Monday, January 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn, MCC on collision course
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) are the collision course again, and this time over the imposition of property tax in the city.

With the Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, ruling out the possibility of any fresh taxes during his tenure, the showdown between the Administration and the corporation seems imminent. Talking to The Tribune today, Mr Goel said there was no question of imposing any taxes as the huge deficit could be bridged through the auction of commercial property in Mani Majra and other parts and reducing the wasteful expenditure.

Only recently, the Administration issued "directions" to the civic body to impose property tax in the city. In fact, the Administration had repeatedly been reminding the civic body the need to impose the property tax in the city which will earn a revenue to the tune of Rs 20 crore and help bridge the huge budget deficit of the corporation.

Since there would be a reduction of 10 per cent in the grants-in-aid to the corporation every year, the imposition of property tax was an absolute must, the Administration has said through several reminders to the corporation. And with the corporation in the process of making preparing the budget estimates for the next financial year, the corporation would be under pressure from the administration to impose the tax so that the burgeoning budget deficit could be controlled to certain extent, sources said.

It may be mentioned here that the House of the corporation had passed a resolution recommending the imposition of 10 per cent property tax on the "rateable value" in 1997. Subsequently, the House Tax Assessment Committee, headed by veteran BJP leader, Prem Sagar Jain had approved the property tax byelaws in 1998.

However, successive Mayors, which belonged to the BJP, preferred to sleep over the matter, with the result that the bylaws could not be brought to the House for final approval. It is only after the final approval by the House that the Administration will issue a notification paving the way for the imposition of the property tax in the city — a move which will jack up the cost of living in the city.

But the imposition of property tax is going to be a double-edged sword for the Mayor and his party — the Congress. If he goes in for the imposition of the tax, it might be politically an unpopular decision as the elections to the civic body are scheduled to be held later this year. If he does not, the budget deficit will further mount putting the development activity on the backburner.

Anyway, the Mayor, whose party has only five councillors in the 29-member House, is on a sticky wicket on the issue. The BJP-SAD alliance, which has 15 councillors in its fold, can easily get the bylaws okayed in the House if these come up for discussion. If that happens, the Congress will have to bear the political fallout of the imposition of tax in the elections.


4-yr-old sambhar strays into Kansal, dies
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The death of a male sambar in the Kansal area of Punjab this morning is indicative of the increasing dryness on the upper reaches of the forests. Coupled with dryness is another factor of male dominance among animals in the forests. Experts say that straying of sambhars during the dry season is very common, and that young sambhars are often forced out of the forests by the elder and more powerful ones which want to make full use of the mating season.

The five-and-a-half-foot sambhar, which died in Kansal today after struggling for survival for over three hours, had seemingly strayed because of heavy fog in the area. The body of the four-year-old animal, which died around 11.30 a.m., was lifted by Punjab Wildlife Department people in the afternoon and sent for a post mortem.

During the past three months this is reportedly the third sambhar straying into the Kansal area. Villagers informed Chandigarh Tribune that on earlier occasions, the sambhars were caught by them and subsequently dropped back in the forest by the Wildlife Department. The death, they said, was occurring the first time in many years, perhaps because the animal was already in an injured condition when it was spotted in the village. It was being followed by stray dogs.

After the animal finally collapsed after dashing against the wall of a house into which it jumped, villagers sounded the alarm well in time. By about 12 noon, Punjab Wildlife Department people from Ropar had reached the spot and lifted the sambhar.

Villagers informed that the sambhar was first spotted in the area around 9.30 a.m. It had been seen coming from the Khuda Alisher village side and was being chased by stray dogs. That was perhaps the reason the animal strayed its way into the residential area.

Informed Sukhdev Giri, a Kansal resident, into whose courtyard the sambhar jumped to safeguard its life, "When we saw the sambhar it was already quite injured. It first jumped over the wall of a society land in Kansal. It kept straying here and there for a long time and all this while it kept bleeding."

Another resident, Dharampal, into whose house the sambhar had entered in search of asylum, informed that the animal had scars all over its body. It must have picked up the scars while crossing the fencing around the Kansal Reserve Forest area.

Finally, the animal, still struggling to escape, again jumped into the house of Sukhdev Giri and was trapped in the cot lying in the verandah. Said Sukhdev, "Its rear legs were badly trapped. We offered water to the animal but it refused to take it. It looked quite terrified." When the sambhar managed to escape from the cot, it jumped out of the house and banged into the wall. After that it ran out again and collapsed near the gobar gas plant of Kansal.

A report into the matter has been lodged by personnel of Naya Gaon police post.

The Punjab Wildlife Department people, when contacted, said that they had tried to study the reason behind straying of the animal. While the Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, Mr B.C. Bala, was out on tour today, other officials did try to reason out the straying.


12-year-old leak that hasn’t been plugged
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — Constant flow of water is what is worrying university teachers here. The water is welcome if it comes out of taps even thrice a day, but not when it leaks from the roof and the walls of your house.

The problem is severe in the teachers’ flats on the PU campus. The roof of most of these houses has been leaking for more than 12 years now and 3-inch-long stalactites can be seen hanging from the roof and 5-inch-broad stalagmites have come up on the floor.

The problem began in 1988 when the university decided to augment the overhead water-storage facility. Four large Sintex tanks on the roof and a water pump on the ground were installed in these flats. However, no provision was made to check the overflow of water in the tanks. As a result, the roof leaks for about seven hours everyday and even the insulation has given way. It was designed to be a roof, not a water channel.

The water has eaten into the load-bearing columns of the building, decreasing the life of these. Water has been constantly dripping from the walls and pillars adjacent to Flat 28 ever since the pumps were installed more than a decade ago. Banyan and Peepul trees have taken root on the third floor and moss greens the walls. Since the installation of the pump, residents of four flats (Number 25 to 28) that are directly under the water tanks, have always faced the problem of water leakage. In Flat 28, water often seeps into walls and almirahs. Dr Anuradha Sharma, current occupant of the flat, says, “In winter, the leaking water does not evaporate and it makes the house cold and damp. We keep a bucket in the corridor to collect the water.”

Dr Paramjit Tewari, who has lived in Flat 27 for some years, says, “We even used to fear that the roof might cave as it seemed to have become curved.”

Residents made several complaints to the Construction Office and the repair work had also been taken up in 1989. The university maintenance staff tried to stop the leakage by spreading bitumen sheets on the roof. This was good for a while, but the roof began to leak once again. This time, the joints on the roof were filled with cement, but this, too, failed. This time, the leakage affected the third-floor flats and the staircase as well. The problem continues till today.

In 1999, the Executive Engineer, for the first time, visited the site to supervise the repair work. Another ineffective effort was made by spreading special sealing compound on the roof. Engineers said this effort had failed because the sealing compound had been swept away by the water before it had set.

Apparently, there is no coordination between the Public Health Engineering Department that runs the water pumps and the Civil Works Department that spreads the cement. Either the CWD personnel do not inform the PHED personnel or the latter do not listen to the requests of the former to shut off the water supply for a few hours to allow the cement to set.

All these efforts are for repairing the leakage, but nothing has ever been done to stop the overflow of water from the overhead tanks. “If the overflow of water is controlled, the problem of leakage will be solved,” says Dr Anuradha Sharma.


Schoolgirl commits suicide
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — A teenaged girl student of a local school committed suicide by consuming sulphos tablets at her paying guest accommodation in Sector 44 yesterday night. No suicide note was found by the police.

Police sources said the deceased was a student of SD Public School, Sector 32, and was the daughter of an advocate practicing in Amloh in Punjab. She was staying here along with her older sister, Ambika, while their parents were residing in Amloh. The cause of the suicide has not been established so far.

According to the information available, 16-year-old Rachna was found in an unconscious state by Ambika when she reached home last night. Ambika found her sibling in lying in the room with a packet of sulphos tablets clutched tightly in her hands. She immediately rushed her sister to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where she was later declared dead.

The postmortem examination was conducted this morning and the viscera was sent to Patiala for chemical examination. The body was later handed over to the family of the deceased. The police has ruled out foul play and has registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC.


Heads of MC bodies to be chosen on Jan 19
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The elections of the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the six out of the nine recently-constituted committees of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) will be held on January 19. The last date for filing the nominations is January 15.

The six committees, for which the elections would be held, include the Roads Committee, House Tax Assessment Committee, Slum Development Committee, Environment and City Beautification Committee, Legal Affairs Committee and Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Committee. Each committee comprises seven members, so, to be elected the chairman of any of these, a person needs the votes of three other councillors, besides his vote.

The dates for elections to the other three committees will be announced shortly. These include the Electricity Committee, the Arts, Culture and Sports Committee and the Apni Mandi Committee.

The Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goel, wants that these elections are held before the first meeting of the MC House. The committees were constituted in May during the tenure of Ms Shanta Hit Abhilashi. After this, elections of the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons were held, but certain BJP councillors objected to the procedure of elections.


Two held, stolen vehicles recovered
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The local police has claimed to have achieved a major success with the arrest of a ‘proclaimed offender’ and solving of various cases of robberies and vehicle thefts committed by him in Chandigarh and several districts of Punjab.

The offender, Gurpreet Singh, a history sheeter and resident of Jalandhar, along with Kamal Kumar, a resident of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, was arrested yesterday. They were presented before the Duty Magistrate today and were remanded in police custody till January 17. The main accused, Gurpreet Singh, was presently staying in Naya Gaon.

According to sources, they were caught at a special naka laid by the police near Punjab Engineering College last afternoon. They were allegedly driving a motorcycle bearing a fake number plate. They were reportedly searched by the police on suspicion and a loaded country-made pistol and six live cartridges, along with a bunch of keys, were seized from the possession of Gurpreet.

After interrogation, the accused confessed to his other crimes and the police reportedly found three Yamaha motorcycles, five scooters and one Maruti car. These vehicles are learnt to have been stolen by the accused from different parts of the city.

Sources said it was revealed during interrogation that Kamal used to make duplicate keys and Gurpreet used to steal vehicles. During the interrogation, the police also came to know that Gurpreet had committed several robberies. Sources in the department said Gurpreet, along with others, had robbed Rs 1,500 from a salesman at the Sector 27 petrol pump five months ago.

Sources said Gurpreet, along with other accomplices, had robbed Rs 1.1 lakh from a lottery ticket shop at Ludhiana, one lakh from a salesman of a milk dairy on Ferozprore road, Ludhiana, and Rs 1 lakh from a scooterist at Hoshiarpur. The gang had also allegedly robbed two persons in Ludhiana and had sped away with Rs 1,70,000.


Aviation clubs ‘grounded’
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 —Financial crunch coupled with lack of employment opportunities in the flying sector has grounded the aviation clubs of Pinjore, Karnal and Hisar where “business” is at an all time low.

Employees, too, are at the receiving end with the department yet to pay their salaries for December. Nobody seems to be coming to the rescue of the clubs.

What has come as a big disappointment to the staff at these clubs is that despite the fact that the civil aviation portfolio is with the Chief Minister, it seems to be absolutely non-existent on his priority list.

At Pinjore, resentment prevails among the employees, who, in spite of doing their job, are unable to take back their pay packets. Sources say as many as 50 of them in the three clubs were forced to be a part of the financial crunch.

In Hisar, the Chief Flying Officer resigned some time back and the club is virtually closed. The gliding instructor has also shifted to Karnal for holding camps in view of no activity there.

The aviation club in Karnal is in a similar crisis where finances fail to break even. The clubs, operating under the united banner of the Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation (HICA), get a package of Rs 35 lakh as grant from the Haryana Government, which officials claim is not enough even to meet the maintenance and expenditure of fuel, leave alone payment of salaries.

The incharge at the HICA, Pinjore, Capt GS Cheema, says, “There is a financial crunch but we are making do with whatever we have. The employees haven’t got their salaries and I have not taken mine to pay up for the fuel charges. This is like a household where we are spending every penny judiciously.”

The bottleneck in the club’s flight through trying times is the exorbitant hike in fuel prices. "These have gone up from as low as Rs 14 per litre to as high as Rs 70 per litre till the time the supply reaches the club. We can do little in the face of such stiff competition’’, rues Mr Harbhajan Singh, the engineer at the Pinjore club.

“There are no opportunities for flying with recruitment by Indian Airlines completely nil until recently when they began taking pilots. Interested youngsters also choose not to dabble in flying in view of the crisis in this sector and the clubs suffer,’’ claims Capt AS Wilkhu, chief gliding instructor, Hisar.

The clubs are taking a drubbing for another reason — the high charges for flying lessons at the clubs costing Rs 2000 per person per hour. Officials at the club said it took 250 hours of flying experience to procure a commercial license while 60 flying hours were needed for a private license and as much as 20 litres was consumed in completing 250 hours, costing approximately Rs 1400.

The Adviser, Civil Aviation, Mr Rajiv Arora, admits that salaries are yet to be paid to the staff employed at these clubs. "They also must generate funds for keeping the flying clubs afloat. They must encourage more flying and meet their expenses rather than relying on us completely,’’ he said.



AS it was announced that Ms Vineeta Rai would relinquish charge as Adviser to the UT Administrator, on January 12, the local bureaucracy, politicians, office staff at the secretariat went all out to make it a series of farewells. Actually, Ms Rai had to virtually ask her personal staff to keep a tab on where all she had to go. The list was long and varied.

If the outgoing Adviser was invited to lunch by the Punjab Chief Secretary, at tea time the same day the engineering staff was hosting high tea. Another day it was breakfast at Punjab Chief Minister’s residence and lunch at Haryana Chief Minister’s place. This was preceded by a private dinner hosted by the Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

Two seniormost officers of the Chandigarh Administration, Mr R.S. Gujral and Mr Rakesh Singh, hosted dinners at their respective residences. Another public farewell was hosted by a body full of local Congressmen. The former Mayor, Mr Gyan Chand Gupta, also hosted a small gettogether at his Panchkula residence. So full was the Adviser with the long list of farewells that she had to turn down several invitations.

On her last day in office she was given an official farewell at the office. A dinner followed where officers pooled in money to be present with their spouses. And this list of farewells does not include several of the functions hosted by social organisations and important persons of the city.

Killer road

About six years ago, India’s former President Giani Zail Singh was travelling on the Chandigarh-Ropar highway when a speeding truck, coming from the opposite direction, rammed into the vehicle. Gianiji died in the mishap.

Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann was “fortunate”. On the same road, his car also met with an accident. But unfortunately his driver died on the spot. Jinxed road?

Lohri love

Lovers do not miss opportunities to exhibit their love. So when Lohri came, it was natural for them to hire a dholi to beat the drum in front of the houses of their lady loves. To the rhythmic beat of bhangra music, a gang of youngsters in Sector 18 wildly swayed till beads of perspiration covered their brow. Then they moved on, to twirl all around on the street of cobbled stone outside another house in Sector 22.


The foggy weather in the past few days came as a relief to the residents of Phase X , XI and other surrounding areas of Mohali located in the air funnel area of the airstrip of the Chandigarh Airport as the aircraft which create ear piercing noise took fewer sorties.

The deafening noise of the aircraft, each time they take off and land, has made life of the residents miserable who want the foggy weather to prolong, contrary to the feelings of their brethren.

Evasive Falguni

It was quite a sad news for youngsters of the city who were all waiting in line to jive on to the tunes of dandia queen Falguni Pathak. Falguni, who was supposed to perform at Aerizzona, the Sector 9 discotheque, backtracked at the last moment and sent a message across to the city that she was too caught up to turn up. The youngsters, who were not aware of the change in programme, were seen waiting outside the discotheque. Bad luck! May be the singer is more gracious next time.

Actress DPI

Theatre lovers were quite amazed the other day to find Director, Social Welfare and DPI, Colleges, Ms Madhavi Kataria, perform the role of a middle-aged housewife who is caught in a quest for identity. It was news to many among the audiences that Madhavi Kataria was also an active theatre artist and a member of Abhinet which staged four plays at Tagore Theatre on January 8 and 9. Madhavi Kataria acted in Mohan Rakesh’s duologue Shayad and managed a lot of appreciation from the audience.

Dr Kamal Anand

Dr Kamal Anand, a Panjab University scholar, has been nominated as an expert member on the Board of Studies in Sanskrit studies in Himachal Pradesh University.

Dr Anand, the first woman D Litt of PU, is currently a teacher at Delhi University. She was honoured by a former President of the country, Dr Shanker Dayal Sharma, who while in office released two volumes of her deep study in “Sanskrit Sanskriti Sadhna”.

The significant job involves identifying the broader areas of study and subject content of the language, among others.

Upset PU

“Please close the door tightly before you leave,” muttered the lady sitting with her two companions amidst scores of empty chairs in Panjab University’s examination branch. Covering her lean wrinkled face with frail hands to suppress a yawn, she suggested,: “And don’t come back till tomorrow. We are all very upset”.

The reason was genuine. Their colleague for several years had made the final exit just the previous evening. He was descending the stairs after completing the day’s work when cardiac arrest had caught him unawares.

Unfortunately, the middle-aged businessman from Phillaur, along with so many others, was not aware of it. All the way they had travelled, climbed endless stairs, just to get the results of their relatives declared. If only they had been warned by the authorities that the staff would be going for the cremation, they would have postponed the visit. Please take care, PU authorities.

Time to act

With the two coveted posts of Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor going to the Congress councillors, it only remains to be seen what development works they are able to undertake for Mani Majra and Mauli Jagran. Both these areas fall in the wards of these two councillors and they have in the past been alleging that the Municipal Corporation does not pay sufficient attention to the works in their areas. During the last four years, the Mayor and Senior Deputy mayor were from the ruling BJP-SAD alliance.

In fact, in the last meeting of the MC House they had demanded that the income earned by the auction of Mani Majra properties should be spent on the development works there only. But now that they occupy these posts, it remains to be seen whether they will still be able to press their demand or not, if properties are auctioned in the near future. Nevertheless, Mani Majra residents can look forward to some good times.

PU gossip

Panjab University Director Public Relations Sanjiv Tewari had an interesting story to tell. He met a friend of his who lives in America. Mr Tewari asked him how it is there. He said that America can be best described as a hospital. Everything is clean, organised and functions smoothly. Except that one is perpetually sick.

Another employee of the university, Mr Shyam Lal, superintendent, in the colleges branch, relates an incident about his visit to the estate office. Next to a table for the public to fill in their forms etc, on the wall was written in clear bold English, “Please do not wipe your thumb here after stamping the impression on the forms.”

Shyam Lal wonders how a person who is going to use a thumb impression in place of a signature will be reading the writing on the wall?

Ambedkar Award

Manav and Sarabpreet Singh, two local youth, have done the city proud by receiving the Dr Ambedkar Fellowship Award conferred by the Bhartiya Dalit Sahitya Akademi in recognition of the commendable social services rendered by them.

The two youth, who have been friends since their school days, say that the idea of social service struck on to them during the long vacation after their Class X board examinations. Since then, they have been actively involved in social welfare and this has become a passion with them. “ We thought that we must utilise our time fruitfully and work for the upliftment of our Dalit community. We then came in contact with the famous social activist from Hisar, Ms Asha Kondall, and began fund raising for the welfare of the Dalits,” they said.

The two youth have raised around Rs 40,000 by seeking donations during the past two years . They say that this money has been used for marrying off poor Dalit girls and for providing for the education of a few children.

Principal to CEO

The former Director-Principal of the GMCH, Sector 32, has acquired a new avtar —that of a Chief Executive Officer. The eminent neurosurgeon who recently retired from the institution has been roped in as the CEO of a private health centre in the city.

Certainly not ‘‘the place’’ for a surgeon of his calibre in a primary coordinated health care setup. He, however, has reason for this transition. ‘‘I have always believed in looking ahead. Besides I think I am a very good administrator. Together with my keen personal interest in IT and computers, this is the right place for me, "he explains.

And for professional satisfaction in the field of his specialisation, he consults and operates, though at his own pace. ‘‘I am still on a holiday,’’ he adds.

Eking out a living

Other than most of us who are missing the long and hard earned winter break, it is also the three- member family of Ram Kishen, who sells delicious snacks at the Sukhna Lake.

After a boom time during the winter vacations, they are now braving the bitter cold near the lake with a hope of selling their wares each day, but with little success.

Ram Kishen, who is around 30 years of age says that he had chosen the business of selling carrots and radish to the numerous visitors on the lake a couple of years back and has not regretted his decision . “Initially, I was helped by my elder brother and we were selling peanuts in winter and bhuttas during the summers. And by the grace of the Almighty, we have not regretted the decision even once,” he said.

He is now helped by his sister-in-law, Noorie, who sells peanuts and his nine-year-old niece, Julie, who sells ber and the famous chana zor garam. The family claims that weekends and all vacations are the peak business seasons for them, when their sales are between Rs 200 and Rs 250 per day. “On a normal day, the sales vary between Rs 100 and Rs 150 per day. But considering the size of our family of eight, this amount is a pittance,” he says.

He says that though they are occasionally troubled by the MC officials and the police to clear the place, the regular evening walkers at the lake, who have developed an affinity for them over the period of time, help them and they are allowed to continue.


Going through the examination papers of under-graduate students can be an “eye-opener’’ for all those with a discerning eye, on the lookout for entertainment. Checking papers, a teacher came across a hilarious transformation. The question paper demanded change of the given sentence,“It is a beautiful night’’ to an exclamatory one. The changed sentence read as, “Shit!! It is a beautiful night.’’

In a translation of the sentence, “Santri, idhar aayo’’, the student could only think of one intelligent answer, “Orangie, come here,’’ she wrote.

— Sentinel


Governor’s appeal to adopt blind
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 14 — Appealing to non-government organisations to come forward in adopting the blind, the Governor of Haryana, Babu Parmanand, said it was the moral responsibility of all able-bodied persons to help the handicapped and less privileged. Speaking at the concluding function attended by blind children from Chandigarh, Panipat and Ambala to observe the birth anniversary of Louis Braille at Haryana Model School, Sector 10, here today, the Governor said only persons who lived for others made a mark in society and Louis Braille was one of them.

For the children, it was fun time as they enthusiastically participated in contests organised to mark the occasion. True to the spirit of the day, they vied with each other in poem recitation and singing contests, while rejoicing and applauding others who performed better. Each of the contestants proved to be winners in their own right. The cultural programme essentially comprised devotional songs. While some children sang, others played musical instruments.

The Governor distributed prizes to winners of the contests. In seniors’ category of poem recitation contest, Ajay Kumar was first, Amanpreet second and Vikas third, while in junios’ category, Ram Mehar and Kuldip were placed first and second, respectively.

Responding to demands put up by the association of the blind, Mr Wadhwa, in his address, said he would take up the issue of providing plots at concessional rates and easy installments at the meeting of the Board of Directors. To a demand for a piece of land for opening an office of the association, Mr Wadhwa said HUDA provided land to social welfare organisations and the association of the blind was entitled for it provided they applied for the same.


PUDA to hold draw in March
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The draw of lots for the PUDA scheme offering 3950 free-hold plots in five new sectors of Mohali, which closes tomorrow, will be held between March 19 and 23, 2001.

This was announced here today by Mr Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, Chief Administrator, PUDA. In a press note, he said so far 9529 applications had been received for various categories of plots. These included 1621 applications for 850 plots of 125 sq yd, 2584 applications for 850 plots of 150 sq yd, 3401 applications for 700 plots of 200 sq yd, 849 applications for 500 plots of 250 sq yd, 542 applications for 500 plots of 300 sq yd and 313 applications for 300 plots of 400 sq yd and 219 applications for 200 plots of 500 sq yd. It did not provided figures for the 1000 sq yd (2-kanal) plots.

Mr Sidhu said a total of Rs 65.41 crore had been received so far by way of earnest money. The refund cheques to the unsuccessful applicants would be sent by mail before March 31. The land acquisition proceedings had been finalised and the possession of the land would be taken over by the middle of April, after paying the prescribed compensation to the landowners, inclusive of the 30 per cent interest. He denied that any legal complication had stalled the acquisition proceedings. In fact no legal case in this respect was pending in any court. On the other hand, a number of deputations of the landowners had met him requesting for early disbursement of the compensation money.

The PUDA chief revealed that the Rs 150 crore of the land acquisition award would be funded by HUDCO loan, internal accruals, and the contribution of the plot applicants. The approval of HUDCO for the loan had already been received as well as the approval of the Punjab Government guarantee.

The planning of the five new sectors had already been finalised by the Chief Town Planner. Mr M.N.Sharma, a retired Chief Architect of Chandigarh, had been actively associated in the process. Wider roads and ample of green spaces were the hall mark of the planning of these sectors. Simultaneously, the engineering wing of PUDA was in the process of framing detailed estimates, so that the work could commence on the very day the possession of land was available. Mr Sidhu said that the progress of this ambitious project would be monitored on day-to-day basis, so that the plots could be delivered to the allottees as soon as possible.


More facilities to be provided at Sec 43 ISBT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — A series of additions are in the pipeline for the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) in Sector 43 here. A dispensary will be opened for first-aid facilities at the bus stand. Long-route buses will also start originating and terminating at the new ISBT within three to four weeks.

Idle parking for buses is under development, and once this is in place long-route buses will terminate and originate from here.

Several long-route buses destined for Jammu, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh can originate from here and also terminate here, according to Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Transport, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral.

Two STD public call offices are being opened at the bus stand and the staff has been asked to contact a private telephone service provider if the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has some technical problems in providing a line. The transport authorities have also given clearance for a fruit shop.


City museum in for a face-lift
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — With additions to some sections of its collection as also with the launch of a website, the Government Museum here is in for a major face-lift.

The museum would soon have separate sections on Sikh paintings and modern art. This was informed by official sources here this morning. They added that comparative theology section would contain rare manuscripts to serve as a major centre of research, reference and education for art lovers.

A separate section of modern art is also due to be added. According to sources in the Punjab Raj Bhavan, the UT Administrator and Governor of Punjab, Lt-Gen JFR Jacob, has already sent a letter of request to the Union Ministry of Culture to loan some bronze pieces from the National Museum to the city museum.

Keeping in view the fact that the Chandigarh museum does not have South Indian bronzes and bronzes of the Pala period, the Administrator has also requested the Ministry to loan some such pieces from the National Museum of Natural History.

Meanwhile, a computer company has agreed to digitalise and document the paintings and artifacts of the museum free of charge. This documentation would be available on the museum website being launched shortly. The city museum would also come out with colourful catalogues.


DD relay centre in Sec 37 soon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — A relay centre of Doordarshan will be inaugurated in Sector 37 here by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, next month. This was announced by Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former local MP, who met the minister in New Delhi recently. “The date of the inauguration will be worked out in a few days,” Mr Jain added.


Cyclist hit by car
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — A cyclist, Pal Singh, resident of Mauli Jagran, was hit by a Maruti car on the dividing road of Sectors 28 and 29 here yesterday. He was admitted to Government Medical and Hospital, Sector 32. His condition was reportedly stable. The driver of the car, Jagdish Kumar, resident of Sector 4, Panchkula, was later arrested. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Rs 75,000 stolen
Mr Karan Singh of Sector 9 reported to the police that Rs 75,000 was stolen from the ‘dickey’ of his scooter parked in Sector 35 yesterday. A case under Section 337 of Indian Penal Code has been registered.

Gamblers held
Shashi Bindu Kumar and Raj Kumar of Kajheri village were arrested yesterday from near the colony for gambling at a public place. An amount of Rs 2600 was also recovered from their possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered.

Car thefts
The police received two complaints of vehicle thefts during the past 24 hours. Mr Raman Kumar of Sector 41 reported that his Maruti car (CH-01-K-7808) was stolen from his house. Mr Narinder Singh Aulakh of SAS Nagar reported that his Maruti car (CH-03-6100) was stolen from Golf Club parking. Cases under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code have been registered.Back


Flooding of cars spells doom for car bazar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The flooding of various cars in the Indian market over the last couple of years has reportedly spelt doom in one of the largest car bazars dealing in second hand cars here, with business now down by almost 20 per cent. It is believed that with the various new entrants in the market like Santro, Matiz and Indica, Maruti has lost a lot of its customers to these companies. As a result, the sale of second hand Maruti cars, which brought prosperity to the car dealers in the city , has drastically gone down. However, the sale of other second hand cars has not picked up as much, although Santro is presently the second best selling car after the Maruti 800 standard.

This factor alongwith the easy car financing schemes for any new cars has led the market into recession. Most car dealers contacted by TNS lamented that with more than a dozen well reputed finance companies and as many nationalised and private banks giving away loans for buying cars at easy installments, this has hit the business badly. It is perhaps to counter this threat from the car financiers, that most of the car dealers have begun financing second hand cars in order to woo the almost elusive customers.

Mr Manjit Singh, President of the Car Dealers Association, Chandigarh, and proprietor of Carlines Advantage, when contacted by TNS said that the cash flow in the market was poor and as a result not many people were willing to make a down payment even on a second hand car. “Thus the car dealers had little option but to begin financing these cars in order to sustain their business . As many as 30 percent of the cars that are sold in the car bazar are now financed.”

A survey of the car bazar along the Madhya Marg in Sector 7 and Sector 26 here today revealed that as many as 30 car dealers cater to as many as 1000 customers each Sunday. Interestingly, their clientele is restricted not just to the City Beautiful and it’s satellite townships, but to other states like Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. Informs Mr Arun Kumar, Managing Director of Chandigarh Car Park, “This being one of the biggest car bazars in Asia, we get customers even from the far flung states of Kerela, Karnataka and the Saharanpur belt of Uttar Pradesh.”

It is learnt that on an average each car dealer sells two to three cars on each Sunday and it is the models of cars bought after 1995 that meet the best deal. It is learnt that while almost 70 per cent of the cars sold in the car bazar are Maruti 800, they are followed by Santro, Zen , Matiz and Indica in the said order. Among the luxury cars, while it is the Honda City that is the most preferred to be followed by Cielo, Esteem, Safari and Opel Astra. Interestingly, the market for the cars like Fiat, Ambassador and Tata Sumo is limited and these are mainly bought by the taxi operators, informed Mr Arun Kumar.

While a 2000 model of Maruti 800 was sold between Rs 1.75 to Rs 1.85 lakh, Santro was available between Rs 2.80 to Rs 3 lakh; Zen for Rs 2.85 to Rs 3 lakh; Matiz for between Rs 2.75 to Rs 2.80 lakh; and Indica of the same model for Rs 2.80 lakh.

Similarly in the luxury car segment, a 2000 model Honda City is available between Rs 5.75 lakh to Rs 6 lakh; Cielo for Rs 3.75 lakh; Safari for Rs 6 to Rs 6.5 lakh; Maruti Esteem for Rs 4 lakh, and Opel Astra for around Rs 5 lakh. The car dealers say that while there is a depreciation of almost Rs 50,000 the moment the car comes out of the showroom, there is an annual depreciation of Rs 20,000.

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