Tuesday, January 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Residents pay for parking amid feeble protests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Paid parking system was implemented in sectors 17, 8 and 9 here today amidst feeble protests from traders, employees and political parties and the showing no haste to tackle these protests.

The imposition of parking fee, a major revenue earner, might as well sense as a signal for city people to be prepared to pay for various other services too.

The Congress Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, and the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, failed to get an appointment with the Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda, on the issue.

The two were to forward a request of the traders, employees and political parties and few councillors to defer the implementation of paid parking till the newly constituted Municipal House took decision on the issue.

The Commissioner earlier explained to the delegation that the Municipal Corporation and the Commissioner had no powers after the Chandigarh Administration’s directions under Section 406 of the Municipal Act.

The sector-17 Traders Association claimed that as many as 150 persons had staged a protest in the morning between 10 am to 12 pm and did not allow the staff of the contractor to issue parking receipts. The protest was joined by the local Congress Councillor, Mr Pradeep Chhabra, who staged a dharna.

But there were contradictory reports on the number of protesters with witnesses putting it between 20 to 50.

A delegation of Sector-17 traders and few employees later went to the Mayor demanding deferment of the paid parking till a meeting of the House. The Mayor then sought a meeting with the Commissioner joined among others by Councillors Shyama Negi, Jatinder Bhatia, Subhash Chawla, Pradeep Chhabra, and the Mayor.

The meeting asked the Commissioner and the Mayor to seek deferment of the implementation of the paid parking from the Adviser, Ms Neeru Nanda.

They failed to seek an appointment with the Adviser today.

The Mayor told the Chandigarh Tribune that the meeting had been fixed for 1 pm tomorrow.

The protests of the traders, however, did not generate much enthusiasm as certain people said those associated with the Congress were leading traders’ agitation despite the Congress being in a position in the MC to decide on the matter.

They said the Congress seemed to be playing a double game by sending its local area councillor Mr Chhabra in the protest while dilly dallying a decision on the issue.

They said the party should have called a meeting of the House to decide on the matter but now considering the economic position of the Congress it seemed to be afraid of completely withdrawing the paid parking provision.

The traders, who apprehend a major loss to their sale, have, however, not given up and have roped in non, Congress and non-BJP parties for organising a fresh protest. Members of the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal (United), the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Chandigarh Vikas Manch and the SAD led by Ms Harjinder Kaur will hold a protest tomorrow near Dr Sahib Singh Park.

The SAD led by Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar and JD-U today participated in the protest and alleged that the Congress had given the people a New Year gift, which could might as well be a beginning of a host of taxes in the Corporation.

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal held an emergent meeting under the chairmanship of its president, Mr Jagdish Arora, and opposed paid parking.

The mandal said the MC had implemented paid parking in a haste without giving a report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on parking arrangements in the city. Mr Amrit Lal Kathuria of Chandigarh Sports said business was sure to be hit as it was “unmanageable in the morning and queues went right up to the traffic signals”.

He said senior citizens and the disabled should have been spared.

Mr Sanjeev Bhat, proprietor of Lucknow Pan Bhandar, said his business was likely to be hit the hardest. The owner of Sindhi Sweets also expressed similar sentiments. He suggested that if the UT Administration had to earn money it could impose a one-time parking charge and provide yearly passes for all sites.

He said even rickshaws were not being allowed into the parking space which, in fact was the entry point of the market.

Parking today remained haphazard. People expressed resentment on passes being given for Rs 80, despite the parking charges being Rs 50.

The contractor explained that the rate had been approved by the Municipal Corporation and was mentioned on the form being sold for Rs 2.

He said people would be charged only once for issuing token and lamination. They would not be charged for renewals.

There were long queues of those who wanted monthly passes, but the contractor stopped issuing passes at 2 p.m., saying these would be issued tomorrow after knowing how many vehicles could be parked in a specific area.

He assured government employees that they would not be charged parking fee for the next couple of days till passes were issued to them.

The police clarified that the mention by the contractor that he would not be responsible for any theft did not hold ground and if a vehicle or any of its part was stolen, he would be booked under Section 406 of the IPC.

A Corporation official said there was a clause clearly stating that contractors would be liable to pay those whose vehicle were stolen.


Paid parking signals fresh trend
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The implementation of paid parking in Sectors 17, 8 and 9 marks an end to almost decade-long free lunches in the Union Territory and a signal to the city people to be ready to pay for the services availed and infrastructure created.

The city is amongst rare places in the country which despite having excellent infrastructure has failed to emerge as an attractive destination for investors — foreign or domestic — resulting in slow down in fresh wealth generation.

But the infrastructure of the city is now crumbling under the weight of the population with the Central Government finding it difficult to sustain it and indicating to the MC and the Chandigarh Administration to become self-sustainable.

A city watcher, who did not want to be named, said the city was trying to grow on “focut culture” as a result lagging behind in the basic growth parameter of employment generation leading to the youth of the city leaving it for employment opportunities elsewhere.

The political parties had also expressed populist sentiments close to people’s heart as they were not habitual for paying for the services.

Most surprising aspect of the city is that it has the top per capita income in the country but is amongst the lowest tax payers in terms of productive taxes like excise.

The people of the city, mostly employees, will have to realise that their development could have been at the cost of those who died in Orissa of starvation.

The political parties which were earlier opposed to taxes in the last municipal corporation elections in 1996 also seemed to have realised this time as those avoided any promise of no taxes feeling that the development of the city needs a culture of investment from private sector, which comes at a cost.

The Congress, however, is caught in a tight spot for having led agitation against paid parking and now realising that economic prudence is going slow on the issue.

The best city residents could expect highest value for their service charges due to their high education and awareness putting a pressure on those in the government to provide best facilities at the lowest possible charges.

The city is lucky that such decisions have come at a time when they have democratic bodies like municipal corporation to balance the public interest at the national level and business interest to let the city be in the forefront of those places which are favourite investor destinations.


Panchkula demands more water from UT
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
It is learnt that the issue of demanding its share of water from the UT Administration was discussed recently in a meeting of the Deputy Commissioner with the Chief Administrator of Haryana Urban Development Authority. It was decided that the State Government would take up the issue with Chandigarh Administration at the earliest so that the acute shortage of drinking water in the district is salvaged.

Well-placed sources informed TNS today that the current daily drinking water requirement of Panchkula city, including Panchkula Extension and Mansa Devi Complex, is 78.27 mgd, while the current availability of water is 27.48 mgd. Thus there is an additional daily requirement of 50.74 mgd.

Under the Augmentation Water Supply Scheme Kajauli, the state of Haryana is to get 3 mgd of drinking water in the first phase. The district of Panchkula is to get a total of 18 mgd of drinking water from all phases of this scheme.

The authorities claim that alternate sources of water need to be tapped because the ground water-table in the district is rapidly declining. It is not possible to augment this shortfall by installing more tubewells — which could further deplete the underground water, overdraws and lack of charging.

A total of 60 million gallons of water is pumped up from Kajauli daily. Currently all the water is being used by Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. Water from Kajauli is also being used by the Headquarters Western Command in Chandimandir.

The demand for water is increasing at an exceptional rate, and the gap between availability and demand of water is also going up. The issue of getting water from Kajauli has again gained importance with the Water Works at Sector 39 becoming operational. This will reduce the cost on laying down the pipeline for Panchkula, inform sources.

It may be noted that the project of constructing a dam on the Ghaggar had been stalled by the state government a few years ago. However, the authorities say that even after Panchkula gets its share out of the Bhakra Main Line, there will be a shortfall of 28 mgd, for which alternate scheme for augmentation of supply (tapping of Ghaggar water by constructing low height dams) is being considered.

Meanwhile, the town has three main Water Works in Sector 1, 8 and Industrial Area. Two others in Sector 20 and the partly-developed Water Works in Panchkula Extension are also catering to the needs of Panchkula residents. Besides, 85 tubewells pump water at these Water Works for onward distribution in various sectors.

In wake of the fact that no new Water Works can be set up, authorities have decided to reorganise the water supply from the boosting stations to the sectors. It may be mentioned that new tubewells had been installed last year, but there is no new plan in the recent future.


Consumer court summons Syal
Kiran Deep

* About 50, 000 case against the company pending in the UT Lok Adalat.

* The consumer court had directed, R.K Syal, to appear before the court on January 9 in about 342 case.

* The vigilance Department Patiala had registered six cases of cheating and fraud against the company.

* About 186 cases against the company were pending in various courts at Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana

* 20 winding up petition were also pending in the Punjab and Haryana High court

* A.L Syal, the father of the Chairman of the Golden Forest India Limited, R.K Syal, had filed complaint before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) alleging human rights violation. 

Chandigarh, January 7
Taking care of grievances of more than 300 investors of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh the UT Consumer court has directed Chairman-cum-Managing director of the Golden Forest (India), R.K. Syal, to appear before court for the settlement of the cases with mutual consent.

Sources revealed that acting on about 342 cases the court has directed. Syal to appear before the court on January 9. The company had moved an application before the court that Syal was presently lodged in the Model Burail Jail and there was a possibility of settlement being arrived at between the complainants and the company in case he was brought from jail to talk to the complainants, agents and counsel in respect of the principal payment.

About 36 lakh investors from all over India had invested in various schemes floated by the company and it had employed at least one lakh persons. The company had purchased land for agriculture and forestation in many parts of country by collecting money from the public through various schemes.

The investors who had filed cases in the consumer court said they had deposited various amounts in the scheme floated by the company such as — free accident insurance, highest return, no lapse of public money and investment secured against farm and project. They alleged that despite a number of visits to the company office they had failed to get their dues. And the cheques issued by the company had been dishonored.

The investors had prayed that the court should give directions to refund the maturity amount and compensation for harassment caused to them.

About 50, 000 cases had been filed against the company by the investors from all over India in the UT Permanent Lok Adalat so far as Syal had agreed to pay the principal amount to the investors. 


Get ready to close shop, guesthouse owners
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
In line with a judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chandigarh Administration will start proceedings to seal all guesthouses functioning in residential areas within the next two weeks.

The deadline of the high court expires on January 20, by when the court has asked the Administration to close down all such guest houses. The Administration has asked about 140 guesthouses being run from residential areas to close shop or face the consequences, which in this case, means sealing of the premises. Once a building is sealed, it cannot be put to any use and the owner loses the right to stay within.

About 140 guesthouses are being run from residential areas in Sectors 21, 22, 8 and 18. The modus operandi is simple — the owners have tie-ups with rickshaw-pullers and autorickshaw-drivers, who bring in the customers as guest houses offering cheaper overnight stay and facilities than most hotels in the city. The matter went to the high court as the residents in the area had been protesting for long, alleging that the guest houses had become dens of vice and anti-social elements. In the past, guest house owners had been given an extension.

The Administration had been apprised that action could also be taken under the pollution Act, under which power and water connections could be disconnected as residential areas could not be put to commercial use without clearance from the Pollution Department, said a senior official that there was no option but to close down the guest houses.

The high court had asked the Administration to frame rules for regulating “the use to which such accommodation is put in a manner that neither the visitor occupying the accommodation made available, nor the staff employed for providing services to the visitors, create noise and disturbs the residents of the locality”.

The Judges had also asked the Administration to see that the visitors and the staff did not indulge in disorderly conduct leading to breach of peace, keep the rooms and the verandas clean, ensure the removal of innocuous vegetation, along with the disposal of garbage and maintenance of visitors’ register, regulate or ban the serving of liquor in the premises, make sure that ‘the premises were not used for sexual immorality’, even as marriage palaces.

The orders are significant as, according to a survey conducted by the UT Estate Office, 130 residential houses in the city are being used as guesthouses. Moreover, 1000 families are directly or indirectly earning their livelihood from these houses.

The Guest-House Social and Welfare Association, in an affidavit, had stated that the demand for accommodation was increasing as an average tourist could not afford accommodation in four, three, even two star hotels.

They had added that the accommodation provided by the guest- houses was taken up during trade fairs organised by the CII and seminars held at the PGI.

It remains to be seen how much the Administration can do to make a change on the ground. In the past, guesthouse owners had got away by just removing their signboards.


BCL plans romance corner
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 7
With the addition of 1,500 new members, the British Library, Sector 8, is all set to jazz up life a bit by adding a new romance corner. Five hundred books by all time favourite authors are going to be displayed in a proper ambience decorated with red roses and hearts, according to Mr Sushant Banerjee, Manager of the library.

“This has been done keeping in view with the latest addition of members who mainly youngsters” said Mr Banerjee. “All these young professionals need a break from their hectic schedules now and then and what could be better than relaxing with a light romantic novel,” says Mr Banerjee.

However, the older generation need not despair because the library authorities have urged everybody, irrespective of gender and age to take full advantage of their new collection. “Romance has no bar,” feels Mr Banerjee and this is the reason he is hunting for the oldest man in the city to come forward and join hands with an young adult and a teenager for the inaugural ceremony which is likely to take place soon.

The library has also started a computer course free of cost. “We have a demonstration period every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to teach about the technicalities of Internet and other software packages,” says Mr Banerjee. 


No transit bus stand for time-being
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 7
A project to construct a transit bus stand at the outskirts of the town, along the Chandigarh -Ludhiana national highway, has been delayed. The completion of the project would enable the transport department to sell land of the existing bus stand in Phase 8, valued at Rs 17.50 crore

An area of about five acres adjacent to the Verka Plant in Phase 6 had been earmarked for the project, a joint venture with the Punjab State Bus Stand Management Company (PUNBUS) estimated to cost over Rs 2 crore.

Though the deposit work has already been allotted to the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) after PUDA quoted higher rates, sources in the government said involvement of different departments in the planning of the project was delaying it.

As per a preliminary report, 13 parking bays for buses will be constructed under a single-storeyed structure. The length of the platform will be around 550 feet. Around 1800 buses are expected to daily pass through the bus stand. An administrative block and sitting rooms and other basic facilities for the commuters have been planned.

Sources in the government said the site selected was in a low-lying area. It would require a lot of earth filling to bring it the level of the National Highway. Being a floodprone site, the level of the site had to be raised.

Officials of the Transport Department say the problem of Chandigarh-bound buses not touching the existing bus stand, much to the inconvenience of local commuters, will also be solved as the new bus stand would come up along the the National Highway, necessitating the long-route buses to pass through or stop there. Evasion of fee would also be checked.

Sources in PUDA said an additional bridge on the Patiala Ki Rao choe and replanning of an existing rotary near the Verka plant was being done to regulate the entry and exit of buses from the proposed bus stand. 


PUDA may invite applications for plots
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 7
By the second week of this month, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) is expected to invite applications for allotment of around 350 residential plots in the developed sectors here. The plots, located in Sectors (from 67 to 71), would be allotted through draw of lots.

According to the information available, there could be a slight variation in the exact number of plots as the feasibility exercise to ascertain the number of plots in Sectors 67 and 68 was in progress. Depending upon the size of a plot, the allotment price would vary between Rs 3,328 per sq yard and Rs 3,744 per sq yard.

Earlier the PUDA, at its authority meeting, had decided to offer residential plots in the developed sectors to serious buyers. The PUDA was eyeing a strong market segment of serious buyers in the market looking for plots in the developed sectors. A number of NRIs were willing to buy plots in the developed area as the allotment time would be minimum, said a PUDA official.

Mr KBS Sidhu, Chief Administrator of PUDA, said under the housing scheme the applicants would have to deposit 10 per cent of the total money of the plot as earnest money. Earlier the PUDA was contemplating to charge 15 per cent as earnest money from the applicants. The plots facing a park would attract a 5 per cent extra price.

Anticipating a poor response to a scheme for allotment of booth sites, even after reduction of the cost by 10 per cent, PUDA was learnt to be exploring an idea to integrate the allotment scheme of residential plots with a scheme to allot the commercial booths. The applicants for plots of 300 sq yard and above could be asked to buy a booth site. An official of PUDA said it could enable the authority to dispose of the booths as the residential sites were expected to attract a premium.

The number of unallotted plots in developed sectors of SAS Nagar
Plot size ( in sq yard) Number of plots / Sector
500  49 / 69
  03 / 70
03 / 71
400  14 / 69
300  16 / 68
250  24 / 68
  13 / 69
200  81 / 69
  02 / 70
26 / 71
150  02 / 70

* The number of plots in Sector 67 have not been included in the list.



Police devising steps to ease traffic flow: Bassi
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 7
The 13th Road Safety Week, being organised by the Chandigarh Police, was inaugurated here today. Speaking on the occasion, the UT, IGP, MR B S Bassi, said that while local residents were by and large quite aware of road safety measures, the local police was also making efforts to save human lives.

He said that the police was working in collaboration with the UT Engineering Department to devise safety measures and ease traffic flow in the city. Measures included constructing slip roads at chowks, widening of roads, installing traffic lights at busy intersections and erecting girders on medians.

Mr Bassi added that about 80,000 persons died annually in road accidents in the country, while about 3.5 lakh persons were injured every year.

The UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, said that the local police would be organising an eye-testing camp for drivers of heavy vehicles to ensure that their vision was adequate. He said that it would also be ensured that they were medically fit to drive heavy vehicles. He also praised NSS volunteers and the Lions Club for their contribution towards implementing road safety measures.

Others who spoke on the occasion included District Education Officer Mr Brahmjit Kalia, Ms Harjinder Kaur and Ms Kamla Sharma, both former Mayors. Other issues raised during the session included levying heavy penalty on traffic violators, rickshaws being the major causes of road accidents, lowering speed limits and driving by minors.

During the week, a painting competition for schoolchildren, an awareness rally and lectures on road safety would be delivered in 15 schools by police officials. Lectures would also be organised for rickshaw-pullers, three-wheeler and truck drivers at various places during the week.

PANCHKULA: The local police started its Road Safety Week here today. As part of the week, as many as 50 students of Gurukul School were deployed at various crossings and roundabouts in the township. These children made people aware of road safety in order to bring down the number of accidents in city roads.

It may be noted that during this week, no violator would be challaned, but would be given guidance on road safety measures. The drive will continue till January 13.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Manoj Yadav, sought the cooperation of the public in making the drive a success.

SAS NAGAR: Distribution of printed material on traffic awareness marked the first day of the traffic awareness week which began in the Ropar district today. The traffic police has set up booths at various traffic junctions to educate motorists about traffic rules.

Inspector V.K. Vaid, District Traffic In charge, said 50 banners with slogans on traffic safety had been put up. In Henderson Jubilee School, Kharar, an awareness programme was organised in collaboration with the Lions Club. A puzzle on road mishaps was distributed among the students.

A seminar on traffic safety will be organised at IndusInd bank in Phase 3B 2 here tomorrow. The function would continue till January 13.


Switching sides paid him well
Tribune News Service

Vijay Singh Rana

Jatinder Bhatia

Chandigarh, January 7
Vijay Singh Rana, councillor from ward No 10, switched sides during the selections which got him a berth in the Municipal Corporation.

Beginning his political career with former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan’ earlier party (Samajwadi Janata Party), he went to the Bharatiya Janata Party and after denial of BJP nomination came back to Mr Dhawan’s, Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM).

An Intermediate, Mr Rana (37) has considerable influence in Burail village. A party ad hoc committee member, Mr Bachan Singh, also left the BJP along with Mr Rana.

Mr Rana has been a panch of Burail village during his 12-year-long political career.

Jitender Bhatia, a Chandigarh Vikas Manch councillor from ward No 17, has been catapulted into politics after leading the Chandigarh Housing Board Residents’ Welfare Associations Federation for eight years.

Mr Bhatia took a plunge into politics after leaving his job in Coal India Limited.

A 48-year-old graduate, Mr Bhatia has the distinction of having cleared the examinations of the Punjab Municipal Act, the Civil Services Rules and the Improvement Trust Act.

Born in Batala, Mr Bhatia gained experience in municipal affairs when he served in the Batala Municipal Corporation as inspector.

The councillor is associated with the Federation of Welfare Society, Chandigarh, for past 10 years as its President, as general secretary of the Federation of Parents, the Teachers Association, chairman of the PTAGMSS School, Sector-46, and president of the Sanatan Dharam Mandir Sabha, Sector-46.

Mr Bhatia has been general secretary of the northern region of the Rashtriya Coal Mazdoor Sangh and senior vice-president of the Batala Municipal Employees Union.

The councillor’s father, Mr Kanshi Lal, has been awarded President’s Medal for his services as Municipal Secretary.


MC employees defer Jan 11 strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The coordination committee of the Government and Municipal Corporation Employees and Workers of the Union Territory today decided to defer its proposed strike on January 11.

In a statement issued by Mr Ramesh Kant and Mr Rakesh Kumar, convener and co-convener of the committee, said the decision was taken after leaders of the committee held a meeting with the Union Government and the Punjab Governor and discussed their demands. Leaders of the committee were told to keep the current scenario of the country in mind.

The coordination committee had given a call for strike in support of its demands, which included grant of bonus for the past four years, treating all those employees of the administration who were transferred to the municipal corporation on deputation, implementation of the October-17 judgement of the Supreme Court about daily wage workers and scrapping the ceiling on compassionate appointment.

The statement stated that a bipartite meeting was convened on January 4 last year which was chaired by the Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujral, and attended by all heads of departments of the administration and leaders of the committee. Mr Gujral revealed at the meeting that the Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), had taken up the demands, especially the release of bonus for the past four years and treating transferred employees to the corporation on deputation. 


Herb Dhaliwal to speak at CII
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
After a visit to the office of the Canadian High Commission in Chandigarh tomorrow, Mr Herb Dhaliwal, Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, will speak at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) on “Canada and India: A growing partnership” at 12.30 p.m.

A site visit to Punjab Communications at 3 p.m. will be followed by meetings with the Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, and Babu Parmanand, Governor of Haryana. In the evening, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will host a state dinner.

On January 9, the minister will have a breakfast meeting with the Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. He will also meet the Punjab Minister for Cooperation, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura.


Villagers refuse to accept tax notices
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
Around 1400 residents of Haripur village today declined to accept the notices for house tax issued by Municipal Council. They said that since they were opposed to pay ‘‘the arbitrarily imposed tax’’, they would not even accept notices.

This was not the first time that residents had refused to accept their notices. Ever since the Municipal Council had started issuing notices for paying house tax, residents of Bhainsa Tibba and Bana Madanpur villages had earlier also not accepted these notices.

The couriers, who had been engaged by MC, had to return back with almost all notices from the village. These couriers had gone there in the morning. After public announcements had been made, a few villagers, including the village sarpanch, accepted their notices, but the remaining population declined to accept these.

Sources said that there was also some confusion with regard to the addresses of residents as mentioned in the notices. The addresses on the notices were reportedly supplied to the MC by the panchayats of the villages, but these differed from the new addresses as mentioned in the ration cards of residents.

When contacted, the Executive Officer of Municipal Council, Mr O.P. Sihag, said that they would again try distributing the notices, but if they failed, it would be considered that the residents had no objections to the house tax imposed and would be liable to pay the tax.

Meanwhile, a joint forum of all welfare bodies of Panchkula threatened a Panchkula Bandh during this week in protest against the imposition of house tax by the Municipal Council.

A meeting of the forum was held here yesterday where it was decided to to organise a car protest rally against the alleged arbitrary imposition of house tax on the residents.

Mr R.P. Malhotra, convener of the forum, informed that 75 members from all resident welfare associations and house owners welfare associations in the township participated in the meeting. He said that the day for the bandh would be decided after a meeting with various beopar mandals and traders associations.

They contended that HUDA had not yet developed the area of Panchkula, despite charging huge developmental charges from the plot allottees. HUDA was under obligation to complete all development works or transfer the funds taken as development charges to the Municipal Council.

Residents also questioned the charging of house tax by the MC, when a writ against its constitution was already pending in the High Court.

Meanwhile Mr Chander Mohan, MLA from Kalka, said that he was against the formation of the MC and opposed the imposition of house tax in the township. He was addressing a gathering at a function organised by the local unit of the Youth Congress yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Welfare Club, too, strongly opposed the imposition of house tax. Mr D.K. Singal, general secretary of the club, said that the annual rental value had to be taken into account where the Rent Act was applicable while assessing house tax, but the notices issued showed the assessment of house tax on the market value of the property, which was illegal.

The issue of hike in tariff by cable operators was also discussed at the meeting and it was unanimously decided that the residents would not increase the tariff.

The forum decided that if need be, the Resident Welfare Association of each sector would set up its own cable network for airing various channels.

The Panchkula Joint Welfare Association Forum also said that the cable tariff would not be hiked beyond Rs 150 per connection. They, too, threatened to take an agitational path in case their demands were not met.


Swiss on cycle with a drive
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Swiss national Christoph Von Toggenburg’s bicycle tour to Switzerland aims to raise funds for lepers in Chandigarh. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 7
The mellow January sun must only be jealous of his zeal. But Christoph von Toggenburg is not bothered if it really is. At the moment, there is nothing in the world that can divert this Swiss national from his chosen path. Talk about the path and Christoph's green eyes radiate with energy. It is just about then that you realise how close to his soul this chosen path is, no matter how tough its terrain, how harsh its mood...

Wasting no further time, the 25-year-old photographer kicks off a conversation about his mad drive. His smartly-manufactured bike, currently parked in a friend's house in Sector 15, serves to compliment his selfless motive — that of covering 9000 km from New Delhi to Switzerland with an objective of raising funds for people suffering from leprosy in India and Cambodia. During the bicycle ride which is expected to last five months, Christoph will interact with individuals and companies which might be interested in furthering the cause of lepers in the two Asian countries. Interesting, however, is the fact that Christoph insists on payment of money only after he has completed the ride through India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy and finally Switzerland.

The bike for help, as Christoph calls it, started on January 4 from New Delhi. After halting at Panipat, Christoph reached Chandigarh yesterday and from here he will go through Banga or Nawanshehar and then to Lahore via Jalandhar and Amritsar. The idea impediments that he might meet on the way does not concern Christoph at all, simply because he values his motive more than anything else. "I am prepared and my bike is prepared too. It has 30 gears and a host of functions to see me through the tough terrain which will include about 3000 km of desert. Designed by Transa, a Swiss expedition company, the bike is endowed with all the facilities I might need on my onward journey. It tells me of how many kilometres I have covered and also of the averages."

Ask him what has warranted so much of commitment and Christoph flashes a warm smile. He is under a strange influence we call service. The influence is strong for sure and that is why it is lasting despite formidable problems. Before taking on the bicycle ride, Christoph made it a point to travel to Cambodia and India to interact with lepers and sensitize with their problems. In his visit he was accompanied by a team of doctors.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune today, he said, "Cure for the disease is available but more than anything else these people need rehabilitation support. Funds are critical to their welfare and I feel obliged to work for them. " Funds from this expedition will be diverted to two foundations working for the welfare of lepers — Ciomal in Cambodia and Gerhard Fischer Foundation in India.

As one interacted with this Masters in Fine Arts at his photographer friend Diwan Manna's house this evening, one was increasingly intrigued by his sense of selflessness. For Christoph, this bike for help is not a maiden fund raising venture. Earlier in the summer of 1998 he ran from Switzerland to Italy in order to raise money for the homeless children in Bucharest. This charity project raised more than 50,000 Swiss Francs. The bike for help is yet another addition to the list of Christoph's fund raising ventures. And while he rides the bicycle to realise a noble cause, he hopes to touch many a soul. After all charity is more a matter of the soul than of the senses.

Anyone interested in donating for the cause can write to Bike for help, C/O Lorenzo Amberg, Minister, Embassy of Switzerland, Nyaya Marg Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.


Saga of courage
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 7
Mr Rajesh M. Thakkar, a resident of Bhuj in Gujarat, has shown to the world that physical disability cannot come into way of one’s determination.

He sells tea in moving trains to earn his livelihood. In 1995, his legs were amputated below knees following a train accident. This affected his business badly. He took a vow that if he would get artificial legs, he would undertake a yatra from Mumbai to Vaishno Devi on his tricycle.

More than five years after the accident, he was provided with artificial legs at Nevedac Prosthetic Centre here. According to Dr V.J.S. Vohra, chairman and managing director of the centre, Mr Rajesh started his yatra on a tricycle from Mumbai on October 19 last and reached the city yesterday. He is travelling about 25 km a day.Back


Respond to people’s needs, Kohli asks bureaucrats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Mr A.R. Kohli, Governor, Mizoram, today exhorted civil servants to be more responsive to the increasing needs and aspirations of the people.

Delivering a lecture on ‘‘Government in the 21st Century’’ at Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration here, Mr Kohli said the bureaucracy must identify its defined role in providing continuity and a steel frame to the state. He asked the bureaucrats to avoid meddling in politics and perform their assigned role of giving expert opinion to politicians for smooth political decision-making.

Mr Kohli said Punjab could play a major role in developing the food processing industry keeping in view liberalisation and globalisation. He also asked the administration to channelise the unbounded energy of the youth for constructive purposes.


Discourse at Book Fair
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 7
A Discourse on meditation would be held by Tat Baba (Anand Dev Ji Maharaj) Gopeshwar, Sri Varindavan, for two days at the ongoing “Book Fair” from January 12 at the Circus Ground, Sector 17. According to a press note, Tat Baba — a saint — preaches non-action meditation. The discourse will start at 2.30 pm and continue till 4.00 pm.


Murder case solved, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The city police has reportedly been able to solve the murder of Swaran Singh, a resident of Hallo Majra, with the arrest of two Raipur Khurd residents. Revenge is being cited as a reason behind the crime.

Swaran Singh’s body was found in a trench on January 3 by the police in the forests adjoining Bhinder farms on the Chandigarh Zirakpur road.

The accused, Sukhdev and Amarjit, both 18, were arrested late in the evening today following a tip off received by the city police. Sukhdev is a student of Class IX at the Government Senior Secondary School in Sector 45, while Amarjit is reportedly a school drop out. Both reportedly admitted before the police of having committed the crime. Amarjit reportedly told the police that Swaran Singh was the cause of his father’s death two years back. Apparently in May 2000, Swaran Singh had, during a verbal fight with Amarjit’s father Niranjan Singh, threatened to kill him. Niranjan Singh reportedly died soon after this fight due to a heart attack.

According to sources quoting Amarjit, his father kept repeating that Swaran Singh would kill him one day. Amarjit had allegedly been planning revenge and get rid of Swaran Singh ever since his father’s death.

Amarjit reportedly related to the police the way Swaran Singh was killed on December 29, 2001.

The two have been booked for murder and other offences under Section 302, 201 and 34 of IPC. They will be produced in the courts tomorrow.Back


Two held for printing counterfeit currency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Crime Branch of the local police has reportedly arrested two persons for defrauding people by claiming to print and sell counterfeit currency notes. The accused have been identified as Krishan Lal, (24) and his nephew Roshan Lal (19). They were arrested from Hallo Majra village today. Both are residents of Yamunanagar.

According to the police, a trap was laid for the duo after information about their activities was received here. A decoy customer was sent to them for purchasing counterfeit notes.

Police said they used to take down imprints of currency notes on plain paper and show them to potential customers. The imprints, looking exactly like real notes did not have the security thread. The accused used to claim that they would provide counterfeit notes denoting double the value of money offered to them.

However, when a person used to hand them genuine notes, they used to scare him off by pretending that the police had arrived, and run away with the money.

They will be produced before a local court tomorrow. According to the police the accused are a part of a larger gang operating in the area. Officers do not rule out the possibility of further arrests.


Tribune scribe’s house burgled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
In a late night incident, unidentified thieves decamped with jewellery and other household goods worth Rs 35,000 after forcing their way into the Sector 8 residence of a Tribune staffer, Ms Poonam Batth, while she was away. According to sources in the police department, Ms Batth was informed about the theft by her servant early this morning. Upon reaching the house, Ms Batth found the goods strewn all over the place.

Though the exact amount of loss was yet to be ascertained, Ms Batth said jewellery worth Rs 30,000, along with imported blankets and other goods, were taken away. SP H.G.S. Dhaliwal and DSP S.S. Randhawa, visited the site. A case has been registered.


Two held for bootlegging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The local police has arrested two persons in separate incidents for bootlegging. A resident of Kumhar Colony in Sector 25, Komal Singh was arrested from near a naka at Togan village with 18 bottles of whiskey from his possession.

In another incident, a resident of Sector 24, Pappu, was arrested near the Saini Bhawan in the same sector with nine bottles of countrymade liquor in his possession. Separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them.

One held
A resident of Sector 24, Ashok Kumar, was arrested near Balmiki Bhavan in the same sector for indulging in satta. The police has recovered Rs 5,005 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered against him.

Vehicle theft
Gurdip Singh, a resident of Panchkula has reported that his Maruti car (CH-03-D-5765), which was parked near the Aroma light point, has been stolen. The police has registered a case.

Mohali resident Ranbir Singh reported that his scooter (PB-65-2336) has been stolen from a parking lot in Sector 41. A case has been registered.

Ropar resident Arun Mehta has reported that his wife’s purse containing a gold chain, a pair of gold ear rings, a gold pendant and Rs 2,500 in cash has been stolen from Kisan Bhavan, Sector 35. The police has registered a case. In another case, Nirmal Kumari, a resident of Sector 44, reported that two gas cylinders were stolen from her residence while she was out of town. The police has registered a case.


Dowry case: 3 held
The police on Monday arrested three persons — Laldeen, his father Jamaldan and mother Bhuri on charges of mentally and physically harassing Laldeen’s wife for bringing insufficient dowry. An FIR under Sections 406 and 498-A of IPC was registered against them in Pinjore in August last year.

One booked: The police has booked Banarsi Dass on charges of stealing irrigation water from the fields of Mr Diwan Chand Sharma in Khet Parali village. A case under Section 379 of IPC has been registered at Raipur Rani Police Station.

Two arrested: The police arrested Shamsher Singh and Ram Pal, who had reportedly stolen a CD player, recording set, audio deck and a sound box from the shop of Mr Chandra Kesh in Surajpur. All stolen goods have been recovered from them.

One injured: Banjoon was seriously injured after he was reportedly hit by an unidentified truck in Kalka on Sunday. The police has registered a case under Sections 337 and 279 of the IPC. 


Industrialists bemoan power cuts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Chamber of Chandigarh Industries has deplored the imposition of power cuts on the industrial sector by the UT Administration.

A meeting of the chamber held here today under the presidentship of Mr Vinod Mittal felt that the power cuts would lead to loss of production, widespread unemployment and decrease in the revenue of the UT. The chamber pointed out that the industry was already reeling under the impact of a severe recession and the power cuts would further worsen the situation.

Mr A.L. Aggarwal, general secretary of the chamber, pointed out that the industrial units had availed themselves of various kinds of loans which were being reviewed by the financial institutions every year on the basis of their annual production and turnover. If the industrial units failed to perform better due to any reason, they would come tremendous pressure from these institutions. The power cuts were, therefore, extremely detrimental to the small-scale units running heat treatment and annealing furances which had to be continuously run to maintain a specified temperature set over a period of time. It was, therefore, essential to save the industry from frequent and unscheduled power cuts. He urged the UT Administration to withdraw the power cuts on the industrial sector immediately.

The Federation of Small Scale Industries representing small and medium industrialists of Chandigarh has also expressed strong resentment over the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to impose double power cut alongwith staggering off-days for industry.

The decision of the Chandigarh Administration was not only surprising but was shocking as it would kill the small-scale industry which was already facing a threat from multinationals and implementation of WTO from April 1, 2002, said Mr Rajeev Gupta, general secretary of the federation.

The condition of small-scale industry was already bad and many small-scale industries had already closed down and many more units were on the verge of closure due to recessionary conditions and financial tightness. At this juncture, the industry needed whole hearted support from the government for its survival. Moreover, unless the industry would produce how it would contribute itself to the national exchequer and how the national revenue industrial production and on other hand the government was saying to increase industrial production and on other hand the government was unable to supply the basic input of electricity to industry.

“We are lodging a strong protest with the Administration. Why is it that the industry is always singled out and made to suffer? The Administration should devise other methods to save electricity. The Administration should disallow the use of neon sign light or other Glow sign boards in commercial buildings. The commercial areas should be asked to close down at 7 p.m. No heaters should be allowed in commercial buildings. The Administration should switch off alternative lights on main roads. On the one hand industry was starving because of non-availability of electricity and on other hand, electricity was being wasted for pomp and show.

“It has been observed that street lights are not switched off till 8 a.m. in the morning. These should be switched off at 6 a.m.

“We appeal and request the Chandigarh Administration to immediately think of alternative methods to save electricity and provide electricity, atleast from 8.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and stop staggering off days, so that industry can make up its production losses. We will like to remind the Chandigarh Administration that the industrial area of Chandigarh is contributing maximum revenue i.e. upto the tune of 40 per cent of total electricity revenue.”




New mobile phone
Advanced technology and cutting edge design is the essence of Mars, a new mobile handset from Mitsubishi. The phone is specially designed to enable the users to communicate in difficult situations as it is hands free with speakers. One can receive and make calls without lifting the phone or even a headset.

GEO gaining ground
Global Education Options (GEO) represents students. Students’ needs are prioritised according to the existing educational or professional environment in India, categorising their requirements, counselling them to move ahead in the right direction and helping them make correct choices.

Due to the large number of students interested in global education in North India in general, and Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in particular, students need the services of some institution like GEO. Because of its expert services GEO has gained ground in no time.

Global Education Options was set up in October 2000 by Mr Lalit Jaiswal, industrialist, entrepreneur and expert marketing professional, to cater to the needs of Indian students wishing to study abroad. Mr Jaiswal saw the need to provide students with professional guidance on overseas education. He has received the Vijay Ratna Award (1991) and the Shiromani Award (1992).

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