Friday, February 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


F&CC for service charge on govt buildings
Recommends tax on annual rent of commercial property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) here today recommended imposition of two per cent tax on annual rent of commercial property and 1.5 per cent service charge on government buildings with the hope that the Administration will withdraw the 1999 notification of 10 per cent tax.

A person owning commercial property will have to pay two per cent of the value of annual rent minus 10 per cent maintenance charge. The tax will be deductible from the taxable income on account of business expenditure.

The passage of the recommendation by the House, likely to meet on February 28, seems a certainty. The tax is being supported by the Congress, a member of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch and nine nominated members and opposed by three members of the BJP and the lone SAD councillor.

The Congress expects that this tax measure, probably lowest in the world, will bring the corporation out of deep financial crisis. It is expected to bring the corporation between Rs 7.5 and 8 crore if the Administration keeps its promise of transfer of advertisement revenue on electricity poles, matching grant, higher receipts from recoveries pending and property sale proceeds, says F&CC member Subhash Chawla of the Congress.

The tax measure, if approved by the Administration after being passed by the House, will replace a notification for levy of 10 per cent tax, approved by the BJP dominated House in 1997, but kept in abeyance.

A House decision on parking, kept in suspended animation, had resulted in the court intervention for imposing paid parking in a similar case. The Congress decision seemed also to avoid such an embarrassing situation.

The committee, which met under the chairpersonship of Mayor Lalit Joshi, also decided on monthly review expenditure under non-plan heads and quarterly scan plan expenditure.

The committee requested the Administration to provide Rs 86 crore in grant-in-aid (50 crore non-plan and 36 crore plan), demanded in the Rs 161.83 crore 2002-2003 budget estimate.

The committee urged the Administration to provide the grant-in-aid to the corporation equal to the amount which was being spent on the maintenance works of roads, horticulture, electricity and public health, along with salaries of those transferred to the corporation.

The F&CC proposed allocation of Rs 50 lakh for new community centres in the city, Rs 3 lakh for a corporation instituted awards for building up people-corporation cooperation for better upkeep of the city and Rs 5 lakh for councillors’ study visits.

The corporation also agreed to make the budget-making exercise more democratic, suggested by Congress member Kamlesh, from the next year, with the proposal-making exercise beginning August and councillors being allowed to seek allocations.


Railways to have Rs 100-cr test track
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Indian Railways will have a Rs 100 crore test track for trials to give its safety measures a fillip.

This was stated here today by the Director-General of the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the Ministry of Railways, Dr Hari Mohan.

Only the USA, Germany and one other country have this facility and India would join this club, with Railway Minister Nitish Kumar promising to provide Rs 100 crore under the Budget to the RDSO for the purpose, he said.

The Railway research body today added an indigenous safety system, signing an MoU with the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) for the development of an oscillation monitoring system to know the condition of tracks, Dr Mohan said.

Dr Mohan said the RDSO had proposed to the Railway Ministry to devise systems like assured royalty on railway research or assured purchase of research and development equipment for a reasonably long time from the private sector for Railways.

This proposal has been given as the Indian industry — especially the private sector — has been avoiding investing in the development of the Railways while in other countries private sector research has given a boost to the quality of railway development immensely.

The CSIO will provide equipment at a cost of Rs 2-3 lakh against an international price of Rs 11-15 lakh, the CSIO Director, Dr R.P. Bajpai, said after signing the MoU.

Dr Mohan said the RDSO had already acquired a “Spurt” car having a speed of 30 km per hour and floated a tender for the same car with a speed of 40 km per hour to detect track faults. The oscillation monitoring system would be ready for trials in a year, Dr Bajpai said.

Mr Mohan said a Rs 50 crore pilot project of the European train control system-II would be set up on the Palwal-Mathura line.

The system will halt the train automatically if there is any problem in the signal or track.

The train accelerated warning system for level crossing and audio-visual record systems had either been developed or procured for safety measures, Dr Mohan said.

An indigenous tracking system of the gauge corner crack, which led to the Khanna rail accident, had been found, he said.

Dr Mohan said the Railways had withdrawn technical concessions to the Bhilai steel plant to ensure track quality and the plant had setup a Rs 40 crore quality control system for the purpose.

He said the Railways had decided not to increase the train speed to 160 km per hour despite available technology and infrastructure due to problems of volume of traffic.

He ruled out the introduction of high-speed trains having speeds above 200 km per hour, saying that these were not economically feasible in the country.

Dr Bajpai said the CSIO was now aiming for international achievements in the semi-conductor, bio-technology, defence applications and medical fields and several projects had been started for the purpose.

The oscillation project would be headed by Dr M.A. Shamsi from the CSIO, he said.


Bomb hoax on PU campus
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
Confusion prevailed on the Panjab University campus for about three hours after a bomb hoax call was received by a university department this afternoon. However, the routine work at the university was not affected, claimed PU sources.

As per sources, the IAS Coaching Center in the PU, at around 12.30 pm received an anonymous telephone call that a bomb had been place, somewhere on the university campus. The caller did not identify the place where the ‘‘bomb’’ had been kept. The bomb squad of the local police swung into action but the call turned out to be a ‘‘hoax’’.

According to Mr R. K Singh, Chief of the Security, PU, the bomb squad first searched the Vice-Chancellor’s office. Later a few other crowded places like the Administration Block, Students Center and the IAS Coaching Center were searched. 



‘Pump more resources into steel industry’
Units hit due to heavy taxation
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Reducing demand is the major cause of concern for the steel industry which wants the government to take measures in the forthcoming budget to generate demand by investing more in infrastructure and reviving those industries which use steel as raw material. Heavy taxation and transportation costs have only added to the woes of this industry, whereas last year several units in the small sector even closed operations.

“Last year has witnessed closure of several small-scale units in this industry, and so far as the existing ones are concerned, most of them are also operating only for four to five days a week”, said Mr Amarjeet Goyal, Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Modern Steels. He said the industry in the forthcoming Budget is looking forward to major initiatives by the Central government in this regard.

“They should take steps like more of investment into projects relating to infra-structure — construction of roads and buildings and railway projects etc.”, he said . He said steps to revive industries like the auto industry would help the steel industry perform better.

The industrialists and traders say that heavy tax burden on the steel industry is adding to the woes of the industrialists. “Taxes including excise duty, sales tax etc end up adding almost 30 per cent to the cost of production which harms both the producer as well as the consumer. This needs to be done away with”, said Mr Deepak Bajaj of Bajaj Steels.

Reduction in excise duty and simplification of procedures would go a long way in helping the industry, said Mr Krishan Kumar of Diamond Steels .

This apart, heavy transportation costs make the final product un -competitive in terms of cost compared to industry at other places. “Demand for products from this part of the country mainly comes from the southern states. Heavy transportation costs make the end product even dearer . The government should provide some measure to reduce these charges”, said Mr Goyal.

Emphasising on the need for technological upgradation, the industrialists said that this would help in cost reduction and improvement in the efficiency. They said the finance availability for technological upgradation should be made available at lower rates as is in case of various other industries.

“For industries like the textiles, credit is available at cheaper rates for technological upgradation. The government should extend this benefit to steel industry as well”, said Mr Goyal.

Easy and cheap finance facility was another factor which the industrialists said was a must. The banks should not charge more than 2 per cent above the prime lending Rate whereas at present we are charged even as high as PLR plus 3 to 4 per cent , the industrialists said.


Traffic restrictions for Festival of Gardens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
City residents have been advised by the traffic police to avoid the roads around Rose Garden which will be closed from 6 am to 9 pm for three days starting tomorrow because of the Festival of Gardens - 2002 celebrations. Because of the traffic restrictions, the CTU buses entering Sector 16 will also be diverted towards the General Hospital roundabout from Yatri Niwas, Sector 24.

Movement of traffic will not be allowed on Madhya Marg from DAV College, Sector 10 turning towards the museum roundabout. The entire stretch of Jan Marg between Museum roundabout and Cricket Stadium roundabout will remain closed on all three days. Traffic will not be allowed to move further from the small roundabout in Sector 16 (near the Government Senior Secondary School) towards the traffic light point on Jan Marg.

Visitors to the Rose Garden can park their vehicles in the open space near Shivalik View Hotel, Sector 17, near General Hospital, Sector 16, near Kala Kendra, Sector 16, near B.D Hospital, opposite Cricket Stadium, near Anand Theatre in Sector 17 and near Government College for Arts, Sector 10.

The traffic police has also made parking arrangements for general public visiting Leisure Valley to attend cultural functions in evening on all three days. They can park their vehicles at parking of Government College for Arts, parking area opposite the college and parking near the tank opposite the college, turning near the college, small roundabout near Hotel Mountview, turning near Skating rink and that of Sector 9 and 10.



Rose festival results
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
The stage is all set for the Festival of Gardens — 2002, which will open for the city residents tomorrow at the Rose Garden, Sector 16, here.

The results of flower and pot arrangements are in order of merit: Category — government, semi-government bodies, institutions and private nurseries: Aster: Daltron Limited, Industrial Area, Phase I, and CITCO; antirrhinum: Director, PGI; CHB and Director, PGI; verbena: Director, PGI, and CHB; branchycome : Daltron Limited, CHB and CHB; cineraria: Director, PGI, and PGI; collection of foliage plants: CHB; Omvir Singh, SE, Horticulture, Sub-Division, Chandigarh; collection of cacti: Chief Administrator, HUDA, and Chief Engineer, HUDA; collection of succulent: Chief Administrator, HUDA, and Chief Engineer, HUDA; dahlia: Daltron Limited and second position shared by CITCO and Director, PGI; cranium: IMTECH and CHB; marigold: CITCO (both 1st and 2nd); petunia double hybrid: CHB and CITCO; petunia single hybrid: CITCO (both 1st and 2nd); pansy: Continental Device India Limited and CHB; rose hybrid tea: Director, PGI; rose floribunda: Director, PGI, and SE, Horticulture, HUDA; salvia: Continental Device India and Horticulture, subdivision, CPWD; stock: Director, PGI, and Director, PGI; kale: CITCO, CHB and IMTECH, Sector 39; any other flower: CHB and CITCO.

Category — amateurs: antirrhinum: Ajit Kumar Barrick and Cynthia Shea; verbena: Haridwar and Ram Baran Yadav; salvia: Balbir Singh and Aditya Deshwal; branchycome: Ram Sanjeevan and Ram Gopal; cineraria: Ram Baran Yadav and Aditya Deshwal; carnation: Paras Nath Mourya; collection of different foliage plants: Rana Gurjeet Singh and Rajni Thareja; collection of cacti: Sushil Kumar and second positions were jointly bagged by Surinder Kumar and A. Mani; collection of succulent: Rajani Thareja (both 1st and 2nd); bonsai large size format upright style: Rupan Deol Bajaj (1st and 2nd); bonsai medium informat upright style: Prabhunath Yadav and Rupan Deol Bajaj; bonsai miniature: Rupan Deol Bajaj (1st and 2nd); bonsai grown as group planting style: Rupan Deol Bajaj; dahlia: Brig Lal Mauroya (2nd); dianthus: Rama Shankar Yadav (2nd); geranium: Ajit Kumar Barrick (both 1st and 2nd); and kale: Kohli, Haridwar and Prabhu Nath Yadav.


‘Daire’ to be staged in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
“Punjab’s on-going statewide women empowerment theatre campaign will present its anti-female foeticide Punjabi musical play ‘Daire’ in Chandigarh next month, after covering all 17 districts of the state,” said Pran Sabharwal, director of the play and convener of the campaign, here yesterday.

Sabharwal, who is also International Coordinator of the World Punjabi Theatre Movement said the campaign launched by the National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, in collaboration with the Government of India, Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development had staged the play successfully in 13 districts of Punjab so far and would cover the remaining four far-flung districts of Faridkot, Ferozepore, Muktsar and Bathinda by the end of this month.

Sabharwal who was in Chandigarh to discuss the possibility of staging the play in U.T., Punjab and neighbouring states with the interested organisations further stated that “Daire” written by Satish Kumar Verma and directed by theatre couple Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal, had proved to be a grand success in activating people against female-foeticide and making the women empowerment year a meaningful celebration.

Sabharwal expressed gratitude to the department of W.C.D, Delhi, and Punjab Deputy Commissioners and NGOs for their valued cooperation in the national cause of women’s uplift.

The team of professional and nonprofessional artistes include theatre couple Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal, Davinder Mann, Tarsinder Thind Soni, Davinder Singh, Gulshan Pandey, Harjit Singh, Gagandeep, Kiranjot Kaur, Surjit Kaur, Indu Bansal, Parminder Pam, Mansi Saxena, Santosh Rani, Swati, Vandana, Sunil Chauhan, Mohan Mehra, Agha Shahi, Gopal Sharma, Bhaskar Shahi, Jaswinder Singh, Mohan Kamboj, Kuntal, Kuldip Singh, Parveen, Lakhwinder Lucky, Akshay Uppal and Kanwarjit Singh Goldi. Music composers are Akhilesh Happy and Amrinder and the script has been written by Satish Verma. Set design is by architect and Sampan and production control by Kumud and Vikas Sabharwal.


City on the threshold of water scarcity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The city is heading towards water scarcity withdrawals from ground water far exceeding recharge resulting in drying up of resources for the future.

As of now the of water supply is 274 million litres a day (MLD) against a demand of 522 MLD, which will be 622 MLD in the year 2011, as per the projections of the Central Ground Water Board.

The situation is likely to turn grim as there are no foreseeable schemes to fill the gap putting pressure on ground water requiring to make the water harvesting a mass movement, the board feels.

The only solution is checking the rain runoff on roads and roofs to start recharging the ground water to keep the natural resource intact.

A present 562 tubewells are functioning — 163 for urban water supply and 399 for rural.

The board feels available ground water resources for future development are limited and the ground water recharge has to be augmented by adopting the artificial recharge techniques but urban areas are getting deprived of natural recharge due to concretisation of the city.

This is causing a flood-like situation and damaging the roads and pavements etc, the board said. If surface runoff is harvested at various locations, it will not only reduce surface runoff and flooding but also could be used for augmenting ground water recharge.

A worried board has taken up schemes in the city with Central Government making funds available. A scheme in sector 10, opposite Government Art College, has been completed. During the rainy season, a significant surface runoff is available in the stream (N-choe) and the same is being used to augment ground water recharge to provide sustainability to the existing tubewells in the area.

The people of the city are required to provide large roofs for rain water harvesting to contain the runoff and replenish the ground water.

The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation and the Basic Sciences building of the Panjab University have opened up a path for taking up such projects by producing positive results.

3,550 square metre of roof space in the CSIO was used for rain water harvesting and this was recharged through an injection well. Annually around 3000 cubic metre water is being recharged since 1997. In Panjab University 2,100 square metre space is injecting 1,920 cubic metre of water to the ground.


Lack of green belt irks residents
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 21
Occupants of flats in the category of economically weaker section (EWS) flats in Phase VII are locked in a “battle” with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) over its failure to earmark a green belt in their area. The case is coming for hearing before the Punjab Human Rights Commission tomorrow.

Citing the basic norms of planning, the residents lamented that given the density of population in the two-storeyed EWS houses, the then Housing Board Department before it was merged in to PUDA, never bothered to earmark the required green belt for the occupants.

The residents claimed that a open space adjoining their houses was a green belt as per the layout plan of the area prepared in 1974 — a fact denied by PUDA in its reply given before the commission. It had been stated by PUDA that as per the layout plan of 1975, at least 11-10-marla plots had been carved out in the open space and a plot area had been earmarked as a green belt.

“If we go by the layout plan of 1975, the number of the EWS flats are shown from 1330 to 1600. On the site, 432 houses have been constructed whereas 406 houses should have been constructed”, said Mr Narinder Singh Lamba, general secretary of the EWS House Welfare Association. The residents lament that the area earmarked for green belt had been used while constructing 26 extra houses.

“Who should be held accountable for the anomaly which occurred 25 years ago. But we are suffering now. There is no proper open space to hold social functions as there was no space in front of the houses. Our children also suffer from lack of open space”, said Mr Lamba, adding that going by the present norms, at least 15 per cent of the total plot area should had been reserved for open space.

In April last, PUDA had auctioned residential 10-marla sites but the construction was stayed by the commission after the EWS occupants took the legal recourse.

The occupants of the EWS flats, in their complaint to the Human Rights Commission, had said that the construction of houses in the park would cause them inconvenience. The commission observed that the executive authorities had to take care of the welfare and basic needs of the residents. 


Mohali residents resent encroachment by school
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 21
Residents of Phase IV are protesting against a reported encroachment on the public land by the management of a private convent school. They alleged that the boundary wall on the northern side of Sherwood Convent School was being raised on a footpath constructed by the local civic body.

Showing that the boundary wall had been shifted by a few feet towards the road by the school management, the president of the House Owners Welfare Association, said as per the demarcation given by the field staff of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), iron fencing had been done. But on February 17, work on a new boundary wall began on the footpath.

He said the an engineer of the local civic body had visited the site to tell the school management to stop the construction of the boundary wall. However, an official of PUDA said the footpath had been laid without any proper demarcation.

As per officials of the building wing of the PUDA, the distance between the boundary wall of the school and the facing houses had to be 30 feet. A 12-feet road berm on one side and another six-feet road berm on the other side had to be left on both sides of the 12-feet-wide road. While constructing the road, the width of the road berm to be left on both sides of the road was not properly demarcated, said the official.

On the request of the residents, PUDA officials found out that the boundary wall had been extended by three inches.

The residents lamented that allotting land to the school in front of the houses would lead to chaos as the road was not adequate to handle the rush of vehicles coming to the school to pick and drop students.

The Principal of the School, Mrs Kusum Singal, said the boundary wall was being constructed as per the demarcation provided by the field staff of the PUDA. She said that the footpath had been laid by the civic body without checking it with the allotting agency. She said that the an official of the Estate officer had visited the site yesterday had told her to shift the boundary wall by three inches. She added that she had agreed to shift the wall.


Communities have different interests: Bipan Chandra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
‘Communalism is an ideology and largely based on a communal view of history. And if one were to take out the communal view of history there will be nothing left of communalism.’’ said Prof Bipan Chandra, eminent historian, while lecturing in the city at the CRRID, Sector 19 here today.

Tracing the origins of communalism as it evolved in the 19th and first half of the 20th century Professor Chandra focused on the ideas of Veer Savarkar who was the first to give the concept of Hindutva.

Defining communalism he stated that all communities in India were not only distinct from the religious point of view but had different political, social and economic interests. In secular field also these communities had different interests.

Talking about the controversy on the history textbooks he stated, giving examples, that even in the pre-Independence period history textbooks written by British imperialist authors were responsible for creating a lot of hatred between two religious communities in the country.

Professor Chandra touched upon the Mahatma Gandhi’s murder by Godse stressing that Gandhi was not murdered by Godse, the individual, but the communalist ideology which was opposed to Gandhi’s secular ideas. He also stated that after Gandhi’s death there was a strong revulsion to communalism in the public mind.

He said that the popular magazines among children like ‘Chanda Mama’ and ‘Amarchitra Katha’ also ended up building a stereotype of a particular religion and textbooks for children, too would do the same. Textbooks would not teach communalism but end up building stereotypes leading to communalism.


Getting completion certificate easier now
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
In a move aimed at simplifying the procedures of getting the cumbersome completion certificate, the Chandigarh Administration today allowed that residents can submit any proof of residence and not just the proof of sewerage connection which is accepted till now.

The new orders will be applicable for plots allotted before 1991. Plots allotted after 1991 will not be covered under the changes. Ordering the changes the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), asked the Estate Officer Mr M. Ramsekhar to get the needful done.

This is in modification of the earlier orders under which the Administration had allowed the date of sewerage connection to be accepted as date of completion. Several city residents had represented that they had lost the papers seeking sewerage connections and had not applied for completion certificates.

The Administration will now accept electricity bills, water bills, passport, electoral rolls, ration card, or even a letter delivered at the address. Besides this the house should conform to building bylaws.


A clarification

THE names of Mr Sachit Jain and Mr Satish Bagrodia in caption of their picture in story’ textile industry for level playing field’ in the Chandigarh Tribune dated February 21 got switched inadvertently. The error is regretted.


Delhi resident drugged, looted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
A resident of New Delhi, Mr Ram Pal, reported to the local police that he was looted of his gold chain, gold bracelet, gold ring, a suitcase and certain documents after he consumed ‘‘biscuits’’ reportedly given to him by an unknown person. The complainant was coming to the city from New Delhi in a bus and he was given the drugged biscuits near Ambala, said police sources.

A case has been registered under Sections 328 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

2 held: The city police arrested two persons, Raj Kumar, a resident of Sector 26 and Tarun Kumar, resident of Sector 45, for stealing petrol and a tyre from a scooter in Sector 30 yesterday. Police sources said the two were caught red handed.

A case under Section 379 of the IPC was registered on the complaint of Mr Piara Singh, a resident of Naya Gaon, Ropar.

Brass items stolen: Mr Ashok Kumar reported to the police that some persons stole brass material worth Rs 15,000 from R.C Industries, Phase I, Industrial Area, on Tuesday night. A case has been registered.

Car stereos stolen: Mr Gurjender Dutt, a resident of Sector 23, reported to the police that stereo from his car parked in Sector 17 was stolen on Wednesday. Mr Tarunjit Singh of Sector 43 also reported to the police that his car stereo was stolen from the car parked at his house. Two cases of theft have been registered.

2 arrested: The police arrested Sukhpal Singh and Vijay, both residents of Ram Darbar, under various sections of the Excise Act on Wednesday and seized 27 pouches of liquor from their possession.


Report: The autopsy of a baby girl, who was found floating in a seasonal nullah passing through Phase 9, here, on Tuesday, has revealed that it was a still born. A police official said the autopsy was done at the Civil Hospital in Phase 6, here . Before it was noticed by a passer-by, a portion of the body had been eaten by stray animals.

The police said the body was lying in the nullah and it was swollen beyond recognition. It is being believed that the still born baby had been dumped in the nullah to evade public attention.

Theft cases: Two incidents of theft were reported from two different places in the town. The owner of Jindal Medical Store in Phase 2 in a complaint to the police said medicines worth Rs 25,000 were stolen from his shop. In another case, Mr Balwinder Singh, a resident of Matour village, complained to the police that Gurmandeep Singh allegedly entered his house and stole some items. In both the cases the police has registered a case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC.

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