Wednesday, August 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Trouble ahead for Mohali Municipal Council
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 7
The Punjab government's move to abolish octroi in the state has set the alarm bells ringing in the local civic body. Anxious officials of the Local Government Department say that the revenue loss on account of octroi collection would virtually mean “packing off” the civic body.


  • 90 per cent of the income of the civic body from octroi
  • No property in the name of the civic body in town
  • Council wants PUDA to transfer 75 per cent of the non-construction fee charged from owners of vacant plots

The decision would certainly have far-reaching financial implications for the civic body which sources at least 90 per cent of its income from octroi collection — the town being an industrial hub and a projected IT destination. Sources in the civic say that of the projected Rs 21 crore income during the current financial year, over Rs 17 crore was on account of octroi collection.

The civic body does not levy any other type of taxes like house tax, commercial tax and fee to clear the layout plans of houses. A move by the council to earn around Rs 2 crore by imposing the tax at the rate of 10 per cent of the rental value of the property concerned has already been declined by the government. "If the octroi was abolished, the civic body would be left with an income of around Rs 3 crore, which includes income of Rs 1.60 crore from excise duty on liquor and on electricity duty.”

A comparative chart of income (in crores) from octroi collection from year 1995 to 2002
Year Income


Rs 08.74


Rs 10.14


Rs 11.07


Rs 12.70


Rs 14.62


Rs 16.40


Rs 17.20 (estimated)

“Even if we have an income of around Rs 3 crore, we would not be able to pay the salary of 250 strong staff of the civic body,” said an official. Around Rs 5 crore was annually spent in disbursing salaries of the employees.

The civic body hopes that once the government abolishes the octroi, the Local Government would have to provide financial assistance to it. The officials say a way out was that the government should ask the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to transfer the residential and commercial sites in the developed areas to the civic body. The developed areas were already being looked after by the civic body without any assistance from PUDA. Other civic bodies in the state had property in their name unlike the local council, said a municipal councillor. The civic body has already asked PUDA to transfer 75 per cent of non-construction fee — charged by the latter from owners of vacant plots in the town — to it.

Mr Kulwant Singh, president of the civic body, said nothing could be said on the issue till a formal announcement in this regard was made by the government. Sources in the civic body said certain councillors could challenge in court the move of the government to abolish the octroi.

Meanwhile, hailing the move by the Punjab government to abolish octroi, the Mohali Industries Association has sought an alternative source of income to make up for the revenue loses. Mr B.S. Baidwan, president of the association, said abolition of octroi would save fuel, avoid accidents and cause less harassment to the entrepreneurs.



Youth leader beaten up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Mr Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy, general secretary of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, along with a property dealer was reportedly bashed up by a group of six to seven youths in Sector 36- D this morning.

The incident took place when the duo had gone to Sector 36- D in order to settle a deal for the sale of a house. Mr Dimpy and Mr J.D. Gupta had just come out of the house and sat inside the latter's car (CH-03E-0511) when they were gheraoed by the accused.

It is alleged that one of the accused came to Mr Dimpy, who was sitting on the back seat with Mr Gupta and after asking him if he was Dimpy, pulled him out of the car. Soon all other accused rushed towards him and he was brutally beaten up.

The accused, then fled in a red Tata Safari and a white Sumo, which was not bearing a registration number.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Dimpy alleged that one of the accused, Vicky, was a history sheeter of Amritsar and was also a member of a notorious gang, Cobra. He alleged that since he had helped a friend in getting a divorce, Vicky, who was going around with his friend's wife, wanted to settle a score with him.

He alleged that the Chandigarh Police had withdrawn his security in 1998 and even his arms licence was also not renewed.

Mr Dimpy was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, and later discharged in the evening. The police has registered a case under sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 324 of the IPC against Vicky and Tikka, both residents of Amritsar. However, the police claimed that today's incident was a result of a long-brewing dispute between the two sides over some monetary transactions.


Traders observe bandh
Tribune News Service

Traders symbolically try to do away with a road barrier near the grain market and (right) a deserted grain market owing to a protest lodged by traders against the setting up of road barriers.
Traders symbolically try to do away with a road barrier near the grain market and (right) a deserted grain market owing to a protest lodged by traders against the setting up of road barriers.
— Tribune photos Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, August 7
A complete bandh was observed in the local Grain Market and also in the fruit and vegetable market in Sector 26 to protest against the setting up of of barriers by the Market Committee of the Chandigarh Administration.

About 4,000 traders, including their associates, under the banner of the Grain Market - Sabzi Mandi Joint Action Committee, held a rally in the Grain Market which was addressed by leaders of all major political parties. The leaders expressed complete solidarity with the demands of the traders.

The committee members said they would continue with their protest and shut down the entire market tomorrow against barricading of the market done by the UT Administration to check evasion of market fees. Mr B.K. Sood, Vice-President of the Grain Market, said the barricades created nuisance and hindrance in the free flow of goods.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has called upon the UT Administration to immediately resolve the issue through negotiation and reverse its “anti-trader” decision so that people are not put to any harassment. 




PNB defrauded of over 11 lakh
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 7
The Punjab National Bank branch in Gharuan village near here has been defrauded to the tune of Rs 11.50 lakh with the theft of draft books. The local police has registered a case against seven persons in this connection.

Mr Nirmal Kumar Nahar, manager of the bank, has lodged a complaint with the police that three draft books and one transfer pay order have been removed and replaced with fake ones. The police has been informed that four demand drafts out of these have been encashed fraudulently at the branch office at Nawanshahr by making alterations in the printed number of drafts and the drafts issued by the branch office at Mubarikpur. The amounts of drafts encashed fraudulently between June and July 12 are Rs 2,15,000, Rs 263538, Rs 385923 and Rs 2,8,5,295.

Mr Nahar has written in his complaint that the miscreants are still in possession of the remaining original drafts and apprehends that they may make fraudulent use of the same in the future. According to the FIR, Naresh Kumar, a daftari with the bank, allegedly stole the drafts in connivance with Charan Singh, an armed guard, and others. The police has registered a case against Naresh Kumar, Charan Singh, Surjit Singh Pehalwan, Bhajan Singh Bittu, Darshan Singh and Baldev Singh.


Rape case suspect arrested after three years
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 7
A 27-year-old resident of Kalharan in Solan, who had been declared a proclaimed offender in a rape case was arrested by the police after a period of three years. He had allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl of Phase 2. A special team of local police led by SI Tejinder Singh laid a trap following which the suspect, Lekh Ram, surrendered before the police.

According to information available, the suspect while working in the electrical section of Ranbaxy factory developed relations with the girl.

The girl in an FIR lodged with the police in 1998 had claimed that the boy on the pretext of marrying her had exploited her physically.

A case under Section 376 of the IPC was registered but the suspect had been evading arrest eversince.

The police had circulated posters of the accused at different places in Himachal Pradesh. He has been sent to judicial custody. 


JE arrested in drowning case
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 7
In the case of drowning of a 13-year-old boy, Karanbir Singh in the Phase 6 swimming pool, the local police today arrested a Junior Engineer, Jagmel Singh and two attendants, Gurdev and Mohinder, of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). The JE and the attendants were later released on bail.

The JE and two attendants had been named along with the coach, Manish Kumar and the lifeguard, Preet Bhupinder Singh, in the FIR. Meanwhile, the PUDA official, Mr N.S. Sangha, has started inquiry into the drowning incident.


MC meeting likely to be stormy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The Municipal Corporation House will be taking up the vital agenda items pertaining to the dissolution of the Municipal Corporation and seeking fresh elections for the next term in the 47th meeting of the House to be held tomorrow. Heated arguments are expected on the issue in view of the altered situation following the filing of nominations by two SAD nominees, Mr Mohinder Singh and Ms Harjinder Kaur for the post of Mayor yesterday even as the BJP and Congress had decided not to contest the Mayoral poll.

The BJP-SAD alliance had forwarded a resolution for the dissolution of the House only four days ago following the BJP high command’s decision of not contesting the Mayoral election scheduled for August 10. A similar letter was earlier written by councillor Satinder Dhawan, the lone Chandigarh Vikas Manch member, who had recently quit the Congress, is also being brought as an agenda item. Even BJP councillor Prem Sagar Jain’s agenda moved earlier in this regard figures in the list for tomorrow.

The said resolution is likely to be passed by the House as a majority of those present in the House will speak in favour of it. BJP councillors will support the same in view of the party High Command’s directive and Ms Dhawan will do so because she too has moved the said agenda.. While Deputy Mayor, Mr Mohinder Singh, who had signed the resolution alongwith Mr Des Raj Tandon will support the move of dissolution, the same will be opposed by Ms Harjinder Kaur, who claims that she has filed her nomination papers in the election for the Mayor’s post only to oppose the dissolution of the MC.

Even the Congress councillors are likely to oppose the move of dissolution. The other pertinent issue in this stormy meeting is regarding the imposition of parking fee in Sectors 8 and 17, which is slated to come up for hearing in the High Court on August 10. However, the chances of the same getting passed are very dismal.

Among the other 15 items listed on the agenda are disposal of commercial properties on free hold basis instead of leasehold in Mani Majra; privatisation of streetlights and grant of arrears of risk allowance to sewermen.

The House will also consider various other agenda items which already stand approved by the vital Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC). These include collection of removal charges on the eve of selected festivals like Diwali, Dashera, Lohri, Karva Chauth and Rakshabandhan; use of open spaces adjoining hotels and restricting permission to use open space to the residents of that area on the recommendation of the area councillor. Besides this, the other items are definition of freedom fighters for the grant of various concession/facilities by the state government, provision of a park and widening of road and carpeting of parking area.

The local unit of the BJP has criticised the sudden change in the Congress’s stand as reflected in their party president Mr B.B Bahl’s statement, who reportedly told the media persons yesterday that they have kept their options open as far as voting in the Mayoral election, scheduled for August 10 is concerned.

In a press note issued here today, official spokesperson of BJP unit, Ms Ranjana Shahi said the Congress was trying to make a backside entry to the Mayor’s office, even as the party had declared only two days ago that it would not filed its candidate for the Mayor’s post.

Meanwhile, president the Congress unit Mr B.B. Bahl, said they would decide on the future course of action with regard to the Mayoral election by tomorrow evening. Reacting to the statement issued by the BJP, he said the party will oppose the BJP-SAD combine and Ms Satinder Dhawan’s resolution for the dissolution of the House when it comes up for discussion tomorrow for we want the MC to complete the whole term. 


A town without zing or zest
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Evening in Panchkula is not the classy affair one would expect in a city often referred to as the Paris of India. No rollicking music, no clicking of glasses, no neon lights. The city offers little to the residents once the sun goes down.

While neighbouring Chandigarh plays host to a variety of cultural programmes, entertainment for the residents of Panchkula comes once in a blue moon. If at all it does, the programme fails to live up to the expectations and has hardly any takers.

Mostly dependent on Chandigarh for all its needs, Panchkula is still to come of age. Whether it is the market or the cinema halls or the eating joints, Chandigarh has the upper hand. People prefer to make their purchases in Chandigarh and business in Panchkula is rather low.

The only place in form, going by the crowds that throng the market in the evening, is Sector 7. The market does present a lively picture and people are seen clustered around rehriwalas, savouring the tangy flavoured gol-guppas.

And, yes, the city does have a geri route for youngsters bursting with energy and enthusiasm. However, the zipping mobikes and honking cars remain confined to Sector 7, going through Sector 8 and back, contributing to the traffic mess.

For those not interested in the hustle-bustle of a busy market, are the well-planned gardens where a walk can be a refreshing experience.

The Topiary park, the Cactus Garden and Nijhar Vatika are the option available.

The city seems almost dead if you venture out after 9 p.m. The only faces that you see are those of ice-cream vendors standing under streetlights, waiting for after-dinner customers.

The city hardly holds any interest for the youth. In contract, Chandigarh in the neighbourhood is a better bet,” says Ms Akanksha Sharma, a resident of Sector 4.

The residents suggest that some zing can be added to the evenings in Panchkula with a little initiative from the government. “The government can begin by holding its functions in the city and giving it a much-needed auditorium.

This will gradually attract private parties and make it a much more happening place,” suggests Mr S.K. Nayar, a resident of Sector 15.

Till the city does wake up, evenings will continue to be an uninteresting and uninspiring with hardly any activity worth the name.


A voluntary part-time force
Tribune News Service

With some of the measures for restructuring the Territorial Army (TA) coming through, attention has been focused on the citizen’s army — a concept which a section of defence planners present as the ideal option for meeting security requirements of the future.

A TA-like military set up can reduce the need for maintaining a large standing army and also serve as an effective cost saving measure by reducing the administrative and logistic burden of the services.

The Territorial Army (TA) is a voluntary part-time civilian force which plays a useful role as the second line of defence. It provides an opportunity to “gainfully employed” civilians to receive military training and also creates a reserve force that can assist the regular army during operations.

Since its inception in 1949 by an Act of Parliament, the TA has rendered valuable service, both in times of war, internal disturbances and natural calamities.

The charter of duties for the Territorial Army is —

* To relieve the regular army of static duties and support the civil power as and when required.

* To provide units for coastal defence and anti-aircraft defence of the country during hostilities.

* To provide units of the regular army for operations when required.

Both in the event of war and an emergency, the TA is embodied according to requirements. On such occasions the units are on the same footing as the regular army for all purposes including pay and allowances. TA personnel are given additional facilities for joining the regular army commissions and a certain percentage of these vacancies are reserved at the Military Academy.

The TA comprises non-departmental and departmental units. At present, there are 25 non-departmental and 27 departmental units, which include eco-task forces.

Non-departmental units are basically infantry battalions. Personnel of these units are recruited from all walks of life — functionaries of government or semi-government organisations, private sector employees, businessmen, politicians, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, self-employed professionals, etc. They are required to undergo two months training annually.

Departmental units are those enrollment to which is restricted to volunteers from a particular government department. Departmental units with the TA include Railway Engineers Regiments, which are affiliated to the Ministry of Railways and provide services during railway strikes as well as during war or a national emergency.

Ecological units, affiliated to the Ministry of Environment and forests, are responsible for carrying out afforestation in ecologically degraded areas in the mountains as well as in the desert, while Wasteland Development units, of which only one exists at present, are assigned the task of uplifting the wastelands of the Chambal ravines.

Affiliated with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Commission, oil sector units are to provide service during any kind of disruption in the field of refining and marketing of petroleum products. TA general hospitals, which are basically civil hospitals, are trained to provide medical facilities in case of an overflow of casualties from military hospitals.

Another type of departmental units are the telecommunication units, affiliated to the department of telecommunication. These units are responsible for restoring the civil communication network.

Consequent on internal disturbances and terrorist activities in Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and other states and the prevailing conditions along the northern and western borders, the TA has, of late been called upon to play an active role in assisting regular army formations in these areas. As a result, all the 25 TA infantry battalions have been embodied since 1990-91, for varying periods. At present, several of them are deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently, to cope with the demands made on it, the TA has started converting, some of its railway engineer units into infantry units. Six such infantry units are being raised. Besides an eco-task force for Delhi, and another ecological battalion for Punjab are also in the pipeline.

As far as training and recruitment are concerned, the TA, like the regular army, has some problems. A shortfall of officers, though not stated to be serious, led the TA to increase the annual intake from twice a year to thrice a year. Besides, in order to overcome training shortfalls, it also adopted a policy to attach desirous officers to regular army units for long durations, ranging up to five years.


BJP discusses poll strategy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The BJP today held a meeting here to discuss the election strategy to be adopted in the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. The meeting was chaired by Mr Pyare Lal Khandelwal, General Secretary of the BJP. Mr Khandelwal is in charge of the election wing of the party.

Among others present at the meeting were Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP and senior ministers and MLAs of the party.

Mr Khandelwal said the party machinery should be gears at grassroots level, especially in the areas where BJP MLAs were elected last time. He asked party leaders to visit urban and rural areas to remove grievances of party workers.

The BJP would focus on development and peace in the state during the rule of the SAD-BJP government. It has also planned a strategy to duck the Congress’ campaign.Back


Bid to mow down child, case registered
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, August 7
A 6-year-old boy was injured when a driver of a tractor-trailer allegedly tried to mow down the child on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway last evening.

According to information, Mohan Singh, the child, was being escorted by his uncle, Swarn Singh, and cousin, Sohan Singh, when Milkha Singh, the driver, allegedly tried to mow down the trio. Mr Swaran Singh was taking the boys to home from their school when the incident occurred.

Both the parties are of Lohgarh village and old rivalry between them is said to be the reason behind the incident. The injured boy has been admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

A case under Sections 307, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.


INTUC condemns Centre, Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and its women wing today came down heavily on the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre and the Chandigarh Administration for what they described as ‘anti- people’ policies followed by them.

Addressing a joint press conference, Mr Ram Pal Sharma, president, INTUC, and Ms Shyama Negi, president, women wing, said the Administration was working against the working class.

They explained that various courts, including the apex court, ruled that the principle of equal work and equal pay would be followed in the entire country. Unfortunately, for getting this principle implemented every employee is forced to go to the court. Those who did not go to the court were paid only Rs 2,520, while others who approached the court got Rs 3,604.

They added that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled sometime ago that daily wagers would be entitled to dearness allowance, now those employees who obtained court order were paid dearness allowance, while others were denied.

Mr Sharma and Ms Negi told mediapersons that the Union Labour Commissioner had visited Chandigarh and made a commitment that the request of the INTUC would be accepted.


Office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Sivananda Seva Sadan: president — Mr R.K. Chopra; vice-chairman — Ms Pushpa Sharma; senior vice-president — Mr T.R. Sood; vice-president — Mr M.R. Gupta, Ms Savita Sharma and Mr B.P. Puri; secretary — Ms Promil Sharma; and cashier — Mr Ramesh Chand Mangal. 


Bid to molest woman, five booked
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 7
A resident of Sector 38 West has alleged that five persons, including three city residents, tried to outrage modesty of her sister here yesterday. The said incident reportedly occurred in Sector 22.

In her complaint, Ms Gurmeet Kaur alleged that her sister, Renu Bala’s landlord, Kesar Singh, along with four other persons, including his two sons, trespassed on Renu’s house at about 12 noon yesterday and caused injuries to the complainant and her sister. They also allegedly threatened the sisters.

A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 506 and 354 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the landlord, his two sons, Avtar Singh and Parmajit Singh, Amrik Singh and Amarjit Singh, both residents of Alampur village in Patiala district.

One injured: A pedestrian Parmvir Singh of Sector 26 was injured after being allegedly hit by a Maruti car near the police lines in Sector 26, here on Monday.

The car driver sped away from the spot and the victim was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered.

Thefts: Mr Rajiv Jain, a shopkeeper in Sector 7, reported that 19 water taps were stolen from his shop on Sunday.

A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC was registered.

The local police arrested Bala, a resident of Sector 38-A, on charge of stealing iron sheets from the residence of Col Inder Pal Singh on Monday. Bala was reportedly caught red-handed while committing the theft.

She was booked under Sections 380, 457 and 411 of the IPC.

A cycle was reportedly stolen from the Sector 47 market parking here on Monday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC was registered on the complaint of Mr Sanjiv Chakarvarty, a resident of 3BRD, Air Force Station here.

Held: The local police arrested Satish, a resident of Maloya Colony, under the Excise Act and seized 25 pouches of liquor from his possession here on Monday.


One held: The local police has arrested Raju, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, following the recovery of 10 kg of poppy husk from his possession near Dhadak village yesterday. The police has registered a case against him.

SAS Nagar

Body found: The body of an unidentified labourer was found at the PTL traffic lights here on Tuesday. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Arrested: The former President of the SCL Employees House Building Society has been arrested by the police for being allegedly involved in a case of cheating and fraud registered by the police on July 19.

The former president had allegedly withdrawn Rs 43 lakh illegally from the society fund by impersonating as the president whereas he was not authorised to do so.

Mr Tejwant Singh, member of the society, said former president A.P. Singh was arrested after his anticipatory bail was rejected by a Ropar court. He has been remanded to police custody.Back

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