Thursday, November 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Encroacher-politician mafia’s bid to ‘grab shamlat land’
1,000 trees felled on village land
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, November 21
A powerful ‘encroacher-politician mafia’ has allegedly felled over 1000 fully grown eucalyptus trees in order to grab a 15-acre piece of land whose value is estimated at above Rs 10 crore.

The land in question is located in Bhabhat village which has been recently included in the newly constituted Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. This piece of prime property is located on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway - 21 and is ideal for the setting up of a residential colony.

The scam came to light when a truck (HR-37A- 5357) and two tractor-trailers ( HR04-6776 and PJN - 5877) loaded with the logs of felled trees were intercepted by the octroi staff on November 15 after a tip off by some residents,on the basis of non-production of the necessary receipts obtained from the village panchayat.

The driver of the vehicle could only show a receipt of carrying logs of nine trees only.

Investigations revealed that trees were being felled for the last one month and the logs were being transported on a basis of the permission for nine trees only.

Using this ingenious trick, the accused had managed to fell down and cart away nearly 900 trees. It was a vigilant resident who informed octroi attendant following which the attendant stumbled upon this discrepancy while going through his books and stopped the next consignment wherein the consignee could not produce the permission for around 75 logs.

According to sources at least three top Punjab Cabinet minister, along with senior officers of Ropar district, had allegedly ‘pressurised’ the village panchayat to pass a resolution permitting the felling of only nine tree of M/S G.S. Builders of Patiala, in a back date.

Sources alleged that the mafia had prior knowledge of the merger of Bhabhat village with the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat and were in the know-how of this 15 acres land which was village shamlat or ‘common village land’.

This land had been leased out by the panchayat to the Forest Department which had planted eucalyptus trees some years ago on the agreement that a part of the money fetched after the sale of trees would be used for development activities in the village.

This firm is said to be used as a front for taking over the said land.

Interestingly the panchayat had refused to handover the resolution proceeding and other related documents to the Nagar Panchayat authorities. The panchayat had also not submitted revenue records to the civic body even though the village was merged with the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat in first week of September.

The panchayat allegedly ‘doctored’ the resolution register stating that the panchayat had unanimously decided to lease out the land to a private party for felling the trees on a contract basis.

Interestingly written permission for only nine trees was given thereby absolving the panchayat of any culpability at a later stage if this irregularity came to light.

Sources in department confirm that the civic body authorities had seized a truck (HR-37A-6776) and a tractor-trailer loaded with tree logs on November 15. Following pressure from some influential politicians and officials, the Nagar Panchayat authorities were reportedly forced to release the vehicles along with the wood.

Village Sarpanch Dharam Singh, said that panchayat was fully competent to auction the trees but claimed he did not know that nearly 1000 trees had been cut and uprooted by the contractor. Even though the land was at the periphery of the village, as elected members they were legally bound to look after the interest of the villagers, he added. However, he was evasive on the action to be initiated by him in this regard.

Over this hot issue some residents of the civic body had approached to Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planing Minister, on Monday and asked him to look into the matter.

Following the complaint, the minister then constituted a committee comprising Mr Preetam Singh Johala, SDM, Dera Bassi, three members of the Zirakpur Sudhar Committee, including Mr Narinder Sharma, Mr Jaspal Singh and Mr Sohan Singh Hans to conduct a inquiry and ask Mr Girish Verma, Executive Officer of the civic body, to lodge a complaint with the police against the involved persons.

Mr Ashok Kumar Sikka, Administrator of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, was not available for comments.


31 structures demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A total of 31 unauthorised structures were demolished today by PUDA in the periphery areas of Chandigarh and acquired land of Sohana.

According to official information here, the villages covered included Sohana, Nanomajra, Sambalki, Saneta, Bhagomajra, Bairampur, Landran and Balongi.

The team of PUDA officials which carried out the demolition operations consisted of General Manager (Regulatory), the SDE(R), two JEs and PUDA’s police force.

The structures demolished included 15 shops and nine residential rooms in the acquired land in Sohana, one residential-cum-cattleshed in the periphery area of Sohana and one house in Balongi.

All these structures came into inexistence after November 3, 2001.


PU to ‘test’ teaching skills of affiliated students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Panjab University will organise a special inter-college competition for students of affiliated education colleges to test their ‘skill in teaching’ in the second week of February next year.

A decision in this regard was taken by a special committee of the university which met recently. The names on the committee comprised Prof Ramesh Kapoor, Dean College Development Council, Prof S Gakhar, Prof Tehal Kohli, Principal Satinder Dhillon, Principal Jagdish Kaur, Principal R.P.Asija and Principal Darshan Kumar Sharma among others.

Sources said that contests would be held at three different centres, including Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, DAV College of Education, Hoshiarpur and at Ferozepore. Contests in different categories would be divided among three centers.

The committee was constituted following a proposal sent by Dr S.S.Sangha from GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar, who is also a member of the committee.

Dr Sangha in his letter said that ‘‘As the inter-college sports and cultural contests are doing a yeoman’s service in promoting and popularising sports and culture, the inter college competition in ‘ skill in teaching’ may be initiated in the same line,’’. This was in particular reference to teaching of subjects like science, mathematics, and social studies besides languages.

Dr Sangha said that ‘participants and winners should be awarded citations and awards. The awards can be graded and winners be given weightage in selection and career promotion,’’. It would also inspire students to learn skills better. He said one of the reasons for promoting ‘healthy competition among education colleges’ was that ‘education of today had ceased to stimulate, cultivate and gauge the skills or abilities . A number of ‘teachers’ passing out of teacher education institutions were rather lacking in teaching skills.


Reliance makes Spice ‘cut up’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Thousands of cell-phone subscribers in and around the city could not contact land-line telephone subscribers due to the alleged cutting of optical-fibre cable (OFC) of Spice Telecom by the Reliance Group in the Phase VII Industrial Area of SAS Nagar. “Spice, that has incurred heavy revenue losses as a result of this, will take action against Reliance,” said officials of Spice Telecom.

Spice subscribers are connected through the OFCs to the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) exchange that connects them to land-line subscribers. The connections were snapped after one of the OFCs connected to the Digital Trunk Automatic Exchange (D-TEX) at SAS Nagar was cut. Consequently, Spice subscribers could not make calls at land-line (BSNL and Connect) numbers. However, mobile-phone to mobile-phone communication was uninterrupted.

Officials of Spice alleged that the OFC had been cut by Reliance workers who were laying their cables in the area. Mr Vinod Sawhney, MD of Spice, when contacted, said the company would take action against Reliance and the OFC would soon be repaired.

Earlier this month, the BSNL authorities had also alleged that its underground cables and cable-ducts in Phase II of the Industrial Area near Tribune Chowk had been damaged by Reliance Engineering. About 100 BSNL telephones connections had been snapped due to this.

Get your own poles: BSNL to cable guys
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has directed cable TV and generator operators of Chandigarh, SAS Nagar, Panchkula, Kharar, Dera Bassi, Zirakpur, Sohana and Maloy to remove their wires from telephone poles, failing which, the department will remove these.

Several cable TV, generator and intercom wires have been fixed on the BSNL telephone poles, which is against the Indian Telegraph Act, according to a BSNL press note issued here.

Areas no longer non-feasible for BSNL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The BSNL has decided to provide WiLL (fixed terminal) connections in Burail, Industrial Area Phase II and Mani Majra — areas that are considered technically non-feasible.

In a press note issued here today, authorities have asked those who had applied for telephone connections in these areas upto October 31, 2001, to contact commercial officers concerned or area managers to give their options for the installation of WiLL telephones.



It is not cricket, assert city residents
Sue Denness the menace for libel, fume sports lovers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Remove match referee Mike Denness, sue him for libel, pull out of the tour — this is how cricket buffs in the city, along with residents not-so-interested-in sport, are reacting to the decision of punishing six top Indian players for alleged misdemeanours during the second Test in Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

Expressing “shock”, a cross section of the residents, Chandigarh Tribune talked to, said the continuation of Denness as the referee was “completely unacceptable” as the “team would not get a fair treatment from him”. His decisions, they asserted, should be kept in abeyance and later judged by a neutral panel of reputed persons as suggested by BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Describing the referee’s decisions as “biased” and taken “not in the interest of the game but for self-publicity”, they said the decisions were “harsh” and “one-sided”. Some even claimed that the decisions were aimed at demoralising the entire team, and at helping the English team currently in India for the forthcoming series. There should be a court of appeals against all such “controversial decisions”, they demanded.

Seeking an explanation from Denness, they asserted that some kind of “strong remedial action should be taken by the players, and the authorities, as the reputation of the entire team had been spoilt because of these decisions”.

It may be recalled that four players were penalised for excessive appealing, while skipper Saurav Ganguly, was “accused of failing to control his players”. Sachin Tendulkar was, meanwhile, handed a suspended one-match sentence.

“This is just not fair”, said cricket buff Dr M.M. Goel, a resident of Sector 23. “Sachin has played 85 Test matches and 280 one-day international. This is not all. He has over 12 years’ experience of good cricketing. Until now, he has never been accused of anything. How can he be slapped with such a harsh punishment even if he was removing dirt from the ball?”

Agreeing with him, Sector 27 resident S.K. Garg asserted: “When everybody had lost faith in the cricket stars following the allegations of match fixing, Tendulkar was one player whose posters were being neatly glued on the room walls by the teenyboppers. His integrity just can not be doubted”.

“Tendulkar was admittedly guilty of a technical violation”, said business executive Vivek Sood of Sector 37, as per the rules, he should have sought permission from the umpire before cleaning the seams of the ball. But it was nothing more than an oversight, I am sure”.

Regarding the decision to punish the other players, Sector 18 resident Siddharth Sharma commented: “The close-in Indian fielders might have deserved a reprimand for over-appealing, but what about Shaun Pollock. Wasn’t he indulging in the same kind of an act a few hours earlier? Why this discrimination?”

Accusing Denness of bringing the “gentlemanly game into disrepute”, journalism student Shveta asserted: “The game of cricket needs cleansing, no doubt about it. But why not go against the real crooks and cheats instead of over-enthusiastic players. This is beyond my comprehension”.


Wife, paramour get life term in murder case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
A local court today sentenced two city residents to life imprisonment in a murder case today. The two residents Dhanwant Singh and Khushwant Kaur were sentenced to life imprisonment by the UT Additional and Sessions Judge, Mr Lakhbir Singh.

It was alleged that the accused, Dhanwant Singh, in connivance with Khushwant Kaur, had murdered Didar Singh. Later they had thrown his body in Makhan Majra village.

Dhanwant Singh was working as a granthi in Army cantonment in Zirakpur where Didar Singh and his wife Khushwant Kaur used to go to attend religious functions.

Khushwant Kaur lodged a complaint in the police station Sector 36 on October 12, 1994, that her husband Didar Singh had gone to Zirakpur along with Dhanwant Singh, on October 11 on a scooter and had not returned yet.

As per prosecution case, after murdering Didar Singh, Dhanwant Singh ran away to Delhi and came back on October 18, 1994. The accused was interrogated before his commanding officers. Thereafter the accused was kept under surveillance. The accused was taken into custody on October 22, 1994.

The accused had confessed before the police that he had murdered the Didar Singh and later thrown his body in Makhan Majra village.

It was also alleged that the other accused, Khushwant Kaur, had made a confessional statement before her brother-in-law that she had an illicit relationship with Dhanwant Singh. It was also alleged that Dhanwant Singh had tried to destroy evidence. The case against the accused was registered under Section 120-B, 364 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code.


Advocate debarred from practising up to Dec, 2006
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
Dismissing an appeal moved by an advocate against the decision of the Bar Council of India, the Supreme Court has debarred him from practising up to the end of December, 2006.

The appellant advocate, Bhupinder Kumar Sharma, has filed an appeal under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961, against the judgement and order passed by the Bar Council of India (BCI) on November 4, 1998.

The BCI had confirmed the order passed by the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana removing the name of the appellant from the state's roll of advocates under Section 38 of the Act.


Kalasagar taken off from Leisure Valley finally!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
After almost a year of delay, the UT Administration finally got into the act of removing and shifting the so-called marvel in scrap architecture called Kalasagar from the Leisure Valley, Sector 10.

The proposal of shifting this visually-jarring structure, allowed to come up in the prime space of the Leisure Valley by former Adviser Jagdish Sagar, was waiting to be considered for over a year now. It is significant to mention here that the issue of shifting Kalasagar was stressed in the Chandigarh Tribune in April and again on November 4 this year.

Created by Vijay Pal Goel, the Kalasagar complex housed pieces created out of scrap. Ever since this complex came up in the Leisure Valley, it had been drawing flak because it disturbed the beauty of the Leisure Valley. Acting on the pressure built by these reports as also by city-based artists who felt that Kalasagar did not make an aesthetic statement at all, the UT Engineering Department today sent labourers, who cut off the barbed wires enclosing the structure. The department further offered help to shift the so-called pieces of art to Sector 36. The department also recalled the two watchmen who used to patrol the Kalasagar area until yesterday.

The turn of events was being appreciated by city-based artists, especially as they felt that such structures violated the spirit of Chandigarh Edict, but Goel claimed that Kalasagar was promoting the technique of utilising scrap as art. Never mind if mounting this ‘art’ was making a mockery of the Chandigarh Edict which clearly stipulated: ‘‘The Leisure Valley... and other parks shall be developed as parks only and no building other than that shall be permitted’’.

Goel added that he had won several awards for his ‘art’. Offended by the way the Administration had begun the work of shifting Kalasagar, Goel said, ‘‘They have taken away the watchmen and have even asked us to vacate the room where we are storing our raw material. We don’t know where to go,’’.

Goel added that the Administration did not give him any notice at all. His wife said, ‘‘Only last night two men claiming to be Administration officers informed us about the shifting,’’.

Meanwhile, the UT Administration officials felt that they had done all they could to help in the process of shifting the complex. ‘‘We have sent labour which Mr Goel is free to use. We will help him shift the structure to Sector 36,’’ said an official.

He added that Mr Vijay Goel was posted on the matter of shifting for about a year now and he should have been ready for it any day. Reacting to why such a short notice was served, he said, ‘‘This is no demolition for which we have to serve days’ notices’’.


Noise pollution going unchecked in town
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, November 21
Noise pollution is going on unchecked in the town even after the issuance of a notification by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to reduce the noise level.

Loudspeakers are being used with impunity by the managements of various places of worship, persons holding “jagratas” and at the venues of weddings and other functions. Music shops, too, are playing music at a high volume without caring for the disturbance they are creating in the area.

The orders to enforce the notification, issued by the State Transport Commissioner, Punjab, were received by the local SDM office around mid-May.

The ministry notification, containing the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, says “the increase in ambient noise levels in public places from various sources, inter alia, industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, loudspeakers, public address systems, music systems, vehicular horns and other mechanical devices have deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of the people and it was necessary to regulate and control noise producing and generating sources with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise.”

Ms Manmohan Kaur, a municipal councillor from Phase II, said today that there was a high level of noise pollution at the Phase II community centre whenever functions were held there. Residents of her ward were annoyed with her for getting the community centre constructed in Phase II, she added.

Ms Manmohan Kaur said loudspeakers were used at the community centre till late at night. This disturbed not only students who were studying but also the sleep of other residents. It was the “marriage season” and there was regular booking at the centre.

A shopkeeper in Phase V said on the condition of anonymity that music shops run in the market had become a nuisance for all. So far, the administration had taken no action against the offenders. The affected shopkeepers could not complain to the officials concerned for fear of spoiling relations with their business colleagues.

The SDM, Mr Jaipal Singh, admitted today that there was a lot of noise pollution. He said he had issued orders to check the menace. But the police and the municipal council had failed to implement these, he added. “May be they have more important things to attend to”, he said sarcastically.

He said he had told the council to earmark silence zones near hospitals and educational institutions and put up the relevant signboards. It is learnt that the civic body has passed a resolution to this effect but no action has been taken yet.

The SDM said that the required equipment to measure the noise levels was not yet available with his office.


The unique ‘golden room’ of Sector 34 gurdwara

The greater part of the architectural structure of Harmandar Sahib, Amritsar was constructed in the 19th century when upper parts of the temple were laid with richly embossed gold in the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh whose bicentenary coronation is being celebrated at the state level. It represents the highest achievement of Sikh art and architecture. To conserve this Khalsa heritage of Sikh art, a ‘golden room’ at Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadar Sahib, Sector 34-D, Chandigarh, on the pattern of Harmandar Sahib, was conceived by Capt A.S. Kohli, a long-time associate member of the gurdwara management committee. The work of constructing the ‘golden room’ was started during the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa.

In October, 1998, Capt Kohli met Mr Harbhajan Singh Naqas, who excels in the field of Naqasi art, while carrying out work at Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht, Amritsar. He was requested if he could undertake this job at the gurdwara sahib at Chandigarh. He willingly accepted and commenced the Naqasi work in February , 1999, and completed it in August. Sheesh Mahal, as the name implies, is decorated with Tukri work comprising of small pieces of glasses of various sizes, which are fixed in the roof with ‘gachi’. ‘Gachi’ is nothing but gypsum in powder form, which is turned into thick paste. The paste is applied on the roof and walls.

While the paste is still wet, craftsmen carve out geometrical floral designs. When it is dries, colours of various shades are applied and thin gold leaf of pure gold is pasted on the ornamental designs after applying specially-made sticking material. Only 24-carat gold is used in this work. A small stick of gold known as ‘bar’ or ‘reni’ is converted into a thin wire by the gold-smith. A piece of 17.50 gm is shaped into the form of gold ribbon measuring one inch wide and 5.5 ft long. This gold ribbon is cut into one inch by one inch pieces, which are hammered continuously by keeping them between the layers of leather strips to convert into thin gold foil (warq).

The conversion work of gold into gold leaf is a specialised job, which is generally carried out by skilled craftsmen. This fine art work in various designs has been carved out on the walls and roof in the form of ornamental flowers by oil painting and by pasting the gold leaves on the medieval engraving work. The glass framing has been done to preserve and prolong the life of the frescoes work done on walls.

This is one of the unique examples of artistically decorated artwork in the City Beautiful carried out in Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadar Sahib, Sector 34D, Chandigarh. The ‘golden room’ is always kept open to public darshan from morning till evening daily. Seeing is believing. The illustrated photograph showing the roof of the ‘golden room’ is given for the information of the public.

Dalip Singh Amritsari



‘Give quality education, not reservations’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Economist Dr Shamsher Singh ‘Babra’ said here today that caste-based reservations in government jobs should be abolished.

At a ‘Meet the Press’ programme in the Chandigarh Press Club today, Dr Shamsher Singh, said all appointments should be strictly on merit. “Politicians give away government jobs to please their favourites.”

Dr Shamsher Singh, who was in the World Bank for 25 years, said if executive jobs were given to inefficient persons, the foundation of our country would be eroded and governance would be weakened.

He suggested that, instead having job reservations for a section, the government should provide all students with quality education. Once a person gets the best possible education, he or she can compete for any job. Reservations created divide between castes.

Dr Shamsher Singh cited the example of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, saying that he had been a popular king because of his strong administration where all important appointments were strictly on merit.

He said a large number of the Dalits were converting to Budhism and Christianity because they thought these religions gave them status of equality.

Dr Shamsher Singh suggested that more funds should be diverted to village schools with a view to raising the standard of education in rural areas. He said he did not favour reservation of seats in state Assemblies and the Parliament. This would make the rich richer and the poor poorer, he said.

On the issue of globalisation, he said intellectual property rights should be protected and we should increase our intellect.

He said our industry feared globalisation because our products were substandard and our cost of production was high. Similar products manufactured abroad were better and cheaper.

He said all countries subsidised agriculture, therefore, these subsidies could not be abolished. “We should rather think up ways of making our agriculture efficient as it would make us a great country,” he said.


Youth convention held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A youth convention to commemorate Lala Lajpat Rai’s martyrdom fortnight was today organised by Janshakti in tandem with the Servants of the People Society and the Nehru Yuva Kendra.

The topic for discussion was ‘India of Lala Lajpat Rai’s Dreams’. Maj-Gen M.S. Kaundal (retd) exhorted the youth to follow the example of Lala Lajpat Rai with conviction, self-sacrifice and discipline.

Prof Pradeep Kumar, Chairman, Department of Political Science of Panjab University, appreciated the legacy left by Lala Lajpat Rai by opposing fundamentalism and asking for coexistence among several religions. He also appreciated his policy of following a middle path between “Narmdal” and “Garmdal”. He felt that the policy was relevant even today in India.

Prof J.S. Dhanki of Panjab University (Department of History) referred to the concept of Swadeshi and Swaraj propagated by Lala Lajpat Rai but opposed to free trade and capitalism which had led to poverty, unemployment, inequalities of income, famine and disruption of handicrafts in India.

Prof P.S. Verma, Department of Political Science of Panjab University, appreciated Lala Lajpat Rai for his anti-imperialist movements and his efforts towards social transformation of dalits. He (Lala Lajpat Rai) always believed that India could never gain significant growth under the British even if they came up with legislative reforms. It was only when India became free and had its own Constitution that it could achieve its dreams.

Prof P.P. Arya, convener, referred to Lala Lajpat Rai’s extreme sacrifice of his life for the freedom of the country, which not only gave fillip to the freedom movement but also set an example for the youth after Independence. His ideas of economic growth with modernisation, social equalities of all classes, empowerment of women and end to their exploitation, facilities of education for depressed classes act were a beacon even for today’s India.

Gp-Capt P.S. Soni, honorary Administrator, Servant of the People Society, was of the view that we should not only salute personalities like him but also urged the youth to carry forward their idea and implement them. No society or nation could work if it was based on narrow-mindedness, greed, and individualistic attitude as we were having today in India. He believed that if we followed the ideas of Swaraj propagated by Lala Lajpat Rai, the country could rid itself of such evils.

Others who participated included Mr G.S. Bajwa, coordinator, Nehru Yuva Kendra; Mr Baldev Pandey, Mr H.S. Nama among others.

Merit certificates of participation were given to Navin Sangwan and Umang Sethi of Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh.


Immigration law may create heavy backlog
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
“If you intend to apply for immigration to Canada and avail of a chance of starting a new life there, the best bet is to file an immigration application without any further delay,” says Mr Devinder Sandhu, Senior Director, Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services, the largest Canadian immigration company in the world.

The Government of Canada passed Bill C-11, now the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, on November 1, 2001.

The new legislation is scheduled to be implemented on June 28, 2002. Canadians will be able to express their views on draft regulations during the pre-publication period which is expected to begin in December, 2001.

Here are a few of the changes which will affect people in the region.

Mr Devinder Sandhu, a Canadian national himself, who has just returned after an extended trip to Canada, says, “the entire gamut of the immigration idea is changing”.

“The Canadian economy is knowledge-based and so must its immigration policies reflect. Immigration to Canada is not just getting the visa but preparing for a new lifestyle and culture altogether,” he added.

It is anticipated that with impending changes, the number of applications will rise many times the number now, consequently, so will processing delays and backlogs. About 1,00,000 applications are already pending under the independent and skilled workers category worldwide.

With the new immigration Act, it is expected that the situation will get aggravated because the immigration authorities have not received additional resources to deal with the growing number of cases and more complex procedures. Process time of cases submitted after the implementation of the immigration Act may even double.

Finally, due to the recent events in the USA and elsewhere, background and security checks and clearance will be made much more stringent.

This will add to the processing time and delays.

Potential applicants need to take note of these important aspects if they intend to apply for immigration to Canada.


Minister highlights PUDA’s achievements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has implemented a number of schemes directly benefiting the general public, and its employees, claimed Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister. The achievements of PUDA in the last four years were unprecedented, the minister added who is also Chairperson of PUDA.

PUDA was in the process of constructing District Administrative Complexes (DAC) at Patiala (Rs 20.06 crore) Hoshiarpur (Rs 18.87 crore) and Bathinda (Rs 16.23 crore). DACs at Moga and Gurdaspur were also in the pipeline. Apart from this, PUDA’s head office building was coming up at SAS Nagar. These buildings would provide the common people an opportunity to have all their official works done in a single building and they would not have to run from office to office for the same.

As a succour to the riot affected Sikh families, PUDA has revived a handsome package on subsidised terms. MIG/LIG flats were being offered to the eligible persons at the 1991-92 prices. Apart from this, the entire consideration would be recovered in interest-free installments over a period of 25 years. PUDA was also allotting 327 booths at 50 per cent of the market price to these riot affected families in Ludhiana.

PUDA has regularised all its work-charged and daily-wage employees who had put over three years of service. This will directly benefit 911 employees. A decision has also been taken to offer job on compassionate grounds to the next of kin of work-charged employee dying in harness. PUDA has also decided to allot plots at the reserve price to its class III and Class IV employees at all stations. Five marla, 8-marla, 10-marla and 14-marla plots would be offered to these employees in various urban estates all over the state.

As a result of consistent profitability of PUDA, bonus/exgratia to all its employees have been declared for the fourth year in succession.

While SAS Nagar township is being extended with the acquisition of land for five new sectors, PUDA has engaged world renowned architect B.V. Doshi for the urban planning and design of “city centre” in Sector 62 of SAS Nagar. PUDA is also funding the entire construction of the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences at Jalandhar against the sale proceeds of its “Chhoti Baradari” scheme at Jalandhar.

PUDA has separately chalked out an ambitious plan for the urban development and beautification of Sultandpur Lodhi town in Kapurthala district which is connected with the first Sikh Guru Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The investment includes Rs 2 crore bridge over the river Bein, 58 acres Urban Estate, street lighting of the town and landscaping and beautification, widening of roads and roundabouts. PUDA is also providing plots and flats to people at reasonable prices directly as well through its licensed colonisers.


48 nomination papers rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
As many as 48 nominations for the December 8 Municipal Corporation elections were rejected here today after their scrutiny, leaving nominations of 166 candidates, including those of the BJP, the Congress and the CVM, valid.

The rejections included that of the BSP candidate from Ward 3, Mr K.S. Khaira.

Nomination papers of 16 candidates were rejected, while the rest were those which were filed in excess of one by official party nominees or covering candidates of the BJP, the Congress and the CVM.

The rejected nominations were of Ms Manju Gupta (ward 13), Ms Anju Devi (15), Mr Girdhari Lal Jindal and Mr Hira Lal (18), Mr Karam Bir (19), Ms Gurmeet Kaur and Ms Parkash Kaur (7), Mr Kishori Lal (8), Mr Sukesh Chand (20), Mr Ranjish Jain and Ms Alka Chathrath (2), Mr Satish Mehra (1), Mr Shree Kishan Uppal (3) and Mr Yogesh Gupta (3).

Mr Uppal was amongst the rebel BJP candidates.

Mr Girdhari Lal Jindal, a BJP rebel, had filed four nominations.

Mr Sulekh Chand, Mr Rajnish Jain, Ms Alka Chathrath, Mr Satish Mehta were the covering candidates.

Mr Gurcharan Dass (ward 20), Mr Rajinder (18), Mr Rohtas Kumar from the same ward, Mr Kewal Krishan Adiwal of the BJP (19), Mr Mohmmed Islam (10), Mr Gian Chand Gupta of the BJP (11), Mr Mohinder Singh of the Congress (10), Mr Naveen Gupta of Congress (11), Mr Ajay Jagga of the Janata Party (3), Mr Kanhailal Sharma of the BJP (4), Mr Subhash Chawla of the Congress (4), Ms Santosh Devi of the BJP (5), Mr Sunil Parti of the Congress(12) and Mr Rajesh Gupta of the BJP (12) had filed more than one nomination papers.

CVM petitions EC: The Chandigarh Vikas Manch candidate from ward 11, Dr O.P. Verma, today petitioned the Election Commission to reject the nomination of his Congress rival, Mr Naveen Gupta, on the ground that Mr Gupta’s company had taken a contract of the Municipal Corporation last year.

The Joint Election Commissioner, Mr D.M. Khaneta, rejected his plea on the ground that the position of benefit or a contract should be continuing till the filing of the nomination for rejection of nomination.

BJP requests: The BJP requested eight of its rebels to withdraw from contest. This was decided at a meeting of the adhoc committee, its president, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, said. He said if the request is turned down, the party will have to take harsh measures.

Akali Dal decision: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led by Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, continued its tirade against the Mayor, Mr Harjinder Kaur, saying he would not propose her name for contesting the election.

Lashing out at the BJP leader, Mr Satyapal Jain, for indulging in alleged anti-party activities, he said Ms Kaur seems to have rejected alliance by filing nomination against an official BJP candidate, Ms Kamla Sharma, from ward number 6.

Mr Riar also said he would not withdraw candidature of Dr Gurdial Singh against the Mayor from ward number 9.

EC examines reply: The Election Commission is examining the reply of the Municipal Secretary, Mr Ashwani Kumar, on Mayor Harjinder Kaur’s alleged violation of the model code of conduct.

Mr Kumar in his reply has denied all allegations of taking up corporation works on the announcement of the Mayor.

The complaint against the Mayor was filed by Mr A.S. Sandhu.

The EC is going to ask the Chandigarh Administration to seek clarification on an issue that pertains to them.

ROs to have mobiles: The Election Commission has asked for 10 mobile phones for its Returning Officers. The Municipal Secretary, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has approved them.


Panel holds protest against Bank of India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Protesting against the alleged anti-worker policies and vindictive attitude of the zonal authorities of Bank of India, the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Chandigarh Unit, held a demonstration in front of the Bank of India’s Zonal Office, Sector 17, here today.

The federation members threatened to intensify their agitation if the authorities did not take prompt action in this regard.

Mr Jagdish Rai, general secretary, Bank of India employees Association, said the bank management was not concentrating towards deployment of the resources for the growth of the business of the bank. ‘‘They are harassing the employees and particularly the union leaders’’, he alleged.

The zonal authorities of the bank had also issued a circular banning the welfare activities undertaken by the union and transferred one of the union leaders to Sector 32 branch from the Sector 17 branch, he added.

The federation members also said the growth of business in the city was stagnant for the past two years and no concrete efforts had been made by the management in this regard. The Non Performing Assets (NPAs) were also increasing, said the members.

Mr T K Dutta, president. Punjab Bank Employees Federation Chandigarh unit, and Mr Chauhan of PBEF also addressed the employees.


Residents allege discrimination
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
In a letter to the Chief Engineer of the Chandigarh Administration, residents of Types III and IV government houses in Sector 41-B have alleged discrimination in the facilities being provided in the old and newly constructed houses. They claimed that the newly constructed houses had been provided with wire mesh doors in addition to the wooden doors.

They claim that in the new Type IV houses also have kitchen, toilet and bathroom with tile floors and the front portion has been carpeted with cement.

Moreover, the kitchens in these houses have also been provided with an exhaust fan. These facilities, they claim, are absent in their Type III and IV houses constructed in the early nineties, causing inconvenience to them, particularly during the day time when flies enter the room and infect the food stuff.

The residents quoting the Supreme Court and High Court authorities also asserted that such discrimination cannot stand judicial scrutiny. The courts, they insist, have come down heavily upon authorities for providing basic facilities to some and denying the same to others.

According to a resident, Harish Chander Jaggi, another problem being faced by them is of low water pressure. As per him, the water tanks have gone dry.


All over a car !
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, November 21
The official air-conditioned car of the president of the Municipal Council has become a bone of contention between him and the SDM. The orders for the requisition of the car were issued by the District Magistrate and the letter was forwarded by the SDM’s office to the council office yesterday. The letter had directed that the car (No PB65A 0104) was needed for “government use till further orders” and must be sent to the SDM’s office.

The president, Mr Kulwant Singh, did not send the vehicle. It is reported that the SHO concerned had been ordered today to set up a naka and take possession of the car.

Certain municipal councillors were wondering why the SDM was insisting on getting the car of the president. It is learnt that on November 13 also the car had been requisitioned but the council had sent the cars of the Executive Officer and the Municipal Engineer but both the vehicles were rejected by the SDM.

It is reported that the SDM’s vehicle is in poor shape.

It is learnt that the Ropar District Magistrate had verbally told the council president today that the latter would not be pressurised to give possession of the vehicle if he could not spare it.

The SDM could not be contacted for comments despite several attempts.


Annual rath yatra on Nov 24, 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The local unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON ) has decided to hold its annual rath yatra festival in Chandigarh and Panchkula on November 24 and 25, respectively.

The rath yatra will be inaugurated by Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, (retd), Administrator, Chandigarh Administration, according to Bhakti Vinod Dasa Prabhu, president, of the local unit of ISKCON.

On November 24, the yatra will begin from Motor Market , Sector 28-C, Chandigarh, pass through Sectors 27, 19, 18, 17 and 22 and would conclude at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36.

On November 25, the rath yatra will start from NAC Market, Mani Majra, conclude at the Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, Panchkula.


Woman’s gold chain snatched
Our correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
A case of chain snatching was reported to the police yesterday. According to police sources, a turbaned youth snatched the gold chain of Bimla Kapoor, a resident of Sector 44-D and sped away. The incident took place near the house of the victim at about 5.45 pm.

Injured: A case of rash driving and causing grievous injuries was registered against the driver of a motor cycle (CH-01-D-2766), which allegedly hit a scooterist near the trafficlight points of Sectors 27 and 28 on the Monday evening and escaped. The victim, Inderpal Singh, a resident of Sector 28, sustained injuries and was admitted to the PGI for treatment.

Arrested for theft: The local police arrested an employee of the car parking lot at the District Courts, Sector 17, Baldev Singh, alias Garwali, a resident of Pauri Garwal, for theft yesterday. He was charged with stealing Rs 15,000 from the car of Mr Manpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 8.

Theft: Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, reported to the police that thieves broke into his house and stole away two gold rings, one gold chain and Rs 11,000 on Monday night. The police has registered a case.

Scooter stolen: Mr Atul Katoch, a resident of Sector 41, reported to the police that his scooter (HPK-9193) was stolen from his residence on Sunday night. A case has been registered.

Held: The local police arrested Kali Ram, a resident of Janata Colony, Sector 25, and claimed to recover 46 pouches of liquor form his possession last evening. He was booked under various sections of the Excise Act.


Four arrested for teasing girl
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
Four teenaged boys, all residents of Sector 7, were arrested from the science fair at Parade Ground, Sector 17, allegedly for outraging the modesty of a girl student of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 18, here.

According to police sources, the boys, all students of Class XII, reached the venue of the fair and started misbehaving with the girl who was standing on a stall. The girl raised the alarm and the four were nabbed by visitors. Later they were handed over to the police.

Those arrested are Nand Raj, Pradeep Kumar, both students of Government High School, Sector 7, Pradeep Singh, a student of Government High School, Sector 20, and Kavi Malik, who is appearing as a private candidate. They were booked under Sections 354 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and will be produced in court tomorrow.

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