Saturday, December 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Dream house remains a dream for residents
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The dream of thousands of residents of Chandigarh to own a flat in the City Beautiful has turned into a nightmare, thanks to the alleged dilatory tactics adopted by the UT Administration with regard to the allotment of land to cooperative housing societies.

Thousands of them deposited nearly Rs 50 crore with the Administration through the housing societies when the scheme for cooperative housing was floated nearly 10 years ago. This was followed by a lengthy legal battle between some of the housing societies and the Administration. Although these societies have won the case in the court, they are yet to be allotted land by an annoyed bureaucracy, which is allegedly advancing one excuse after the other to delay matters.

In the meantime, the Chandigarh Housing Board, which has been entrusted with the task of developing land for the housing societies, has been able to earn nearly Rs 20 crore by way of interest alone on the sum of Rs 50 crore deposited with it by the housing societies. During this period, the rate of land to be allotted to the housing societies has increased from Rs 750 per square yard to Rs 2500 square yard, which has now been further revised to Rs 2700 per square yard.

Several members have died in the intervening period. Others are seeking a refund of their deposits from the cooperative societies in despair. This in turn has created a financial crisis because the societies have little by way of cash in hand. They have to refund the money out of their own resources. Of the 15,000 members, as many as 4,000 have taken refund.

Despite the inordinate delay, there is still no sign of the allotment of land to the cooperative societies. This has forced the housing societies to think in terms of launching an agitation in support of their demand. Mr Sunil Parti, chairman, Chandigarh State Federation of Cooperative House Building Societies, made it clear today that the members were fast losing patience and would soon be left with no alternative but to launch an agitation.

“I have met the UT Administrator, the Adviser to the Administrator, the Finance Secretary and the Deputy Commissioner, in addition to a host of other officers of the UT Administration, over the past months in this connection”, said Mr Parti. “Things are not moving as fast as they should. The mindset of the bureaucracy appears to be against cooperative housing. It seems that there are many problems with regard to the acquisition and allotment of land. If the Administration is not yet in a position to give possession of land to housing societies, it should at least issue them allotment letters so that the societies can commence the necessary homework”, he said. He added that the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ramsekhar, now entrusted with the task of allotment of land, had promised to issue allotment letters to the societies shortly.

This is not the end of the story as regards the housing societies, Those societies which have been allotted land and have constructed houses, are facing a variety of problems. Under the provision of development of land as per clause 4 of the Cooperative Housing Scheme-1991, individual electricity connections are required to be provided to the members. The expenditure incurred for laying the electricity lines up to the individual meter, including the cost of transformer and expenditure on basic services, is to be incurred by the Administration, but the Administration has so far spent only Rs 2 crore out of the Rs 11 crore collected from the societies for this purpose, with the result that the internal development in the area allotted to the societies has not been undertaken so far. Individual electricity connections under the provision of developed land have not been provided and most of the newly built flats remain unoccupied.



Holiday time in government offices
Tribune News Service

What remains closed

  • Punjab and Haryana High Court: Dec 15,16, 17 and 19
  • Offices and institutions of the UT Administration: Dec 15, 16, 17 
    and 19
  • Offices of Punjab Government: Dec 15, 16, 17 and 19
  • Central Government offices: Dec 15, 16 and 17
  • Offices of Haryana Government: Dec 15, 16 and 17 

Chandigarh, December 14
For most government employees, mega-weekends with a string of holidays on one account or the other are much awaited. One such mega-weekend lasting five days starts tomorrow. All an employee needs to do is to take leave on Tuesday and turn up for work only the next Thursday.

The formula of taking leave on Tuesday to make it a five-day weekend will do good for employees of the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government. December 15 and 16 are closed days on account of being Saturday and Sunday. December 17, a Monday, is closed on account of Eid. December 19, a Wednesday, is a closed day on account of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom day.

The same will not apply in Haryana and in Central Government offices like those of the Telecom Department, Income Tax Department and others. In these offices, only Monday will be a closed day while there will be normal functioning on Wednesday. In this case, the weekend will be spread across just three days.

Much to the chagrin of everyone, such weekends seem to occur more often than not. Though such mega-weekends are nothing new, a large section of employees are known to plan their breaks in such a fashion that they avail themselves of the holidays to the fullest by extending their weekends. In some cases, the authorities refuse to give leave, but a whole lot of staff is away, crippling even routine work. Those familiar with government functioning will know that even if one clerk does not come, a matter cannot be dealt with.

Each year, similar mega-weekends occur. From tomorrow, anyone wanting get some clearance or some little work done in the Chandigarh Housing Board, PUDA or HUDA will have to wait. Those having work in connection with disputed telephone, power or water bills have to wait for government employees to return from the extended off days. Those wanting vehicles registered will have to wait and so will those who want some work done in the Estate Office or in the Municipal Corporation.Back



Chemists, touts fleece patients at PGI
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
It is like hitting someone when one is down and out. Openly fleecing the mentally stressed and weary attendants of patients reaching the PGI emergency wards is the lone chemist shop there. With complete monopoly over supplying medicines and surgical equipment to the patients, this shop is charging anything between 10 to 40 per cent more than even the maximum possible prices at which these medicines /equipment is available in the open market.

Eight items which were being bought commonly at the shop were selected, the prices at which these were being given noted down from the patients leaving the shop and the prices compared with the same item available outside in the nearby sector 15 and sector 16 market chemist shops.

The results were shocking. Since many of these items did not have printed prices on them the rates being quoted by the emergency shop were whatever pleased them.

*A Guidewire (Manufacturer: Meditech USA; length 75 cms) was sold by these chemists today at, Rs 1,450 while the same guidewire costs Rs 1100 to 1150 in the open market.

*A Scleral Buckling Component also called band (Manufacturer Mira; type 240) was sold by these chemists today at Rs 550 while the same band is available in the market for Rs 450.

*A Tracheostomy Tube (Manufacturer Protex Blue Line) was sold by these chemists today for Rs 450 when it is available in the market for any price ranging from Rs 380 to Rs 425.

*Sticking tape (manufacturer: Micropore; maximum inches with stand/cutter) was sold by these chemists for Rs 140 while in the market it is priced at Rs 110 to 120)

*Urine collection bag (Manufacturer: Romo 10) has a printed price of Rs 36 on it but is sold in the open market for Rs 15. The emergency shop charged Rs 20 for it.

* Similarly the Infusion sets (Manufacturer: Romsons) have a printed price of Rs 39 on them but are available in the open market for Rs 8 to 10. The emergency shop charged Rs 20.

The emergency chemist incidentally does not give a receipt of the items bought to every patient, only to those who asked for it or rather stressed that they be given a receipt of everything that they have bought. ‘‘The shopkeeper says that he is not issuing a receipt as we will have to pay the sales tax also. Moreover, he insists that in case we have to return some unused item we will lose that tax.’’ told a patient’s relative.

This has also given birth to a new trend of medicine touts at the emergency who for a small fee, offer to get the same medicine or equipment at much lower rate to the patient. A bargain which even after paying tout costs the patient less.‘‘It costs just five rupees on the Rickshaw from here to go to the nearby sector markets and buy the same item. The difference in prices is not in tens or twenties but in hundreds. And if one is buying stuff worth thousands then the amount you end up paying more here in the emergency is also in thousands.’’informed a PGI employee on duty at the emergency.

A simple solution being suggested by one of the senior faculty members at PGI to the problem is to prepare and paste a rate list of all the commonly prescribed medicines/surgical equipment outside the shop so that patients know what costs what. ‘‘The chemist is simply taking advantage of the patient attendants ignorance, hurry and distress. And it is the PGI authorities duty to check this immediately. I have my self complained to the PGI administration about this but am awaiting any action from their side.” he said.


PU heading for academic vacuum?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Certain departments of Panjab University are hard pressed academically due to staff shortage and problem is only going to get worse with impending faculty retirements.

The university facing a cash crunch, is finding it very difficult to go in for fresh recruitment. There are also certain quarters, which have voiced their concern over the university needing to have a re-look at its existing courses and deleting the irrelevant ones.

In a related development, the university has received a communication from the ministry asking for the abolition of about 796 posts in the teaching and the non-teaching segments. Teachers constitute nearly 50 per cent share of the proposed cut in posts, a senior office-bearer of the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) said while condemning the move.

It is also worthwhile to mention that the university will witness nearly 68 retirements this year in case the existing service norms continued; about 38 persons will retire next year; and about 100 are on the list of retirees in 2003. Without fresh recruitment, the academic situation is definitely going to face harder times.

The Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology is ‘facing an acute shortage of faculty to smoothly run its teaching programme. There are only two full time teachers of whom one is to retire in the near future. The department has six posts of which four are lying vacant’.

The Department of South Indian Languages is being run by a single full-time faculty member with the voluntary help of some enthusiasts (from within the university faculty community) for the promotion of study of South Indian languages. With the recent retirement of the full time faculty member, the academic activities of the department have come to a standstill.

In the Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, as many as 116 hours per week are being taught by part-time and the guest faculty. Similarly in the subject of pharmacology in the Department of Pharmacy there is only one teacher whereas at least 55 hours of teaching are required per week. To add to the problem, seven to eight senior faculty members in the department of Chemical Engineering and Technology are going to retire in the near future.

The BE (APT) course “is neither recognised nor has qualified teachers to conduct the course. The continuation of the course needs to be reviewed”. This and several other points regarding areas needing faculty members have been highlighted in the university audit report.

The course on Industrial Chemistry may have to be discontinued as it has become “non viable and is not attracting students”. The Department of Fine Arts urgently needs substantial financial support and additional faculty positions. The Department of Physical Education needs qualified staff for the conduct of courses in sports, medicine and physical hygiene for sports.

The audit report has pointed out that in many of the science departments, a large number of faculty members are likely to retire in the near future. “Immediate steps are needed to avoid an academic vacuum by planning a rational and timely recruitment policy for filling the vacant positions”, the report points out.


SHO sent to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The Station House Officer of Mani Majra police station, Inspector Sukh Pal Singh Rana, has been sent to the Police Lines for dereliction of duty.

The orders were issued by the UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain after he visited the police station today.

According to police sources, a mechanic working at the motor market, Mani Majra, Paramjit Singh had reported the theft of truck parts on December.

The parts were reportedly recovered by the police, but the recovery had not been shown in the records being maintained at the police station.

Rana, who was posted in the economic offences wing before his present stint, is the second consecutive SHO of Mani Majra police station to be sent to the lines. His predecessor, Inspector Nanha Ram, was also sent to the lines for reportedly failing to implement certain orders issued by the higher authorities.


Police to keep dossiers on councillors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The Chandigarh Police is believed to have initiated a process to maintain confidential personal dossiers on elected members of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. It is understood that this decision has come in the wake of the inability of the local police to come up with requisite information following reports during the recently concluded MC electoral process that some persons had been associated with financial irregularities.

According to police sources, the CID Wing has been given the responsibility of maintaining such files. During elections, senior police functionaries had sought certain information from the lower echelon, which could not be made available.

While this decision is bound to raise objections from various quarters, it is not uncommon for intelligence agencies to maintain dossiers on political activists or prominent public personalities or keep a close tab on activities of controversial persons.

Police functionaries say that while a some sort of loose surveillance is generally kept on the activities of local councillors from time to time, maintaining comprehensive dossiers of activists at the this level is unheard of.

Sources say that the dossiers would contain full particulars of the councillors, including their bio-data. Besides their political activities, other information in the dossiers would include the councillors source of income and their property holdings.

Further, development activities and projects initiated by the councillors concerned in their respective area of jurisdiction would be monitored. A track would also be kept of their financial dealings as well as their involvement in any controversy or irregularities, sources added.

The dossiers would also contain clippings of media reports or their references, pertaining to the activities of the councillors.


Pact with CVM not ruled out: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The BJP today did not rule out an understanding with the Chandigarh Vikas Manch led by former union minister Harmohan Dhawan for the post of Mayor.

“The BJP is open on the issue of having some understanding with the CVM or not having it,” former BJP Lok Sabha member Satyapal Jain told reporters at a press conference.

He said the matter would be considered by party leaders soon.

The CVM-BJP understanding might pose difficulties to the Congress which has won 13 of the 20 seats but is still short of two more votes in a 30-member House. The Congress has a vote of its MP Pawan Bansal.

But the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal might explore the possibility of en-block votes of nine nominated members apart from an understanding with the CVM which has three members.

Mr Jain said the party had accepted the mandate of people and there would be introspection. He dodged a question whether somebody would own moral responsibility for the party’s dismal performance saying the adhoc committee of the party would deliberate on the issue.

On the issue of the imposition of parking fee, he said the party was opposed to it and would decide on it when it was brought before the House as had been demanded by traders’ organisations.


Resignation demanded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
A section of the BSP has held the local party chief, Mr M.R. Dhiman, responsible for the debacle of the party in the Municipal Corporation elections and has demanded his resignation.

The demand was raised by Mr Balbir Singh Jangra, Mr Jaichand, Mr Kashmira Singh, Mr Jai Singh, Mr Sadhu Ram, Dr Baljit and Mr Raito Ram, who held a meeting today.


‘Happiness is sharing’

There are some people who dream, few who realise their dreams. Mr Gurmohan Singh, a practising lawyer in Punjab and Haryana High Court, considers himself to be God’s chosen one. He says that not only did he always aspire to be a lawyer, but has been able to achieve his dream and has carved a niche for himself.

He says that hard work, dedication and consistency are the key factors for achieving success in any endeavour. “One has to reach out for the stars and they are then in your hands. Though destiny also plays a significant role, but nothing can be achieved without struggle, “ he says.

This young lawyer believes that God has been kind to him and it is his duty to spread goodwill and be of help to others. Thus, he has been donating generously to various NGOs working for the upliftment of poor children. He is also one of the few people who believe in sharing their good times with the less fortunate ones.

This is the reason that celebration of birthdays of family members mean going to an orphanage and sharing a meal with the residents. “What is the use of blowing money on people who already have so much. One might as well spend money on poor, who will be delighted at the prospect and give you blessings from the heart,” he says.Back


Plea to Finance Minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association (CSCA) has written to the Union Finance Minister and the Chairman of UTI to grant special consideration to senior citizens in the matter of redemption of units held by them under US-1964.

Woman crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 14
A 65-year-old woman was crushed to death by a truck on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at the local bus stand here this afternoon.

According to the police, Swarupi Devi, a resident of Mahiwala village, was crossing the road when she was run over by an Ambala bounded truck.Back


3 held for selling train tickets on black market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The Railway Police Force (RPF) has nabbed three persons for allegedly selling train tickets, at premium.

The three are Santosh Kumar, Hoshiar Rawat and Jairam Das. Confirming this, Mr Nirmal Singh, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Ambala, said the three were arrested under Section 143 of the Indian Railway Act.

The three were produced before the Special Railways Magistrate today and remanded in judicial custody. The local office of the RPF said the trio was arrested following a raid at the city booking office in Sector 17 yesterday.

The modus operandi was simple. The three used to reserve tickets on forms on behalf of their clients while charging a fee for the same. Though it is a common practice among the travel agents in the city, it is a crime under the Railway Act. 


Two liquor smugglers held
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 14
Two liquor smugglers were arrested while carrying 160 cases of liquor by the police at a naka on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway in Chhat village late last night.

Police sources said Kulwant of Nabha and Janak Raj of Kakra village in Sangrur were held. The duo were carrying liquor in a canter. A case under the Excise Act was registered against them.


Accident victim succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
In a hit-and-run case, a scooterist, Sarmukh Singh, succumbed to his injuries after being hit by an unknown vehicle near the Housing Board Chowk last night. He had been rushed to the PGI in a serious condition. The police has registered a case.

Two held for gambling
In different incidents, the police has arrested two persons for allegedly indulging in gambling. Dadu Majra resident Kuldip Singh was arrested from the same colony and Rs 450 were recovered from his possession, while Sector 29 resident Bhiwari Lal was arrested from near his residence. Separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered against them.

4 booked
The police has booked four persons, including two women, for allegedly defrauding a Sector 30 resident. Ram Sumer has reported that he had deposited Rs 2,500 with a hire purchase leasing company, being run by the accused from NAC Mani Majra in March 1997, which was not being returned to him.

Vehicle theft
Jagtar Singh, a resident of Sector 46, has reported that his car (PB-16-0666) has been stolen from the parking lot near the Sector 33 Terrace Garden. The police has registered a case.

An inmate of the Sector 32, SD College Hostel, Dheeraj Kumar, has reported that his motor cycle (PB-32-C-4890) has been stolen from the college premises. The police has registered a case.

Two women employees of the Punjab Agricultural Marketing Board have allegedly been harassed and threatened by fellow employees during the organisation’s union elections. In a complaint forwarded to the police, Raj Batra and Harleen Kaur have stated that they were contesting for the post of president and general secretary, respectively. Some members of the opposing group threatened them with dire consequences if they did not withdraw their candidature. The two have also stated that their opponents visited their homes and allegedly manhandled them.


A motor cycle (CH-03C-1672) was reportedly stolen from Vatika, Sector 5, here. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Jagir Singh was arrested on charge of stealing boulders from Ghaggar river bed yesterday. His tractor trailer (HR-49-0448) has been impounded. Naris and Ram Bhool were arrested on charges of apprehension of breach of the peace from Sector 7 market yesterday. They have been booked under Sections 107 and 151 of Cr. P.C.



Christmas blast
Pizza Hut, Sector 26 unveiled on Friday Christmas Blast, a 16-day package for kids who can win exciting prizes, take home gifts and get a chance to meet “Pizza Pooch”. Every visiting child at the Pizza Hut will get a pooch doggy bag containing discount coupons, quiz forms, lucky draw coupons, sweets, candy, stickers, tattoos and several other items to carry home. Beginning today, the blast would be offered in 10 cities across the country. TNS

Review meeting
Presiding over a high-level development review meeting in which top executives and zonal heads across the country participated on Thursday, Mr A.K. Purwar, MD State bank of Patiala, said Kisan Credit Cards had proved to be a big boon for the farmers and proper implementation of welfare schemes is very important . He said the bank will regularly monitor performance of various schemes to ensure tangible results.TNS

Whirlpool announced the introduction of the Whitemagic Aquashower range of semi-automatic machines on Friday. According to a company press note, the new washing machine is the first and only semi-automatic washing machine in the country that offers ‘hot wash’. The built in heater heats water, optimising the detergent action. The new range will be available in two models priced at around Rs 9,750 for the 6.5 kg model and Rs 10,000 for the 6.8 kg model. TNS

Andhra Bank conducted an exhibition to display the products manufactured by its various Small Scale Industry (SSI) account holders. The event would conclude the “Vishesh Month” celebrations by the bank across the country.

Andhra bank had started “Vishesh Month” celebrations from November 16 to increase awareness about the bank’s schemes. The activities organised during the month included a personal banking campaign, woman entrepreneurship exhibitions in the country, customer meet and this exhibition said Mr P S Gandhi, Chief Manager.

Mr Ram Nath, General Manager, SIDBI, inaugurated the exhibition today where products like decorative items, woollens etc have been displayed. TNS

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