Thursday, April 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property conversion rates notified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Chandigarh Administration today finally notified a policy to allow general power of attorney (GPA) holders to get any type of residential property converted in their name while also allowing for conversion into freehold of plots bigger than 500 square metres (1 kanal and above). The notification will apply for all kinds of residential properties in Chandigarh.

As per the notification, GPA’s will be allowed to transfer property in their own names by first paying a fixed conversion charge and also 12.50 per cent of the present market value as stamp duty. ‘‘The present market value will be fixed by the Estate Office which would be the price that property would be capable of fetching had it been put to sale by open auction on the date of application for conversion from leasehold to freehold,’’ says the notification.

The stamp duty will be payable for executing the conveyance deed in favour of the GPA holder.

In case of cooperative house building societies and all other lands allotted on chunk basis, the conversion rate will be determined as per area of the site allotted to individual member of a co-operative society and the formula to calculate the charges will be the same as applied in case of CHB flats.

The notified rate in case of plots which at present stands at Rs 1,710 per square yard is under review, according to well-placed sources. A committee comprising the CHB Chairman, Mr G.K. Marwah, the Estate Officer, Mr M. Ramsekhar, and the Managing Director, CITCO, Mr S.P. Singh, is studying the rate. Interestingly, the notification of the present rate lapsed on December 31, 2000. Either it has to be re-notified or a fresh notification has to be issued with new rates till then no one can apply for the conversion of plots. Meanwhile, the CHB and the Estate Office are ready with documentation process.

City residents can approach the authority which allotted them land. This can be either the Estate Officer in case of plots or the CHB in case of flats or land allotted on chunk basis to co-operative societies on the individual member basis. The GPA holder will have to prove that he is the bona fide owner. In case the GPA holder has died, the legal position of his children or the position of further GPA’s will have to be studied as per provisions of law, said the sources.

The scheme for allowing conversion from leasehold to freehold for plots less than 1 kanal in size was going on since 1996, however, the GPA holders were not being considered . Now thousands of sale deeds on the GPA basis will be regularised. This meets a long- pending demand of more than 20,000 flat owners under the LIG, MIG, HIG or the independent housing schemes launched by the CHB since 1979. And also all leasehold plots allotted since 1973.

For GPA regularisation papers shall include: a copy of the GPA with an agreement to sell and a will, if any; an affidavit from the buyer; an indemnity bond from the buyer; an affidavit from the buyer that he or she will remove any building violation existing in the dwelling unit and lastly the original copy of the allotment letter (to be produced for verification) and proof of physical possession by the applicant.

In case of successive GPA holders establishment of continuous link between the original allottee and present GPA holder is required. The seller and buyer will be ineligible for further allotments under any other CHB scheme, or society flats.


Following will be the conversion rate from leasehold to freehold


Size of plot  Approximate conversion charge 
up to 50 sq metres  NIL
Above 50 and up to 150 sq mt Rs 12,000
Above 150 and up to 250 sq mt 

Rs 30,000

Above 250 and up to 350 sq mt Rs 50,000
Above 350 and up to 500 sq mt Rs 1,06,000
Above 500 and up to 1000 sq mt Rs 3,00,000
Above 1000 sq mt  Rs 5,00,000


Category  Approximate charges
EWS/ cheap houses / industrial houses NIL

Rs 4,300


Rs 6,100


Rs 9,000

HIG upper 

Rs 10,700

  • For co-operative housing societies, Army welfare organisations, central and state government and semi-government bodies which were allotted land on chunk basis: conversion charges to be same as CHB flats on basis of area.

  • GPA holders finally allowed to get all types of property transferred.



1 killed in scrap shell blast
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
One person died and another was injured when a shell, collected as scrap, exploded in a two-room tenement in Old Panchkula this morning.

The deceased, identified as Abid Ali, a 20-year-old ice-candy seller, died on-the spot while his grandmother, Amtul, (55), who sustained injuries on her face, arms and legs was admitted to the General Hospital in Sector 6. She was stated to be out of danger.

The incident took place around 7.30 this morning while Abid Ali was busy in his room separating scrap collected by sale of ice-candies. His grandmother, Amtul, was offering the namaz by his side in the same room.

Recalling the incident from the hospital bed, Amtul said Abid Ali was busy breaking something open when she entered the room. “While he was doing so, there was a sudden explosion and there was smoke all around us. The next we knew was Abid’s mutilated body was being pulled out of the room,” she said.

The room in tenement presented a gory scene with blood splatters on the floor and pieces of flesh from the body stuck to the ceiling.

The explosion ripped through the walls which were marked with cracks and craters. The centre of the floor also had a crater made by the exploding shell.

Family sources said Abid Ali, eldest of the four children, had begun selling ice-candy to earn a living about a week back. “He would take anything in return for an ice-candy, be it 50 paise, an empty bottle or even pieces of iron. He went to work for two days and had not been out for the last three since there were no takers for ice candy due to rains,” his mother, Varisa, said.

This morning he was busy sifting through his two-day “earnings” in his room and was probably trying to open a shell which went off and led to his death, police sources stated.

The Superintendent of Police, Dr C.S. Rao, said the forensic team from Madhuban and an army intelligence team from Chandimandir had carried out an inspection at the spot. “On preliminary investigations, this only seems an explosion by a shell and has nothing more to it,” he added. The police has instituted an enquiry under Section 174, CrPC.

Relatives of the deceased said Abid had learnt to make furniture recently at a shop in Mani Majra and was looking for a job. Having studied till Class XI in the government school in Sector 6, he had decided to dropout of school and begin earning to contribute to his family’s income. In school, he had undergone two years training as an NSS cadet.

His father, Yakoob, owned a phari and sold clothes like other relatives staying in adjoining houses. These six-odd families related to each other had moved to Old Panchkula nearly 15 years back. Earlier, they were staying in a rented house in Mani Majra, the police said.


“Reduce wheat, rice production”
P P S Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
To adjust to the post-World Trade Organisation (WTO) impact, Punjab and Haryana should reorient agriculture production in tune with the emerging demand scenario that mainly would depend on, extent of deficit of various farm commodities in the rest of the country excluding Punjab; extent to which Punjab produce can substitute agricultural imports and; extent to which Punjab produce can be sold as export.

Both the states, considered food bowl, with 4.4 per cent of country’s population, contribute 31 per cent of wheat, 12 per cent of rice,19 per cent of cotton and 16 per cent of milk produced in India. Yet due to WTO, seen as a villain, both are facing a serious crisis.

The farmers have fear and apprehensions about the implications of trade liberalisation as a consequence of WTO commitments.

There is a growing sense of despondency and uncertainty is further heightened by diametrically opposite stands taken by political parties in the two states. The future of agriculture, as a profession, is under a cloud.

In this backdrop, a Committee on the WTO and Agriculture and Small Scale Industry in Punjab and Haryana, headed by Dr Y.K. Alagh, was constituted. A Core Group, headed by Dr Ramesh Chand (National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research) was also formed to assist the committee. The Core Group report under the aegis of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research now available.

The 65-page report focuses is on the concerns of the peasants of the two states giving detailed analysis of emerging agricultural demand and trade scenario in the context of global subsidies and implications of WTO on the two states that mainly are rice, wheat and milk oriented.

After examining the manner how once deficit states have increased their agricultural production, comparing it with growth of population, in respect of rice and wheat, it concludes that about 18 per cent to 80 per cent of rice surplus from Punjab and Haryana did not have demand within the country.

The same held true in respect of wheat. Therefore based on data projection it has advised Punjab and Haryana to reduce wheat and rice production matching it with domestic demand.

The report suggests alternative enterprises:’’ diversification’’ that has its own in-built problems vis-a-vis adoption and adaptation by the farmers. But the immediate answer seems to be to increase area under fodder and raise milk output. The country was having a large deficit of milk and its demand is projected to grow at a fast rate.

Besides domestic factors, future prospects of agricultural production in Punjab and Haryana would also depend upon the extent to which their produce can substitute agricultural imports and the extent to which it can be exported.

Punjab and Haryana needed rail outlets since road transportation was costly.

The two states have milk surplus and a potential for export of sugar and cotton as well. “As long as the European Community, the USA and Canada are providing export subsidies on dairy products it is difficult for Punjab produce to compete in international market”, says the report.

The report gives a detailed account of implications for trade policy, suggesting a strategy that India adhere to five key aspects in the post-WTO trade and price environment—1. Behaviour of international prices; 2. Subsidies and support to agriculture in developed countries; 3. Improving competitiveness and efficiency of domestic production; 4. Producing for import substitution; and 5. Changes taking place in domestic and global consumption pattern and consequent price trend.

All this would require integrated approach at all levels. In fact Dr Ramesh Chand stresses that short-term measures should concentrate on rice, wheat, cotton, sugar and livestock products that are the dominant agricultural enterprises in the two states. By protecting these enterprises, Punjab and Haryana would be able to ‘’safeguard’’ their agriculture from current import threat causing a lot of tensions in the two states.

In a nutshell, deficit of food grains in rest of the country was declining, whereas, surplus from Punjab and Haryana was continuing to grow adding to woes of the farmers and resulting in a huge stock of foodgrains in the country—40 million tonnes—while, 30 per cent of the population did not get minimum calories for want of purchasing power.

The report takes into account the advantages developed countries have over the farmers in the developing countries as also lack of private investment in India in agriculture that sans infrastructure in respect of scientific storage, marketing, processing, transport and post-harvest technology. Hence emphasis on market intelligence gathering, biotechnology, research and development, quality seed availability and varieties suited for exports besides assured price and market.

The expected benefits from the WTO in the changed economic reform period have been slow to accrue due to volatile international prices and domestic factors as well as complex categorisation of government support to agriculture in exempt and non-exempt categories providing enough scope for manoeuvring subsidies.

India must, therefore seek clubbing of of all kinds of support to agriculture at the next round of discussions in WTO. The clubbing together should include Aggregate Measures of Support, green box, blue box etc. In other words India should demand ‘social security and ‘rural poverty box’.

The two states are expected to speak out at the Chief Ministers’ meeting at New Delhi on April 23 on the burning issues pertaining to agriculture.Back


NAAC impressed with PU
Campus facilities ‘satisfactory’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Panjab University is likely to figure high on the merit list of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) currently on a visit to the campus.

Although the result is to be declared formally after submission of the report to the UGC, a conversation with the team members of the council today revealed a “good impression of the campus affairs”.

The NAAC gives stars as tools of assessment. Five star status bags the top place. The visiting team included Dr Buddhadeb Chaudhuri, Dr Ambedkar, chair professor in Anthropology, Calcutta University, Prof Harish Narang, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Prof B.L. Barnes, Director of the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists.

A council member, Dr S.P. Singh, Kumaun University, while talking to The Tribune expressed satisfaction with the university facilities. Much depends on the mental aptitude of the campus residents to make any institution worth top grade.

Another member, Prof P.S. Zacharias, University of Hyderabad, also showed satisfaction with the university performance. He was satisfied with the campus conditions. He said that “government was shifting its priorities. Within a short time, even the existing funds will dry up. Universities will have to rise to the occasion by managing resources.”

The accreditation and the assessment process started in 1994 with setting up of the NAAC by the UGC. The NAAC assesses and grades the institutions of higher education. Panjab University is the 31st university undergoing the NAAC assessment. More than 100 colleges have been graded separately.

The team today visited the Administration Block, hostels of boys and girls, the students’ centre and the university Botanical Gardens. This was followed by a visit to a principals’ meeting where principals made certain points to the committee.

Prof Aludiapillai presided over the meeting with the principals. He said that the committee was interested in knowing the “curriculum updating and how it was being done”.

Professor Aludiapillai said that one most important point of interest to the council was the process of conduct of examination and timely declaration of results. He expressed satisfaction over the university assurance for “improvement in the examination system”. Even the increased teaching days proposal was a positive signal, he added.

Principal Tarsem Bahia said that Information Technology and management-related courses had emerged strong in various institutions. “The problem is that we have no proper notice about the recognition norms. The input was needed to standardise the courses”, Mr Bahia added.

The process of privatisation had hit the university also. Several colleges were failing to get 95 per cent grant in aid. Certain courses do not get it at all, said Principal Bahia, pointing out a “very irregular financial support”.

Professor Aludiapillai asked the members if the university had a proper principals’ forum. Principal P.S.Sangha said that there was a need for proper training programme for the principals for updating with the latest facilities available. Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, promised a three- week programme for principals which will be conducted shortly covering the financial, academic and human resource management aspects.

Principal A.C. Vaid said that vocational courses had failed to receive attention from the state government. The government had assured to support the courses after the five-year term assistance of the UGC.

Meanwhile, the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) leaders met the NAAC team members at Panjab University here today and presented to them a copy of the PUTA souvenir.

The letter given by PUTA representatives stated that “the Panjab University campus has evolved a unique blend of democratic functioning wherein the various associations of the university are actively consulted by the management of the university in the decision making process. The PUTA has been involved in this role for a long time.”

“Off and on it has also brought out formal collections of essays in which teachers discuss their concerns about the well-being of the university. One such volume of essays was brought out in 1998 with the title Teachers, Their Association and the University: A souvenir for 1998 of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association. PUTA has been concerned with the role played by teachers in the education system and the need for teachers’ evaluation. The matter has been discussed extensively in this volume of essays.”

  • The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was established by the University Grants Commission in 1994 as a part of the National Policy of Education.
  • NAAC assesses and grades the institutions of higher education. The criteria for assessment includes the curricular aspects: teaching-learning and evaluation; research consultancy and evaluation; research consultancy and extension; infrastructure and learning resources; students support and progression; organisation and management; as well as healthy practices of the institution.
  • Panjab University is the 31st university that the team is visiting. Over 100 colleges have been accreditated.
  • Stress is not on standardised teaching but evolution of innovative independent methods that suited the institutions. 



Most wanted” man gets bail
By Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, April 18
“India’s Most Wanted” man, Nazim alias Shamim, who was arrested in a joint operation by the Rishikesh and Chandigarh Police in Mani Majra in February, was granted bail by a local Judge today. He furnished a bond of Rs 30,000 with one surety in the UT Additional Sessions Judge’s court.

The accused is said to be involved in 23 cases, including those of murder, attempt to murder, violation of the Arms Act provisions and dacoity. He was arrested from the Motor Market, Mani Majra, after a long chase by a police party led by the Rishikesh SP, Mr Umesh Kumar, along with the city’s police officers and men on February 15.

The police had recovered a country-made pistol and several cartridges from his possession. A case against him was registered under Section 419 of CrPC at the Mani Majra police station.

He was wanted in New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. He was working for the notorious Pratap Singh gang and carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head. He figured in the popular TV serial, India’s Most Wanted, a few weeks back.

His bail petition contained the grounds of innocence and false implication in several cases. It was also stated that he had himself called up the Chandigarh Police requesting it to arrest him as the Uttar Pradesh Police “wanted to kill me in a fake encounter”.

Nazim added that the revolver and a fake driving licence claimed to have been recovered from him did not belong to him. The UP Police “did not get due permission for my arrest”. Therefore, he deserved the concession of bail.

The Judge observed that the trial was likely to take a long time. The chargesheet was stated “to be ready”. The accused was in custody for about two months. So, no useful purpose would be served by keeping him in custody. He deserved bail.


Celebrating beauty Vandana way
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
She carried herself with grace and poise, showering those naturally-beautiful glances on one and all who flocked the VLCC Centre in Sector 8 today. Dressed up in a skimpy green outfit, and sporting a leggy look, beauty icon Vandana Luthra surely did not look 42. Maintaining youthful charms comes easy to the Delhi-based beauty expert, who is now going places with her integrated life of great looks, health and happiness.

Vandana’s is a success story which happens once in a lifetime. From the first slimming centre which she set up in Delhi’s Safdarjung Enclave in 1989 to a good 33 centre network all over the country. Now Vandana has come a long way. But she still has places to go, with a plan to open up slimming and beauty centres in Bangladesh, Dubai and London in the near future. As of now, her accomplishment chart is too strong to digest — in the last year her centre achieved the targeted turnover of Rs 100 crore. Vandana’s clients have also swollen amazingly over the past years. Today she caters to over two and a half lakh people who bank on her for a punch in their personality.

But for all that she has achieved so early in her journey towards success, the business woman is quite down to earth. This, probably, has something to do with her rearing. “I belong to a service class family. So the basic elements of struggle and perseverance have always been entrained in me. I always wished to make a mark in the society”. Vandana is trained in beauty treatment from distinguished institutes of London, Paris and Germany. In fact, the entire treatment she uses in India finds a base in the medically-approved slimming treatment developed in Germany and very successfully employed in the West.

Vandana’s business, however, did not happen easily, as she married into a very conservative family. The woman did not mind confessing today, “My husband was not very comfortable with the idea of my venturing out of the house. But my mother-in-law was quite supportive of me. It took time but I finally had my way. “Balance in Vandana’s life is still very important, as she said, “I have to perform my filial duties at all costs. Business always comes second”. While Vandana’s elder daughter plans to join her after taking her a beauty course from London, her younger daughter, Pallavi, is all for fashion.

After coming up with a vast network of VLCC centres all over India, Vandana is now in the process of opening up a beauty, health and management academy in Delhi. She will start this project in tandem with Zeenat Aman. The academy will offer diploma courses. Before this, Vandana has launched hair extension and permanent hair removal services.

In town today to launch the special international aroma therapy treatments, Vandana talked about what made their treatments different from those offered by the rest. “We assure quality and we provide consultants. It is all very professionally done”. The centre will soon have aroma oil-based cosmetic range as well.

With her specialised services, Vandana today commands the respect of cine stars like Zeenat Aman, Reena Roy, Chandrachur Singh to mention some. To her, fitness comes before anything else. She is herself into aroma therapy in a big way. She also rates walking as the best way to keep fit. After successfully executing her plans, Vandana is now venturing into the field of publication.Back



Meagre police force around city
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Unmindful of the rapid rise in crime in various villages lying in the vicinity of the city and the mushrooming labour colonies, the Chandigarh Police has deployed a meagre 4 per cent of its force in these areas.

According to the figures available, a mere 150 policemen from the near 4,000 strong Chandigarh Police force have been put on a regular basis in these areas, which are the new hotbeds of crime, especially the crimes under the local and special laws.

Senior police officers in the city, however, maintain that they are facing a shortage of staff , with the Ministry of Home Affairs not clearing the proposal for increasing the police force. They also take refuge for this flaw in deployment of policemen by claiming that the police has been launching various special drives in these areas in order to check the local and special crimes. However, there is a shocking imbalance. More than 10 per cent of the police force has been put on security duty of VIPs, civil and police authorities — totalling to no more than 200 persons. And this VIP security cover is not extended to the VIPs from Punjab and Haryana.

It is learnt that more than three lakh persons live in these areas, including Mani Majra and other villages. These “nurseries of crime” are a haven for drug peddlers, gamblers and liquor smugglers. Interestingly, senior police officers in the city have also gone on record in the past, admitting that these labour colonies have many a times become the hideouts of hardened criminals from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The spurt in the incidence of thefts, violence, liquor smuggling, gambling and drug peddling in these areas has brought to the fore several flaws in the system of deployment of force and the “elitist bias” against these areas that have spread manifold in the last couple of years.

It is learnt that the police has set up at least eight police posts (at the Railway Station, Dhanas, Sector 24, Sector 61, Maloya, Bapu Dham, Sector 45 and Mauli Jagran) in order to cater to these volatile areas, with each post having strength varying from 10 to 22 personnel. For at least four colonies (Indira Colony, Colony No. 4, Ram Darbar and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony) and two villages ( Palsora and Dadu Majra), there is no separate police post because of the proximity of these areas to the various police stations. It is generally the beat staff, between three to five cops, who cater to the law and order needs of these areas.

Interestingly, the police claims that keeping the policing needs of these areas in mind they have set up a large number of police posts here during the recent past, without awaiting a nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It may also be noted that a total of 1168 policemen, including those on regular duty in the colonies and villages, are posted in the 11 police stations. Another 411 personnel are on the patrolling staff. Sources inform that even if one is to include the top police officials, policemen in the police stations, patrolling teams or even the wireless, CID, CIA, Traffic, and the Crime Branch Operations Cell, no more than 2000 cops ( 60 per cent) are doing the actual policing duty.

Meanwhile, the UT Inspector General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi, while admitting that the police strength was lesser in villages and colonies, said the police would consider the redeployment of force in these areas from the staff posted in VIP security duty.

  • Four per cent of the total force deployed in villages and labour colonies.
  • More than 10 per cent of the force deployed for VIP security.
  • Not more than 60 per cent of the total force doing the actual policing duty.



Panchayat rejects rehabilitation package
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 18
Members of the Kumbhra gram panchayat today said the rehabilitation package recently announced by the Punjab government was not acceptable to them. They claimed that the terms and conditions in the rehabilitation package were not the same as had been agreed to by the officials during meeting with them in the past.

Talking to mediapersons, the villagers led by the sarpanch of Kumbhra gram panchayat, Mr Baldev Singh, said PUDA had agreed to allot alternative plots at a rate of Rs 900 per sq yard and not at Rs 1500 per sq yard. He said they had been pressing upon the different governments not to acquire land under 63 baras and had even opposed the notification issued in 1993 to acquire the land by not accepting the compensation amount.

They said during land consolidation of village some families were settled outside the village pherni by the Revenue Department. After their efforts, Mr Surjeet Singh Kohli, the State Housing Minister in 1998, directed the officials concerned not to acquire the land under baras on the recommendations of the then Deputy Commissioner, Ropar.

“But after PUDA issued notification to acquire the land, it was assured that the affected persons would be properly rehabilitated and regular meetings in this regard were being held till March 20 last. During the meeting it was agreed that alternative plots would be given at a rate of Rs 900 per sq yard”, said Mr Baldev Singh. Claiming that he was not present in the March 11 meeting during which the terms and conditions were finalised, he alleged that a youth leader of SAD, Mr Karanbir Singh Kang, had without any authority negotiated on behalf of the villagers. He said they had demanded that the compensation amount for the acquisition of their land at a rate of Rs 2. 76 lakh per acre, the first instalments for the alternative plots being deducted from it and remaining be refunded.

Mr Rajbir Singh, Senior Vice-President of the AISAD, said despite an assurance by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha during the last session that the MLA of the area concerned should be consulted before deciding on issues regarding acquisition of land.


Bajwa opens fire safety show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
An exhibition on fire and safety, which was inaugurated at the Sector 17 fire headquarters today, had on display fire-fighting equipment such as fire detection systems, fire extinguishers, masks, breathing apparatus and the special costumes for the firemen.

The exhibition has been put up to generate awareness among the public about the causes of different kinds of fire and how to overcome them, as part of the observance of the ongoing Fire Services Week.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, after inaugurating the exhibition highlighted various fire safety measures. He pointed out that fires in the country take a heavy toll and property worth crores of rupees was destroyed. According to the 1999 figures, property worth Rs 89,000 crore was destroyed and nearly 5,000 people lost their lives.

Mr Bajwa further said in the city fire accidents are more common in rehri markets, colonies and high rise-buildings. He talked at length about the precautions which need to be observed. Special instructions were given for observing fire safety in respect of temporary structures, pandals and industries since fire incidents in these cases have shown a considerable increase. Posters and pamphlets were also distributed.

Meanwhile, the drive to impart elementary fire-fighting training to cinema staff started yesterday at Piccadilly Cinema. The fire fighting personnel today went to Nirman Cinema in Sector 32 to educate the staff about different kinds of fire that can occur and how to use the fire extinguishers to control it. They were also told ways to tackle emergencies and how to evacuate people. All cinema halls will be covered in the next few days. Training was also imparted to employees of the Bhushan Industries.

Sources in the Fire Department revealed that the problems being faced by them to control fire incidents in view of staff shortage in the department. The department has staff of 192 employees and has about 90 vacant posts.


IIA passengers stranded

Chandigarh, April 18
At least 80 Ladakh-bound passengers each were stranded in New Delhi and Chandigarh following cancellation of the Indian Airlines (IA) weekly New Delhi-Leh-Chandigarh-Leh-New Delhi flight as the Leh airport became snowbound, IA sources said here today.

Renewed spells of moderate snow and rain on higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, besides thunderstorm accompanied by rain and hailstorm at some places in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi during the past 24 hours have further dipped mercury in most of the northwest region by four to nine degrees below normal during the past 24 hours.

The entire tribal belt in Himachal Pradesh had fresh spells of snowfall while the catchment area of the Sutlej river had widespread rain. Una with 68.6 mm of rain turned out to be the wettest place followed by Guler (45.8 mm), Nagrota Surian (39mm), Gamrur (24 mm), Nadaun (22.6 mm) Bhakra-Nangal dam(18.4 mm), Kahu (20.8 mm) and Sujanpur Tira (15.5 mm).

Shimla saw the maximum dipping to around 14°C, five degrees below normal after 12.9 mm of rainfall during the past 24 hours. Solan, the mid-way town along the Kalka-Shimla highway, reported 19.5 mm of rainfall. Bhuntar, Sundernagar, Manali, Nahan and Pandoh among other stations received 3 mm to 13 mm of rain.

The city and adjoining areas after 4.9 mm of rainfall saw the day temperature today slightly rising to 31°C, four degrees below normal. Patiala in Punjab and Ambala in Haryana after 11.6 mm and 1.7 mm of rainfall had the maximum at around 29°C, each, both seven degrees below normal.

The maximum temperature in the National Capital Region of Delhi stayed around 31.5°C, following 4.6 mm of rain. UNI


Parents allege police neglect
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The parents of Rajinder Singh, 10, alias Bablu, a resident of Dhanas village, who had drowned in a 15-foot-deep ditch on March 31, have accused the police of turning a blind eye to those responsible for the death.

They have alleged that in spite of the fact that the death of their son was a result of the negligence of a private contractor and the officials of the Forest Department and the Engineering Department, the police had failed to register a case and bring the accused to book.

Mr Iqbal Singh, the father of the deceased said that though the pit had been closed by putting the plinth and a barbed wire had been raised around it, they were still awaiting justice. It may be noted that the boy had fallen in the bed of Patiala ki Rao (seasonal rivulet) near the village. His father, Iqbal Singh, a driver, was away on duty at the time of the incident.


Status quo on water, sewerage rates
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 18
In the wake of no official confirmation regarding the approval of the reduced water and sewerage charges in the town, confusion on the issue continues. As per the accepted norms if no communication is received from the department within 15 days after approval of the item, the same stands approved.

The issue of rolling back the increased water and sewerage rates were passed in last meeting of the civic body held on March 15 — which means over 30 days have already elapsed. The civic body reportedly has not written to the Local Government Department for any clarification. The President of the civic body, Mr Kulwant Singh, stated that he was not aware about the approval or rejection of the agenda. When asked about the 15 days norms followed in the civic body, he said, he was not aware of it.

As the confusion continues the consumers continue to pay more. The over 150 per cent hike in water and sewerage rates had come into effect from November 20 last. Mr G.S. Ghuman, Executive Engineer, Public Health, said, ‘‘ We effected the hike in the bills after receiving a communication from the civic body and the revised rates would be applicable if we receive any communication from the civic body’’.

Of CM, CB & MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Strange are the ways of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. It acts only when it wills. A comparison of two recent incidents brings the irony of the MC’s prejudice to light. When the news of a pipe near the CM’s residence spreads, the MC girds up its loins and puts itself into action within 45 minutes. But when it comes to repairing a pipeline which has been blocked for almost a year, it looks for still more “logical reasons” to act!

According to reports, the pipe supplying sewage water to the Bougainvillaea Garden burst yesterday, leading to large quantities of water leakage. The water had merely reached the boundary wall of the CM’s residence when the staff rang alarm bells. Civic body workers got into action, and the needful was done within 45 minutes.

In contrast there is another tale which Dr C.B. Singh, a resident of house number 1459, Sector 44 B, has to tell. The renowned veterinarian lodges several complaints regarding the blocked pipeline going to his house and causing low water pressure. His pleas are, however, dismissed attributing the meagre supply of water to the general low pressure in the area. Finally, the doctor has to hire a plumber, only to find out that the pipe had been blocked by a pouch of tobacco.Back


Two city architects win third prize
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Two city architects have won the third prize in the field of innovative design for low-cost housing, the competition for which was organised by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) and the Hari Om Ashram Trust, Nadiad, in Gujarat recently.

The duo — Mr Vineet Saxena and Ms Sarika Jhawar — were awarded the prize for ideas for a housing project incorporating cyclone-resistant features at Jareilo village in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa. The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 20,000, will be presented to them by Mr Jagmohan, Union Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, at the HUDCO annual day function in New Delhi on April 25.

The competition, conducted on an all-India basis since 1974 to help improve concepts of innovative design to improve the housing stock in the country, was adjudged by a jury headed by HUDCO chairman and managing director, Mr V. Suresh.

Though the panel did not enlist any entry for the award of first prize, carrying a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, it adjudged two entries for the second prize of Rs 60,000 each. While architects Virat V. Thakore, Vishal Shah and Jaydatt of Ahmedabad got the prize for their housing project incorporating measures and safeguards against floods in Furja Road in Bharuch district of Gujarat, M/s Adlakha and Associates, Delhi, were given the prize for their housing project having features for earthquake resistance and using effective building materials and technologies at the PIE Sector, Greater Noida.

According to HUDCO officials, 32 entries, including 11 from Gujarat, demonstrating innovative design options for earthquake and cyclone resistant construction and technologies, were received. The visions portrayed in design ideas for the disaster-resistant housing in Gujarat (earthquake, cyclone and floods), Orissa and Andhra Pradesh (cyclone) and Uttarakhand (earthquake) by the professionals brought out many innovative design and technology ideas.

Army and CPO conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The annual Army and Central Police Organisations’ (CPO) conference was held at Headquarters, Western Command, Chandi Mandir, today.

Apart from senior officers of the command, top functionaries from CPOs based in Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh attended the conference. These included representatives from the Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force and the Central Reserve Police Force.

The conference was presided over by the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen H.R.S Mann. The agenda included discussions on measures to enhance cooperation and effectiveness between the Army and CPOs besides other issues of mutual interest.Back


Dhawan group fires another salvo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Firing another salvo at the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, and the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, leaders owing allegiance to the Harmohan Dhawan faction today made it clear that they would continue to fight the party leadership from within.

Addressing a press conference, some Congressmen warned that the party would have to pay a price in the ensuing elections to the Municipal Corporation if the Dhawan faction was not given better treatment. Mr Sandeep Singh, Dr O.P. Verma, Mr Raj Kumar Rathore and Mr M.P. Verma addressed the press conference.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Mr Bansal, besides these leaders, Mr Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy, Mr Balwinder Cheema, Mr Kuldip Singh and Mr Raj Nagpal flayed the handing of the party affairs by Mr Bahl. Saying that the Dhawan faction deserved better treatment, they said the Congress could win only one of the 20 seats in the MC elections in 1996, when Mr Bansal was the CTCC chief. It was only through efforts of Mr Dhawan that Mr Bansal, who lost Lok Sabha elections in 1996 and 1998, managed to win in the 1999 poll.

Accusing Mr Bansal of patching up with those Congress leaders who had worked for his defeat in the successive Lok Sabha polls, they alleged that Mr Bansal had imposed Mr Bahl as CTCC chief though he had hardly played any active role in the party.

Under the present circumstances, the Congress had no moral authority to oppose the BJP-SAD alliance in the MC polls. The way the party affairs were being managed the Congress would not be able to win even a single seat, the letter added.


100 encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The roads division and enforcement staff of Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, while continuing its drive against the encroachers in Mani Majra today removed over 100 encroachments of various kinds such as platforms, concrete slabs, steps made by the shopkeepers in the market area.

The drive is being conducted under the overall supervision of Xen (Roads), Mr Mukesh Anand, and is likely to continue tomorrow also. The encroachments were removed from the Samadhi Gate road to Main Bazaar and Mata Mansa Devi Road to Purana Kila Road.


PU sends aid for quake victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Panjab University today dispatched relief material worth Rs 16,85,676 as donation for victims of the Gujarat earthquake.

Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob, Punjab Governor, flagged off the vehicle containing 550 tents and some relief material for the earthquake affected. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said out of the total sum, Rs 5,77,633 had been spent on the purchase of tents Prof Pathak handed over cheques worth Rs 11,08,013 favouring the Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund to the Punjab Governor.

The major contributors included Rs 15,06,416 from university employees; PU Students Association Rs 1,01,560; Music Department (a cultural programme) with Rs 31,000; students and Staff of Music department with Rs 11,000; Traders Welfare Association with Rs 21,000; Himachal Students Association with Rs 2,100; and the staff and students of Ankur School with Rs 12,600. 


Self-styled Cong man in transfer scandal
Gurmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The involvement of a small-time leader of the Morni area in the transfer scandal which rocked the office of the Haryana Chief Minister has also come to light. This was revealed during the interrogation of a Class IV employee, Mr Harish Chander, who was working in the office of the Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr D.S. Dhesi.

Mr Harish Chander was arrested in connection with the scandal recently by the Panchkula police. He allegedly revealed during interrogation that Mr Dharam Pal Sharma of Tikkartal village of Morni Hills also played a crucial role in the preparation of fake transfer orders on behalf of the Chief Minister.

According to informed sources, though Mr Sharma was not a government employee, he frequently visited the Haryana Secretariat. He used to describe himself as a Congress leader and was often seen in the company of several Congress leaders. However, the President of the Panchkula District Congress Committee, Mr R.S. Chauhan, denied that Mr Sharma was a Congress leader. He said Mr Sharma held no post in the party.

According to police sources, Mr Sharma is absconding, but he is likely to be arrested soon. Mr Harish Chander has also told the police that the fake transfer orders were handed over to him by Mr Sharma.

Though an FIR was lodged in this connection on March 20, the Panchkula police did nothing by way of investigations. It took action only after The Tribune made the scandal public. The investigation has been handed over to a DSP, who has been recently transferred to Panchkula.

Besides arresting Mr Harish Chander, the police has also questioned a peon, Mr Raghubir Singh, who allegedly procured fake transfer orders for himself and Amar Singh, said to be a victim of the scandal. A team of the Panchkula police is being sent to Jhajjar, Narnaul and Karnal for questioning others involved in the scandal.

When contacted, the SP of Panchkula, Dr C.S. Rao, said since the Panchkula police was busy with the Navratra Mela at the Mansa Devi shrine, it could not investigate the case earlier.

The case of Mr Amar Singh, a forest guard, is interesting. While others procured the fake transfer orders for their own benefit, rivals of Mr Amar Singh got fake orders prepared for his transfer to a distant place to teach him a lesson.

Phone directory printouts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The local office of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has displayed initial computer printouts of the forthcoming telephone directory at various places in the city for the public to scrutinise and suggest corrections, if any.

Correction slips have been provided for subscribers to fill in. The printouts are available at the telephone exchanges in Sectors 17, 34, Panchkula, SAS Nagar, Dera Bassi, Kharar, Zirakpur and all other smaller exchanges. A printout is also available at the office of the Commercial Manager (Value Added Services).

The lists will be displayed till April 30. Subscribers who have had wrong entries against their names in the previous directory can also send their corrections.Back


Tension in Sector 7 market
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
Tension prevailed in the Sector 7 market when labourers of a showroom site owner unknowingly cut off telephone cables while digging the plot for construction purposes.

Completely unaware of the telephone cable passing from the middle of his plot, the owner had ordered the digging out of the earth after taking the plot from the Haryana Urban Development Authority in an auction.

The shopkeepers were agitated over the “behaviour” towards the plot owner by the officials of the Telecom Department who threatened to register a case against him for cutting the cable and slapped a sum of Rs 50000 as penalty.

Later, the members of the Market Welfare Association led by the president, Mr BB Kochhar, sought an appointment with the Administrator, HUDA, and GM, Telecom, Chandigarh.


Water at doorstep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The residents of Bapu Dham Colony are facing the problem of water at their doorstep following a leak in one the pipelines located near the Sector 26 police post.

The residents maintain that they have been facing the problem for the past two weeks, since the occurrence of the leak in the pipeline, the officials concerned, according to them, have not bothered to take any action in this regard. The officials maintain that the same has been repaired.

According to the area councillor, Ms Suneeta, the pipe has been leaking following a breakdown and for the past few days, water has started entering the colony. While drives are being launched to take action against those found wasting drinking water, drinking water in plenty is being wasted here.

The officials deny having any knowledge of any such leak in the area. A civic official has said the problem is on account of trucks passing on the pipeline, which damages it each time it is repaired. He has, in a letter to the DC, requested for removal these trucks from the illegal parking area so that the line is not damaged due to frequent loading and unloading. The problem, if any, will be solved in the next one or two days, he adds.

Man missing

Mr Janak Mahajan, a resident of Sector 46, was reported missing under mysterious circumstances. It is learnt that the 40-year-old businessman left home at about 7.20 a.m. in order to make a telephone call from an STD booth near his residence. However, he did not return. The Sector 34 police has made a DDR entry in this regard.Back


Burglar arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The police claims to have achieved a major success with the arrest of a burglar, Daljit Singh, who was operating in the city for the past six months. He is learnt to have been involved in four cases of burglary and goods worth over Rs 50,000 were recovered from his possession.

According to an official press note, the accused was apprehended by Mr Vijay Goel, a resident of Sector 20-B with the help of the beat staff of Beat Sector 20-A- HC Raghbir Singh and Constable Varinder Singh on April 16 at about 1 pm. The accused had committed a burglary in the house of Mr Goel and stolen two gold bangles , a gold chain and a stereo.

Daljit Singh was produced in the court on April 17 and has been sent to police remand till April 20. He had reportedly committed burglaries and thefts during the day time . The police says that more recoveries are expected from the accused.Back


Body found in lake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The body of a 35-year-old woman, Monica Agnihotri, who had been missing since April 16, was recovered from the Sukhna Lake today afternoon. She is reported to have committed suicide in a state of depression.

She was staying here with her 10-year-old son Dhruv at her sister’s residence in Sector 19-D. Her husband, Sanjeev Kumar, was working in Pune. She was teaching at the Oxford Institute in Sector 40. Earlier, she had also been working as a teacher in various schools.

In another case of suicide, a 20-year-old youth was found hanging at his residence in Sector 15 last night. Baldeep Singh was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead.Back


Car recovery continues
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
In yet another recovery in the car-lifting case, the police found an abandoned Mitsubishi Lancer in Sector 12 A, here today. 

Bearing the number HR 01 M 0088, the silver coloured car was found parked in Nav Bal Niketan School in the sector along the Zirakpur-Kalka highway. 

The Superintendent of Police, Dr CS Rao, said that the car belonged to Rajesh Kumar alias Rajesh Gautam, one of the four accused in the car scandal.

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