Friday, June 2, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


What happens when law-makers & breakers join hands ?
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — The serene environs of Sukhna Lake are seriously threatened by both law-makers and breakers.

Opening of liquor vends, setting up of a hot mix plant and choking of Sukhna cho with thousands of polythene bags, besides other pollutants are some of the major problems facing the periphery of this major attraction of this planned city. The lake, one of 11 wetlands declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has been continuously threatened by law breakers for a long time.

Unfortunately, the law enforcing agencies, too, have joined the race. From April this year, two liquor vends have come up, within 30 metres of each other and less than 200 metres of the famous regulator end of this artificial water body.

Though both the liquor vends are located on the land of one owner, one falls in Haryana and the other in Chandigarh. Officials in the Excise and Taxation Department of the Administration maintain that opening of a sub vend near the regulator end was to counter a sub vend set up by the Haryana Excise and Taxation Department which, otherwise would have affected the excise revenue of the Union Territory.

The excise policy, perhaps, necessitates that no liquor vend be located within a specified limit from the border of a neighbouring state. In that case opening of a sub vend, first by Haryana and then by Chandigarh, is in violation of the policy.

The vends are located so close to the place where both manual and mechanical desiltation of the bed of the lake is taking place. It is up to this regulator end that both morning and evening strollers go. They, too, have resented the opening of the vends apprehending law and order problems, especially making it difficult for women and girls to go that side for their evening stroll or walk.

“Excise revenue alone is not enough to spoil the peaceful environs and serene settings of Sukhna lake,” remarked a senior citizen who has been coming to the Lake for more than three decades now.

As if opening of sub vends was not enough, an enterprising businessman has started setting up a hot mix plant on the left bank of Sukhna cho, less than 500 metres from the same regulator end.

Officials of the Administration maintain that this is in “violation of the Periphery Control Act” as no commercial activity or any “polluting unit can be permitted in the green belt of the Union Territory.”

The work on the setting up of the hot mix plant has been in progress. Protests from residents in general and the city VIPs owning farm houses in particular notwithstanding, no official has so far visited the site to ascertain from the owner at whose authorisation the plant is being put up.

The residents maintain that once the hot mix plant becomes operational, the entire environment of the “garden colony” of Kishengarh village would be polluted with poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, benzene and methane. These gases are highly toxic and carcinogenic.

Besides the inhabitants of the area, it would also have adverse affect on the milch cattle population of the adjoining Gowala colony and dairy farms inside Kishengarh village.

The hot mix plant is just on the bank of otherwise virtually choked to extinction Sukhna cho. Thousands of polythene bags fill the cho which stinks because of its conversion into a garbage dumping ground. Between regulator end and Chandigarh-Panchkula road, the embankments of the cho have not only flourished as a haven for encroachers and slum dwellers but have severely damaged the vegetation which such a water feature normally has.

No action has been initiated from checking this slums from spreading to the bed of the cho. Come monsoon and many hutments would be threatened with floods.

As if all this is not enough, some enterprising colonisers have in great disregard for the Periphery Control Act, have resumed their real estate racket in the area. Some property dealers have purchased agricultural land of Kishengarh village and are offering to prospective house builders “marla plots” at exorbitant rates. Some unauthorised constructions, including houses and shops have already come up on this new piece of land.Back


Urban indiscipline bane of problems: Jagmohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — “Slums are a civilisation problem. They all start from the crisis of the character, crisis of values and crisis of consciousness, “ says the Union Urban Development Minister , Mr Jagmohan, maintaining that “urban indiscipline is the bane of all our problems. It is not poverty which drives people to slums but a desire to make money out of land. No one is interested in following rules and regulations. There is no implementation and enforcement”.

Participating in an interactive programme on “City and the slums” organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here this evening, Mr Jagmohan said that evolving of science of human settlement could provide a way out of the growing problem of slums.

“Migration is a continuous process and cannot be stopped. But it can be regulated. It has to be planned and progressive migration where migrants are guided to pre-determined places, provided sites and it should be productivity-oriented. In the process new technology of human settlement can help. We can use human waste into energy, conserve water, save rain water for scarcity days. We have to adapt to patterns of settlement so as to distribute population in a uniform pattern, “ the Union Minister said.

“The present-day slum dweller, he said, thinks only about his monetary gains. Let me talk about Chandigarh. How much employment does Chandigarh offer to its migrants? It does not have much of industry. The idea here is making quick money.

“The slums are leading to problems of urban governance, urban politics, institutional framework and frequent elections. They have far reaching implications.

“If one looks at the problem of slums, the growth of population in the slums is three times more than the urban areas. It is the fallout of this urban indiscipline which is multiplying our other problems. Doctors in various Delhi hospitals say that during past 20 years, the incidence of asthma has grown five times. It is not a question of sympathy”, Mr Jagmohan Said.

Earlier, he was welcomed by Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director, CRRID. Prof R P Bambah, who presided over the programme, said that the nation as a whole has to look into this problem and solve it.

Among those present at the programme included Mrs Sarla Grewal, Mr P H Vaishnav, Mrs Vineeta Rai, Mr Rakesh Singh, Mr M P Singh, Mr Vishnu Bhagwan, Mr M N Sharma, Mr Aditya Prakash, Mr Balwinder Singh, Ms Neeru Nanda, Ms Varsha Joshi, Councillors of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and several other prominent citizens.

Earlier, Dr V P Dubey, presented a gist of his study of slums of children conducted at the behest of the Chandigarh Administration. Mr Jagmohan formally released a copy of the report.

Participating in the discussions, Mrs Sarla Grewal suggested setting up transit stations to be scattered in different parts of the city and wanted the Union Ministry of Urban Development to release more money for the rehabilitation programmes.

“You have to demonstrate your will so that people will understand,” Mr Jagmohan said, quoting the example of how he got garages of government houses vacated from unauthorised occupants, besides cancelling allotment of flats and houses of government employees who had sub-let these garages.

Mrs Vineeta Rai said that the Administration has decided on cut out date for rehabilitation of those slum dwellers who were in the city as on December 8,1996, the day municipal elections were held. The number of such slum dwellers was 25,000.

There were couple of options available. In the phase III sectors, the Administration has about 1200 acres of land while in 18 villages, it has another 3000 acres of land available in its own periphery.

Mr Jagmohan did not support the idea of renting out the rehabilitation sites or dwelling units saying that the problem would remain the same as these would be sub-let.

Mr PH Vaishnav suggested that urban development component in the Planning Commission should be activated.

The Union Minister agree that the concept of national capital region did not succeed. “Unless we enforce discipline, all schemes would fail. It is not true that only cities are growing. We have more than 30 million landless people in rural areas. Emphasis has to be on development of small and medium towns. The concept of citizens in field is a way out,” he added.

Earlier during the day, Mr Jagmohan attended a meeting where presentation on phase III sectors was made at Punjab Raj Bhavan by Mr Rakesh Singh and Mr M Ramsekhar. The Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd) presided.

General Jacob said that encroachments and slums were major problems of the city and suggested more pollution-free industries to solve the problem of unemployment here.

Mr Jagmohan wanted that clearance of slums should be made with full determination. The government must set an example by cancelling the allotment of those who bought some of the dwelling units of rehabilitation schemes from original allottees.


Anandgarh project Jagmohan: seek experts’ views
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — The Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Jagmohan, has suggested to the Punjab Government to base its decision of developing new town of Anandgarh on the recommendations of the report of a committee of experts.

Talking to newsmen here this evening, Mr Jagmohan said in a letter written to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, that he has proposed names of experts in human resettlement, urban development, architecture and finance to be taken on the committee.

“I wrote this letter some days ago and yet to get a response. But when the Punjab Urban development Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, came to see me, I talked to her about my suggestion of constituting experts committee. The response looked OK,” the Union Minister said, who is here on his first official visit.

Mr Jagmohan said he had suggested the name of Mr Arcott Ramchandran, a former Secretary, Science and technology who headed United Nations Commission on Human Resettlement; Dr J.P. Singh, a former Union Secretary of Urban development and Chairman of the Urban Arts Commission; Mr Dilip Doshi; Principal of Delhi School of Planning; and a Financial expert not below the rank of an Accountant-General.

“It is for the Punjab Government to take a decision on my suggestion. I have made this suggestion suo motto as I think that development of a city has far reaching implications. The impact of developing a new city are felt for 50 years, 100 of years or even more. The idea of suggesting a committee of experts is that various aspects of a new city are considered dispassionately,” he said.

When asked about the jurisdiction for developing a new city, Mr Jagmohan said that without getting into legal and constitutional matters, he considers that it was within the purview of the state government to develop the new city. “But in case of Chandigarh, it may be technically different because it attracts the provision of the Periphery Control Act. But as far as that Union Ministry is concerned, we have no official intimation or any objection from Ministry of Environment or Forests on the proposed new city,” he added.

Mr Jagmohan’s meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister had to be cancelled following a bereavement in Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s family. The Union Minister would meet the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, tomorrow.

Today, he visited Mauli Jagran colony in Chandigarh and listened to the residents of the colony, officials of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal corporation besides addressing a meeting of the Councillors of the Corporation. Later in the afternoon, he presided over a meeting of the Chandigarh Administration over the issue of urban development and slums in the Union Territory. Later in the evening, he participated in an interactive programme on “Slums in City” at CRRID.Back


HC: petitioners not to be dispossessed of land
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — Issuing notice of motion on a petition for quashing a notification “for building Anandgarh, a new township, adjacent to Chandigarh”, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that “the petitioners will not be dispossessed from the land in question”.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, the Bench, comprising Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr. Justice A.S. Garg, however, directed that “the proceedings in furtherance of the notification would continue”.

In their petition, Mr Jasvir Singh Dhaliwal and Mr Gurdial Singh of Ropar district had earlier stated that certain “powerful bureaucrats and politicians who had purchased land in villages had succeeded in persuading Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to build Anandgarh, instead of Anandpur Sahib, at the same place where New Chandigarh was to be built”. The petitioners had also enclosed a list of “influential persons” having land in the villages covered under the Anandgarh scheme.

Going into the background, they had stated that the same “influential persons” had earlier “hatched a scheme to construct a new city in the adjoining villages of Chandigarh”.

The purpose behind the scheme, the petitioners had added, “was that the very land purchased at throw-away price owned by the influential nexus, should be acquired at very high price and they should be able to make tons of money as profit out of the calculated move”.

The project, the petitioners had added, was opposed by all opposition parties. They had added that “the Shiromani Akali Dal was the major single political party which made it a prestige issue to oppose the construction of the new city”.

Mr Badal, they had stated, had made a press statement asserting that “lakhs of people would be adversely affected and moreover it would damage the Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh. As far as farmers, whose land is being acquired, who have worked day and night, to make it fertile, no amount of money could compensate them”.

Claiming the notifications to be “without jurisdiction and politically motivated”, the two had stated that “the state of Punjab had no constitutional power to build a new township on its own”.

Quoting an article appearing in The Tribune on April 6, the petitioners had also stated that the “reading of the article would clearly establish the futility of constructing a new town”.

It was added that proposal to build up a new town within the periphery was illegal “on the face of it” as changing the use of land under the New Capital Periphery Control Act was forbidden.Back


Illuminated maps set to take over
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — The stage is set for the installation of the illuminated sector-guide maps in the city following a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday.

According to sources, the illuminated coloured maps of all sectors containing vital information, including house nos, schools, religious places, will be a reality soon with Mr Justice, Swatantar Kumar, reportedly allowing the setting up of the maps.

A Calcutta-based company, to which the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) had given the responsibility of setting up the maps, had approached the court in view of the court judgement on erecting hoardings and signboards along the city roads. The firm had reportedly pleaded that the maps were in no way hoardings and did not violate the court judgement on traffic regulation.

The maps, which would be set up at all the entry and exits points of the sectors, besides the shopping centres, will have a coloured map of the entire sector with the exact location of the important centres like power substations, water supply offices and the police stations on the one side. The other side of the map will have space for the advertisers, who will maintain the maps at their own cost, officials said.

Highlighting the advantages of these maps over the existing coloured boards, the sources said they would prove to be a boon for the visitors, who find it difficult to locate various places, including house nos, particularly during the night time.

The open spaces in each sector are marked in the green. Dispensaries and medical facilities have the traditional red-coloured cross marks. Besides this they will show the V-6 roads that are located immediately outside the residential areas. 


DGP’s vehicle challaned
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, June 1— A team appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court visited the township to check the compliance of directions on traffic issued by the court. During the visit, the team checked documents of motorists and vehicle owners which included official cars as well and visited the bus stand also.

Prominent among those challaned included a car of the DGP (Prisons), an MLA of the Indian National Lok Dal, a senior official of the ITBP and the Vice-President of the local BJP unit, Mr Sham Lal Bansal. Other violations included use dark films without permission, curtains in cars, loud music and absence of vehicle documents which are mandatory.

At the bus stand, they interacted with drivers and conductors for an insight into their knowledge of rules and regulations while ensuring that each one carried a first-aid box which is mandatory according to directions.

Interestingly, though most of them carried a first-aid box, none of them knew its use or what could be used in case of an emergency. On queries of use of medicines, they drew a complete blank and could not answer any questions put to them. Also, most of them were without uniforms.

During the visit, the team comprised Mr H.S. Sethi, Local Commissioner, Mr M.S. Malik, DGP (Vigilance) among others. The ASP, Mr A.S. Dhillion, and Mr M.S. Yadav, General Manager of the Haryana Roadways accompanied the team during their visit.Back


Demand for bus service ignored
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, June 1 — A long-pending demand of senior citizens for a bus service on the dividing road of Sectors 7 and 8 has been gathering dust inspite of the case being recommended by the Chief Secretary, Haryana, Mr R.S. Verma.

Following the receipt of an application from Mr B.D. Bhai, a resident of Sector 9, on January 28, the application demanding bus service was forwarded to Deputy Commissioner, S.K. Monga, from where it was sent to the then General Manager, Haryana Roadways, on February 8. A copy of the same was forwarded to Mr Bhai as well.

However, since then no action has been taken on the letter, Mr Bhai contends. In the letter he has taken the plea that the bus service had been provided on all parallel road dividing the sectors of the township with the exception of the road dividing Sectors 8 and 9.

Bus shelters have been provided on this road also. However, no bus has ever come in this direction, causing inconvenience to all senior citizens and children in the vicinity,’’ he adds. Also, there is a bus stop near the roundabout of these sectors as in the case on the roundabouts of Sectors 11, 14, 12 A and 12.

Sources in the Haryana Roadways pointed out that the usual practice is that on receipt of any application, officials of the department conduct a survey of the area seeking bus service and viability of starting the service was checked. On the basis of this report action on the application is taken.Back


Contestants welcome poll postponement
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, June 1 — The postponement of elections by the Punjab State Election Commission to the local Municipal Council slated for June 17 has been welcomed by a number of contestants.

Most of them felt that if the elections were held at the scheduled date it would only have been a farce as a large number of fake votes were figuring in the final voters’ list and persons who had been able to join hands with the enumeration staff would have benefited.

Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, former Senior Vice-President of the Municipal Council, said that in his ward he had come across 258 fake votes. He had raised objections but only 44 votes were cancelled. The names of 124 genuine voters had been left out. He said that he wanted fair elections and it did not make any difference even if they were delayed.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a former Municipal Councillor, welcomed the postponement of elections and said that such a step would give the administration time to prepare genuine lists of voters which were necessary to hold free and fair elections.

Mr Amrik Singh Bhatti, another Municipal Councillor, said that postponing the elections did not make any difference to him. His supporters would always stand by him. He said voters’ lists had many wrong entries and the elections would not have been fair if the genuine corrections to the lists were not made. He said earlier at the time of delimitisation also government had played a negative role. He demanded that voters I-cards should be made compulsory in order to check bogus voting.

However, Mr Hardeep Singh, local SGPC member, condemned the postponement of elections. He said it was a well-planned conspiracy of the government. The objections filed by contestants were not entertained. The final voters’ list sent to the Election Commission by the SDM was very confusing. He said that it was surprising that even after verification the names of genuine voters were missing and fake votes had not been deleted from the final voters’ list.


Erratic power supply in colony
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — Residents of the Milk Colony Dhanas are a harassed lot as they are facing problems like shortage of drinking water and erratic power supply. Fluctuation of power has also become a routine affair.

Mr N.K. Sharma, a spokesman of the colony, lamented that the residents had to spend sleepless nights without power for the past few days. The only tubewell installed by the Administration in the colony does not function due to non-supply of power.


“Lashkara” can be viewed in UK
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — The upcoming Punjabi channel “Lashkara” can now be seen in the UK following formal inauguration of the channel in London with much fanfare recently.

According to a spokesman of the channel, eminent personalities of the Indian origin participated in the programme where noted singers Charanjit Channi, Ashok Masti and Sunita Bhatti, performed live. With this the channel is now beamed to over 125 countries, including Europe, Africa, Australia and Singapore.

A variety of new programmes, including serials like “Do Akalgarh”, “Tutan wala khu”, “Chandigarh Campus”, “Apne Begane” will be on the air by the last week of this month, he added.


19 shopkeepers of Maloya arrested
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 1 — The police has arrested 19 shopkeepers of Maloya on the charge of apprehension of a breach of peace here today.

According to police sources, trouble arose when some of the traders wanted to observe a day off while the others were disagreeing. The matter was brought to the notice of the police but despite efforts no common ground could be reached. Subsequently, the shopkeepers were booked under Section 107 \ 151 of the Cr. PC

Booked under Section 109: The police has arrested six persons on the charges of roaming under suspicious circumstances. Those arrested include Shabnam, Bubbly, Krishna, Narinder Singh, Ashok Kumar and Kulwant Singh. They have been booked under Section 109 of the IPC.

Fraud detected, peon held: The police has arrested Ram Singh, a peon in the Sector 27 branch of the Punjab and Sindh Bank, for trying to withdraw Rs 3. 80 lakh from the bank by forging drafts stolen from the bank.

Complainant Yogesh Kumar, manager of the bank, alleged that the accused was working in the bank and had stolen 50 blank drafts some time back. He subsequently filled the drafts and presented them to a bank. When the drafts came for clearance to the parent bank, the fraud was detected and the police informed.

A case under Section 420 \ 467 \ 468 \ 471 \ 411\ 380, IPC, has been registered.

Dowry death: A case of dowry death has been registered against Sector 38 resident Ramesh, Raj Kumar, his brother and Kanta, his mother, following a dying declaration by Sunita before the Illaqa Magistrate. The deceased who was admitted to the PGI with severe burn injuries in the statement said that she had been burnt by her in laws who were harassing for bringing inadequate dowry.

A case under Section 304 \ 498 - A, IPC, has been registered.

Car stolen: Sector 34 resident Richa Singh reported that some one had stolen his car, CHOIX 5162, from his residence. A case has been registered.Back


Diamonds : yehi hai right choice baby
By Ambika Kumar

CHANDIGARH, June 1— Diamonds are forever. They can stimulate and tease you. Glittering, sparkling, dazzling and twinkling, they stand out, always. Set along with rubies, sapphires, pearls or emeralds in earrings or finger rings, necklaces or bracelets, pendants or nose pins, the women just love them all. For they are, afterall, a girl's best friend.

Before selecting a diamond remember to check the four Cs -- cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. Cut unlocks the natural brilliance of the stone. The colour ranges from transparent to tinted white. Carat is the measure of weight also indicating the size. Clarity is another important factor. Clearer the better. Ask for the certificate also. It not only ensures guarantee but improves the resale value too.

Go in for Solitaire—diamond of one carat, equal to 200 mg. Or less expensive Pointer. In Gold. "Diamonds are usually set in 18 carat gold because lower the purity level, harder is the gold. This is because it is easier to set the stone," explains Mr Rohit Khanna, a Mani Majra jeweller.

"Imported diamonds are cut in Surat. We buy 'em from there. Or Mumbai. They are set in ornaments in various cities according to the demand for the design", asserts Mr Rohit Jain, another jeweller.

Traditional settings in diamonds are gaining popularity in combinations of both cut and uncut varieties. Setting in 18 Carat white gold is "in" which gives the platinum look.

"The sale of gold decreasing. Its increasing in the case of diamonds as the younger generation prefers it", informs Mr Rakesh Talwar, owner of a reputed shop in Sector 22. "We have a number of NRIs as our customers who invest in diamonds up to three lakh. But the demand for tops and rings is the most ", he adds.

"I am very fond of diamonds as they look very elegant and brighten up the face. But a pair of earrings is what I feel is the best to invest in", says Mrs Aruna Uppal, a housewife.

Not just the women, even men like their wives in them."I like to gift my wife diamonds as a token of love and affection besides the fact that she loves adorning them", expresses Sector 43 resident Mr Jeet Saini.

Diamonds is not only used for the purpose of make-do but also prescribed by astrologers for remedial purposes. In the astrological context these stones are referred to navrattans and ashtadhatu.

"Diamonds are also used in watches and pens. The range of the watches studded with diamonds starts from Rs 40,000 onwards. But the trend is still catching up", says Mr Talwar.


Punwire staff observe fast
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, June 1 — A token hunger strike was organised by employees of the Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire) here today in protest against the alleged one-sided decision of the management of declaring the unit as sick.

At the annual general meeting of the company held on May 29 a resolution to refer the unit to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) was passed.

Mr Shahid Ahmed, president of the Punwire Employees Union (Radio division), told mediapersons at a press conference that if the company’s case was referred to the BIFR employees would be adversely affected. He said on June 2 employees would hold a demonstration in front of the Assistant Labour Commissioner’s (ALC) office and a memorandum would be presented to the ALC. On June 3 employees of the Marts division of Punwire would organise a gate rally.

The protesting employees also demanded release of their salaries which had been held up for the past 11 months and an immediate step to make the unit functional.

Mr Sajjan Singh, Chairman, Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee, who was also present at the conference said if the unit was declared sick the management would become more powerful. He said in reality the unit was not sick. It was being declared so only to hush up the scandals worth crores of rupees which had led to its downfall. He demanded a CBI inquiry into the misuse of company funds by the management.

He said on June 7 a rally would be organised in front of the PSIDC office in Chandigarh in which a large number of employees would take part.Back

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