Friday, April 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Power privatised in slums
No more illegal connections in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
There will no more kundis (illegal connections) in slum colonies. The Chandigarh Administration today privatised power distribution in slums and also in areas outside the “lal doras” of villages.

Under the new scheme notified today a private party can take a power connection at one point and supply power further while charging the users at rates fixed by the Administration. The bills from individuals will be collected by the private party and the Administration in turn will bill the private party for the power consumed. The private party will be getting commission for carrying out the task. This means the Administration will not lay lines within the slums or houses outside the “lal dora”.

The private party can be a residents welfare association or an authorised leading person or a competent company or a contractor. The process will be through bidding and selection.

The scheme will be called the charging and providing temporary supply of electricity to J.J. Clusters/Slum dwellers/Unauthorised colonies/residents outside “lal dora” on single delivery system. In simple words this means a bulk connection will be taken by the private party which bids to supply power in a specified area.

A standby bidder will also be selected and if the first party leaves or discontinues the standby party may be asked to render services to the residents. The bidding party will be responsible for giving further service connections to the residents beyond the tap off point of power.

It will be the sole responsibility of the private party not to overload the transformers of the power department. In case of overloading, penalty will be levied at the rate of Rs 750 per KW for the unauthorised extension of load.

Under the scheme no industrial load will be allowed and any such consumption shall be treated as misuse. The selected private party will be authorised to collect bills as per the rates notified by Chandigarh Administration. The bidder will have the option of either approximate equal sharing basis or flat rate basis.

The private party will give receipt of collection to each individual and provide the Executive Engineer concerned with details of amount collected monthly against each connection. Besides this a register in the prescribed format with details of the name, address, connected load and monthly bill of consumer will have to be maintained.

The meters already installed at premises may be removed by the bidding party. The private party will lay down the service lines to premises of customers from the tap off point where the Administration will supply power. To keep a check on the quality of such power lines these have to be in accordance with the Indian Electricity Rules and shall be inspected by the Electrical Inspector. The improvements as suggested by the Electrical Inspector will have to be implemented by the party. Service lines will be open to regular inspection by Executive Engineer concerned.

In case of unsatisfactory services the contract can be terminated within 10 days following a notice to the private party. To recover initial investment the private party will be allowed to levy one time service of Rs 500 per connection.

The private party will be issued a bill by the fifth of every month by the area SDO and he will be expected to make payment of the bill by the 20th of every month. During this period bills will be issued to individual customers and money collected.

Interestingly, to prevent any court cases later on the Administration has said each consumer would submit an affidavit in the prescribed format that he/she won’t claim regularisation of any unauthorised occupation or structure on the basis of release of such power connection to them. Wherever there are encroachments or unauthorised structures the same are liable to be removed without notice to the private party.

Checking of the theft of electricity from the point of supply and further shall be the responsibility of the private party.

Rates at which the private party will charge

Connection less than 1 K.W  Rs.1.69 per unit ( including duty)
Load upto 10 KW of individual  Rs.2.74 per unit ( including duty) outside Lal Dora.
Service charges Rs 500 per connection.



Long wait for CT scanners
Lacklustre response to Admn’s tenders
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The wait for CT scan machines in hospitals run by the Chandigarh Administration might just be an endless one. Stumbling and tripping over its own steps constantly, the Administration has over the past two years, changed its policy decision twice, called for tenders thrice and held countless meetings, but has had no results to show.

Patients with basic head injuries who can be easily taken care of at General Hospital, Sector 16, and Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32 continue to be referred to the PGI for want of CT scanners or are sent to private diagnostic centres, most of which are thriving due to this.

What is worse is that those who are interested in installing these machines have now doubts about the Administration's seriousness in getting the work done. The last time the Administration invited tenders for leasing a CT scan machine at GH-16, there was no response at all from any company supplying CT scanners. After negotiations with some of these companies, the hospital has again invited tenders and although there are still some days left before the last date for these, no application has been received as yet.

The GMCH authorities too have achieved nothing but failure in the process of trying to find a suitable supplier of this machine to the hospital for the past six months. Now although it has been decided that the GMCH too will be inviting fresh tenders, sources in the hospital state that they too will be met with a situation in which no one will come forward to install the machine.

However, no one seems to know what exactly is the problem but hospital in charge at both places state that the technical and non-technical specifications in these tenders are being revised in order to get a response. For the General Hospital, sources state that the companies want an assurance that there will be a minimum number of CT scans done each day at the hospital to make installation viable and be run on at least no-profit-no-loss basis.

Two years ago the Administration had publically stated that it did not have any funds to purchase CT scan machines for its hospitals and decided to get these machines installed from private suppliers. But sources state that the financial condition is very different now as the UT Administrator has been given ample financial powers and the two hospitals might be in a position to afford these machines.


Health Dept, MC row may hit water supply
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 18
The continuing impasse between the Punjab Public Health Department and the local Municipal Council over the footing of the electricity bills of the tubewells in the township could badly hit the water supply in the coming months.

The civic body is insisting that the Public Health Department should pay for the power consumed in running the tubewells. Already the last date to pay the bills has expired in some cases and for others the last date is nearing.

About 41 tubewells, pumping out 5 million gallons a day (mgd) of the 12.5 mgd of available potable water, are dependent on the electricity supply from the feeders of the PSEB. As per the existing practice the bills to run the tubewells and the two water treatment plants are borne by the civic body.

But plagued by financial crisis after the abolition of octroi and inability of the state government to provide fiscal aid, the civic body has been insisting that the Public Health Department, which maintains the tubewells and collect the water and sewerage bills amounting to Rs 4 crore, should pay the bills. Officials of the Public Health Department took the matter to the level of the Secretary of their department.

The monthly bills of the tubewells and the two treatment plants were around Rs 22 lakh. Sources in the civic body said a request by the Executive Officer to local PSEB officials to extend the dates of the bills had been rejected. As per the rules, a heavy penalty would be levied on the defaulting department.

To solve the matter, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, has called a meeting of the Public Health Department and officials of the civic body. It was felt at the meeting that till the civic body did not come of the financial crisis, the Public Health Department could bear the electricity bills as a temporary arrangement.

The Deputy Commissioner was also requested by officials of the civic bodies in Ropar district to write to the Chairman of the electricity board to allow grace period to deposit the bills.

The sources said civic body officials had been pressing upon the Local Government Department to work out a permanent formula to allow the civic body to took after the public health works in the town.

An earlier move by the council to hand over the work of collection of water and sewer bills to its staff of the octroi wing had failed to take off. At present the job is done by employees of the Public Health Department on behalf of the council.


Demolition drive continues, 1000 jhuggis razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Undettered by yesterday’s incidents, the Chandigarh Administration carried on with its demolition drive in the Colony Number 5, and demolished about 1,000 illegal jhuggis in the process today.

The long overdue operation in the Colony Number 5 was much appreciated in the city as thousands of members of group housing societies will be able to get physical possession of the lands illegally occupied by the slum dwellers.

The operation started today under heavy police presence under the supervision of the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Gyanesh Bharti.

To prevent a riot like yesterday the enforcement staff had used its mounted police force also today. As a result-there was no untoward incident.

A water cannon and antiriot gear was also kept ready. The entire operation was peaceful today.

A former president of the BJP local unit said the demolition was illegal.

He said as per the existing policy all slum dwellers having proof of residence should be given alternate accommodation.

The Administration has promised that a survey will be carried out of people having proof of residence.


Martial art expert arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 18
A martial art expert who had been allegedly sending people to countries like Korea and Greece basing their visits on fraudulent sports activities was arrested by the Chandigarh Police here this evening. Rajan Vaid (32), had send two batches each of illegal immigrants to Korea and Greece, respectively, police sources said.

The police after arresting him claimed to recover 14 passports from his possession. He had collected Rs 50,000 each as advance from 14 persons while promising them to sent to western countries.

The police sources said his background was very shady. A few year ago he had floated an agro-based company in collaboration with one Harsimaran in NAC, Manimajra. They had allegedly decamped with Rs 9.50 lakh of investors. He was arrested and the case is pending in a local court. The court had asked Rajan to deposit his passport which he did. Later on in July 2001, in connivance with some employee he managed to get his passport. Back


PU to press Punjab for fund share
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Panjab University (PU) has constituted a high-powered committee to lobby with the Punjab government to release its requisite grant of 40 per cent of the university budget.

For the past few years the Punjab Government has been reducing its share of contribution towards the university. Under the Reorganisation Act of 1966, the UT Administration is supposed to bear 60 per cent of the university budget while the remaining share is to be borne by the Punjab government. This year Punjab has contributed 10 per cent less than the stipulated Rs 16 crore given last year. This information about the cut was communicated through an official letter.

However, under Section 72 of the Panjab University Act, PU can approach the Centre in case of any financial trouble.

The grant was fixed in 1999 and the university was getting Rs 16 crore annually. The decrease of 10 per cent also extends to the cut in grants to aided colleges. The issue of cut in grants had come up at the last Senate meeting where it was decided that senior Senate members be authorised to meet the Punjab Government authorities on the issue. Two MPs, who are members of the Senate, had given assurance that they would meet Mr Prakash Singh Badal, the then Chief Minister, on the issue.

Senate members suggested that in case the state funding was not regular, assistance should be sought to convert the university into a purely Centre-aided one.

In fact, Mr Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab on a recent visit to the university was apprised of the declining financial support to the university. He promised to direct the education authorities to look into the matter.

PU is finding it difficult to grapple with financial problems. As a measure to generate more resources the university has been resorting to a fee hike over the past few years.

The matter has figured repeatedly at Syndicate and Senate meetings.

The committee has been constituted by Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, in pursuance of the Senate decision. Its members include Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mr G.K. Chatrath, Mr Satya Pal Jain, Mr Lajpat Rai, Principal A. C. Vaid, Prof M.M. Sharma and Prof Paramjit Singh, Registrar.

The situation is no better in private aided colleges. The fourth quarter grant of Rs 18 crore has not been paid to the colleges.


Teaching Blackwill’s first love
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
For the US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert D. Blackwill, teaching is his first love. Though first from his family to go to a college and get a university degree, he is keen to visit and even lecture at some of the prestigious educational institutions in India, including Mayo College, Ajmer.

“I have heard a lot about Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy at Mussorie and I hope to visit this prime institution one day,” he said while interacting with prominent citizens of the city here last night.

Among those present at the interaction held at the residence of Mr Kewal Dhillon, an industrialist, were the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, besides Chief Secretaries of both Punjab and Haryana Mr Y.S. Ratra and L.M. Goyal, respectively, and the Adviser to the Administrator of Chandigarh, Ms Neeru Nanda.

Mr Blackwill also joined Bhangra dancers, who performed in honour of the visiting US dignitaries. He said the USA was not aware of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. “But we will continue to look for him,” he said.

Talking about the visa controls and introduction of appointment system at the US Embassy in New Delhi, Mr Blackwill said though no system could be “foollproof” and “free from problems” but efforts have been made to minimise the discomfort to visa seekers.

He agreed that many might have problems in seeking appointments on the Net in the absence of credit cards. “We will look into this problem,” he said.

Mr Blackwill said though it was his first visit to Punjab and Chandigarh, he enjoyed it thoroughly and hoped to return soon and visit this part of the country more often.

Allaying the general impression that fewer visas were being granted by the US Embassy in India, Mr Blackwill said the success rate of non-immigrant visa was 74 per cent, which was by any standard a fairly good rate.


CAG raps N. Railway for not observing accounting norms
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The failure on the part of the railway authorities to observe prescribed accounting provisions has resulted in a loss of over Rs 3.5 crore while undertaking certain defence works in the Western Sector.

In its recently released report for 2002 on the performance of the Railways, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has rapped the Northern Railway for “non-adherence to the codal provisions regarding accounting procedure, which led to the non-realisation of Rs 2 crore since 1990, besides a loss of interest of Rs 1.61 crore”.

According to the report, on the request of the defence authorities, the work for the construction of additional rail facilities at Hisar to cater to military requirements was undertaken by the Northern Railway Construction (NRC) Organisation in 1987-88.

A cheque for Rs 2 crore issued by the defence authorities in January, 1990, was remitted to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in New Delhi in April. Though the payment of this cheque was not credited to the railway accounts, the NRC authorities continued to incur expenditure on the work without ensuring the actual realisation of the cheque.

Provisions of the Indian Railway Code for the Accounts Department require a suspense head — “Remittance into Bank” — to be operated for recording earnings deposited into banks or government treasuries. Every bank with which the Railways has transaction sends a daily statement to the Railway Accounts Officer (RAO) showing separately the cheques paid, earnings and other miscellaneous receipts received by it.

These statements are required to be checked by the RAO immediately on receipt with the counterfoils of cheques and cash remittance notes. At the end of the month, the total amount of the remittances acknowledged by the banks and treasuries are debited to the RBI. Any discrepancies noticed in figures after verification with the bank’s record are to be pointed out immediately to the RBI’s central accounts section.

The matter regarding the non-realisation of the cheque for Rs 2 crore was taken up by the Railway Administration with the RBI in April 1996 — six years after its deposit, and with the defence authorities in June, 1997 — after a lapse of seven years, for the issuance of a fresh cheque.

“However, the amount remains to be realised so far”, the report stated. The matter was brought to the notice of the Railway Administration and the Railway Board in June, 2001, and July, 2001, respectively. But no reply has been received by the CAG.


Chief Architect to identify school sites
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Chief Architect, UT, has been assigned the task of identifying 40-odd sites to accommodate sites for playways and pre-schools in the city as an alternative to schools functioning from residential areas.

This was decided at the second meeting of the high-powered committee chaired by the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, held here today. The committee was constituted to look into the fate of schools running in residential areas following High Court orders.

Sources said while the Chief Architect had been asked to take up the task on priority basis to ensure that schools functioning from residential areas can avail themselves of the opportunity of alternative arrangement. These sites would be advertised shortly and would be in addition to the 20 sites already advertised by the Chandigarh Administration.

Also, while the committee studied the High Court order at length, the Estate Office was asked to follow-up after issuing notices to schools functioning in residential areas.

Earlier, at the first meeting of the committee, the administration had decided to issue show-cause notices to schools which were running from unauthorised premises.

These schools would be asked to seek recognition from the Director, Public Instructions (schools), and then approach the Administration to seek time to continue and promise to shift to a designated place. Also, a specified time frame will be fixed for schools to shift to a designated premises.


Power situation in Panchkula may improve
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
The power situation in Panchkula is likely to improve during this summer season as the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam hopes to meet the demand of 70 mva for the township.

The state electricity department will instal two new substations of 66/11 kv each in Mansa Devi complex and in Kalka. While the substation at Mansa Devi complex will be energised by July, the one in Kalka will be made functional after the summer season. The substation at Mansa Devi complex is likely to enhance the power supply transmission by 12 mva.

Sources in Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam informed that with the energising of the substation at Mansa Devi complex, there will be no shortage of power supply. Presently, there is one 220/ 66 kv substation at Madanpur village and two 66/11 kv substations in Sector 1 and Industrial Area Phase II for almost 25,000 consumers (domestic, industrial and commercial). As many as 3000 new connections have been released during this year, it is learnt.

The UHBVN staff has also bifurcated two transformers, one supplying power to Sector 10 and 15, and the other for Sector 17 and Rajiv Colony, in order to do away with the problem of voltage fluctuation. It may be noted that the residents of Sector 17 were frequently tormented by the voltage fluctuations because of large-scale kundi connections by Rajiv Colony residents. Similarly in Sector 15, the voltage fluctuations were the result of kundi connections by Bangala Colony residents.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has come up with a proposal to double-circuit two main high tension (HT) transmission lines supplying power to the city , in order to have a back-up system and distribute the load evenly on each circuit .

Sources in UHBVN informed TNS that an alternate transmission line supplying power to Panchkula from 220 kv Ramgarh-Madanpur substation will be made by the end of this year. A 100 mva transformer will be added at Ramgarh in order to make the second circuit possible. One 100 mva transformer is already functional here. The double circuiting of the other transmission line supplying power from the 132 kv substation at Pinjore will be done by the end of year 2003.

The proposal for this transmission line has been recently given a go-ahead by the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN). Since this transmission line is the main source of power supply to the township (36.5 mva of the total demand and supply of 70 mva for the township), the dual carriage way is first being made here, informed sources.

It may be noted that the power to the township is through two main sources — a 132 kv substation at Pinjore , which gets power supply through the Central Pool from the Ropar thermal power plant; and the 220 kv substation at Ramgarh, Madanpur, which gets its supply from the 400 kv substation of the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) at Jagadhri through Shahabad.

In addition there is a seasonal source of power supply to the township from Kumali in Himachal Pradesh, which supplies power to the substation at Ramgarh. However, power supply through this substation has been more or less stopped.


Callous tree felling damages house, cable wires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The haste exhibited by the MC's Horticulture people in clearing trees from Sector 36 A this morning could have cost heavily to many residents of the area. Without waiting for the clearance from the Electricity Department, the horticulture staff people came to the sector this morning and started felling trees close to house number 215.

The entire exercise was conducted in such a haste that a big branch of the tree facing house number 215 actually fell upon the electricity cables, finally bouncing into the courtyard of house No. 208, breaking the front door and also damaging the gate of the house. The grills and the gate light were also broken apart on account of the fierce momentum of the falling branch. Not just that, with heavy damages being inflicted upon the electricity cables, power supply in the sector remained suspended for over five hours today — from 1.30 a.m. to about 6.45 p.m.

Talking to The Tribune about the problem, Col S.S. Gill, president of the Sector 36 Welfare Society, said that staff of the Horticulture Department had approached him on April 17 requesting him to coordinate with the Electricity Department on this issue. Said Col Gill: "It was decided that the felling would be carried out on Monday. I had even applied to the SDO today to do the needful but was shocked this morning to see the horticulture men proceeding with their business without giving any prior notice.

He also made a mention of the damages suffered by people of the sector on account of callousness of Horticulture Department.

Meanwhile, official version on the issue could not be available.


Father hopes to get justice after 16 years
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, April 18
Sixteen years after 24-year-old Inderjit Singh was murdered, the wait for justice by his 80-year-old father, Mr Allaha Singh, seems to be coming to an end. The case famously known as “Allah Singh case” has come up for hearing today and was adjourned for the consideration of charges against the two accused till May 9.

Allah Singh’s son, Inderjit Singh, was murdered allegedly by his landlord, Hardev Singh, and his son on July 7, 1985, in Sector 34-D. The post-mortem report had stated that the death had occurred due to asphyxia caused by hanging and termed it to be a suicide case.

Allah Singh protested against this and wrote to various officials and approached Mr Shiv Swarup, the then Adviser to the Punjab Governor. A panel of doctors was appointed to re-examine the post-mortem report.

The report prepared by the panel revealed that post-mortem findings given in the examination conducted by Dr S.K Garg were not consistent with the findings in a case of hanging. Then a case against the accused Hardev Singh and Harpreet Singh was registered under Sections 302, 34, IPC, on November 24, 1985. A report from the CFSL, Madhuban, opined that the case was of murder and not of suicide.

The Chandigarh Police had allegedly tried to close the case after getting recommendation from the Patiala police on February 27, 1988. Thereafter, Allaha Singh gave representation to the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the case was reopened. Then the CBI was directed to investigate the case and file its report.

The CBI in its report had recommended quashing of the FIR registered against the accused, Hardev Singh and others. In 1995 the court had directed the CBI to conduct fresh investigation to be conducted by a comparatively senior officer of the CBI.

The case was handed over to the SP, CBI, Mr Kirti Chandra Kanungo, now DIG, CBI (North East Region Guwahati). Mr Kriti had investigated the case again. And during investigation he had examined more than 100 witnesses who had been examined by the previous investigating officers. He concluded that death of Inderjit Singh was homicide and it was not a case of suicide.

Meanwhile the counsel for the accused today filed a criminal revision petition against the order passed by the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate February 26, 2000. The Judge had also adjourned revision petition till May 9 for consideration. The counsel for the accused stated in the petition that the complete documents were required to be supplied to the accused persons for the purpose of consideration on the charges. He also stated that it was not possible for the accused persons to take a proper plea for consideration on the charges and rather it will amount to miscarriage of justice.


Patch-up job may not save bridge
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
Even as the safety of a vital bridge across the Ghaggar river, connecting Panchkula with Naddha Sahib, is suspect following the loosening of its expansion joints, the Ministry of Surface Transport ( MOST) has given a go- ahead for carrying out protection work around the pillars of this bridge.

Summers have set in and expectations of an early monsoon made the National Highway division of PWD (Bridges and Roads) start the bridge protection work by constructing Cement Concrete blocks near the expansion joints .

Sources in National Highways informed TNS that MOST had recently sanctioned a sum of Rs 24.6 lakh for carrying out earth digging work, creating cement concrete blocks (CC blocks) and wire crates around the pillars of the bridge to prevent scouring ( erosion). It is learnt that CC blocks are being laid at those spots, where the scouring was reportedly two to three feet deep.

It may be mentioned that this 30- year old structure has seen massive erosion as a result of the turbulent Ghaggar . It is estimated that on an average, the river sees a discharge of between 50,000 cusecs to 80,000 cusecs during the monsoon. Thus, the approaches to the bridge have always been under direct attack of this furious river, especially during the monsoon, when the discharge of water is maximum. During the last monsoon, one of the approaches of the bridge had been washed away completely .

Officials in National Highway say that each year, the cost of this ‘protection’ repair work around the pillars was an astronomical Rs 40 lakh. This year, they assure, the CC blocks being built are of the highest quality and brought at the lowest price.

Meanwhile, the safety of this vital bridge is being questioned because of weakening of the expansion joints.

The bridge has been swaying dangerously for the past more than three months and commuters can feel the bridge sway in a vertical direction whenever a vehicle crosses it.

Though officials maintain that the bridge is safe, it is learnt that most of the eight expansion joints (also called span joints) need immediate repair work in order to save the structure.

The grant for the repair work of the bridge has not been sanctioned by the Ministry, thus holding up the repair work.

They say that a proposal for carrying out this repair of these joints at an estimated cost of Rs 8.69 lakh, and other repair works on the bridge at a cost of Rs 36. 31 lakh. “But with MOST not having given the final nod, we cannot do anything about the repair of expansion joints,” said an official , requesting anonymity.


Agenda items cleared amid uproar
Tribune News Service


  • Terms and conditions for fresh paid parking contract cleared amidst protests from the BJP and Chandigarh Vikas Manch.
  • Parking by-laws to be framed.
  • A working committee under Mayor’s chairmanship to monitor parking related problems.
  • A fact finding committee on recruitment to Fire Department set up.
  • A House Committee on fire set up.
  • A separate committee to submit report on the status of Fire Department.
  • Big city organisations will have to set up their own mini-sewage plants.
  • By-laws on water use to be framed.
  • House clears new community centres in sectors 7 and 22.
  • Sanitation of the city criticised, chairman of Sanitation Committee seeks 6 weeks time to improve the situation.

Chandigarh, April 18
The BJP Councillor and former Mayor Mr Gian Chand Gupta, was today ‘’expelled briefly’’ from the Municipal Corporation House while seeking to project the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, as ‘’inefficient, law violating, biased, undemocratic and running the House on the directions of local MP Pawan Bansal.’’

The Congress, embarrassed by Mr Gupta for not providing minutes of the last meeting of the House in 20 days, however, recovered from the initial shock on the issue to get important agenda items like terms of paid parking for the April 22, 24, 26 auctions, sewage treatment plants for those organisations consuming 200 kilo-litre of drinking water, formation to fire committee, setting up a fact finding committee on recruitment in Fire Departments and another committee on the status of Fire Department, approved by the House in a marathon meeting.

A suggestion came from the nominated Councillor, Mr P. C. Sanghi, to include sanitation charge levied by residents welfare societies on water bills.

Mr Gupta set a stormy tone at the outset of the meeting of the House ahead of the first agenda item of election to the Home Minister’s Advisory Council by quoting section 69/1 of the Punjab Municipal Act 1976 extended to UT Chandigarh by saying that the Mayor was violating the Act by not bringing the minutes of the last meeting for confirmation and sought her explanation.

The Mayor said they were not approved and had been kept for discussion.

Mr Gupta, joined by his party colleague Ms Kamla Sharma and ally party councillor Ms Harjinder Kaur, virtually stalled the House proceedings by suggesting the minutes were not cleared because ‘’possibly the Mayor had not got directions from Mr Bansal.’’

Mr Gupta’s comment on Mr Bansal brought the Congress on the feet inviting a resolution from the leader of the Congress in the House Mr Subhash Chawla, for Mr Gutpa to either seek an apology for casting aspersions on Mr Bansal or expel him for violating the decorum of the House.

Certain angry Congress members, including Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Ms Anu Chathrath and Senior Deputy Mayor referred to the former BJP MP, Mr Satpal Jain of having interfered in the functioning of the municipal body.

The BJP member was not convinced by explanation from Commissioner M. P. Singh that though the Act provided for distribution the minutes in three days, number of times minutes of two meetings had also been brought before the House in the past.

When the Mayor failed to persuade Mr Gupta to tender an apology for his comments, Ms Joshi called marshals in the House and again requested Mr Gupta to tender an apology but Mr Gupta did not budge, asserting that he had not spoken anything defamatory against Mr Bansal and ‘’circumstantial evidence’’ supported his utterings.

The Mayor ordered his expulsion but Mr Gupta claimed that he only came out of the House in a protest against a ‘’biased attitude of the Mayor who did not seek apology from Congress members for mentioning Mr Jain’s name.’’

The BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal members then came out of the House and shouted slogans against the Mayor.’’

A palpable tension was witnessed on the faces of the Mayor, Mr Chawla and Mr Gupta for the situation arising out of the comment of Mr Gupta and entry of marshals in the House. The Congress managed to wriggle out of having Mr Gupta moved out by marshals with Mr Gupta himself moving out of the House.

After the expulsion of Mr Gupta, the first agenda item of election to the four posts of Home Minister’s Advisory Council was held amidst opposition from other BJP members on the procedure of election by a show of hands proposed by the Chandigarh Administration.

Congress members Mr Kuldeep Singh, Ms Kamlesh, Ms Anu Chathrath and Ms K. Atma Ram were elected in the absence of Mr Gupta, who was also a candidate.

While the three Congress members got 21 votes each, Ms Atma Ram got 19.

Five members were left in the fray after the three Chandigarh Vikas Manch candidates, Mr Jitender Bhatia, Mrs Harpreet Kaur and Mr Vijay Rana and a nominated member Ms Amar Kulwant Singh, withdrew their names immediately before the voting began.


Force shortage to be taken up with govt
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 18
The new Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr H.S. Bhullar, today said the issue of shortage of force and providing better infrastructure in the township would be taken up with the State Government. The upgrading of the Phase 8 police post to a police station was also on the agenda.

To keep a tab on nurseries of criminals in slums on the border with Chandigarh, joint operations with Chandigarh Police would be launched.

Talking to mediapersons, the DSP said he would make effort to improve the police-public relations. To ensure time bound investigations and registration of first information report (FIR), special focus would be on follow-up action, he said adding that the members of public could contact him if their grievance was not heard in police stations.

Expressing concern on the rising cases of burglaries in the town, he said he would request resident welfare associations and the market welfare committees to appoint night watchmen.

The drive of tenant and servant verification would be accelerated. Citing an example of verifying the antecedents of servants in Derabassi, he said the employers should send a money order of small amount at the address given by the servant. Non-acceptance of the money order would mean that the address was incorrect.


Quota plot allottees cheated, seek probe
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 18
Allottees of the discretionary quota plots in the township have alleged that they have been cheated by property dealers, who in connivance with certain employees of the estate office kept them in the dark about the opening up of transfers of the above mentioned plots by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Seeking a vigilance probe into the property dealer-employee nexus, they lament that even after the High Court, in an order in January this year, had allowed the transfer of DQ plots allotted up to May 22, 1996, employees at the Estate Office kept on misinforming them that there had been no development in the case.

The property dealers at the same time began procuring the plots with the assistance of the employees.

Feeling cheated, some of the allottees wrote to the TNS about the way they had been deceived by certain property dealers.

The discretionary quota plots, located mainly in the developed Sectors 64, 65, 70 and 71 of this township, attract a premium in the real estate market. Anticipating the premium, some of the property dealers had procured the plots at a low price.

Mr Jagjeet Singh, who owned a DQ plot in Sector 70, told the TNS that while filing papers for the transfer of his plots, he had gone to the estate office to verify about the status of the plot. “ I was not informed about the High Court judgement”, he said.

Sources at the Estate Office said that the Chief Administrator of the PUDA had written to the Additional Chief Administrators and the Estate Officers of all Urban Estates about the High Court order on March 29 last.

Mr Singh lamented that no public notice had been put up even by the authorities to inform the allottees about the High Court order.


Bhajan Sandhaya at Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 18
Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board organised a devotional Bhajan Sandhaya programme on the sixth day of the Navratra festival here today. Ms Ratnika Tewari, a renowned artiste presented the programme.

The programme began with the Commissioner and Secretary, Urban Development, Mr Manik Sonawane, inaugurating the programme with the traditional lighting of the lamp. The Deputy Commissioner and chairperson of Sri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, honoured Ms Tewari and the accompanists.

Her beautiful, redention of Kabir's bhajans and a prayer to the Goddess, ‘Tu Bhakti, Tu Chandi , Tu Mahakali’ infused a devotional feeling among the gathering.

The artiste was accompanied by Mr Prem Bhardwaj on the tabla, Anil Gandhi on the harmonium and Srinivas on the synthesiser. Puja and Ritu accompanied her on the tanpura.

Meanwhile, the devotees have offered a sum of Rs 9 . 08 lakh, 38 gold items and 376 pieces of silverware at the shrine till date. Nearly four lakh devotees have paid their obeissance here.


Procession by medical representatives
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 18
Members of the Punjab and Chandigarh Medical and Sales Representatives Union (PCMSRU) took out a torchlight procession from Sector 20, which concluded at Sector 17 Plaza.

Nearly 4,000 medical representatives from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmri and the city have been on strike since Tuesday in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands, which included implementation of the SPE Act, the Minimum Wages Act and other Labour Acts. They later burnt effigies of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India and the Indian Drugs Manufacturers Associations. They also condemned the communal riots in Gujarat, said Mr A. Sawhney, general secretary of the PCMSRU, in a press note issued here today.


Thorns on show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Over 1,500 cacti will be displayed during the silver jubilee show of the National Cactus and Succulent Society of India, to be organised in the city on April 20 and 21. To be inaugurated by the Punjab Governor, Lt Gen JFR Jacob (retd), the show will feature cacti from North, and South America and succulent plants from USA, Africa, Madagascar and Asia.

After Delhi,Chandigarh is the only city in India where this kind of exhibition is held on a large scale every year.


Tribune employee dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Mr Devraj, Head Daftri, The Tribune, died here today. He was 54.

Devraj had joined The Tribune group 31 years ago.

His cremation will take place at 1 pm at the Sector 25 cremation ground.

The funeral procession will start from his residence 3122, Tribune Colony, Sector 29.

The Tribune Employees HP Helpline Cooperative Society has expressed grief over the death of Mr Devraj, who was also an active member of the society.


Monk to observe Mahavir Jayanti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Sri Sahaj Muni Maharaj, a Jain monk of the Shwetambra sect, will observe Mahavira Jayanti in Jaipur on April 25.

Born in Sangrur district on November 18, 1933, the Jain monk had come into the limelight following his year-long fast, surviving only on water, at Bangalore in 1998. He has dedicated his life to world peace and self-purification.

For his long fasting he has entered the Guinness book, says one of his devotees, Mr Bimal Jain. After April 25 he will proceed to New Delhi, where he would spend four months (Chaturmas), he added.


Gaudiya Math president arrives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
President Acharya of Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Sector 20-B, Chandigarh (Western zonal branch), Sreemad Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj arrived here this morning.

He was received at the station by a large number of devotees of the ‘math’. Swamiji is also the vice-president of the World Vaishnav Association and will inaugurate the six-day spiritual public meeting and the 32nd annual function of the Math Mandir tomorrow . These meetings will be presided over by Mr Ajay Kashyap, DIG. Prof K.N. Pathak, VC, PU, will be the chief guest.


MC issues more notices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Government College for Boys sector 11, TBRL, MLA Hostel in Sector 3 and Gujjar Bhavan, along with 59 other institutions here were issued notices of water disconnection today for allegedly defying the ban on water-use imposed by the MC.


Jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
In a major daylight robbery, burglars broke into a Sector 37 house and ran away with gold jewellery weighing about 600 grams, valued at about Rs 3 lakh, along with Rs 20,000 in cash.

Speaking to TNS, the complainant, Mr P.R. Verma, said he, along with his family members, had gone to attend a wedding in Sector 40 at about 11.30 a.m. When one of his relatives arrived at his house from Amritsar at about 1.30 pm, he found the lock of the front door broken. The door of the store as well as a steel almirah kept there were also found ripped apart.

The jewellery of his wife as well as that of his married daughter, who had come here to attend a wedding, was found missing. A case has been registered.

One hurt

A resident of Sector 49, Sewali, sustained minor injuries after her scooter was knocked down by a Maruti car near the Sectors 29-30-31-32 chowk. The car driver sped away from the spot. The police has registered a case.

Gambling case

A resident of Dadu Majra colony, Ajit Singh was arrested from the local bus stop for indulging in satta gambling at a public place. The police has seized Rs 1,150 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered against him. In another case, a resident of Janta Colony, Shakuntala, was arrested from Sector 25 and seized 10 pouches of whisky from her possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against her.

Theft cases

Sector 2 resident Ravinder Kaur has reported that her residence was broken into and six pashmina shawls, five suits, a diamond ring, a pair of gold earrings and Rs 1,000 in cash have been stolen. The police has registered a case. In another case, Sector 16 resident Jatinder Singh has reported that his Maruti car (PB-05-A-0008) has been stolen from Sector 17. A case has been registered. In third case, an administrative officer at the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Mr Balwant Singh, has reported that two computer central processing units were stolen from his sixth floor office in March. Police has registered a case. In fourth theft case, Sector 46 resident Parveen Kumar has reported that 110 kg brass, 220 kg copper and 300 kg silver have been stolen from his plot in Industrial Area, Phase I, after breaking locks of the store. The police has registered a case.

One arrested

A resident of Hallo Majra, Sanjay, was arrested from Daruya village for possessing a CD of a blue film. A case has been registered.

Case registered

A resident of Colony No.5, Gita, has reported that she was beaten up by her husband, Babu Lal, and his brother. The police has registered a case.


Chain snatched

Two scooterists have snatched a gold chain from Ms Kalpana Chauhan in Sector 16 on Thursday. A case under Section 356 of the IPC has been registered.


Smack seized

The local police has arrested a member of a gang allegedly involved in the narcotics trade. At least 21 gram of smack was seized from Harjeet Singh, alias Kukko, who was arrested from the Naumajra road, near Sohana, on Thursday.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered. The suspect has brought the smack from Shahbad in Haryana.

Car stolen

A Maruti car ( CH 03 6863) was stolen from PhaseX here on Thursday. The police has registered a case on the basis of a complaint lodged by the owner of the car, Dr Rama Pal.



‘Masala Mix’: Pizza Hut, in association with Sony Music, has come out with a re-mixed collection of 31 Hindi movie songs. The collection titled ‘Masala Mix’ is available in both CD and cassette format. Consumers can buy the CD for Rs 50 only with purchase of any large pan pizza plus a Pepsi pitcher or get a CD separately for Rs 100. While this scheme can be availed only while dining at the restaurant, for home delivery customers the audio cassette is being given free with the purchase of any medium pan pizza alongwith a 500ml Pepsi pitcher.

Interest rates cut: Maharishi Housing Development Finance Corporation has reduced interest rates on home loans from 12.50 percent per anum(fixed) to 11.95 per cent per anum (fixed) on loan for five to seven years. In case of loans for eight to 15 years, the rate of interest is 12.25 per cent , stated a company release.

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