Tuesday, November 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Punjab area on periphery reduced
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, November 5
Punjab’s area on the periphery of Chandigarh, where change of land use is prohibited, has been drastically reduced with the state government’s move to regularise unauthorised constructions till November 3, 2001. Of the total 1, 36, 660 acres of land in the periphery control area, around 15,000 acres of land has already become part of the civic bodies of Zirakpur, SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi.

Another around 1,500 acres of the land is likely to be included in the proposed notified area committee in the Naya Gaon and Kansal area. Though the reaction of the Union Urban Affairs Ministry and the Chandigarh Administration — who had objected to the Anandgarh project — to Punjab’s move to circumvent the Periphery Control Act was awaited, sources in the government said it could lead to certain legal complications.

Sources in the government said under the periphery Act the government could effect change of land use in individual cases within certain parameters. To allow change in land use from a back date, the government had to request the Central Government to make an amendment in the Act. Mr G.S. Grewal, a former Advocate-General of Punjab, who contested the Anandgarh case, said, ‘‘The government’s decision to regularise the illegal construction was contrary to the law. The order of the executive defies the law ’’. He added that the extension of SAS Nagar had been challenged on the same grounds.

In the case of the NAC in the Naya Gaon and Kansal area, some legal complications could arise as Kansal had been notified under the Anandgarh project. The SLP of the Anandgarh project is pending before the Supreme Court. The sources said the notification of Kansal had not been denotified. Around 500 acres of land in Naya Gaon was under unauthorised structures ( till November 3).

Though the issue of Anandgarh City was frozen for the moment, sources said the Anandgarh authority was under a lot of pressure when it went ahead with the notification of 465 acres of Kansal for the project. An area of 465 acres of Kansal and 1,497 acres of Naya Gaon was to be included in first and second phase of the Anandgarh project. Now this area was being included in the limits of the proposed NAC. It could not be ascertained whether the forest area of Naya Gaon would be included in the NAC. However, the government was reported to have decided to levy certain fee for change of land use in the proposed NAC in Naya Gaon.

Officials of PUDA said the policy detaining the process to regularise the unauthorised structures was yet to be finalised. Initially the government had invited claims from people till November 19 and verify them on the basis of aerial photography, videography and still photographs. Though PUDA had constituted mobile squads to keep a vigil on the people misusing the government’s decision, unabated construction activity was going in the peripheral area to the north of Chandigarh.

A visit to the Naya Gaon and Kansal area revealed that construction activity was going on at around 10 sites. A number of structures were lying unfinished. People demanded that the cut date should be extended at least up December 31.


* Influential people could get benefit of the time till the images of the aerial photography were provided to PUDA by the National Remote Sensing (NRS), Hyderabad. The government had to seek clearance from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) before the aerial photography was done. Though officials of PUDA said the aerial photography would begin from November 7, the status of construction as on November 3 might not be available. The images would be made available after the staff of NRS surveyed the area. Even then it would take some days to provide the photographs.

A similar confusion had cropped up when the government declared the earlier cut off date as of December 8, 1998, whereas the aerial photography was up to March 1998. A number of unauthorised constructions were raised during this period.

The other sources could be images from the IRS series of satellites with India, which took images on ground with a resolution of 5.6 metres whereas IKNOS Data satellite with the USA had a resolution of one metre and could identify individual houses on the ground.


UT helpless on periphery Act?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
What can the Chandigarh Administration do to get the periphery Act enforced? Practically nothing, if one goes by the Admn’s record of the past three decades. The master plan has been violated on several occasions. However, no one pleads Chandigarh’s case in the absence of a political set up.

When the Punjab Government proposed to set up Anandgarh, a project which has been scrapped following judicial intervention, the Chandigarh Administration had protested to the Union Urban Affairs Ministry.

Sources said the issue of Punjab regularising all construction in villages falling in the periphery of Chandigarh was not even discussed at the morning co-ordination meeting of senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration today. Chandigarh Tribune tried to take the version of Mrs Neeru Nanda, Adviser to the UT Administrator, whether the Administration will protest in this regard. However, she was out of station and would come back only tomorrow.

Last year it was the then Adviser, Ms Vineeta Rai, who had written to the Government of India in case of Anandgarh, protesting against the project. In April this year, Punjab shot back pointing at the slums encouraged by the Chandigarh Administration, saying this was also a violation of the master plan. In reality the Administration itself promoted these slums and then started rehabilitating slum-dwellers by building colonies outside the sectoral grid, it was mentioned.

Sources say officially the Administration, led by bureaucrats from Punjab and Haryana, is on a weak wicket as these officials will never protest against the decisions taken by their political masters. Interestingly, whenever new urban enclaves come up, the residents burden the existing facilities in Chandigarh in health, education and entertainment. Not to speak of increased traffic congestion or demand for more buses. A large area of Panchkula and SAS Nagar are serviced by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking buses. If additional roads have to be built to link Panchkula or Mansa Devi, Chandigarh also contributes funds. A counter argument on the same issue is that these urban enclaves have helped ease pressures of housing in Chandigarh.

In the past the Chandigarh Administration put up opposition to townships of SAS Nagar and Panchkula, however, political will prevailed and the respective Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana got permissions from the Centre. The same happened when Mansa Devi township was coming up.

However, the Administration’s slate is also not clean. It has set up rehablitation colonies outside the lal doras’ of villages in the Union Territory. This not only changes the demography of the villages but also lead to proliferation of slums with people hoping to be part of the largesse. Interestingly, villagers are not allowed construction under the master plan in Chandigarh.

Deviations from the master plan...

* SAS Nagar in 1970s
* Panchkula in 1970s
* Mansa Devi in 1990s
* A stop on acquisition of villages falling within Chandigarh in 1980
* Notified Area Committee (NAC) at Zirakpur in 2000
* Proposed (NAC) in Nayagaon and Kansal
* Punjab ordered regularisation of structures in villages in periphery of Chandigarh on Sunday.
* Rehabilitation colonies to house slum dwellers have come up while villagers are not allowed to build even in their ancestral places. 



Architects criticise regularisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Punjab Government’s decision to regularise all unauthorised structures around the city has come in sharp criticism from senior architects who remained associated with designing of the city decades ago. They are of the opinion that the decision will spoil the beauty of the city, apart from taxing the civic services in the UT.

Mr M.N. Sharma, first Chief Architect of Chandigarh who worked for designing the city much before Le Corbusier and also worked with him, said the French architect had anticipated pressure around the land surrounding the city. So the periphery control Act, 1952, was enacted with the aim of conserving land within a radius of 10 miles for agricultural purposes to form green belt around the city.

“The decision strikes at the very root of the Periphery Act. This will not only ruin the most sacrosanct area north of the capitol-complex but also encourage haphazard growth around the city. This will also put further pressure on the infrastructure and civic amenities of the city,” the 78-year-old architect adds.

Mr Sharma who was adviser and coordinator for the construction of Abuja, federal capital of Nigeria, said many problems have accumulated with the passage of time and there was a limit to what the Chandigarh Administration could do. The citizens of Chandigarh were true guardians and they must come forward to save the city, he added.

Dr Aditya Prakash, former Chief Architect and former Principal of Chandigarh College of Architecture, said, “we have been repeatedly saying that the very concept of the city is defeated by violations that have been sprung up on the periphery of the city.”

Dr Prakash said the upcoming cities in Punjab and Haryana would be a stress on the city. He recalls that there were days when roads appeared to be quite open and wide. Now we hardly find any space for parking our vehicles in the markets. He said if the present trend continued, the day was not far when Chandigarh would become a cluster of slums. He feels that there would not be enough space even for walking. “We are allowing things to drift,” he bemoaned.

Seeking anonymity, a senior official of the Chandigarh Administration’s Architect Department, said the real problem was because there were two separate statutes. “While the Periphery Act 1952 is a Central legislation, the urban development is a state subject and there is no proper coordination between the Centre and the state for maintaining the beauty of the city,” he added.

The Chief Architect of Chandigarh, Mr Sarabjeet Singh, said it was a matter of the Punjab Government. He refused to say anything about the pressure on the civic amenities. “The Law Department of Punjab Government must have examined this subject before issuing the notification,” he quipped.


Regularise constructions outside lal dora’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
In a view which is different from city-bred intellectuals and those who love talking about the master plan, Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, president of the Pind Bachao Committee — a body of villagers whose lands were acquired for the development of Chandigarh — has welcomed the decision of the Punjab government to regularise the constructions made outside lal dora in the villages falling in the periphery of Chandigarh.

Lal dora was last extended in1880s and since then the population of the area has risen manifold.

The Chandigarh Administration should also take a firm decision to regularise all constructions made by people living outside lal dora of the 22 villages within the Union Territory. Mr Badheri, a champion of the rights of villagers, however, clarified that he was seeking regularisation only of those houses outside lal dora which had been built by land owners and had paid the requisite registration fee and all other land records were complete.

He said he was not in favour of regularising those who had encroached upon government land, be it by way of a jhuggi or otherwise. The rule should apply only for those whose lands are registered. It may be recollected that on October 28, Mr Badheri, while arguing before the National Minorities Commission in Delhi in a case against the Chandigarh Administration, had demanded that jhuggi-dwellers living on encroached lands outside lal dora should not have voting rights in local bodies or panchayat elections.

On the same lines, he said: “I do not support any encroachment.” The Administration should , however, follow the Punjab pattern in case of houses built outside lal dora on lands duly registered in the owners’ names.

Mr Badheri also demanded that “if any of the agency acquires land in the periphery of Chandigarh or in the villages of Chandigarh, it should pay a minimum of Rs 25 lakh per acre besides a job to one of the affected persons of that family and also an industrial shed”. Coming back to the issue of regularisation, he said the Punjab government should also withdraw notices issued to 80 houses in Khumbra village, within SAS Nagar.


PUDA’s extension fee put on statutory basis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The non-construction fee being levied by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) at the current rates has been put on a sound statutory pedestal.

Revealing this, the PUDA Chief Administrator, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, told that PUDA had been charging this fee, popularly referred to as extension fee, from all the plot holders, if they failed to complete construction within three years of the allotment of the plot. The current rates were linked to the current allotment price, on ad valorem basis, and the scale became steeper with the number of years of the delay in construction. These rates had been fixed in accordance with the resolutions of the Finance and Accounts Committee of PUDA passed from time to time.

While most of the defaulting plot-holders chose to pay these charges, rather than facing resumption proceedings, in a few cases the allottees had gone to the court on the ground that the quantum of this fee could not be enhanced beyond the scale fixed in the statutory rules. In a few cases, the courts had granted relief in individual cases, laying down that these charges could be revised only by amending the statutory rules.

With this background, PUDA had approached the state government to invoke its rule making power under Section 180 of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, and to adopt the rates currently in force. The necessary notification was issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on October 8, 2001, and the same was published in the official gazette of the Punjab government on October 26, 2001. This notification brought about an amendment in the statutory rules, with retrospective effect from August 22, 1995. These rules thus validated all the decisions of the PUDA committees and put them n a statutory framework. The new rules have also empowered PUDA, or any of its committees, to take similar decisions in future as well.

Mr Sidhu said that the limitation for construction in most of the vacant plots in SAS Nagar (Mohali) would be expiring on December 31, 2001, and there was no proposal in consideration at the present to extend this date. he appealed to the defaulting plot-holders to complete their construction expeditiously and obtain their occupancy/completion certificates immediately, so as to avoid the last minute rush.

The Chief Administrator said that the levy of the non-construction fee was justified since the plots were allotted by PUDA at rates below the market prices to genuine and bona fide clients for residential needs, rather than for speculation.


Decision on NAC for Kansal hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Mr Rajinder Rana, convener of the Residents Welfare Association of Naya Gaon and Kansal, today thanked the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for the decision to regularise the constructions raised in the periphery of Chandigarh up to November 3, 2001, and to constitute a Notified Area Committee (NAC) for Naya Gaon, Kansal and adjoining villages for a systematic growth of development.

By taking such a decision, the SAD-BJP government, Mr Rajinder Rana said, had shown that it protected the interests of the common man who had purchased plots for houses in these areas and built dwellings thereon with their hard earned money.

On the one hand, the decision would provide roof to the common people, it would lead to homogeneous development in the peripheral areas on the other.


MoU on electric buses tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Chandigarh Administration and Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wednesday on the introduction of an ambitious Rs 120-crore electric trolley bus system in Chandigarh.

BHEL will study and prepare a detail project report (DPR) which will cover the technological and economic viability of the project.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Administration has once again asked Punjab to join in the project to extend the system to the neighbouring SAS Nagar. Haryana has already given its consent to contribute and connect Panchkula with Chandigarh with electric trolley buses. The Administration has said in the past that effectivity of the project will be better if the two townships are also serviced by the trolley bus service.

A large floating population — about 2 lakh — come to Chandigarh for work daily and return in the evening.

A decision to sign an MoU with BHEL had been taken a few weeks ago at a meeting of the high-powered committee held in Delhi under the chairmanship of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

Meanwhile, five routes on which this electric trolley bus system would be operational in the first phase have been finalised. These will be studied by BHEL in detail as to what type of buses are required even the size of buses will be kept in mind in ratio to the road width. BHEL will also suggests what other routes can be made operational.

BHEL has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Delhi Government for the same sort of electric trolley bus system.

Interestingly, the Delhi Government had got interested in the electric trolley buses project after seeing the Chandigarh project. This is seen as a replacement for CNG and other eco-friendly fuel.

General Jacob has been taking keen interest in the project and has even asked the Chief Architect to make provision to have a stand for the buses in the new ISBT in Sector 43. 


BSNL plans further network expansion
No more long queues for depositing bills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
BSNL telephone subscribers will not have to stand in long queues for depositing bills, courtesy the decision to segregate billing in four cycles . Bills will now be issued on 11th and 25th of every month which will not only reduce the pressure on BSNL staff due to a single date of issuing of bills , but will also save the subscribers from the hassles in depositing bills, said Mr R.C. Vaish, Principal General Manager Telecom, Chandigarh Circle, while addressing a press conference here today.

BSNL will also procure additional equipment for expansion of its wireless in local loop (WLL) network by February next year. This would create additional capacity of 10,000 lines that would cater to demand in the city and Mohali. While the existing WLL capacity is for urban areas only, spreading WLL services in rural areas is also on the cards and BSNL plans to issue connections in nearby villages by March next year.

“Right now the plans are to utilise WLL for urban Technically Non - Feasible (TNF) areas only where fixed wireless terminals will be issued. Decision on spreading WLL services to rural areas will also be shortly taken”, said Mr Vaish. Initially, villages, including Mullanpur, Zirakpur, and Sohana, where connections have not been issued for long will be covered. Currently, there is capacity for 3,000 lines of which 2,000 have already been commissioned .

The decision to segregate billing in four cycles which will be implemented from next month onwards, will come as a relief to both BSNL as well as the subscribers. At present of the total 1,80,000 subscribers, 90,000 are issued bills on the 18th of a month and the remaining on 18th of next month . Now, every bills will issued on two dates every month , thereby segregating the cycle in to four parts.

The 1,000 capacity exchange in Panchkula which will cater to demands for Sectors 25 to 30 and area across Ghaggar and 5,000 capacity OCB exchange in Sector 12 here will be commissioned this week, said Mr Vaish. The 10,000-line capacity exchange at Mohali is also under testing in the final stages and will be commissioned shortly. The Sector 46 exchange has, meanwhile, already been commissioned and 1,400 lines have been shifted. This exchange will cater to Sectors 47, 48 and 49.

Mr Vaish informed that 6,564 new telephone connections were given between March and September this year and the waiting list as on October 31 is 5,766. The average revenue per Direct Exchange Line (DEL) was Rs 1,078 which has been the highest among UT and Punjab.


PU results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Panjab University has declared the supplementary MA (Part II) Hindi, MA (Part I) Gandhian Studies, MA (Part I) Geography and MA (Part I), Ancient Indian History and Archaeology examination results.

The copies of the result gazettes will be available at the PU main inquiry counter.


68 structures demolished
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 5
On the seventh day of the anti-encroachment drive by the enforcement wing of PUDA, at least 68 unauthorised structures, including violations in commercial premises, were demolished here today. Only one team removed unauthorised structures in Phase 3B 2 and Phase 4 today.

As the team was removing structures in Phase 3B 2, residents complained of a pick-and-choose policy. A shopkeeper running a restaurant said the concrete floor at the rear of his bay shop was demolished without any reason. Similarly, residents complained that the demolition squad left a corner house (872). The occupant of the house had allegedly covered additional area adjacent to the plot.

Residents complained that the demolition squad left the encroachments in front of 10-marla houses from Nos. 413 to 425 in Phase 4. A pick-and-choose policy while removing car sheds, including in front of the house of the Station House Officer of Phase 1 police station was also alleged by residents. The residents threatened an agitation if this policy continued.


Decision on landscaping policy soon’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Claiming that the policy for permitting landscaping was framed a few months back, Punjab Urban Development Authority’s counsel today stated that fresh application filed by Phase XI resident of the SAS Nagar seeking the same, would be disposed of as expeditiously as possible. The applicant, Mr Santokh S. Parmar, had earlier stated that permission for landscaping had been sought two years back, but no decision had been taken in this regard.

Seeking directions for the appointment of a local commissioner for visiting the area to verify whether “environment friendly improvements” had been made for the benefit of the general public, he had added that directions should be issued to the respondents for ensuring that the same were not demolished. Directions for impleading him as a respondent in the case were also sought.

Taking up his application, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, ruled that the applicant was not a necessary party for deciding the petition. The Judges, however, granted his counsel Mr M.L. Saggar leave to act as an intervener in the matter. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 20.

The high court had on the last date of hearing, directed PUDA and other respondents to issue within seven days a notice in the newspapers asking the residents to remove encroachments within 15 days, or else the same would be removed by the authorities. The Judges had also told PUDA counsel to inform the officials against destroying the greenery. Only obstructions were to be removed, the Judges had clarified.


Roads look wider after demolitions
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar
Apart from the protests against the drive of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to remove encroachments on public lands, there is another aspect of the campaign. After the house-owners have voluntarily removed the structures in front of their houses, the effective width of the road berm has increased, allowing a freer movement for vehicles and pedestrians.

It is more visible in the areas of Low Income Group (LIG) housing flats where the road berm had virtually been gobbled up by those living in ground floors. A resident of a second floor LIG flat in Phase 2 remarked: “People living on the second and third floors have heaved a sigh of relief as they do not have to park their vehicles on the road any more”.

The residents are demanding that the areas cleared of the encroachment should be so managed as to solve the problem of inadequate parking space and cleanliness.

However, some residents are critical of PUDA for having allowed more time to some VIPs to remove their encroachments while structure raised by common people were pulled down instantly. They say PUDA should either demolish all structures or allow more time to all.


The recent decision of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council to allow transfer of kiosks after charging an increased fee of Rs 20,000 has raised many an eyebrow.

It is being said that before allowing the transfer of kiosks, the civic body should realise the fee of over Rs 2 crore which is due from shopkeepers in the rehri markets of the town.

An official of the civic body pointed out that the land belonged to PUDA and the civic body had no right to allow the transfer of kiosks.


CTCC rallies behind Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) here today rallied behind the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, daring the former Union Minister and the Chandigarh Vikas Party (CVP) chief, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, for a debate on the integrity of these two leaders.

The Congress challenge, led by the CTCC President, Mr B.B. Bahl, has come in the wake of Mr Dhawan’s party raising doubts over the integrity of Mr Bansal recently.

‘‘Before raising a finger at Mr Bansal, Mr Dhawan and his club’s men should look at their questionable conduct. We are ready to debate that at any fora,’’Mr Bahl told a press conference here today.

Mr Bahl challenged Mr Dhawan to furnish details of his assets before becoming a Union Minister in the four-month-long Chandrashekhar government.

Mr Bahl lamented that the country would go to dogs if the persons like Mr Dhawan were allowed in the public life who forgot responsibilities of a good citizen.

The CTCC President said that Mr. Dhawan’s club, which you may consider a political party, would be nowhere in the picture after the corporation elections where the fight would be between the Congress and the BJP.

The CTCC Legal Cell Chairman, Mr Ashok Aggarwal, indicated that Mr Bansal might file a defamation suit against Mr Dhawan.

He said the party was waiting for Mr Bansal’s consent for the suit.

Mr Bahl accused the CVP leaders of stooping low to allegedly forge signatures of the Congressmen.

The CTCC chief offered the Gujarat relief material in its office for Rs10,000 or even free to the Chandigarh Vikas Party for using.

He alleged that Mr Dhawan and his supporters did not contribute towards the Gujarat relief fund.

Mr Bahl said the manifesto of the party would be out only after November 11, when the names of the candidates would be finalised. He said the manifesto would have both national and local issues adding that there would be no truck with any party.


Communication gap prolongs injured child’s agony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Lack of communication, dearth of knowledge and tendency of patients and their attendants to feel ignored and uncared for at the hands of hospital staff had yet another victim at the PGI here today.

A three-year-old boy who was to be operated upon after a few days at the PGI for amputation of his three injured fingers was taken back to his village in Mansa by his parents after they were allegedly “told by the hospital authorities that their child will not be operated upon and that they should leave.” But the story that surfaced was very different.

Lovepreet, the only son of Gurpal, a farmer of a village in Mansa district, has had the most harrowing time of his life. The child met with an accident on October 23 while travelling in a tractor-trolley. He injured his right hand badly.

The parents took the child, now in extreme pain, with three of his fingers badly mangled to a private surgeon in Hisar who promised them complete cure. After keeping kept them in his clinic for more than a week and performing some procedures on the hand, the doctor referred the child to the PGI.

The poor farmer hired a taxi and after having spent more than Rs 30,000 at Hisar, reached the PGI on Saturday, where doctors on emergency duty admitted the child.

Mr Gurpal Singh said Lovepreet was then shifted to a ward where he was kept on fasting for being readied to be operated upon for amputation of three fingers which the doctor had declared “irreparably dead”. “Lovepreet was kept hungry from 8 p.m. through Saturday night, till just before noon the next day, when we were told to leave by a doctor,” says a relative of Mr Gurpal.

Mr Gurpal contacted some of their relatives in the city who then requested the staff working in the ward to request the doctors to operate upon the child whose condition was by now pathetic. The child was then kept in the ward for another day. They were finally asked to leave the hospital today afternoon. Crying inconsolably, the parents sat outside the hospital emergency and finally left for Mansa in the evening.

Prof Chari, Head of the Department of Plastic Surgery, PGI, states that there has been some confusion in the parents being told what the situation was like. “The child had injured four fingers and three of these were dead and had to be amputated. Since amputation is to be done after fixing the exact place where cut is to be given, it takes a few days. Also the doctor in Hisar, to whom these people had gone earlier, had other than stitching up the fingers also inserted some pins, which is not normally done in such crushed finger cases. What these people had to do was to wait for a few days before their child was operated upon. In the meantime they were told to go to Hisar and bring a note from the doctor in Hisar for what he had inserted the pins for.”

When asked if the child had been asked to be kept on a fast as a pre-operation exercise, Prof Chari stated that he had no idea who had asked the child to do this.


An eating joint that defies logic
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
An idea with a much wider perspective that would have generated much commercial gains to the Municipal Corporation has been successfully demolished by the brains of the Architecture Department of the Chandigarh Administration.

In today’s world where young generations are lapping up McDonalds, Pizza Huts and Dominos and, of course, our own ‘’desi’’ (Swadeshi) versions like Nathu Rams, Sindhis and Narulas, the Architecture Department has decided to take a tortoise walk.

As against a planned idea of an eating joint on about 4,000 sq.ft. with a seating capacity for at least 90 in Shanti Kunj, the structure finally approved by the corporation, now visible, is barely 800 sq.ft.

Given the kind of traffic of tourists, want of residents of the city and visitors flocking from the neighboring states to the Zakir Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj and Sector 17 Piaza, the eating joint now under construction could have been built in a grand style, on a bigger scale (as original plans show) and developed into a major attraction. But this has not happened.

The original design of the eating joint was prepared by the former Chief Architect, Mr S.K. Midha, in 1998. The suggested location was on a high ground facing the entrance to Shanti Kunj from Jana Marg.

That was the ideal location away from the ‘’nullah’’ passing through the beautiful garden. The design layout included three sets of toilets, store for the kitchen, washrooms and other essentials. It gave a feeling of spaciousness and openness. The project cost was estimated at Rs 21.87 lakh, including civil, public health, electrical and horticultural works.

There were two proposals to execute the project. One, build and operate. This meant construction of the building by the corporation and leasing it out. Two, contract out. The project was to be given on 10 years’ lease with construction being done by the contracted party as per the specified design. With the passage of time and several meetings later, what has finally got approved is a Rs 7 lakh ‘’miniature’’ eating joint against the original design plan.

A visit to the place was revealing. Located to the left of the main entrance of Shanti Kunj, the eating joint is pretty close to the nullah where accumulated, stagnant water permanently ferments emanating stench. Once commissioned, visitors would have stink for company!

A labourer at the site said due to a swamp close by snakes were not uncommon. There is barely space to seat 10 people. The structure would even fail to protect rain.

It is reported that repeated efforts by fast food giants like McDonalds have failed time-and-again to tie up with private parties and individuals for a toe-hold in Sector 17 market place because of lack of adequate space and professional dealings.

The Administration’s Chief Engineer, Mr Puranjit Singh, confirmed to TNS that the original design plan was much bigger and had been drastically scaled down. Even the original site had been changed. He could not agree more that the present site was most unsuitable given its proximity to the ‘’nullah’’.

It was during Mr Puranjit Singh’s term as Chief Engineer in the corporation that his proposal (plan prepared by Mr Midha) was accepted by the Finance and Contract Committee in its meeting on August 5, 1998. Subsequently, much changed.


Hike in cable rates criticised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Welfare Association MIG-I Houses, Sector 40-C, has condemned the steep hike in rates affected by the cable operators recently. In effect, the cable operators have adopted different parameters for increasing and charging the rates.

As a matter of fact, there is no check on them and they charge whenever and whatever they like. For example, in Sector 40 they were charging Rs 50 per month, but now they have increased the rate to Rs 120. By increasing the rates, they have made the monopoly of the business despite the fact that the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act is very much in place.

The Chandigarh Administration has failed to check this unilateral and arbitrary increase in these rates.

Not only this, they are not giving the proper service to the people even after charging such a hefty rate.

Instead they manipulate the things in such a fashion that even people are unable to enjoy the programmes on Doordarshan.

The association has urged upon the Chandigarh Administration to intervene in the matter and allow the cable operators to charge reasonable rates so the people are saved from the highhandedness of these people.


Spreading message on cycles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Mrs H.K. Bhatia, Additional Managing Director (P), Markfed, today flagged off a cycle rally of Markfed employees from Chandigarh to Delhi.

The rally has been organised by Markfed employees with the objective of encouraging people to donate blood for thalassemic children. Children suffering from this disease need blood very frequently.

The Thalassemic Welfare Association, the Blood Donors Council and the Blood Bank Society, PGI, associated themselves with Markfed to propagate the vital message of blood donation through this rally. The 17 rallyists who left here today on their mission of spreading this message under the leadership of Mr Subhash Bhasker, will reach Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi, on November 9.

Among those present on the occasion were Mr P.S. Ajmani, president, Thalassemic Children Welfare Association, Mr Ramnik Lal Sharma, president, Chandigarh Blood Donor’s Council and Mrs Sarup Krishan, honorary secretary, Blood Bank Society, PGI.

Mr S.K. Goyal, Chief Manager (HQ), who made travelling arrangements for the rallyists, said that all those taking part in the rally had been given free cycles, track-suits, shoes, TA/DA and diet worth Rs 200 daily.


Allahabad Bank employee dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Mr Mohinder Singh (52), working as head cashier in The Tribune Extension counter of Allahabad Bank, died in the PGI here today after complaining of pain in the leg.

He is survived by his wife and six children.

Mr Singh will be cremated at Tirra village, near Dhanas, tomorrow.


Muddy water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Residents of Sector 29-D, Chandigarh, have been getting muddy water supply since this afternoon.

They did not get clean drinking water till late in the evening. Phone calls to the authorities went unheeded


Gun-toting youth escapes after robbery bid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Amid high drama, two women and two children, had a narrow escape when a person reportedly fired from a handgun while escaping after his attempt to rob a sector 40 house turned sour.

According to the police, a youth approached the house of Nar Singh Das Nagpal, who owns a shop in Sector 22, at about 2 pm. At that time, his wife Lajwanti(60), daughter-in-law Meenu and two grandchildren were at home.

The youth asked them if Nagpal was home as he(the youth) had to give him some money. On being told that Nagpal was at his shop, he inquired about the presence of his two sons and then went away.

A little while later he forced his way into the house, wearing a black hood and carrying a handgun, and started snatching jewelry the two women were wearing. The children, who had just returned from school, were in another room, changing clothes.

The intruder’s actions led to a scuffle between him and the two women, who began shrieking and shouting for help. He then fired his weapon while running away. The bullet pierced through a door of another room and embedded in another door on the other side.

Just as the robber emerged from the house, a 20-year-old neighbour, Avdesh, who was approaching the house in a car, sensed something amiss and alighted from his car to give the robber a chase.

The robber had parked his scooter about half a km away, where he took of his hood. However, when Avdesh accosted the robber, the robber pointed his gun at him, telling him to get away. The robber managed to get away on his scooter. Avdesh, however, was unable to read the scooter’s registration number.

Meanwhile, the police has prepared a sketch of the robber from description provided by Avdesh. The bullet has also been recovered and sent for laboratory analysis.


Three held for gambling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The police has arrested two persons, identified as Bal Krishan and Prem Chand, from Sector 26 for gambling. In another incident, a resident of Dadu Majra, Kuldeep Singh, was arrested for gambling from the same colony. Rs 1,150 was recovered from his possession. Cases under the Gambling Act have been registered.

Liquor seized

A Sector 38 resident, Basanti Devi, was arrested by the police from Sector 25 and 50 pouches of Hero whisky were seized from her possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.


Five booths in Sector 40 were reportedly broken into and about Rs 30,000 and some items were stolen. The booths included a medical shop, general store, gift shop and a confectionary shop. The intruders broke through the roof-top ventilators to get into the shops. A case has been registered.


A resident of SAS Nagar, Amrita, was injured after her Scooty was hit by a car on the Sector 15-16 dividing road. She was going to college on Monday morning. The police has registered a case.

A scooterist, Deepak, was injured after he was hit by a person driving a Mahendra jeep near the Sector 28 gurdwara. The same driver had hit another scooterist moments earlier. The police has registered a case.

Car stolen

A Sector 15 resident, Gurinder Singh Sethi, has reported that his Maruti car (CH-03-E-5220) was stolen from his residence. A Sector 22 resident, Kishan Lal, has reported that his Yamaha motor cycle (CH-01-H-3939) was stolen from the bus stand parking lot. Cases have been registered.



The local police has booked Narinder Singh Mand, who claimed to be a Deputy Superintendent of Police, for allegedly trying to run over a constable of the traffic police, Manjeet Singh at the Phase III and V traffic lights. A case under Sections 186 and 353 of the IPC, has been registered.

Seized: The police has seized 400 pouches of liquor from Balbir Singh. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against the suspect.

Burglars arrested: At least six burglars, including two who came out of judicial custody on November 3 last, have been arrested. The suspects, John Singh, Vijay Singh, Kuldeep, Jarnail, Sonu Kumar and Vijay Kumar, had committed over 11 thefts in the past few days and booty was reported to be in lakhs. The recovered item include a stolen car.


Man arrested with 2 kg charas
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 5
The local police arrested a Kajheri village resident carrying 2 kg of charas from Sector 45 here yesterday. The market price of the seized charas is about Rs 20 lakh.

As per police sources, Baiju, a mason by profession, was selling drugs for the past two months. His area of operation was Colony No. 5, SAS Nagar, Khara and Panchkula. He had brought the charas from Uttar Pradesh a couple of days ago and was going to his customer today when he was arrested under various sections of the NDPS Act.


8 more cars recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 5
The CIA staff today recovered eight more cars stolen by an inter-state gang of car-lifters from Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana.

According to information available from the police, these cars, mainly Tata Sumos, had been stolen by the gang from Mumbai and Chennai and later sold off in various places in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Fake registration papers were prepared by the gang with the help of an employee of the DC office, Shimla.

It may be noted that the local police had arrested Ajay Lamba and Ashwani on the charges of possessing fake currency notes . Their interrogation had revealed that they were involved in a gang of auto-lifters.

Subsequently, Tarlochan Singh was also arrested by the police. It is reportedly through him that the police has now recovered these eight cars.


Vigilance Awareness Week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Central Excise Commissionerate, Chandigarh I and II, has been observed “Vigilance Awareness Week” since October 31.

According to Mr V.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Central Excise Commissionerate, they organised an open house seminar with members of Trade and Industry representing Regional Advisory Committee and Grievance Committee of Punjab, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Chandigarh with officers of Central Excise Commissionerate. During this week, the emphasis was made to call for self-discipline to fight corruption. An essay writing competition among the employees was also organised on November 2.

As part of the “Vigilance Awareness Week”, a penal discussion on “Need for New Initiatives to Eradicate Corruption in Govt” was organised today.

Dr Anmol Rattan, Chairman, Bar Council, called for creating and nurturing a culture that condemns corrupt practices. Mr M.S. Arora, Additional Commissioner, stressed the need for change in government policy to acknowledge honesty.

Mr V.K. Bansal, head of the Law Department, Panjab University, said all of us live in contradiction. We preach honesty but follow dishonest practices throughout our lives which need to be checked. Mr S.K. Verma, ADGP (Vigilance), Haryana, called for personal integrity to be maintained by all to eradicate the menace of corruption. 


Mobile firm launches retail initiative
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Mitsubishi Electric Telecom Europe, through its global distribution partner HAT International has decided to open 72 identical and exclusive ‘Trium Avenues” across India for its Trium brand of mobile phones.

The first such “Trium Avenue” was inaugurated by Mr S.S. Bassi, country manager, Mitsubishi Mobile Phones, here today in Sector 33-D. “We planned to launch Trium Avenues and Trium Junctions as part of our retail strategy a couple of months ago. About 40 outlets across the country are already underway and Chandigarh happens to be the first place where Avenue is being inaugurated today.”

Mitsubishi is planning its showrooms in all metropolitans and important cities of country. The three major distributors in Chennai, New Delhi and Calcutta have begun identifying and appointing such outlets to be converted into “Trium Avenues”. Each Avenue will further appoint eight to 10 Trium Junctions in the form of small kiosks, stalls or shop-in-shops.


Traders want permission for stalls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Traders of Sector 17 held a meeting today and demanded that they be allowed to set up stalls outside their shops in the pre Divali days. The Municipal Corporation has denied permission for stalls in Sector 17.

Traders of Sector 17 and the Beopar Mandal are scheduled to meet tomorrow to chalk out a plan of action as sales were suffering, Mr Jagdish Khalra, general secretary of the Traders Association of Sector 17, said tonight. The meeting was attended among others, by Mr Baldev Gulati, Mr Neeraj Bajaj, Mr Subhash Kataria, Mr Ramesh Kapoor, Mr Rajinder Minocha.

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