers of the municipal corportation, the Administration, besides the police so that many of the issues could be resolved on the spot.Back


I was his favourite nephew

OVER the last 50 years of my lifespan, I had got used to addressing many persons uncles. Even before my transfer to Chandigrh in 1995, Colonel P.S. Gill, while also being a recipient of this endearment, always had a special place in my heart. After the transfer, his magnetic personality and fatherly concern had outshown our all other interests and social engagements in the city, and we preferred to visit him as often as possible, and each visit to his farmhouse only brought us closer. One day, he casually suggested that we should call them Bhapaji and Biji instead of uncle and aunty. I believe that this wish was prompted more by our acceptance by him in the inner circle of believe that this wish was prompted more by our acceptance by him in the inner circle of his family than any aversion to an imported nomenclature. I somehow could not get over the ingrained habit of so many years and being an excellent judge of human beings, he understood my predicament and never repeated the desire. I wish I had told him that I considered their place to be above that of my parents. Now that he is no more, I have been agonising over his departure and it is becoming clearer that he had gradually squeezed out all other claimants to this endearment and had imposed his monopoly to such an extent that from now onwards I would like to manage with vague mumblings while dealing with elderly persons and also start being comfortable with myself being addressed as uncle. Thus, he was my only uncle.Even after my transfer to Amritsar in 1997, we continued to make frequent visits to Chandigarh. The first evening of every visit was unconsciously reserved for him and for the following days as well, visits even for short durations were mutually understood to be mandatory. The gap of nearly 35 years in our ages never intruded in any way and all these evenings were always full of fun and laughter. He would often say that the loud laughter of Billu announces and betrays his presence, while himself being the cause with his witticisms and humorous anecdotes from his variegated experience. One moment he would be seeking confirmation from my wife for her great luck in receiving a diamond as a husband from his family, and the very next moment on some remark of mine he would be agreeing with her for being stuck with a useless husband.

He was a man of firm convictions and all his dealings were coloured by his firmly held beliefs. Naturally, this approach brought him into conflict with many but he was not afraid to plow a lonely furrow. To counter arguments, he would usually start with the words; “It is not like this, I will tell you ......”. Right till his last days he would get so much involved in his various interests mainly involving the well being of others that seeing his fragile frame sometimes I felt compelled to take the liberty of telling him to go slow. Ironically, his poor state of health concealed a steely resolve and belied his real strength. The day he was hospitalised for the last time, the local commissioner of Income Tax had been invited for dinner by him which had to be postponed and later cancelled. I suppose, I was destined to be his last beneficiary as he wrapped up a deal of land purchase with little assistance from my side.

During my visits, I used to take a bottle of Scotch for him, and every time he would tell me not to bother as he had sufficient stock. He was not taken in by the brands and would offer a Black label or a Bagpiper with the same non-chalance. I presume, for me alone he would make the concession of directing Chhotu to clean the glasses properly. During my last visit to Chandigarh I forget to carry a bottle and went to a liquor shop where I saw bottles of VAT-69, and remembering from his earlier conversations that it was a popular drink during his Army days, I took one for him. It has now struck me that his share in my stock had already been exhausted before my last visit and only as a special case God had allowed me to make that extra effort for a person who went the whole hog in everything he did.

The last visit to Chandigarh for his cremation was too hectic to ponder over the effects of his departure. Gradually, it is becoming evident that I will need a long break from Chandigarh to eventually get over this void created by his demise. Despite the handicap of being related to him through is wife. I can boldly claim that in the last few years of his life I had become his favourite nephew. Undoubtedly, the resources of Commissioner of Customs had nothing to do with this affinity. Seeing the commitment and hard work put in by my son in his studies he had commented more than once that he would do well in life. I wish he had lived a few days longer to see the confirmation of his assessment as my son has only recently received interview calls from all the IIMs of the country.

Colonel Gill passed away on this day last month.

— D.S. SraBack


Modern complex not 'modern': MP
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — The local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, last night released the telephone directory of the Residents Welfare Association, Category I of the Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra.

He said it was unfortunate that the area could not be called "modern" even though it was part of City Beautiful. He announced a grant of Rs 6 lakh per year from the MPLAD scheme for the development of open spaces in front of the blocks of flats.

Conceding the demand of the children for a playground, he urged the association to send him a detailed plan for the same.

Earlier, Mr H. S. Nagra, President of the association, highlighted the problems faced by the residents. Mr Deepak Khosla, former Town Planner, presented a concrete plan for the development of the vast open space with a minimum of cost, which was estimated to be Rs 2 lakh per block.

The area councillor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, assured the residents that every effort would be made to release more funds for the improvement of civic amenities in the area.

Meanwhile, in a charter of demands submitted to Mr Bansal, the association alleged that the sewerage and water supply lines had not been repaired, causing inconvenience to the residents. Besides, the internal roads had not been repaired for a long time.

While demanding the construction of a subway at the railway crossing near the petrol station, the association demanded the construction of bus shelters and speed breakers in the area. It also demanded the setting up of a post office.

The provision of streetlights in the garage lane, construction of footpaths, release of telephone connections immediately and the demolition of a huge wall from the entry side of the exchange side near the temple as it disturbed the vision of the motorists, were the other issues highlighted in the charter of demands.Back


Baby show
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — As many as 100 students of 15 schools of Chandigarh and SAS Nagar participated in the Mega Baby Princess 2000 event organised by the City Beautiful Club at Bal Bhavan here yesterday. Lieut-Col R.K. Bhagat and Ms Satya Bhagat were the judges on the occasion. Mr Vishal Sharma, President of the club, gave away the prizes.

The winners in different categories were as follows: Group A — Supreet Kaur (Baby Princess), Rubika 2 and Manjot 3; Group B — Aarushi (Baby Princess), Nikhar 2 and Shivangi 3.Back


Two booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 13 — Two shopkeepers of Phase VII have been booked by the police for cheating a resident of Phase V of Rs 2 lakh by promising to get him a visa to Germany. According to the information available, Vikramjit Singh, a resident of Phase V, in a complaint lodged with the police, alleged said that Ravinder Singh and Jagjit Singh of Preet Sweets took Rs 2 lakh in two instalments in March and May past year on this pretext.

However, after some months when he asked for the money, they ignored him. Past month, when he visited the shop of the accused in Phase VII, he saw his passport lying on the road. On confronting the accused, he was allegedly threatened with dire consequences by the suspects.

A case under Sections 382, 420, 506 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against them.

New turn: The cheating case registered against a resident of Phase XI for allegedly collecting funds in the name of Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Phase XI has taken a new turn with the suspects lodging a counter complaint against the original complainant, Jagmel Singh.

In a representation to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), the complainants have alleged that the Pardhan of the gurdwara had allegedly committed grave irregularities in the functioning of the gurdwara affairs.

Student injured: A seven-year-old school student, Ankit Goel, was injured after being hit by an unidentified motor cycle near Sector 70 here on today. The police has registered a case against the driver under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.


Held with liquor: The police has arrested two persons for possessing liquor above the permissible limit.

According to police sources, Babu Ram, of Bapu Dham Colony, was arrested with 96 quarters of whisky from Industrial Area. Similarly. Ashok Kumar, of Madrasi Colony, Sector 26, was arrested from near the poultry farm and 24 bottles of liquor were seized from his possession. Cases under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act have been registered.

Scooter stolen: Mr Jasbir Singh of Manimajra, reported that somebody had stolen his scooter (CH-01H-2251) from the grain market. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

One nabbed: The police arrested Ram Singh, of Rishikesh, from Manimajra for selling some goods by using a loudspeaker on a high pitch. A case under Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Noise Control Act, has been registered.

Mobile stolen: Mr Ashwani Kumar of Sector 35 reported that someone had stolen his mobile phone from Sector 17. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.Back


Awards for small savings agents
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — To honour small savings agents, who had done commendable work during 1998-99 in the union territory by collecting Rs 65.68 crore, a conference was held here today.

The Director, Family Welfare, Dr M.P. Manocha, awarded first and second prizes to Ms Nutan Sharma and Ms Shashi Arora in the post office savings scheme(standard agency system). In the public provident fund agency system, Mr MS Dhodi and Ms Mohinder Kaur, got the first and second prize, respectively.

Under the mahila pradhan kshetriya bachat yojana, Ms Tripti Seth and Ms Simerpreet Kaur were the winners. As many as 49 consolation prizes were also awarded. Mr Mohinder Malhotra, Regional Director, National Savings, Punjab and Chandigarh, distributed the cheques of commission under various agency schemes.Back


Rehriwalas demand pucca booths
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — A procession under the leadership of Mr Harmohan Dhawan, a former Union Minister, was taken out by rehriwalas from the Nehru Park in Sector 22 to Matka Chowk in Sector 17 in support of their demands for pucca booths.

A delegation met the Adviser and the Finance Secretary and demanded that over 4,000 rehriwalas, who had deposited Rs 3,000, should be given pucca booths. Both officers assured the delegation that a meeting on the issue would be held soon, according to a press note.Back


Confusion over Rs 500 notes
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, March 13 — Even as rumours spread in the area about the authenticity currency notes of Rs 500 denomination, the State Bank of Patiala, Kharar branch, is accepting these notes.

Mr Amar Singh Bairompuri Head Cashier, and Mr Kalwant Singh Seth cashier of the bank said that today alone they had received currency notes of Rs 500, both old and new designes, worth about Rs 80 lakh.

Some banks here have been refusing to accept old notes of a specific series of this currency in the past three to four days and this has resulted in a lot of inconvenience to the general public. Even shopkeepers have not been accepting these notes. There has been an unusual rush for depositing Rs 500 notes in banks.

‘No Rs 500 notes, please’
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — A retired class-I officer of Government of Haryana, had a hectic day today.

Mr P.S. Kapoor went to Sector 17, from Industrial Area, to withdraw Rs 5000, from Bank of India, which gave him 500 rupee notes. He took this money and went to National Insurance Company in the same sector to renew his scooter insurance, which refused to accept the notes. Mr Kapoor went back to Bank of India to get 500 rupee notes changed to notes of lower denomination.

According to him, he was told by the Assistant Manager of company that they would not accept 500 rupee note for a week. In between, he tried to establish contact with Reserve Bank of India and the Police Control Room. But no action was taken.Back


Seminar on pension at Punjab Tractors
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 13 — A seminar on employees’ pension scheme was organised at Punjab Tractors at SAS Nagar today where the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Mr M.L. Meena, was the chief guest.

Mr P.K. Verma, Executive Director, Punjab Tractors, welcomed the participants after which Mr Meena talked about important recent amendments in EPS,1995. Mr Meena disclosed that the now minimum monthly pension in case of the death of the member will be Rs 450 instead of Rs 250 at present. He further indicated that if a member dies leaving behind no spouse or children, his either dependent father or mother will get the pension even in the absence of nomination form submitted by the deceased member.

Mr Meena also elaborated the steps initiated by all the Provident Fund offices in Punjab regarding redressal of individual grievances. Computerised acknowledgement slips are issued on receipt of claims immediately.The status of a claim is also conveyed immediately through computer on its enquiry. He also addressed the participants with the clarifications on pension scheme provisions.

He informed that State Bank of India will also disburse the pension under Employees Pension Scheme in addition to the Punjab National Bank in the whole State of Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

A question-answer session was organised where querries were replied by officers of the Provident Fund Department. He further said that there was an increase of 5.5 per cent in the pension with effect from April 1,1998. Minimum children’s pension has increased from Rs 115 to Rs 150 and orphan pension from Rs 170 to Rs 250 per month.

Meanwhile, a new felicitation centre was inaugurated at the Regional Provident Fund Office here by Mr A.D. Nagpal, Member, Central Board of Trustees, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation. Mr M.L. Meena, Regional Provident Fund

Commissioner, informed that the new Centre created on modern functional lines is equipped with computer terminals for giving instant status of the grievances and claims and has been provided with user friendly literautre in regional languages.

A dedicated counter for distribution of various forms and returns is already working. Mr Meena further said that the office has also been receiving and distributing claims even on holidays and beyond office hours.Back

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